Saturday, March 19, 2016

Cast Iron Stoves and Cannonballs

     Mary Elma Ashworth was the daughter of  John Ashworth and Caroline Rebecca Pennybaker.  The Pennybaker family has a long and colorful history!  And, as my dad would say it, there's some "highfalutin" folks in this family!  The name has been spelled many various ways over the centuries, including Pennybaker, Pennybacker, Pennypacker, Pannebecker, and the original Dutch spelling Pfannebecker.  The name literally means "baker of tiles."

     Caroline Pennybaker was born January 7, 1836 in Belleville, Wood County, Virginia (now West Virginia).  I have not yet found a birth record for her, but the Census records always record her place of birth as Virginia, and her parents, Isaac Pennybaker and Mary Alkire, got married in 1828 in Wood County, Virginia.  Soon after Caroline's birth, the family moved to Meigs County, Ohio.  Here is the 1840 census, showing the family in Bedford Township, Meigs County:

     Here is the 1860 Census, showing that the whole family, including Caroline's younger brother, John, was born in Virginia:

     Caroline Pennybaker Ashworth died September 12, 1918 and is buried in the Carleton Church Cemetery in Bedford Township, Meigs County.  Her husband, John Ashworth, died in 1898 and is also buried there.  Caroline's father, Isaac Pennybaker, died in 1893, but I have not yet found a record of where he is buried.  I hope to visit this cemetery in person soon!
     I believe Isaac's father is John Pennybaker, who was born in 1768 in Pennsylvania, and died in 1834 in Virginia.  John's wife was Phoebe Fugett, sometimes spelled Fewkett or Fewgett.  Their marriage is recorded in State of Virginia Marriage Records as taking place on June 25, 1793 in Shenandoah, Virginia.  She can be found as a widow in the 1840 Census of Wood County, VA.  Remind me sometime to tell you about the Blue Fewgett Family of Troublesome Creek, Kentucky......they had a recessive gene that produced blue skin.....real live Smurfs!
     John Pennybaker's father was Dirck Pennybaker, and this is where the story get really interesting!   Dirck was born in Providence, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania on January 1, 1737, son of another John Pennybaker and grandson of a very influential man in Germantown, PA, Hendrick Pannebecker. 
                                                  Birth record of Dirck Pennebacker  
     Dirck worked as a wagonmaster and worked with an ironmaster named Mark Bird.  Here he learned the iron trade and helped make cannonballs used in the American Revolution!  His family also owned a grist mill that supplied flour to the Revolutionary Army.  The farm where the mill was located was Pennypacker Mills, and is a historical site open to visit.  There is an archives of Pennybaker family records there, and that is where the birth record above came from.  On June 4-5, 2016, there will be a civil war re-enactment there.  Closeby is the mansion where one of the Pennypackers who became Governor of Pennsylvania lived.  He is responsible for documenting much of the Pennypacker family history.  The mansion is open for tours. 
                                              Pennypacker Mill
     Dirck moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains, which were full of iron ore, and built his own iron-working business.  His first iron business was called Redwell Furnace, close to Luray, Virginia.

                       The title on this mural is Dirck Pennybacker and his Redwell Furnace.
     Dirck built a second iron furnace on Smith Creek called Pine Forge.  The Pennybakers became well-known for their cast-iron stoves, which had their name stamped on the front panel.  One of the stoves is in the Mauck Meeting House, a historical building near Luray, Virginia.

                Notice "D. Pennybaker" inscribed in the banner of the design at the top of the stove.
      One of Dirck's sons, Benjamin, brother to "our" John, had a son named Isaac S. Pennybacker who served as a federal judge, U.S. Congressman and U.S. Senator.  How's that for "highfalutin" folks?
     Dirck died on February 15, 1802 from falling off his horse.  He was buried on his property.  The obituary was published in the Winchester Gazette on March 3, 1802.  His grandfather Hendrick will be the subject of his own blog post.
     For further reading about the Pennypackers, look for the following publications on Google:
A History of Shenandoah County by John W. Wayland
The German Element of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia by John W. Wayland
The Undying Past of Shenandoah National Park by Darwin Lambert
The Presence of African Americans in the Shenandoah County Iron Industry by Nancy B. Stewart
Biographical Sketches by Samuel W. Pennypacker
The Autobiography of a Pennsylvanian by Samuel W. Pennypacker
A Genealogy of the Pennypacker Family by Samuel W. Pennypacker
The Perkiomen Region, Past and Present, Vol. I by Henry Sassaman Dotterer

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