this the picture of some deserted Western film set? No. This
is the Main Street of Shenandoah, Iowa, the town the webmaster's
wife, Harriet Welty Rochefort grew up in. The picture was taken
in 1878 only 8 years after her great-great grandfather Andrew
Jackson Welty settled there.
Early settlers in Pennsylvania,
the Weltys moved West and our ancestors stopped in Iowa. This
was an adventurous life as you can read
below from the story of John Hunsaker, killed in 1792.
|| HARRIET'S ROOTS -
Shenandoah, Iowa, 1878
|Weltys farmed the
land around Shenandoah for more than one hundred and fifty years.The
first members of Harriet's family to leave the farm were her
father, Paul Bright Welty, who started a real estate and insurance
agency in Shenandoah, and his brother,Wayne Welty, who settled
in Medford, Oregon. Her Aunt Eleanor Welty Arneson settled in
Idaho. Her uncles - George and Don, and Don's son, Dick-all remained
on their respective farms in Iowa. Dick Welty, who died in 1992,
was the last Welty to farm in southwest Iowa.
||According to Harriet's
great-aunt Shirley Moran Welty who wrote the story of our branch
of the Weltys, the Welty name can be traced to the two cantons
of Bern and Zurich in Switzerland. Mennonites, the Weltys were
persecuted in the mid-17th and fled to America. Encouraged by
William Penn, a group of Mennonites from the Palatinate in Germany
settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania as early as 1600. Our
ancestor Peter Velte
(Peter Welty) arrived in Philadelphia, Oct. 16, 1727 on the Friendship
of Bristol from Rotterdam. The Weltys moved westward from
Pennsylvania to Ohio, Illinois, then Iowa, where her family settled,
and later California and Oregon.
Lynx has created and maintains a very interesting Welty site
(see our favorite
- Webmaster's research has yielded
more than 10,000 names of ancestors and collaterals for the whole
family ; many of them are in our surname
list. In upcoming pages, we'll be happy to share what we
have about some of these branches, which includes Anderson, Schenk,
Biddle, Montfoort, Mayet, etc... See our Welty and Anderson/Schenk lines
- To know more about Shenandoah, Iowa,
click here !
A story of Mennonite
settlers in Pennsylvania...
Here is the story of John
Jr. HUNSAKER (Stradonitz # 386) and his wife Elizabeth Huber
(# 387) whose daughter Catherine married Joseph WELTY (# 192,
the great-grandfather of Harriet's great-grandfather!) :
"The men and boys
were working in a cornfield and the women and children off beyond
the cabin when an Indian war party came along and attacked them.
John Jr. was wounded and captured. Clegg, Isaac and Jacob ran
for the cabin. Clegg tried to defend the cabin but it was set
afire so he surrendered rather than be burned. Isaac and Jacob
ran on to where their mother and baby were but upon reaching
the spot found other Indians had captured them and were lying
in wait for the boys. Margaret Clegg had hidden in the bushes
but was eventually discovered by the Indians and tried to run
away.One Indian pursued her, took a shot and wounded her in the
shoulder. She eventually made her way to the Blockhouse, now
The Hunsakers and apparently
Clegg and his daughters were marched west toward Dunkard Creek
and Fish Creek. John's wound and Elizabeth carrying the baby
slowed the march and they were told the baby would be killed
and if they did not cry out at the death of their infant their
lives would be spared. But when the baby was killed, the parents
did cry out and were killed, first the mother and then the father.
Isaac and Jacob were marched with the Indians to Niagara Falls
or Quebec, Canada. During the trip, Isaac was made to carry a
heavy pot on his head.
| The Indians killed a possum and stuffed the carcass
with pumpkin pulp. Then they hung the animal to a tree and when
the boys wanted to eat they squeezed pumpkin out of the possum
carcass. This unpleasant food made Isaac sick. Upon arriving
in Canada the boys were turned over to Chief Walker who raised
them as his sons... Isaac and Jacob lived with the Indians for
seven or eight years. As they grew up, they were allowed to go
hunting on their own. Over the years they gradually extended
the distances they roamed from camp until they roamed quite far
away and for a considerable length of time.
they took advantage of this stratagem and escaped but somehow
enroute back to their home, the boys became separated and never
saw each other again. Isaac reached a trading post ahead of his
captor and hid among bales of furs while the Indians searched
unsuccessfully for him. He was then able to ride a boat with
fur traders heading south......... Catherine
Hunsaker, the daughter who escaped the massacre, eventually
The massacre took place in 1792
and is reported by Shirley Moran WELTY in her
book. Please write
to us if you are linked with the Weltys in America ! See
John Hunsaker in the family
Anderson's arrival in America
| In the year 1707 a sailing vessel might
have been seen plowing its way through the waves of the Atlantic,
towards the shores of America. Among its pasengers who were going
to seek their fortunes in the New World was a Scotch youth, by
the name of James Anderson. Tradition, says that he was
poor. It was the custom for many of the poorer class who came
to America at that time to enter into the service of someone
who advanced the "passage money" and bind himself to
work for such person until the amount of indebtness was discharged.
This was termed "selling passage" and seems to have
been much in vogue. There lived in Chester Valley, in Chester
County, Pennsylvania, at the time of which we are speaking, a
Welsh farmer by the name of Thomas Jerman. It is said also that
he was a noted Quaker preacher. Be that as it may, he was doubtless
farmer as well as preacher, and needed help on his farm, for
when the ship which bore youg Anderson to America arrived, we
find Mr.Jerman searching among new-comers for farm hand. It happened
that he and Anderson struck a bargain, according to the custom
mentioned above, and James Anderson became a member of Mr.Jerman's
Jerman is said to have been
in comfortable circumstances, and had, what seems to have been
of more importance to the youg Scotchman, a daughter. She was
doubtless interesting and attractive, for Anderson surrendered
his heart to her, and succeeding in winning hers in return. A
difficulty, however, arose ; he had gained the daughter's consent
to become his wife, but the father would no means sanction the
marriage. The young couple overcame this obstacle by eloping,
and Miss Elizabeth Jerman became the wife of James Anderson.
Little is known of subsequent events. There was a reconciliation
however for, in 1713, six years after Anderson's arrival in America,
Jerman advanced a part of the money with which Anderson bought
a farm ... Anderson was the first to introduce garlic into Schuylkill
Township. Following the Swedish custom of sowing it for early
pasture for cows, he sowed it on his farm in 1730. From his place,
it scattered over the adjoining farms. He was Supervisor of Highways
(as reported by Julius
Lloyd in 1880). See James Anderson in the family
An Irish immigrant on
the "Try Again" !
Whitings ancestors came from Holland with William of Orange (afterwards
Wm 3rd of England) in 1688. Our grandfather John Whiting was
born at "Brotherfort", the old Whiting estate, 4 or
5 miles from Bandon, County Cork, Ireland. The Whitings are buried
at Brimmy. The Emersons were born in Bandon. Grandmas's mother
Margaret (Burschel) Emerson is buried at St.Peter's churchyard,
Bandon. Her father George Emerson married a second wife and he
is buried in Cork, Ireland. Our grandparents John and Jane (Emerson)
Whiting took a sailing ship from Blandon (?) to ............
. He died Sept. 17, 1870. She died Sept. 10, 1896.
Excerpts from two almost illegible
letters about John WHITING.
||Our people were
three weeks crossing the Atlantic. They were the only cabin passengers
aboard. The sailing ship had once been wrecked and after it was
rebuilt it was renamed "Try Again". They were nearly
lost on the way off the Banks of Newfoundland where they were
within a ...... of
colliding with the "Triton". Uncle John told me that
he was standing up on deck beside the railing at the time and
that he could easily have leaped upon the deck of the other ship.
The captain of "Try Again" was a cousin of grandma's
step ..... There were two deaths during the voyage a man and
a ..... But .....Whiting supplied the rag ... in which the man's
body was wrapped and buried into the Atlantic. The Captain ...
burial service .... The .... was loaded with lumber sailing from
I'm glad I didn't break
the law in Fennimore Co. in the 1860s....
| I was born Aug. 21, 1808 in the town of Franklin,
Ross Co., Ohio ; was brought up in a Methodist family, and taught
to believe that it is wrong to break the Sabbath, or to attend
church festivals ; I embraced religion in Indiana in 1834 and
joined the Methodist Church. Was married June 3, 1832, to Mary
Switzer ; removed with my family to the Territory of Wisconsin
in October 1846 and bought land and settled in the town of Fennimore,
Grant Co. ; for personal abuse for those who should have been
my friends and for corruptions in the church, I called for and
obtained a letter of recommendation from said church in 1871
; in 1875, myself and wife presented our letters to the United
Brethren in Christ, which church holds the same doctrines as
regards the conditions of salvation, and have some church rules
that I esteem more highly and vital importance in a religious
view of the matter. This church is also more strict in the observance
of their church discipline. These are some of the causes which
led me to leave the M.E.Church and join the United Brethren.
The love for and the tenacity with which the former church clings
to Freemasonry and other minor secret organizations, its organs,
its church festivals and its church music all tend to deprive
it of the power for usefulness which it formerly possessed.
is no man or woman that can be a true follower of the Savior
and at the same time deny Him. With regard to politics, I always
voted with the old Whig party while that party existed, and since
its desorganization have voted with the Republican party. I was
elected a Justice of the Peace in the town of Fennimore in 1847
and re-elected each succeeding two years for sixteen years. I
taught the second term of school taught in the town in the winter
1847-48. Mr. R.Dixon taught the first term the previous winter.
I was elected Town Superintendent of Schools in 1849 and again
in 1852 and 1853 ; was elected Town Clerk in 1865 and re-elected
for sixteen years in succession. I have tried different occupations
for a livehood, but have never made much money at anything, but
have always endeavored to deal honestly with all with whom I
have done business. We have four children, all born in Indiana,
three of whom are living--Mary Ann (now Mrs.Mumms), Charles W.
and Wm. H.
Aubiographical note by Charles Warren Loney (1808-1903)
in the Fennimore Country Annals. See his picture.
In the Civil War....
|On his 70th birthday
in 1916 James H.Bright
wrote the following autobiography for the local newspaper. "I
was born February 28, 1846 in Green Co. Penn.. When nine years
of age came with my parents to Iowa. We came by boat down the
Ohio to Cairo, up the Mississipi River to Fort Madison .....
then moved to Henry Co. and settled on a farm near Mt.Pleasant.
We were living there when the Civil War broke out. At the age
of eighteen my brother Lee and I ran away from school at noon
one day and enlisted the 18th of March 1864." Assigned
to the Fourth Iowa cavalry, James and his brother fought under
General Sturger and "were engaged in mortal combat for
four long hours" at Brice's cross roads six miles from
Gunn Town. A retreat was ordered and the troops hit the road,
pursued by the victorious rebel army. James writes that he made
his record as a pedestrian, "having covered a distance
of 50 or 60 miles on foot in one night (I lost my horse in the
fight) rather than go to Andersonville."
At Selma, recalled James, "the
Fourth Iowa cavalry, my brother and myself, "put down the
rebellion" by taking rebel prisoners". They were
discharged at Atlanta, Georgia on August 8, 1865. After the War,
James returned to the family home in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, first
farming his father's land, then gradually acquiring more and
more land until he attained 2000 acres of Iowa's most fertile
land in Walnut township. He married Mary Beshears in 1873 and
they had seven children. James was one of the best known citizens
of the state and in an interview on his seventieth birthday said
that he had never used whiskey nor tobacco in any form in his
life. James' wife, Nellie, died in 1891 and in 1912 he married
Pearl Priestman of Red Oak and, having suffered a paralytic stroke,
moved to town.
A family of farmers...
D. Anderson learned
the trade of a millwright in his youth, and later in life turned
his attention to farming in Bedford County, where he settled
after marriage. He lived there until 1855, when he brought his
family to Illinois to establish a home in Lee County, which was
rich in resources, and possessed many superior advantages for
a farmer. He first settled in Marion Township, and later located
in South Dixon Township, where he and his household lived until
1865, when he bought the farm, which was then but slightly unproved,
and is now the property of our subject.
|| The land increased in value under his management,
and here he built up a comfortable home, in which, at the age
of fifty-six, he laid down the burden of life for the unbroken
rest of death, in 1870. His wife died some years later, in1886,
at the age of sixty-seven, her death occurring in the city of
Dixon. They were people of blameless lives and Christian spirit,
in wholly the Methodist Episcopal Church has found two of its
most consistent members. During the latter part of his life Mr.
Anderson was a Republican. (Lee County History1892 Portrait &
Biographical Volume Page 818)