GEORGE and ESTHER BECHTELL
George Bechtell appears in the records of Frederick County, Md., in the late 1700s. (1)
Married Esther Eller on March 18, 1794, at the Evangelical Reformed Church in Frederick. (2) She was born July 31, 1769. Secondary sources say that Esther was the daughter of Henry and Elisabeth Eller of Washington County, Md. (3)
Child: John Bechtel, born about 1798. (4)
The name George Bechtel – or variant spellings – appears in only a few records in Frederick County and neighboring Washing County. It seems very likely that these references are all to the same man.
There are so few references to George that it’s uncertain where he lived. His name doesn’t appear at all in indexes of the 1790 Census for both counties. In fact, there don’t appear to be any Bechtels in Frederick County and only and handful – under various spellings – in Washington County. It’s possible that George was missed, was living in the household of another Bechtel or had not yet moved into the area.
Tradition holds that George migrated from Pennsylvania. This appears to be best described in the book “The Life and Labors of Reverend Jacob D. Bachtel of the Parkersburg Conference of the Church of the Brethren,” by the Rev. Zebedee Warner. A synopsis reads: “George Bechtell b. c.1765 in PA, married Hannah Unknown b.? in Ireland. They had three sons: Jacob b. c.1787, George b. c.1791, and Samuel b. c.1794. After Hannah died about 1794, George c.1765 married Ester Eller. He then placed his three small sons in indenture until the age of 21 years to learn a trade. Jacob and George were placed together. Samuel, an infant at the time, was placed with another family.” (5)
The indentures referred to in the item above were made May 23, 1794, just after George married Esther. They read: “George Bechtell, laborer, places his son George Bechtell, age 3y 12 Jan. last to David Mullendore, wheelwright, to age 21. … his son Samuel Bechtell, age 1y 4 Feb. last, to Jacob Burgesser, tanner, to age 21. ... his son Jacob Bechtell, age 6y 8 Aug. last, to David Mulldendore, wheelwright, to age 21.” (6)
According to family tradition that’s recorded in a profile of George’s grandson, Eli Beagle, George died soon after John’s birth. It says that John was “the only child born to his parents, but he had half sister named Elizabeth Williams. His father died when he was an infant of twelve months, so all knowledge of him is lost.” (7)
Since John was born about 1797 or 1798, George probably died before 1800, which would explain why he isn’t listed in that year’s census. However, Esther – or a widow Bechtel – isn’t listed either.
A few years later, Esther remarried. Washington County records state that Esther Bachtell married Martin Rohrer on Sept. 5, 1803. (8)
Martin was born Dec. 10, 1769. (9) In the 1800 Census, a Martin Rohrer and Martin Rohrer Sen. are listed as living in Upper Antietam Hundred, Washington County.
Martin was a veteran of the northwest Indian wars. He served as a sergeant in Capt. Alexander Gibson’s company, in the 4th Regiment, which was commanded by Lt. Col. Thomas Butler. Martin’s pension records say he was wounded “on or about the twenty-third day of April 1797, at a place called the head of the Maumee rapids in the now state of Ohio.” The papers also say that “the aforenamed Martin Roarer was wounded by the accidental discharge of a Gun when doing his duty.” He was discharged June 16, 1798, after three years of service. (10)
Martin received a pension at a rate of $6 per month because he “received a wound in the service of the United States in the right arm several inches above the elbow.” The wound affected the “humeral artery and principle nerve of the arm, they no doubt have sustained great injury from the shrunken appearance of the fore-arm, and almost complete paralysis, with retraction and immobility of the hand and fingers, rendering the arm entirely useless.”
According to the profile of Eli Beagle cited above, Esther and Martin had a daughter named Elizabeth.
In the 1810 Census, Martin Rohrer again appears in Upper Antietam Hundred. His household contained two males under 10, two males 16 to 25, a male 26-44, a female under 10, a female 10-15, and a female 26-44.
During the 1820s, the Rohrers and the family of Esther’s son John Bechtel moved to Muskingum County, Ohio. In the 1830 Census, Martin is listed in Newton Township. His household contained a male age 60-69 and a female 50-59. He is again listed in Newton Township in the 1840 Census. The household contained a male 60-68, a female 10-14 and a female 60-69.
Martin died Jan. 26, 1845. Esther died less than a month later, on Feb. 21, 1845.
(1) George migrated to Maryland from Pennsylvania, according to tradition attributed to the book “The Life and Labors of Reverend Jacob D. Bachtel of the Parkersburg Conference of the Church of the Brethren,” by the Rev. Zebedee Warner. A synopsis is available on the Bechtel message board at RootsWeb.com. It should be noted that a Georg Heinrich Bechtoldt was baptized at the Evangelical Reformed Church in Frederick, Md., on Aug. 11, 1751. He was the son of Heinrich and Anna Barbara Bechtoldt. However, this Georg seems to be a bit too old to be the correct man. (2) The marriage is listed in “Maryland German Church Records, Vol. 6, Records of the Evangelical Reformed Church, Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland, 1790-1828,” translated by William J. Kinke and edited by Frederick S. Weiser, page 7. (3) Esther’s birth date is calculated from her death date as listed in a photocopy of a Beagle family Bible that appears in a self-published book titled “Some Beagle Descendants,” which is in the collection of the Findlay-Hancock Count, Public Library. One profile online says that Henry Eller’s children are listed in Washington County Deed Book H-3, page 657. The 1793 deed says: “Whereas a certain Henry Eller of Washington County, deceased, the father of Joseph Eler, Salome Eler, Ester Eler, Daniel Eller, Elizabeth Eller, Rebecca Eller, Henry Eller, Jacob Eler, Sarah Eller, Magdelena Eler, Peter Eler, and at the same time of his death was seized in fee two tracts of Land the one called Walling Such and the other called Adventure lying and being in Washington County and containing One Hundred and Ninty acres of Land …” A tentative link between Henry and Esther is made in “George Michael Eller and Descendants of His in America,” compiled by James W. Hook, page 13. A Henry Eller is listed in Washington County in the 1790 Census. (4) See John’s profile on the trail of records that identifies him as George and Esther’s son. (5) I have been unable to locate a copy of the book, so I have been unable to evaluate its sources. However, the book is supposedly written by George’s grandson, which would seem to make it a relatively reliable source. The synopsis is available on the Bechtel message board at RootsWeb.com. (6) Western Maryland Genealogy, Vol. 3, No. 1, Jan. 1987, page 105. (7) “Portrait and Biographical Record of Marion and Hardin Counties, Ohio,” of 1895, page 512. (8) “Washington County Maryland Marriages, 1799-1860, Vol. 3: C-R,” by Dale W. Morrow and Deborah J. Morrow, page 29. (9) Martin’s death date and specific age appear in the photocopy of the Beagle family Bible that appears in “Some Beagle Descendants.” (9) Martin’s death date and specific age appear in the photocopy of the Beagle family Bible in “Some Beagle Descendants.” (10) "U.S. Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900,” at Ancestry.com.
JOHN and MATILDA BEAGLE
John Beagle was born about 1798 in Frederick County, Md., to Georg and Esther (Eller) Bechtel. (1)
John married Matilda Selsom, or Selson, on Sept. 10, 1825, in Frederick County, Md. Matilda was born about 1811 near Hagerstown, Md. She was the daughter of John Selsom. (2)
Martin Beagle, born Aug. 5, 1826.
Eli Beagle, born Dec. 10, 1827.
Alva Beagle, born Sept. 11, 1829.
Eliza Beagle, born Dec. 22, 1831. Married Samuel J. Bash and later married Joel Tracy.
John Beagle, born Nov. 17, 1833.
Elizabeth Beagle, born Jan. 21, 1835. Married Reuben French.
Sarah Beagle, born May 8, 1838. Married Washington (A.W.) Waltermire.
Hester Beagle, born Aug. 16, 1840. Married Timothy Shearer.
Matilda Beagle, born Nov. 14, 1842, and died Sept. 25, 1843.
David Beagle, born May 17, 1846.
George Thomas Beagle, born Oct. 11, 1849.
John’s father died when the boy was very young. John was “the only child born to his parents, but he had half sister named Elizabeth Williams. His father died when he was an infant of twelve months, so all knowledge of him is lost,” according to a profile of John’s son Eli that appears in the 1895 “Portrait and Biographical Record of Marion and Hardin Counties, Ohio.”
John’s mother, Esther, married Martin Rohrer on Sept. 5, 1803 in Washington County, Md. (4) The account of Eli indicates that John grew up near Hagerstown, Md., “and there worked at his trade that of a shoemaker until his marriage [in 1825]. Soon after that event he moved with bride to Muskingum County and there made home until 1853.”
It seems likely that both the Bechtels and the Rohrers moved to Newton Township, Muskingum County, Ohio, after John and Matilda’s marriage. In the 1830 Census, John’s household is listed beside that of Marin Rohrer, whose household contained a male between 60 and 70 years old and a female between 50 and 60 years old. The situation is the same in the 1840 Census except that the Rohrer household contains an additional female between the ages of 10 and 15.
After the move to Ohio, the family name begins appearing as “Beagle.” It is unclear whether this change was intentional or whether John, like many Germans, had his name Anglicized for him by his new neighbors. In the 1850 Census, John is listed as a farmer in Newton Township, Muskingum County. His household contained Matilda, age 44; Alvah, age 21; Eliza, 18; John, 16; Elizabeth, 14; Sarah, age 12; Hester, 10; David, 4; and George, 1. John is listed as a farmer who owned real estate valued at from than $1,000.
The family’s next move is described in Eli’s profile, which says: “That year  he sold out moved to Hancock County two miles west Houcktown and seven miles south of Findlay. There he was residing at the time of his decease, in 1874, when seventy-six years of age.”
A similar account appears in “History of Hancock County, Ohio,” which was published in 1886. It mentions that David Beagle “was born May 17, 1846, in Muskingum County, Ohio, son of John and Mathilda (Selson) Beagle, natives of Frederick County, Md., and who, after living twenty years in Muskingum County, Ohio, came, in 1852, to Jackson Township, this county, and purchased a farm on which they resided until their death.”
John purchased property in Hancock County on Sept. 1, 1852. The deed says John lived in Muskingum County at the time and paid $1,800 to Thomas Newell. (5)
In the 1860 Census of Jackson Township, Hancock County, John C. Beagle is listed as a 62-year-old farmer who owned real estate valued at $5,000 and personal property valued at $100. His household contained: Matilda, age 51, born in Maryland; Hester, age 19, a servant; David,14; and George T., 10.
The 1860 agricultural schedule of the U.S. Census gives a picture of the Beagle farm. They owned 80 acres of improved land and 80 of unimproved. The cash value of their farm was $5,000. They owned 3 horses, 2 milk cows, 5 “other cattle,” 9 sheep and 8 swine, with a total value of $244. They grew 155 bushels of wheat, 700 bushels of Indian corn and 212 bushels of oats. Their sheep produced 30 pounds of wool. They also produced 50 bushels of Irish potatoes, $40 worth of orchard products, 100 pounds of butter and 12 tons of hay. They also slaughtered animals worth $80.
Matilda died April 20, 1861.
During the Civil War, the Beagle’s sons Alva and David served in Company A of the 133rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which was a 100-day unit that was deployed during the battles around Petersburg, Va., from May to August in 1864. (6)
The 1870 Census of Jackson Township lists John C. Beagle as a 73-year-old retired farmer who owned real estate valued at $8,000 and personal property valued at $200. His household contained: David, age 23, a farmer who owned personal property valued at $500, and David’s wife Maria and son, Frank.
John died Jan. 10, 1874. The Beagles are buried at Houcktown Cemetery in Hancock County.
(1) John’s parents are identified by following a trail of records. His mother’s death is listed in a photocopy of a Beagle family Bible that appears in a self-published book titled “Some Beagle Descendants,” which is in the collection of the Findlay-Hancock Count, Public Library. The Bible lists the death of Esther Rohrer and her husband Martin Rohrer, as well as Matilda Beagle and the births of John’s children. Since John appears next to Martin in the 1830 Census of Newton Township, Muskingum County, Ohio, there is obvious a close connection. Next, it is noted in a profile of John’s son Eli that John’s father had died when John was about a year old and that his mother had remarried. The profile appears in “Portrait and Biographical Record of Marion and Hardin Counties, Ohio,” of 1895, page 512. Checking the marriage records of Washington and Frederick counties in Maryland, reveals an Esther Eller who married Georg Bechtel and an Esther Bachtell who married Martin Rohrer. The marriage of Esther Bachtell to Martin Rohrer on Sept. 5 in Washington County, Md., is listed in “Washington County Maryland Marriages, 1799-1860, Vol. 3: C-R,” by Dale W. Morrow and Deborah J. Morrow, page 29. Georg Bechtel married Esther Eller on March 18, 1794, according to “Maryland German Church Records, Vol. 6, Records of the Evangelical Reformed Church, Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland, 1790-1828,” translated by William. J. Kinke and edited by Frederick S. Weiser, page 7. John’s approximate year of birth is an estimate based on a variety of conflict sources. Census records indicate a birth around 1797 in Maryland. The year 1794 is indicated in his son David’s profile in “History of Hancock County, Ohio,” by Warner, Beers & Co., page 788. This account says John died in 1874, in his 78th year. (2) The wedding date appears in “Marriage Licenses of Frederick County, 1811-1840,” by Margaret E. Myers, page 210. Matilda’s birth year and father are mentioned in “Portrait and Biographical Record of Marion and Hardin Counties, Ohio,” of 1895, page 512. The account says John Selsom “is believed was a native of Maryland. Mrs. Beagle had brothers John George and Daniel.” However, I could not find a John in the appropriate census records. A George did appear in several listings. The photocopy of the Beagle family Bible indicates that Matilda was 52 years old when she died in 1861, which would put her birth year at 1809. (3) The children’s births are recorded in the photocopy of a Beagle family Bible that appears in a self-published book titled “Some Beagle Descendants.” In addition, the children and the married names of the daughters mentioned in David’s profile in “History of Hancock County.” Martin’s birth date, father’s name and birth place, Ohio, is listed in his death certificate, filed June 29, 1921, in Hancock County, Ohio. Elizabeth’s birth date and husband’s surname is listed in her death certificate, filed Dec. 29, 1912, in Seneca County, Ohio. David’s birth date and parents are listed in his death certificate, filed Sept. 22, 1933, in Hancock County. George’s birth date and parents are listed in his death certificate, filed Oct. 4, 1910 in Hancock County. Other birth years and birth places come from the 1880 Census of Hancock County, Ohio, where Alva, Eliza and Sarah’s households were listed near each other. Eli’s birth date is listed in his profile in “Portrait and Biographical Record of Marion and Hardin Counties, Ohio,” pages 511-513. This source also lists the husbands of the women and mentions that Matilda died in infancy. (4) Esther Bachtell married Martin Rohrer on Sept. 5 in adjoining Washington County, Md., according to “Washington County Maryland Marriages, 1799-1860, Vol. 3: C-R,” by Dale W. Morrow and Deborah J. Morrow, page 29. (5) Hancock County, Ohio, Deed Book 9, page 125. (6) “All History of Hancock County, Ohio,” by Jacob A. Spaythe, 1903, page 267.