Ole Larson's Folks

Here is what the book I recently discovered online, “Families of the Wyoming Valley…” by Geo. P. Kulp, has to say about the life of Lt. Lawrence Myers, brother of 4th great-grandfather Philip Myers, as it relates to the Yankee settlement of that valley (p. 630):

Lieutenant Lawrence Myers was ever a favorite. His large, round face seemed radiant with benevolence and cheerfulness. Besides several offices in the militia, he was for thirty years a magistrate, and from 1800 to 1803 a commissioner of the county. The plan of the old court house that was located on the public square, a cross, was introduced by him, taken from that at Fredericktown, which doubtless owed its origin to the Roman Catholic settlers of Maryland under their liberal and tolerant founder. The delight of his life was to talk of Frederick, and anything that existed or came from there was an object of his special regard. Owning one of the noblest plantations on the Kingston flats, adjoining the Plymouth line, though he did not personally labor, he caused it to be highly cultivated, the produce of which yielded a liberal support. In winter the large and elegant cloth cloak, in those early days an article of dress too fine and costly not to be rare, gave to his noble person an imposing appearance. He died at the age of fifty years, leaving, as he had no children, his fine estate to Mrs. Myers and his brothers.

This sheds some light on the tradition that one male in each generation  of  Myers’ should be named Lawrence, even though this particular Lawrence had no children. It appears that his status was preeminent among his brothers. Interesting number-crunch:  if Lawrence died at age fifty, and was a magistrate for “thirty years,” he became a magistrate at age twenty? I sense some exaggeration there.

On the next page, Philip Myers gets almost as much space:

Philip Myers came to Wyoming in 1785, and was married to Martha, daughter of Thomas Bennett, July 15, 1787, he being aged twenty-seven and she twenty-four years. Thomas Bennett gave his son-in-law a town lot on the north line of old Forty Fort. On this he erected a comfortable house, constructed of yellow pine logs, hewed, and pointed with lime mortar, and limed on the inside. Mr. Myers purchased a lot of one hundred and forty acres, extending from Forty Fort to the top of the mountain. He cleared up his farm, and also raised a large family of children. For many years he kept a public house. His house being situated on an eddy in the Susquehanna, it was a great place of resort for the lumbermen, bringing their pine lumber from the upper part of the Susquehanna and its tributaries and taking it to the Baltimore and Philadelphia markets. The consequence was that Mr. Myers’ house was thronged for weeks by the hardy ” raftsmen ” every spring. He died April 2, 1835. His widow subsequently married Rev. Benjamin A. Bidlack, as his second wife.

It is Philip’s future wife Martha, along with her father, Thomas Bennett, whose experiences during the years of Pennamite and Revolutionary wars, including the bloody battle and massacre of July 1778, are minutely detailed in the next dozen pages. We will begin to explore those experiences in one or more upcoming posts.

I am a family researcher investigating my 4th great-grandfather, a Catholic who immigrated from Mainz, Germany, to Frederick, Maryland as an infant, with his family, in approx. 1760. The lives of this ancestor and his brothers are fairly well-documented later, especially for the Revolutionary War period, but I can find no documentation of his parents’ presence in North America. In fact, many sources refer to the father, but none call him by name, which I believe to be Valentini Myers (or some spelling variant), based on Mainz church records. Does your church, or any entity in your community, have records dating back to that period (1760-1800)?
Philip Myers: Jackpot!
Martha and Thomas Bennett, part I