Kiger Kounter Newsletter

Selected Articles from Past Issues

The Greene County, Pennsylvania Kiger Family, Part II
compiled by Joan M. Young

     In assessing the possible origins of Charles Kiger who first appeared on census records in 1800 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and who was born between 1770 and 1774 based on accumulated evidence, I looked carefully at all information submitted to me by others, as well as all the evidence I have been able to gather from my own resources.  I must say that my opinion as to the parentage of Charles Kiger changed almost daily as new information continued to come my way.  Each new piece of information raised as many new questions as it provided answers to the old ones.  I still do not have any definitive proof as to the identity of Charles Kiger's parents but I will present the evidence as it now stands, and provide updated information in future issues as I find it.

     I mentioned in this newsletter in Volume 1, issue 4, page 1, that there is a group of descendants of the Greene County Kiger family who believe that their immigrant ancestor is Christian Geiger who arrived in Pennsylvania on the Charming Nancy in 1737.  They believe that they descend from Christian Geiger's unproven son, Johannes, born about 1738.  As things now stand I do not believe that Christian Geiger is the ancestor of the Greene County family.  I have seen the research of Dr. M. Ellsworth Kyger, the most noted scholar, who studied the Christian Geiger family for over thirty years.  Dr. Kyger visited with the Greene County Kiger family at one time, and his papers indicate that he left with the understanding that these Kigers were in no way related to his Kygers.  I concur with that opinion. 

     Although earlier research does indicate that Christian Geiger had a son named Johannes born shortly after his arrival in America, it would appear from the fact that he is not mentioned in the will of Christian Geiger of 1779 that he died without issue before the will was written, if he ever did exist.  No baptismal record has ever been found for this Johannes, and no record of a marriage or death has been found.  It is my personal opinion that he may never have existed at all, and is possibly being confused with son Johann Jacob born in 1739.   I have seen Jacob's birth year mistakenly shown as 1738 (perhaps based on confusion between the old and new style calendars) and feel that it is quite possible that two separate children were created along the way out of the one child Johann Jacob Geiger born on 13 December 1739.  I would like to emphatically state that this opinion is mine alone, and the truth of this matter cannot be proven one way or the other at present.  The possibility must not be overlooked that earlier researchers could have had some evidence in their possession that I do not have that did prove the existence of this son Johannes.  Whatever the truth may be, it seems most probable to me that he died without heirs prior to Christian's death, if he existed at all. 

    The researchers who espouse the theory that Christian Geiger's son John was the father of Charles Kiger of Greene County believe that this John Geiger/Kiger lived in Maryland.  There were several John Geiger/Kigers living there at some point, but I find no evidence whatsoever to support the position that any of them is connected to Christian Geiger.  The researchers may be correct, however, that one of these John Kigers could be Charles' father.    

     One John Kiger born in Maryland is the son of John George Geiger and was discussed in this newsletter in Volume 2, issue 2.  It is possible that the Greene County Charles Kiger could be connected to that John Kiger of Maryland.  This John Kiger/Kyger and his family had removed to Hampshire County, Virginia (now West Virginia) by the late 1770s.  The area they lived in is now in Mineral County, West Virginia near the town of Keyser.  In 1782 the state enumeration included eight White family members in the household.  This would indicate that there were six children in the family and we can only name two of them (Philip and William).  Could Charles be one of the unidentified children of this family?  This family was definitely heading in the direction of Fayette and Greene counties in Pennsylvania. 

     Another John Kiger in Maryland can be found on the 1790 census in Frederick County with two males age 16 and up, three males under 16, and three females.  A Leonard Kiger is also found in Frederick County on this census with one male 16 and up, and three females.  A second Leonard Kiger is also in Frederick County in 1790 with two males 16 and up, and five females.

     As early as 1790 in various Washington County, Maryland records we find the mention of a John Geiger and a James Geiger.  This John Geiger was in the dry-goods business along with a man named John Harry.  The Harry family, early settlers of Hagerstown, appear to be very closely allied with this John Geiger.

      Not much more is known about these early Maryland Geigers and Kigers but they are all potential families from which Charles Kiger could have come.

     Recently I received information from Claire Giler, a descendant of the Greene County Kiger family, which indicates that there was a John Kiger/Keigher in the Greene County, Pennsylvania area itself before 1770, which would place him there prior to the birth of Charles Kiger.  Claire had copied some pages from a book called "Inventory of Church Archives, Society of Friends in Pennsylvania," published in 1941 by the Friends Historical Association.  Paragraph 392 says  "RIDGE (MUDDY CREEK) INDULGED MEETING, 1766-1844.  State Route 30027 Garards Fort (Now Whitely) Greene County.  Established in 1766 by pioneer Friends who settled in southwestern Pennsylvania.  Peter Bachues, the first Quaker settler in Greene County, came from Virginia in 1766.  From 1766-70 meetings were held in members' homes and were conducted by visiting ministers.  In the latter year, a log meeting house was erected.  Reverend John Keigher, not a Friend, is recorded as the first settled minister in that section.  When the Redstone Quarterly Meeting (entry 386) was set up this meeting came under the care of the quarterly meeting.  With the death of Peter Bachues the meeting lapsed about 1791 and remained dormant until 1822, when it was revived.  The graveyard 100' x 100', 500 feet east of the meeting-house was acquired in 1808.  In 1844 the meeting disbanded; some members joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Carmichaels, and others joined the Goshen Baptist Church of Whiteley." 

     If indeed this John Keigher was the first "settled minister" in the Whitely Township, Greene County area around 1770, it would place him very high on the list of potential candidates to be the father of Charles Kiger, born between 1770 and 1774, who was later to live in Whitely Township, Greene County. I would go so far as to say he would be the most likely candidate to be Charles Kiger's father.  To date I have been unable to learn any more about John Keigher, this early minister of Greene County.  I would hesitate to speculate as to whether he might be the same person as any of the above John Kigers who appear in Maryland and West Virginia records.  We are attempting to learn more about the early minister, John Keigher.  I do think a strong case can be made for the probability that Charles Kiger's father was one of the John Kiger/Keighers named above.

     At present I think there are at least two other potential candidates to be Charles' father. One of these can be shown to have a direct connection to Fayette County; while the other has at the very least an indirect connection to western Pennsylvania. 

     These two candidates in the running to be Charles Kiger's father would be Benjamin Geiger, Sr., child of Valentine Geiger of Ittlingen, Northern Kraichgau, Germany, and later New Hanover Township, now Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and his second wife Maria Elizabeth Schmidt; and Jacob Geiger, son of Christopher Geiger, of Robeson Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, who is in turn the son of Valentine Geiger mentioned above and his first wife, Johanna Frederica Henckel.  In discussing these two possible candidates I will start by recapping some information included previously in Vol. 2, issue 3, of this publication in the article on the descendants of Valentine Geiger, and adding some new information to that which has previously been included here.

      Benjamin Geiger, Sr., was born 9 March 1748 and baptized at New Hanover Lutheran Church in Philadelphia (now Montgomery) County, Pennsylvania.  He was the tenth of Valentine Geiger's eleven children.  His brother Charles (Carl), who married 26 April 1774 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Reading, Berks County, was the eleventh.  Benjamin Geiger, Sr., married Elizabeth (maiden name unknown) before 1772, and had two sons named Carl/Charles (1772) and Benjamin, Jr. (1777).  Benjamin, Sr.'s sons  Charles and Benjamin, Jr., were born in Rockland Township, Berks County, and baptized at Mertz Church in Rockland Township, and at New Hanover Lutheran Church, respectively.  My guess is that Benjamin, Sr., died before the 1790 census as he does not appear anywhere in Pennsylvania in 1790 or 1800 on that record.  Benjamin Geiger, Sr., appears on Rockland Township tax lists through 1773.  We know from the fact that he had a son born in 1777 that he was still living at that time.  I have a deed from Berks County, Pennsylvania recorded in July 1779 (thanks to Barbara Campbell who copied it for me) in which Jacob Mertz of Rockland Township, Berks County is selling a parcel of 45 acres and 35 perches, including 3/4 acres set aside for a church and burial ground (which would be referring to Mertz Church), to Charles Geiger (shown as Gyger).  The land was part of the 200 acre tract which Jacob Mertz had inherited from his father Henry Mertz.  The deed shows that the land was originally surveyed on 29 March 1738 for Henry Mertz of Oley Township, Philadelphia County (which is now Rockland Township, Berks County) and was later patented to Henry Mertz on 12 November 1746.  The deed indicates that the land being sold to Charles Gyger is adjacent to the lands of Benjamin Geiger (Gyger) and Henry Dilbon.  Benjamin and Charles Geiger being referred to in this deed are no doubt the two youngest sons of Valentine Geiger.  Charles' first wife was Anna Maria Dilbon, daughter of Henry Dilbon named above.  So that further tells us that Benjamin, Sr. was still living in 1779.

     To my knowledge this is the latest document that shows the above Benjamin Geiger, Sr. living and, as previously stated, he does not appear on the 1790 or later censuses.  It is my assumption he died between 1779 and 1790, and that his widow Elizabeth is the Elizabeth Geiger who appears in Windsor Township, Berks County on the 1790 census on page 44, who I can't otherwise account for; even though Windsor Township is some distance from Rockland Township where Benjamin and Elizabeth had been living.  A "Widow Geiger" appears on the Cumru Township tax list in Berks County in 1789 one year prior to Elizabeth Geiger appearing on the 1790 census in Windsor Township.  Elizabeth is listed in the 1790 record with one other female and one male under 16.  I do not know who the other female would be, but perhaps she is a daughter for whom we have found no baptismal record.  It is likely that the male child under 16 would be Benjamin, Jr., who would have been 13 at the time of the census.  It appears as if son Charles was no longer living at home and would have been age 18 at that time. 

     The younger son of Benjamin Geiger, Sr., Benjamin, Jr., had is believed to have married before 1798.   He is commonly accepted as being the Benjamin Geiger who along with his wife Catharine had a son Johannes, born 17 July 1798, baptized in North Annville, then in Dauphin County, and now in Lebanon County, at Quitopahilla (Hill) Church in 1798.  Therefore, this couple had already left Berks County by that time.  This same Johannes was confirmed in 1819 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania--proof that Charles' only brother moved to western Pennsylvania.  I have in my possession a copy of the confirmation record for Johannes Geiger courtesy of Eleanor Myers, a descendant of Johannes.  It provided me with the needed link to prove that the Benjamin Geiger in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in the early 1800s was the same Benjamin Geiger in North Annville in 1798.  This record confirms the westward migration pattern in this Geiger family. It should be noted, however, that the death record for this Benjamin Geiger who died in Westmoreland County on 22 November 1857 shows his age at death to be 82 years, 10 months, and 7 days.  This would result in his birthdate being 15 January 1775.  We know that the Benjamin Geiger, Jr. we assume to be this Benjamin Geiger was actually born 1 February 1777.  So there is some degree of conflict in the records.  I have an index of all of the Geigers listed on the Pennsylvania census in 1800--and there is no Benjamin that could be this Benjamin.  Perhaps he and his young family were living with a relative at this time.  He is also not in Maryland--which could be a step leading to his eventual migration to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, where we know he eventually settled.  In 1810 we find Benjamin Giger (weaver) on the tax list for Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and a Henry Giger is found on the same list in the same township.  The 1810 census record lists Benjamin Geiger in Unity Township with three males under 10, one male 10-16, one male 26-45, one female under 10, one female 10-16, and one female 45 and up.  There were also other Geigers in Westmoreland County by this time.  The same census shows Henry Geiger in Hempfield Township with his family and both Henry and his wife are in the 45 and up age bracket.  Also in Westmoreland County in 1810 is John Geiger in Unity Township, age 45 and up with his family which includes a second male age 45 and up; John Geiger in Washington Township, also age 45 and up with his family; and Michael Geiger in Greensburg Township age 26-45 with his family.  None of these other Geigers would appear to be connected to Benjamin Geiger.  In 1820 Benjamin Gigar appears in Westmoreland County, Unity Township, on page 176 of the census.  Benjamin Keiger appears in Westmoreland Co., Salem Twp., in 1830 on page 256.

     I have records showing a family register listing four children of Benjamin and Catharine from the records of Rev. J.M. Steck of the First Lutheran Church, Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania (but I don't know the date this information was entered in the church records or where these children were born and baptized) as follows:
     Benjamin born 1806
     Henry born 1808
     Maria Catherine born 1811--(born Youngstown, Pennsylvania, according to the Geiger webpage of Peggy Loos)Descendants of Valentine Geiger
     Solomon born 1818
     Peggy Loos' Geiger Webpage also lists for this couple: 
     a child born about 1801 (might this refer to Johannes born in 1798?)
     Jonas Benjamin born 1815
     I don't know the sources for the last two children.

     Now that the background has been established regarding the family of Charles Geiger, born in Rockland Township, Berks County, in 1772, the older son of Benjamin Geiger, Sr., and his wife Elizabeth, you will clearly see that he fits the profile to be a candidate to have been the same Charles Kiger who later appeared in Fayette and Greene counties beginning in 1800.  It would have been common practice in those days in a family of German descent to name one's children after the grandparents, and Benjamin and Elizabeth were names found among Charles' children.  So the naming pattern fits the picture.  Also, this Charles Geiger who I previously wrote about in the newsletter in Vol. 2, issue 3, page 8, never appeared as an adult in the Berks County census records--so he either died or moved on.  His birth year of 1772 fits exactly with what we know of the Greene County Charles Kiger.  To also add to the speculation that he may be the correct Charles is the fact that we now know from the information listed above that this Charles' younger brother Benjamin Geiger settled nearby in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania prior to 1810. 

     There is additional evidence we need to consider about Charles Geiger though.  While it would seem unlikely that he would have married at age 17; there is a Carl Geiger, who along with his wife (not named), had a daughter Sarah, born 15 August 1789, who was baptized at Schwartzwald Reformed Church, in Exeter Township, Berks County.  There is another baptism at First Reformed Church in Philadelphia for an Elizabeth Geiger, born 18 June 1793, daughter of Carl Geiger and wife Dorothea (the baptismal sponsor was Elizabeth Geiger, sister to Carl Geiger); and yet another baptism for a child Carl born 1 July 1797, son of Carl Geyer and wife Maria at the same church.  I have consulted with Dave Rankin, who has studied the Geyer families in this area, and he advised me that the name Carl was almost non-existent in these early Geyer lines--and I am therefore making the assumption that all of the above records pertain to Geigers, and quite possibly all refer to the same Carl Geiger.  The names Dorothea and Maria could indicate two wives, or the wife's name could have been Maria Dorothea.  The question remains as to whether this Carl Geiger could be Carl/Charles, son of Benjamin Geiger listed above.  That Charles is not known to have had a sister Elizabeth.  If he is this Charles, he cannot be the Charles Kiger who later shows up in Fayette and Greene counties, since we know the wife of that Charles is Susanna.  A Charles Giger appears on the 1800 census in Philadelphia, age 16-26, and his wife age 26-44, with the following children: one male under 10 and 2 females under 10.  This family structure would substantiallly support the records we have for Carl Geiger (Geyer) and wife in the above three baptismal records.  The age would be slightly off for the oldest daughter but not by much.  Since this Charles Giger appears in the 1800 census in Philadelphia it is clear he is not the Charles Kiger who appears in Fayette County in the same census record.  The question remains,  who is he?  Charles is gone from the Philadelphia census in 1810.

     There is one other known Charles Geiger who could be the Carl listed above in Philadelphia (or even the Charles Geiger who moved to Fayette and Greene counties).  He is John Charles Geiger, born 27 May 1770 and baptized at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Whitemarsh Township, Montgomery County.  This Charles is the son of a Jacob and Elisabeth Geiger.

     We know beyond doubt as I pointed out in part one of this article that the Greene County Charles Kiger is the same Charles Kiger who appears on the 1800 and 1810 census records in Fayette County--which brings me to another possible candidate to be the father of Charles Kiger of Fayette and later Greene County.  Charles Kiger first appears on the Fayette County census rolls in 1800 and in that year he is the only Kiger in Fayette County.  However, we know from the will of Mary Robeson Kiger of Berks County, PA that her step-son Jacob Geiger/Kiger, son of Christopher Geiger and Mary Barbara Geiger (nee Geiger), was in Fayette County, no later than 1808.  There is a Jacob Coiger listed on the 1800 Fayette County census living in Union Township.  He is most likely the above mentioned Jacob Geiger/Kiger.  He is shown to be age 26-44 which could fit this Jacob.  His wife is also listed as being between 26-44, and the following children are listed with them: three males under 10, one male 10-15, one female 10-15, and one female 16-25.  Two Jacob Kigers appear on the Fayette County census records in 1810.  They most likely would be Jacob Sr. and Jr. as one of these two Jacobs living in Dunbar Township is age 16-26, his wife age 26-44, and with them is one male under 10, and two females under 10; while the second Jacob living in Union Township is age 45 and up as is his wife, and he has with him one male under 10, one male 10-16, four males 16-26, two females under 10, and two females 16-26.  We know that Christopher Geiger's son Jacob was born about 1755 according to the Henckel genealogy which would fit with the Jacob in Union Township.  By 1820 one Jacob Kiger appears in Fayette County in Monalin Township and he is age 26-44 as is his wife, with two males under 10, one male 10-15, two females under 10, and two females 10-15.  This would be consistent with the Jacob I assume to be Jacob, Jr. from the 1810 census.  Also appearing on the 1820 census in Georges Township, Fayette County are Frederick Kyger and Peter Kyger.  Both Frederick and Peter age between the ages of 26 and 44 as are their wives.  Frederick has no children listed while Peter has two females under 10. I have no idea whether Frederick and Peter Kyger have any connection to Jacob Kiger.  Jacob had a much younger half-brother named Charles Geiger, but that Charles was born in 1783 and died in 1792.  He cannot be our Charles Kiger, but it does establish Charles as a name used in this family. 

     There is an additional element that needs to be considered in sorting out the above information.  There are some Kiger/Kygers found on early census records in Monongalia County, Virginia (now West Virginia).  The 1810 census shows Fielding Kyger, age 16-26, with a wife of the same age, one female child under 10, and a second male age 16-26 in the household. There is also a Jacob Kyger age 26-45, with three females age 16-26, four males age 16-26 and one female under 10; plus 7 slaves.  Both Fielding and Jacob Kiger also appear on Monongalia County census records in 1820.  In 1820 there is also an Andrew Kiger in nearby Ohio County.  By 1830 we have Jacob Kiger age 60-70 and one female (assumed to be his wife) age 50-60 in one household.  We also have Fielding Kiger, age 40-50, his presumed wife age 30-40, along with nine children as follows: one male age 0-5, one male age 5-10, one male age 10-15, and two males age 15-20.  Finally we have Joseph Kiger age 30-40, his presumed wife of the same age bracket, and the following four children:  one male 0-5, two males 5-10, and one female 0-5.  By 1860 we have Fielding Kiger, age 73, on the census record living in Morgantown, Monongalia County.  This would make his birth year about 1787.  He has connections to the Morgan family of Morgantown--and the name Morgan appears again and again in the Greene County Kigers.  Many factors make me reasonably certain that Fielding Kiger is in some way related to the Greene County Kigers, and he may be a clue that will help in our search.  I have been told that descendants of Fielding Kiger were included in Greene County Kiger family reunions for many years.  Perhaps the family long-ago knew of a connection that has been lost over time. 

     It would appear that for each answer we find in our search for the ancestry of Charles Kiger of Greene County, Pennsylvania, we find new questions.  However, I feel that our research included in these pages contains the answer to Charles' parentage with a bit more digging on our part.  When we find more answers we will report them here.

Since Fielding Kiger was living in Monongalia County, now West Virginia, we must also consider a Daniel Kyger (who regularly spelled his name with a y) who was living there to be possibly connected to this family. In this increasingly tangled web of Kigers and Kygers there is more than one Daniel Kiger/Kyger to be considered.  There is also a Daniel Kyger born 31 January 1772 in Hampshire County, VA, now West Virginia (his name at birth was Benjamin Kyger but somewhere along the line he adopted the name Daniel).  This Daniel Kyger was previously discussed in this newsetter in Volume 2, issue 2, in the article on John George Geiger.  He is idenitified in an 1808 deed as "Daniel Kyger formerly known as Benjamin."  He is the son of George Kyger and Mary Beeler.  George Kyger is the son of John Georg Geiger, brother of Valentine Geiger, and Maria Catharina Henckel, daughter of the Rev. Anthony Jacob Henckel.   On 22 April 1813 Daniel married Anna Maria "Mariah" Teagarden, born 14 April 1788, and the couple lived in Milford Township, Butler County, Ohio.  Of interest to us is the fact that Anna Maria Teagarden was the daughter of Moses Teegarden born in Frederick, MD, and his wife Mary Huston (who is sometimes shown as Mary Waldour).

     Next I have a much more recent Kiger-Teagarden connection to mention.  Grace Louise Teegarden born 14 July 1913 married 25 August 1929 to Melvin Kiger, son of Charles and Lettie (Barr) Kiger of Ohio.  This Charles Kiger who married Lettie/Letta Barr was born in 1868 and is the son of George W. Kiger and his second wife, Carilla Gallagher, of Amanda Township, Fairfield County, Ohio.  I did not have a son Melvin listed in my files for this couple.  I have three children listed as follows: Ethel Kiger, Fanny Fay Kiger (born 1898, and died 1901), and Desil/Dessel Kiger born 1902 and died 1967.  Was there a fourth child for this couple, or are Dessel and Melvin the same person?  This Kiger family was discussed in this newsletter in Volume 2, issue 3.

     Finally I have in my files Golda Alice Tegarden born Aug. 8, 1885, who married Walter Scott Bassett.  This comes from the research of Dorothy Vekasi.  Walter Scott Bassett is the son of Charles Hall Bassett and Mary Ann Kyger.  Mary Ann Kyger is the daughter of Daniel Kyger (born 1807) and Charity Lines.  Note:  this is a different Daniel Kyger than either of the two Daniels listed above.  This Daniel Kyger is the son of John Kyger/Kiger and his wife Sarah Parrish. John Kyger and Sarah Parrish were married in Kentucky.  As all of us know, allied families can be an important clue to connections between the various Kiger/Kyger families.  Are the above Tegarden connections clues to a possible relationship among all of these Kiger/Kygers or are they merely coincidences?

     Also another wild thought on these Kiger/Kygers.  Mary Waldour mentioned above--could this have been the original surname for our elusive Walducks who were behind the family of George W. Kiger of Amanda Township, Fairfield County, Ohio, also listed above?  It is doubtful, but does need to be considered.

     As you can see if you have been able to follow all the tricky twists and turns in the above family interrelationships (and if you have been able to follow it all and make sense of it you are doing better at this point than I am), this is a very tangled web indeed; and it is nearly impossible to separate what might be mere coincidence (although I am frequently reminded that there really aren't many coincidences in genealogy) from what might indeed be valuable clues toward piecing together this very complex puzzle.  It would appear that for each answer we find in our search for the ancestry of Charles Kiger of Greene County, Pennsylvania, we find new questions.  However, I feel that our research included in these pages contains the answer to Charles' parentage with a bit more digging on our part.  When we find more answers we will report them here.

Copyright© 1998 by Joan M Young

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