Gartman Origins

Submitted by Bob Gartman

PREFACE: I am a descendant of Bartholomew and Barbara Gartmann who with
five young children migrated to Orangeburg, SC about 1737 from
Graubunden Canton in what is now Switzerland. Here I describe places I
have visited in an effort to get a feel for the geography of our
ancestors. In the fall of 2001 we visited Switzerland and found the
church at Safien-Neukirche where Bartholomew and Barbara were married in
1722. We also visited Tschappina, over the mountain from the Safiental
(Safien valley) where some Gartmanns live today. We were also at
Tiefencastel – very close to Schmitten where Bartholomew may have been
born abt 1700.

In February, 2002, we visited Charleston, SC, where the Gartmann family
likely landed after their voyage to America. From there they would have
gone inland about 75 miles to Orangeburg, a township laid out in 1735
and in which many German speaking immigrants settled. We then drove up
to the Saxe-Gotha township near where the Congaree River is formed by
the Broad and Saluda rivers. Some Gartman descendants can still be found
in Lexington County, SC, today. The area between the Broad and Saluda
rivers, near Columbia, was known as the “Dutch Fork”. We tried to locate
the area where sons and grandsons of Bart and Barbara held land at the
time of the American Revolutionary War.

In the early 1800s my ancestors, Bart Gartman III and his wife, Elender
O’Quin, were married in Barnwell District of SC,  lived briefly in
Georgia and then made their way to south Mississippi where they lived
along the Bogue Chitto in Pike County and for a time on the Tchefuncte
River in Washington Parish, LA. Bart III died in 1834 and Elender in

My great grandfather, John Milledge Gartman, son of Bart and Eldender,
after having lived in Pike Co MS and Livingston Parish, LA, moved to San
Saba Co, TX in 1876. There he and his wife, Nancy Hoover, died in 1887
of typhoid. They were buried in a graveyard at Pontotoc, just over in
Mason Co, TX. That graveyard was then abandoned. Other Gartman kin are
buried in the Union Band Cemetery several miles away. My grandfather,
David Alexander Gartman, b. 1851, remained in Louisiana. In 1947 he was
buried in the Glover Cemetery near Pine Grove, LA.

I am indebted to many for clues as to where to look for sites relating
to my Gartman ancestors. Among them, Frederick Watts whom I have known
and appreciated for many years His late wife, Nelle Dawn Gartman, was
descended from John Milledge Gartman as I am. Also, in recent years. Ted
Taylor, Rick Girtman, Tom Atkinson, and other searchers on the internet
have provided records of land grants and clues from various sources
enabling me to know where to visit. Janice Gartman Lee, whom I have
sought in vain to meet and thank for her research, lives  in SC in the
heart of old Saxe-Gotha.

There are three, or more, ways of spelling our name – Gartmann (still
used in Switzerland), Gartman and Girtman (used by various lines in the
US.) Why the changes? Probably only because census takers, military
record keepers and various courthouse officials, as well as our
ancestors, spelled by ear, that is, by what they heard. You may also
find Gortman and other spellings.
-Bob Gartman, Dallas, TX


Gartmanns we met in Switzerland, told me that their family lore is that
at the time of the Reformation (16th century) their ancestors fled the
religious wars of southern Germany, journeyed through France to settle
in the Swiss Canton of Wallis (Valais) on the upper Rhone River. In that
mountain region land was difficult to obtain. Younger generations
drifted over the mountains into eastern lands near the headwaters of the
Rhine River. Some settled in the Safiental, a remote valley south of
Reichenau. As younger Gartmanns needed land they went over the mountain
around Tschappina, west of Thusis. In time some Gartmanns lived near
Tiefencastel, Schmitten, Flims and Chur. Chur is the capital of the
Canton of Graubunden and is where whatever records may exist are most
likely to be found today. Of course the records are in Swiss German.

We started our visit in Switzerland from St Moritz where our Tour Group
sent three nights. While others visited places near at hand, we (my wife
and I), purchased rail/bus passes and set out for Safien-Neukirche.
Leaving the train at Reichnau, we took  a postal bus up the Safiental.
Believe me, it was an experience for two retired Americans who speak no
German. The valley is remote. The train conductor remarked that he could
recall no other tourists going up that valley. The bus goes up and
returns once each day. The driver spoke no English but found in the
first village another driver who did. Following his directions we

The road is gravel and, I understand, has some 300 hairpin turns on its
way up the valley. At last, midmorning, we were deposited beside the
road near a cluster of about 5 houses, one of which was pointed out as
“Gartmann”. The bus went on. No one was home at the Gartmann home. We
walked to another house where we found a young woman who finally
understood that we wished to see the Church. She took us in her car up,
then down a road we had not even seen. We came to a beautiful little
church set against the side of the mountain. The interior is beautiful!
A plaque  said that the church was built in 1695. It was the “new
church” and has been known as Safien-Neukirche ever since. It seats
maybe 30 people. Well kept and still in use, it is for us a sacred place
because it was there in 1722 that Bartholomew Gartmann and Barbara
Gartmann were wed. Yes, both had the name Gartmann and were perhaps
cousins. Still living in the Safiental are four elderly Gartmanns,
brothers and sisters.

We don’t know whether Bart and Barbara lived in the valley or over the
mountain or elsewhere between 1722 and about 1735. We do know the
birthdates of three of their children: Johannes in 1726, Margartha in
1730 and Bartholomew in 1733. We are confident that there was another
son, Daniel, born either between Hans (John) and Margaretha, or after
Barti. Also, we suppose there was a younger daughter because a Gartman
girl married a man named Swygert in SC and the family obviously
consisted of 7 persons because their land grant was for 350 acres. At
that time the colony of SC offered 50 acres for each family member and a
town lot  for each family.

We suppose that Bart and Barbara were attracted to South Carolina by ads
and promises circulated there in the early 1730s. Perhaps with relatives
and friends, they decided to try the new world. It represented
opportunity for land they could never obtain in Switzerland. Bart would
not need to serve as a mercenary soldier in European wars. So, probably
in late spring of a year, 1734-37, the young family set out down the
Rhine River. We don’t know whether they traveled by foot, boat, cart or
a combination of these. We suppose the trip down the Rhine took several
months. Did they embark across the Atlantic from Rotterdam or some other
port? We don’t know because we have not found their ship of passage.

At last the family, perhaps with a child born along the way or after
arrival in SC, were granted land in Orangeburg in the fall of 1737.


In 1737 Orangeburg was only two years old, its few settlers German
speaking immigrants from areas near the upper Rhine in what is now
Germany and Switzerland. At that time modern Germany did not exist nor
was Graubunden yet a canton of the Swiss confederation. In addition to
the German-Swiss settlers we conclude from their names that some were of
English, French and Italian stock. Among other new arrivals in 1737 was
the Rev. J. U. Giessendanner, also Swiss, who would minister briefly at
Orangeburg and St Matthews (Amelia Township) before dying in 1738. He
would be succeeded by a nephew, also named John Giessendanner. The
records of the pastors, although at some points confusing or inadequate,
provide valuable information as to deaths, marriages, and  births(or
baptisms). For example, we conclude that Bartholomew Gartman must have
died by the end of 1741 because the younger Giessendanner notes that
“(26) Tuesday 31st Decbr. Private married in Amelia Township Joseph
Lyons to Barbara Gartman, widow, witness Benjamin Carter.”

Here is what we know of the sites where the Gartman family lived in
Orangeburg during 4 or 5 years, 1737-41.  First, they were assigned town
lot 394. If one goes to Orangeburg today, the downtown is a few blocks
east of the original village laid out along the Edisto River, then
called the Pon Pon.. In 1737, the center square  of town was about where
today’s Broad and Broughton intersect. On  the westside of Bull street,
at Broughton today is the Salley Archives building and just south of it
an historic graveyard.  Bartholomew Gartman I may be buried there but no
gravestones go back that far. Follow Broughton southeast one block from
Bull to Henley and that is close to where the Gartman town lot was. We
have no idea what sort of dwelling Bart, Barbara and their children
lived in but suppose it was a small log house.

In those early days Orangeburg was both primitive and somewhat wild. On
the square, just two blocks northwest of the Gartmans, was a trading
post where Indians  traded pelts or skins for goods.

 The Safien-Neukirche is a Reform Church, closer to Zwingli and Calvin
than to Luther, but the early Orangeburg church appears to have been
more Lutheran. However, the younger Giessendanner journeyed to England
to receive holy orders from the Anglican Church. Therefore the early
congregation seems to have been a part of the established Church of
England even though the members were mostly of Lutheran and Reform

In addition to being descended from the Gartmans, I am also descended
from Isaac and Mary Catharina Hutto, a family which immigrated to
Orangeburg from Germany. They may not have arrived until shortly after
Barbara Gartman Lyons had moved with her new husband to Lyons Creek,
near St. Matthews, in Amelia Township. The Hutto family  had a farm just
out of old Orangeburg along the river to the northwest, perhaps near the
present Edisto Gardens. I know little of the Hutto geography. The Hutto
family lived in Orangeburg for many years and have a number of citations
in the Giessendanner records. One is of Isaac’s death on August 16,
1752. His body was found on the path between his farm and Orangeburg. He
left a widow and 7 children plus grandchildren. A sad note is that a
young grandchild, one year old, died on the day of his burial and was
buried with him. It may be a clue that some illness was afflicting many
in the village that summer. Since Isaac was buried on his farm, that may
indicate that as late as 1752 there was really not a graveyard in the

Now we turn to the location of the 350 acre farm assigned to Bartholomew
Gartman in 1737. The usual grant was 50 acres for each family member,
therefore Bart and Barbara must have had five children. The site of the
farm was on Big Bull Swamp about 6 miles east and a little north of
Orangeburg. According to the Dantzler Plats Bartholomew Gartman’s land
would be beyond today’s I-26 a mile or so and north of today’s highway
33. To find it, go out Russell street from Orangeburg. It becomes
Cameron Rd. Beyond Till Rd, is Farmstead Rd. Turn left. Go to Langley
Rd, turn right. On Cooter Rd, turn back right again to return to highway
33. Turn back toward Orangeburg. You will cross Big Bull Swamp before
intersecting Farmstead Rd again. You will have thus circled the area of
Bart Gartman’s acreage.  Some maps show Fersner’s Landing near the site
of the Gartman farm. Today the land on Big Bull Swamp (stream) seems
mostly to be an overgrown thicket.

Somewhere in the area described above, Bart Gartman, perhaps with help,
felled trees, cleared and plowed virgin land and planted a crop of some
sort. Bart’s land was bounded by that of neighbors: Henry Horger on the
west, John Moorer on the north, Gideon Jennings on the east and Henry
Snell on the south. I do not know what happened to the land when Bart
died. He was only about  age 40. John, the oldest child was maybe 14,
followed by Margareta, age 10, Bart II age 7, with Daniel and another
daughter probably younger. Understandably Barbara, for economic reasons
if for not for love, soon married Joseph Lyons.

Lyons, about whom little is known, appears to have lived on Lyons Creek
in Amelia Township near St. Matthews. Except for occasional mention of
Barbara Lyons in the Giessendanner record, we have no knowledge of her
fate. If the pastor’s record is correct, Joseph Lyons seems to have
married Susanna Grim (probably Crim) just two years earlier than his
marriage to Barbara Gartman. We don’t know what happened to Susanna. We
assume she died.  Lyons may have been a widower with children and needed
a wife and thus married widows with children. With many deaths in a
frontier community  families had to band together to survive.


Saxe-Gotha Township was above Orangeburg and Amelia Townships and was
near modern day Columbia. It consisted mainly of what is Lexington Co,
SC, today. The “Dutch Fork” is the area between the Saluda and Broad
rivers. “Dutch” does not mean the Holland Dutch, but Deutsch, that is,
German. Most of the the early settlers in the Fork were German speaking.
Above them on the Enoree and Tyger rivers settled Scots-Irish. I had
ancestors among them too – Gordons, Ottersons, et al
The next records of Gartmans in South Carolina have to do with John and
Bartholomew Gartman, believed to be sons of Bartholomew and Barbara.  In
1753 John Gartman, who then would have been some 27 years old, acquired
200 acres on the north side of Cannon Creek close to where it joins
Broad River. In 1763 he added 150 acres adjacent to what he had which
extended his land to Broad River.  Some of this land originally belonged
to Herman Geiger and thereby stimulates much speculation as to the
relationship of Geiger to the Gartmans.

On our trip to SC we drove to where Cannon Creek enters the Broad River.
The Parr Reservoir of WMA (Wildlife Mangement Area?) now floods part of
John Gartman’s land. There is a picnic area and a landing for fishermen
to put their boats into the river. Otherwise the surrounding land seems
mostly overgrown and wooded. Here is how to get to the landing: From
exit 82 on I-26, near Kibler, take highway 773 toward Pomaria. Turn left
(northwest) on #176, cross Cannons Creek, turn right on SSR 97. Follow
it across Mud Creek to SSR 98. At SSR 28 turn right (south) to Parr
Reservoir. When you come to the bridge over Cannons Creek,  the land
once owned by John Gartman is downstream. His land extended along the
creek to the Broad River.

>From Cannons Creek drive back north on SSR 28 a couple of miles to
Hellers Creek. To your right, before you get to Hellers Creek, there is
a tract of 100 acres on the Broad River which Bartholomew Gartman II
acquired in 1762. He would have been about 29 years old.  Between John
and Bart, brothers, would be tracts belonging to John Broderman, J. M.
Shaurer and John Martin.  Another neighbor whose name intrigues me is
James Dougherty, Jr whose 100 acres acquired in 1768 was nearby. It is
interesting that Bartholomew Gartman III (believed to be the son of Bart
II) named a son Josiah Dougherty Gartman. Could it be that Bart III (aka
Bartholomew Gartman, Jr, a Revolutionary war and War of 1812 veteran)
was a Daugherty on his mother’s side? My theory is that Capt. B.
Gartman’s wife was deceased by the end of the Revolution and that he
then married Catherine who bore him more children and lived long in
Georgia after Bart II’s death in 1801. But I have no proof.

There is another Gartman tract near that of John and Bart II. The
Nichols plat maps show a Daniel Gartman with 100 acres on Second Creek,
a branch of Hellers Creek, (also called Gartman’s Creek) acquired in
1772. Daniel could have been the brother of John and Bart II, but I
think it more likely that he was the son of John, John being 46 in 1772
and well able to have a 21 year old son. Also, I believe that Daniel,
George, Philip, and John, Jr (aka John Christian), all veterans of the
Revolution and listed in the 1790 census, were sons of John.

In the Dutch Fork (that area of SC between the Saluda and Broad rivers
mostly below the Sumpter National Forest of today) there are several
other tracts owned by Gartmans which should be mentioned. Bartholomew
Gartman II had land on Bear Creek and Suluda. It is probably under Lake
Murray today.  John also had land on “by the waters of Saluda” either in
the Fork or just below the Fork near the town of Lexington.  It should
be possible to ascertain from the 1790 census precisely where each of
the Gartmans listed were then living, but I do not now know.  I do think
Gartmans must have lived several places in Saxe-Gotha prior to/during
and after the Revolution. We should be able to ascertain where each
family lived and went to church.  In general, from Sandy Run , a circle
west  to the Lexington County line would include country well known to
our Gartman ancestors.

Herman Geiger’s Trading Post appears to have been somewhere close to the
Congaree in the area south of present day Columbia.  Briefly I recite a
mixture of history and theory which links Margaretha, John and
Bartholomew to Geiger.  Herman Geiger was about the age of Bartholomew
and Barbara Gartmann and the families may have come from Switzerland as
fellow passengers in 1735. After Bartholomew’s death about 1741, several
of the older Gartman children seem to have become wards of Herman
Geiger.  One can suppose as that as John and Bart II reached maturity,
they began to work for Geiger, perhaps caring for lifestock on his land
in the Fork.  Margaretha may have lived up there with them.  In any case
there are reasons to believe that Margaretha bore a child to Herman
Geiger.  She is not mentioned in his will but soon after his being
murdered by Indians in 1751, Margartha  became the wife of John Gallman,
brother-in-law of Herman Geiger.  Gallman children were born to her in
that union.  It may be that Margartha Gartman was the grandmother of
Emily Geiger, heroic messenger who managed to carry a message through
Loyalist lines across the Fork from one American general to another.
Remember that in SC the Revolution was a civil war.

Bartholomew Gartman II was a leader in the Regulator Movement in the
back country of South Carolina  about 1768. He likely fought in the
Cherokee War earlier. In the Revolution he served in the South Carolina
Milita, rising to the rank of Captain of a Troop of Horse.  John Sr,
Daniel, George, Philip, John Jr, and Bartholomew Jr also had part in the
war on the Patriot side. Since a great deal of the conflict took place
in the Fork (Lexington and Newberry counties), the entire area would
have been well known to our ancestors.

Following the Revolution compensation for services was made to veterans
by grants of land.  As a consequence many SC veterans moved to lands in
Georgia and other states.  Often veterans would sell or buy land so
awarded. That may account for land owned by Bartholomew Gartman in
Colleton County, south of Orangeburg on the Little Salkehatchie River
near Buckhead Creek.  One of our big problems in Gartman research is to
account for and sort out the various Bartholomew Gartmans.  I think the
B. Gartman of the 1790 census in Lexington Co and the B. Gartman in
Colleton Co and the B. Gartman of Jefferson Co, GA are all Bartholomew
Gartman II.

What we know is that John Gartman, Sr. died in 1795,  and that
Bartholomew Gartman’s estate was settled in 1801 in Jefferson County,
GA, southwest of Augusta.  Others may have records to sort out the
various Bartholomews, Johns and Daniels and their descendants. My
interest has been in Bartholomew III, my great great grandfather who
married Elender O’Quin in Barnwell Distict, SC, in 1811 and afterward
moved to Mississippi.  I now think I know the geography of my line of
Gartmans from Switzerland to the present. I have not tried to track the
geography of other descendants of the immigrants to South Carolina but
perhaps I have made it easier to some kin to follow their own line.
Geography is usually a primary clue in tracking ancestors.