Westward Expansion to Ohio

from Maryland and Virginia, 1803 - 1860
Hahn, Harless, Johnson, McNeely, Park, Tingley, Weisleder

The Hahn and Weisleder families migrated from Baltimore County, Maryland, to Columbiana County, Ohio. These people were still very much in touch with their German roots. It is said the Hahn immigrants came from Wurttemberg, Germany, during the Palatinate immigration. They most likely landed at the port of Baltimore, in the early 1700s because just prior to their move west, we find the family in Manchester, Maryland, in the late 1700s. Many children were born here and christened in German Lutheran and Reformed churches. All were born under German-spelled names. They most likely belonged to a tight-knit German colony.

Some of the family may have spent some time in Frederick County, Maryland, and perhaps a short time in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, b before migrating to Columbiana County, Ohio, in the early 1800s, where many Germans settled from Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Our direct ancestor, Adam Hahn, came to Columbiana County from Baltimore County in 1801, as soon as the land was opened up to settlement, and bought a section directly from the government; his brothers followed. Adam and his son, Andrew, set up a saw mill on Yellow Creek, and it was known as Hahn’s Mill for several years.

Adam and his brothers were quite prolific, and intermarried among the other pioneer families in the area. Andrew married in 1809 to Maria Magdalena Weisleder, later known as Mary.

The Weisleders were former neighbors in Baltimore County. Weisleder translated means Whiteleather and some descendants later became known by that name. Still attending German Lutheran and Reformed congregations, the new generation of parents continued naming their children with German-spelled names. A German- language family Bible was acquired sometime after 1819 by Andrew Hahn (born Andreas), and all family entries were written in German. It is likely the German American inhabitants of Columbiana County were still speaking German.

Mary’s father, Andreas Weisleder, was a native of the town of Stiege, now within the state of Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. He was drafted into the army, and became one of the many thousands of Hessian soldiers sent to assist England in its war with the American Colonies. Finding himself a prisoner of war in Virginia, he determined none of his options were very good so he escaped and then deserted.

Mingling in among the many sympathetic German settlers in the region, he made his way up to Manchester, Maryland, where he married Anna Maria Zentzin, of Swiss heritage. After having several children, they moved to Columbiana County in 1807 and purchased land from Adam Hahn.

When the War of 1812 broke out, a local militia was formed, and Andrew’s brothers, John and Adam, and a few of their cousins joined up.

Andrew’s son, Samuel, a direct progenitor, moved on to Darke County, Ohio, on the western side of the state, in the late 1830s. Samuel’s cousin, also named Samuel Hahn, settled out there, as well. The Weisleders remained in Columbiana County and were very instrumental in its growth and progress.

Our Samuel finding himself widowed with five children married Nancy Harless, herself a young widowed, and from another prolific family, who had migrated over to Darke County from Virginia.

The Harless family began along New River in Virginia with the arrival of the German immigrant, Johann Philip Harless, in the mid 1700s. His progeny quickly grew with the births of many children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, in spite of the common childhood illnesses and Indian massacres. The area became known as the German New River Settlement and is said to be the first of its kind west of the Alleghenies.

As the settlement grew, young men found it necessary to move west. Some Harlesses went to Tennessee and Kentucky; others went to Ohio. Among those were two brothers, Elias and Paul Harless, who arrived in Miami County, Ohio, in the mid 1820s. They later settled a little further west in Darke County. Distant Harless cousins, also originating from the New River Settlement migrated to Miami and neighboring Preble Counties.

Our direct ancestor, Nancy Harless, was born in Giles County in 1822. In 1844 she married Samuel Hahn in Darke County. Although no records have been found mentioning her name prior to 1844, it is strongly believed she is the daughter of Paul Harless, based on extensive research of all Harlesses in Darke and Miami Counties.

The story of our Harlesses and their settlement in Ohio is a short one. The decade of 1820 saw Nancy’s birth in Virginia, the Harless family’s migration to Ohio, the death of Paul’s first wife, which would have been Nancy’s mother, and Paul’s remarriage. Then, Paul passed away sometime before 1840, while only in his forties. His older children were married; the younger children and Paul’s widow were divided up and lived among several family members. Nancy most likely lived with her uncle, Elias. When she was nineteen years old, she gave birth to a daughter, Delilah. This name occurred quite often in the Harless family. No record has yet been found of a marriage to Delilah's father, but when her little was three years old she married the widower, Samuel Hahn.

In the early 1840s the Hahns were off again to a new frontier. Samuel Hahn and his new bride and their children moved on to the newly opened lands in northwestern Missouri, along with his parents and his brother's family. Many of the Harlesses remained in the Darke County area, some moving just over the state line into Indiana.

The rest of our Ohio bound ancestors appear on the pedigree chart of Clela Tingley. Clela’s grandparents, Jared I. Tingley and Sarah Ann McNeely, finally settled about 1860 in Williams County, on the western side of Ohio, after moving back and forth from Mercer County, Pennsylvania, to Iowa, to Williams County, to Illinois, and back to Williams County. Jared probably ties into the line of Palmer Tingley, of which much has been written.

Clela’s other set of grandparents, Oliver Johnson and Mary Jane Park, were married in Crawford County, Ohio, in 1860. Both were born on the east side of the state in Stark County. Oliver’s father was a native of Ohio and his mother was born in Pennsylvania. Mary Jane’s parents both came from Virginia, possibly Hampshire County. In his old age, Mary’s father, Amos, ended up in Williams County with her and some of his other children.

Oliver Johnson spent some time serving in the Union during the Civil War. One Johnson researcher says he received some land for his service. After the war, he moved his young family to the southeastern corner of Michigan, where his third child, Carrie, was born. While she was still a baby, her mother died. Shortly after, Oliver is found in Williams County with a second wife. Together they had four children, but only one grew to adulthood. Oliver died in 1902, succumbing to Tuberculosis.

Carrie’s older sisters married and moved to the northwest in the early 1900s for the logging industry. Carrie married in 1888 to Jared T. Tingley, one of twelve children. Immediately they homesteaded in Colorado. Two of Jared’s brothers lived in Colorado, as well. Oring moved his family out to Denver so his ill wife could benefit from the dry air. Warren, a Union veteran, wound up a miner in Creede.

Hahn Family and Thaden Family - Westward Expansion to Ohio, ©2008, updated 26 Apr 2008

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