Wednesday, July 22, 2020

2020 Prompt - Newsworthy - Johann Zachariah Rexroad

Johann Zachariah REXROAD - 1725-1799
My  5th great grandfather

Nancy Simmons to Paul Simmons to Walter Simmons to Andrew Simmons to Phebe Rexroad, to John Rexroad to Johann George Rexroad to Johann Zachariah REXROAD

Johann Zacharias REXROTH
Book written by William D. Rexroad
According to Merriam-Webster the definition of newsworthy is something that is interesting enough to the public to warrant reporting.  My 5th great grandfather is worthy of that definition. He is one of many German immigrant ancestors I am related too, but he is probably the one immigrant that has had the most in-depth research done.  Fortunately for me and all my Simmons relation we have the research of a cousin, William D. Rexroad, from Hutchinson, Kansas who researched old Zachariah and wrote two books and several articles about him.

William D. "Bill" Rexroad
Holding bell made by Johann Zacharias Rexroth
Rexroad Cemetery, Pendleton County, West Virginia

In 2004, Bill as he is better known, wrote his book Johann Zacharias Rexroth The Pioneer and in 2006 he produced A Line of Rexroad in America.  Bill is my 4th cousin and we never had the chance to meet but in 2011 I wrote him and purchased both his books on the Rexroad family. Unfortunately, in 2014 Bill died in an automobile accident and I so wish I could have met him and told him how much I appreciated his extensive research. 

Birth place of Johann Zacharias Rexroth
Erbach, Odenwald, Germany

Zach, as we call old Zacharias Rexroth, was born the 22 February 1725 in Erbach, Germany, the last of seven children born to Johann Balthasar Rexerodt and Johanna Lowisa Christina Keppler.[1] Erbach lay in an area called the Odenwald, a land of forest, mountains, and valleys to the south of Frankfort and east of the Rhine. Zach's father was a blacksmith in Erbach, as well as several of his brothers,[2] so it is reasonable to believe that Zach apprenticed as a blacksmith. At the age of 24, Zach decided to leave Erbach and travel to America.

Deutsches Geschlechterbuch (German Gender Book)
by Dr. Jur. Bernhard Koerner

In May of 1749 Zach boarded the ship Albany[3] and set sail from Rotterdam to England to the new world. According to Bill's research, Zach had no known relatives traveling with him and the trip probably took nine weeks before dropping anchor in the river near Philadelphia. Within 48 hours of arrival Zach was most certainly marched to the courthouse where he and other male passengers were required to sign oaths of allegiance to King George the Second.[4]

Passenger list of the ship ALBANY 1749
Another misspelled version of Rexroad

By the fall of 1751, Zach was known to be living west of Reading in an area known as the Tulpehocken. Zach married Anna Maria Voeglin on 19 November 1751 at Christ Lutheran Church near Stouchburg, Lancaster (later Berks) County, Pennsylvania.[5]  As expected, Zach probably worked as a blacksmith as he and Anna Maria started their family. Their first five children while born in this area of Pennsylvania and several were baptized in the same church where they were married. In the mid-1700's this area was tormented by Indians who would murder, loot, and scalp the residence. It is during this time that Zach and his family departed the area and traveled from Pennsylvania down into Virginia.

1768 Tax List for Berks County, Pennsylvania
Zacharias Rexrode - blacksmith

The earliest known record of Zach in Virginia is a court record in June 1764 with a Nicholas Null[6] probably dealing with a land dispute. In 1767 Zach attended an estate sale for Stephen Conrad[7] and purchased Stephen's blacksmith tools paying £25,10s[8]. This was a sizable amount of money for Zach and how he acquired this amount is unknown. This estate sale took place in the Shenandoah Valley and Zach and Anna Maria must have lived there for several years.
Revolutionary War Militia Vouchers 1788
Pendleton County, Virginia
Zachariah Rexrode and son contributed 5 horses

Zach and Anna Maria eventually traveled across the Alleghenies and settled in the South Fork area. In September 1772 Zach was appointed appraiser of the estate of Mark Swadley who lived in the South Fork area a few miles from Brandywine.[9] The area was divided into militia districts around the time of the Revolutionary War.  Both Zach and his son Zachariah Jr. belonged to Militia Company No. 6 and even though Zach was not called into military action he and his son contributed five horses.[10] On 6 October 1788 Zach paid £8 for an eight-acre tract on South Fork east of Socrates Mountain[11] later referred to as Rexroad’s Mountain. It is here on this piece of land that Zach built his home and blacksmith shop and possibly where him and Anna Maria are buried. Zach purchased 110 acres on 30 June 1791[12] and a second tract containing 130 acres on 6 October 1796[13] both adjacent to the eight-acre tract. 

Zachariah Rexroth Will
Dated 26 April 1798 - Probated 1 October 1799
Pendleton County, Virginia (West Virginia)

The exact date of Zach’s death is unknown, but he wrote his will 26 April 1798,[14] probably in anticipation of his demise. Most of the will provides for his wife and his son Leonard is to carry out his father’s wishes regarding care of his mother. Upon his wife’s death Leonard is to sell his land, the house, the smith tools and the rest of his tools and pay his siblings their share of its worth. The will was probated the 1 October 1799.[15] Zach probably died during the last days of September. No record of Anna Maria’s death is known but it probably occurred about five years after Zach’s death. This is indicated by the fact that all the children came together on 6 May 1806 to sell Zach’s land.[16] The children were George Rexrode and Margaret his wife, Zachariah Rexrode and Catherine, John Rexrode & Margaret, George Ritz ad Dorothy (Rexrode) his wife, John Grogg and Mary (Rexrode) his wife, Sophia (Rexrode) Ekert and Leonard Rexrode and Elizabeth his wife.[17]

Deed Record for sale of Zachariah Rexrode 6-May 1806
I had researched Johann Zacharias Rexroth years ago and had the basic birth, death, marriage information but William D. Rexroad knew Zachariah had a legacy that needed to be told. Bill was a man with a mission. He spent years traveling from his home in Kansas to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Pendleton County, West Virginia to explore and discover the life of old Zach. He states in his preface of one of his books that he “presents his work for the benefit of all those who have an interest in Rexroad family history.”  He knew Johann Zacharias Rexroth was newsworthy!

Rexroad Cemetery, Pendleton County, West Virginia
Zachariah and wife Anna Maria Rexrode were re-interred here in 2009
where his son Zachariah Rexrode and many other family members are buried.

[1] Koerner, Dr, Jur. Bernhard, Deutsches Geschlechterbuch, Band (vol.) 94, pp. 197-204.
[2] Ibid
[3] Strassburger, Ralph B. & William J. Hinkle, Pennsylvania German Pioneers, Vol 1, pp. 394-395.
[4] Ibid, pp. 3-6
[5] Records of Pastoral Acts at Christ Lutheran Church, Stouchsburg, Berks County, Pennsylvania, translated and edited by Frederick S. Weiser, Part 2, p. 41.
[6] Augusta County, VA Courthouse, Court Minute Book, 1764-1766, pp. 60, 63, 87, 109; Null v. Rexroad.
[7] Augusta County, VA Courthouse, Will Book no 4, p. 241.
[8] Augusta County, VA Courthouse, Will Book no 4, p. 241.
[9] Augusta County, VA Courthouse, Will Book no 5, p. 67
[10] Wayland, John W., Virginia Valley Records, p. 103.
[11] Pendleton County, VA Courthouse, Deed Book no.1, pp. 18,19.
[13] Library of Virginia, Land Office Grants No. 37, p. 1, microfilm reel 103.
[14] Pendleton County, VA Courthouse, Will Book no 1, pp.262, 263.
[15] Ibid, p. 263.
[16] Pendleton County, VA Courthouse, Deed Book no. 4, pp. 284-287.
[17] Ibid, p. 284.

1 comment:

  1. Nancy, would you know how to get copies of the books stated above? I as well am a descendent of Zacharias Rexroth and would like to have them for my family.