African-American Settlement in Cambria County

This Settlement was founded in the late 1790's by Edinborough Smith and William Harshberger - whose families have called the Johnstown Area home for over 200 years.










Thursday, October 27, 2011

Old Barn Foundation

I know it's been awhile since I posted some actual pictures of the site. You are looking at what's left of one of the old barn foundations.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

John Brown Dead - August 1893

John Brown Dead - Obit from the Johnstown Democrat - August 15, 1893. As a researcher this obit throws a wrench in the scheme of things. But having said this - you also can't ignore any piece of information - no matter what.
So according to this - John claimed only one child - a son named John, whose whereabouts is unknown. Sometimes a family spins an obit for many different reasons. Why this one did not name Elmer and his siblings as children. I will most likely never know. CLICK HERE for Elmer's Obit. But there has to be - in my opinion - a very good reason and I have a feeling I know why - but will hold off on posting my thoughts until I can gather more information.

It's plainly clear - talking to family members and listening to stories about John - he was mostly likely the father of some children - because they all basically describe him as a deadbeat dad. The thing is - Elmer went by Harshberger for most of his life. It wasn't until he bought the farm at a tax sale that he took the last name Brown and it started being called Browns. Before 1903 - it was known as Harshberger's Grove. John Brown played a very little role when it came to the mountain. He spent the war with Covode and afterwards spent more time in New Florence than anywhere else.

John was born in 1826 near Harrisburg and I don't think it's an accident that he chose to die up at the farm with old Lizzie (Betzie). They were both the same age and I also believe they had even more in common...

Also not written in this obit - John had a cousin Thomas (African-American) who supposedly also spent some time in the Johnstown Area but who later moved to Hollidaysburg Area.

And one more point to ponder - John was born in 1826 - the obit doesn't list the year of his son John's birth - but rounding things off to every 20 years or so, his son John could have been born around 1846 and could have also fought (albeit very young) in the Civil War. But I have feeling that John was most likely light-skinned and as soon as he could pass for white - he left the mountain - never to return.