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Bennett Family of Bedford & Somerset Counties, Pennsylvania

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Updates made to Family Photo Gallery, Maps & Canada Land Records Jan. 15, 2004

This page has been created in hopes of finding others who are researching Isaac Bennett of Brothersvalley, Quemahoning & Shade townships, Bedford/Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

We are still working on getting all the records and documents in order.  Please be patient and be sure to stop by often to see what we have added...

We look forward to hearing from other researchers who might have information that would help us in our quest for Isaac Bennett and his family.  Please put "Bennett Family" in the subject line when you contact us, we don't want to overlook any correspondence.

It's necessary in genealogical research to have some knowledge of the regions one's ancestors lived in.  Here we will give a brief history of the formation of the counties & town where Isaac Bennett, our ancestor made his home.  

Brothersvalley Township incorporated in 1771, was originally in Bedford County.  Somerset County, was later formed out of Bedford county in 1795.  In 1758, when General Forbes sent out some of his scouts to survey a route between Fort Bedford and Fort Duquesne, they came upon and area being called "Bruedersthal" or Brothers Valley.  This was named after inhabitants who belonged to the German Baptist faith, who addressed each other as "brueder" the German word for brother.  The township when formed was larger than any of the counties of Pennsylvania today.  It stretched from the Allegheny Mountains on the east, Laurel Mountains on the west,  Mason Dixon line to the south and divided between the Susquehanna & Allegheny rivers to the north.  It is a beautiful bowl in a valley, nestled between the mountains.  In a recent visit to "Turkey Hill", the ancestral farm of Peter Cober Sr., we were able to understand what drew these pioneer settlers to this beautiful "Valley of the Brothers".  (see photos page)

The first documented evidence we have found for Isaac is the 1793 & 1795 Tax Assessments for Brothersvalley, Somerset County, PA. He is listed as paying taxes "for Shoemaker". In checking the 1795 Tax Assessment for Brothersvalley we find  Jonathan & Benjamin Shoemaker listed as "Non Residents"  It is not known if Isaac was leasing land from one of these men or if perhaps he was paying the taxes for one of them. We believe that the first scenario is more likely. This leads to the question of what sort of relationship Isaac shared with the Shoemaker's.

Using the Tax Assessments as a guide, it appears that Isaac purchased land about 1796 in Brothersvalley. On a 600-acre tract he began clearing the land and farming. One year later he sells off 300 acres of this tract, current research is being done to locate a record of this sale.

Isaac also owned land in *Quemahoning Township, Somerset County, PA (*see Deed of sale to Christian Leman). 

He bought a 200-acre tract of land from GEORGE EDMONDS prior to 1804. This land adjoins the property of THOMAS VICKROY and JAMES WALKER (WACHER). It is now known if Isaac lived on this piece of land, more than likely he actually lived in Brothersvalley since all the Tax Assessments show him farming in that township. However he did have some sort dealings in Quemahoning, possibly a business interest?

One Tax Assessment lists a "Bennet at the Old Store", more research is needed to reveal what the "Old Store" was and who "Bennet" is.

Continuing with the Quemahoning township research, we find a *JACOB BENNET who was granted a land warrant dated April 1794. The tract was called "Broken Squares". this land of Jacob's adjoins JAMES WALKER, who is mentioned in the Bennet/Leman land sale. (*see maps page)  Is Jacob Bennet relation to Isaac? Considering the fact that Jacob & Isaac are the only Bennett's recorded as living in Somerset County at the time it is suspected that they are in fact related. No further information on Jacob Bennett has been found to determine exactly what that relationship is.

One more record for Isaac is found in a Tax Assessment in which he is listed along with a "J. DUNCAN" in 1803 Quemahoning township, these two men are being taxed on 400 acres of land. No further mention of J. Duncan has been found, nor do we know what the connection is between these men.

No record for Isaac has been found after the year 1804. Family legend (*Ashbridge Book) has it that he was killed in an Indian Raid, this has yet to be proven.

It is estimated that Isaac was born somewhere around the year 1745. Again, per family lore the story claims that his father emigrated from England with his family to Virginia. Whether or not this is fact in unknown. Only one reference to Virginia is found in any of the Bennett documents, that being for Aquilla, son of Isaac, who says he was born in Virginia.

No name has been found for Isaacís wife in any records.

Using the birthdates of his children as a guideline, it is estimated that he was married circa 1775.

The names of his know children are as follows:

AQUILLA b. between 1775-1780

JESSE b. about 1777

JOHN b. about 1784

HANNAH b. 1785

JACOB b.?

REGINA b.?

The Bennett family lived in a German Community being neighbors of many Brethren/Dunkard and Amish/Mennonite families. The two eldest sonsí of Isaac, Aquilla & Jesse married Dunkard girls from the Brothersvalley area.

No records have been found in Pennsylvania that would indicate exactly what religion the Bennett family  embraced. Later when son Aquilla migrated to Canada he mentions in a land petition that he is of the "Tunkers", Aquilla seems to be the only one of Isaac children that identifies himself as a Dunkard. Jesse however shows no religious affiliation.  (Tunker is another name adopted by the Brethren community, it seems to have been used regularly in Canada)

*Throughout our research we have used several books with references to the surnames Bennett & Cober, along with the migration history of the Dunkard communities in Pennsylvania.  We only use these books as possible leads, not as factual information unless there is cited evidence mentioned.  You may see in various areas of these pages references to such books:

"The Ashbridge Book" written in 1912 by Wellington T. Ashbridge.  Chronicles the ancestry of Jonathan Ashbridge, 2nd husband of Hannah Bennett Barton.

"Two Centuries of Brothersvalley, Church of the Brethren 1762-1962"; H. Austin Cooper.

"The Trail of the Black Walnut"; G. Elmore Reaman.

"Cober Family of Pennsylvania, Canada & Iowa"; Rev. Alvin A. Cober, D.D.

"The Berlin Area 1777-1977"; Berlin Area Historical Society - 1977.

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