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PROUDFIT FAMILY ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER

Fall 2001

Researcher Bill Walters Locates Proudfoot Point! Who was Andrew Proudfoot? Proudfoot or Proudfit?
Proudfit Reunion August 2001 Bob Shaub Pieces Together Gravestones Update on Restoration Project
Next Reunion July 26-28 2002 We Need You! Association Officers


The Proudfit Family Association met for the first time in August 2001, and will meet again the fourth weekend in July 2002, in York County, Pennsylvania.

Proudfit Family Association Officers

Bill Walters, President
Robert Shaub, Vice President
Judi McGarvey, Secretary
Jeannie ten Haaf, Treasurer
William Proudfit, Chaplain


Researcher Bill Walters Locates Proudfoot Point!

Bill Walters is descended from the early immigrant Andrew Proudfoot who came to the colonies in 1754 with his younger brother James who had been sent to Pennsylvania as a missionary. Bill is the first to tell you that his wife Sandra is the genealogist in the family, but while they were visiting the York County Historical Society in the fall of 2000, he became intrigued by a letter from Margaret Land who had tried in vain in 1947 to locate Andrew Proudfoot’s home, Proudfoot Point.

Bill had a 1907 photograph of Andrew Proudfoot’s home from Historical Sketch of the Proudfit Family of York County, Pennsylvania, compiled by Margaret Compton and published in 1911, which had been sent to him by researcher Kathleen Eaton Greene along with other Proudfit material. Using maps and interviewing local residents, Bill eventually determined the location of Andrew Proudfoot’s land and then, with the help of neighbor Helen Breneman Miller, he found an old shed with the distinctive double chimneys shown in Compton’s picture. Under the 20th century siding, Bill found a log structure he was sure was his ancestor’s home in the "new world."

Bill’s next step was to prove the old shed was once a home and then establish the age of the structure. He knew from Compton’s book that there had been an addition to the original log home – a stone extension which was added by a later owner over the part of the house known as "Grannie’s House" – and this was consistent with the layout of the shed. In order to document his find, he contacted Gary L. Geiselman, General Partner of Olde York Homes. Mr. Geiselman went to the site in November 2000, and reported that the original log structure dates to the 1760s or 1770s, based on the following details:

Mr. Geiselman noted white-washed log walls in the sleeping loft area which was still intact; the remains of the porch ceiling rafters showing that the house had an approximate five-foot porch overhang along the front; a walk-in basement and perhaps a walk-in fireplace on the lower level, a common design for many early York County houses. He dated the addition to the original structure to be as early as 1790 to 1800.

In conclusion, Mr. Geiselman reports, "I was amazed to see how little the interior of these buildings had changed. . . . The interior of the log house shows evidence of nothing but whitewash being applied to the woodwork, plaster and log walls. The newer section shows white-washed walls and at most one coat of paint on all wood-work. What is remaining of these structures is truly a time capsule. I would love to see someone do something with this building before it deteriorates any further."

With this interesting and important discovery, Bill Walters set out to share Proudfoot Point with other descendants of Andrew Proudfoot.

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Who was Andrew Proudfoot?*

Andrew Proudfoot was born in Perthshire, Scotland in November 1728, son of Andrew Proudfoot and his first wife, perhaps Janet Prop or Elizabeth Peebles. Andrew was trained as a shoemaker in Scotland, but became a farmer when he migrated to York County, Pennsylvania in 1754, with his younger brother James who had been sent to southeastern Pennsylvania as a missionary. On 4 December 1759, Andrew married Sarah Wallace, the daughter of Alexander Wallace and Agnes Gordon, who had emigrated from Scotland in 1734.

Sarah Wallace was born 12 February 1733, in Scotland. She was remembered, according to Historical Sketch of the Proudfit Family by Margaret Compton, as a woman of "very positive character with much family pride." She was a large woman, while her husband Andrew was described as a small man of good education. Their wills reveal that they were prosperous members of their community at the time of their deaths.

Andrew signed his name "Andrew Proudfoot" in his will, but referred to family members with the surname "Proudfit." According to family tradition, members of the second generation in the new world changed the spelling of their surname to correspond with its Scottish pronunciation. Andrew and Sarah were known to friends as "Andy" and "Sally," according to a letter which Andrew wrote and which was passed down in the family.

Andrew Proudfoot, like his brother James, was a very religious man and he took great care in the religious training of his children. He had four sons, all of whom were active in the Presbyterian Church and two of whom became ministers. He also had two daughters — one who died very young — but for some unknown reason, he did not record their names in his family Bible.

On 15 May 1769, Andrew Proudfoot was elected to the post of elder in Guinston Church in Hopewell Township, York County. Family researcher J. M. Gemmill, as reported in the Sketch, discovered an entry in the Guinston Church records that on 11 September 1781, "the Associate Session of Gueenstown met to hold an extra-judicial conversation with And[rew] Proudfoot about points of Doctrine wherein he differs from the session." Evidently the dispute could not be resolved and the members of the session ruled that they "could not have freedom to join in communion with him while he retained these sentiments" of belief in the doctrine of the all-sufficiency of grace. It seems that Andrew Proudfoot never met with the session again and we do not know what his relationship to the Christian church was after this "conversation." Mr. Gemmill believed that Andrew may have become associated with the Associate Reformed Church which was established the following year at Pequea in Lancaster County. No one with the surname "Proudfoot" or "Proudfit" was baptized at Guinston Church after 1782. [Andrew Proudfoot’s son Alexander Proudfit is listed as one of the first members of Hopewell United Presbyterian Church, established in East Hopewell, York County, in 1800. Perhaps Alexander’s father and mother worshipped with him at Hopewell.]

Mr. Gemmill found the graves of Andrew and Sarah Proudfoot in an old private family plot known as the McAlister Graveyard in York County. Andrew died 30 March 1807; Sarah died 27 June 1814.

Andy and Sally Proudfoot had six children:

James Proudfit was born 8 November 1760; died 2 May 1856. He served in the Revolutionary War and settled in Washington County, Pennsylvania after his discharge. Compton reports that his discharge papers give his birthplace as Nottingham Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. James married first Jane Wallace Thompson, a widow; they had six children: Alexander, John, David, Nancy, Jane and Sally. Jane Wallace Proudfit died 15 May 1808. James married second, 20 September 1809, Peggy Merchant; they had one son, Samuel. Peggy Merchant Proudfit died 21 November 1811. James married a third time on 6 January 1814 to Jane McLaughlin; they had three children: Mary Tate, Margaret, and James.

Alexander Proudfit was born 2 May 1763, Hopewell, York County, Pennsylvania; died 11 October 1844, Pennsylvania; married 12 December 1793, Martha McCleary. Alexander lived on his parents’ old homestead at Proudfoot Point in York County after his father’s death. He was a ruling elder in the Associate Reformed Church. In 1817, Alexander moved with his wife and ten of their children to Seneca Township, Ontario County, New York. A few years later the family moved again, this time to Covington Township, Genessee County, New York. Late in life, Alexander, his wife and some of the younger children lived on a farm in Erie County, Pennsylvania belonging to Alexander and Martha’s son David. Alexander and Martha had eleven children: Andrew, Elizabeth, John, Sarah, David, Alexander, Jane, Martha, Agnes, Robert and Margaret.

Janet Proudfit born 30 December 1764.

Agnes Proudfit born 11 September 1766; died 15 August 1769.

David Proudfit was born in York County, Pennsylvania on 25 March 1770. He grew up on his father’s farm and was sent to Dobbin’s Classical School in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania with the hopes he would follow a path into the ministry. Later he studied theology with the Reverend John Jamison, and he was licensed by the Second Presbytery of Pennsylvania on 5 April 1795.

David accompanied Matthew Henderson, Jr. on a missionary tour to Kentucky in 1797. The road they took had recently been constructed and accommodated horse-men only — no wagons or buggies. "‘They endured great hardships, fording swollen streams amid floating ice, sleeping in the open air when they would wake to find themselves covered with several inches of snow,’" reports Compton who appears to be quoting T. P. Proudfit.

 In June 1798, David Proudfit married Sarah Patterson, daughter of William Patterson and Jane Morrow.

After his missionary work in Kentucky, the Reverend David Proudfit was ordained as a minister on 14 November 1798. He became the pastor of Laurel Hill Church in Fayette County, Pennsylvania where he preached for twenty-six years. In 1824, David was called to Crooked Creek, Muskingum County, Ohio. He moved his family to that area and lived there until his death on 11 June 1830.

During his thirty-four years as a minister, David Proudfit missed only two Sundays of preaching, according to T. P. Proudfit — one because high water prevented him from getting to the church, and the other due to a bad case of laryngitis. "He preached the last Sabbath of his life, though obliged to sit during the sermon from weakness, and died the following Friday."

D. M. Proudfit described David Proudfit as "a large man, six feet in height, strong and athletic." He was a farmer as well as a minister and composed many of his sermons from behind the plow or while doing some other farm labor. He loved music and sang and played the violin. He was loyal to his ancestry and much of the music he played — other than the psalms — was from his Scottish heritage.

Sarah Patterson Proudfit died 8 February 1842. She is buried with her husband in Crooked Creek Cemetery, Muskingum County, Ohio.

David and Sarah Proudfit had nine children, all born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Their two oldest sons lived all of their adult life in the Muskingum/ Guernsey Counties area of Ohio. The three younger sons sold their farms in the 1860s and moved their belongings by covered wagon to southern Illinois. David and Sarah’s children were: William, Andrew, David (drowned at the age of eleven while crossing a creek on the way home from school), Patterson, Jane Morrow, Sarah "Sally" Wallace, Mary Jane, Robert (a twin to Mary Jane), and David.

Robert Proudfit was born 6 June 1777; died 11 February 1860; married Elizabeth Law. Robert Proudfit attended Dobbin’s Classical School in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and graduated from Dickinson College in 1798. He moved in with his uncle James Proudfit in Salem, New York and was tutored there by his uncle, as well as by his cousin Alexander. He was licensed in 1802, ordained in 1804, and installed in Perth, New York. In 1818, he took a position as professor of Greek and Latin at Union College in Schenectady, New York where he remained until his death. Robert and Elizabeth had seven children: James, Ellen, Sarah, Eliza, David Law, Robert and Mary.


Dobbin’s Classical School

*Most information taken from Historical Sketch of Proudfit Family by Margaret Compton, published in Meadville, Pennsylvania, 1911.  The Proudfit Family Association earnestly requests corrections and additions to this biographical sketch.

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Proudfoot or Proudfit?

What is the correct spelling? Prior to the 20th century, names and even words were not always spelled the same way twice! In a society where many people could not read and write, those who could often spelled things the way they thought right, not always as others spelled them.

Another problem was pronunciation. People arriving from another country found their neighbors mispronouncing their names when they spelled them as they had been in the "old country." Many people changed the spelling of their name to correspond with the way it was pronounced here. Some were fonder of the spelling of their name than the way it was pronounced, and they made a different choice.

In the old records, our family name often appears as "Proudfoot." At some point almost everyone in our family changed it to "Proudfit," to correspond with the Scottish pronunciation.

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Proudfit Reunion Held in
York County, Pennsylvania
August 3-5, 2001

A group of people connected to the Proudfoot/ Proudfit family met in York County, Pennsylvania in August 2001, to visit the old Proudfit home and other related sites, to exchange genealogical information and family history and to meet distant relatives and others interested in Proudfoot/Proudfit history. People traveled from across the United States for the reunion – from as far away as California, Texas, Michigan, Iowa, Florida – from closer – North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware – and some residents of York County joined us as well.

Before the official reunion kick-off, Bill Walters of Meridian, Texas organized a group of volunteers to meet at the old Proudfoot house, which has most recently been used for storage, to do a bit of cleaning. Eric and Gaye David, Bob Proudfoot and a neighbor boy worked along with Bill over many hours to make the site safe for people to visit.

Friday night the reunion began with a social evening at the Comfort Inn. We met in the hotel’s meeting room. Snacks and soft drinks were provided and people brought pictures, charts, posters, family group sheets and ancestry charts. As a group of strangers, we began to establish how we were related to one another and new friendships were established. Eventually, long after the usual dinner hour, people drifted away to share a meal with new friends or new-found relatives.

We met bright and early on Saturday morning at Hershaull Park Pavilion near Cross Roads. The first thing on everyone’s mind was the McAlister Family Cemetery, site of the burial of Andrew and Sarah Proudfoot. The location of their graves, recorded in the early 20th century, had not been known for some time.

Late in July Bill and Sandra Walters attended the annual Hyson Family Reunion in York County to talk to the Hyson family about the old Proudfoot home which now stands on property owned by members of the Hyson family. (The Hysons and Proudfits are also connected by marriage.) During the day, Bill and Sandra gathered information about the possible location of the McAlister family plot.

Around this time, Bob Shaub, York County resident and Wallace family descendant, contacted Bill. Bob had heard about Bill’s interest in the Proudfit family, called him and offered to help. Working together with local contacts and area topographical maps, Bill and Bob located the Proudfoot burials just two days before the Proudfit reunion. Family members were enthusiastic about seeing the family plot they had heard about, but never seen. (A reporter from the York Daily Record accompanied Bill and Bob and an account of their discovery of the old graveyard appeared in the 4 August 2001 issue of the paper. For copies of the article, contact the secretary.)

Bob Shaub arrived at Hershaull Park on Saturday morning with a twelve-seat van to ferry people to the burial site. Cathy and Duane Hyson went along with the first group to make rubbings of the Proudfoot gravestones. The cemetery is overgrown with trees and it is difficult to determine what the original grade of the land might have been. The gravestones have been knocked over and many are broken, including the gravestones for Andrew and Sarah Proudfoot. But we are thrilled that the markers have survived!

Back at Hershaull Park, Bill Walters conducted a business meeting, describing what he had discovered in the York County area and explaining his hopes that the Proudfoot home could be saved and restored. The group enthusiastically agreed to meet in 2002. We decided to meet the fourth Friday, Saturday and perhaps Sunday in July, the same weekend the Hyson family meets. They gather for an evening meal and a speaker at Hershaull Park, and the Hyson family members present encouraged the Proudfits to meet in the afternoon with the hope that the two groups might overlap. We decided to repeat the Friday night social and Saturday midday meal next year, with other details to be decided upon later.

Bill asked for people to volunteer as reunion officers and to help with matters of interest to the group. The group decided that Bill should be president. Bob Shaub was asked to be vice president. Jeannie ten Haaf volunteered to be treasurer and Judi McGarvey volunteered to be secretary and to put together a newsletter. Gaye David suggested that she start a Proudfoot/Proudfit web page. Bob Shaub agreed to try to restore Andrew and Sarah Proudfit’s gravestones and perhaps organize a clean-up of the McAlister Graveyard. Judi and David McGarvey said they would look into the possibility of reprinting the 1911 Margaret Compton book, Historical Sketch of the Proudfit Family of York County. Everyone would like to have a copy of the Compton book.

After the business meeting, we enjoyed a delicious lunch catered by Cross Roads Store. Then we all went off to tour the Wallace-Cross Mill, built by members of Sarah Wallace Proudfoot’s family. From there we drove to the old log house, built by Andrew Proudfoot in the late 1750s or early 1760s.

We were met at the house by Gary Geiselman, General Partner of Olde York Homes, who explained the historical significance of the site. Thanks to the work of Bill Walters and his crew, we were able to walk through the structure and see the unique details Mr. Geiselman described. It was a moving experience to see the place where our immigrant ancestors Andrew and Sarah Proudfoot lived over two hundred years ago and realize that the house was most likely built by Andrew himself.

The day concluded with a festive meal in Gettysburg at the Dobbin House, the old classical school building now housing a restaurant. "The food was wonderful," one cousin writes, "and you felt as if you were sitting in the middle of a lot of history. We will go back there next year!"

Sunday morning a few Proudfit family members attended services at Historic Guinston. There is a new church building at Guinston, but the congregation worships in the old sanctuary on the first Sunday of each month, which happily corresponded with our reunion. The Guinston congregation met for many years in the home of Alexander Wallace and was formally organized in the mid 1700s. James Wallace, son of Alexander, built the beautiful old stone church, according to Historical Sketch of the Proudfit Family, by Margaret Compton.

All in all, it was a wonderful reunion and everyone looks forward to next year. Our thanks to Bill and Sandra Walters for making this happen!!

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Bob Shaub Pieces Together Proudfoot Gravestones

Our thanks to Bob Shaub, Wallace family descendant and York County Resident, for locating most of the missing pieces of the gravestones for Andrew and Sarah Proudfoot. Bob is looking into restoring these gravestones and plans to have them reset for a rededication ceremony at next year’s Proudfit Family Reunion. Thanks for your hard work, Bob!

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Update on Restoration Project

On November 7, 2001, Gary Geiselman of Olde York Homes submitted an outline of work to be done on the Proudfoot log home during the first phase of restoration. When more decisions have been made regarding the scope and definition of the project, Mr. Geisleman will be able to develop cost estimates and investigate potential grant sources. Phase I will include:

Mr. Geiselman will get back to us in December or January with additional information.

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We Need You!

We need suggestions, updates and any corrections you may have to the genealogy in this newsletter. But most of all, we need your help! We need volunteers to help with the acquisition of the property where the log house stands, to search for funding for restoration, and to apply for the recognition of the house as a historic site. We also need help to clean up and restore the McAlister Family Cemetery.

Watch for our spring newsletter for information about the next Proudfit reunion, July 26-28, 2002. If you know someone who is not on our mailing list and would like to be, please send us their name and address. Thank you.

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Proudfit reunion officers:

Bill Walters, President
726 C. R. 4100, Meridian, TX 76665-2840
254-597-0060; e-mail - bwalters@htcomp.net

Robert Shaub, Vice President
350 W. Railroad Ave., Shrewsbury, PA 17361
717-235-6615; e-mail - farmersdaughter@cyberia.com

Judi McGarvey, Secretary, Newsletter Editor
32 W. Glendale Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301
703-683-3463; e-mail - judimcg@comcast.net

Jeannie ten Haaf, Treasurer
1230 Lynn Dr., Middleville, MI 49333
e-mail - jtenhaaf@iserv.net

William H. Proudfit, Chaplain
1410 S. Goliad St., #1605, Rockwall, TX 75087
972-722-6575

Gaye David, Web site management
614 Branch Hollow Cir., Garland, TX 75043
e-mail - Proudfit_Family@hotmail.com

Proudfoot Point Restoration and Reunion site created by Bill Walters: http://www.htcomp.net/proudfit

Proudfit Family site created by Gaye David


Left to right: Elyse Foraker, Amy Yetley, Jeanne Kee, David Walters, Iolia Proudfit, Nancy Biggs, Jeannie ten Haaf, Chuck Biggs, Marilyn & Jim Proudfit, Alice Proudfoot (in front), Alice Proudfit, Cheri LaFaver, Bill Proudfit, Sally Fuller, Mary Walters, Bill Walters, Gaye David, Margaret Shaub, Eric David, Karen Hanley, Bob Proudfoot, Judi & David McGarvey. In front: Brennen Proudfit and Sandra Walters (kneeling). Shy: Brittany ten Haaf. Photo by Robert ten Haaf.