Table of Contents
of the Hunt for Ancestors!
|A Genealogy of Ohio CELLAR / CELLARS|
|Source: A history of the Cellars family donated "to all Sellers
searchers" by Mrs. Emma Jane (EVERETT) CLARK of Pasadena, CA. It
is said to have been written about 1890 by Sarah Wilson CELLAR, daughter
of John Flanigan CELLAR, from notes gathered before 1875. It is said
to have been found in an old trunk once owned by a great-granddaughter
of Jane CELLAR. It was passed on as a typewritten (i.e.,
obviously not the original handwritten version) manuscript on old yellowed
paper from J. S. SIMS to J. SELLARS to Marie (SELLERS) HOLLINGER, owner
of this web site:
where the manuscript has been digitized as a page entitled:
"Cellar Genealogy: History of Thomas Cellars/Sellars." [link died]
Sarah Wilson CELLAR's line is:
Emma (EVERETT) CLARK's line is said to be:
|Comments by Diana Gale Matthiesen:
Anyone who does much genealogy discovers that family traditions are among the least reliable sources of genealogical information. Narrative accounts are generally accurate when the teller is relating their own life events and their knowledge of their own immediate family, that is, parents, siblings, spouses, children, and grandchildren. But these accounts sometimes contain mistakes with regard to aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, especially with regard to the maiden names of women and the information goes downhill from there. Legends about more distant ancestors, especially those about a distant immigrant or kin in the old country are, more often than not, untrue. One needs to be especially wary of romantic tales of adventure and of connections to famous persons. A relationship guessed at in one generation may become fact in the next. While most people truly believe the fanciful tales and connections in their family tradition, it is also the case, many times over, when deceptions were deliberate. Young people alive today have no appreciation of the immense social pressure in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to have illustrious ancestors, nor of the worse shame of not even knowing one's ancestry. Many families worked on their genealogy in the late 1800s and made mistakes that have been handed down as fact ever since.
With the above in mind, I find myself very skeptical of the opening paragraphs of Sarah Wilson CELLAR's narrative giving the progenitor of this family as a German immigrant named Hans KELLER. The reasons for my skepticism are:
1) CELLAR / CELLARS is a Scottish / English surname, not a German surname. In America, CELLARS could conceivably be a phonetic mis-spelling of the German surname, SELLARS, but doubtfully of ZELLER and certainly not of KELLER.
2) Thomas CELLAR was an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, and Presbyterianism is typically the religion of Scots, not Germans, who were largely Lutheran or Catholic.
3) As a church Elder, Thomas was surely literate, so unlike the vast majority of German immigrants in the 18th and 19th centuries he must have known how to spell his name, so we would not expect to find it misspelled in records. I have yet to find any primary record that shows his surname as anything other than CELLAR or CELLARS.
4) In the 1790 census of Franklin Co., PA, Thomas is shown as owning a slave. Slave ownership was almost non-existent among Pennsylvania Germans, but was typical of the "Brits" (i.e., the English, Scottish, Scots-Irish, and Irish) living in the south, and Thomas came to Pennsylvania from the south, that is, from Maryland, where slave ownership was common.
5) Thomas did not marry German wives. Both of his wives (viz., Sarah FLANIGAN and Martha McCOY) were Brits, and their children also married Brits (viz., surnames GILLIS, CARPENTER, McKINNIE, FLEMING, HOLBROOK, WILSON, GABRIEL) not a German among them until the third generation in Ohio.
6) The given names running among Thomas's descendants are typically Brit names. While some of these names (e.g., John, George, Mary, Joseph) are also common in German families, there are no typically German given names running in Thomas's family (e.g., no Frederick, Jacob, Martin, Harriet, Barbara, Gertrude, etc.).
7) The number and source of given names follows a typically Brit pattern. Early generations usually have just one given name. As middle names begin to appear, they are very often based on the surname of the mother or a grandmother, as is the case in the CELLAR family (e.g., John Flanigan CELLAR, Robert McCoy CELLAR, Sarah Wilson CELLAR). In contrast, many German immigrants arrived with a long-standing tradition of two, three, or even four given names, none based on surnames (e.g., Johann Georg, Anna Maria Barbara). Also, Brit tradition is for the first name to be the call name, while in German tradition the first name is a saint's name and the second given name is the call name. Further, all the children of the same gender in a family will have the same saint's name (e.g., Johann Georg, Johann Martin, Johann Josef, etc., and Anna Maria, Anna Catharina, Anna Barbara, etc.), which is obviously the reason the first name is not the call name. This German naming tradition was soon dropped in America, but it is very apparent among immigrants and their children and there is not a hint of it in the CELLAR family.
On the other hand I may be wrong. The ancestor may have been Hans KELLAR, but so much argues against it that I would not accept him as the ancestor without solid primary documentation supporting it.
Hans Kellar was a native of Germany. He was one of the King's hunters. Relics of his occupation were handed down from one generation to another: a cutlass used in killing wild hogs: a horseman's sword" and a curious fox trap.
He and a cousin of the same name emigrated to America early in the eighteenth century.
He married a lady of Scotch-Irish descent, and settled on a farm of four hundred acres near Hagerstown, Maryland. His children were named respectively: Jonn, Joseph, Thomas, George, Mollie, Rebecca, Hannah, and Susan.
The eldest son, John, married and settled in one of the southern states.
Joseph married and reared a large family. He was a famous hunter and trapper and would take his gun and traps and be gone for weeks together, hunting game in the mountains of Pennsylvania.
George married and settled on a portion of the old homestead and reaered a family of sons.
The daughters married and settled in the southern states. While they lived together at the old homestead they attended the Presbyterian Church and most of the family, if not all, belonged to that body.
Thomas Cellar, the third son, from whom we descended, was born in Washington County, Maryland in the year 1740. His boyhood was spent with his father, laboring on the farm. While a boy, a friend of his father, Jacob Hagar, of Hagarstown, who was a gun-smith, gave him (Joseph) a gun-barrel and lock. He made a stock and rigged up a gun with the material given him.
One morning he saw the sheep running in from the woods. He took his gun and went out to a thicket from whence they emerged. He found the carcass of a sheep. He imitated the bleating of a sheep so well that the wolf soon made his appearance. He shot and killed it, securing the scalp, which he sold and bought with the price a new lock for his gun.
The neighborhood soon learned of his skill in fixing up guns, and by fixing up theirs just to accomodate them, he eventually became a good gun-smith. His knowledge of this business he considered a great blessing to him years afterward when living among the Indians.
When about thirty years of age, he purchased a valley farm in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and erected a house and mill on his place.
Soon after, he married Miss Martha McCoy a sister of Col. McCoy who was killed in the Revolutionary War.
In a few years his wife died, leaving three daughters: Margaret, Jane and Hannah. He buried his wife in the graveyard near the Presbyterian Church of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. A few years later, he married Miss Sarah Flannegan, a cousin of Col. Crawford, who was massacred by the Indians.
If to be loved and respected by those who knew her best is a sign of worth, then this lady was a worthy woman. Her step-daughters loved her as an own mother, and her daughters-in-law spoke of her with tender affection. When her sons were old gray-headed men, it was pleasant to hear them say "my mother." They spoke the name with so much reverance.
She instructed her sons, "when you speak the name of God, do not speak it hurriedly, out with reverance, 'him that honoreth me I wil honor'"
By this marriage there were seven sons, one of whom died in infancy. The six remianing were named: Thomas, Robert McCoy, John Flannegan, George, James, and Joseph.
As his children grew around him (Thoms Cellar), a desire to settle them as near to him as possible prompted him to sell the valley farm and buy a larger tract of land. Previous to selling, he made a journey through Ohio and Kentucky, but did not then decide where he would locate.
On this journey, while going down the Ohio River on a boat, one evening the party ran ashore, tied there boat, built a fire, and were making preparations to stay all night. When darkness had settled around them, they heard the hooting of an owl, and what seemed voices responding in the distance. The ol pilot, who had a cultivated ear for such music, told the others to notice that the owl hooted backwards. He said he thought it was an Indian signal, so they gathered on board as quietly as possible and moved down the river. Not long afterward they heard of a massacre of whites who had moored their boat to the same landing.
In the year 1800, Thomas Cellar sold his farm of 240 acres for something over 16000 dollars and on the twenty-first of March, he with his family and household goods started from their old home in Franklin County, Penn., and the next day while they were stopping at a tavern on Bloody Run, two land agents, Israel Ludlow and Benjamin Chambers, learning Father Cellar's intention, met him there and sold to him a tract of land containing 4000 acres for $1.30 per acre, in the North West Territory, as the State of Ohio was then called.
At Pittsburgh, he put his family and household goods on board a boat and sent the horses overland. They went down the Ohio as far as Portsmouth, and up the Scotio to Chillicothe, arriving on the twentieth of April. His son-in-law, Josiah McKinnie, and his wife were living in Chillicothe. Here Father Cellar with his family remained for a short time and helped his son-in-law to plant corn.
Finding there was no settlement near his land, he built a cabin on Congress land just south of the present site of Columbus, and moved into it in June. The nearest neighbors were two families living in the lower edge of Pickaway Plains, and one family below Franklinton.
He liked the location so well he thought he would buy a small tract for a homestead. (At the time the whole site of Columbus could have been purchased for two dollars an acres.)
But very soon the entire family, with the exception of John and black Joe, were sick with the ague, and continued to have it that year and the next, when they abandoned all notions of remaining longer than necessary.
In the spring of 1802 a cabin was built near the spring on what is now known as the Taggert farm.
They found an Indian village of seventeen huts, built on the flat at the mouth of the run on which is found the 'dripping rock'. The huts were built of small Linwood logs split in two, the bark carefully peeled off, the logs notched, and built like a cabin, with the south end open, across which they built a fire. They were roofed with the Linwood bark, the first tier inside up, the second inverted, which covered the seems and when sundried made a tight roof. The cracks were chinked with moss. Judging by the sugar trees which had been worked, the village was built in 1799.
Shortly afterwards, the indians removed to Sandusky, and years later returned to get the remains of a child. Father Cellar made them a light box in which to carry them away. The Indians came from far and near to have their guns repaired and Father Cellar thought their depending on him for gunsmithing was one reason why he had no serious trouble with them, aside from being obliged to give them food and lodging.
Sometimes four or five dusky indians would be sleeping around the fire, while the family slept in the loft above. One night they quarreled among themselves and one of them left in the night taking an axe with him. In the morning Father Cellar followed him and met him bringing home the axe, the indian assuring him that no theft was intended, but that he took it to defend himself and showed where he had been stabbed several times in the breast, the knife failing to penetrate the bone.
At another time a drunken indian came into the doorsyard. The dogs ran out and the indian pointed his gun at them. Father Cellar cad, "Don't shoot the dogs" - then the indian pointed the gun at him. His son rushed into the house for his gun, determined to shoot the indian, but the father took the gun away while the frightened indian cried "Me no shooty you, fadder, me no shooty you."
In those early days, the nearest Presbyterian Church was in Chillicothe. Occasionally a missionary would travel this way. Rev. McCurdy, Dr Hogue and others and stop there. Then the neighbors would be notified and would gather in to hear a sermon. When Dr. Hogue organized a Church at Franklintown, several of the family united with that body.
In the year 1816, Father Cellar was called home. By will he had located his daughters and sons upon farms of equal size with the Olentangy flowing between them. He had seen his sons-in-law with their families established in homes of their own.
The story of the third generation, I leave to be told by a future historian. These were the true pioneers who with axe and gun subdued the wilderness and planted the Church and School.
|Family Group Sheet of Thomas CELLAR & Martha McCOY & Sarah FLANIGAN|
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