Dear Grandfather Tobias,
Today we celebrate the 224th anniversary of your birth. While celebrating today, we really wish we had the opportunity to talk with you. There are so many unresolved questions about your life.
We believe we have identified your parents, Andreas Werst born about 1763 in Northampton, Pennsylvania. No surname has been discovered for his presumed wife and your mother Catherine. We have no birth certificate for you but we would not expect to find one for the time and place where you were born. The date comes from family records. We have found a record of your baptism at the Friendensville Lutheran Church in 1794.
We know you served your country as a private during the War of 1812. You served with Capt. Robert McGuigan in the 123rd and 81st Regiments of the Pennsylvania Militia, Commanded by Lt. Col. James Montgomery. Your wife, then widow, Nancy (Carr) Werst applied for a widow's pension 23 March 1857. Nancy said that you were disabled in 1814 and discharged at Danville, in Northumberland County. Were you wounded or injured in an accident? We just do not know.
The Pennsylvania Archives contains the following letter from Capt. McGuigan to the governor.
Milton, July 2, 1812. To his Excellency, Simon Snyder, Governor of Pennsylvania:- Sir: I have the honor to inform you that on the 1st day of July, instant, the several classes of the One Hundred and Twenty-third regiment of Pennsylvania militia; James Moodie, lieutenant colonel commandant, Second brigade, Ninth division, met in pursuance of brigade orders in Milton, Northumberland county; that upwards of the number seventy-nine have volunteered their services as their quota of militia to your Honor, to be ready to march at any time required. We beg leave to state to your Excellency that it is the wish of the company to march at the first call. Sir, your most obedient humble servant, ROBERT McGUIGAN, Captain
We know that your company was ready to go early in the war. At the outbreak of the war Northumberland county sent Captain Robert McGuigan's company and the Warrior Run Rifle company, Captain William McGuire, to join the troops at Erie and they served in the Black Rock Campaign. (Major William P. Clarke, Official History of the Militia and the National Guard of the State of Pennsylvania, 1909, P. 94).
Nancy also added that you were married by the Rev. John Bryson, Minister of the Gospel in December 1819. John Bryson was a Presbyterian minister who's ancestors immigrated to Pennsylvania from the north of Ireland but who were of Scottish descent. Perhaps Nancy's family were also Scots-Irish. We believe her father's name may have been Joseph Christopher Carr because of the name given your eldest son.
We do not know why you moved to Neave Township in Darke County, Ohio. We do know that you lived there in 1840.
|Tobias Werst tombstone at Mississinewa Memorial Cemetery|
Tombstones were moved to this location when an earlier cemetery was flooded.
Photograph from author's personal collection.
Our descent from Tobias is as follows:
Cecily daughter of Betty Werst Cone, daughter of Cecil Oscar Werst, son of Lewis Werst, son of
George Washington Werst, son of Tobias Werst.