It is apparent that there are still pieces of information regarding John Shuman that we have not discovered. He, of German ancestry but born in Pennsylvania, arrived at Minister's Run near the start of the 19th Century able to read, write and speak English. Early Philadelphia immigration lists provide a few tantalizing clues, from the arrival of a Johan Shuman on September 23, 1732 through an Arnoldus Shoeman on September 27, 1740, Johannes Schumann on September 12, 1750, Philip Scheman and Philibus Schuman on September 29, 1753, Johannes Schumann on September 30, 1754, and John and Rudolph Schuman on October 27, 1764, to a George Shuman on October 16, 1772. Which one is John's father or grandfather? Which one is our ancestor?
In attempting to discover the origins of this particular family, countless hours have been spent researching old documents and records of the early years. Most of the genealogies and histories we have found point back to the same basic set of information, which is presented here. As is often the case with these old records, the facts are a bit distorted from what we find in court documents, yet there is much truth in them. Discerning which parts are accurate and which need revision has never been easy. Yet we feel that we can begin to form some fairly accurate conclusions by comparing these various resources.
The family is of German origin and were among the early German families that settled in eastern Pennsylvania, when John Shuman, grandfather, emigrated from near Philadelphia to what is known as Minister's Run, Marion County, then Monongalia County. He was one of the first settlers in that section of Marion County. He had two brothers - Philip and another - who served in the Revolutionary War.
- from Biographical and portrait cyclopedia of Monongalia, Marion and Taylor Counties, WV, by Rush, West and Co. Publ., 1895. pp 86-87.
SHUMAN This family is of German origin and were among the early settlers in eastern Pennsylvania, whence John Shuman emigrated from Philadelphia to what is now known as Minister's Run, Marion County, then Monongalia County. He was one of the first to penetrate the wilds of that section of what is now West Virginia. He had two brothers, Philip and another, who served in the revolutionary war. He followed farming as a means of livelihood. He married Elizabeth Smith. Children: Mary, Rachel, Catherine, Joseph, Benjamin, Jacob, Sophia, David, Elizabeth, Hannah, Joshua, Jonathan. The Shumans were nearly all of the Methodist religious faith, and in politics, of later years, Republicans.
- from Genealogical and Personal History of the Upper Monongahela Valley, West Virginia, by Bernard L. Butcher, pp 960-961. Published after 1910.
John and Elizabeth (Smith) Shuman emigrated on horseback from near Philadelphia in 1776 and settled on Minister's Run, now Marion County. After some trouble with the Indians they made peace with them and they assisted him to build his log hut 16 by 20 feet. It had no floor and no ceiling. They proceeded to give the community what it needed - a population. They closed this effort January 22, 1817, when the youngest of their 14 children was born and no room was left in the log hut for more inhabitants.
- from History and Genealogy: Kendalls, Cunninghams, Snodgrasses, by Norman Festus Kendall, p. 158. Published ca 1940.
The same book, on pp. 27-28 reports
John and Elizabeth Smith Shuman settled on Minister's Run, in the Kendall community about the close of the Revolutionary War. The Shuman family are Germans, who came from Philadelphia, Pa. John and Elizabeth Smith Shuman had 14 children, 13 of whom lived to raise families.... The Shuman boys who came to Minister's Run were John, Philip, and the one who served in the Revolutionary War, whose name I do not have. Here are the names of John and Elizabeth Smith Shuman's children: Mary, Rachel, Catharine, Joseph, Benjamine, Jacob, Letitia, John, Sophia, David, Elizabeth, Hannah, Joshua, and one died in infancy.
We can conclude from these accounts that John was probably originally from the Philadelphia area, and that he arrived at Monongalia County, Virginia while the country was still sparsely populated and Indians were common. We can conclude that he probably came with his brothers, and was already married upon his arrival. It is apparent that people are unsure of the exact date of his arrival. We can conclude that he had a large family - although we are told he had 14 children, only 13 are named in one account, and 12 in another.
For further information, we will have to look elsewhere. An examination of some of the early court records for Monongalia County provides considerable substantiation for John's presence, and that of two other Shuman men, Henry and Philip, in the 1800 -1810 period. In the early court records, the name is spelled Shewman, Shueman, Sheman, Shoeman; as well as Shuman.
Despite the assertion made in the N. F. Kendall book, it is unlikely that John could have arrived much before 1790, simply because of his age and that of his wife. John's birthdate is generally given as 11 Dec 1764 in Lancaster Co. PA, although some researchers list it as 11 Dec 1774. His wife Elizabeth Smith is said to have been born in Germany in 1772. Further complicating the date of his arrival in WV is a hint that Elizabeth may not have been John's first wife. A Marion County Death Record states "Mary Kindell d. 5 Feb 1876, Marion Co., d/o John & Lucinda Shuman, age 86-10-25, b. East Va.; info s. Daniel." John did have a daughter Mary who married a Kendall, and whose youngest son was Daniel. Whoever this woman was, her birth date would have been on or about 11 March 1789. If this is the same person, it is apparent that her place of birth indicates John was not yet in Monongalia County in 1789. Even if this woman is not the daughter of John Shuman, there is still a problem with dates, because the Kendall book lists Mary Shuman's date of birth as 10 March 1786, making it even more unlikely that Elizabeth Smith was her mother.
The earliest discovered Monongalia County court record of John's presence is from 1797. A record was made of the sale of a tract of land of approximately 150 acres in Georges Township, Fayette County, PA by "John Shuman Junr" to a James Walker of that same place; the next similar record is a deed transfer recorded at the October Court, 1802, from James and Hannah Walker of Fayette County, PA to "John Shuman Junr" of approximately 100 acres on Paw Paw Creek, Monongalia County, with a marginal notation: "Delivered to J. Shuman jr 25th Aug 1800."
Taking those references to Georges Township, Fayette County, PA as a clue, we have found that the Fayette Co, PA Taxpayers Rolls show a John Shuman in Georges Twp. in 1789 and 1793. They show a John, Jr. in 1795, and both a John Jr. and John Sr. in 1798. This points strongly to John’s being in PA until at least the middle of 1798. It also gives us a hint that there may have been two men in the area by the same name; could they be father and son? We need to be cautious in assuming such, since it was common at the time to label any two men of the same name in the community as senior and junior, regardless of their actual kinship; the older became "Senior" and the younger, "Junior."
Further, the records for the Jacobs Lutheran Church, Georges Twp, Fayette Co, PA, show that a "Johannes Schuman" had several children baptized during the 1790s: Anna, b. 2 April, 1794, bpt. 19 July 1795; Rachael, b. 1 June 1795, bpt. 19 July 1795; parents Johannes and Elisabeth Schuman; Joseph, b. 11 May 1797, bpt. 30 July 1797, parents Johannes and Catarina Schuman.
There being no census records available for VA in 1800, and noting that John seems to have owned property in Fayette County, PA, we searched the 1790 census records for that area, and found a John Shuman listed for Georges Township, with 2 females. Records indicate "our" John had two daughters by that time. Thus, while recalling the possibility that he may have had a "first wife" - Lucinda - who died before he came to WV, it is possible that this is the person we are seeking. That thought is strengthened by finding a John Shueman listed in Springhill Township, Fayette County, PA in the 1800 census records, and a Phillip Shueman in Georges Township.
Claud C. Kendall, in his work, The Kendall Family (1978), states on page 280 that his ancestor Samuel Kendall and his brother Jeremiah had settled in 1782 on the head of Little Dents Run, then in Harrison County, VA, but about two years later, because of Indian trouble, they moved north "to Uniontown where Jeremiah bought land and stayed the rest of his life."
Claud C. Kendall goes on to state that Samuel was listed in the 1785 tax report as being a cooper and wagon maker, and says
Not liking it there he came back with the John Shuman family to Big Dents Run, Mannington and settled above the third right hand run as you go up: 1st- Little Dent's Run, 2nd- Hibbs Run (Rock Lick Run), 3rd- Rexs Run, and is buried in the Kendall, Baker, Jones Cemetery on land he settled around 1790. The Shuman family settled on the head of Drakes Run off of U.S. 250 about 2 miles north of Mannington where they stayed till 1820 when they sold and moved to Ministers Run and are buried about three miles above Baxter.
Five of the Kendalls were married into the Shuman family...
On page 286 Claud C. Kendall reports
The Shuman family settled at the Head of Drake's Run, Mannington, W. Va. and there were enough members in the family (his married sons, etc.) to call it the Shuman settlement as listed in Deed dated Aug. 4, 1820, Monongalia Co, W. Va. Bk. 1, Page 258 - James Kendall to Thomas LeMasters....
James Kendall, son of Samuel, Sr. and son-in-law of John Shuman - 8-12-20 had taken up 50 A bottom land from Buffalow Creek to include the mouth of Flat Run, Mannington, W. Va. This is recorded in Monongalia Co, W. Va - Bk. 1, Pg. 229. James Kendall and his father-in-law, John Shuman, later moved to Minister Run, Fairview, W. Va...
Thus, there is a rather sufficient body of documentation to place John Shuman in the Monongalia County area of (W)VA sometime during the final decade of the 18th Century, and identify that location as Drakes Run.
This conclusion is strengthened by another possible very early record, dated September 23, 1799, when a "John Seaman" and George Cunningham were witnesses to signing of a deed.
In 1800, John and Henry Shuman are listed among those in Trickett's District who are "delinquents"; they are among an even larger list of "delinquents for the County Tax of 1810"; in 1803, John and Henry are listed along with nearly 175 others as being "insolvent."
In 1801, 1802, 1804, and 1805, they are listed as "Persons Names Chargeable with the tax" in "A List of Taxable Property Within the district of Joseph Trickett, Commissioner in Monongalia County, for the year 180-." Philip's name first appears on the list in 1805. In 1802, both John Shoeman and John Shoeman, Jr are listed. John is identified as "exempted." The same is true for 1805, when they are listed as John Shuman, Jr and John Shuman, Sr, with the senior being "exempted."
On 30 January 1801 Henry was a signer on a petition for a change in the survey of a road, along with 17 others, including John Smith.
At the September Court, 1801, both Henry and John were named as "hands" to assist "David Musgrave, surveyor of the road from the dividing ridge between Indian Creek and Little Paw Paw to Gus Ballah's."
Philip Shuman is first found as defendant in a suit dated 11 April 1803 and brought by a Thomas Grayham of Fayette County, PA, in which Philip is identified as a resident of Monongalia County. He is next found as a witness to a deed transfer dated 13 April 1803.
In 1804, both John and Philip are signers on a petition to Monongalia County Court, which states: "We, your humble petitioners beg leave to inform Your Worships that there is a road wanting on Little Papaw Creek beginning at the mouth of said creek and to continue to Andrew Daugherty's the nearest and best way. For which Your Petitioners will forever pray." There are 17 other signers, including Samuel Keindel, Samuel Kendel and John Shewman. John also signed another petition for a road in the same year, this one "on the main branch of Indian Creek." There are 27 other signers, including Samuel Kindall Jr. and John Smith.
Henry Shuman is identified as an owner of property adjoining a tract being transferred, dated 9 June 1806. In 1806 and 1807, Philip and Henry are both included in the same court documents, in which an injunction bond signed by Philip was secured by Henry.
In 1808, Henry's name shows up on a list of people owing fees to the Clerk of Monongalia County District Court. In 1810, Philip's name is on the list.
In 1810, Henry is again mentioned as an owner of property adjoining a tract being transferred, this time, "situated on Indian Creek adjoining Henry Shuman" and others.
Henry, John and Philip are all listed on the tax rolls for 1810, and they can be found in the Virginia Census Reports for Monongalia County that year. All three are listed as being under the age of 45. Henry is listed as having two sons under the age of 10, one son between 10 and 16, two daughters under the age of 10, one daughter between 10 and 16, and his wife under the age of 45.
Philip is listed as having three sons under the age of 10, two daughters under the age of 10, two daughters between the ages of 10 and 16, and his wife under the age of 45.
John is listed as having 4 sons under the age of 10, 2 sons between the ages of 10 and 16, two daughters under the age of 10, one daughter between the ages of 10 and 16, and his wife under the age of 45.
Thus, although we have not been able to document John's parents, it seems likely that he is closely related to Henry and Philip. Plat maps of the time indicate that John's and Henry's properties may have touched, or have been very near each other, although they lived on different roads, and Philip seems to have lived just a mile or so nearer the river from Henry.
There are two or three further possibilities for siblings. Marriage records show a Catharine Shuman, b. 1749, marrying a John Cunningham in 1769. The Kendall/ Cunningham/ Snodgrass book calls her John's sister, but she is more likely his aunt due to the difference in their ages. If Philip and Henry are John's brothers, the great difference in age between Catharine and Henry makes it likely that Catherine was the aunt instead of the sister. Also, it is surprising that no other children were born or recorded between Catherine and John if in fact they were siblings.
An Elizabeth Shuman, aka Catharine Elizabeth, born about 1765, died about 1824, married about 1785 in Georges Twp, Fayette Co, PA Daniel B. Ashcraft, born 1761 Sleep Hollow, Berkeley Co, (W)VA. Daniel was the son of Ichabod Ashcraft, on whose property the Ashcraft Fort was built. They lived in Georges Township until moving in 1808 to Pike Twp, Coshocton Co, OH. He died in 1824 at Mt Vernon. She is the right age, and in the right location, to be a sister to John.
A George Showman is listed in Dunbar Twp. of Fayette County for 1800, with two sons under the age of 10; both he and his wife are under 25. Nothing else is known concerning him, but again, his age is about right to have been a part of the family.
And, a John Shewman is reported in Buffaloe Twp, Washington County, PA, which would have been just a few miles further northwest from the Shumans in Fayette County. He and his wife are reported to be age 45 or older, and they still have three young children, as well as one daughter 10 to 15 and four children 16 to 25. It is intriguing to consider the possibilities for relationships between this older man, born prior to 1755, with the younger familes. Was he the John Shuman, Senior reported in both Fayette County and Monongalia County at other times?
And what about the "Revolutionary War soldier" who is never named in the early historical records? Here is what we have found. Most directories and lists of Revolutionary War soldiers mention only three Shumans: Adam, Christian and Martin. However, there are hundreds of people listed in the Muster Rolls of Pennsylvania, and so we have hunted through some of them, also. In the Muster Rolls and Papers relating to the Associators and Militia of the County of Buckes, Pennsylvania, is "A List of the Militia Belonging to Captain Robert Patterson's Company of Militia in Tunicum Township Returned May the 22nd, 1780," which includes Peter Shewman in Class 1, Harbard Shuman in Class 2, Peter Shewman in Class 6, and John Shuman in Class 8. A Herman Shuman is listed as a Private in the Company under the leadership of Nicholas Patterson.
Others are listed in various reports. We found Daniel and Mathew Shuman listed as privates in "Soldiers of the Revolution" for Northampton County. A William Shuman is listed as a private on the "Pay Roll of Capt. Keefer's Company of Berks County Militia, 1782." A Conrad Shuman is listed on the "Depreciation Pay" roll for the Berks County Militia. Christian, Daniel, Matthew and Mathias Shuman, all privates, are listed on the "Depreciation Pay" roll for the Northampton County Militia. A Michael Shoeman is listed as a Corporal in the "Class Roll of Capt. Conrad Coor's Company 4th Battalion of the Lancaster County Militia, Commanded by Col. Zeigler."
Still, we see no Philip or Henry, and only one mention of a John. By their known ages, it is doubtful if any of them were old enough to have served in this war. John, who was probably the oldest, is generally thought to have been born no earlier than 11 December 1764. Henry's birth is generally placed at approximately Nov. 7, 1781, derived from the age span listed on his tombstone, and Philip's age is unknown, except that he was reported to be under the age of 45 in 1810, so he is probably between the other two.
How then do we explain the assertion made repeatedly in the early histories regarding one (or two) brothers serving in the Revolutionary War? There are three possibilities:
- The first is that we are wrong in our calculations, and have just not yet been able to locate the documents which will enable us to make the connection.
- The second is that we are wrong in our assumption that Henry and Philip are brothers to John; perhaps they are nephews.
- The third is that the histories themselves were wrong. Since much of the data for such books was supplied by the families themselves, with little if any verification process to check for accuracy, there was a strong temptation to make one's ancestors ever so slightly more heroic than they had actually been.
Anyone who has additional information regarding any of these early Shumans is encouraged to share it with the author, James Shuman.
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Updated August 3, 2006. Send comments to: James Shuman