Paul J Phipps |
836 S- Harman Way #49
Orting, WA 98360
Tel- #(206) 893-5399
“OLD” PETER GRABILL & CONNECTION TO THE ELLERS
A talk given by me on 17 July 1993 at the Eller Family Association Conference hold In Portland. OR. 14-18 July 1993.
“My name is Paul J. Phipps. and I live in Orting, WA. Orting is about I50 miles north of Portland. near Tacoma, WA.
I have been asked to give a short talk today on “Old” Peter Grabill, and the connection with the Eller Family. “Old” Peter is my great. great. great. great. great grandfather.
I first became subconsciously involved in Gonmiogy. when I saw the TV series. Roots. My comment was. “I don't know. where I come from either”. Then a niece. who had become a Mormon. asked me in 1985 about our ancestry. I couldn't give her hardly anything. I know both of my grandfather's and that was it. I had never knowingly met even a cousin.
Well, my niece not knowing any better. wrote a letter to the Bristol. TN Postoffice. asking them If they would put her In contact with anyone living in the area named Bowling. my mother's maiden name. Lo and-behold thy did. My niece received a letter from an Ide Mee Boling. It turns out that Ida's father was my mother's brother, so Ida and I are first cousins.
I thought that was pretty neat. so I asked my niece to ask Ida if there was someone I could write to. I received the name, Curtis Bentley. who lived in Shady Valley. TN. where I was born. I lived there only the first few months of my life. My mother. father. and I moved to Seattle. where I've lived in and around my whole life.
Curtis answered my letter. than there were the phone calls. and the next thing I know I am on an airplane going to Shady Valley. Curtis, mother and mine were sisters. so we were first cousins. I was surprised to find that there were 3 aunts and 1 uncle an my dad's side that were still alive. I met the 3 aunts. but never saw the uncle. as he didn't live near. One day in Bristol, TN. I met 8 first cousins and their mother in one house. Their mother was an aunt. but by marriage.
When I got back from that trip, I was a hooked genealogist. and had even learned to spell the word.
In 1989. I bought a computer. My handwriting was so bad. that even I couldn't read it. People then started answering my letters. and I was really an my way.
In 1991, I became aware of the name Eller. My cousin Ida Mae Boling asked me if I could find the ancestors of her mother. Her maiden name was Margaret Virginia Eller. Ida thought her grandfather was named Lowery Eller, and that was all she know- Lowery had died in 1912, when Ida was only 3 years old.
In my efforts to find Lowery. someone suggested I write to a Bill Eller. who lived in Lakewood. CO. Bill apparently decided to help this obvious amateur. and he suggested I buy the Hook book on George Michael Eller. I did. and there was only one Lowery in the book. but according to the Census date in the book. this Lowery would have been 10 years old when he got married. That was pretty young even for TN. With a few more letters to Bill and Gerald Eller. it was determined, that the wrong census was quoted in the book. I had the right Lowery from day one. and my cousin. Ida. had the ancestry of her mother back to George Michael. In this process of finding Lowery, I had I earned a lot about the Ellers.
My second experience with the Eller name come. when I put a query in the July 1991 issue of the PA Mennonite Heritage. I was seeking the parents of my Peter Graybeal Sr., born in 1760. Dee (Simmons) Hepworth of Spokane, WA answered my query. as she was also seeking the some information. Dee and I were distant cousins, and had both gone to high school in Seattle. Dee is a retired school teacher and a long time genealogist.
Dee had recently installed her genealogy into a computer. She know that I was interested in the Eller name. so was kind enough to send me a lot of her old papers. I picked what I wanted, and sent the rest to Bill for his possible use.
There was an old letter in Dee's files from an Emmert Bittinger of Bidgewater. VA. In his letter. Emmert had suggested the possibility that Peter Graybeal Sr. may have been a nephew of a Christian Graybill, who has been documented. I had never heard that. so wrote to Emmert. In his answer to me. he said that he hadn't had the time to pursue this hypothesis. However, he suggested I write to a Joseph Platt of Oakmont. PA. I did. and in short time. I received a large package from Joseph.
Joseph had been trying to find the parents of his Joseph Grabill. He found that the parents that were included in the history of his line were definitely wrong. He was sure now that he has found the correct parents. and had all kinds of documentation for proof. such as Wills and Deeds.
These newly found parents for his Joseph Grabill were Peter and Mary Grabill. This Peter had written a Will in 1811 that named his 6 children. one being Joseph and one being Peter that had married Christina Wompler. I could hardly believe my eyes. This Christina was the daughter of Peter and Anne (Brannsison) Wompler Jr. It all fit perfectly. All of this takes place in Frederick Co. MD. That is where my Peter Graybeal Sr. married Christine Wompler. and their first child. John. was born there.
At the onset of my communication with Joe. he indicated he didn't went to correspond with a lot of people. So I become. sort of a middle non. I sent copies of what I received from Joe to William S. Graybeal. President of the Graybeal Reunion, and to few others.
Now, the reason I was asked to give this talk becomes evident. Two of 'Old' Peter Grabill's daughters married two of Henry Eller Sr.'s sons. Namely, Elizabeth Grabill married Joseph Eller, and Francy Grabill married Henry Eller Jr.
At this point. I decided that I should become a member of the Eller Family Association. With my first Chronicle. I know I needed a few back issues. Through the efforts of Bill and Gerald Eller. I was able to determine. which ones would be of help. That is when Charlotte Marshall come into my life. She supplied me with the back issues. One issue in particular was very informative. I found through a letter written to the Chronicles by Gale Honeyrman in 1990. showed that Chloe Lousia (Walker) Evans had found the Will of 'Old' Peter Grabill In the 1950s. This Information was in The Eller Chronicles. Vol. 4, #4. Nov. 1990. Obviously none of this information ever found it's way into the hands of genealogists researching Peter Graybeal Sr.
Bill then suggested I write to Clarice Stanley of Martins Ferry. OH, which I did. Clarice did not have a complete copy left of her computerized Eller Book. but she sent me that part. which I was most interested. Her information further confirmed what I had learned.
In addition to all the help Bill gave me, he also sent me a package of data on Henry Eller Sr., which has been very useful.
With all the help I have had, I do have a framework of the 6 children of 'Old' Peter and Mary Grabill. I think the first 5 children were probably born in Lancaster Co.. PA. The youngest child was probably born in Frederick Co.. MD.
Pertinent Wills and Doeft all recorded and filed In Frederick Co.. MD are as followm:
- Elizabeth b. abt 1754. married Joseph Eller. I have very little on this family.
- John b. 13 Nor 1755. married Anne Garber. They lived and died in Frederick Co.. MD. There were 4 children.
- Sara b. abt 1760. married Adam Smith Jr. I have very little on this family.
- Peter Sr. b. obt 1760, married Christina Wampler. They moved to VA in abt 1780 and were in Wilkes Co.(now Ashe Co.), NC in abt 1785. I have over 4000 descendents in my computer. There were 10 children.
- Francy b. abt 1765. married Henry Eller Jr. They moved to Washington Co.. PA in abt 1787. then to Montgomery Co.. OH in abt 1815. There were 11 children.
- Joseph b. abt 1770. married Barbara Garber. They moved to Washington Co.. PA in abt 1805. There were 7 children.
A typed copy of those are in the handout
- Deed of Old Peter Grabill. dtd. 21 Aug. 1769
- b. Will of Old Peter Grabill. dtd. 11 Mar. 1811
- Will of Peter Wompler Jr., dtd. 9 June 1792
- Deed of Joseph Eller (son of Henry Sr.). dtd. 21 Apr. 1794
- Will of John Grabill (son of Old Peter). dtd. 12 Mar. 1829
There is also a list. in the handout. of 79 Deeds, on the descendants and collaterals of 'Old' Peter Grabill and Henry Eller Sr.. in Joseph Piatt's findings. which are helpful.
I talked an the phone to Joe Piatt in March telling him I had been requested to give a short talk on 'Old' Peter. I asked him if there was anything now that would diminish his findings. He said no. However, he said he was now playing more golf. Finding 'Old' Peter was important to Joe, because he know that the previous parents, he and others had. for his Joseph Grabill were wrong. Joseph Grabill was the youngest child of 'Old' Peter.
Now I would like to relate a couple of little stories in regards to the Ellers.
In Sept. of 1989. I was on a visit to VA. TN. and NC. I had been to the West Jefferson Library. and was on my way back to my cousins. Roy and Marie (Elliott) Ham, of Rich Hill in Ashe Co., NC. I stopped in the town of Warrensville to do a little grocery shopping.
In the course of my shopping, I got in a conversation with a lady. who was also shopping. She was so mad at herself, because she had forgotten her grocery list. Then she proceeded to tell me she would be 98 on her next birthday on the 13th of January. I then told her she was lucky she was here to forget her grocery list. We had a good laugh. After I left the store. I wondered why I didn't got her name. Some genealogist I am. She, as you can see, left a big impression on me.
Then on the cover of The Eller Chronicles Vol. VI:4, Nov. 1992. there was a picture of Gertrude (Eller) Waddell that looked like the lady I had met in the grocery store. Gertrude had been killed in a headon collision of a car and a van. Gertrude was a passenger in the van. which was on its way to Sunday morning services at her church in Ashe Co., NC.
In the Chronicles, an article was written on Gertrude by J. C. Ashley. After reading the article, I gather that Gertrude had also made a big impression on lots of people. Was it possible that the lady I met in the store was Gertrude?
I wrote a letter to J. C., and asked him if he thought Gertrude was the lady I had met in the grocery store. The answer I got back. confirmed that the lady I had mot was indeed. Gertrude (Eller) Waddell.
On a trip to Rich Hill, Ashe Co., NC in May of this your. I taped a conversation with my cousin. Marie Hem. I asked Mario if she remembered her school teacher's names. and she started naming them for me. Then I would ask who their parents were. so I could later check to see if they were in my computer. Everyone of them were. so they all have notes that say they taught Mario in school on Rich Hill.
One of these teachers was an Irene Eller. Also, I asked her if she liked all her teachers. She said all but one, Irene Eller. She said. she was a very strict woman. Marie chuckled. when she said this.
Irene Eller was still alive in 1990. and she is listed as a retired school teacher in the Eller book by Hook.
I relayed this story in a letter to Minnie (Phipps) DeWease of Delta. PA. Minnie is a cousin to me and also to Marie. Minnie and Marie grow up together in Ashe, Co., NC. Minnie wrote back that she remembered Irons Eller and also Had an experience with her. It seems that there was a heavy snow, and Minnie couldn't get to high school. so she was allowed to attend the elementary school that Marie was in.
A girl was talking to Minnie during class. and Minnie was trying to let the girl know that talking wasn't allowed. As Minnie put it in her letter. I got picked on by Irene. Irene drew a circle on the blackboard. and told Minnie she would have to stand with her nose in this circle so many minutes. Minnie said no thank you. picked up her books and walked out. She hadn't gone very for. until she looked back and about 4 other students were following her. One of them was Maria.
Minnie added that Irene's father, Kirby Luke Eller. was our childhood mail carrier. He was a lovely man, and we children loved him.
Irene Eller was married to Dr. Millard Jams Graybeal.
I'm still trying to find an Eller in my direct line. but so for with no luck. Maybe, when I got back to Adam and Eve Eller, I will find the connection.
That ends my talk. Thank you-
If there are any questions. I will try to answer them.-