Saturday, July 7, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 27

Since we celebrated the 4th of July this week, the writing prompt was Independence. My mind immediately went to 1776. To date I have identified one relative who served in the American Revolution. My 6 times great-grandfather Jacob Christopher Kern was born in 1742 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He was the youngest child of Johann Georg Kern and Catharine Elisabeth (Fraudhueger) Kern, who were married in Niedersteinbach in 1723. Niedersteinbach is in Northeastern France near the border of Germany.

About 1770, Jacob married Catherine Elizabeth Utt in Northampton, a Pennsylvania county that was carved off of Bucks County in 1752. Jacob and Elizabeth went on to have 8 children, two of whom were born prior to the Revolutionary War.

As Bucks County was very near Philadelphia, Jacob would have been at ground zero when the first and second Continental Congresses took place in 1774 and 1775. The second Continental Congress formed the Continental Army by resolution on 14 June 1775 to coordinate the military efforts of the thirteen colonies in their revolt against Great Britain. It is no wonder that he ended up serving in the war.

Jacob was commissioned by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Spyker, who commanded the 2nd & 6th Philadelphia battalions. Jacob was a 2nd Lieutenant under Captain Phillip Hetrick’s company from Berks County in 1776. He then served as a 1st Lieutenant in Captain Henry Shepler’s company, also in Berks County. As 1st Lieutenant, his job duties may have included teaching the soldiers discipline, order and fearlessness. As most men had no military experience prior to enlisting, he would have taught them military formations and how to be soldiers. In the event of the captain’s death, Jacob would have stepped in to take over the company. The last information I could find on Jacob indicated that he was a Corporal under Captain Philip Hahn in the New Hanover township company as of December, 1778.

It is written in military articles that Corporals were not often with their regiments as they were off performing other duties, which perhaps explains how Jacob and his wife had a daughter who was born in December of 1778. Five more children followed, the last of whom was born in Pennsylvania in 1792.  By 1793, the family had moved to Hamilton County, Ohio. Jacob died shortly after the move, leaving Catherine on her own with the eight children.

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