29 July 2011

Newspapers Make Mistakes Too

The Chester County Historical Society has a row of file cabinets just for news clippings. The files are organized by subject (Still, C. -- for example) alphabetically and many contain copy of newspapers no longer in existence. Often valuable finds are discovered here. Sometimes mistakes are too.

I discovered one of those mistakes on Wednesday. An article dated 29 December 1900 from the Local is titled "An Old Copy Book." It reads:
Catharine Shimer, of Birchrunville, Chester County, has an old German copy book which belonged to her grandmother. It is well preserved and bears the date of 1795. It contains this memorandum: // Catharine Sheldrake, daughter of David and Mary Ann (Laubaugh) Sheldrake, born July 21, 1784, married 10th December 1800 to Charles Still, who was born September 6th, 1779, son of Charles and Margaret (Rhoads) Still. Charles Still, Jr., served his country during the Revolutionary War, the son Charles being born while he was in service. David and Mary Ada Sheldrake removed from Chester County in 1814, to Tuscarawas County, Ohio, along with their four daughters and one son, the oldest two daughters Catharine Sheldrake Still and Rebecca Sheldrake Kearns, remaining in Chester County, PA. Mary Ann Laubaugh was a daughter of Johannes and Ann Cathaine Laughbaugh, natives of Holland, Europe. They removed to America prior to the Revolutionary War and settled in Pikeland, Chester County, on a farm recently owned by the Fegley's, and the Joseph J. Tustin farm. Catharine Sheldrake Still had twelve children, all of whom are now dead, but Mrs. Catharine Shimer of Birchrunville, now in her 95th year, and Rev. Amos B. Still, residing at present in Phoenixville. // By her granddaughter, Catharine E. Shimer
Now clearly, Charles and Catharine could not have married in 1800 if she had been born 1784 and he in 1779. Also if the book bears the date 1795, it can safely be assumed this note was included well after the fact and simply by someone's memory. Hence the names and places are probably correct but not the dates. Also Charles Sr. would have been the one in the War not Jr.

While not entirely accurate, it does confirm Catharine's maiden name as well as Charles' mother Margaret's maiden name. If Charles Sr. was in fact in the Revolutionary War that also gives another place to look. It also - since he is father to my great-great-great-great grandmother - potentially gives me a shot at DAR membership (Daughters of the American Revoltion).

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