and related families of Heath, Gibbs, Coller, and Terry
The Pioneer Families of Tuscola County Michigan:
Allen, Heath, Gibbs, Coller and Terry
by Carol Schwaderer Dickinson
The families Allen, Heath and Gibbs at the time of the settlement of Tuscola County were much intermarried and their stories are so interlinked they cannot be separated. They came together from Williamsfield, Ashtabula Co. Ohio bordering Lake Erie and the Pennsylvania border. Unless noted otherwise, all these families were farmers or farm laborers.
The ALLEN family roots can be traced back to Suffield Connecticut where Ezekiel Allen, son of Reuben Allen and Sarah Remington, married Parnel Shattuck of undiscovered ancestry in June about 1800.
Ezekiel and Parnel had two known children, King Allen and later a daughter Harriet, who was born in Blandford, Masachusetts about 1805. The tombstone of King Allen (buried in Hickory Island Cemetery) indicates he was born in 1798. No further information about Ezekiel Allen is known. It is assumed at present he either died or abandoned the family around the time of Harriet's birth.
The GIBBS family was at that same time also in Massachusetts. There is a genealogy for the Gibbs family of that area entitled Genealogy of Giles Gibbs. There are many descendants of that family in Tuscola County. I can't say how or when they arrived. My branch of the Gibbs family is missing one link to tie into that line although scholars agree it is most likely the farthest back documented Gibbs in our line, Samual, b 1726 d 1808 is of that same family. His wife was Elizabeth.
Their son Samuel Gibbs Jr. b 1758 in Lyme CT married three times, to Lucy Brockway, Charlotte Tourgee and Catherine Johnson. Samual and Charlotte had 4 children, Elijah Gibbs who married Harriet Allen, daughter of Ezekiel and Parnel; Lucy Gibbs who married Joshua Heath; Dan Mather Gibbs; and Samual Gibbs, III.
The HEATH family was also of Massachusetts. The family came to America in the Winthrop fleet on the Lion from London in 1631. Joshua was the 5th generation born in Massachussets. He was the son of Eleazer Heath, a soldier during the Revolutionary War, and Abigail Robbins, whose sister Catherine Robbins married Eleazers brother Timothy Heath.
All of these families moved west to the Connecticutt Western Reserve and settled in what is now Ashtabula Co. Ohio, on the border with Pennsylvania.
The GIBBS and the HEATHS arrived in Ohio betweeeen 1815 and 1825. There are many Heath families still in the area. The Allens moved slowly across New York over about 20 years settling 3 times before arriving in Lockport NY in 1840 and then moving to Williamsfield in Ashtabula Co.
Harriet Allen married first Elijah Gibbs, son of Samual and Charlotte and after his death, when she was in her 50's, she married James Wean, who was the boy next door, literally. He was 18. Harriet and James moved to Tuscola County. After Harriet died, James married again in Tuscola county.
King ALLEN married Sarah Madison Wright about 1824. All we know of Sarah before the marriage is a note to a nephew that her father was a Scot. We do not even know whether Madison or Wright is her maiden name. There is reason to suspect that there may have been a previous marriage which produced 2 daughters.
The known children of the couple are:
1. Maria Allen who married Samuel Alonzo Heath, son of Joshua Heath and Charlotte Tourgee. This couple remained in Ohio all their lives and are buried in Williamsfield.
2. Hiram Allen, died the day after he was born.
3. Hiram Allen, married Charity. This couple moved to Tuscola County. Hiram volunteered and served as a Private in Company C. 7 Michigan Calvery Sept 1862 to Feb. 1865. He recieved a Gunshot wound to the left thigh, from which he died.
4. Harriet Allen died age 2 weeks.
5. Susan Allen, married Hiram Allen Gibbs, her first cousin who was the son of Harriet Allen and Eli Gibbs. This couple moved to Tuscola County.
6. Harriet Allen who married her cousin Elijah Gibbs, her first cousin who was the son of Harriet Allen and Elijah Gibbs and of course also her sister's husband's brother.
7. Orpha Allen who died at age 5.
8. King Allen J. who married Mrs. Morrison. They lived in Tuscola County.
9. Austa Allen, who married Samuel Terry. They lived in Tuscola County.
10. George Allen, who we believe was the son drowned in the Mississippi River, probably during the civil war. He was drafted.
11. Granger Allen who moved to Tuscola County and married Delia.
12. Alvin Allen who volunteered to serve in the civil war and died of wounds in September 1864.
13. Reed Allen, who also volunteered and died of wounds in May 1866.
14. Parnel Allen, who died at the age of 15.
15. Charlotte Allen, who was the first white baby to be born in Tuscola County November 1851, and the second white person to die, in 1852.
16. Wright Allen, born 1854 in Tuscola County, known to be alive in 1923, reported to be in Oregon.
Allens in the Civil War
Hiram Allen volunteered and served as a Private in Company C. 7th Michigan Calvery Sept 1862 to Feb. 1865. He recieved a gunshot wound to the left thigh, from which he died in October 1865.
Alvin Allen, who volunteered to serve in the civil war, died of wounds in Septmber 1864. His file is not handy and I don't remember exactly under what circumstances he was wounded and can't find his unit of service.
Reed Allen, who also volunteered, enlisting in Bay County September 5,1863 just 10 days after his 16th birthday. He served in Co. D., 10th Michigan Calvery, under Capt. Stephenson. He was shot in the right arm on July 10, 1864 while on picket duty near Knoxville, Tennesee. He was hospitalized in Halston Hospital until November 1864 when he was transfered to Detroit for further recuperation at Harper U.S. Army General Hospital. He was discharged disabled March 21 ,1865 and did try to support his parents by returning to farm work but died in May of 1866 from the wound. No record but my mother remembers family stories that lead to the conclusion the wound became septic. He was 18 at the time of this death.
According to a newspaper interview of Austa Allen Terry, her brother George did not volunteer but did serve during the war and drowned in the Mississippi. I have not been able to get his military record from the National Archives, probably because the name is too common and I can't give anything more specific.
Harriet Allen's husband Elijah Gibbs, her first cousin, was the son of Harriet Allen (sister of King Allen and Eli Gibbs) and Eli Jr. was a corporal in Company A., 2nd Michigan Calvery. He served from Aug 21, 1862 until January 20,1865. My husband dropped and scrambled all my files. Eli Gibbs was wounded in the battle of Fredricksburg if I recall. Harriet traveled to see him in the hospital. There is a poignant note from her to the officer in charge begging to see him. There is a note from the Veterans census of 1890 that he was disabled with anemic dysentaery during the war.
All of these boys lived in Tuscola County before the war and except for George who drowned in the Mississippi returned to Tuscola County before they died. We have no membory of where he may be buried if the family ever knew.
The GIBBS family papers mentioned in legal documents in Ashtabula County, Ohio show that Elijah Gibbs (son of Samual and Charlotte) and Harriet Allen (daughter of Ezekiel and Parnel) had the following children:
1. Parnel Gibbs who married Andrew Leffingwell. They are buried in Williamsfield Ohio.
2. George W. Gibbs
3. Charlotte Gibbs who maried Thomas L. Simons, they moved to Tuscola County.
4. Elijah Jr. who married his frst cousin Harriet Allen. They moved to Tuscola County, and later he married Mary E. Van Gisen.
5. Hiram Gibbs whoh married his first cousin Susan Allen. They moved to Tuscola County.
6. Alexander Ralson who married Rosanna and moved from Ohio to Ionia Michigan in 1900.
Lucy GIBBS, also the daughter of Samual and Charlotte, married Joshua Heat. They lived their lives and are buried in Ashtabula County next to the Leffingwells, Allens etc.
Their children were:
1. William Heath
2. Joshua heath
3. Linas Heath
4. Ezra Heath who married Molina Collar, and moved to Tuscola County.
5. Samual Alonzo Heath who married Marria Allen oldest daughter of King and Sarah Allen.
They remained in Ohio.
Little is known of the COLLER family. They probably were in Ohio. There were 4 sisters: Molinda Coller who married Ezra Heath; Martha Coller who married Wilbur Moreland; Amanda Coller who married a Holmes; Celia Coller who married Philip Honsinger.
I have not verified the family rumor that the husbands of these Coller aunts received bounty land for serving in the Civil War. If true I don't know if they arrived in Tuscola County because of the bounty land, or had been there previously. At least some of this bounty land was later purchased by their nephew Homer Terry and added to the Terry family farm which is on Gilford outside Caro. and has been farmed by Lee Terry for 60 years and his ancestors for decades before that.
(This information from my father George Schwaderer who is a surveyor and civil enginner and says he had occasion to review the land records of the Terry farm in the early 1950's).
Molinda and Ezra Heath had 2 children: Gibbs Heath who remained unmarried; and Mary Lydelia who married Elias Samuel Terry.
Martha and Wilbur Moreland had 4 children: Delia married Emerson Heath, who was the grandson of Joshua and Lucy through Linas Heath; Hulda who married Linmore Lighthall; Hatttie Moreland; and Melvin Moreland.
Amanda and Mr. Holmes had Celia Holmes; William Holmes; Rilla Holmes who married Emanuel Peterhans; Lena who married George Sherman; and Frank who married twice, first wife unknown, second wife Carrie Sherman.
Celia and Philip Honsinger had 5 children: Althea, Lloyd, Ralph, Ruby, and Walter.
The TERRY family came by a different route. They immigrated to America in 1635 and settled in Southold Long Island, New York. The family remained in the Long Island area until the revolutionary war. Some were Patriots and served in the American forces during the war. Another branch was stongly Loyalist and served in the British Forces. That branch settled in Ontario and became revered founding fathers. Nevertheless the family remained in contact and migrated and explored west together. It was a large family and they were adventurers. Members of both branches founded Pontiac, Michigan arriving in around 1830 and explored a lot of the Michigan coastline on Lake Huron.
The Tuscola county Terry's began with Samual Terry who married Austa Allen. He was the son of Joshua Terry of Pontiac and lived there all through his childhood as best we can determine. There are several Joshua Terry's in Pontiac at that time but researchers agree he is the son of William Nathan Terry (known as Nathan). He and his father Parshall Terry both served in the Revolutionary War on the American side. We are fortunate that Austa Allen Terry dropped by the Tuscola County Advertiser about 1920 in a chatty mood. She was in her 80's at the time. They published a lengthy piece on her rememberances on the front page above the fold. The text follows:
KEEPS UP WITH THE TIMES ALTHO OVER EIGHTY
Mrs. Austa Terry Has Tried All Means of Transportation Except Flying
Came to Juniata 70 Years Ago
Mind Clear and Recollections Keen of Happy Times in the Old Days
Mrs. Austa Terry of Detroit, one of Michigan's early pioneers, was
a cheery caller at The Advertiser Saturday. She has been visiting
her sons, Ami and E. S. Terry, her daughter Mrs. Porter Phelps, besides
relatives in the vicinity of Caro. Despite the 80 years she has
passed thru and the great changes and progress she has
witnessed, Mrs. Terry is a charming conversationalist with a
fine memory. She has many a story to tell of the olden days
when Tuscola county was but a wilderness, when even
railroads were an unknown means of transportation, not
to mention automobiles and aeroplanes.
Mrs. Terry chanced to be in a reminiscent mood and, drifting into
conversation, told something of her pioneer life.
"I am the last, with my brother,Wright Allen, now of Portland Ore, of a
party of pioneers who came to Tuscola county in 1851,
from Williamsfield, Ashtabula County, Ohio. There were
15 of us and we came in three covered wagons, regular prarie schooners -
Father, Mother, my sisters and brothers, grandmother Parnell Allen,
also my aunt, Harriett Wean. My father, King
Allen, (bought) 160 acres and settled in Juniata one mile from
Watrousville. we stayed at Patrick McGLONE's log tavern
while father built a long, low shanty for we were a large family,
eight boys and eight girls, and we spent the happiest days
there of any in our lives."
"I remember the great crane for the kettles to hang on in front of the
rude fire place and the oven of stones in which our
bread and johnny cakes were baked fit for kings. Often we went
to sleep listening to the howl of the wolves at the edge of 'clearing'
but never afraid - pioneer children never knew fear.
We went berrying with the Indian children -
leaping from log to log in a
tangled thicket, happy as the day is long."
` "Father sawed and hewed logs and made rough boards and built the first
school house in Juniata - and it has always been called the 'Allen school'
in his memory, altho now it has changed from the
little log building to a modern brick, with late appliances.
Father went to Flint for the window sash and glass.
Flint was our nearest trading point and post office. In 1853 our
first session of school was held with Miss Harriett MILLER as teacher.
How proud we were of our school! There were 14 scholars,
six from our family and the rest from the RUSSELS,
McGLONES and Ephraim SMITHS. Once at some holiday time 'teacher' had no
presents to give us, but she had some pretty paper
and she wrote a verse for each of us on a slip and gave it
to us - I have that slip yet - a treasure indeed."
"That same year I remember great excitement over the big road to be
opened through the woods. It was surveyed and 'slashed' and everyone
turned out to help, for in spring and mostof the summer,
it was almost impossible to get anywhere over the rough trails."
"Father kept our teams on the trails most of the time to pack in
provisions for us. We had plenty of meat for the
Indians (brought) us nice fat venison, bear steak, (which is like beef steak only
much nicer) and fish from the streams. No selected bill of
fare at a a New York hotel could equal those meals cooked by mother -
and we were not troubled with poor appetites either."
"Did you know that Samuel SHERMAN was the first white man to build a
house in Caro:
Well, he was, and the house he built is upon what was the ATWOOD
homestead on the hill - the building yet stands, altho it has been
framed over into a barn."
"My sister Charlotte, was the first white child born in Tuscola
county. She was born November 24, 1851 and died the 24th of the
following March. William LAW's death was the first
in the county and our little Charlotte's the scond. Hiram GIBBS, Hiram
ALLEN, Elisha GIBBS and my father, King ALLEN, each purchased 160 acres of land
adjoining a wildwood of farms -
and they hewed out their own roads in true pioneer style. After 1853,
the county was settled quite rapidly, and among the earliest settlers were
Elijah and Daniel KENYON."
"The Indians about 200 of them used to go to Bay City year for their
land pay from the government and they received,
old and young, if only a day old $35 a piece and two blankets.
This, I think continued for 35 years."
"I do not mean to say that nowadays, folks are not neighborly enough,
that friendships are not so lasting as in pioneer days, but I remember that nothing
seemed too much for one neighbor to do for another,
to offer pay was unheard of to accept would have been a breach of
pioneer faith. 'There was more laughing and less sighing'. We worked
together to make the country what it is today with charity
and good will to all. I have lived to see the result - from
shaties, beautiful farm homes, from a wilderness, smooth, finely tilled
rich farms where once the bears, wolves and lynx prowled
and where the pretty deer came in daytime to peer at us from leafy shelter.
I was married to Samuel Terry April 14, 1859 at Elisha Gibbs' home
and my husband died January 7, 1896.
I have seen two great wars settled - in the Civil War my brothers, Hiram
Allen and Reed Allen were volunteers. They came home to die of wounds.
My brother, Gordon Allen was drafted. He drowned in the Mississippi river."
(Note: It is assumed this interview was taken down by a stenographer and
Gordon is wrongly transcribed by the reporter but that she said George. Elijah
was also recorded as Elisha..)
" And my grandson, Pierre Terry, Ami's boy, entered the service of his
country in the late war. We rejoice that he has returned safely."
"Sometimes when I hear what a board, a common little board costs now my
memory goes back to the day of 'clearing up' - the finest basswood,
pine and oak logs burned in order to
raise crops - what would they bring now. Sam STUCK has the first
sawmill near Wahjamega and he sawed lumber very cheaply - 20 boards then
for what one would cost now."
"I was ten years old when we came to Michigan, I am 80 now - what
changes - now the desert blossoms like the rose and my last days are happily
spent with my son Reed and my
daughter Sadie who look after my every comfort. They won't let me
work, but I have taken up embroidering and so keep busy."
"I am glad to have seen all these wonders. We are a long lived family
- my father was 84 years old at the time of his death and had not lost
one of his teeth - that's remarkable, isn't it?"
and bright-eyed little Mrs. Terry bustled out of The Advertiser office
where her son's automobile was in waiting.
"You see, I have to keep up to the times," she said.
submitted by Carol Schwaderer Dickinson July 2000.
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