EMILY GEIGER’S FAMILY

Article by W.T. Brooker, The Lexington (SC) Dispatch, Wed., January 16, 1901

"Emily Geiger, daughter of John Geiger of the Fork, niece of Major Jacob Herman Geiger, married Llewellen Threewits in the summer of 1789. She died in 1825 and was buried in the Threewitts Cemetery. Emily was the granddaughter of Herman Hans Conrad Von Geiger [sic] who came to SC in 1745, and had two sons, John Geiger who married Emily Murph and lived in the Fork in what is now Newberry County, and Major Jacob Herman Geiger. Major Jacob Geiger, after the death of his first wife, married Miss Dorothy Kinsler. After Jacob Geiger died, she married Major Abram Geiger and lived until 1857."

Jan. 30, 1901: A. S. Salley wrote to say "that the records show that Brooker’s history of the Geiger family is in error."

Feb. 6, 1901: Brooker replied that his (Brooker’s) version can all be verified.

Commentary by Ms. Harriet Imrey: 

Documentation related to Brooker article:

  1. Residence of John Geiger. John Geiger did not live in the Fork (Dutch Fork region between the Broad and Saluda Rivers, including portions of modern Newberry, Richland, and Lexington counties) at the time Emily Geiger delivered a message for Gen. Greene. Following Greene’s retreat north across Newberry County from the siege of Ninety Six, his forces then marched south through Fairfield and Richland counties, remaining on the east side of the Broad, in order to intercept the British forces at Friday’s Ferry (Granby). Greene’s dispatches describe this route; so do the memoirs of Rawdon’s British troops. John Geiger’s home was on the east side of the Broad River near Cedar Creek in Fairfield County, near its southern border with Richland County. An early written account of Emily Geiger’s ride (Lossing, 1852) states that her family lived in Fairfield District. Since this is where Greene’s men were marching, it is the only place that they could have met Emily Geiger (actually, "Emmali" among Swiss families). John Geiger was a Grand Juror for this Old Camden County region called "Between the Broad & Catawba Rivers" (located in Fairfield/Richland) in 1778-79. In 1788, he signed the Articles of Incorporation for the Appii Forum Church of Cedar Creek, a Swiss Reformed congregation that later affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. In 1790, he (or a son of the same name) was listed on the Census records for the Fairfield/Richland section of Camden District. While late 19th century Newberry county historians wished to locate the Geiger household and its heroine in their own county, there were no Geiger families living there, either in the Jury Lists of 1778-79 or in the 1790 census.
  2. Names of Emily’s uncles. John Geiger’s brothers were named Hans Jacob (born 1718) and Hans Ulrich (1729-1777), per parish records of Hasloch, Berneck, St. Gall, Switzerland, and from Hans Ulrich’s family Bible. John Geiger was baptized in 1721. Herman Geiger (1707-1751) was John’s first cousin.
  3. Date of Emily’s marriage. In 1789, Llewellin Threewits and his wife Eleanor Fitzpatrick had their first and only child (per court testimony of their son Llewellin dated 3 Jan 1810). If Llewellin Threewits married Emily Geiger—as he may possibly have done—it was not while he and Eleanor were expecting a child.
  4. Date of Emily’s burial. The only tombstone in the Threewits Cemetery dating to the early 19th century, and still legible in the late 19th century, was that of Josephine Love Threewits (1793-1813).
  5. Emily’s grandfather. Her grandfather, Abraham Geiger, father of John, arrived in South Carolina on 1 Feb 1737 on the ship Prince of Wales, Capt. Dunbar, per notice in the Gazette dated 5 Feb 1737. He arrived with his wife, three sons, and a daughter, and received a land-grant of 300 acres dated 1742. Her grandfather’s older brother, Hans Jacob Geiger, was a former governor of St. Gall canton in Switzerland. He arrived with his wife, his married son Herman and family, his married daughter Elizabeth Schellig and family, two unmarried sons, and three unmarried daughters. His land grant of 350 acres was also dated 1742.
  6. John Geiger’s wife. A deed of sale dated 27 Mar 1759 identified Barbara Zanger as the wife of John Geiger. A second John Geiger, Herman’s youngest son, was living in SC at the time that Barbara Zanger was definitely married to one of the two of them. The second John had just celebrated his 11th birthday. Barbara was the daughter of Simon Zanger of Oberhasle, Bern, Switzerland. He had arrived on the ship Samuel on 13 Jul 1735 with his wife and child, then received a grant for 150 acres in Orangeburgh Township on 17 Oct 1735. Simon’s unnamed wife died, and he married Barbara Strauman (Stroman) from Waldenburg, Basel, Switzerland on 3 Nov 1737. After the death of Simon Zanger’s second wife Barbara (now married to Melchior Ott) on 21 Mar 1759, Barbara Zanger (now married to John Geiger) inherited her father’s 150-acre land grant and sold it the following week to her Ott step-brothers. There was nobody living in the area named Emily Murff. Of the three Murff (Morff) brothers who arrived from Zurich in 1750, Hans Ulrich died childless in the same year. Felix had no children as of 1750 (therefore no grandchildren 13 years later). Eldest brother Jacob Murff listed the names of his daughters—Barbara, Margaret, and Ann—in his will dated 10 Oct 1752. There were no other Murffs in SC at the time who might have had a daughter named Emily. The younger John Geiger (1748-1817) later married Jacob Murff’s daughter Ann.
  7. Major Jacob Herman Geiger. John Geiger’s first cousin Herman Geiger (1707-1751) was not a Major. As a licensed Indian agent of the Province, he was exempt from militia duty. The adult Geiger males signed their names to a 1742 petition to the government of Zurich asking for Bibles, hymnals and prayerbooks. Their names were Herman, Henry, Abraham, Jacob, John, and John Jacob. None of them (per any source) was ever named Jacob Herman.
  8. Dorothy Kinsler. Dorothy Kinsler (1771-1857) married Maj. Jacob Geiger (1763-1801), son of Herman Geiger’s oldest son John Conrad and his wife Barbara Murff. After his death, she married his first cousin Maj. Abraham Geiger (1770-1841), son of Herman Geiger’s youngest son John and his wife Ann Murff. Dorothy Kinsler Geiger Geiger died on 27 Aug 1857, per her tombstone. [Note: the writer’s information about Miss Kinsler spoils an otherwise-perfect record for mis-information.]

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