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John Corbo of Pennsylvania – Land Records – Part 2

A mere six-months after John Corbeau’s arrival in America, a John Corbo received a land warrant in Oley, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania (on April 25, 1738).  According to the survey connected to this land warrant – the property was located in Alsace Township (situated in the Oley Valley) which was positioned in Philadelphia County (now Berks County), Pennsylvania.  The Oley Valley was settled in the early 1700s by Germans; French Huguenots; and Swiss a/k/a the Pennsylvania Dutch (“Deutsch”).  In fact, it appears that many of the passengers from the Billender Townshend ended up in the Oley Valley as well.  The village of Oley has a strong historical past and heritage.  In March of 1993, the entire Township was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  According to town history, Alsace Township was said to have been named for the region that the original settlers came from – Alsace, Germany (Alsatian; Elsass; Elsaß – which is now located in eastern France on the border of Germany and Switzerland on the west bank of the Upper Rhine River (present day Alsace, Champagne Ardenne-Lorraine, France).  This is very near Friedrichstal – the German village where Jean Corbeau immigrated from.  (In order to avoid confusion, it is necessary to understand that many of the eastern regions of France – particularly Alsace-Lorraine – were passed back and forth many times between the feuding French and Germans.)

Getting back to the land transaction involving John Corbo, we know that during this time period a man had to have reached the age of majority – which was 21-years of age. Accordingly, this John Corbo was born at least by 1717 but could have of course been much older.

In researching Colonial Pennsylvania land transactions, I had to familiarize myself with and understand the complicated process that the settlers went through in order to obtain land.  In Pennsylvania the initial distribution of land to settlers was a complex process – which thankfully yielded a wealth of information and historical records for us.  By way of short background, in 1681, William Penn received a charter from King Charles II which declared him the outright owner of the land that is now known as the State of Pennsylvania.  As such, William Penn was given the authority to dispose of the land as he saw fit.  The state land office was established in 1682 by William Penn and original deeds and patents were recorded by this office. The administrators and the Commonwealth provided individuals title to land in Pennsylvania through this five-step process:

Application:  Under William Penn all requests to purchase acreage at a desired location were made verbally (probably at the land office).  Later, under Penn’s heirs, applications were in writing.  In the case of John Corbo, his warrant was issued on 25 April 1738, and accordingly, he has no written application on file because, as mentioned, during this earlier period all applications were being made verbally.

Warrant:  This is a written order, based on the application, to survey the requested tract of land.  John Corbo’s Warrant states that he requested 100 acres of land “situated about two miles from Francis Lanciscees on Oley Hills in Oley Township.”  In his Warrant, John Corbo agreed to pay the sum of fifteen pounds and ten shillings for the land and “yearly Quit-rent” of one half penny Sterling for every acre thereof.warrant1

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Survey:  Once the application was made and the warrant issued, a surveyor physically measured and marked the land and prepared a survey.

Return of Survey:  After the survey was filed with the land office, the settler was required to make payment on the land.  The image below is the Survey attached to John Corbo’s warrant file.  This image will make more sense once the Patent is discussed below.  The land that belonged to John Corbo is in the upper right hand corner labeled with Phillip Reeser’s name.

survey1Patent:  A Patent was a written first title to the property conveying ownership to the individual submitting the application.  Subsequent transactions involving the property were generally conducted on the county level. If and when I locate the pertinent deed, I will update this post should it yield further information on John Corbo.  The Patent associated with John Corbo’s land transaction was “returned” 22 Dec 1790, some 52 years after the date of the application, and was shown to convey land to a Henry Reeser.  My initial question was whether John Corbo owed the land for 52 years.  The chain of title below clears this question up.  Once I begin poring over the land Patent, I began to get a clearer picture of how things actually transpired.  As it turns out, John Corbo only held the land for nine years – selling it on 1 Apr 1747.

…..there is granted by the said commonwealth unto the said Henry Reeser a certain tract of land called “Plainfield,” situated in Alsace Township, Berks County…….

……in pursuance of a warrant granted to John Corbo dated 25th April 1738 who by deed dated 1 Apr 1747 conveyed the same to Lawrence Hart who by deed dated 9th of July 1748 conveyed the same to Tider Brener & Benjamin Lightfoot Sheriff of said county having taken the same in execution to satisfy the debts of the said Brenor by deed dated 6th Feb 1788 conveyed the same to the said Philip Reeser in fee who conveyed the same to the said Henry Reeser….

Oddly enough, given the abundance of historical records maintained by the State of Pennsylvania, John Corbo appears in no other Pennsylvania record. I have reviewed many, many internet resources and have scoured the Pennsylvania collections of several libraries to no avail. Pennsylvania has marriage and probate records dating as early as 1682; church records as early as the 1730s; and naturalization records as early as about 1740.  (Note – tax records for the property mentioned above in Oley Township are not available until 1758 – over eleven years after John sold his property.)  John Corbo appears in none of the available records.  As always, the constant misspelling of the surname makes researching the Curbow family extremely difficult.  While searching for records, I found a John Cambree present in Philadelphia County in 1744; a Eberhard Karboe (with Christina C. Zink) present in Philadelphia county in 1753;  a Solomon Kirby, a Nathaniel Kirby – both known Curbow first names; a John Coble; and a John Carbough of York County, Pennsylvania.  None seem to be our John Corbo or seem to be connected to him.  What happened to John Corbo of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania?  Why is there no record for him after the sale of his land in 1747?  Did he die young?  More likely to me – he followed the German migration pattern and left the area.  Stay tuned for – John Corbo of Maryland.

QUESTION: We have established that the John Corbeau of Freichstals, Germany and the Jean Corbeau that arrived in Philadelphia in 1737 is one and the same person.  Now – is the German/French immigrant John Corbeau and the Pennsylvania land owner John Corbo one and the same person?

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2016 in Curbow

 

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Jean Corbeau of Pennsylvania – Part 1

We begin our journey down the family tree with a man who I believe could be our Curbow immigrating ancestor.  He is, in my opinion, a much stronger candidate than the Jean Carrieŕe mentioned in the 1949 newspaper article I detailed in yesterday’s blog post.  Of course, nothing is definitive and much more research needs to be performed and much more proof must be uncovered before we can tie him into our family line.

According to historical passenger and immigration lists, we know that a Jean Corbo (sometimes indexed in German as Johan Carbo) arrived October 5, 1737 at the Port of Philadelphia on the ship Billender Townshend from Amsterdam after a layover in Cowes, England. (Unfortunately, no women or children were listed on this particular ship’s manifest – only the men are listed). The captain did note however that there were 231 people on board and that they were Palentines.   The captain’s notes on the ship’s manifest read as follows:  Palatines imported in the Ship Billinder Townshend, Thomas Thompson, Master, from Amsterdam, but last from Cowes, as by Clearance thense. Qualified the 5th day of October 1737.” And further:  At the Courthouse of Philadelphia, October 5, 1737. Present: The Honorable James Logan, Esq., President; Ralph Assheton, Thomas Griffitts; Samuel Hasell. The Palatines whose names are underwritten, imported in the Billender Townshend, Thomas Thompson, Master, from Amsterdam, but last from Cowes, did this day take and subscribe the Oaths to the Government.” [Signers of the Oath of Allegiance to England] It appears that Jean Corbo did not sign the Oath of Abjuration. [Abjure – to solemnly renounce (a belief, cause or claim).]

From a publication entitled, History of the Clewell Family (published 1907) we get a glimpse into what Jean Corbeau’s voyage to the new world must have been like.  The Clewell’s ancestor, Louisa Franz Clewell was on board the Billender Townshend along with her two sons Franz and George.  It is stated that:  The Billender Towhshead anchored in the Delaware at Philadelphia on Saturday, October 5, 1737, from Amsterdam, Holland (page 21).  The account continues: According to tradition the voyage was a stormy one. Storm after storm overtook them and during one of these storms Johannes G’Fellern (Louisa’s husband) was drowned (page 24).

From the Captain’s list we know that on that same day all male passengers over the age of 16, including Jean Corbo, were taken to the Courthouse in Philadelphia to take the Oath of Allegiance to the British Crown. (From this record we know that Jean had to have been at least 16 years old to take the oath – so born at least by 1721; however, he was probably older because he was the only male Corbo/Carbo on the ship. In other words, he was not traveling with a father, uncle or older brother.)

Captain’s Ship Manifest – Billender Townshend – 10/5/1737

John Corbo’s Name as it appears on the Ship’s Manifest

There are numerous books which chronicle the early arrivals to the Port of Philadelphia, including, Pennsylvania German Pioneers: A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808, Volume I and Memorials of the Huguenots in America: With Special Reference to Their Emigration to Pennsylvania, both include a listing for Jean Corbo who arrived 1737 and settled in Pennsylvania. While the name Corbo or Carbo is not a proven or accepted name by the American Huguenot Society, it does appear that both the Germans and the Huguenots are claiming Jean Corbo/Johann Carbo in the two referenced books.

A brief historical review of the German Palatines indicates that they were early 18th century emigrants from the Middle Rhine region of the Holy Roman Empire (which is present day southwest Germany).  Toward the end of the 17th century and into the 18th century, this region was repeatedly invaded by the French military which resulted in widespread devastation and famine to this once wealthy region.  As early as 1709, the English began making promises of free land in the American Colonies, and this in turn triggered a mass exodus of these impoverished and desperate people.  In response, the English began a program of resettling these Germans in England, Ireland (County Limerick and County Wexford) and the Colonies (first to New York and later Pennsylvania).  (Again, it is important to note that during this time period all German emigrants were referred to as “Palatines.”)

It is entirely possible that Jean Corbo was what became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch).  The Pennsylvania Dutch were a cultural group formed by early German-speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania.  The true origin of the Pennsylvania Dutch is often confused – because the people known as the Pennsylvania Dutch are not from Holland but rather are of a mixture of German, Swiss, and French Huguenot origin.  The first wave of these settlers began in the late 17th century and concluded in the late 18th century.  Again, the majority of these immigrants originated in what is today southwestern Germany.  The first major settlement of Pennsylvania Dutch was located in northwest Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.  Many of these Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants then migrated down the Great Wagon Road into North Carolina.  This was particularly true after North Carolina established a “headright system” in the late 1700s where the state gave away one hundred acres to male heads of household who were willing to settle in western parts of the state.   Germans being a frugal people leapt at the opportunity of the free land being offered.  The Germans of western North Carolina generally migrated from Pennsylvania to the Yadkin River Valley.  This very closely follows the believed migration pattern of our Curbow ancestors.

Looking back at the passenger named Jean Corbo who arrived in 1737 on the Billinder Townshend – there are indeed some very interesting and compelling parallels between him and the history of the German Palatines, the Pennsylvania Dutch and their migration patterns.  In looking at the other passengers who arrived on the Billinder Townshend with Jean, it appears that many of them ended up in Philadelphia County (present day Berks County), Pennsylvania and that many of them originated from Friedrichstal, Germany.

In the Spring, 1973 issue of Pennsylvania Folklife, in an article entitled, Pennsylvania Emigrants from Friedrichstal, we learn that Friedrichstal, Germany was founded in 1699 specifically for Huguenot refugees.  In honor of Friedrichstal’s 250th birthday celebration, author Oskar Hornung wrote a town history (Friedrichstal:  Geschichte einer Hugenottengemeinde zur 250 Jahrfeier).  This book contains information on most of the founding families of Friedrichstal, and among them we find a Jean Corbeau.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate the book here in America – most copies are located in Germany.  Thankfully, it is among the collection of the LDS library, and I have ordered the film for review.  Luckily, I can read German, and I am very hopeful that we may glean more information about Jean Corbeau and his family.  I’ll update this post after I have reviewed the film  In the meantime, the referenced article  states that Jean Corbeau was a farmer with a family and that he arrived with them on the Ship Townsend at Philadelphia on October 5, 1737.

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Based on this article we can conclude that Jean Corbeau of Friedrichstal, Germany was a French Huguenot and that he and Jean Corbo of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania are one and the same person.

Can we conclude that Jean Corbeau is our immigrating ancestor?  No – but stay tuned for Part 2 – Jean Corbeau – Pennsylvania Land Records.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2016 in Curbow

 

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