Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Simon Rinehart's Namesake
Is it just that the name Simon Rinehart was ubiquitous among the children of Greene County, Pennsylvania, settlers? Finding the right Simon Rinehart—and, thus, the correct parents for him—is complicated by the local lore of one man by that name who tragically lost his life there by 1781. No matter how touching it might be that one Simon Rinehart lived on for so long in the memory of his fellow Greene County pioneers, that still doesn't help me identify the right parents for the Simon Rinehart who was my mother-in-law's third great-grandfather. And that's my main focus in this search.
I've been working on this problem for years, off and on, but it wasn't until yesterday, when I built a tree for one seemingly unrelated neighbor to our Simon Rinehart, that I began stumbling upon exciting details. That "seemingly unrelated" neighbor was a man by the name of Isaac Brown, who kept showing up in the wills of members of our Rinehart relatives, and for good reason.
For whatever reason, Isaac Brown thought it was an appropriate gesture to name his eldest son by the same name as the man for whose will he eventually served as executor. However, Simon Rinehart Brown was born barely two weeks after the husband of our Simon Rinehart's daughter Sarah had died—the 1840 will where I first spotted Isaac Brown's name.
With such wide disparities of dates of birth and death for the extended family, I'm beginning to question all the material I've assembled on this Rinehart family. After all, research confusion can reign when multiple descendants in the same family chose to name their children after the same ancestors. That may precisely be the case here.
Before we jump to such an alarming conclusion, though, let's take a look at this specific Simon Rinehart Brown, son of that Isaac Brown who kept showing up in Rinehart family wills. First of all, Simon Rinehart Brown was likely born on August 2, 1840. His birthplace was reported as New Lexington, Ohio, according to his obituary—which happens to be the county seat of Perry County, the destination of our associated Gordon and Rinehart families once they left Greene County, Pennsylvania, in the early 1830s.
Furthermore, the most reasonable explanation for the insertion of the middle name Rinehart into this Simon Brown's name is that that was his mother's maiden name. Cassa Rinehart was among those early arrivals in Perry County from Pennsylvania, as her marriage to Simon Rinehart Brown's father Isaac was documented on July 13, 1837, in that very county. As a young single woman during that era, it is unlikely that she would have traveled there unaccompanied, so unless she was, by that time, an orphan, it is possible that we can identify, among all the Rineharts there, the most eligible man to be her father.
However, we could just cut to the chase and pursue a suggestion made by a volunteer who posted such information on Cassa Rinehart Brown's Find A Grave memorial. There, the assertion is that Cassa was the daughter of "William and Lila Ingram Rinehart" who were married back in Greene County, Pennsylvania, in 1812.
As I said, we could do that. But having poked around the old records and various histories of both Greene County, Pennsylvania, and Perry County, Ohio, for far too long, I know too much about the Rinehart and associated families to be satisfied with doing simply that. One telltale clue is the spelling for "Lila Ingram," but there are other details which have me concerned.
With that, to find our Simon Rinehart's parents—and those for Cassa's mother "Lila," too—there is nothing else that can be done but to go back to both Perry County, Ohio, and Greene County, Pennsylvania, and take a closer, deeper look at all the Rineharts and their associated friends, neighbors...and in-laws.
Above: Though too faded a version to discern the writing on the copy available at Ancestry.com, this version available at FamilySearch.org reveals the date when, a day after their marriage, the minister provided his return to the Perry County, Ohio, courthouse for the marriage of Cassa Rinehart and Isaac Brown (see entry #112).