St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Monday, June 16, 2008

1864 Will Located for Widow of a Patriot

There goes the phone again. Here it comes with a new find.

One of my cousins, who always delights me with his now famous, "I've found something," called and relayed the welcome news. Today, I received the news via snail mail.

He has found the 1864 probated will of Margaret Harbsion Moffitt Simmons. Margaret was born c. 1795, the daughter of American Scout John Harbison and wife, Massey White. Massey's story in itself is fascinating. She was kidnapped by Indians, escaped, came back to Pittsburgh area, and gave invaluable information to the locals regarding the Indians and some local supporters of the Crown. Massey even has a Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter named in her honor in Pennsylvania.

Margaret first married a Mofftt but is quickly widowed. She then becomes the third wife of John Simmons (1761-1843). Her will has been published in a recent book about Pennsylvania Revolutionary War pensions. Now we have her death date (March 9, 1964)! Now we know more!

Now we have more mysteries to solve! Her will mentions land in Iowa? She gives this land to her daughter. I have always assumed this eldest child of hers was from her first marriage. Did the daughter move to Iowa? Did she sell the land? How did they get this land? Was it given to her husband? So many questions.

The big surprise in her will was the mention of two children of which I was unaware. The order on the will leads me to suspect one of them was from her first husband, and the other was with John. I've even got a husband to go with this name! Time to search again in Wasington Co, PA, for this new name.

I still don't know where she is buried. Was she buried in Wheeling, WV, with her husband who died in 1843 or was she buried in Washington, PA? So far, all of my stone turnings have not turned her up.

I'm off to investigate land deeds in Iowa now. How far will my search lead me? How much will I learn? I've certainly learned history on two continents during my tenure in genealogy and have gained an even deeper appreciation of early America.

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