Abt 1728
Tulpehocken Creek, Berks co, Pa, Usa
Near Fort Harness, Hardy co, Va, Usa
                   or 1758	1  CAUS Killed and scalped by the Indians and carried to the Fort.

Scalped by Indians. Harness, Harold, The Harness Family History, p. 8 (Gateway Press, Baltimore 1983)(; accord, Westfall, Ann, Westfall Genealogy, p. 2

John L. Tevebaugh


Died in the presence of his mother but not in the same year as his brother.

Conrad's name was the second of the names to appear in a public public document.66 This occurred in Augusta County among the members of the well-known Samuel Decker Coroner's jury which met on 14 April 1749 on the South Branch of the Potomac River.67 Conrad was identified, with his father, as a "Hoerner." There are several facts about Conrad and his family that logically derive from this document: (a) that the use of the surname, "Harness," for the boys in that family had not yet, in 1749, become a fixed practice; (b) because the father was identified on that jury list as "Johann Michael Hoerner," it firmly identifies that Michael as Conrad's father;68 and (c) that Conrad's age by April of 1749 was at least 21, because 18th century Virginia law required that to serve in that capacity, or to enter into deeds or bonds or many other formal public instruments and relationships a person had to be at least that age.69

Being at least 21 by early 1749 also means that he had been born several years before the family left Tulpehocken, and born before that area was considered a part of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.70 The considerable time that Conrad resided in the succeeding Lancaster County opens the possibility that he may have married before coming to Virginia. No documents have yet been found even to hint when he married or to whom. Family tradition tells us that he married a Mary/Molly Yoakum/Yocum and had a daughter, both of whom were killed when he was. But, there is absolutely no proof of a wife's name or child's gender. Only the inventory and appraisement of Conrad's estate showed such personal items as "two womans Gowns," four Pettycoats" and "Childs Cloaths" to testify to a marriage and a child.71

The death of Conrad has been the focus of three long-standing traditions in the Harness family. Probably the most often quoted story comes from an interview with Conrad's nephew, George Trumbo, done sometime in the 1830s in Bath County, Kentucky. This was part of a collection of interviews by John D. Shane, whose collection ended up as part of the famous Draper Manuscripts.72 George's birth twelve years later to Conrad's sister would normally have placed him in an advantageous position to hear the story told by the closest family members as he grew up along the South Branch.73 But, there are two other contributors to the tradition. One was the most generally quoted source for Harness tradition, Helen Yoakum Black, who was born at the very end of the 1700s and was a granddaughter of one of Conrad's sisters. Helen's letters in the 1880s to other descendants have served as the most prominent source of family tradition and detail. The third contributor to the family tradition, apparently not nearly as widely used as Black, was William Fisher, another grandchild of a sibling of Conrad.74 These three tradition bearers provide an interesting mix of stories about the deaths of Conrad and his family. Trumbo's tale was basically that he and his wife and child, on their way home from church after the child's christening, were set upon by Indians and all killed. Black does not repeat this, but instead told an elaborate story about finding the bodies of wife and child. Fisher told an entirely different story about the deaths in his early 1879 letter. His account completely changed the circumstances of the deaths, and even had the wife rescued from the Indians after the child's death.

How do we use these stories? What kind of documentation do they provide for Conrad and his family? The answer is: virtually none All the three agree upon is that Conrad and his wife had a child, and that Conrad and the child were killed before the incident ended. That much was told us with as much validity by the inventory of his estate. That is the only documentation we have in addition to the administrator's bond. All the interesting and conflicting detail must be left in the realm of legend until something valid is found to corroborate it.

Married early or later, Conrad was active in public affairs during the years on the South Branch under Augusta County regulation, and well into 1755.75 On 28 November 1750, Conrad, referred to here as "Harness," was one of 4 men, perhaps including his father, ordered by the Augusta Court to "value and appraise" the estate of the prominent James Rutledge on the South Branch.76 He also was among 4 men ordered to perform the same duty three months later for John Mitts' estate; but that time he did not participate in the final inventory and appraisal.77 Yet, he did so the next day for the estate of Henry Thorn. In that instance, Conrad and the other two were unable to complete their task for two years, bringing their appraisal back to the court on 27 April 1753.78

He expanded his community involvement somewhat that Spring of 1753 when, on 22 March, he took the oath required by his new commission as a militia Lieutenant in a company of foot soldiers.79 His appraisals of neighbors' estates continued. On 21 November 1753, Conrad and two nearby residents returned two appraisements for the unfortunate Scott family. Significant on each of these was Conrad's first recorded use of a signature "mark," a simple "C. H." between his first and surname that were written by someone else.80 After a year of no evidence of such activity, he and two neighbors returned their appraisal of Daniel Richardson's estate to the Augusta court on 5 March 1755.81 This proved to be Conrad's last documented public service.

Harness family historians and descendants have almost always dated Conrad's death as taking place shortly before February 1764; and they have pointed to his younger brother, John, as his estate administrator. They were wrong. Probably less than half a dozen have found an earlier date, but they never have made their case. Those who say 1764 think their documentation sound; and it is to a point. But, the point is that the administration bonded in February 1764 was the second administration of Conrad's estate, not the first Therefore, 1764 has no direct bearing on the year of Conrad's death. Those searchers just were not diligent enough, for the documents for the first one were in the same box as the documents for the second, just in a different envelope

Conrad Harness died some six years before 1764 The administrator's bond, the only document there seems to be, is dated 14 December 1757, and the administration was undertaken by Conrad's brother, Michael. We know this is his brother because Michael's signature "mark" is the same one that he used consistently on all Hampshire County documents: a somewhat large cross with a cross-arm that slopes slightly down on the right side.82

What errant Harness searchers failed to consider was that, when brother Michael himself was killed in 1763, a new Administrator would need to be appointed for Conrad's estate. Until that time, however, the management of Conrad's estate moved ahead. Probably somewhat slowed by actions during the waning years of the French and Indian War, George See and three other neighbors completed their appraisement of Conrad's estate and returned it to the Hampshire County Court on 11 May 1763. Their listing of personal clothing items was mentioned earlier as corroborating the existence of a wife and child.83 Then, the death of brother Michael the ensuing August necessitated the appointment of a second Administrator, which the Hampshire Court did on 15 February 1764 by appointing Conrad's brother, John, to that position.84 Later, on 12 December 1764, the Hampshire Court ordered a final settlement of the Conrad Harness Estate's previous administration [by Michael, Jr.] and the balance of £156-80-0 [Virginia pounds] turned over to John.85 A subsequent settlement was received and ordered recorded on 12 March 1765; and finally, on 10 March 1772, the court received the final account of Conrad's estate by John Harness. This seemed to contain the proceeds of rents and sales of some horses, all of which were examined and settled by officers of the court. There were no statements made as to the disposition of the estate's final balance of £162-19-0.86

Thus, the existing documents have told us these things about Conrad Harness: (1) that he, like his father first, was known on the South Branch as a Hoerner, at least for a short time; (2) that he probably was one of the two eldest sons of Johann Michael Ernst Hoerner, born in Pennsylvania in the 1720s; (3) that he was active in the public affairs of his area, especially making inventories and appraisements of estates of deceased neighbors; (4) that his own estate inventory supports the family tradition that he was married and had a child, but nothing exists to document the name of his wife or the gender of his child; (5) that he died 7 years earlier than nearly all family accounts have said; and (6) that his first estate administrator was his brother, Michael.

66. There is a distinct possibility that it may have been the first. This depends upon the final identification of the 'Michael Harness" who was in the Augusta County Court, May through August 1747, on an assault charge; and whether the Michael Harness appraising the John Bogard estate in 1747 and 1748, and the John Woolfallier estate in 1748, was the father or the son. If the son were either, then his name would have been first; if not, Conrad's would be. Unless original estate papers from these estates are found, we simply will not know. A few Harness family researchers cite a list, claiming to be an "Official Copy of First Census Taken in 1748," which contained Conrad's name as evidence that he was a resident of Frederick County on the South Branch, and in South Branch Manor, by that time. Unfortunately, that list has never been found in the archives where it was said to be, despite 20 years of searching by the archivist; letter, Rebecca A. Ebert to the author, August 31, 2000. Therefore, it cannot be considered a valid document.

67. "Coroner's Inquest on the South Branch, Augusta County, into the death of Samuel Decker, son of Garrett, 14 April 1749," in "Augusta County, Court Judgments; Original Petitions and Papers. Filed in the County Court" [see Lyman Chalkley, comp., Chronicles of the Scotch-lrish Settlement of Virginia; Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County, 1745-1800 (3 vols., Baltimore, 1965),1, p. 433].

68. Michael, the son, never was identified as a Hoerner in documents we have found, indicating only that confusion with his father through the use of the Hoerner surname did not happen.

69. John P. Alcock, "18th Century Virginia Law," Lecture to Friends of the Virginia State Archives, 17 November 1999.

70. Lancaster County was not formed as the 4th county of Pennsylvania until 10 May 1729. Until then the area was in Chester County.

71. "Appraisement of Estate of Conrad Harness" returned to the Hampshire Court, 11 May 1763, in Hampshire County Court Records, 1736-1785, Box 1, Envelope 6 [5 pages]; [LDS microfilm # 0186352].

72. George Trumbo's undated interview in the Draper Manuscripts, 12CC, 113-114.

73. Conrad's sister, Margaretha, probably the youngest sister and not yet in her teens when Conrad and his family were killed, married Andrew Trumbo some 10 or 11 years after that event. George was their oldest child. That family moved to Kentucky m the late 1780s.

74. Helen Black, Letter to Jesse Cunningham, Honey Grove, Fanen[Fannin] Co., Tex[as], May 30, 1873. Two other letters attributed to her, dated October 29, 1872, and May 30, 1878[?1873], both tell slightly different, and less detailed, versions of family tradition, and those two seem to contain items added by others. William Fisher's letter was written 8 March 1879 and was copied into Lillie M. Cunningham's Journal on 16 March 1929. Lillie was from Moorefield, WV. Her great grandson, George Williams, transcribed the letter, information about which was provided by courtesy of Sara Stevens Patton.

75. The new Hampshire County was created in November, 1753, but did not control all county operations firmly until 1754 and 1755. Estate administrations begun before November, 1753, in Augusta County, were completed in that county even as late as 1755.

76. Augusta County, Virginia, Court Order Book 2, p. 491. Unfortunately, subsequent Augusta records don't seem to indicate a closure of this estate or Conrad's role in it.

77. "Augusta County, Virginia, Court Order, 26 Feb 1750/1," Order Book 2, p. 516; Augusta County, Will Book 1, p. 409. The date of the court order is given in the old calendar style. Then, New Year's day was 25 March, and all dates between 1 January and 24 March belong to the preceding year [1750, as opposed to 1751]. That changed in Great Britain and the colonies on 3 September 1752, which became 14 September to catch up with the rest of the world's calendar; and New Year's day changed to 01 January. The common county court practice in 18th century America was to order "any three of" 4 appointees to inventory and appraise an estate. Occasionally, however, one does find 4 signatures on the document.

78. Augusta County, Virginia, Court Order Book 2, p. 522. Conrad's surname was written as "Harness" when appointed, but as "Harnse" when it was entered into the record [an example of the problems of recognizing surnames written by clerks and copyists].

79. Augusta County, Virginia, Court Order Book 3, entry for 22 March 1753, n.p. Conrad was one of six militia officers taking the oath at this time. Regular militia service, of course, was required of all able-bodied males, who usually served on rotations throughout the year. Officers, often nominated by the members of a company or officers of the county, went through formal commissioning upon further recommendation by the governor of their colony.

80. "Appraisement of Estate of James Scot/Scott," 10 November 1753, and "Appraisement of Estate of Alexander Scott," 10 November 1753, Augusta County, Virginia, Will Book 1, pp. 527-528. The two appraisements, signed on the 10th were admitted to record 21 November. Conrad's brother, Michael, was surety for Benjamin Scot/Scott, Administrator of James' estate. Conrad's signature marks were entered into the will book by the clerk or copyist; unfortunately, that was an exception rather that the rule.

81. Augusta County, Virginia, Will Book 2, p. 95.

82. "Administrator's Bond of 'Michael + Harness [Jr.],'" 14 December 1757, Hampshire County, Virginia, Court Records, 1736-1785, Box 1, Envelope 4 [LDS microfilm # 0186352].

83. See footnote 71, above. Earlier searchers, upon finding this appraisement, may have overlooked the fact at it came too early for the second administrator's bond.

84. "Administrator's Bond of 'John jH Harness,'" 15 February 1764, Hampshire County, Virginia, Court Records, 1736-1785, Box 1, Envelope 6 [LDS microfilm # 0186352]. John's sureties were Michael See and Felix Seymour. John's appointment here and his surety for his sister-in-law, Catharine Harness's Administrator's Bond for the Estate of Michael Harness on 25 February 1764 is testimony that, now that Conrad, Michael, Jr., Adam and Jacob I were dead, John is senior among the sons. This refutes the statement made in the supposed 1878 Helen Black letter that John was "the first child," a statement used by several Harness descendants in their family ordering. Of course, that letter also has John marrying "Elizabeth Yookum," which is completely in error.

85. Hampshire County, Virginia, Court Records as cited above in footnote 84. The court had appointed Felix Seymour, Jonathan Heath and Thomas Parsons to examine and sign the settleme
Mary Molly YOAKUM
Va, Usa
                   or 1758

She and her only child were killed at the same time as her husband. Their remains were found three years to a day by a mulatto woman, and her gold purse, clasp and scissors, chain. The silk rotted from the purse and money gone.
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Conrad Harness - Mary Molly Yoakum

Conrad Harness was born at Tulpehocken Creek, Berks co, Pa, Usa Abt 1728. His parents were Johann Michael Ernst Hoerner and Maria Elizabetha Dieffenbach.

He married Mary Molly Yoakum .

They were the parents of 1 child:

Conrad Harness died 1757 at Near Fort Harness, Hardy co, Va, Usa .

Mary Molly Yoakum died 1757 .