• Re: George Washington Elrod
    Aj,I am the youngest son of John Allen Hawn Sr. Nellie Clark (Hawn) was my dad's sister. I'd happily share what I know....jlphawn@gmail.com
  • Re: Elizabeth McPherson
    I realize this is in response to a rather old post, however, I am trying to obtain any information known regarding the parents of Elizabeth McPherson Elrod.Any information would be greatly appreciated. I can be reached at:jlphawn@gmail.comJoachim Hawn
  • Re: George Washington Elrod
    Hi Angie,My name is Joachim Hawn, and I am the youngest child born to John Allen [Happy Jack] Hawn, and Thelma McCartney. I'm sure what I have on Nellie, you probably already possess. However, I'd love to collaborate if that works out.I can be contacted at:jlphawn@gmail.comJoachim Hawn
  • Elrod cennections
    My name is Hazel Grant, My Grandmother was an Elrod of Dawson County Georgia .Hazelrg on Ancestry.com.
  • ELROD Jimmy C - Vietnam Wall section 31 East
    ELROD Jimmy C - Vietnam Wall section 31 East Honor our Veterans. This is one of many photographs of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Parker Co, TX. Feel free to use this picture for your personal records. See this photo, one of the 238,577 photos, free at http://teafor2.com where they are listed in order by […]
  • Re: Thomas Elrod
    Hi, I'm Susan Johnson Jeffcoat and I'm the granddaughter of Marion David & Jessie Dailey Elrod and 1st cousin to your father.My mother Betty Elrod Johnson and Marion are brother and sister. My e-mail address is sjeffcoat@bellsouth.net Looing forward to hearing from you Susan Johnson Jeffcoat
  • Jeremiah Elrod family line; from John Teter Elrod
    I would be very interested in any information others have researched on the Jeremiah line of the Elrod's from John Teter Elrod's family. Branch of the Elrod family who lived in North Carolina, then migrated to Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. Any information is appreciated. There seems to be a confusion due to so many Jeremiah's. […]
  • Re: Muse Elrod born in 1803
    I'm just starting to peak into my family history. Muse Elrod is my 4th great grandfather. Sorry, I don't know anything him to help you. But, I am interested in learning more about this manslaughter story. Any pointers on where to find it without paying $40?Thanks!
  • Looking for information on James Henry Elrod
    This man was married to Patsy Joan Stewart in 1948. I am guessing he was born in the late 1920s. They lived in Oklahoma at some point. Unknown where he was born or where he died however. Does anyone have any information on this man? DOB or DOD and locations? Other family members?
  • ELROD Martha Anne 1933-1934
    ELROD Martha Anne 1933-1934 NormanGuiling photographed this gravestone in the Mansfield Cemetery, Tarrant Co., Texas. Feel free to use the picture for your personal records.See this photograph, one of the 234,576 cemetery photos free, at http://teafor2.com If you know more about this person please reply here,instead of contacting me because this is most likely not […]

Philipp Andreas Graf v. Ellrodt Medal Engraving

Philipp Andreas Ellrodt (1763 Count) from Reipoldskirchen

Shown here is an image made from an original engraving created by the sculptor Johann Sebastian Leitner. Leitner created the medal with the image of Philipp Andreas Graf v. Ellrodt.

Neudrossenfeld, Germany Crest and the Ellrodt’s

1Von Ellrodt

Did you know? On the current crest of the city of Neudrossenfeld, Germany is elements of the lord Ellrodt’s crest. The Golden Lion on a blue background represents the time that Count Philipp Andreas von Ellrodt ruled the Neudrossenfeld Manor in the 1700’s.

Schloss Restaurant Neudrossenfeld

Here is the link to the website of the restaurant located in Neudrossenfeld, Germany in the castle once owned by the Imperial Count Philipp Andreas Graf von Ellrodt. Click on the link and look at the beautiful interior as it looks today. http://schloss-neudrossenfeld.de/


Does pleasant and Elrod go together?

Does pleasant and Elrod go together? I think so! This is from The Morning Herald (Hagerstown, Maryland 16 Apr 1961)


Wake Island Heroes Named

This article is from the Cumberland Evening Times (Cumberland, Maryland) on 10 March 1942. This was 28 days after the Navy listed them as presumed prisoners of war.

Capture 2

Navy Lists Jap Prisoners

This clip is from “The Capital” newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland on 19 Feb 1942. It was not know at the time that the inhabitants of the tiny Wake Island fought for their lives and died trying. Henry Talmage “Hammerin’ Hank” Elrod died almost two months prior defending the island ultimately earning him the Medal of Honor.

Henry Talmage “Hammerin’ Hank” Elrod

(September 27, 1905–December 23, 1941) was a Marine Corps aviator. He was the first aviator to receive the Medal of Honor during World War II, for his heroism in the defense of Wake Island. On December 4, 1941, Captain Elrod flew to Wake Island with twelve aircraft, twelve pilots, and the ground crew of Major Paul Putnam’s fighter squadron,VMF-211. Hostilities in the air over Wake Island commenced on December 8, 1941. On December 12, he single-handedly attacked a flight of 22 enemy planes and shot down two. He executed several low-altitude bombing and strafing runs on enemy ships; during one of these attacks, he became the first man to sink a warship, the Japanese destroyer Kisaragi, with small caliber bombs delivered from a fighter aircraft.

When all the U.S. aircraft had been destroyed by hostile fire, he organized remaining troops into a beach defense unit which repulsed repeated Japanese attacks. On December 23, 1941, Captain Elrod was mortally wounded while protecting his men who were carrying ammunition to a gun emplacement. Courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_T._Elrod



Lost and Found

Did someone lose a horse? The article was published on 25 Nov 1786 in the Pittsburgh, PA Gazette by Teter Elrod (John Teter Elrod who was the son of Johan Elrod, first Elrod in America). The article is describing a mare who wondered onto his land and asking for someone to claim it. He lived in Rostraver Township, PA at the time.

Teter Elrod Article


USS Elrod Decommissioning Ceremony

Christopher Elrod (Son of Johan Dider Elrod) and wife Aaltje Soelle

Christopher Elrod Sr Grave

Christopher Elrod

Born: 29 Jan 1721 Conewago Creek, Landcaster, Pennsylvania, United States

Died: 29 Jan 1785 Hope, Forsyth, North Carolina, United States

Burial: 31 Jan 1785 MORAVIAN Cemetery, Hope near Clemmons, Forsythe County, North Carolina, United States — in Clemmons, NC.

Altie Aaltje Soelle

Aaltje Elrod (Soelle)

Born: 20 Oct 1724 Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Died: 17 Sep 1804 Hope, Forsyth, North Carolina, United States

Burial: MORAVIAN Cemetery, Hope near Clemmons, Forsythe County, North Carolina, United States — in Clemmons, NC.

Old Hope Moravian Church Cemetery

MORAVIAN Cemetery, Hope near Clemmons, Forsythe County, North Carolina, United States — in Clemmons, NC. — in Clemmons, NC.

Old Hope Cemetery Hand Drawn Map

Map to the MORAVIAN Cemetery, Hope near Clemmons, Forsythe County, North Carolina, United States — in Clemmons, NC. — in Clemmons, NC.

Aerial View Old Hope Cemetery

MORAVIAN Cemetery, Hope near Clemmons, Forsythe County, North Carolina, United States — in Clemmons, NC. — in Clemmons, NC.

Christopher Elrod of Maryland was among those who moved to the Muddy Creek basin around 1750.



Memoirs (husband of Aaltje Soelle Elrod)

The following account of Christopher Elrod, Sr. is copied from the entry in the First Congregation Church Book, the entry having been made at the time of his death which occurred January 29, 1785:

Christopher Elrod was born January the 29th, 1721, in Pennsylvania and was brought up a Lutheran. In the year 1743, 26th of May, he married Aaltje Soell, the present widow, which marriage was blest by God with 12 children, to whom 10 are yet alive, belonging all to our congregation and society. From Pennsylvania he moved to Manakasy in Maryland, and from thence to North Carolina in 1751, settling himself on the Yadkin. Hitherto as he often mentioned, he was an industrious and hard working man who feared God and was true, as he thought, to the principles of his religion; but he lived in proud conceit, and knew nothing of heart sorrow. The first time, as he remembered, that his heart was truly touched by our Savior was in a sermon delivered by the Rev. Bishop Spangenberg to the people that were fled for fear of the Indians to the Bethara Mill Fort, in the year 1759. From this he grew uneasy and became concerned for his soul’s salvation and sought acquaintance with the Brethren. The Brethren Soelle and Utley, who went about in the country to preach the gospel, visited him frequently and stayed at his house, so as all those who went about in quest of souls for our Saviour were always kindly received by him, and could refresh themselves after their toil and trouble, with his family. On the 4th of April, 1773, he was received into the congregation at Friedburg, and January 22, 1774, he partook for the first time of the Holy Sacrament with the congregation there. In the process of time he promoted the building of an English school and meeting house here in Hope with all his might, and rejoiced greatly when in the year 1780 an English Brethren’s congregation was established here. From that time he was a member thereof. He served this little congregation with the gifts which the Saviour bestowed on him; was an active member of our committee these four years, and his desire was that young and old might prosper for our Saviour. He had a hot and fiery temper, and could often fall hard to others, by his positiveness and absoluteness, yet he was conscious thereof and soon made up again because he loved to live in peace with all men. He was strong and healthy in constitution, complaining seldom of any ailment, yet of late he had an intimation as it were of his approaching departure. About seven weeks ago he began to complain about pains in his breast, which increased so that he was obliged to take to his bed, and because he grew worse from day to day soon believed that our Saviour would call him home by reason of this sickness. On the 21st he called his children; gave them his farewell blessing, exhorting them to be faithful to our Saviour, and recommended to them their dear mother. On the 29th of January in the morning at 7 o’clock, being his birthday our Saviour took this faithful Brother home to himself, exactly 64 years old. Beside the surviving widow and 10 children, he also leaves 31 grandchildren and one great grandchild. (Copied from Family Records, Book B, Pages 35a-25b)

Transcribed by Charlotte Curlee Ramsey from documents submitted by Jack and Doris Brown Rose.


Will of Christopher Elrod, Sr (1721 – 1785)

Christopher and Aaltje moved to Monocacy, then down to NC about 1744or so. It was there, according to Aaltje’s autobiography, they became Moravians and helped found the English speaking Hope (N.C.) Congregation.

WILL OF CHRISTOPHER ELROD SR. – ROWAN CO, NCIn the Name of God, Amen. I, Christopher Elrod Sr in the state of North Carolina, being in perfect mind and memory, thanks be to God forit, and calling to mind the mortality of my body and that it isappointed for all men to die, do make and ordain this my last will andtestament, and as touching such worldly goods as it hath pleased Godto help me with, I give, divise, and dispose of it in manner and formas follows:Item: I will and bequeath unto my beloved son, Adam, five shillings to be paid to him from out of my estate.Item: I give and bequeath unto my beloved daughter, Sarah the sum of five shillings to be paid by my executors out of my estate.Item: I will and bequeath unto my daughter, Catherine, the sum of five shillings to be paid as aforesaid.Item: I will and bequeath to my beloved daughter, Margaret, one creature to be valued at five pounds in gold or silver money.Item: I give and bequeath unto my beloved daughter, Mary, one horse creature to be valued at five pounds in gold or silver and also two cows and one feather bed and bedding to it which she has in her custody, and then also one ewe and one grown sow with pigs, the above willed articles and money to each above person to be paid their legacies within twelve months of my demise.Item: I will and bequeath unto my beloved son, Christopher, 50 acres of land as it is measured off to him in the upper end of my tract which is to be in his possession at my demise.Item: I will and bequeath unto my beloved sons, Robert and John Elrod,the whole of what is left of my tract of land whereon I now live, with all its improvements and buildings to their possession after my decease and my wife’s.Item: I will and bequeath unto my beloved daughters Aaltje and Lydia two cows to each of them and one ewe and one sow with pigs to each and also five pounds in gold or silver, or the value thereof in other money that shall be lawful at the time of the payment and each of them one good feather bed and furniture which is to be paid to them by my executors out of my estate if there is as much left at that time and if not to be paid out of the land willed to my three youngest sons.Item: I will and bequeath unto my beloved wife, Aaltje, one-third part of my land during her life time and also all my stock and all sorts and all my household goods and plantation tools and money during her lifetime and at my demise to be at her own disposal except the land which is to be as before mentioned.I institute and appoint my beloved wife and my son Adam whole and sole executers and executrix of this my last will and testament and I do hereby disavow and make void all other wills and bequeaths made ordone by me heretofore.

In witness where of I have set my hand and seal this 17 day of March,1799.Signed, sealed. published and pronounced in the presence of Witnesses:

Adam Spone, Fred Fudler, Even EllisSigned: Christopher Elrod

Adam Spone proved the will 3 May 1785, as Christopher had died 29 Jan 1785


Interned in the original Hope Moravian Church, Clemmons, Forsyth County, North Carolina, USA graveyard which is no longer in use. The current Hope Moravian Graveyard is adjacent to the church at 2759 Hope Church Rd.

Hope Moravian Cemetery, the old cemetery, is located in a different place than the current Hope Moravian Church and cemetery which is located on Hope Church Road. NOTE: There are no new burials there. This is the site of the earliest Hope Moravian Church, which no longer exists. The cemetery has wooden fence posts around it, and there used to be a stapled picture of the old church on a tree, but it might be gone by now. The graves are Moravian, so they’re all the same, simple stones. This makes the cemetery hard to find as it’s hard to see from the road. It’s located 500 feet north of the end of Copeland Road, just north of the intersection with US 158.


Diaries of the Brethren tell that the Douthit and Elrod families sought protection in the fort at Bethabara during the Indian Wars. Evidently the Johnson fort was not yet in existence, because it would have been closer. (1756)



Memoirs (wife of Christopher Elrod Sr.)

The late widowed Sister Aaltje Elrod (Soelle) who died on September 17, 1804, at Hope had the following taken down about her life: “I was born October 20, 1724, in Germantown in Pennsylvania and since my parents belonged to the Mennonites, I was not baptized as a child. My father moved later to the Canawaga where I faithfully attended the meetings. After I was grown I was baptized by the Lutheran pastor by the name of Can- zler and this made a deep impression on me. Soon after this my father moved to Maryland to the region of Manaskosy where I married my late husband Christopher Elrod on March 26, 1743. In 1751 we moved to North Carolina and settled on the Yadkin River. Some years later some of the Brethern came into the region and some of them visited in the country and preached in the houses and thus we soon had the opportunity of hearing them preach. The first in whose preaching I was awakened was the late Bro. Post. From this time on I sought to obtain my salvation and found much comfort in the preaching of the Brethren Soelle, Ettwein and Utley. “In the dangerous time of the Indian War we fled to Bethabara where we to our blessing had occasion to become better acquainted with the Brethren. When it again became safer in the country we moved back to our plantation but continued to attend the Sunday meetings in Bethabara until a little congregat- ion was organized on the Southfork in Friedberg, when we then attended the meetings of the brethren there, which were very greatly blessed to my heart, although they were held in the German language which I did not know very well. I will, however, never forget how I was encouraged and revived anew when from time to time the late Sister Marschall visited in Friedberg and I could talk with her in the English language very open-heartedly about the state of my heart and her conversation and advice was true balm for my poor heart. “On April 4, 1773, in Friedberg, I had the grace of being received in the congregation and on January 22, 1774, I became a communicant in the body and blood of the Lord in the service of the Holy Communion. Some of our children were also baptized and when the congregation was organized in the year 1780, we had the joy of being among the first members of this little congregation.” So far it was in her own information.

From this time she found her greatest comfort and encouragement in the close association with the Saviour and in the observance of his suffering and death. In the olden times when the brethren frequently visited in the country and preached, they were always welcome in her house and could be refreshed there from their heavy labors. The death of her dear husband in January, 1784 grieved her very much, and it was hard for her to adjust to her new condition, and only the hope of follow- ing him soon into eternity often supported her for she had an unusual longing to depart and be with Christ, her Redeemer, and finally became very impatient that she had to wait so much longer than she had expected. When one spoke to her she usually expressed emphatically this longing to be with Christ and if she was recommended to have patience, she said, “I belong to the Savior”. He knows his time best and when it pleases him I will go to him, but soon, soon.!” Manifestly she put her hope in God in her almost twenty years of Widow- hood and this hope was not destroyed when she lived by turns with her four sons who all belonged to the congregation and who cared for and tended her with the love of a child. Her quiet way of life, withdrawn from this world and her attachment to and persistent association with the Saviour which shone forth from all her activities, made her generally beloved. Since for several years, because of her age and weakness, she was unable to come to the meetings of the congregation, so much the more she was comforted and refreshed by the association with the Saviour at home and when her children sometimes brought her to communion or otherwise at times to church festivals, it was for her always a day of blessing. God had blessed her marriage with 12 children, of whom 9 are still living. From these she had 63 grandchildren and 73 great-grandchildren of whom 57 grandchildren and 68 great-grandchildren are still living. Two weeks ago, in the house of her son, John Elrod, where she is now living, she became sick with the prevailing fever and it was appointed for her to go home to her Saviour as she had so many years longed to do. While conscious and even in delirium she called on the Saviour often and prayed English and German verses. When her children asked her whether she was now ready to go to the Saviour she gave witness of that with joy that she was really separated from the world and had a complete desire to be at home with her Saviour and this was evident in a lovely manner in her last illness. On Sunday, the 16th of this month, in the presence of several of her children and children’s children and blessing of the Lord and the congregation was administered to her for her homegoing and she departed in the afternoon of September 17, 1804. Her age was 79 years, one month, and 3 days.

From Document found in Moravian Archives, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


Interned in the original Hope Moravian Church, Clemmons, Forsyth County, North Carolina, USA graveyard which is no longer in use. The current Hope Moravian Graveyard is adjacent to the church at 2759 Hope Church Rd.

Hope Moravian Cemetery, the old cemetery, is located in a different place than the current Hope Moravian Church and cemetery which is located on Hope Church Road. NOTE: There are no new burials there. This is the site of the earliest Hope Moravian Church, which no longer exists. The cemetery has wooden fence posts around it, and there used to be a stapled picture of the old church on a tree, but it might be gone by now. The graves are Moravian, so they’re all the same, simple stones. This makes the cemetery hard to find as it’s hard to see from the road. It’s located 500 feet north of the end of Copeland Road, just north of the intersection with US 158.

Early Settlers on the Yadkin River – The Muddy Creek Settlement

Old Hope Church Moravian in Hope NC

Here is a great article on early American Elrod history from Dianne Underwood who is an Elrod ancestor from North Carolina. I want to thank her for allowing me to share with everyone!

Introduction – Early Settlers on the Yadkin River- The Muddy Creek Settlement

In 1753 a group of Moravian settlers came to North Carolina and began a permanent settlement called Bethabara in what is now Forsyth County. The Moravians kept detailed records including diaries, maps, and personal memoirs. These records are the source for much of the following information.

In her personal memoir, Altje Sell Elrod states that she and her husband Christopher settled along the banks of the Yadkin River in 1751. They were part of a large extended family living in what the Moravian surveyor Christian Reuters would later call the Muddy Creek Settlement. Altje Sell was raised as a Mennonite and Christopher Elrod was Lutheran but the couple joined the Moravian faith. In 1771 their daughter, Margaret Elrod, married Josephus Wilhelm Bohner. Will Bohner was a Moravian who came to Bethabara in 1769 to serve as a tanner.

The Muddy Creek Settlement on the east bank of the Yadkin would eventually become known as Clemmons. Peter Clemmons arrived around 1800 and deserves credit for turning a collection of farms into a community. The book Images of America- Clemmons by Kevin White written in association with the Clemmons Historical Society documents the history of Clemmons beginning in 1800. However there were hunters, trappers and a few settlers in the area as early as the 1740’s. Things changed between 1743 and 1746 when the Granville District was formed. The Granville District was a large area that extended sixty miles south of the border with Virginia and spanned the entire northern half of the state. The land was owned by John Carteret, Lord Granville, and he wanted to attract permanent settlers.

One of the first known permanent settlements in the Piedmont region was the Morgan Bryan (Bryant) settlement. The Bryan settlement is generally recognized as land located in what are today western Forsyth County, eastern Yadkin County, and most of Davie County. Robert Ramsey’s book Carolina Cradle explains the significance of the settlements in the forks of the Yadkin River and traces the roots of the early pioneers. The Bryans came to what was then Anson County in North Carolina about 1748 and purchased several large tracts of land. Morgan Bryan’s daughter Eleanor married William Linville.

According to land records William Linville purchased land on the east bank of the Yadkin River from Lord Granville on 28 April 1753 and sold it to Adam Sell (Sill) on 16 June 1753. Adam Sell moved to North Carolina from Pennsylvania near the Maryland border with two of his daughters and their families. One of his daughters was Altje Sell Elrod. Fortunately for the Elrods and Sells, they settled next to the 100,000 acre parcel of land that would become known as the Wachovia Tract. Lord Granville typically sold one mile square parcels of land but agreed to sell a large parcel to the Moravians in 1753 because of their intent to create permanent settlements.

By the mid 1750’s, the arrival of large numbers of permanent setters forced the Native Americans to declare war. The Elrods and other families along the Yadkin River sought refuge at Fort Bethabara during the Indian Wars. After this initial encounter at Bethabara, the Sells and Elrods began to attend Moravian services at Friedberg and welcomed Moravian ministers into their homes. Christopher and Altje Sell Elrod were English speaking and Moravian ministers George Soelle and Richard Utley rode circuits and delivered sermons in English to the families. The Moravian records described the settlers as “an honor roll of those who sought to live godly lives in the midst of a careless and oftentimes godless land, not infrequently scoffed and jeered by their neighbors.” Many of these settlers are buried at the Old Hope Moravian Cemetery in Clemmons. Hope was the first English speaking Moravian congregation.
The early pioneer families that settled south of the Shallow Ford on the east bank of the Yadkin River next to the Wachovia tract were Sell (Soelle), Elrod, Douthit, Johnson, Riddle, Hauser, McKnight, Ellis, and Bohner(Boner), to name a few. These families came to America from Europe in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s seeking economic and religious opportunities.

Lutheran Roots

To better understand the desire for economic and religious freedom, the following information describes the times in which our ancestors lived. Michael Elrod owns the Elrod Family Website and his thorough and exhaustive research is the primary source. In the 1500’s, Germany was not a united country but a collection of independent states known as the Holy Roman Empire. The French writer Voltaire commented that it was not holy, Roman, or an empire. The Elrod (Ellroths, Elrode, Ellrod) family is from an area in the Holy Roman Empire known as the Palatine. Many books have been written about the Palatine Emigrations.
Palatine was a regional area in the southwest of Germany on the border with France. Because of its location, the region assumed a strategic importance in history. The area was greatly affected by the religious wars that raged for decades. Cities were destroyed, taxes were high, and there were episodes of famine and disease. Soldiers on both sides of the conflict were undisciplined and often lawless, imposing severe punishments on citizens in the territory.

The Elrod family history can be traced to the early 1600’s in Europe. This period in European history was one of great growth and change. The Elizabethan Era in England had ended. What was called the Thirty Years War in Europe was over but religious conflicts continued and took a heavy toll on families for many years to come. Several generations suffered greatly during this time. Economic issues, religious strife, and constant warfare were the main factors in what became known as the Great Palatine migration to America.

Elrods in Germany

The Elrods were an educated and accomplished family. Jacob Elrod I was born in Kulmbach, Germany, in the latter part of the 1500’s. Our family is descended from of one of Jacob Elrod I’s sons, Johannes Christophorus. Little is known about our early ancestor but the family history of his older brother is well known.
Jacob Elrod II (1601-1671) studied theology, astronomy, and mathematics at the University of Altdorf. In 1657 he published the Mittle Calendar in which he worked out the differences between the Catholic Gregorian calendar and the Protestant Julian calendar. In 1659 he presented his calendar to the Diet of Regensburg and received a gold chain from Emperor Leopold for his work. An elementary school in Kulmbach, Germany is named for Jacob Elrod II.

In the 1700’s, Jacob II’s great grandsons were elevated from the middle class, or bourgeoisie, to nobility. Their grandfather was Jacob II’s son Phillip Andreas (1643-1706). Their father was Phillip Andreas’ son, Johan Michael. Johann Michael Elrod was known as a master tailor and two of his three sons became part of the German nobility. Wolfgang Friedrich (1704-1766), was elevated to peerage. Another son, Phillip Andreas, (1707-1767) became the first Count Elrod. A third son, German August (1709-1760) a theology professor, declined the honor. The Plassenberg Castle in Kulmbach was home to the Elrod nobility.

Our ancestor, Johannes Christophorus Elrod, was born in 1608 a year after John Smith founded the settlement of Jamestown in America. He was the brother of Jacob II. The grandson of Johannes Christophorus, Johan Teter Elrod (1684-1744), is our Elrod ancestor who came to America. Johan Teter’s father was born about 1654 but his name is unknown.

So about the time that the descendants of Jacob II were elevated to nobility, the descendants of his brother, Johannes Christophorus, left Germany for America. All three families, Elrod, Sell, and Bohner, chose to leave Germany in what has become known as the great Palatine Emigration.

Lutheran Immigrants- Elrods

In the early 1700’s war between the Protestants and Catholics had raged for decades in Europe. Choices for survival were limited. Some citizens were willing to switch their religion depending on which side was in power. There were even groups who outwardly supported the church in power but held secretly to their own beliefs. The Moravian Brethren were known as the “hidden seed.” Many others decided to leave and resettle elsewhere. Lists of refugees to America total over fifteen thousand, about half of whom were Palatines.

The lure of good land and religious tolerance was strong. William Penn had founded a new colony based on religious freedom. Reports about the colony created a strong desire in many to undertake a perilous journey in hopes of a new beginning. Our Elrod ancestors were Lutherans and may have held strong religious beliefs but the desire for land was most likely their primary motivation.

Refugees from Germany sailed to Holland, then to London, and from there to America. The mother of William Penn, Margaret Jasper, had German cousins and was sympathetic to the Palatines. At one point the sheer number of refugees caused the Dutch government to close the port of Rotterdam. London was overrun by starving Palatines. Queen Anne of England was sympathetic to their plight and ordered collections to be taken to provide food and shelter. The exiles were a mixture of refugees from the Palatine. Their numbers included Reformers, Lutherans, Catholics, and a few Baptists and Mennonites. The English crown made the Lutherans their official agents.

Johan Teter (1684-1744) and Maria Magdalena Elrod (1685-1721) were Lutherans in the fifth party of Palatines who sailed from Holland between 3 and 10 July of 1709. They travelled with their infant son Wilhelm. Johan Wilhelm and Susanna Catarina Lerchenzeiler, were listed on the ship’s roster with one child. Johan Wilhelm Lerchenzeiler may have been Maria’s father or possibly her brother. The party arrived in England and most likely took shelter in a barn or army tent that the English provided. London was a small city with its own poverty and hunger issues. Although the English found ways to temporarily provide for the religious refugees, relocating them was a priority. The Palatines were sent to three locations- Ireland, New York, or the Carolinas. The refugees resettled to America were to produce naval stores, turpentine, tar, and pitch for the royal Navy.

The voyage to America claimed many lives. The exiles were lived in crowded quarters. Food and water were scarce and disease was rampant. The exodus continued for many years and conditions onboard got worse with each voyage. Rations of food often ran out and lice were so thick that they had to be scraped off. When the ships arrived in America, a doctor would come aboard and decide who would was healthy enough to stay and who had to return to England. If you had a furry tongue, you were not allowed to get off the ship.

The Elrods arrived in America no later than August of 1709 in the port of New York. During this time in history, the first town in North Carolina was incorporated (1706) and called Bath. From 1711-1714, the Carolina colonists were fighting the Tuscarora Indians and by 1717 Stede Bonnet, better known as Blackbeard, was raiding ships off the North Carolina Coast. Church records show the Elrods in the area of New Castle County along the Pennsylvania/Maryland border until 1721.

In 1721 a son was born to the Elrods and named Christopher. That child was the first American born Elrod ancestor. His mother, Maria Magdalena Lerchenzeiler Elrod, had eight children and died the year that Christopher was born, possibly in childbirth. She is buried at Old Swede’s Church (Holy Trinity Church) at 7th and Church Streets in Wilmington, Delaware. Johan Teter remarried the same year. His second wife was Sarah Wood and the couple had seven children. From the fifteen children of Johan Teter, the Elrod pioneers scattered far and wide.

Elrods in North Carolina

Moravian memoirs are valuable tools for research but, more importantly, they are the stories of our ancestors. Christopher Elrod’s memoir says he was born in 1721 in Pennsylvania on the Maryland border and reared in the Lutheran religion. He married Altje Sell in 1743 and in 1751 the couple moved to the Carolina wilderness. Christopher and Altje did not come alone. Several sons and daughters of Johan Teter Elrod travelled to North Carolina. Altje’s father (Adam Sell) and her sister (Catherine Sell Boyer) also made the journey. The large extended family most likely did not all travel to the area at the same time. One group would arrive and, when they were established, send for others.
The following is a brief introduction to seven known Elrods who made the journey to North Carolina. Wilhelm Jeremiah, Robert, and Christopher were the children of Maria Magdalena Lerchenzeiler. Margaret, Hannah, and John were the children of Sarah Wood.

Christopher Elrod’s half-sister named Margaret married George Hauser Senior. Margaret Elrod Hauser’s Moravian memoir describes a hard life. After her mother (Sarah Wood Elrod) died, she was bound out to service. Her conditions during the seventeen year period were so harsh that her brothers worked to secure her release.

George Hauser Senior was a blacksmith by trade and the couple came to the Yadkin in 1753 and eventually settled in a little house in Bethania. The family experienced hardship when one son married outside of the Moravian faith. Moravians needed permission to marry even within the faith. Margaret’s memoir recalls how she tried to make amends with her husband and others when she felt her death at age 38 was close. The Moravian community of Bethania is sometimes called Hauser Town.

Another half-sister to family patriarch Christopher was Hannah Susannah Elrod. She married John Parke and the couple journeyed to North Carolina eventually moving to West Virginia. The Rowan Family Heritage book has an entry on this family and their son Noah Elrod.

Christopher’s oldest brother Wilhelm, who was born in Germany and survived the voyage to America, married Ana Bischoff. One branch of this family, descendants of Wilhelm and Ana’s son, Conrad, eventually settled in Blowing Rock and live there today. Another son of Wilhelm and Ana was an officer in the British army during the American Revolution and killed as a traitor. William Elrod Junior’s death is noted in the Moravian Records. The Revolutionary War divided family loyalties and the Bryan Clan had a reputation as notorious Tories. Wilhelm and Ana had two other sons, Samuel who died young and Peter who moved to South Carolina.

Christopher’s brother Jeremiah Elrod married the sister of John Douthit. When Jeremiah Elrod died, George McKnight Senior became guardian for his two sons. McKnight’s wife died later and he married Jeremiah’s widow who became Sarah Douthit Elrod McKnight. The Douthits and McKnights were early settlers in Clemmons. The Methodist Bishop Asbury met at McKnight’s Meeting House and the McKnights helped form Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church in Tanglewood Park. Jeremiah Elrod’s son Adam moved to South Carolina with his first cousin Peter (Wilhelm’s son). Another son, Jeremiah Junior created a scandal in the pious Moravian community in Forsyth County when he abandoned his wife Ana Vogler and ran off with another woman.
Land records show the presence of Christopher’s brother, Robert Elrod, in North Carolina by 1753. Robert married Sarah Scott the sister of John Douthit Senior’s wife Mary. The family moved to Kentucky as did many settlers and, when Robert Elrod died, Samuel Boone probated his will. Squire Boone lived across the Yadkin in Bryan’s settlement. The Boones had settled on Dutchman’s (Deutschman’’s) Creek near Mocksville in 1752. The Elrods probably followed the trail blazed by Daniel Boone across the Cumberland Gap to Kentucky. A half-brother to Christopher, John Teter Elrod Junior also moved to Kentucky. His wife was Mary Muse. The area that became Forsyth County has many descendants of the Elrod family.

Mennonite Roots- Sell, Soelle, Sellen

The Elrods came to America in 1709 but our Mennonite ancestors had been here for almost twenty years. Samuel Pennypacker wrote a book in 1899 titled The Settlement of Germantown Pennsylvania and the Beginning of German Immigrations to North America. His work is the source for much of the information that follows. Pennypacker is descended from many of the original families in Germantown, including the Seilen (Sell) family.

Mennonites were a religious sect that endured persecution in Europe for many years. One issue that set them apart from other sects was infant baptism. Altje Sell Elrod notes in her Moravian memoir that she was Mennonite and therefore not baptized as a child. Their leader was a man named Menno Simons. He was born in 1492 in Holland and educated as a priest. In 1536 Menno Simons severed ties with the Catholic Church. His reformist teachings went further than Luther or Calvin in that he believed in separation of the church and state.

For many years it was assumed that Germantown was settled by Mennonites from Krefeld, Germany. However, William Isaac Hull, a professor at Swarthmore College and Quaker scholar proved that a mix of Quaker families and Mennonite families from Krefeld settled in Germantown. Many of these Mennonite and Quaker families eventually settled along the Yakin River in North Carolina.

Krefeld (Crefeld), Germany was a city on the lower Rhine a few miles from the German border with Holland. It is from this war torn area along the Rhine that the early settlers came. The Global AnaBaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO) states that the Seilen family came to Germantown from Krefeld in 1690. Passenger lists record Hendrick (Heinrich) Sell and his brother Dirck. Martin Sell may have been another brother. Peter Dirck Sell married Adrianna Van Sintern late in life and had three children. Their daughter Neeltje Seilen married Johan Pennypacker. Heinrich Sell may have had thirteen children and two or three wives. By 1713, the family of Heinrich Sell moved from Germantown to Skippack about twelve miles north and back to York County by 1732.

Dr. Kenneth Sells has researched the Sell (Sellen, Seilen, Soelle) family extensively. His research does not provide supporting evidence for a father/son relationship between Adam Sell (born in 1700) and Heinrich Seilen but Dr. Sell’s research does not rule out a relationship either.

However, several documents support the fact that Adam Sell’s daughter Altje was born in 1724 in Germantown and married Christopher Elrod in 1743. Altje’s Moravian memoir gives an account of her early life in her own words. Her last name is spelled Soelle in the Moravian records. There is a Moravian minister named George Soelle who came to North Carolina from Maine. George Soelle was a Lutheran minister before becoming a Moravian. No relationship between the families has been established so the last name for Altje will be Sell in this work to avoid any confusion.

In her Moravian memoir, Altje states that she was born in Germantown in Pennsylvania. Her parents were Mennonites and later moved to Conewago Creek where she faithfully attended Menonnite meetings. When she was grown, Altje was baptized by a Lutheran minister and, in her own words, the act made a great impression. The minister was David Candler and Lutheran records show that he baptized eighty people in 1740. Altje’s family moved to Monocacy, Maryland, where she met and married Christopher Elrod.

With respect to the mother of Altje Sell, many online family trees identify her as “Sarah” the daughter of Thomas Fitzwater. Thomas Fitzwater came to America from England aboard the ship Welcome in 1682 as a young child. His will states that he had a daughter named Sarah. However, there is no supporting evidence that the mother of Altje was Sarah Burdon Fitzwater. So we are left with these facts. Altje’s parents were Mennonites. Her father was Adam Sell and her mother was likely named Sarah. Altje Sell also had a younger sister named Catherine who married Henry Boyer and came to North Carolina.
Letters from many of the original Germantown settlers give a valuable insight into life in Germantown. Daniel Pastorius relates the discomforts and poverty along with the riches of the new land. Pastorius was raised a Lutheran but was approached by leaders of the Mennonites, Pietists, and Quakers about traveling to America and purchasing land for a settlement. Daniel Pastorius is known as the founder of Germantown which is now part of Philadelphia.

In his letters, Pastorius writes that the journey over took about ten weeks. Seas were rough and many were sea sick. High winds broke a foremast and one ship was repeatedly bumped by a whale. Food and water were poor in quality and rationed. Pastorius warned others to bring food of their own.

On arrival many settlers took shelter in caves until crude cabins could be built. Pastorius wrote that anyone wishing to spare his hands should stay put. He went on to say that there had been more trouble from Christians than so called savages. One Lutheran minister was nothing but a drunkard according to Pastorius. It should be noted that Lutheran historians did not agree with Pastorius’ assessment of the Lutheran settlers and their leaders.

Pastorius described one meal with the Native Americans where they sat on the ground to eat using shells for spoons and leaves for plates. Their pumpkin was cooked in pure water, needing no butter or seasoning.

Land was described as heavily wooded. Settlers let their livestock roam freely. Pastorius asked that the next group of settlers include some men to clear the land and carpenters to build homes and barns.

Sells in North Carolina

Adam Sell, the family patriarch, came to North Carolina about 1751 with his two daughters and sons in law. About ten years later he returned to Maryland where he died in 1767 in Monocacy, Maryland.

In 1753 Lord Granville transferred 587 acres of land to William Linville who transferred the land to Adam Sell. The Linvilles were Quakers and had previously relocated to Virginia from Pennsylvania. As far as the English were concerned, Quakers, Mennonites, and Moravians fell into the general category of Deutsch. The English did not differentiate based on country of origin either. The Swiss, Palatines, and Alsatians were simply Deutsch or Palatines. These groups were often ridiculed for their beliefs and language and chose to relocate.

Moravian records show that Adam Sell associated himself with the Moravians at Bethania but there are no specific details of his life and no memoir.

Moravian Roots- Bohners

The Elrods and Sells had lived on the Yadkin for about 18 years when a young man arrived in Bethabara as a tanner in 1769. Josephus Wilhelm Bohner had been raised by the Moravians in York Pennsylvania.

Inspiration for the Moravian Church and protestant Reformation began in the 1400’s with the eloquent and impassioned teachings of Jan Hus. Hus was a monk in the Catholic Church and protested fearlessly against the abuses of the church. He was burned at the stake in 1415 for his beliefs. His early followers formed the Hussite League and later, in 1497, organized as Unitas Fratum or Unity of the Brethren.
Protestants date their separation from the Catholic Church to 1517 when Martin Luther used the recently invented printing press to translate the Bible into German. However, all good Moravians know that Martin Luther was influenced by Jan Hus. The Moravian Church is arguably the first Protestant Church formed sixty years before Luther’s Reformation. By the time of the reformation, the Moravian Church had over two hundred thousand members and four hundred parishes.

Religious freedom was declared in 1609 in Bohemia and Moravia only to be crushed in 1627. Protestant churches were seized and clergy banned. Many believers chose to leave but a group that became known as the hidden seed remained. The hidden seed was a group of men who were outwardly Catholic but secretly held to the beliefs of the Brethren. In 1722 descendants of the Brethren began building Hernnhut as a rallying place for other believers.

Nicholas Lewis, Count Zinzendorf, became the leader of church and sought to avoid conflict with the State Church by fostering the growth of the Brethren in settlements elsewhere. Missions were established in the West Indies, Greenland, and Georgia.
After five years in Georgia the missionaries moved to Pennsylvania and created settlements at Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Lititz. By 1752, they sent a party to North Carolina to establish a settlement named Bethabara.

The parents of Josephus Wilhelm Bohner are unknown and DNA tests have not solved the mystery. Will’s parents were likely Palatine refugees and there are some sources that say he born in Lower Alsace in the Palatinate. The most reliable source is the Moravian memoir which states that Will was born in Pennsylvania in 1747.

Bohner’s memoir also states that he was the apprentice of Francis Jacob Miller in York and that he arrived in Bethabara in 1769. Records show that Josephus Wilhelm Bohner left Bethabara no later than 1771 and married Margaret Elrod the daughter of Christopher and Altje Sell Elrod.

So what became the Boner family in Clemmons began with Lutherans named Elrod, Mennonites named Sell, and a Moravian sent to Bethabara as a tanner. My early ancestors began their journey by leaving Europe to take refuge in America. From Pennsylvania, another generation moved to the North Carolina wilderness. These pioneers created a settlement, fought Indians, survived epidemics of scarlet fever and typhus, and endured the Regulator conflict and American Revolution. They lived in Clemmons before it was Clemmons.

To better understand the family stories that will follow, it is helpful to have some background knowledge concerning North Carolina counties and land records, the Great Wagon Road, the Shallow Ford, and life in general for the pioneers.

Land Records and NC Counties

With respect to land ownership, North Carolina land records for this period of time are complicated. Rowan County was formed in 1753 from Anson County and earlier Anson land records were destroyed in a fire. In addition, a family in what is now Forsyth County could live in one place but, depending on the year and location, the farm could be in Anson, Rowan, Surry, Stokes, Davidson, or Forsyth Counties. Revolutionary War records show the settlers in the area as citizens of Surry County. By the War of 1812, many are in Stokes County and during the Civil War the area was either Davidson or Forsyth County. Forsyth County was formed in 1849 but not complete. The Shallow Ford area was later annexed from Yadkin County and Clemmonsville from Davidson County.

Colonial land records do exist, however, young couples were often allowed to live on a parcel of family land and no land transaction was recorded until the family patriarch died. A family may have lived on land for years before registering a deed through the courts.

The Great Wagon Road

In 1751, the pioneers traveled along the Great Wagon road from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. In many places the road was little more than an Indian path or buffalo trail. Kyle Stimson’s research and John Henry Clewell’s History of Wachovia in North Carolina from 1752-1902 are excellent resources. Our family’s experiences would have been similar to the description that follows from Clewell’s book.

Travelers may have had wagons and horses or walked most of the way. Their journey from Pennsylvania would have been about five hundred miles and lasted about six weeks. The travelers were at the mercy of the weather and the kindness of strangers. The search for food was never ending. Many rivers had to be crossed and mountains safely ascended and descended. Sometimes curious Indians might follow the group. Panthers, venomous snakes, and poisonous spiders were a part of the journey and travelers had to be vigilant.

Altje Sell Elrod may have been pregnant with her fifth child (Margaret) as she made the journey with her three young children and husband. She had already suffered the loss of a little girl. Christopher Elrod was thirty years old and Altje was twenty seven when they came to North Carolina.

The Shallow Ford

The Shallow Ford and Great Wagon Road have been forgotten by many today but were extremely important to settlers in the 1750’s. Most of what follows is from Kyle Stimson’s book The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road in Forsyth County, N.C. 1750-1770. There are many possible paths for the road but Stimson concludes that it passed through the Shallow Ford area in the heart of the Bryan Settlement. In 1748 Bryan and Linville were the first to take wagons from the Shanidore (Shenadoah) to the Etkin (Yadkin) according to Moravian records. Their journey took three months and at one point Bryan took the wheels off his wagon and carried it piecemeal to the top of a mountain. A historic marker for the great Wagon Road is located at Bethabara.

The Shallow Ford, as its name implies, was typically an area where the water was about 18 inches deep over a built up rock bed. Ferries eventually dotted the Yadkin but this was the only area that could be forded by wagons and horses. Kyle Stimson lists the names of John Douthit, Robert Elrod, and Christopher Elrod as settlers arriving in the area in the early 1750’s. He credits them with being the earliest settler families of what is now Clemmons. Lord Cornwallis and his army crossed the Shallow Ford during the Revolutionary War as did General Stoneman during the Civil War.

Life in General for the The The Pioneer Woman

The following description of pioneer life is from the book Forsyth: A County on the March by Adelaide Fries and others. The Piedmont was heavily forested so trees needed to be cleared before crops could be grown. Settlers fed themselves by using their muskets or crude farming tools. Corn was a staple and some wheat and rye were grown in the fertile soil. There were fruit trees in the area and game was plentiful. Corn pone and sallet (greens) were basic fare. The gristmill at Bethabara made bread possible and the community was well known for its bread.
Farmers built barns and fenced pastures to protect their livestock often before building a cabin for the family. Barns and pastures provided livestock protection from predators such as bears and panthers. Houses were little more than protection against the elements at the beginning. The pioneers would sleep in their wagons until a cabin was built.

Clothes were either homespun or buckskin so tanners were in high demand as clothing for men (and sometimes women) included buckskin shirts, breeches, and leggings. Moccasins were often the only shoes available. Our ancestor Will Bohner came to Bethabara to serve as a tanner.

Flax was one the earliest fibers grown and Margaret Elrod’s sister Mary was a weaver in Salem. Will’s sons would be apprenticed in Salem as tailors and hatters. The Moravians wore plain clothes and a traveler would know who you were by the way dressed.

Settlements along the Yadkin had their share of taverns and alcohol. Illegitimate children as well as orphans were problems for the courts. Court records are a wealth of information for that time. Many frontier families moved frequently because they had trouble getting along with others but some folks just liked to stay on the move. After moving from the Maryland/ Pennsylvania border, Christopher and Altje Sell Elrod lived in North Carolina for the rest of their lives.

Piedmont Pioneers- Christopher and Altje Sell Elrod

The Elrods settled on the east side of the Yadkin River in an area called Blanket Bottom about 1751. One reason for choosing land along the river was that the floodplain was fertile soil. The area away from the river was heavily forested and trees had to be cleared to make room for a cabin, barn, or garden. Chances are the original home was a log cabin on high ground away from the river. The thick logs made the home warm in winter and cool in summer. Plank homes came later as the family prospered.
Fortunately for the Elrods, Moravians began their settlement at Bethabara in 1753. John Henry Clewell describes the Moravians as devout Christians well prepared to begin their settlement. Diversity of industries was central to their plan for a successful community. By 1754, Bethabara had a carpenter shop, shoe shop, tailor establishment, pottery, blacksmith shop, cooper shop, and tannery. The Elrod family soon benefited from the kindness of the Moravians. About 1759, the Elrods traveled to Fort Bethabara for safety during Indian raids as did frightened settlers for many miles. They would have been kept in a part of the fort separated from the Moravians as “strangers” but the Moravians generously provided for them. The French and Indian War stretched over a ten year period from 1754-1764. Fort Dobbs near Statesville was built in 1756.

Christopher Elrod states in his memoir that he thought of himself as a hardworking man and tried to support his family honorably and righteously. He is also described as having a temper but willing to settle differences and live in peace. Christopher states that he heard Brother Joseph (Bishop Gottlieb Spangenberg) preach at Bethabara and from that point on wanted to enjoy the blessing of the Brudergemeine. In 1773 Christopher and Altje were received into the Friedberg Church and, in 1780, a church for an English speaking congregation near Clemmons called Hope was consecrated. The building of the church was delayed by the American Revolution.
Hope Moravian Church

Hope was the first English speaking Moravian community. The Friedberg Pastor George Soelle gave his sermons in German and English. Altje’s memoir states that the opportunity to talk about the state of her poor soul in English was “balm for her heart.” Many of the later settlers in the Hope area came from Monocacy in Maryland and were also English speaking. This is significant because many Germans refused to learn the English language. Even enlightened leaders like Benjamin Franklin considered this a suspicious act and it is one of many reasons that German settlers endured bigotry.

Hope was some distance from the center of Moravian control in Salem and the Moravians were reluctant to allow the community to form fearing it would not adhere to their strict standards. After tearful requests by the Elrods for a church, John Douthit and his good friend and neighbor, Christopher Elrod, were allowed to build Hope Church. The building was also used as a church school.

Christopher and Altje had a large family and all of the surviving children married with the exception of Mary Elrod (1755-1819). Mary served in the community at Salem in several capacities. In 1786 she is listed on the Single Sister’s roll. She was once mistress of weaving and records note that she replaced Sister Peddycourt as Fremden Dienerin.

The population of the entire Hope community near Muddy Creek in what is now Clemmons was very small, only a few families, so everyone who was not related, soon was. A family tree for the children of Christopher and Altje is attached.

Christopher died at age 64. According to his memoir, his last words were “Dear Savior, have mercy on me!” Altje never recovered from the loss. Her memoir states that she lived for another twenty years but had an unusual longing to depart and be with Christ and often expressed great impatience that it was taking so long. She died at age 85 at the home of her son John Elrod. John moved to Kentucky after his mother’s death. Christopher had two brothers named John (Mary Muse) and Robert (Sarah Scott) and he named two of his sons after them. Christopher’s sons John and Robert married sisters who were Riddles.

Altje Sell and Christopher Elrod were born in America on the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland. They traveled to North Carolina along the Great Wagon Road and settled south of the Shallow Ford. After seeking refuge from the Moravians at Bethabara the Elrods sought to have their own English speaking Moravian church. The couple survived the Regulator Movement and the American Revolution. According to their memoirs, Altje and Christopher Elrod had 12 children, 63 grandchildren, and 73 great grandchildren.

Three key events shaped the lives of these North Carolina pioneers- the French and Indian War, the Regulator Conflict, and the American Revolution.

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