Henry Van Metre of Greene County, PA
Henry Van Metre of Greene County, Pennsylvania –Who’s your Daddy?
Who are the parents of Henry Van Matre who settled in Greene County, Pennsylvania? The confusion is regarding the Henry Van Metre who settled in what is now Greene County, Pennsylvania. Some show his parents as Jan “John” and Margaret (Mollenauer) Van Matre and others show he is their grandson, son of Henry and Eve (Pyle) VanMetre. There are also other theories.
The confusion is regarding the Henry Van Metre who settled in what is now Greene County, Pennsylvania. Some show his parents as Jan “John” and Margaret (Mollenauer) Van Matre and others show he is their grandson, son of Henry and Eve (Pyle) VanMetre. Was he born ca 1720 or ca 1740? There are also other theories.
Many webgens show different assumptions, adding to the confusion. In this post, I’ll go over the issue and provide stories and wills that will help you form your own conclusion. I’m still a bit flummoxed. If you have evidence to share that will help solve this, please comment.
Table of Contents
The Back Story
In the 1760’s the sons and a grandson of Jan “John” and Margaret (Mollenaur) Van Metre, of what is now Berkeley County, West Virginia, began exploring the Ohio Country (the area that is now the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania). Both Virginia and Pennsylvania claimed this area (see my post Northern Panhandle West Virginia for more details).
The names that appear in the many stories are what is assumed to be the brothers Abraham, Jacob, and Henry; and Abraham’s son Joseph.
In the late 1760’s Jacob, Joseph and Henry settled in what is now Greene County, Pennsylvania off of the Monogahela River. Both Jacob and Henry built forts as this was toward the end of the French and Indian War (1756-1763) and there was continued threats by the renegade Simon Girty and his band of Indians. In about 1770 Abraham and his son Joseph acquired land in what is now Ohio and Brooke County, West Virginia. Abraham had considerable lands around what is now West Liberty, West Virginia, where there was another Fort. His son Joseph had land that was several miles southwest just north of what is now Clinton, West Virginia where another fort was built.
To add to the confusion, later on in the early 1790’s, Josephs sons Morgan, Joseph Jr., Abraham and Isaac and an Absalom, all relocated to Kentucky and then up into Ohio Country (Ohio). They are all showing up together as voting for the new Union Township in Highland County during this timeframe. But who was Absalom? I think it’s probably Joseph’s grandson, son of David. But Henry of Greene County, PA also had a son named Absalom.
The Theories - Henry Van Metre of Greene County, PA - who's your daddy?
- Henry (of Greene County, PA) was the son of Jan. “John” and Margaret, but if so, then who are Henry (of Berkeley County, VA) parents?
- He was the son of Isaac and Catherine (Bodine) Van Metre. But that Henry had different wives and children and was buried in Hardy County, Virginia (now West Virginia), not in Pennsylvania.
- He was the son of Henry (1695-1759), the brother of Jan “John” Van Metre, of Salem County, New Jersey. But this Henry did not have a son Henry and his family tended to stay in the Salem County, New Jersey area or Eastern Pennsylvania. None are found in Western Pennsylvania.
- Joost Janse Van Metre and Sara DuBois had an unknown son who had a son named Henry. Although possible, there are no known records to prove this one way or the other.
- At least one webgen shows Henry of Greene County, PA, parents as Joost Janse and Sarah DuBois. (that’s a bit late for them to have a child…Sarah would have been 53) and they already had a child named Henry (1695-1759), so this option is not likely.
- He was a descendant of Krijn Van Mater (son of Jan Gysbertson Van Meteren who was a cousin to Jan Joosten Van Meteren (1630-1706)). I reviewed this line and only found one Henry (1791-1841). He is buried in Monmouth County, New Jersey. I. didn’t find any other Henry’s in this line, but I didn’t do a deep dive. Note that this family settled in Monmouth County, New Jersey and changed the spelling of their name to Van Mater. I found no evidence that these two families stayed in contact. The spelling of Van Mater with an “a” is also noted as an argument because Henry #2’s son Absalom went by the spelling of Van Matre. But all of Josephs sons, Morgan, Joseph Jr., Abraham and Isaac who relocated to Kentucky and then Ohio with Absalom also changed the spelling to Van Matre.
- Possible illegitimate child of one of the Van Metre’s daughters? But wouldn’t that child be mentioned in one of their wills?
- Find A Grave Memorial #120922762 shows Henry #2 as the son of Jan “John” and Margaret (Mollenaur) Van Metre leading us back to the original conundrum.
- The most likely answer is Henry of Greene County, PA is the son of Henry of Berkeley County, VA (now West Virginia) and his birthdate is ca 1740’s. The biggest problem with this solution are the dates are a bit tight (the only reason I question this theory). Smyth’s book “Descendants of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre Family” shows Henry born ca 1743 and married to Martha or Margaret. See biographies below.
The Vitals and Families
Below are the vitals and families of the two Henry’s that are showing up in various biographies and webgens:
Henry Van Metre of Berekely, County, VA (now WV)
Born: 1717 in Somerset County, New Jersey.
Died: 3 Mar 1793 in Berkeley County, Virginia (now West Virginia), USA.
Married 1st: 1736 Eva Pyle Thomas and Deborah (Kymer) Pyle.
Married 2nd: Hannah Bartlett
Married 3rd: Elizabeth Sprigg
Children of Henry and Eva (Pyle) Van Metre:
- John (Major)
Children of Henry and Hannah (Bartlett) Van Metre:
Henry Van Metre of Greene County, PA
Born: ca 1720 or ca 1743 in Frederick County, Virginia (now Berkeley County West Virginia)
Note: Frederick County was not populated until about 1735, so this birthplace is unlikely for birth year 1720, but probable if birth year was after 1735.
Died: 10 Sep 1803 in Greene County, Pennsylvania USA.
Married: Martha Moore, daughter of George and Elizabeth (Lucas) Moore, in Prince George’s County (now Frederick County) Maryland, USA.
Note: Jan “John” and Margaret Van Metre lived in this area between 1725-1735. In 1735 or so, they relocated to Frederick County, Virginia (now Berkeley County, West Virginia).
Children of Henry and Martha (Moore) Van Metre:
- Sarah (1758-1825) (dates from headstone Find A Grave Memorial #39970107.)
- Joseph (Captain)
Henry Van Metre of Berkeley County, VA (now WV)
The following is an excerpt from A Genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre Family, by Samuel Gordon Smith, page 58:1
VII. Henry Van Metre (John1), third son of John and Margaret [ ] Van Metre, b. Somerset Co., N. J., circa 1717, d. in Virginia circa 1793; m. 1st Eve ______; 2d ante 1757, Hannah ____; 3d Elizabeth Pyle, of Ohio Cou., Va. License issued 8 April 1777. Henry inherited,, by ther terms of his father’s will, “400 acres of land where I now live.” There is a considerable documentary evidence regarding this Henry Van Metre and his migratory movements; the first of theseis found recorded in the Journal of the Frederick co., Va., Court, under date of “xi of 7beer, 1744,” which states that Henry Van Metre is appointed overseer of the road from Noah Hampton’s Mill, on the road to Cape Capon, near James Cody’s.
On April 5, 1757, Henry Van Metre, jointly with his wife Hannah, transfer to Abraham Van Metre a tract of 150 acres of land which had been granted to said Henry and Abraham by Samuel Bryan, 12 Nov., 1747; on the same date Henry Van Metre conveys by deed another tract of land, containing 64 acres which had been granted said Henry and Abraham Van Metre by Jacob Van Metre. This deed was unsigned, but is acknowledged by Henry Van Metre and his wife Hannah. (Records at Winchester, VA., and Obenchain, July-Aug., 1905)
Henry Van Metre, Joseph Van Metre, John Lemon, Nicholas McIntyre and Edward Lucas, soldiers, of Frederick Co., VA., were paid 7 shillings each for services in resisting Indians; Sept., 1758 (Boogher’s Gleanings of Virginia History, p. 81, and Virginia Colonial Militia, by Crozier, p. 72). They are rated as privates in Capt. Thomas Speak’s Company, Virginia Colonial Militia.
While still remaining a resident of Virginia, Henry kept migrating westward, until he reached what is now southwestern Pennsylvania, the border land then in controversy between the Colony of Virginia and the Province of Pennsylvania. He took up his residence in this territory which later became Bedford, and afterward Washington, then Green[e] counties of Pennsylvania. Here he took up land on Muddy Creek adjacent to his brother Jacob van Metre, and his name appears on the assessment roll of Springhill Township in 1772-1773, rated as a taxable. In the latter year some sort of disturbance of the peace occurred and Henry, Jacob and Abraham Van Metre were indicted by the “Grand Inquest of quarter Sessions,” July 6, 1773, on two bills, for riot. These bills were found and presented to the Court of Áohogania Co., Va., which exercised jurisdiction over this part of Pennsylvania (see History of Washington co., Pa., p. 152, Crumrine).
On 23 February, 1775, Henry Van Metre is recommended, among others, as a proper person to be added to the Commission of the Peace for the County of West Augusta (Virginia jurisdiction), and on the 18th of April, 1776, Henry Van Metre and Ebenezer Zane were appointed viewers, to view old road from Conrad Walter’s to mouth of Wheeling; and again, on 20th August, 1776, Henry Van Metre was among those persons recommended to be added to the Commission of the Peace for Augusta Co., Va. (see Carnegie Museum Annals, Vol. I., pp. 533, 564, 565, 1902).
Henry Van Metre’s name appears among those who received warrants for lands for military services; 400 acres were granted in Washington Co., Pa.[now Greene County], 25th May, 1785, with 250 additional acres in the year 1786.
There is also found in the entries on the old mill books in possession of the Shepherd family at Shepherdstown, Va., a brief memorandum referring to “Henry Van Metre, sr., £12.3.0 1785.”
In his will, dated. 3d March, 1790 and probated at _____, 1793, Henry Van Metre mentions his wife Elizabeth and children: Nathan, Joshua, Hester, Henry and Joseph, the latter then deceased at the date of the will, which recites: “My son Joseph Van Metre’s estate which lies on the west side of the Ohio River in the Indian country.” It is to be supposed that the above children, excepting Joseph, were the children of his second wife Hannah; the issue of his first wife, Eve, having already been provided for as they arrived at maturity. One of the executors of his will was William Gorrell, who m. a dau. of Jacob brother of Henry.
Issue: 1.John; 2. Joseph; 3. Henry, Jr.; 4. Isaac; 5. Jacob; 6. Hannah; 7. Ruth; 8. Nathan; 9. Joshua; 10. Hester.
Henry Van Metre of Greene County, PA.
The following is an excerpt from A Genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre Family, by Samuel Gordon Smith, pages 62-63:2
3. HENRY VAN METRE (John,1 Henry2), son of Henry and Eve (____) Van Metre, b. Virginia, circa 1742; d. in what is now Greene Co., Pa., circa 1803; m. Martha or Margaret ______. He was probably the same Henry Van Metre who was granted land in Greene Co. Pa., on a Pennsylvania warrant 25 May, 1785, and patented to him in 1787. He had, however, warranted to him on 26 October, 1787, 393 acres of land in Washington Co. (record in office of secretary of Internal Affairs at Harrisburg, Pa.), a part of which he sold to Azariah Davis, amounting to 625 acres. There appears also to have been patented to him 200 acres of land in Cumberland Township, in the same county, in 1781. One of his descendants is authority for the statement that he and his son Absalom, both of whom were living in [what is now] Greene Co., Pa., in 1796, that they then owned considerable land in Mason Co.[West] Virginia. (D.S. Van Metre Letters), and of having had surveyed to him in 1780 a tract of 400 acres on Cross Creek, in Ohio County, Va.[now West Virginia] (Pa. Arch., 2d Ser.) Henry Van meter was assistant judge of Washington County Court under the Constitution of 1776; he was commissioned 11 February, 1785. He was also a commissioner of Washington Co., Pa., in November, 1788 (Crumrine’s History of Washington Co., pp. 249,469). Henry van Metre laid claim, by tomahawk right, to all that beautiful and valuable valley known as the Randolph settlement of the south side of Pumpkin Run (the Swan Record). This settlement was in Greene Co., Pa. From his will, probated in the latter county in 1803, the names of the following children are obtained:
16, Joseph; 17, Jesse; 18, Absalom; 19, Henry, Jr.; 20, Abraham; 21, John; 22, Alice; 23, Sarah; 24, Rachael; 25, Elizabeth; 26, Phoebe; 27, Rebecca; 28, Martha; 29, Mary. Also grandsons: Joab, Henry and William Thomas.
In the census of Washington County for 1790 the family of Henry Van Metre are enumerated: 2 in heads of family; 3 free white males; 6 free white females, with Joseph, Jesse and Absalom heading their own individual families.
At a Court held for Greene Co., Pa., 6th June, 1803, was heard the petition of William Thomas, a minor, asking the Court to appoint Martha Van Metre (his grandmother) his guardian; this woman was the widow of Henry Van Metre, deceased (see Hanna’s History of Greene Co., Pa.).
The following is an excerpt from the Lucas Genealogy page 410-411.(Martha Moore’s mother was a Lucas).3
As a side note, Martha Moore’s family was from Prince George’s County Maryland (later Frederick County, Maryland). This place connects to Jan “John” Van Metre family who settled in this area from 1725-1735.
C 3—(328) Martha Moore dau of George and Elizabeth Lucas-Moore was b in Md 1728, mar Henry Van Meter b 1720, d 1803 in Greene Co. Pa. She died 22 yrs later in 1825; both are bur in the family cem on their old farm on the hill above their home in what was originally Van Meter Fort, about 4 miles out of Carmichaels, Pa.
Henry Van Meter, Sr., was one of the pioneers who was led by Thomas Gist into the Tenmile County of Western Pa. This land had been sold by the Indian Trader, John Owens of Fort Pitt (now Pittsburg), Pa to Abraham Teagarden of Frederick Co. Md. And on this land Henry Van Meter and John Swan husband of Elizabeth Lucas, both built their forts on separate branches of a run variously known as Enoch’s Run, Swan Run and now Pumpkin Run. He was in the Tenmile Country as early as 1765. (See Tenmile country by H. Leckey p 32.)
The Van Meters were all of adventuresome stock with a preference for lands “out beyond.” They had preceeded Jost Hite into the Shenandoah and then followed him with their families to select sites there while it was still a wilderness, and they were in the forefront of the migration to the Tenmile Country in Pa. Henry Van Meter is said to have been a loyal Virginian as long as there was any hope of having this section become a part of Virginia. He is even cited for having led a band of armed men to prevent the survey party from running the line. This band appeared to be the militia company of Capt. Jesse Pigman, in which two sons of Henry Van Meter, Joseph and Jesse, served as officers which company as late as 1785 refused to furnish the state of Pennsylvania a copy of their muster roll. However after the line had been run and it was no longer a question of ownership of the territory, Henry Van Meter, Sr., became resigned to it and took an active part in the affairs of the community. He became one of the first commissioners of the new Washington Co. Pa: served as Associate Judge for a term, then when Greene Co. was formed he served as county treasurer which office he held up until the time of his death in 1803. During the Rev he maintained a fort at his residence on Swan’s Run.
The old stone house that stood near Henry Van Meter’s first settlement, and which was destroyed by a hurricane a few yrs ago, was in reality the house his son, Jesse Van Meter built. The home of Henry Van Meter Sr. was across the road from this site about where the house of Price home stands in 1950. There is no indication that Henry Van Meter Sr. lived in any other home. He and his wife are bur on the hill above the house but no markers remain. A copy of the will of Henry Van Meter Sr., was filed for probate in Greene Co., Pa 10 Feb 1803 (Will bk 1 p 35). But the file on the estate is missing from the box. His wife Martha is named in the will as well as his 13 chuldren and a number of his grandchildren.
When Henry Van Meter went to purchase land in Mason Co. Va (now W. Va) he states in his will that his son Absalom accompanied him as well as Zachariah Vansickles and Anthony Vansickles (the son of Zachariah).
Henry Van Meter Sr. and his family were members of Goshen Baptist Church which had been erected at Garard’s Fort by Jacob Baptist Church which had been erect at Garard’s Fort by Jacob Van meter, believed to have been a brother of Henry Van Meter Sr. (See Tenmile Country p 33-45)
13 children [already listed above].
Will of Henry Van Metre of Greene County, PA.
The following will of Henry #2 was found at his WikiTree page:4
In the Name of God Amen. I Henry Vanmatre of the County of Greene in the State of Pennsylvania, being in good health at present, and of sound mind and memory, well knowing the uncertainty of Life, do make declare and publish this my last Will and Testament viz. after my death it is my desire that my Body be decently buried at the discretion of my friends, and my Soul I commit to Almighty God who gave it. As to my worldly affairs it is my will and desire in the first place that all my just debts be lawfuly paid, and the remaining part of my estate to be divided among my Wife and Children in the following order viz.
In the first place I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Martha all my Household furniture and Cash, together with one third part of all my personal estate after my debts are fully paid, and the third part of the profits of my real Estate during her natural life in lieu of her dower.
Item 2d To my Grand sons Joab and Henry Vanmatre sons of Joseph Vanmatre I will and bequeath five pounds each in Cash to be paid to their Father in trust for them until they arrive severally to the age of twenty one years.
Item 3d to my eldest son Joseph Vanmatre I will and bequeath five shillings in Cash in addition to the Plantation I have already given him.
Item 4th to my eight Daughters namely Sarah, Alice, Rachel, Elizabeth, Phebe, Rebekah, Martha, and Mary, I will and bequeath to each of them five shillings lawful money in addition to what I have alredy given them.
Item 5th to my second son Jesse Vanmatre I do devise my one hundred and ninety acres of Land in fee simple to be taken off the east side the same Plantation on which I live as follows. Begining at a white oak corner by Land of Dank Moridock deased marked H.V. runing South nineteen degrees West ___ perches to a sand stone in my Meadow marked H.V. thence South twenty four degrees East twenty four perches to a white oak, thence South forty degrees East seventy nine perches to a white oak, thence South twenty perches to a white oak, thence South thirty six degrees East nineteen perches to a post, thence South twenty one degrees West twenty nine perches to a post on the original line, thence with said line to the place of Begining to include all the improvements and now in possesion of said son Jesse.
Item 6th to my son Absalom Vanmatre I do devies two hundred and thirty four acres of Land in fee simple it being the residue of the place I now live on.
Item 7th to my son Henry Vanmatre I do devise in confirmation of a Deed of Conveyance already given him by me for two hundred & fifty acres of Land situate lying and being in [Kinhaway?] County in the State of Virginia [transc. note: is this Kanawha Co. WV?] it being part of a larger tract of land which my son Abraham [sic] and myself purchased of Isaac Robertson.
Item 8th To my son John Vanmatre I do devise in fee the residue of my claim adjoining the land mentioned in my last devise purchased by myself and son Absalom of Isaac Robertson containing by survey two hundred and fifty acres Begining at a stake Green Poplar and white oak runing South ten degrees West two hundred and twenty seven perches to a Spanish oak corner marked H.V. on Peter Hoge’s line thence South eighty degrees East with said Hoge’s line to a stake and stone marked H.V. on the West side and A.V.S. on the East side by Land of Anthony Vansickles thence with said land North twenty seven degrees East two hundred and forty six perches to a stone marked H.V. on the Western side and A.V.S. on the Eastern side, thence down Francis Watkins line to the place of Begining provided nevertheless that if it shall happen that the said John Vanmatre shall died without lawful Issue that then in that case I devise the last mentioned Tract of Land containing two hundred and fifty acres to my Grand son William Thomas in fee simple.
Item 9th To my said Grand son William Thomas I will and bequeath one Horse, one breeding Mair, two Cows, one sett of Plow Irons and Geers, Six Sheep, and Bed and Beding, and also it is my will and desire that he shall have an equal divide with the other Legatees in my personal estate all to have share and share alike. I do also appoint my son Jesse Vanmatre and my son in law Charles Sivon the Executors of this my last Will and Testament. It witness whereof I have hereunto set my and and affixed my Seal the twentieth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and one. Note the word divide interlined the other Legatees araised before signed.
Signed, Seal’d, published pronounced and declared in the presence of John Heaton, Robert Cather, Wm Westkirke, Thos. Hughes
20 April 1801
- Descendants of Henry Van Metre - Smyth, Samuel Gordon. "A Genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre Family" Lancaster, Pa. 1909., page 58-59 https://archive.org/stream/genealogyofdukes02smyt#page/n5/mode/2up
- Descendants of Henry Van Metre - Smyth, Samuel Gordon. "A Genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre Family" Lancaster, Pa. 1909., pages 62-63 https://archive.org/stream/genealogyofdukes02smyt#page/n5/mode/2up
- Martha (Moore) Van Metre -"Lucas Genealogy" compiled by Annabelle Kemp, 1964, pages 410-411 pdf found online at https://www.seekingmyroots.com/members/files/G004244.pdf (Accessed 2 May 2023).
- Henry Van Metre Will - WikiTree Page at https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Van_Meter-245 (Accessed 2 May 2023).