In September 1901, when my step-father, Daniel Earnest of near Imlertown, Bedford County, Pa., died, I wrote a sketch of his life for both Bedford papers referring to the following story which I promised to write later. Since then a number of friends have been looking for it. Mr. Scott Dibert, of Johnstown, suggested that I put this story in more permanent form than I had intended, saying "I will take twenty copies at once."
This was in the fall of 1905. Mr. W. E. Nevitt, of Tyrone, (a great nephew of my step-father) and I, were talking over this ancestral subject on the train coming down from Everett to Huntingdon. Mr. Dibert was so interested as he sat opposite us that he came and got acquainted, and then and there the thought was born to do what has been done since. I saw at once the possibility of making an intensely interesting story, but I felt my inability to do it especially in a literary way; besides, I did not have much time to myself, or a quiet place in which to write at that time.
Mr. Dibert was interested in the story because it came down from his father's ancestral home, Dutch Corner. He said he wanted to drive down there some time. He was anxious to connect his line with this one. I found this connection a few months ago and wrote him. His sister replied saying, "Brother is too sick to hear the letter read; my brother Frank came in from Sante Fe this summer and died here in June, and
my father's youngest brother, Abram Charles, from California died here in July. We had planned to go to Dutch Corner in the early summer." Her brother Scott died soon after I received this letter.
I had heard my step-father tell the story over and over again from the time I was a child eight years old when I went with my mother in the Earnest home in 1859. He had this all direct from his father Jacob Earnest, who died about 1830 near Mt. Dallas and his mother Susannah Defibaugh Earnest, who died in February, 1866, at the age of one hundred and one years, in Milligans Cove.
Before I wrote I wanted to get data also from the other descendants of the hero of this story and from the neighborhood where it has been told to succeeding generations. It has been very interesting to find how well these accounts harmonize in almost every detail.
I had the pleasure of spending several days with Mrs. Henry Sill, grand-daughter of George Earnest, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Todd, near Wolfsburg, in the fall of 1906, and of visiting several times since at the Wm. Phillips home, where I got data for the most of this work. My step-father, Mrs. Sill and Mrs. Phillips are the three people who made it possible to get in a connected way what I give. A few others had it but in disconnected facts. Daniel Earnest, I have found, was the only one who had the story connected. Mrs. Sill, Mrs. Phillips and the Greensburg Earnests knew much of it; but these two women were the only ones who made it possible to connect the descendants and give the early history of the community.
Thus we find that some of the most interesting unrecorded history lives in the hearts of old people--they
pass away and it is lost. Such was almost the fate of this story. Daniel Earnest and Mrs. Sill have passed over since I began this; Mrs. Phillips lingers yet on this side with the storehouse of her memory filled with rich things of the past. If I could have been with her longer or oftener I could have gotten more interesting incidents. I spent a day and a night at her home recently, and I was impressed with the manner in which she studied a little as if clearing the mists of the past away and then her face lighting up recalled what we wanted. I thought of Margaret Chandler's words:
"Away and away to memory's land,
And seize the past with a daring hand."
Besides these three people I acknowledge the generous help of a number of friends. I have tried not to omit any in the following list:
W. E. Nevitt, Tyrone, Pa
M.B. Kettering, Greensburg, Pa
Scott Dibert, Johnstown, Pa.
Adam Earnest, Bedford, Pa. R. D. 1.
J. Howard Phillips, Somerset, Pa.
Miss Sarah Kauffman, Bedford, Pa. R. D. 1
William Dibert, Bedford, Pa. R. D. 1.
Miss Alice Dibert, Bedford, Pa. R. D. 1.
Mrs. Dr. S. P. Earnest, Delmont, Pa.
Miss Florence Dibert, Johnstown, Pa.
Jacob Earnest Nevitt, Michigan City, Ind.
Mrs. Sarah Reip, St. Clairsville, Pa.
Mrs. John May, Bedford, Pa.
Mrs. D. W. Lee, Bedford, Pa.
Mr. and Mrs. Geo. W. Kauffman, Woodbury, Pa.
Mrs. Sarah Fetter, Bedford, Pa. R. D. 1.
Rev. Zinn for translation of German record.
Miss Ottilie K. Grauer, Teacher of German in Juniata College.
Mr. and Mrs. D. F. Dibert, Kittanning Point, Pa.
Miss Agnes Arnold, Kittanning Point, Pa.
Dr. Geo. W. Dibert, Bedford, Pa. R. D. 1.
Fulton Lyon, Post master at Greensburg, Pa.
I have been fortunate in having such friends as Prof. D. Emmert and Dr. C. C. Ellis criticise the manuscript and give me very helpful suggestions for this work; fortunate also to have Miss Nellie Dibert Kerr, of Bedford, who knows so many in the genealogy do most of the type-writing. I thank these friends for their invaluable help.
In writing this "Story" the following Historical Works have been consulted, to the authors of which I would acknowledge my indebtedness:
History of the
Juniata Valley, by Jones (1855).
Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania, (1895)
History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, by Waterman, Watkins & Co.
History of Bedford Co., by E. Howard Blackburn, 1906.
January 30th, 1911.
FROM old records and a few good old people we learn that some very early settlers lived in what is now Bedford township, Bedford County, Pa. It seems they were not ousted nor their primitive buildings burned by order of the proprietary governors.
Long before Ray settled at Raystown in 1750 or '51 the old historic house at Mr. Wm. Phillip's home had been built and was doubtless used as a fort. Mr. Blackburn in his late History of Bedford County says, "Who knows but that this may have been the fort called 'Wingawn' which is named among the early forts of Bedford County, but which our learned historians have never been able to locate." So it may have been that those people of long ago fled to this old fort before there was a " Fort-at-Raystown" or a "Fort Bedford."
The lips are all silent that might have told the story, and what we know that is real history about the people fleeing from the Indians, all clusters around old Fort Bedford. There have been many thrilling stories told by our ancestors. The settlers living to the east of Fort Bedford had a very dangerous road through the narrows. When the alarm went out that the Indians were coming, the people fled in great haste and when they came near the narrows, they got close together and all rode in a solid block as fast as their horses could go. My grandmother Arnold, used to tell how they came from about Rainsburg.
The settlers had all fled to the fort once after an Indian alarm. When all seemed quiet a lot of men and a few women went out to their homes to do some work. At her grandfather's home - the old Smith home near Rainsburg - they tried to finish weaving a piece they had in the loom, the men keeping guard. One girl wove so hard she spit blood and was never so well afterwards. They heard of some settlers being shot at near the narrows at Ft. Bedford and they all went back to the fort as fast as they could go. There was a colored woman, named Willis, a servant or slave at the Smith home. When they got near the narrows she cried and said "She would be left behind and shot." She was riding a big clumsy horse that did not keep up with the others. As she was a very good faithful servant, one of the men gave her a little racer she wanted, and they all rode through safely but were shot at by the Indians. The people in the fort were uneasy about them and came out to meet them with music and beating a drum.
There was another colored woman named Chloe - quite a historic character at Rainsburg - I used to have associated with this story. My Aunt Agnes Arnold says it was Willis. Chloe was a great cook and cake baker. She was called to help at big dinners, weddings etc. She liked to tease women who had plenty but were close, telling them that certain recipes required more than they really did. She helped to cook dinner for General Washington and his guard when they stopped at Coulters fort near Centreville in Cumberland Valley on their way from Cumberland, Md., to Ft. Bedford. She was afterwards cook at the Bedford Springs.
The geographical situation of Bedford, with its numerous springs and streams, made it a great place for the Indians before the invasion of the white man. Mr. William Philips says: "My father used to tell how long ago a party of Indians stopped at Bedford and had a great wailing over their dead."
Mrs. Philips tells many interesting and thrilling incidents of the earliest settlers in Bedford township. She says that for some time there were only three houses in all the country just north of Bedford - the old house at their home, and a primitive house at Bridahams, and another in the Dibert corner. These very early settlers had come from Virginia. They called these lands "the Highlands."
The first family of Diberts who settled in the Dibert corner were massacred by the Indians at this place. The first names of the parents are not known. Mrs. Philips says they were the parents of her grandfather, Frederick Dibert. The Indians murdered the parents and some of the children, and burned their house. They took three children along - Fred and a brother and sister. Fred was about seven years old. They made him walk over the bodies of his parents.He saw his mother was still alive. The family had just baked bread and churned butter. The Indians made the children carry the bread and butter and a lot of bedding along with them. The bones of these burned bodies were buried near where the Dibert school house now stands.
The family had a horse with a bell on to give alarm when the Indians were around. The Indians wanted the bell and cut the horse's head off to get it. Then they rang this bell near the settlers' houses in order
to get them to come out. They took a number of horses along with them.
These children got back to Philadelphia at different times being rescued by soldiers. An Indian woman whose son had died kept Fred, clinging to him when the soldiers tried to rescue him. He was gone seven years.
Frederick Dibert had a brother named Charles.
They married sisters. Frederick married Madaline
Steel, and Charles married Mary Steel. Mrs. Philips
has two pretty little crocks given her by these women, her grandmother and great aunt. Also a very old sugar bowl
which came down to her mother. She says John Dibert,
sr., was also a brother of her grandfather Frederick.
See John Dibert - Mary Earnest's line.
The descendants of Frederick and Madaline Steel Dibert :
1. Jacob. Married Elizabeth Earnest. SeeGeorgeEarnest's line
2.Michael. Married Susan Earnest. See Henry Earnest's line.
3. Frederick. Married Susan Croyle. Took up land at Claysburg. Moved back to Dibert corner. Buried where the massacred Diberts were buried.
1. Jacob married Sarah Wysong. This is the Jacob Dibert who dreamed of the lost children of the Alleghanies and told his dream to his brother-in-law, Mr. Wysong.
1. Isaac. 2. Henry 3. Joseph
2. Hettie. Married Samuel Wysong.
3. Rebecca. Married Jacob Strayer.
4. Adam. Married Elizabeth Koontz.
1. Michael. Married Catharine Imler
daughter of Isaac Imler.
1. Edward. 3. Laura
2. Shannon. 4. Emma.
2. John died in Army.
3. Adam. Married Sophia Armstrong.
1. Blanche. 2. Jennie. 3. Hattie.
4. Scott Dibert. Married Maude Amick lives in Pittsburg.
5. Julia. Married Daniel Koontz.
1. Laura, dead.
2. Fred. Married Catharine Dibert daughter of Geo. Dibert. See Geo. Earnest's line.
4. Christ. Married Catharine Earnest. See Geo. Earnest's line.
5. Elizabeth. Married Samuel Earnest. See George Earnest's line.
6. Eve. Married John Miller, moved west.
7. Mary. Married Jacob Walter. These are the parents of Mrs. William Philips who has been my constant helper.
1. Samuel Walter. 3. Jacob Walter twin
2. Daniel " 4. Mary Ann " "
5. Ann Margaret
Samuel Walter. Married Mary Reighard.
1. Levanda. 4. Anni e.
2 . Elizabeth. 5. Charlotte.
3 . Caroline. 6. Nettie.
Daniel Walter. Married Mary Ann Sill, daughter Abram Sill.
1. Frank. 2. Sarah Jane, died young.
Jacob Walter. Married Susan Sill, daughter Daniel Sill.
1. Mary 5.
2. Lloyd 6. Malinda
4. Urilla 7. Laura
5. Job 8. Etta
Mary Ann Walter. Married Frederick Zimmers.
1. Watson, dead several years
2. Emma. 3. Bruce
Mararet Walter. Married W. W. Phillips.
1. Albert. 4. Hattie, dead.
2. Jacob Howard. 5. Warren.
3. Luther M. 6. Marguirite.
Charles and Mary Steel Dibert's descendants.
1. Eve. Married to Thomas Wertz of Milligan's Cove.
1. Joseph, lived about Everett. Had a family .
2. Charles. Married Sarah Foster, large family, Pontiac Ill.
3. Eliza. Married Daniel Earnest. See Jac.Earnest's line.
1. Elizabeth, married to Joseph Stickler.
2. Polly was married to Mr. Alstadt. Had one son, John
4. Hettie. Married Mr. Heinsling. Lived at St. Clairsville. Lizzie.
5. Jacob. Married first time to Hettie Sill. One daughter, Mary who went west. Married the second time to Miss Cook
6. Thomas. Married a Miss Rock lived part of his life in Snake Spring Valley on the old Studebaker place then owned by the Hartleys.
1. Andrew. Never married.
2. William. Proprietor of Washington hotel at Bedford. Moved to Reading.
1. Samuel. 2. Henry.
3. Jacob. Married Eliza Ritchie.
4. Henry. Married Fannie Amstong.
6 Thomas. Married Sally Shuss. Lived near Clearville.
7. John. Married Sarah Rollins, lived near Clearville.
1. Dan. 2. Thomas. 3. Mrs. Steel.
8. Dr. George W. Married Miss Cobbler. Died at Imlertown in 1909.
1. Mrs. Joshua Kerr.
Nellie sec. at Juniata College.
2. Dr. C. Dibert of Buffalo Mills .
3. David of Imlertown, Pa .
9. David. Married a Miss Diehl. Lived in Friend's Cove.
10. Eliza. Married a Koontz.
7. Elizabeth. I think there was an Elizabeth in this family though not mentioned by those who gave me the others. She used to visit her sister Eve, and at my step-father's home in Milligan's Cove, when his first wife, Eliza Wertz, lived. She was her aunt. I have an old "fa-sol-la" note book from our old home, yellowwith age. On the fly leaf is written, "Alizabeth Dibert, A. D., 1828, daughter of Charles Dibert."
Eve Dibert Wertz May was perhaps the oldest in this family (I have not given these names according to age exactly but as Mrs. Philips thought they came.) She was a remarkable woman. While she was Mrs. Thomas Wertz and living in the north end of Milligan's Cove she rode horse back over the old "packers path" by "Kinton's Knob" and carried her real "goldenedged" butter and eggs to Bedford scores of times .
Then, as Mrs. Daniel May, she conducted the boarding house at Sulphur Springs - the big long old log house - so old nobody knows who built it. Who that was ever there does not remember the old long porch white as sand could make it, and the white washed walls inside and oustide; the yard swept as clean as a floor, and the beautiful garden with its old fashioned " posey bed," not a weed to be seen, and walks swept also as clean as the house; and inside the old chairs, and kitchen floor as white as boards could be made, and above the old kitchen table, along a whole side of the wall, hung over clean papers, was the good old fashioned tin-ware that shone like mirrors.
Bright carpet made with her own hands covered most of the other floors. Then in the bed rooms, were piles of quilts and coverlets of her own labor and linen. made also by her own hands, bleached snowy white.
The dining room capped the climax for the city boarder.
The old log house stands yet like a leaning tower. For years after its occupants had passed away old Spring boarders would come up from the later boarding houses and walk all around it.
province. I have heard of the first coming to this country but now I can not find the record. I know one brother went far into Kentuckey. Bedford Co., seems to have been the Dibert Settlement, far back in the eighteenth century. As I remember the Diberts came from Amsterdam to America having been in Holland more than three years. I believe that Charles was the first Dibert mentioned in Bedford Co., though it is thought two brothers settled there and one wentsouth."
Had these Dibert brothers, Frank and Scott lived I would have much more on this genealogy, as they were both interested. While I was in Michigan I had a letter from Frank encouraging me to go on with this work. He held a prominent position in the Santa Fe R. R. Co., and was also engaged in Charity work. The following was his line of work printed on his envelope: