From the book
A History of the Descendents of Jacob and Maria Eva Harshbarger of Switzerland.
The Catherine Deardorff Family
Catherine Harshbarger was born in Pa. When 3 years old she was taken to Va. where she grew to womanhood on her father’s farm. She married Apr. 26, 1799, to John Deardorff, who was born 1779. As the Deardorffs intermarried into prominent branches of our family, I shall briefly notice their early history. It is said that nearly two centuries ago a Dunkard preacher named Anthony Thierdord lived near Heidelberg, in Germany. Being persecuted he fled to Holland and soon after came to Germantown, Pa., with three sons. We find them in York County in 1738. One of these sons also named Anthony, had a son Peter, born 1742.
About 1745 a man named Swyer was crossing the ocean with a large family. The mother died on the voyage and the children are scattered, some it is said were hired out to pay the man’s debts. One of these was Christina, who was born in 1739 and married this Peter Deardorff, who settled on Conewago Creek, near York, where thirteen children were born to them. They were Henry, Susan, Christina, Elizabeth, Rebecca, Catherine, Mary, Anna, Salome, Peter, John, Jacob, and Samuel. We call attention to but four of these. Salome failing in health was sent away to a medicinal spring. While absent two of the older sisters were sitting at work in a remote part of the house. One looking up exclaimed, “Why there is Salome come home.” The other glancing around saw the little girl standing in the doorway. They hastened to meet her, but she could not be found. The next day word came that she had died at the hour of the vision. Since this tradition has held 125 years and been widely circulated, the event must have made a deep impression.
Peter Deardorff and his thirteen children were once neighbors of Durst Ammen and his nine children while in Pa. Thought separated when both families moved to Va., for Peter settled in Bedford County, near Peaks of Otter, some miles from Fincastle, the children did not forget each other. John Ammen crossed the Blue Ridge and took Anna for his bride, while Michael Ammen chose Catherine, now Grandmother to J.M. Harshbarger, Pres. of our Association. But notice these girls had a young brother John, who, coming to see his sisters, meets Catherine Harshbarger. She is the daughter of Barbary the sister of John and Michael. Thus the Deardorffs became linked to the Harshbargers through the Ammens.
Just here I shall and the old Mother Deardorff, once Christina Swyer, after the death of her husband in 1812, came from Peaks of Otter and made her home with her daughter Catherine and her son John, all living on the Ammen estate. In the family grave yard nearby there is a tombstone on which is written, “Christina Deardorff, died 1824.” Three years after Christian Harshbarger was buried by her side and her stone marks the spot of our great parent, from there is no stone to his grave. After her marriage Catherine Deardorff remained in Va. Seventeen years, where her first six children were born. About this time new land was being open in western Ohio, and she and a number of her relatives settled in Highland Co., in 1816, but less then twenty years these families were scattered westward. Catherine and her family went to Ind., where several of her children married. She finally moved to Iowa and settled a few miles west of Burlington, where she died in 1871.
The story goes on to describe her physical appearance, disposition as well as her 12 children.
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