O'Harra Migration

So You Want

to Unravel the Relationships?

Okay.  I’ve collected quite a bit of information on various O’Harra families living in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Ohio areas in the 1700s.  What am I going to do with it?  I’m going to share it with you, gentle readers.  Perhaps someday the equivalent of the  genealogical O’Harra Family “Rosetta Stone” will be discovered and all these distant relations  will float gently down to fasten themselves on the appropriate branches and twigs of Ye Ole’ O’Harra Family Tree.

In the meantime, you can speculate about how that will all fall into place by checking out the following:

Pennsylvania O’Harra Connections

Maryland O’Harra Connections

Virginia O’Harra Connections


Ohio O’Harra Connections


Pennsylvania O'Harra Connections

  • The DAR Patriot Index lists: Hugh O'Hara, born 1748; died 1784; married (2) Margaret (Riley) McCombs, Pvt. PA.
  • Arthur O'Hara is listed in 1768 among the settlers of Cumberland township, Adams county, Pennsylvania, where Gettysburg was later founded. The Scotch-Irish predominated in the Marsha Creek Settlement in contrast to the German settlers further east. (Monocacy and Catoctin, researchers.)
  • Arthur appears in the index to landowners for Mt. Pleasant township, Westmoreland Co., in 1784 and 1785.
  • John and Arthur Ohara are both listed in the 1790 census for Unity township, Westmoreland co. Henry Ohara is also listed in Westmoreland Co. All three men are married and have children.
  • Arthur O'Harra appears in Unity township, and Henry O'Harra appears in Armstrong township in the records for the 1798 Direct Tax of Pennsylvania. there were other index references to Arthur and James, as well.
  • The will of Patrick O'Hara dated October 9, 1775, late of Chanceford township, York County, PA, yeoman, now of Massachusetts Bay in the Government of New England, soldier in the American Continental Army, being sick and weak, provided:

All real and personal estate in Pennsylvania be exposed to sale for the best price. After debts surplus to be divided into four equal shares. two of the equal shares to cousin Charles O'Hara in Lancaster County. One of the equal shares to Agnes Downey, wife of Alexander Downey, late Agnes O'Hara. Other part to Mary O'Hara, sister of the above Charles. Also to Mary O'Hara, my silver buckles, now in the possession of Thomas Kelly. Charles O'Hara to pay out of his share to Daniel O'Hara, my cousin, in Virginia the sum of five pounds. To Lieutenant John Matson all the money due me as a soldier and also my rifle and other effects, including my apparel which i have in the army. Residue of estate to Charles O'Hara. Executor to make deed for purchasers of lands. Executor: cousin Alexander Downey...Probated 26 JUN 1776.

  • Stephen O'Harra immigrated to America and settled in Philadelphia; married Miss Fruger of Lancaster Co.; had five children, including a James and Henry. James born at Philadelphia, October 15, 1977; removed to Lancaster following his father's death; married Anna Yount; had six children, including Leah, George, Jessie, Henry, Charles and Anna; purchased land and removed to Cumberland Co., PA before his death at age 72. (History of Cumberland and Adams Counties, PA, Warner, Beers and Co., 1886.)

Maryland O'Harra Connections

  • In 1778 there was a Patrick O'Harra living in Washington Co., MD (Maryland Early Settlers Index). The will of Patrick O'Hara of York Co., PA had been probated 26 JUN 1776, so this was not the same man.
  • Listed among the Revolutionary War pension files for Ann Arundel Co., MD, we have:

O'Hara, John. Passed Mch 3, 1840 -- No. 14. Treas. Western Shore pay to Susan O'Hara, widow of John O'Hara, a rev. soldier, or order, quarterly, during life the half pay of a private, from Jan. 1, 1840, in consideration of the services of her husband rendered during rev. war.

  • Also in this source, we have the marriage of James O'Hara to Mary Yeates, August 17, 1779, and William O'Hara to Susan Tucker, December 5, 1812, both in Ann Arundel County. (Maryland Records, Colonial, Revolutionary, County and Church: from original sources. Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, Baltimore Genealogical Publishing Co., 1967.)
  • We find a John Oharro with at least six sons and two daughters listed in Washington Co., MD., in 1790; and Daniel O'Hara and Henry O'Hara in Frederick Co., MD, the same year. Daniel and his wife apparently have two daughters and Henry has four daughters, a son and a slave. Both Washington and Frederick counties are located directly across the Potomac River from Hampshire Co., Virginia, where we first pick up our John O'Harra who later migrates to Ohio.
  • In 1800, there is a John O'Harra living in Allegany Co., (p. 11 in the census) also across the Potomac River from Hampshire Co., VA.
  • In the above family we have four males under age 10; one male 26-45 (John); one female under age 10; one female age 16-26 (Priscilla); and one female 45 years or older (possibly John's mother or another elderly relative.) We could speculate that the young boys are Joseph, Hugh, Charles, and John, and that he young girl is Mary "Polly" O'Harra.
  • In 1800, there is also a Samuel O'Harrow living in Baltimore City, MD; and a Henry O'Harrow Sr. and a Henry O'Harrow Jr., both living in Frederick Co., MD. (We later find these Henrys in Red Bud, Illinois!)
  • We find a baptismal record for one Sally O'Harrow in the St. James Parish Register, Maryland. Daughter of Ignatius and Kerenhappuch O'Harrow, she was born and/or baptized Dec. 28, 1803. Kerenhappuch (aka Carey) and her family are also listed in the 1830 and 1840 censuses for Baltimore Co., MD.

Virginia O'Harra Connections

Hampshire County

  • In Hampshire Co., VA, we have Arthur O'Harra listed in the personal property tax lists for 1785, 1788, 1791, and 1792. This could be the Arthur who resided in Pennsylvania in 1768.
  • A John O'Harra is listed in the same Hampshire Co., VA records as is Arthur for 1791 and 1792.
  • Our John O'Harra married Miss Priscilla Slagle of Hampshire Co., VA, we estimate in 1790 or 1791. We believe that for several years the family stayed close to Priscilla's family, either in Hampshire Co., VA or Allegany Co., MD.

Greenbrier County

  • One of the earliest records found for a branch of the O'Harras in this three colony area (PA, MD, and VA) is the family group of Daniel and Elizabeth O'Hara: he born in Ireland abut 1726 and she also born in Ireland about 1730. Their children's names were spelled both O'Hara and Harrah. The oldest son Charles was born about 1754 in Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co., VA.
  • Virginia's Old Augusta County, organized 15 DEC 1738, was later carved up to make several counties, including Frederick Co., 1738; Hampshire Co., 1753; Botetourt Co., 1769; Ohio Co., 1776; Rockbridge Co., 1776; and Rockingham Co., 1778. Greenbrier Co. was formed 12 JAN 1778 from portions of Montgomery, Botetourt, Fayette, and Monroe counties.
  • "West" Virginia did not become a separate state from Virginia until the Civil War.
  • In 1773, a Charles O'Harra signs a petition to the Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia requesting that Greenbrier County be formed. The petitioners on this document for many hears had inhabited this remote part of the country without ever having it in their power to procure any better title to their lands that the natural right of occupancy. Charles was the only O'Harra on the list of signatures in 1773.
  • Father Daniel O'Harra Sr. appears in the Greenbrier County survey records the following year. Daniel O'Harra Jr. receives 365 acres on Muddy Creek. The survey was made in 1774 for Daniel O'Harra Sr. (Daniel Jr. and Elizabeth O'Harra later sold what as probably these same 365 acres to Andrew Hood in 1792).
  • There are repeated references to Charles, James, William and Daniel O'Harra in early court minutes. generally they are called for jury duty, appointed to the militia or ordered to survey roads.
  • Charles, Hugh, Robert, and William O'Hara served at the Battle of Point Pleasant, other called the first battle of the Revolutionary War, October 10, 1774. Charles O'Hara was a sergeant in Captain John Stuart's Company of Greenbrier Valley Volunteers in the Botetourt County Regiment. Robert O'Hara and William were privates in the same company.
  • Revolutionary War records show a Daniel O'Hara (O'Harro) serving as a private in the Sixth Virginia Regiment; a Hugh Ohara, private; James Ohara, private/captain; Joseph OHara, private; William OHarra, and two John O'Harra's, one in Capt. Rowland Madison's Company of the 12th Virginia reg., commanded by Col. James Wood (serving at Valley Forge), and the second in Capt. Presley Nevill's Company of the Eighth Virginia regiment, also commanded by Col. James Wood. Records are for 1777-1778.
  • A James and John O'Hara served under Capt. Thomas Wright of Greenbrier in 1780 for the "alleged purpose of going against the Indians at Detroit, but (were) marched by Crytes (?) lead mines to the head of Holston, and thence to Logan Station, KY, where it was decided that the troops were not to go to Detroit."
  • Records for "heads of families" in Greenbrier county for the years 1873-1786 include Charles O'Harra, Daniel O'Harra Sr., Daniel O'Harra Jr., James O'Harra, John O'Harra and William O'Harra.
  • According to the family group record in the Latter Day Saints; ancestral files, these men were all grown sons of Daniel O'Harra Sr., but there are some problems with the record:

Daniel O'Harra, husband, born about 1726 in Ireland;

Elizabeth, wife, born about 1730 in Ireland; and sons:

Charles, born about 1754, Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co., died before 1822;

Daniel, born about 1756, Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co., died before 1840;

James, born about 1757, Augusta Co.,

William, born about 1758, Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co., will dated 15 NOV (year missing); married Margaret Tincher, 26 DEC (another records says 26 FEB) 1780, Greenbrier Co.);

Robert, born about 1758, Augusta Co.;

Charles, born about 1760, Augusta Co. (two sons named Charles?);

John, born about 1760, Augusta Co. ;

James, born about 1762, Augusta Co.; married Elizabeth Davis, 5 FEB 1782; died in Montgomery, KY (two sons named James?);

Robert, born about 1764, Augusta Co. (two sons named Robert?);

John, born about 1766, Augusta Co. (two sons named John?).

Obviously, there is some incongruity here. There are two Charles, two Roberts, two James, and two Johns. The answer may be that two O'Harra families have been inadvertently combined. Daniel Sr. may have had a brother who used some of the same first names as Daniel for his own sons. One brother or two, we get the impression that there was a definite O'Harra presence in Augusta/Greenbrier County as early as 1754.

  • William O'Harra married Margaret Tincher on 26 FEB 1780 in Greenbrier Co., and James O'Harra married Elizabeth Davis, 5 FEB 1782 also in Greenbrier Co. (source: Marriages of Some Virginia Residents: 1607-1800, by Dorothy Ford Wulfeck, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1986, page 128.)
  • The will of William Harrah (O'Harra) was probated in Greenbrier Co. in June 1806. It listed his wife Margaret, and children Robert, Daniel, Charles, William, James, Mary Osburn, Elizabeth, Margaret, Sarah, and Hannah.
  • The will of Charles Harrah was probated 22 FEB, also in Greenbrier. It listed Charles' wife Margaret, and children Robert, Thomas, Charles, Hannah Butler, Sarah, and Margaret.
  • Daniel, Charles and William are repeatedly listed from 1782 through 1800 in the Greenbrier Co. Land Tax Books.

O'Harra Men in the Ohio Migration

Explorers visited what is now Ohio beginning as early as 1670, but the region did not become the Northwest Territory, truly open for settlement, until 1787. Marietta, the first permanent white settlement in Ohio, was founded on 7 APR 1788. Within a short time several other communities developed along the Ohio River. Many settlers were Revolutionary War veterans who received land in payment for their military service. Ohio became the 17th state on March 1, 1803.

A Review of Pioneer Ohio Newspapers, 1793-1810 by Karen Mauer Green, The Frontier Press, Galveston, 1986, indicates that O'Harra persons arrived in Ohio in the 1790s and early 1800s.

There was a notice about Quartermaster General James O'Hara in the Sentinel of the North-Western Territory, Vol. II, No. 69, Saturday, 7 MAR 1795. O'Hara was at Fort Washington and the notice was regarding freight charges for carrying public property.

My favorite notices from that publication deal with Hugh O'Hara. Hugh had escaped from the Hamilton County Prison, and Sheriff Daniel Symmes was in hot pursuit.

Gaol Broken!

Escaped from Hamilton prison on the night of the ninth of March instant, three prisoners therein confined for debt, viz, Hugh O'Hara, Samuel Eidie, and John Dillon. It is expected that the men have gone down the Ohio. A handsome allowance besides expenses for all or any of the said escapees will be given for apprehending and delivering them to the Gaoler for Hamilton county. By Daniel Symmes, Sheriff, Cincinnati, 3/18/1795.


Broken Prison!

The 27th, Archibald Diddip, Hugh O'Harra, and Daughtery committed for debt -- Jem, a negro, and Isaac Johnson, a mulatto, committed for criminal offenses -- It is expected they have crossed the Ohio and gone to Kentucky. Whoever apprehends said escapees or either of them and delivers them to the keeper of said prison, shall be handsomely rewarded and all reasonable charges paid by Daniel Symmes, Sheriff, Cincinnati, 1/20/1796.

Hugh is probably the same Hugh O'Harra who fought at the Battle of Point Pleasant. This is the first we hear of him since the Revolutionary War -- and we have found no other references to a Hugh O'Harra in the Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia records thus far. Perhaps Hugh had "flown under the radar" for most of his life.

Several Hugh O'Harra's show up in the early Ohio records, but I feel like we probably pick up THIS particular Hugh in the History of Marion County. The article notes that in 1820 Hugh O'Harra -- "Old Hood", as he was then called -- lived "just north of the fork of the road a mile north of the village of Marion." In 1820, the area was part of Delaware County. Old Hood still lived in his old round-log cabin in 1827, we are told.

The 1820 census for Brown township, Delaware Co., lists Hugh O'Harra, a widower, living alone, more than 45 years old. He is still there for the 1830 and the 1840 census, this time the area is in Marion township, Marion County. He is not listed in 1850.

I personally hope that the "Point Pleasant Hugh", the "Goal-Breaking Hugh", and "Old Hood" are one in the same man -- plus I hope he is related to our line.

There is more:

  • The Jefferson County, Ohio militia appointments for 1799 listed Hugh O'Hara. Over in Ross County, for the same year, we have Charles O'Hara and Arthur O'Hara on that county's militia lists.
  • Four O'Harra men signed a petition to Congress on or about 20 FEB 1801 calling for public land to be opened up for purchase and settlement between the waters of the Muskingum and Scioto rivers in the Northwestern Territory. The men were Hugh O'Harra, Charles O'Harra, another Hugh O'Harra and Arthur O'Harra.
  • The Scioto Gazette and Chillicothe Advertiser included Col. James O'Hara as having a letter at the Chillicothe Post Office 9 JAN 1802. On 16 JAN 1804, the list of letters includes one for Arthur O'Harrow. Arthur O'harra in Franklin township reports that a found horse had been appraised.
  • On 16 APR 1804, a letter is listed for Hugh and A. Oharra at Franklinton. Hugh O'Hara is mentioned on 26 SEP 1810 as having registered to purchase land.
  • The 1806 tax records for Ohio show a Charles, Hugh, and James O'Harra in Clear Creek township, Fairbanks County. By 1814, the tax lists show Hugh, and now our John, as living in Walnut township, Pickaway County.
  • In Ohio Source Records, from the Ohio Genealogical Quarterly, Baltimore, 1986, we discover that John O'Harra was a licensed tavern keeper at Franklinton (now Columbus) from 1810-1811. A note at the top of the page indicates that "the innkeeper was a public citizen esteemed by the community. Frequently, licenses stipulated that 'spirituous liquors' could not be sold." This 1810 record is the earliest we have found thus far for a John O'Harra being in Ohio. We believe he is our John.
  • An Arthur O'Hara is listed as serving in the War of 1812 (Roster of Ohio Soldiers: Roll of Captain William Dunlap's Company -- probably from Highland Co.)
  • In the Index to Clermont County Common Pleas Court Minutes Books 1808-1812, there is a civil case: James O'Harra versus Edward Miller (page 42.)
  • In February 1816, John O'Harra and Joseph O'Harra were convicted of assault and battery in connection with one Joseph Miller. John had pleased guilty and Joseph was found guilty. Record of the event is found in the Pickaway County Court of Common Pleas Criminal Journal, Vol. 1, 1813-1816.
  • In the same journal, page 16, it is found that a Hugh O'Harra was a witness in criminal proceedings against Thomas Waddle and Henry Coonrad, both of whom were involved in carrying on a lottery.
  • Hugh sold his land in Pickaway County in 1818 and moved to Delaware County in time for the 1820 census. He is listed as more than 45 years old, no children at home, and as a widower.
  • Charles O'Harra died in 1817 (we have record of his will.)
  • James O'Harra is listed in the 1810 tax list for Franklin County, along with an Arthur O'Harra. (Arthur O'Harra's parents Hugh and Mary O'Harra, were natives of Virginia, emigrating to Ross Co. (now Pickaway) in 1800. Arthur was born there on 6 FEB 1801. the family moved to Marion Co., and on to Franklin Co.)
  • Hugh O'Harra, "Old Hood", is still living in his old round-log cabin in 1827, according to the History of Marion County.
  • A John O'Harra is listed as the head of one of the seventeen families which comprised Marion in 1825. He owned a chair and bedstead shop in the community. This John ran for sheriff of Marion County in October of 1827 and lost to Daniel Tompkins, 219 to 199. In October of 1828, he ran for coroner and lost to Henry Peters, 202 to 162. (this John is not the same as our John O'Harra because John and Priscilla were in Pickaway county in 1824. However, Political John could be a son of "Old Hood.")
  • A James O'Harra (not the same family) came from Tyrone County, Ireland, in 1774, at the age of 19 years and went directly to Martinsburg, Berkeley County, (West) Virginia. This James immediately entered the employ of a local merchant and was dispatched with a stock of goods to Pittsburgh to trade with the Indians. He soon went into business for himself, invested much of his profit in real estate in the Pittsburgh area, and commenced trading with the settlements in the Ohio country. Records show that he carried on an extensive correspondence with Gen. George Rodgers Clark concerning the government's accounts.

So enjoy the fact that one of your ancestral lines is O’Harra.  A fine, diversified bunch they were.

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