So You Want
to Unravel the Relationships?
Okay. I’ve collected quite a bit of information on
various O’Harra families living in Pennsylvania,
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
Pennsylvania O’Harra Connections
Maryland O’Harra Connections
Pennsylvania O'Harra Connections
- The DAR Patriot Index lists:
Hugh O'Hara, born 1748; died 1784; married (2) Margaret (Riley) McCombs,
- Arthur O'Hara is listed in
1768 among the settlers of Cumberland
township, Adams county, Pennsylvania,
was later founded. The Scotch-Irish predominated in the Marsha Creek
Settlement in contrast to the German settlers further east. (Monocacy and
- Arthur appears in the index
to landowners for Mt.
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
- 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:
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
(Maryland Records, Colonial, Revolutionary, County and Church: from
original sources. Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, Baltimore Genealogical Publishing Co.,
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.,
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
- 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
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:
O'Harra, husband, born about 1726 in Ireland;
wife, born about 1730 in Ireland;
born about 1754, Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co., died before 1822;
born about 1756, Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co., died before 1840;
born about 1757, Augusta Co.,
born about 1758, Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co., will dated 15 NOV (year missing);
married Margaret Tincher, 26 DEC (another records says 26 FEB) 1780,
born about 1758, Augusta Co.;
born about 1760, Augusta Co. (two sons named Charles?);
born about 1760, Augusta Co. ;
born about 1762, Augusta Co.; married Elizabeth Davis, 5 FEB 1782; died in Montgomery, KY
(two sons named James?);
born about 1764, Augusta Co. (two sons named Robert?);
born about 1766, Augusta Co. (two sons named John?).
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
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
became the 17th state on March
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.
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,
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,
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
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:
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
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
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
- 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
- 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.)
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.
O'Harra died in 1817 (we have record of his will.)
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.)
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
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
- 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,
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.
enjoy the fact that one of your ancestral lines is O’Harra. A fine, diversified bunch they were.