The O'Harra Family
"The O'Harra family can trace its roots back
to the days of Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658)," my mother has told me time
and again. She remembers as a youngster visiting an elderly relative and seeing
the family history documents that substantiated this belief. She recalls
stories of three brothers from
The Scotch-Irish began migrating to the American
John O'Harra, 1760-1832
We begin our O'Harra genealogy with John O'Harra
who married the former Miss Priscilla Slagle about 1790-91, probably near
Mrs. Kartalia built upon the foundation laid by Ora Monnet in is 1200-page Monnet Family Genealogy, by Orra E. Monnette, published Baltimore, Maryland, in the early 1900s.
In both books we learn that Jacob Slagle owned
land in the late 1700s in both Allegany County, Maryland, and across the
Potomac River, in
Several of Priscilla's sisters and brothers
married persons from the
Priscilla married John O'Harrow - later O'Harra. This is stated both in the Monnet Family Genealogy, as well as in an article on the Slagle family in Colonial Families of the United States, Vol. 4, p. 457, George Norbury MacKenzie, U.B. Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1966.
Nothing more is said of John and nothing is
directly known about John's family of origin. We have found numerous references
to what must be John's extended family in
We learn a little concerning John and Priscilla's
early married years through the last will and testament of Jacob Slagle. On
page 488 of the Monnet Family Genealogy, in an excerpt from the will (
"Third, I give and bequeath unto my son Joseph Slagle all that tract of land I bought of Michael Collier, lying in Allegheny County and State of Maryland, and also one other tract of land lying and being in the County and State aforesaid, whereon John O'Hara now lives and which tract of land I bought of James Martin."
It appears as though after John marries Priscilla Slagle he either rents or continues to work on the Slagle land until Slagle's death-- at which time the land is bequeathed to Priscilla's brother! Time for the family to move on.
The 1800 federal census for Allegany county, Maryland, lists a John O'Harra family with four males under the age of 10; one male 26-45 (John); one female, age 16-26 (Priscilla); and one female 45 years or older (possibly John's mother or another elderly relative.)
We can speculate that the young boys in this family are Joseph, Hugh, Charles and John Jr., and that the young girl is Mary "Polly" O'Harra.
Numerous family members have already migrated to
The family continues to expand and prosper. But
the end must come for us all. John O'Harra is buried at
A review of property inventories taken at the time of the elder John O'Harra's death indicate that he was pre-deceased by a son, also named John: John, junior.
Inventory of goods and chattle belonging to John
O'Harra, junior, deceased, was filed
John O'Harra, Sr. Family of Origin
Who was John O'Harra, husband of Priscilla Slagle? Where did he come from?
Our best guess - but certainly not the only guess
available - is that John was one of the six sons of John Oharro of
Six O'Harra sons!
And that's not all. Just in 1790 we have a Daniel
O'Harra and a Henry O'Harra living in nearby Frederick County, Maryland.
Slightly to the north in
In 179l across the Potomac, we have both an
Arthur O'Harra family and a John O'Harra family listed in
A little earlier in 1786 and a little further south in Greenbrier County, Virginia, we have the families of Charles, Daniel, James, John and William O'Harra, probably all grown sons of one elderly Daniel O'Harra, born in Ireland about 1726.
How are all these folks related? We will never know. However, it is quite likely that most of them are brothers, cousins, and second cousins. And either they or their sons were migrating to the Ohio Country. Our John O'Harra and his wife Priscilla and family soon joined them.
One particularly neat possible relative is Hugh O’Harra, who first shows up in Ohio Country records when he escapes jail in 1795 and goes down river. An Hugh O’Harra fought in the Battle of Point Pleasant and was recorded as living in Marion County, Ohio – still in his round log cabin in 1827. Read more about these possible connections in So You Want to Unravel the Relationships?
John and Priscilla O'Harra named their first son Joseph, after Priscilla's brother. They named their second son, Hugh. I am descended from this Hugh. Was my Hugh named after his father John's scalawag brother, perhaps? There is absolutely not a shred of evidence that would say so -- but I thought I'd mention the possibility anyhow.