Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Heritage Trail: Kregers in Pennsylvania

My grandpa Cramer's parents and all four of his grandparents were born in Pennsylvania and have deep roots there.  Three of his four lines emigrated there from Germany, including the Kregers.  Henry and Elizabeth Kreger left Oldenburg, Germany, with most of their children in the early 1800s and settled in the western highlands of Somerset, Pennsylvania. This densely wooded area may have reminded them of their homeland. 

Their son Johannes Barnhart (sometimes anglicized to Barney) Kreger and his wife Catherine lived in Upper Turkeyfoot Township, and a hill there is nicknamed "Barney Kreger Hill" in his honor.  There are still Kreger descendants living in the area, and this is the "Hexie" area chronicled in distant relative Samuel Miller's book, A Place Called Hexie.
sign on Route 281 for Upper Turkeyfoot Township
Hexie sign
Barney Kreger hill, down Humbert Rd off of 281 by Kingwood
The town of Kingwood, PA, on Route 281 is where Barnhart and Catherine are buried.  There is a cemetery to the side of the Mount Zion Lutheran Cemetery (not the one behind the church, which also has lots of related Kregers, but across the parking lot).  Their headstone is the fourth row, fourth from left, about in the middle.
Kingwood cemetery, north of the Church of God cemetery
John Bernard Kreger headstone
inscription fading and hard to read
The rectory by the church was built by Barnhart and Catherine's son Jacob Kreger, who lost a leg fighting in the Civil War.  It is still occupied by the current pastor, who is helpful and friendly.  As an earlier church burned down, they saved some stained glass windows which honor various Kregers and are now part of the newer church.
Kreger window tribute
Barnhart and Catherine Kreger's daughter Mary Adeline (my ancestor) married Hiram Cramer, and this couple eventually moved west to Nebraska along with her widowed mother Catherine.  Thus while Catherine's name is inscribed on a headstone in Pennsylvania, she is actually buried in Hardy, Nebraska, which has confused a number of descendants.
Catherine's unfinished inscription


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