Godfrey Fazenbaker and Anna "Annie" (Myer)

Godfrey Fazenbaker was born 3/2/1795, son of the Hessian soldier George Fazenbaker. On 6/11/1819 in Allegany County (or 6/17/1819, according to an entry in daughter Julia Ann's Bible), he married Anna "Annie" Myer who was born 4/30/1802. Reverend Adam Sigler performed the ceremony. Annie was the daughter of Peter Myer and Anna Peters. The Myer pioneers had settled in the vicinity of present-day Moscow and Barton.

It is not known precisely where the Myer home was located, but Peter at one time owned Military Lots 3845, 3846, 3925, 3927, and some other acreage. Peter Myer drew up his will 6/14/1803. In it he named 11 children, including daughter Anna who was named last. Since daughter Anna was only 1 year old at that time, it is likely that she was the youngest child. Evidently, Peter died soon after his will was signed, for the will was acted upon 10/5/1803. His place of burial is unknown. After Peter died, his widow Anna married James Albery. She died 10/31/1824 in Licking County, Ohio, and is buried in a marked grave at the Dawes Arboretum south of Newark, Ohio. James moved west after wife Anna's death, and no subsequent information is known about him.

On 5/10/1817, Godfrey initiated a process to secure a clear title to his father's two military lots 3858 and 3859. On that date, a deed described the sale to Godfrey by his brother Jacob of the share of the lots which Jacob inherited. Godfrey paid $100 for Jacob's share. On 2/7/1828, Marcus, George, and Conrad and "Sally" sold their interest in their father's two Military Lots to Godfrey. On 2/16/1833, Godfrey had another deed recorded which described the sale by his sisters Elizabeth (Fazenbaker) Warnick and Catharine (Fazenbaker) Warnick of their shares of the lots. No record has been found of any transaction involving the missing Fazenbaker sibling, John Fazenbaker, who had left the area by 1818. Nevertheless, it appears that Godfrey obtained a clear title to his father's land.

For reasons lost to history, Godfrey Fazenbaker received a payment from the estate of James Morrison, Jr., on 11/11/1823.

In 1833 Godfrey was appointed Constable of District No. 4 of Allegany County. One must infer that Godfrey was a respected member of his community.

At the time of the 1840 census, Godfrey headed a household of 12 people. While that census did not record the names of the people in the household other than the head, it did record their age brackets. In Godfrey's household were: 1 male age 50 and under 60 (identity unknown); 1 male age 40 and under 50 (presumably Godfrey himself, born 3/2/1795); 1 male age 10 but under 15 (probably son Jackson Myer, born about 1828); 1 male age 5 and under 10 (probably son James Totten Fazenbaker, born about 1834); 1 male under 5 (probably son Edward Lewis Fazenbaker, born about 1836); 1 female age 30 and under 40 (probably Godfrey's wife Annie, born 4/30/1802), 3 females age 15 and under 20 (probably daughters Julia Ann, born about 1821; Emily Amanda, born about 1822; and Golda Ellen, born about 1824); 2 females age 10 but under 15 (probably daughters Mary Jane, born 1826; and Evaline, born about 1830); and 1 female age 5 and under 10 (probably daughter Louisa, born about 1832). This list accounts for all of Godfrey's known children up to this point in time. The census reported that one person in the household was engaged in agriculture.

Godfrey served on the Levy Court and served as an Allegany County Commissioner in 1840, 1841, and for the term 1843-1845. The source of information for this item, J. Thomas Scharf, did not record whether these positions were elected or appointed, but it is fair to conclude that Godfrey was one of the most honored citizens of the region.

At the time of the 1850 census, Godfrey headed a household of nine people. The 1850 census was the first federal census to list the names of each member of the household. Besides Godfrey and Anna, the household in that year included daughters Mary Jane (age 22), "Evaline" (age 20), and Louisa (age 18), two children whose names are illegible (ages 17 and 15, probably sons James Totten and Edward Lewis), son William (age 7), and Aaron Duckworth (age 29).

Godfrey lived on his father's farm until about 1853, when he moved with his family to a farm in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, which included the site of Fort Necessity at the Great Meadows, originally patented to General George Washington. On 10/31/1855, Godfrey signed an agreement to purchase this tract of land, then known as the Mount Washington tract, from the heirs of James Sampey for the sum of $4,000.

Fort Necessity was the site of a preliminary battle of the French and Indian War in 1754. At that time, the area was devoid of permanent settlers.

Today, the U.S. National Park Service has reconstructed Fort Necessity on its original site, and it is a tourist attraction. The fort itself is a small enclosure consisting mainly of a solid fence of tall wood poles. Visitors park at a modern visitors center staffed by federal park rangers and walk a short distance to the reconstructed fort.

When Godfrey Fazenbaker purchased the site in 1855 or 1856 from the heirs of James and Rebecca Sampey, the Mount Washington Tavern there was already a well-known landmark. According to Fazenbaker family historian Louis Hicks, "The Godfrey Fazenbaker family farmed the land and lived in the tavern originally built in the 1820's when the Cumberland (National) Road was one of the main routes for settlers moving west and for commerce going both east and west." In 1806, the National Road had become the nation's first federally funded project for internal improvements. It was championed by Albert Gallatin, who was President Jefferson's Secretary of the Treasury and a huge land owner in Fayette County, in southwest Pennsylvania. The railroads first crossed the mountains about 1852, and they offered a much faster, more comfortable and cheaper means of transportation than anything that was available on the National Road. Thus, this caused a dramatic reduction in commerce and emigration on the Cumberland Road about the time that Godfrey purchased the property.

Godfrey's home had only a few years previously been a prosperous tavern, known as the Mount Washington Tavern. Because of its proximity to Fort Necessity, the National Park Service acquired the property in the 1930s and in recent years it has restored the tavern to a romanticized vision of the period before the railroads. Today, Mount Washington Tavern is open to the public for guided tours.

As early as 1858, pleas were being made to commemorate the site of Fort Necessity. "The site of the renowned fort is well known. Its ruins are yet [1858] visible. It stands on the Great Meadow run, which empties into the Youghiogheny. The Great Meadows,' with which its name associates in history, was a large natural meadow or glade, now highly cultivated and improved. The place is now better known by the name Mount Washington,' on the National Road, ten miles east of Uniontown." "James Sampey heirs have recently sold it to a Mr. Fazenbaker. An ineffectual effort was made some years ago to erect a monument upon the site. The first battle ground of Washington surely deserves a worthier mark of commemoration than mouldering embankments, surmounted by a few decaying bushes." Contemporaneous accounts quote Godfrey Fazenbaker and his descendants attesting that the site of the Fort itself was never disturbed by a plow while they owned it.

According to the brochure now put out by the Park Service, the tavern was considered an "imposing brick and stone building" built about 1828. The brochure shows the floor plan for the building and describes the tavern operation in its heyday. The brochure mentions the ownership for 75 years by Godfrey Fazenbaker and his family. Godfrey made use of the building as his home, and by the standards of that time, it was a mansion. It has 9 working fireplaces, seven bedrooms on the second floor, large attic, and basement once used as the kitchen.

Godfrey's will was dated 4/3/1871. In it he named his children: Julia Ann "Hammell," wife of Henry "Hammell" of "Kitzmillerville," MD; Emily Amanda Jacobs wife of Asa Jacobs of Petersburg, Somerset County, PA; "Goldie" Ellen Sigler, wife of John J. Sigler of Wellman, Washington County, Iowa; Mary Jane Lashbaugh, of Barton, Allegany County, MD; Jackson Myer Fazenbaker; "Evaline" Fazenbaker; Louisa Shaw, wife of Thompson Shaw of Tainter, Mahaska County, Iowa; and Edward Lewis Fazenbaker who was named Executor. Sons James Totten Fazenbaker and William Henry Fazenbaker had already passed away by the time the will was written.

Godfrey died 4/7/1884. Annie died 10/7/1884.

Children of Godfrey and Annie: Julia Ann Fazenbaker (born 8/21/1821); Emily Amanda Fazenbaker (born 11/18/1822); Golda Ellen Fazenbaker (born in August 1824); Mary Jane Fazenbaker (born 4/8/1826); Jackson Myer Fazenbaker (born 2/10/1828); Evalina (or Evaline) Fazenbaker (born 4/1/1830); Louisa Fazenbaker (born 1/9/1832); James Totten Fazenbaker (born 1/16/1834); Edward Lewis "Lewis" Fazenbaker (born 8/9/1836); and William Henry Fazenbaker (born 4/15/1843).

I have compiled a huge amount of information about thousands of descendants of George and Elizabeth Fazenbaker. My book, The Fazenbaker Family of Western Maryland was issued in May 1999. It has 500 pages of text, plus detailed references, an every name index, a number of photos and maps, being in all 853 pages. The book is available for sale. Interested parties should contact me by e-mail for ordering information. Soon, the Fazenbaker book will be available for reference at the Ruth Enlow Library in Grantsville, Maryland and the Library of Congress. Inquiries about western Maryland Fazenbaker families are welcome.

This page was revised November 26, 1999. For more information about western Maryland family history, visit Walt Warnick's Western Maryland Family History Home Pages.