Martin Dorwart

I was starting to go batty with the East Galway/Irish genetic genealogy search and had to completely take my mind off of that and focus on other genealogical things. I know there are connections to that area, but the connections are most likely so far back and will take so much time to figure out, I just don’t want to focus on that right now. Instead, I began to work on the Dorwart side of my family, who are from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This has been easier because of records on Ancestry and Family Search websites. Today I will focus on Martin Dorwart.

Martin Dorwart was born in 1735 (supposedly in Alsace, France), to Martin and Elizabeth Dorwart, and is my maternal fifth great grandfather!  I am fortunate that I was able to verify my connection to him through my DNA matches and then records. His great-great grandson is Charles Conner, who married Anna Schadel, I’ve mentioned them before. Alsace is in northeastern France and borders Germany and Switzerland. It’s so close to the border that it has alternated between German and French control over the centuries.

Here is a current photo of Alsace, pretty!

According to records from the Latter Day Saints, Martin emigrated to America and landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the ship Banister in October 1754, and took the oath of allegiance in the State House of Philadelphia the same day he landed. At some point he settled in Lancaster. Lancaster is one of the oldest inland cities in our country and is 71 miles west of Philadelphia. German immigrants first settled the area, when it was known as “Hickory Town”. The city took the name of Lancaster and symbol, the red rose, from Lancashire, England. It was the capital of the US for a day in 1777, and during the Revolutionary War, was home to military stables and barracks where British and Hessian soldiers were imprisoned.

According to records from the First Reformed Church of Lancaster and the Latter Day Saints, Martin’s occupation was a shoemaker. He first married Elizabeth Grim on May 21, 1759, and they had one child, John Martin, born in 1765. After she died in 1771, Martin married Maria Joanetta Spitzfaden on April 30, 1768. They had nine children: Martin, born 1769/1770; Jonas, born 1771; Johannes (John), born 1772; Adam, born 1775; George, born 1781; Jacob, born 1783; Philip, born 1786; and Michael, born 1789. Not one girl in the bunch!!!

At some point, Martin joined the Revolutionary War. He is listed as a private in the 4th Company, 8th Battalion in Capt. William Wirtz’s Company during 1781. I have visions of the movie The Patriot, hahaha.

His name is incorrectly spelled as Darewart. On the Ancestry website, Dorwart is said to be a German occupational name which means doorkeeper, or gatekeeper. I have seen a resource that states his father is from Baden, Germany and the name is Dorwarth, so maybe Martin was actually born in Germany. I did see a short biography of his grandson, and it is mentioned that Martin is of German descent.

Martin died on May 2, 1797 at the age of 62. According to his will, he lived on Prince Street in Lancaster, and left behind his wife and eight sons.

One source says Martin is buried in the Lancaster Cemetery. According to Find a Grave, 42% of the tombstones have been photographed – there are 160 graves in the name of Dorwart alone. However, on the webpage for Revolutionary War Patriot Graves for the Sons of the American Revolution Pennsylvania Society, he is listed as buried in the 1st Reformed Church of Lancaster cemetery plot, which would be in here:

Dorwart seems to be a common name in Lancaster. There are two streets named Dorwart – Old Dorwart and New Dorwart, and they are, coincidentally, not far from Prince Street (an area known as “Cabbage Hill”), named in the 1880s I believe. There is also a park named after a recently deceased Dorwart. I’m hoping to find if my Martin or anyone in the family line is connected to these Dorwart-named places, odds are there is probably a connection.

Thanks for reading!!

Military Monday – Revolutionary War: John Conner

Revolutionary War pension files are a treasure trove of information. However, the handwriting can be difficult to decipher. But instead of showing a photo from that, this is a confirmation letter for a later family member trying to very military information on John Conner. The letter confirms that John Conner was a private during the Revolutionary War in the 4th Regiment of the Massachusetts line, commanded by Colonel Shepard. John entered the war in the spring of 1777 until being discharged in May or June of 1773. According to the Revolutionary War blog at https://revolutionarywar.us, Massachusetts line troops were involved in most of the major battles north of the Chesapeake Bay. The battles he would have been a part of were the Battle of Saratoga, the Battle of Monmouth, and the Battle of Rhode Island.

John Conner was the father of Samuel Conner. Samuel married Lydia, and they had two children, Charles and Lydia. Charles married Mary Dorwart and they had eight children, one of whom was Charles W. Conner. He married Anna Schadel, and one of their children, Bertha Conner, was my great-grandmother on my mother’s side.