Thursday, December 17, 2015

Martin Summers of Waggoner's Alley

Here is yet another report pertaining to my quest to better understand the life of the youngest Freistett brother, Martin Sommer, who died in PHL in 1799. It was my initial belief that of the several children born to Martin and his wife, Margaretha, at least two sons survived him, namely Martin, a blacksmith who died in 1811, and George, a grocer and blacksmith who died in 1810. After churning through lots of records with the names Martin and George, it is still my belief that these two blacksmiths probably belong to our Freistett clan via Martin Sommer who died 1799.

So this post is about Martin Summers, the blacksmith. A 1794 deed indicates that Martin purchased a lot on the east side of Waggoner's Alley in South Mulberry ward in PHL, and he is found in the city directories in that location thereafter, at least until his death in 1811. What's been frustrating is that the last census that shows this Martin shows that he had seven children in his household, four of them males under 10, so this Martin appears to have had descendants, but what happened to them?

Introducing Cecelia Kinderman (sp?). In 1831, she petitioned the Orphan's Court with the following information:
  • that Cecelia had been affirmed as guardian of Sarah Somers, minor under 14
  • that Sarah had nothing but was entitled to one-fourth of real estate on Waggoner's Alley (!)
  • that Sarah was the minor child of John H. Somers, and he had been dead one year
  • that Cecelia was Sarah's grandmother
The thing that ties this find to Martin-Blacksmith, in my mind, is the mention of real estate in Waggoner's Alley. So given the information recorded by the grandmother Cecelia, the picture we are getting is this:
  • One of the sons of Martin-Blacksmith was John H. Somers
  • John H. Somers married a woman who possibly had the maiden name Kinderman. I think it seems that she must have predeceased John.
  • John H. & wife probably had 4 children who survived them because of the reference of “one fourth” that was due to Sarah.
So far, the only additional information I've found about John H. Somers (or Somer - notice the spelling of the surname seems to have morphed, dropping one "m" and sometimes the ending "s") is an 1827 deed where John is noted as being of Dauphin County, PA, he was a house carpenter, and he was selling his share of a piece of ground on the east side of Waggoner's Alley to Peter Smith. The history of the parcel is then given, going back to Martin Somer who left a will bequeathing his properties to his children of whom the said John H. Somer was an heir. All of which is interesting but a tad confusing, because in 1831, Cecelia was saying that her granddaughter, Sarah, was entitled to one-fourth of rents being collected at Waggoner's Alley. If John H. had sold his share, how did his daughter still have rights to real estate in Waggoner's Alley? Maybe there was more than one property at that location in the family - research continues.

And just in case we wonder where Waggoner's Alley was, we can again thank another Sommer-Researcher/PHL-Expert who informed me that location is presently under the PHL Police Dept. Headquarters. Maybe they can find these missing Sommer relations?

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