I first added Hans Black to my husband’s family tree, many years ago, but never pursued further information because there were so many other lines to investigate.
Now that life is a bit slower, genealogically speaking, I am taking new looks at some of these early discoveries. Hans Black was elderly when he died, as all his children were grown and married. He thoughtfully left a will naming all of them, except perhaps for a daughter Pyle who predeceased him and left a son by Samuel Pyle.
There are some excellent family trees out there on line, but those for Hans Black are not among them. It doesn’t look like anyone has done any further research to expand his family any time recently.
Here is what is known and documented:
There are extant tax records for 1797-1803 in Christian County, Kentucky. No Blacks appear on the lists for 1797-1799, but David and/or Thomas Black, both sons of Hans, appear consistently in the lists from 1800-1803, so the Black family arrived in the area around 1799, but had no taxable land until 1800.
Hans does not appear on the tax rolls; it seems likely that he lived with one of his sons, perhaps Thomas, who he named as executor of his will. However, it also appears that he didn’t migrate at the same time as his sons, as “Hance Black,” over 45 years, appears in both the 1790 and 1800 censuses of Greenville, South Carolina.
Based on census data and Hans Black’s will, he left South Carolina sometime between 1800 and 1806.
It is possible that Sarah McElroy remained in South Carolina, as James and John McElroy are there in 1790, but there are no McElroys in the early 1800’s records in Christian County. It is also possible that Jacob Black remained in South Carolina, as there is a man by that name living in Greenville in 1810. Plus, there are enough Edwards to go around in both Christian County and Greenville in 1810 so Susannah Edwards might take some work to find.
Hans Black’s will was written in 1806, but was probated in Christian County in October 1807. He named his beloved wife, Agnes, along with his children. David, Jacob, Susannah Edwards, Ann Pyle, Thomas, Sarah “McAlroy,” Elizabeth Brasher, and Jean Pyle. He lastly names a grandson, son of Samuel Pyle. That seems to indicated that perhaps a married daughter died. However, since Ann and Jean both married Pyles, it is impossible to tell if either of them were married to Samuel Pyle.
Very old notes that I had taken included tidbits that Hans reportedly migrated from the Netherlands to Maryland to Chatham County, North Carolina. He later removed to Greenville, South Carolina and then Christian County, Kentucky. There were no sources cited for any of this information, but the Greenville, SC info is likely correct as the Brashers came from in the Greenville-Spartanburg areas of South Carolina. Further, Elizabeth Black Brasher survived until 1855 and so appears in the 1850 census. The census indicates that she was born about 1774 in South Carolina.
From past research experience, I know that the Brashers had distinct Tory tendencies during the Revolutionary War, which may be why they later chose to move westward.
In the twenty+ years since I last looked at this family, you would think that multiple researchers would have been able to add lots of details – documented details – to this family. It appears not. As I skimmed through the family trees, no two trees even matched. Hans’ birth year and place were given as 1720-1730 in Netherlands or Chatham County, NC. His wife, Agnes, had a note that her name was Nancy Agnes. I know that sometimes those names were interchangeable, but again no source cited and his wife was clearly “Agnes” in his will. Someone renamed his son David and called him “David Johannes.” The souce cited? “GEDCOM file.” David was shown as born in 1742 in Amsterdam. Son Jacob’s birth year is found as 1726, two years before his father was born. And so on. My twenty year old notes are still a great place to begin, which is a sad commentary after so many years.
Will of Hans Black, Christian County, KY, Book A: 85-86
In the name of God amen, I Hans Black of the County of Christian and state of Kentucky being very sick and weak in body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be unto God and calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my last will and Testament disannulling all and every other will or wills that may have been made by me heretofore that is to say principally and first of all I hereby give and recommend my soul to God and my body I recommend to the earth to be burried in a Christian (“like” crossed out) manner at the discration of my Executor and as touching all worldly estate as where with it has pleased God to bless me in this life I give devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form impremises.
First I give and bequath unto my dear and loving wife Agnes Black all my whole estate during her lifetime.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my Son David Black the Sum of ten dollars.
Item I give and bequeath unto my Son Thomas Black two hundred acres of land.
Item after the decease of my wife Agnes Black, It is my will that all the estate & property that may then remain together with the Remainder of my land to be sold at public auction and the money equally devided among the following persons my Son Jacob Black my Daughter Susannah Edwards my Daughter Ann Pyle my Son Thomas Black my Daughter Sarah McAlroy my Daughter Elizabeth Brashure my Daughter Jean Pyle and my Grandson Nicholas Pyle son of Samuel Pyle.
Lastly I do constitute and appoint my wife Agnes Black and my son Thomas Black to be whole and Soul executors to this my last will and Testament. In witness whereof I have here unto set my hand and Seal this 10th day of March 1806.
Test: J. Gamble and Martha Gamble
Hans Black (his mark)
Hans named David and Thomas early in his will, but Thomas was repeated later on and I think perhaps the set of children named together might have been shown in birth order with David being the eldest son. At least it is a starting place. Elizabeth is the only child for whom I have a suspected birth year found in an actual document. From that, I am going to tentatively assume that (1) Hans and Agnes lost no children who died very young and (2) that the children were all born about two years apart. This will give a better time frame for researching.
This is going to be my starting theory as I now try to document descendants:
Hans Black, born c1730, possibly in the Netherlands married Agnes (MNU) about 1760.
1. David, born c1762; died after October 1807
2. Jacob, born c1764; died after October 1807; lived in Greenville, South Carolina
3. Susannah, born c1766; died after October 1807; married Mr. Edwards
4. Ann, born c1768; died after October 1807; married Mr. Pyle (perhaps Nicholas Pyle)
5. Thomas, born c1770; died after October 1807; perhaps married Edith Pyle
6. Sarah, born c1772; died after October 1807; married Mr. McAlroy (McElroy or some other spelling), probably James or John McElroy and remained in South Carolina.
7. Elizabeth, born c1774, probably Greenville, South Carolina; died 10 February 1855, Christian Co., KY; married Lawrence Brasher
8. Jean, born c1776; died after October 1807; married Mr. Pyle (possibly Joseph Pyle)
9. Mary, who died before October 1807; married Samuel Pyle
and was the mother of Nicholas Pyle. This family remained behind in Greenville, South Carolina.
Next, I will dig deep in the land and tax records, censuses and probate files for further information about the descendants of Hans Black. If you are one of them, please leave a comment!