Note: All data on John Gerrard, Rev. and his descendants was furnished by:
and her website:
In the early to mid-1700s, in the years preceding the Revolutionary War, settlers near the Atlantic Coast of the British American colonies moved steadily westward . establishing new towns as they expanded British settlement and dominion. Three of these men (with their families) were the Rev. John Gerrard, John Bruce (an immigrant from Scotland, and a frontier captain in the French and Indian War, Jeremiah Stewart (see separate profiles for Gerrard and Stewart).
The Rev. John Gerrard was born c. 1720; the location is apparently not known (including whether he was born in Europe, at sea, or in America). In his genealogy book, Come In and Sit a Spell!, Levi Rymph references a Gerrard family genealogy report by a Mrs. Lindsey Brien proposing that the family is of French Huguenot ancestry, descended from the De La Garde family who emigrated to America after the St. Bartholomewfs Day massacre in France in 1572.
Around 1740, Gerrard married a woman with the first name of Mehitable. Although the written histories do not agree on the year, at some point in the 1740s or early 1750s, Gerrard migrated probably from Pennsylvania to Berkeley County (then in the Virginia Colony). In Baptist Virginia Ministers, James B. Taylor says that the Gerrard family first arrived in Berkeley County in 1754 and became pastor of the Mill Creek Baptist Church there. (This church had been organized in 1743 as the first Baptist congregation west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.) Taylor states that Gerrard and several other church members became annoyed by Indian assaults and moved south to what is now Loudon County, Virginia, until they returned to the settlement in 1757.
Virginia land-grant records document that John Gerrard received two grants from Lord Fairfax: 227 acres dated December 11, 1762, and 251 acres dated August 29, 1766. He built his home (which no longer stands) on these lands. On May 28, 1770, he purchased 90 acres of land adjoining his existing properties, excluding one acre on which the Baptist IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF OUR ANCESTORS c
PASTOR OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH WEST OF THE BLUE RIDGE
John Gerrard (c. 1720 . 1787)
Text and photos c 2010 by Bradley B. Rymph
Visit to Gerrardstown, WV
July 24, 2010 (with Jose Baquiran, Albert and Edna Mae Rymph
The meeting house stood and which was deeded to the Mill Creek congregation itself.
Standing on this 90-acre purchase was a two-story, limestone house, set into the hillside. The house had been built in 1743 by a John Hays. John Gerrard himself did not live in this house. However, his son David (my ancestor Nathanielfs older brother) bought this house from his parents in 1779 and made it his home. In this house, David Gerrard laid out the plans for Gerrardstown, which was formally established as a town in 1787 and named after Rev. John Gerrard.
Rev. Gerrardfs wife Mehitable died sometime after May 18, 1779 (i.e., after the sale of the house and lot to David). By 1781, John Gerrard had remarried, taking a Mary Gray as his second wife. At his death in September 1787, he had had 11 children by his first wife and three more by his second.
The Gerrardstown Historic District, with several surviving structures from the 1780s and 1800s, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. The Hays-Gerrard House had been individually listed on the Register in 1985.
TO LEARN MORE
Berkeley County Historical Society. The Berkeley Journal. No. 15, 1991. "History of Gerrardstown."
Restored log cabin in Winchester, Virginia, typical of homes built by settlers in Frederick County, Virginia, in the mid-1700s. Original home of John Gerrard may have been very similar. (House maintained by Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society.)
Historical marker to founding of Gerrardstown.
Groen, Peter. gCollected Excerpts and Articles on the History of Berkeley County in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.h January 2005.
Historical Marker Database. Web pages of database: gGerard Househ (www.hmdb.org/ marker.asp?marker=12793); gGerrardstownh (www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=12791); gMill Creek Baptist Churchh (www.hmdb.org/marker. asp?marker=14596)
Historical marker noting original site of Mill Creek Baptist Church, Gerrardstown, West Virginia.
Gerrard House, Gerrardstown, West Virginia. House was built by John Hayes in 1743, and later purchased by the Rev. John Gerrard.
HOW WEfRE RELATED John Gerrard was my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather through my father, Albert James Rymph.
John Gerrard (c. 1720 . 8/1787)
Mehitable Haugen (1720 . aft. 5/1779)
Susan Taylor (9/2/1809 . 8/9/1842)
Nielsen, Ethel. "Early Ministers in West Virginia." (www.wvhcgs. com/ministers.htm)
Rev. John Garardh (homepages.rootsweb. ancestry.com/~garard/grandparent%20text/garard%2C%20john.htm)
Rev. John Gerard
Thanks to Robert and Carolyn Gerard Authors of Garard/Garrard/Gerard/Gerrard/Girard Descendants of Rev. John, Elias & William the following is available:
The following excerpts from various works are included so the reader may decide when John Garard first settled in the part of Frederick County, Virginia that became Berkeley County in 1772 and where he came from.
The records of the Mill Creek Primitive Baptist Church of Berkeley County, Virginia are in the possession of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society whose records are kept at the University of Richmond, Richmond Virginia. Among the papers is a suggested inscription for a marker at Gerrardstown, as follows:
MILL CREEK CHURCH - 1743
Here is the site of the first Baptist Church planted between the Potomac and the James Rivers. It was organized in 1743 by Edward Hayes, Thomas Yates, and their Company from Sater's Church in Maryland. John Garard, for whom the town was
Named, was its pastor from 1755 to 1787.
HOPEWELL FRIEND'S HISTORY, 1734-1934 states that, "On this tract of land stood the Mill Creek Baptist Church, the first of that denomination in the Shenandoah Valley, and probably the first in Virginia. It stood in what is now the village of Gerrardstown and was organized about the year 1743. Soon thereafter the Rev. Henry Loveall became its pastor. Other leaders soon succeeded him, notably Elder John Gerrard, in or about 1753."
James B. Taylor's BAPTIST VIRGINIA MINISTERS says that John Garrard migrated from the state of Pennsylvania, to the county of Berkeley Virginia in 1754. That part of the country was sparsely inhabited and subject to the assaults of the Indians. Having been frequently annoyed by them, most of the church, with Mr. Gerrard, removed below the Blue Ridge and settled in Loudon County, a part of Fairfax until 1757. During his stay there he was instrumental in the conversion of many sinners. Another church was constituted and was called Kentockton. John Garrard returned to Berkeley County and continued to serve the Mill Creek Church until his death.
THE BAPTISTS OF VIRGINIA 1699-1926 by Garnett Ryland, 1955, states that in 1743
Edward Hayes and Thomas Yates from Chestnut Ridge in Maryland settled on Mill Creek, which was then Frederick County. Henry Loveall, their minister, followed them. He organized the Mill Creek Church, sometimes called the Opekon, as Mill Creek was a tributary of the Opequon Creek. When Loveall left them the people requested the Philadelphia Association to assist them. Four men were sent to evaluate the church at Opekon or Mill Creek and at Ketocton, which had been constituted in 1751. Samuel Heaton became the first pastor of the Mill Creek Church in 1752 but gave up the pastorate before 1754 was over and moved to Konolowa. To succeed him the Philadelphia Association in 1755 authorized the ordination of John Garrard at Mill Creek. Garrard, who had come from Pennsylvania, was pastor for thirty-two years until his death in 1787.
Gardiner's CHRONICLES OF OLD BERKELEY states that a Baptist minister by the name of Mr. Stearns in the company of a number of others, removed from New England. They first stopped at the Opequon in Berkeley County Virginia where a Baptist Church was formed under the care of Rev. John Gerrard. This was most likely the first Baptist church founded west of the Blue Ridge. The HISTORY OF BERKELEY COUNTY says that a Baptist Meeting House near the Opequon Creek was erected in 1754 through the efforts of Rev. John Gerard who came from New Jersey.
J.E. Norris' HISTORY OF THE LOWER SHENANDOAH VALLEY says, among the earliest settlers of this region at the time of the organization of Frederick County were a colony of Baptists, consisting of fifteen families, that came from New Jersey in 1742 and settled in the vicinity of where Gerrardstown was later built. Rev John Gerrard formed the first Baptist organization in the valley and the society shortly afterward built their first church. It is stated in Cartmell's SHENANDOAH VALLEY PIONEERS AND THEIR DESCENDANTS that the Baptist appeared with the formation of Frederick County in 1743 and then they came with a large "immigrant train" from New Jersey and settled at the point of Gerrardstown when the Rev. John Gerrard organized them.
The first land records that place John in what was to become Berkeley County, Virginia was in the year 1762. He received two land grants from Lord Fairfax south of the present Gerrardstown: 227 acres dated 11 Dec 1762 and 251 acres dated 29 Aug 1766. Ninety acres, excluding one acre for the Baptist Meeting House, which adjoined the two original tracts was purchased 28 May 1770, Frederick Co. VA Deed Book 3, p.478, 481. The one-acre tract was deeded to the Baptist Congregation the same day. Another tract of 235 acres on the drains of Middle and Tuscarora Creeks was purchased 12 May 1769, Frederick Co. VA Deed Book 13, p.40. John and his wife, Mehetable, sold this tract 19 Apr 1774. They sold 150 acres of the 1766 grant to their son David 4 Apr 1769, Berkeley Co. Deed Book 3, p.88. and the 90 acre tract to David in 1779, Deed Book 5, p.268.
John's first wife, Mehetable, died sometime after 18 May 1779 when she and John sold 90 acres to their son, David. To date no one has been able to prove Mehetable's surname, although several assumptions have been made. By 1781 John had remarried to Mary Gray and their first child was born 31 Jan 1782.
Rev. John furnished wheat for the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War and he is listed as a Patriot. He left a will that was written 19 Aug 1787 and recorded 18 Sep 1787 in Berkeley Co. Will Book 1, p.460. The will names his wife, Mary, his children, the children of his daughter Mehetable and Isaac Gerrard, the son of William.
THE BERKELEY JOURNAL - HISTORY OF GERRARDSTOWN, Issue Fifteen, 1991,
Don Wood, researcher.
From the Tenmile County and its pioneer families-A Genealogical History of the Upper Monongahela Valley by Howard L. Leckey
THE GERARD FAMILY
The History of Berkeley County, Virginia, tells of the founding of Gerrardstown on land owned by Rev. John Gerrard. This was the ancestor of the Garard Family of Big Whiteley Creek; the name having changed spelling to the generally accepted form now used by most branches of the family. Rev. John Gerrard was born about 1720, and died in Berkeley County, Virginia, where on August 19, 1787, he made a will, which was proven there on September 18, 1787, so it is evident that he died between the two dates in 1787. Records show that he was twice married, the first wife being Mehetable .......; the second, who with John Gray were executors appointed in his will, was Mary, said to have been a sister of John Gray. The first wife died about 1778-79. At least three children. Who were minors at the time of Rev. John Gerrard's death, were of the second marriage. (Berkeley County Will Book 1. pp. 460)
I’ve been meaning to get back in touch for some time – too many irons in the fire.
I was wondering if you ever came across the little book on the history of the Presbyterian Church in Gerrardstown? I do not have the pages that I copied from the book with me here in Florida, so I can’t even give you the author right now, but in that little book is a photo published of an artist’s drawing of Rev. John Gerrard’s house in what was to become Gerrardtown.
On the end of the house next to the tannery, is a room where the Baptist Church met until funds were collected to build the church building. The Methodists and the Presbyterians also used that same room to meet in as each of those congregations organized and prepared to build their own houses of worship. The room is on the left end of the house as viewed from the front. Immediately to the left of that is Rev. John Gerrard’s Tannery building. There is a picket fence all the way across the front of the relatively large building. Two complete stories with an open porch across the entire front. I assume that the church building that was erected was further to the left of that, yet. My reasoning is that most probably Rev. John would have been most likely to build his tannery downwind from his dwelling place. The book then mentions that the church was placed downwind of the tannery - not a most pleasant situation on the hot summer days.
The original artist’s drawing evidently used to hang in one of the businesses in the village. When my wife and I visited Gerrardstown a few years ago, we were unable to locate anyone with knowledge where that original is, or even knowledge that it existed. The author, by including the little reproduction of it in her book might have provided us with the only images left for us today. I do hope that the original still exists and reappears in the future. I believe that I mentioned that I had this before you published the book, but I think that the Hays House of Rev. David Gerrard is the one you actually had.
I came across the volume in the Allen County Library of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
RootsWeb.com is NOT responsible for the content of the GEDCOMs uploaded through the WorldConnect Program. The creator of each GEDCOM is solely responsible for its content.