John G. and Rebecca (Shaffer) Witt, Wellersburg PA

John and Rebecca Witt, Wellersburg, Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA

The old handwriting on this picture reads "This Picture taken near the Well in Wellersburg Penn Mr and Mrs Witt". This photo was contributed to Korns.org by Merikay Mestad, who indicates that Thelma Zietler, a descendant, identified the individuals in the photo as John G. Witt and wife Rebecca (Shaffer). (Rebecca Korns was the daughter of the pioneer Michael Korns, Sr. of Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA.) According to Merikay, John G. Witt was the son of John Witt and Rebecca Margaret Korns, was born on June 13, 1821 in Allegany Co., MD, and died May 25, 1906 at Wellersburg, PA. Merikay also indicates that Johnís wife Rebecca was the daughter of Gideon Shaffer and Barbara Kennell, was born at Wellersburg, PA on September 27, 1823 and died there in 1913 Merikay stated that John G. was a wagonmaker and wheelwright by trade, and had four children: Angeline, John Williamson, Levi, and George Washington. In the photo, Mr. Witt looks like a large individual. Look at the length of his shins, and the size of his hands relative to his head, for example. Click here to see a 595 KB PDF that Neal Carter donated on the Witt family. Mike McKenzie found John Witt in the 1850 Somerset PA census. He was listed as John. G. Witt, age 29, a wagonmaker, born in MD, with a wife Rebecca, age 27. Since he looks to be about 70 to 80 years old in the photograph, that would put the date of the above photograph at circa 1890 to 1900.

In 2009, Mike McKenzie wrote to me about the above picture, stating "...I noticed a picture of a Mr. and Mrs. Witt on your site, taken by an old well in Wellersburg. I grew up just below the baseball field in Wellersburg, below our house is a field, about 500 feet down into the field is the remenants of this well I believe, there is a foundation there a and and a few stonewalls as well. The landscape and topography in the pic matches, the area exactly.". The next photo, below, is a picture of the well that Mike took in 2009.

The next photo below is a 1939 USDA aerial photo of Wellersburg that Mike has marked up to show the well area where he thinks the Witt photo was taken. The photo after that is a 2009 photo that Mike took that shows the remains of an old foundation that is located near, and on the creek side, of the well. The perspective in the foundation photo was accomplished by taking the photo from a nearby tree. Mike reports that the foundation was evidently for a residence because there is a mound of bricks there that must have been the chimney; see enlargement. Mike also reports that there are a few fence rows in the vicinity, suggesting the possibility of a small farm or sorts. Based on the information that Mike has provided, this would obviously be a good place to start looking if someone were trying to determine where the Pennsylvania home of John & Rebecca Witt might have been. Mike McKenzie reports that the Allegany County Circuit Court records indicate that a John Witt patented Maryland lot no. 3358 in May, 1818 (Patented Certificate 1473). To see lot 3358 on 1787 and 1874 maps, Click here and here, respectively. To understand why lot 3358 is numbered, click here.

Mike suspects that it the well was a community well, based on its location relative to the lots that are shown on the Beers 1876 Wellersburg map, which isn't really quite to scale. As closely as he can tell, he believes that the foundation was on lot 1, 2, or 3, and the well was between them and lot 111, 112, and 113.

L.Dietle
Sept. 2009

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