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As a young child, whenever it was asked where we were from – because doesn’t that topic of conversation come up all of the time to a young child? – but when that topic DID come up, my Grandpa Parrish always said the same thing. “Pennsylvania Dutch” I had no clue what that meant. Dad would tell me we were of German heritage, mom would say the same as grandpa. “Pennsylvania Dutch.” Although I’m still trying to pinpoint that German heritage on my dad’s side, it turns out that grandpa and mom were both right..and as I’ve come to discover through my older years, that means that yes, I have a German heritage – at least on my mom’s side anyway

The phrase Pennsylvania Dutch is a term that refers to the people who came from the southwest area of Germany and also Switzerland, then settled in Pennsylvania during the 17th and 18th centuries. And in 1737, aboard a ship called the “Snow Molly”, Christopher Comer arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from Germany…thereby giving me my Pennsylvania Dutch connection. Christopher made his way to Shenandoah County, Virginia settling there by 1745, and in 1746 he purchased a plantation at Hawksbill Creek.

Christopher’s son, Michael, who was born about 1723 probably in Germany, and his wife, Catharine/Catrina had a son of their own, Phillip Comer. Phillip and his wife, believed to be Miss Barabara Daker (or Baker) were the family members who “made the move”. They were the ones who picked up their family and made the shift in their life. Phillip and Barbara moved from Virginia to Champaign County, Ohio before 1830, making my Pennsylvania Dutch connection my “Buckeye” ancestors.

Phillip’s grand-daughter, Sarah Lucretia Comer, the woman who would be my 3rd great-grandmother would find herself living in Putnam County, Ohio and married to William Bryan Andrew Parrish. There is so much that I wish I knew about this woman, when in reality, it is so very little. I can only assume that she died there, as I have not found anything to the contrary, but I can not find where she was buried. She died very young – only about 40 years of age, and she left behind her husband with 6 young children all under the age of 10. I don’t know how she died, and the lack of information makes this one of the saddest stories within my family. I want to know her so much more and I can’t.

I think this is going to be one of my future “Ohio field trips”…a trip home, focused in this county, and learning every little detail that I can hoping to find a clue, or perhaps more than that. Evidence, details….insight into who this woman was and the life that she led for the short period of time that she walked on this earth.

~C.

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