We need to talk about Jonathan Essman, “father of Thomas.”I have some responsibility for that and it is a mistake that needs to be cleared up before any more new researchers come online, get that information, and believe it to be factual, thereby incorporating it into their research and then putting it back on the web compounding the problem.It isn’t accurate and should be corrected immediately.
In 1985 I did some local research in TN.In the Chattanooga library there were two books about early TN marriages.For anyone who doesn’t know about those marriages, Margaret Essman married Frederick Reeser, Esther Essman married John Tunnell, Benjamin Essman married Darkis Cross, and Priscilla Essman married John Brown.All of these marriages occurred in Greene County, TN in the late 1790’s and up to 1807.
Thomas Essman, whom I assumed was the father of these Essman’s was bondsman or a witness in two of the marriages.In one of the other marriages the index of one of the books referenced a Phances Essman and a Johannas Essman.In the text of the book Phances was listed as a witness to that marriage.There was no reference to Johannas in the text of the book.
For the sake of my own personal argument, I assumed Phances was a woman and opted to interject her into the role of Thomas’ wife.I figured Johannas to be either a son, brother, or father of Thomas.Again, for the sake of argument, I plugged him into the hole as being the father of Thomas because I’d found a Johannas Eschman on a ship manifest at a time just early enough for him to have been the beginning of what appears to be my Essman line in the US.I have always tried to stick to the strict spelling of “Essman” in my research but throughout that research I have also made notes of any close spelling that could possibly be an Essman and I’ve gone back and tried to see where they might fit into the scheme of things or if they did at all.So, Johannas Eschman became my candidate to be Thomas’ father.However, I would call to your attention that you have not seen me post any of my over 20 years of research on the Internet.There’s a good reason for that.Once something is reduced to print and made public, many people believe it to be undeniable fact and it becomes nearly impossible to undo because people move on to other things and never pick up on the corrections.It then gets passed on to others and down the line and that creates more problems than it does good.
I shared my ideas about Thomas, Phances, and Johannas several years ago with only a couple of fellow researchers, and one of them chose to change Johannas to Jonathan and post it in a gedcom file that way on the web.That’s where Jonathan came from.I reminded that person that I’d told them that the name in question was Johannas, assuming that it would get corrected but rather, I was told that it’d just be left like that to see what happens.Well, what has happened is that recent researchers have come online and pulled that information down and incorporated it into their research and, without doing any research of their own but merely relying on what was available on the web, have put it back out on the web and so a totally non-existent Jonathan was given birth and has now become instituted as being Thomas’ father and father of all Essman’s in the US, a clear and unfortunate mistake.As soon as I got back into town the other day fellow researchers, especially recent online arrivals, began sending me messages asking me about Jonathan.As a result of that I feel obliged to offer up this explanation of the birth of Jonathan.Now, we need to cause Jonathan to die and disappear.He needs to disappear before he causes any more trouble.While I am not the center of the Essman universe and have no high authority in Essman matters, I would like to ask that those of you who gave birth to Jonathan right in front of the eyes of the general public of the world, that you snuff him out.
Just for the sake of clarity I would also like to see some of you review your public postings for accuracy.I’ve been in and out of the various forums in the past couple of days and have noticed several known inaccuracies being made public.I realize that anyone who so desires has the right to post whatever they choose but the idea of posting is to share with other researchers so they can benefit by it.They don’t benefit if all they find is information that is clearly and undeniably contrary to known and documented information.Another glaring error I saw was that someone had listed the father of Gen. Graydon Essman, to whom we’ve all become so accustomed and appreciative, as being Lee Carlton Essman which is absolutely right but they went on to give Lee’s father’s a name something other than what is was which was Joseph.All one need do to know that is look at the postings of Lee Essman Scasser on all the forums.Frankly, I’m not even sure why they are mixed in with the suspected Essman line that came from Thomas.Lee Carlton’s father Joseph and his brother William entered the US in the early 1850’s spelling their name with two “n’s.”They arrived well over 50 years after Thomas was first evident and do not belong in with Thomas’ line any more than does all the descendants of the three brothers who arrived in OH in the early 1850’s, John Harmon, Herman, and William Frederick, or the descendants of the other arrival about that same time into the OH region, Christian Astman who’s descendants are now going be the name of Essman.Those guys are responsible for most of the Essman’s in IA, NE, ID, and some up in the northwest.
I’m no elitist nor do I think I know who belongs to whom but up to the point that we join the broader family back in the motherland it would seem useful to me to keep the various lines separate here in the US as best we can.There is a fair sized group of Essman’s in the northeast, mostly NY, who are Jewish.Suzie Essman, the comedienne, is from that line.So is the Elliot and Eric you get overexposed to when you put the Essman name into a search engine.I would like nothing better than to see all the world family eventually put together, no matter the spelling whether it be Esman, Esmon, Essmann, or however, but to me it would seem useful to keep the lines separate and as distinct as possible as we build up to that.
My purpose is not to embarrass anyone or make anyone mad but knowingly or intentionally making erroneous information public or leaving it uncorrected just seems
to cause more problems than it cures.I can’t speak for everyone but personally I’d lots rather a person tell me nothing than to give me wrong information and then not share with when an error is discovered.I find that to be very unappealing.I try to not feed other people mistakes and hasten to let them know if I’m wrong and I’d like that same kind of respect.As involved and difficult as Essman research is and as much time and effort as it takes up, it becomes very difficult if folks are disseminating information that they can’t back up, the result of resorting to old family tales that are full of holes.Old family tales have their place but it my not be that that place is posted on the web for the world to, without any evidence, sort fact from fiction.For instance, there is posted on the web a comment that was made by my grandfather who was a jokester from the word go.
He said that he “was always told by his pa that his grandpa was hanged ‘cause he married an “Injun woman.”
Well, my gftr kept telling me that right up to when he died at age 97 in 1985 when I was pushing 50. That’s all he could tell me about his grandpa David Essman who did indeed seem to just disappear without a trace sometime in the early 1870’s before all the rest of his family left Miller County, MO and moved to Scott County, AR, his ex-wife remarrying to a man named G. G. Frazier in 1877.I shared my gftr’s story with a fellow researcher whom I admire very much and now it’s on the web.I would have never put it on the web but it’s there and some of the new researchers are seeing it with both curiosity and disbelief.The ignorance about the family in my line was mostly brought on by the fact that my ggftr left home at age twelve, supposedly “because his dad died, his mother remarried, and the new stepfather was mistreating him.”Others say it was his older brothers who mistreated him.Either way, my ggftr didn’t spend much time with his family after that so most of what I know about my extended family is what I’ve been able, with the help of others, to turn up from official records.The irony of that is that I have five aunts ranging in age from 80 to 93 who so heartily bought into my gftr’s stories that they don’t believe anything I have to say about what I’ve turned up about the family.
Now, I sincerely hope that nobody will be embarrassed or offended by this but I’m an old guy who’s accidentally offended a few people along the line and have learned out of it that it is very true that “you can’t please all the people all the time.”As I see it, if anyone gets their back up over this it’ll mostly be because they’ve put themselves into a position to be embarrassed by their own behavior and that sooner or later someone was going to call it out into an openin’.In this case it just happened to be me.