Re: Woodford Co Varvels
I haven’t checked this board for a while, so I just saw your post. You raise some good questions….
First of all, you may be interested in this web site - http://home.attbi.com/~varvel/genealogyhttp://home.attbi.com/~varvel/genealogy where we’ve been putting up a lot of meat (much of it recent) regarding these Varvel/Varble/etc. families. This stuff is all still a work in progress and I would definitely appreciate people going through it critically so we can get it even better.
While I’m convinced they were all related back in Germany, the lines of two “Wirbel” immigrants have to be understood to make sense of those Woodford County records –Johannes (son of Wendel, 1732 Samuel) and Philip (1741 Europa), who moved to Rowan County, NC.
The family of Philip has been largely reconstructed (for a great analysis of this family by Clint Jones look here - http://home.attbi.com/~varvel/genealogy/Philip-Clint.htm)http://home.attbi.com/~varvel/genealogy/Philip-Clint.htm). Two of Philip’s sons, Henry and Philip, moved to Kentucky in the 1780’s. First, Philip settled in Fayette County where he remained the rest of his life and where his children are well documented. Neither he nor any of his children ever lived in Woodford County. However, his brother Henry settled originally in Woodford County where he owned land and paid taxes for a few years (1791-1796), before moving on to what is now Oldham County, KY. Henry’s children are also well documented.
So this is the older Henry in those Woodford County tax records. What about the Henry Jr. who was 16-21 in 1796 and 1797? First of all the possibility that he was a son of the older Henry can be unquestionably rejected. As we know, this older Henry moved to Henry County (now Oldham) where he did have a son named Henry, born Dec 25, 1799 – he couldn’t have had two surviving sons named Henry! That leaves only two other likely possibilities – the John and the Philip also in those 1790’s Woodford tax records. Who were they?
This has been the focus of a tremendous amount of effort in the last couple of years. What we’ve ended up with is a very convincing picture of Johannes Wirbel, a.k.a. John Varvel. He immigrated in 1732 on the Samuel with his father Wendel, and remained in SE Pennsylvania for several years, where he married Anna Elizabeth (probably Reiff). By 1748 he had moved out to the South Branch Valley (now West Virginia), and by 1768 had migrated even further west to the Monongahela region in SW Pennsylvania. We know he had two sons, John and Philip, and I am utterly convinced that it was these two brothers who moved to Woodford County c1790.
Making this link between John and Philip of Washington County, PA and Woodford County, KY is critical. Here’s a summary of the arguments I’ve made in favor of this:
1.Timing/Opportunity. John Varvel (Sr.) had two known sons – John and Philip who are documented in SW PA. After the 1780’s, no known records exist of either of these men in Pennsylvania or Virginia, clearly suggesting that they had moved on. John Sr. died in 1790 and it was recorded that his heir had left the area. At the same time, John and Philip Varvel had just shown up in Woodford County. Also, it was these early Monongahela settlers who led the settlement of Kentucky, with the primary departure point being Redstone, just a couple of miles from John Varvel’s land. It makes perfect sense to assume they may have gone to Kentucky.
3. Associated families. Direct evidence is provided by the fact that several families closely associated with the Varvel family from SW PA are also found around Glens Creek, Woodford County at the same time. Most notably were the family of John Casteel (father of Sarah Casteel who married Henry Varvel Jr. in 1801) and Andrew Gudgel, whose family remained associated with these Varvels for generations.
4. Daniel Varvel born in PA. And what seems to clinch it, in the 1850 census of Bath CO., KY, Daniel Varvel (son of John) claimed to have been born in Pennsylvania around the year 1784.
If this doesn’t convince you, let me know because I can support all of those arguments with primary source records.
Now the next step is a little less certain. It seems very likely that Henry Jr. was a son of either this John or Philip, but which one? As you are probably aware, there were several Varvel children who grew up in Woodford County, who later spread out to other parts of Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Missouri. It has been my working hypothesis that all of them were sons of either John or Philip, but nailing down which is which has been difficult.
The only real hint I’ve found is a 1798 Woodford marriage bond for Barbara Varvel and Conrad Harriger(?), where Henry Varvel was bondsman. An attached consent shows that Barbara was a daughter of John Varvel. So, I think it’s more likely that the bondsman was her brother than her cousin, though this is certainly not proof.
As for some of your other questions, by looking at those genforum posts of mine all at once the way you did you see a lot of inconsistencies. This is because when I started out I didn’t know as much! Earlier researchers had speculated that Philip Verble of Rowan County may have had a son named John, but it turns out that there is absolutely no evidence for this. Earlier research also did not separate the Philip Verble (son of Rowan County Philip) who lived his life in Fayette, KY from Philip Varvel of Woodford Co. Also, the entire line of John Varvel (through SE PA, VA, SW PA) was virtually unknown!
One of your questions really intrigues me – you mentioned that there are two family bible records somewhere? PLEASE share this info with me, because I’ve never seen any Varvel/Varble Bible records! What an incredible find!
Thanks again for going through this critically, I’d love to share information with you. Please contact me at [email protected]