For a long time, there have been lies told
about Harman Back:
about his voyage to America,
his descendants, and when and where he died.
It's time to put all of those lies to rest.
Harman Back was born as "Hermann Bach," in the spring of 1708, in the little town of Freudenberg, Germany, which is about 90 miles northwest of Frankfurt, in the western part of the country. The town is still known for its quaint, half-timbered houses (see the picture).
Old records show that he was christened, on May 13, 1708, in Freudenberg.
He simplified the spelling of his name to Harman Back, after he immigrated to America, in 1738.
On January 3, 1737, Hermann married Anna Margarethe Hausmann, in the nearby town of Bottenberg, Germany. On March 10, 1737, she gave birth to twins: Hermann Jr., named after his father; and Anna Ella, named after her godmother Anna Ella Hausmann (see below).
The twins were born on March 10, 1737, in Bottenberg, Germany. Anna Ella was christened that day (indicated by the "C"), but Hermann Jr. was actually not named until later. Sadly, Anna Ella died, shortly after birth. (From the old Prussian Birth Records, and recorded in The International Genealogical Index. This is an actual copy of The International Genealogical Index.)
Hermann Bach and his wife Anna belonged to the Freudenberg Church (see the picture). By the spring of 1738, they, along with other members of the church, and a group of Moravian missionaries (a religious sect), who lived nearby, had decided to immigrate to America.
A man named Tillmann Hirnschal, who was from the nearby town of Bockseifen, had already sailed to America, back in 1736. But he had returned to Germany, in 1737, for a short time, to pick up his relatives and take them to America. He had also been hired by the government to recruit people to immigrate to America, and settle in Georgia, where General James Oglethorpe had established the city of Savannah, in 1733. Tillmann signed up 53 people from the Freudenberg Church (including Hermann Bach, his wife, and their infant son), along with a group of Moravian missionaries, to immigrate to Georgia. The Moravians wanted to minister religion to the Cherokee and Creek Indians, in Georgia.
General Oglethorpe had already taken two groups of Moravian missionaries over to Savannah, Georgia (in 1735 and 1736), so they could minister to the Indians, because he was good friends with Count Zinzendorf, who had allowed a large number of Moravians to live on his estate, and who had become a Moravian himself. Click here.
This was all documented in the March 16, 1961 edition of the Siegener newspaper, in Siegen, Germany (see that article and its translation below).
This was also documented in a 1956 book, edited by the highly respected Dr. Wilhelm Guethling, titled, Freudenberg Past and Present (see that page and its translation below). Dr. Guethling had been the Director of the Siegen Museum for 16 years; the Director of the Siegen City Library and Archives for 23 years; the founder of the Siegen Research Center; and a member of numerous historical commissions.
“With the Permission of the Authorities…”
“I cannot help but stare at you, I have to look at you constantly and wonder how you manage to turn over your belongings so eagerly to the ship owner.” At the time when a poet wrote these lines while observing an emigration vessel leaving, thousands of people had been forced to leave their fatherland in order to find a new home abroad.
During the months of April and May 1736, a representative of the British Consulate visited the Dukedom of Nassau-Siegen, in order to sign up colonists for the State of Georgia, a territory located between South Carolina and Florida. It belonged to the British, and white people started to settle there in 1733. The representative was soon accompanied by Tillmannus (Tillmann) Hirnschal from Bockseifen, who had emigrated before and was brought back at the expense of the British government. Hirnschal’s mission was to tell his former friends and neighbors how favorable the living conditions were in the new country, and he had to lend support to those who wanted to emigrate and guide them through the emigration process. At the beginning, there were 412 people living in the dukedom who wished to emigrate. However, some of them changed their minds. Those coming from Freudenberg and the surrounding area trusted their own friend and neighbor, and all of them signed the emigration papers.
They were ready to leave in the month of March, in the year 1738. They had to say goodbye to their relatives and friends living in the parish, to the woods and fields, which were just blooming in spring, to everything that was home to them. On March 10, the emigrants and those who stayed behind gathered for the last time at the old familiar small church. Never again has there been a church service where one could feel how heavy the hearts of the emigrants were, and how worried they were, embarking on this uncertain and dangerous trip. Never before has a congregation sung the following song with so much passion for their departing members: “Entrust your way and what grieves your heart to the most faithful care of him who governs heaven! He who gives to the clouds, air and winds their way, course and path will also find a way where your feet can go.”
Everyone, who was able to, accompanied the loaded up wagons on the day of departure to Crottorf and even further on. Pastor Goebel, who served the parish at that time, wrote the names of the emigrants into the Death Register of the Evangelical church.
He wrote: “This is the information I wrote down today on March 13, 1738. On this day, the following married men, their wives and children, and single men left for Georgia, which is a new island under the protection of His Royal Majesty of England. They left with the permission of our authorities:
Freudenberg: Tillmanus (Tillmann) Seelbach with his wife Anna Beata, his son-in-law and daughter. Gerlach Waffenschmidt with his wife Anna Maria and their four children. Heinrich Ernstorf with his wife Anna Catharin and their three children. Hermann Bach with his wife Anna Margreth and one child. Johann Friedrich Muller with his wife Anna Maria and one child. Hymenaus Creutz with his wife Elisabeth. Georg Weidman, single, who is the son of the late Heinrich Weidman. As well as: Tillmanus (Tillmann) Steinseiffer, who is the son of the late Johann Heinrich Steinseiffer. Johannes Hoffmann from Dirlenbach, the son of Johannes Hoffmann. Johann Heinrich Schmidt, who is the son of Christian Schmidt. Johannes Klappert, who is the son of the late ducal mayor Johann Klappert. Tillmanus (Tillmann) Gudelius, who is the son of Christophel (Christoph) Gudelius. Hermanus (Hermann) Muller, who is the son of the bailiff Hermanus (Hermann) Muller.
Plittershagen: Johannes Halm and his wife Anna Catharin with two children.
Boschen: Johann Heinrich Schneider and his wife Maria Catharin with two children. Johann Georg Hirnschal and his wife Anna Catharin with one child. His father Tillmanus (Tillmann) Hirnschal had left already two years before. He returned and left with them again.
Anstoss: Heinrich Schneider and his wife Anna Margareth with two children. Hanna, widow of Johann Schneider, with her son Johannes Schneider and his wife, born in the Hadamar country, with four children.
VERIFICATION: This translation was performed by Dr. Elke Hedstrom, who was born and raised in Germany, and came to America around 1965. She is a respected German translation expert. She has a Master's Degree in Library Science, and a Ph.D. in German Language and Literature.
The last paragraph, at the bottom of page 73, of this book
Translation of that last paragraph (by Dr. Elke Hedstrom)
The Siegener newspaper article stated that, after those 53 people from the Freudenberg Church (including Hermann Bach and his family), and that group of Moravian missionaries, left Freudenberg, they first stopped at the Crottorf Castle (see the picture), on their way to the harbor at Rotterdam, where all the ships were departing for America.
The castle was located about 4 miles west of Freudenberg. It had been built around 1550, and it was surrounded by a moat. It may have been a meeting place for people who lived in the area, and who were headed to the harbor at Rotterdam.
After a day or so, the 53 people from the Freudenberg Church (including Hermann Bach and his family), and the group of Moravian missionaries, left the castle, and they headed west, towards the Rhine River, which was a 45-mile walk. They needed to get to that river, so they could board some small boats that would take them down to Rotterdam.
Average walking speed is about three miles per hour, which is about 25 miles per day. But considering that they were carrying items, and they probably stopped quite often, to rest, they more than likely only averaged less than one mile per hour, or just 5 miles per day. Therefore, it probably took them about ten days to get to the Rhine River. That means they probably got to the river, shortly before the end of March.
After they boarded the boats on the river, it would have taken them about ten days to float down the river, to Rotterdam, because they would have been frequently stopped along the way, by the authorities, as all travelers were. They would have had their belongings inspected, and they would have had to pay fees, each time they were stopped. But even if extra time was needed, for weather delays or other problems, it can be assumed that they would have arrived in Rotterdam, around the middle of April, at the latest.
Once they got to Rotterdam, they would have booked their passage on a ship bound for America, just as quickly as possible. Not only were they very anxious to get to America, they did not have the money, the desire, or a reason, to remain in Rotterdam for any length of time.
Furthermore, Rotterdam was swarming with Germans, at that time, all of whom wanted to sail to America. The residents of the city were extremely angry about that. As a result, the city's authorities had started to enforce a law that prohibited Germans from lingering inside the city limits. They made the Germans go into a "holding area," which was located near the ruins of the St. Elbrecht's Chapel, near Kralingen, about two miles east of Rotterdam. The living conditions in that "holding area" were dreadful. Those 53 people from the Freudenberg Church, and that group of Moravian missionaries, certainly did not want to stay in that "holding area" any longer than they had to. They would have booked their passage on a ship bound for America, just as soon as they could. And so they did.
Meanwhile, before those 53 people from the Freudenberg Church, and that group of Moravian missionaries, had left Freudenberg, a Moravian missionary named Peter Bohler (see the picture) had been ordained as a bishop by Count Zinzendorf.
Peter Bohler and his assistant, George Schulius, were then appointed by Count Zinzendorf, to go to South Carolina, to minister religion to the black slaves. By February of 1738, Bohler, Schulius, and their companions, were in London, making preparations for their voyage. They asked General James Oglethorpe if he could arrange for their passage to America, because he had already commissioned two ships of Moravian missionaries, to sail to Georgia, back in 1735 and 1736, to minister religion to the Indians. General Oglethorpe said that Bohler and his companions could sail on his next voyage, with his soldiers, but that ship was not leaving Rotterdam until late April. He also said that the ship was bound for Georgia, like his other ships had been, but Bohler knew that he and his companions could walk to South Carolina, from there. So, Bohler and his companions stayed in London for about three more months, waiting until their journey could begin.
In early April of 1738, Peter Bohler and his companions went to Portsmouth, England, to wait for the ship that General Oglethorpe had commissioned. That was because they knew that most of the passengers, and most of the cargo, would be loaded on the ship first, in Rotterdam, and then the ship would sail over to Southampton, England, for its required inspections. After that, the ship would sail to Portsmouth, to pick up some additional passengers and cargo, including Bohler and his companions, and then finally, it would pick up Olglethorpe's soldiers, last.
The ship was The Union Galley. It has been proven that the 53 people from the Freudenberg Church (including Hermann Bach and his family), and that group of Moravian missionaries, boarded The Union Galley, in Rotterdam, on April 28, 1738. (See below, for the impressive research done by Dr. Fries.)
The Union Galley then sailed to Southampton, England. After the inspections were completed, the ship left Southampton, on May 8th. Dr. Guethling initially thought that the ship then headed out across the ocean, towards America, because he wrote in his book, Freudenberg Past and Present, "...On May 8, the emigrants put to sea from Southampton and after a voyage of 134 days reached Savannah in Georgia..."
However, on May 8th, the ship was actually on its way to Portsmouth, where Peter Bohler and his companions boarded, on May 22nd. After that, the ship sailed back to Southampton, in order to pick up General Oglethorpe's soldiers; they boarded on June 3rd. Finally, the ship was ready to sail across the ocean to America. There was also at least one other ship that was going to join The Union Galley, on its voyage across the ocean to America.
However, bad weather and high winds suddenly came up, and the ships had to pull into the port at Spithead, which was near Portsmouth. Spithead was a small port that was protected from the winds, and so the ships waited there, for the winds to become more favorable. But the ships were not able to depart for America, until July 16th.
This means that, the 53 people from the Freudenberg Church, and that group of Moravian missionaries, had been onboard The Union Galley, for two and a half months (80 days), before it even headed out into the open sea! And by the time they spotted land, in Georgia, on September 18th, they had been onboard for nearly five months (144 days)! That was about double the number of days for a typical voyage to America.
It is important to note that Dr. Guethling actually knew that the people onboard had spotted land, in Georgia, on September 18th, which was why he counted the number of days, backwards, from September 18th, to May 8th (which was 134 days), because he thought that May 8th was the day that they had headed out across the ocean. However, he just didn't know the name of the ship.
After the crew of The Union Galley spotted land (in Georgia), on September 18th, they dropped anchor, on September 29th, in the harbor at St. Simons Island, which was about 80 miles south of Savannah, their destination. On October 6th, the 53 people from Freudenberg, that group of Moravian missionaries, and Peter Bohler and his companions, boarded a sloop (a small sailboat with one mast) and they sailed to Savannah. But due to high winds, the sloop did not arrive until October 16th. The small group of Moravian missionaries who were already living in Savannah heartily welcomed them. The 53 people from Freudenberg, and that new group of Moravian missionaries, then settled there. But, Peter Bohler and his companions left Savannah on October 21st, to walk north, to South Carolina.
The foremost authority on the Moravians was, and still is, Dr. Adelaide Lisetta Fries (see the picture). She was born in 1871, in North Carolina, the daughter of John William Fries and Agnes Sophia de Schweinitz. She was actually a descendant of Count Zinzendorf, on her mother's side. (He was her great, great, great, great grandfather.)
When Adelaide was a young girl, she become fascinated with the Moravians. She never married, and she lived with her parents until their death. (She died in 1949). She spent her life collecting, organizing, translating, and publishing, the records of the Moravian Church. She researched the Moravians extensively; she wrote numerous books about the Moravians, and she was highly respected for her work. Click this link. Also click this link.
One of her earlier books, The Moravians in Georgia 1735-1740, was published in 1905. That book provides the proof that the 53 people from Freudenberg (including Hermann Bach and his family) sailed to America, on The Union Galley, in the spring of 1738. Her book is now in the public domain, and so it can be found on the Internet, for free.
The best copy is a PDF from the Digital Library of Georgia: Click here. (When the page opens, just scroll down and select the PDF download that is called, "Digital Object URL." The PDF will open in a new window.) There are numerous other places on the Internet to find her book, but most of them either do not include the page numbers, or they are difficult to read, such as the one on The Internet Archive. Click here.
Copies of the pertinent pages from her book are shown below.
Page 204: On February 22, 1738, General Oglethorpe told Peter Bohler that he would take him and his companions to Georgia, on a ship, with his soldiers. Bohler and his companions knew that, from there, they could walk north, to South Carolina.
Page 206: On April 28, 1738, in Rotterdam, the Moravian missionaries boarded The Union Galley. Captain Moberley had been given instructions that Peter Bohler and his companions would be boarding, after the ship had arrived in Portsmouth, England. On May 15th, Bohler and his companions went to Southampton (see the next page).
Page 207: On May 22, 1738, Peter Bohler and his companions boarded The Union Galley, in Portsmouth. On May 30th, the ship sailed to Southampton, to pick up the soldiers, who became very troublesome.
Page 207: On July 16, 1738, The Union Galley, and some other ships, headed out to sea, bound for America. They stopped at the Madeira Islands for a few days.
Page 208: On September 18, 1738, the people onboard The Union Galley spotted land (in Georgia). The ship dropped anchor on the 29th, at St. Simons Island.
Page 202: On October 16, 1738, Peter Bohler and his companions, and the group of Moravian missionaries, finally arrived in Savannah, Georgia.
Dr. Fries stated, in her book, Moravians in Georgia 1735-1740, that a group of Moravian missionaries sailed to America with Peter Bohler, on The Union Galley, in the spring of 1738 (from Rotterdam, where all voyages of European immigrants to America began).
And, Dr. Wilhelm Guethling stated, in his book, Freudenberg Past and Present, that the 53 people from Freudenberg (including Hermann Bach and his family) sailed to America with Peter Bohler, in the spring of 1738 (from Rotterdam).
Therefore, because it is known that Peter Bohler sailed on The Union Galley, in the spring of 1738, and it is known that the 53 people from Freudenberg (including Hermann Bach and his family) sailed with Peter Bohler, in the spring of 1738, it can be confirmed that the 53 people from Freudenberg (including Hermann Bach and his family) sailed to America on The Union Galley.
Furthermore, the Siegener newspaper had reported that the 53 people from Freudenberg (including Hermann Bach and his family), and some people from "the surrounding area" (the Moravian missionaries who lived nearby), had been recruited by Tillmann Hirnschal, to sail to Georgia.
That newspaper also reported that the names of those 53 people had been written into the "Death Record" of the Freudenberg Church, by Pastor Goebel, before they left. He did that, because, to him, and to the rest of his congregation, since those 53 people would never be seen again, it was as if they would be dead. That newspaper further reported that, at the top of that "Death Record," Pastor Goebel also clearly wrote that those 53 people were emigrating to Georgia (see the picture). The record is in German and difficult to read But you can see, "Herm. Bach and his wife Anna Margreth," with their "a kind." (In German, "a kind" means "one child.") A translation of that "Death Record" is shown below as, "A Siegerland Emigrant List of 1738."
In addition, Dr. Fries wrote that The Union Galley spotted land on September 18, 1738, and Dr. Guethling also wrote that the 53 people from Freudenberg spotted land on September 18, 1738. This is further proof that the 53 people from Freudenberg were on The Union Galley.
Please note that Dr. Guethling also wrote that the 53 people from Freudenberg were going to meet Peter Bohler, in Dover, but that was not completely accurate. They actually met him in Portsmouth, when he boarded the ship there, on May 22, 1738. There is no record of The Union Galley making a stop in Dover, although it certainly may have.
Dr. Fries also wrote that The Union Galley dropped anchor, along the Georgia coast, on September 29, 1738. She wrote that the group of Moravian missionaries from that ship then settled in Savannah, and shortly after that, Peter Bohler and his companions left for South Carolina. Obviously, the 53 people from Freudenberg (including Hermann Bach and his family) also settled in Savannah, with that group of Moravian missionaries.
Dr. Fries further wrote that most of the Moravian missionaries left Savannah, in the fall of 1739, mainly because they refused to take up arms to fight the Spanish, who were threatening to invade, from their command post, down in Florida. But they were also weary of the hot and humid weather, and the increasing number of people dying from yellow fever. Moreover, the Cherokee and Creek Indians had moved further inland, and so the Moravian missionaries were no longer able to even reach them, to minister to them.
So, in the fall of 1739, as Dr. Fries wrote, most of the Moravian missionaries walked north, to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where there was another community of Moravians living. Dr. Fries wrote that there were only six Moravian missionaries left, in Savannah, by the spring of 1740, and that they left for Bethlehem as well, on April 13, 1740, on a sloop called, The Savannah. Interestingly, Dr. Guethling wrote about the Moravian missionaries, saying that, "...because of the unhealthy climate, they had later moved north, where they settled in the place Bethlehem."
**See the attached PDF report, "The ship Oliver," at the bottom of this website, which presents the documented and proven story of The Oliver. Many people mistakenly believe that Hermann Bach and his family sailed to America on The Oliver, but they most certainly did not. This PDF report provides the true story of The Oliver, which proves that Hermann Bach and those other people from Freudenberg were not onboard that ship.**
Otto Baeumer was a resident of Freudenberg, and he documented the "Death Record," from the Freudenberg Church. Don Yoder translated those records, in 1927. Those records were published, in 1969, in The Pennsylvania Folklife magazine (Winter edition, page 6).
It is quite obvious that, when the Moravian missionaries left Savannah, in the fall of 1739, the 53 people from Freudenberg (including Hermann Bach and his family) left Savannah as well, and they all began walking north, towards Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
As all of these people walked north, they probably followed the coastline. Some of the Freudenberg people probably walked all the way up to Bethlehem, with the Moravian missionaries. However, nine of them decided that they wanted to stop and settle in Virginia. Those nine people were Hermann Bach, his wife Anna, and their infant son; Johann Friedrich Mueller, his wife Anna, and their infant son; Hermann Mueller (brother to Johann Friedrich); Georg Weidman; and Johannes Huffman.
The reason those nine people did that was because Johannes Huffman had a cousin named Hans Heinrich Huffman, who was already living in a small, German settlement, in Virginia, called "Little Fork." It was located way up the Rappahannock River, in the far northern part Virginia, in Orange County. (Nowadays, it's part of the small town of Jeffersonton.)
So, Hermann Bach and his family, and the other six people, followed the Rappahannock River, from its mouth at the Chesapeake Bay, up to Little Fork, which was a distance of about 150 miles. They settled there.
At some point, Hermann Bach simplified the spelling of his name, so that other colonists could more easily spell it and pronounce it. That was something which many immigrants did. His new name was Harman Back, and his son became Harman Back Jr.
Shortly after Harman Back, and the others, arrived in Little Fork, his friend Johannes Huffman died, in 1741 (Orange County Will Book #1, p. 161). Harman was one of the three appraisers of his estate, and he verified the Inventory Report with his signature, in 1741 (see below). This proves that Harman Back knew how to write.
On August 25, 1748, Harman bought 100 acres of land in Little Fork, for 20 pounds, from Jacob Holtzclaw and his wife Katherine (Orange County Deed Book #11, pp. 85-86). The deed shows that Harman bought the land by himself, without his wife Anna. (Her name was not on the deed.) Therefore, it can be assumed that she had died, sometime before then. At that time, Harman's 100 acres was in Orange County, but in 1749, that land became part of Culpeper County. (Little Fork was located in the far northern part of Culpeper County.) In the early 1900s, a map was made of the various land parcels that had been owned by the first twelve families in Little Fork, including Harman Back (see below).
Harman raised his only child, his son Harman Jr., on that 100-acre farm. Around 1755, Harman Jr. got married to a woman whose first name was Katherine. She may have been Katherine Fishback, whose family lived next door. Harman Jr. and his wife lived on his father's farm, and they had three sons: Joseph (born April 9, 1756); Harman (born about 1764); and Jacob (born about 1770).
There are no records of Harman Back ever having any additional children, besides Harman Jr., or ever getting remarried. According to the Tax Lists in Little Fork, the only men with the last name of Back, from 1782 (when the Tax Lists began), to 1789 (when the Back family left Little Fork, to migrate to central Kentucky), were Harman's son, Harman Jr., and two of Harman Jr.'s three sons (Joseph and Harman). Harman Back was 74 years old, when the Tax Lists began, in 1782, and so he was too old to have been listed on any Tax List, even if he was still alive.
**See the attached PDF report, "The Tax Lists: 1782-1807," at the bottom of this website, which presents the Tax Lists from Little Fork, and from an area, 25 miles away, in the far southern part of Culpeper County, Virginia. It provides additional proof that Harman Back never had sons named John Back, Henry Back, or Joseph Back.**
Shortly after the Revolutionary War began, in 1775, Harman was said to have "rendered material aid" to the American soldiers. That means he provided some of the soldiers with either food or ammunition. As a result, over a hundred and fifty years later, he became recognized as a "Patriot," in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Some incorrect information about Harman had been entered into the DAR database, years ago, but that information has been recently corrected (see below).
You can visit the DAR website, DAR.org, to see the corrected information. Click here. Just enter Harman Back's name.
By 1783, Harman Jr. had decided to migrate to Kentucky. On September 16, 1783, he bought a Treasury Warrant, for 1,000 acres. He paid 1,600 pounds for it, which was a great deal of money (see below). The only way that he would have suddenly had that much money was if his father had given it to him, or if his father had died and left it to him. In addition, Harman Jr. was listed on that Treasury Warrant List as "Harman Back," and not as "Harman Back Jr.," because he was obviously no longer considered to be a "Jr." That must have meant that his father had already died by then.
Although it appears that Harman Back died, sometime between 1775, when he rendered aid during the war, and 1783, when his son Harman Jr. was listed as "Harman Back" on that Treasury Warrant List, it can certainly be confirmed that Harman Back died, sometime between 1775, and September of 1789. That's because his only son, Harman Jr., sold his 100-acre farm, on September 15, 1789, which he had inherited from him (Culpeper County Deed Book #P, pp. 186-189).
The deed clearly stated that Harman Jr. had inherited that land through an "indefeasible Estate of inheritance" (see below). The only way that someone can inherit something is if someone else dies.
The deed referred to Harman Jr., as "Harman," because he was no longer considered to be a "Jr.," because his father was obviously dead by then. The deed also clearly stated that the land had first been purchased by Harman Back, back in 1748, when it was in Orange County.
Harman Jr. sold that 100-acre family farm to Thomas Clark Fletcher, for 50 pounds. When Harman Jr. "signed" the deed, he "signed" it with an "x," because he could not write. This is further proof that it was Harman Jr. who sold that land, and not his father, because his father could write, as proven by that 1741 Inventory Report that he had signed.
Harman Jr., his wife Katherine, and their three sons, then left Little Fork and migrated to Kentucky, in the fall of 1789. They settled in the central part of the state, in what is now Garrard County. Harman Jr. had his will written for him, on December 31, 1794, because he could not write, and he "signed" it with his "mark" (see below). He left his land (1,000 acres, which he called his "plantation") to his son Joseph, and everything else to his wife Katherine. (Garrard County Will Book #A, p. 50).
The two witnesses to his will were Charles Spilman (1746-1826) and William Hogan (1750-1827). Charles had grown up with Harman Jr., in Little Fork; and William's brother, John Hogan, named Harman Jr.'s son Jacob to be the executor of his will. Charles and William were around the same age as Harman Jr., and so they were about forty years younger than Harman Jr.'s father.
Some people mistakenly claim that this will belonged to Harman Jr.'s father. However, no elderly man would have selected witnesses to his will who were forty years younger than he was, and even younger than his own son. Furthermore, it has been clearly proven that Harman Jr.'s father had died, sometime before September 15, 1789, back in Little Fork, when his son sold the land that he had inherited from him.
Harman Back Jr. died, either in late October, or early November, of 1797. His will was recorded in Garrard County, on November 6, 1797 (Order Book #1, p. 37). His will was then probated in Garrard County, in January of 1798 (Order Book, Vol. #1, p. 49). None of his three sons, or any of his grandchildren, ever migrated to southeastern Kentucky. In fact, none of his descendants have been found to have migrated to southeastern Kentucky either.
For more information about Harman Back, please visit his memorial on FindAGrave.com. Click here. (Be advised that there is also an inaccurate memorial for him on FindAGrave.com, filled with lies and deceptions.)
When Johannes Huffman died, Harman Back signed his Inventory Report, in 1741. His signature proves that Harman could write. (But his son Harman Jr. could not.)
On August 25, 1748, Harman Back bought 100 acres in Little Fork. That parcel can be seen on this map, which was created In the early 1900s. This map shows the twelve original families, who owned land in Little Fork, including Harman. Jacob Fishback lived next door; his daughter Katherine may have married Harman's son.
Harman Back is in in the database for The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). It shows that he only had one son, Harman Jr. (Incorrect information about Harman was sent to that database, years ago, to promote a fraudulent genealogy. But DAR has since corrected those errors.)
On September 16, 1783, Harman Jr. bought 1,000 acres in Kentucky, with Treasury Warrant #19334. He paid 1,600 pounds for it. Many of his friends from Little Fork had gone to Kentucky and bought warrants as well. Even though Harman Jr. never filed a "return" on that land, he definitely owned it, because he had bought it. (That makes it quite different than a land patent.)
On September 15, 1789, Harman Jr. sold the 100-acre family farm that he had inherited from his father. The deed clearly stated that Harman Jr. had inherited that land as an "indefeasible Estate of inheritance." Harman Jr., his wife, and their three sons, then migrated to central Kentucky. Where they lived became Garrard County, in 1797. Harman Jr.'s sons and his grandsons continued to live in central Kentucky; they never migrated to southeastern Kentucky.
Harman Jr. had someone write his will for him, on December 31, 1794. He "signed" it with his "mark" because he could not write.
Many years ago, a fraudulent genealogy was created about another Back (Bach) family, but they were originally from Thuringia, Germany, which is nowhere near Freudenberg, Germany. The immigrant in that family, Johann Heinrich Bach, sailed to America in 1740, and he settled in the far southern part of Culpeper County, Virginia, near the Robinson River. Where he and his family lived became Madison County, in 1792. This was 25 miles south of Little Fork (where Harman Back lived).
Johann Heinrich Bach simplified the spelling of his name to John Henry Back, after he arrived in America. His youngest son, Joseph Back (1745-1819), married Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard (1755-1826), around 1773. (Her parents had died, when she was a young girl, and she was adopted by the Maggard family. That's why modern-day researchers spell her maiden name as, "Hoffman-Maggard.")
Joseph and Elizabeth migrated to southeastern Kentucky, in 1791, with their four children: Joseph Jr. (1773-1802); John (1774-1853); Mary (1777-1807); and Henry (1785-1871). Their son John's best friend, Samuel Maggard (1774-1855), went with them. They settled along Quicksand Creek, in what is now Breathitt County. (In fact, Samuel was the grandson of the man who had adopted Elizabeth.)
Joseph Back (1745-1819), his wife, and their children, founded the Back (Bach) family in southeastern Kentucky, which now has thousands of descendants, all across the country. This Back (Bach) family is not related to Harman Back, in any way whatsoever.
However, around 1990, a few people, in that Back (Bach) family from southeastern Kentucky, created a little club they called, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society," even though none of them were genealogists. And, even though they already knew the actual genealogy of their family, they created a fraudulent one. They falsely claimed that their Back (Bach) family from southeastern Kentucky descends from Harman Back, through his alleged son Henry Back (1740-1809).
Understandably, the rest of the Back (Bach) family in southeastern Kentucky were outraged at the members of that little club, for creating a fraudulent genealogy about their own family, and so they called them, "Back-Bach people." People who support that fraudulent genealogy are still known as, "Back-Bach people."
The "Back-Bach people" did some very evil things, to "prove" their fraudulent genealogy, including the following: (1) they published a big, orange fraudulent genealogy book that tore their family apart; (2) they ruined their family's annual reunions that had been going on for seventy years; (3) they destroyed countless family artifacts; (4) they cut out a handwritten statement, from 1762, from their own Back (Bach) Family Bible that said, "We came from Thuringia"; (5) they removed many books and documents from libraries that contained their family's actual genealogy, and they used ink pens to cross out the accurate genealogy in the remaining books and documents; (6) they scribbled all over their family's original genealogy book (which contained the accurate genealogy) that had been written by Dr. Wilgus Bach in the early 1900s, changing what he had written, to reflect their fraudulent genealogy, and they also removed a large number of pages from his book; and (7) worst of all, they went to the Maggard Cemetery, in Partridge, Kentucky, and pulled up, from the ground, the gravestone of their own great, great grandmother (Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard Back), threw it over the hill, and then placed a new, fake gravestone over her remains that described the woman who they claim founded their Back (Bach) family in southeastern Kentucky, which was Elizabeth Hoffman Back, the widow of Henry Back (1740-1809); they also falsely claimed that Henry Back (1740-1809) was a son of Harman Back. It can all be a bit confusing, because the names of those two women are so similar.
To be clear, there really was a woman named Elizabeth Hoffman Back. She was born in 1746, in the far southern part of Culpeper County, Virginia, the daughter of John Hoffman and Maria Sabina Folg. She married Henry Back (1740-1809), around 1775. Henry was her neighbor, and the son of John Henry Back (Johann Heinrich Bach), whose farm was practically next door to her family's farm, along the Robinson River. Henry Back (1740-1809) was the brother of John Back (1738-1794), as well as Joseph Back (1745-1819), who was the husband of Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard Back. These facts can be decisively proven, by the old Back (Bach) Family Bible, census reports, tax lists, and many other historical documents. However, the "Back-Bach people" falsely claimed that Henry Back (1740-1809) was the son of Harman Back (who lived 25 miles away, way up in Little Fork).
Here is the truth. After Henry Back (1740-1809) died, his widow Elizabeth Hoffman Back actually moved, a short distance away, to Rockingham County, Virginia, to live next to her widowed sister, Margaret Hoffman Back, who had been married to John Back (1738-1794), the brother of Henry Back (1740-1809) and Joseph Back (1745-1819). Margaret had moved there, in 1807.
Elizabeth Hoffman Back actually died in Rockingham County, in 1815. That can also be decisively proven, by census reports, tax lists, and a land deed. However, the "Back-Bach people" falsely claimed that, after her husband Henry died, in 1809, Elizabeth moved down to southeastern Kentucky, and founded the Back (Bach) family there. They also falsely claimed that she died there, in 1832, and that she was buried in the Maggard Cemetery. They even erected a fake gravestone for her, over the remains of their own great, great grandmother, to "prove" it.
Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard Back, and her husband Joseph Back, had four children, including John Back (1774-1853), Mary Back (1777-1807), and Henry Back (1785-1871). This can also be decisively proven, by the old Back (Bach) Family Bible. However, the "Back-Bach people" falsely claimed that those three children were the children of Elizabeth Hoffman Back, and her husband Henry Back (1740-1809). The reason they did that was because those three children were very well-known as living in southeastern Kentucky.
That was how their fraudulent genealogy "connected" Harman Back, to their Back (Bach) family in southeastern Kentucky. First, they falsely claimed that Henry Back (1740-1809) was a son of Harman Back. (He wasn't.) Then, they falsely claimed that, after Henry Back died, in 1809, his widow Elizabeth Hoffman Back moved to southeastern Kentucky with her children. (She didn't.) Then, they falsely claimed that the children of Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard Back were Elizabeth Hoffman Back's children. (They weren't.) Their fraudulent genealogy was absolutely, 100% fraudulent. It was all a big lie, and they knew it was a lie.
So...why did they do it? Well, they had found out that The Germanna Foundation (a large genealogical organization) makes an enormous amount of money, from selling genealogy books about a small group of German immigrants, who had settled into northern Virginia, in the early 1700s, including Harman Back. So, they thought that they could make lots of money as well, by selling a genealogy book, if they simply "connected" their Back (Bach) family, to Harman Back.
Members of "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" did everything they could, to erase the actual genealogy of their own family (as described above), so that they could "get rich," by publishing a fraudulent genealogy book about their family, using Harman Back. However, they were not able to steal the microfilms of the old newspapers from the libraries, which contained articles about their family's reunions; many of those articles included the actual genealogy of their family. (Thankfully, the microfilms are still there, in the libraries.) They also failed to remove the rest of the valuable genealogical information from the old Back (Bach) Family Bible. (Thankfully, it's now safely stored at the Breathitt County Library.) And, of course, they couldn't get rid of the old census reports, tax lists, and land deeds. So, there still does remain enough proof of the actual genealogy of the family, to prove that they don't descend from Harman Back.
It is important to note that, many years ago, the "Back-Bach people" actually submitted their fraudulent genealogy to the prestigious genealogical organization, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), because Harman Back had "rendered aid," during the Revolutionary War, and the name of Henry Back (1740-1809) was on a list of soldiers (in the far southern part of Culpeper County, not up in Little Fork). Those military acts qualified each man to be a "Patriot," and to be included in DAR's database of Patriots. But back then, the DAR did not require any actual proof, before they included a Patriot in their database (and who he was related to), and so they included the false information from the "Back-Bach people" in their database.
However, in 2022, DAR's genealogy experts reviewed all of the evidence, and they came to the following correct conclusions: (1) Neither Harman Back or his only son Harman Back Jr. had sons named Henry Back (1740-1809) or John Back (1738-1794); (2) Joseph Back (1756-1832) was the son of Harman Back Jr., not Harman Back; and (3) Henry Back (1740-1809) did not have sons, John Back (1774-1853), who married Catherine Robertson, or Henry Back (1785-1871), who married Susannah Maggard. The DAR has now made these corrections in their database. You can verify this yourself, by going to their website, DAR.org. Click here. Simply enter Harman Back's name, and then enter Henry Back's name.
Strangely, a few years ago, one of the "Back-Bach people" actually set up a "DNA Project" online, and she staged the results, to try to, once again, "prove" that the Back (Bach) family from southeastern Kentucky descends from Harman Back.
She claims to have DNA samples, from both the descendants of Harman Back, and the descendants of the Back (Bach) family from southeastern Kentucky. She further claims that her DNA samples "prove" that the Back (Bach) family from southeastern Kentucky descends from Harman Back. But it doesn't "prove" that, and she knows it. That's because she deliberately staged her "DNA Project." It's all fraudulent!
First of all, she does not reveal who any of the participants are. Second, three of the test results are 100% identical, which is physically impossible; obviously, two of them are copies of the third one. Third, and most important of all, according to the management of that DNA website, she was the one who wrote in the name of "Harman Back," in the "Paternal Ancestor Name" column, of her "DNA Project," as being the ancestor for each one of the people who submitted their DNA sample. That is blatant fraud. She did that, just to make it look like each one of them descends from Harman Back. She deliberately staged her "DNA Project," to get the results that she wanted. Why? Why is she doing this?
Independent DNA experts, who have reviewed this matter, emphatically state that, her "DNA Project" is actually just a "Surname Project." It cannot possibly define lineage, or prove who descends from who. Any similarities between all those DNA samples, in her "DNA Project," simply mean that, about 15 generations ago, back in the 1500s, back in Germany, the people who submitted their DNA samples probably shared a common ancestor. It most certainly does not mean that, in the 1700s, in America, members of one family suddenly jumped over and became descendants of the other family.
That "DNA Project" is completely staged. It's completely fraudulent.
The behavior of the "Back-Bach people" is absolutely shocking, and probably illegal. Their bizarre obsession with claiming that the Back (Bach) family from southeastern Kentucky descends from Harman Back is so sick, and so evil. There is absolutely no proof of it, anywhere, because it isn't true. So, because there is no proof, they simply create "proof," like that fake gravestone, and that staged "DNA Project."
What the "Back-Bach people" have done, and continue to do, is so wrong. They are deliberately deceiving their own family about their own ancestors. They are also deceiving the actual descendants of Harman Back.
Why? What is the point? It needs to stop!
Please do what you can to spread the truth.
Be sure to check out a website called, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society," for more information. Click here.
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