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The Murder of Adam Staub

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1773 [unknown]
Location: Brushtown, Conewago Township, Adams County, Pennsylvaniamap
Surnames/tags: Staub Hartman
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The King v. Henry Hartman, for the Murder of Adam Staub

The King
Henry Hartman, for the Murder of
Adam Staub
Of Mount Pleasant Township, York County
(Digges Choice)
Conewago Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania
(Village of Brushtown)

by Arthur Weaner
  • Eye Witness Accounts
  • Maps – Court and Estate Documents
  • Gettysburg, Pa.
  • 1988


Many years ago the Murder of Adam Staub was called to my attention by the late John Poist Keefer. Off and on over the years I collected notes and documents pertaining to the event. Recently Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Staub of Newburg, Pennsylvania gave me copies of the Court papers relating to the case. Copies of the Estate documents were provided from the Archives of the Adams County Historical Society, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the current property owners map from the Mapping Deportment of the County of Adams.

I have attempted to place in story form information from those sources, and have added numerous maps, along with comments, observations and discussion, all of which I trust may give the reader insight into events and circumstances of a little known event that happened in what is now Adams County some two hundred odd years ago.

The receipt of corrections and additions will always be gratefully received and acknowledged.

Printed at private expense for gratuitous distribution by the author.


Arthur Weaner 5 August 1988 Gettysburg, PA (full address omitted)

Chapter I

Adam Staab is identified as the emigrant on the ship Winter Galley, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 5, 1738. He is listed on the Captain’s List as Jan Adam Stupe, age 21 years. On the oath lists he signed by a mark, surname spellings Stoop and Staub.

He apparently resided in Berks County, Pennsylvania, the arrival and departure dates unknown. A warrant was issued to Adam Staub 28 May 1746, the tract contained 117 acres, 148 perches. The tract was the subject of a resurvey in 1807, and the patent did not issue until 1875.

According to the Goshenhoppen Church registers (Catholic), two children were baptized for John Adam and Catherine Staab:

  • Eva Catherine, April 15, 1744, in parents house in Allemangel.
Sponsors: George Kuhn and Sarah Catherine Bewerts.
  • George Adam, baptized 1745.
Sponsors: Adam Koch and Anna Mary, his wife.

It is apparent sometime prior to July 1762 Adam Staab, with his family, removed from Berks County to Mount Pleasant Township, York County, now Conewago Township, (village of Brushtown), Adams County, Pa.

On July 5, 1762 Adam Staub was issued a warrant for 50a., land in Mount Pleasant Township, York County. His son Philip was the Patentee in 1812, 60a., 134p.

Adam Staab held a second tract adjoining the first tract, warranted June 16, 1763, for which he obtained the Patent dated 13 December 1768 signed by John Penn, Lieutenant Governor – 82a., 84p. and the Allowance Consideration, £7.8/. The tracts was called ADAMSHEIM.

Adam Staab also had interest in a third tract, contiguous to the aforementioned two tracts above. This tract was originally warranted to James McClean on 10 September 1750, Heidleberg Township, 138a., 147p., surveyed June 4, 1776 and shown as being in Mountpleasant Township.

At this place I should like to introduce several exhibits, for which see the Appendix.

Exhibit A: a copy of the applicable area under study from the 1792 Reading Howell map.
Exhibit B: site map.
Exhibit C: map showing pre-1800 township in what is now Adams County.
Exhibit D: drafts of the surveys, as recorded in Draft Book A, Page 52, Office of the Prothonotary, Adams County, Pa.
Exhibit E: topographical map showing (the) location of various tracts.
Exhibit F: connected surveys map, various tracts.
Exhibit G: a map showing the original Staab surveys on the property owners map of today.
Exhibit H: a connected survey map made by George Stevenson, D.S., undated, showing the “field where Staab was killed”.
Exhibit I: a connected survey map made by Archibald McClean, D.S., 1773.
Exhibit J: aerial map of the locale, 1957, whereon the several Staab tracts are shown.

Regarding Exhibit D. On these drafts appear penciled dots on the originals, and encircled on This exhibit, which were not a part of the original McClean work, but added by an unknown hand to show the location of dwellings and/or building sites. The locations are also shown by the same symbol on other exhibits. For identification purpose and to aid in discussion, I have appended to each tract the Warrant Register number on this Exhibit.

From the aerial map, it is apparent nothing remains today at the building sites marked on the surveys.

There is apparently no way of knowing for sure on which of the three tracts Adam Staub actually resided. I like to think that the residence was on the 82a. tract, being the one for which he held a Patent. By reference to the topographical map it appears the land is relatively flat for all three tracts, and devoid of spring drains at the building sites shown, i.e. water must have been supplied by dug wells.

The land/field which Adam Staab was defending and subsequently died from a blow to the head was the 60a. tract, and the one eventually patented by his son Philip in 1812.

From the documents bearing the circumstance concerning the death of Adam Staab, we learn the following.

York County Coroner Joseph Adlum held an Inquisition into the death of Adam Staab, apparently at the house of the deceased, in Mount Pleasant Township, 20 July 1773. The jurors were:

Name Remarks/comments
Joseph Boude signature Jos. Boude
Thomas Lilley signature Tho. Lilly
Joseph Lilley signature Jo Lilly
John Lilley signature Jno Lilly

the Lilly family, Berwick Twp.

Patrick McDaugharty signature Patt Doughery
Bastian Obalt signature Bastian Obalt

a resident of Heidelberg Twp.

Francis Fortunee signature in German
David Houck signature David Houke
Earnes McMullen signature Eneas McMullen
George Hook signature in German
Jacob Will signature Jacob Will
Paul Miller signature Paul Miler
Christian Grove signature in German, affirmed
Thomas McCreery signature Thos. McCreery, affirmed

Resided in Mt. Pleasant Township, 1762.

“The jurors viewed the body of Adam Staab then and there Lying Dead, and were charged to Enquire on the part of our Lord the King, When, Where, how and After What manner Adam Staab came to his death. They said that one Henry Hartman of York County, Yeoman, on Monday the twelfth day of July 1773, in the morning, Did Strike and Wound with a Grub (stick?) the said Adam Staab on the Right side of the forehead of Which Striking and Wounding the said Adam Staab Lay Languishing until this 19th of July, and then dyed.”

There were apparently two depositions taken at the time of the inquest, and both appear not to be in the hand of Coroner Adlum, and both bear the date 20 July 1773.

The deposition of Rosanah Morgan inter alia, viz:

“—(she) being reaping wheat in the field of Adam Staup. Christian Hoober and Henry Hartman came with Sickles in their Hands with an intent to reap the wheat, on which –Adam Stoup said he would strike any person on the fingers that would reap his wheat, for the land was his and he paid for it. Hoober began to reap and Stoup struck him on the Fingers with a walking Staff. Hoober attempting to reap again – Stoup struck him on the arm on which Hoober struck Stoup on the side with his Walking Staff. There ware (were) several strokes exchanged on both sides. Hoober called to persons (on) the outside of the Field and said: boys come over, -- and Hoober ran to the fence and took a round rail or sake (stage) from fence, and made a stroke at Stoup and Struck him which made him Stager, after which Henry Hartman came with a round stake with a grub at the end of it, which he held with both his Hands, and gave Stoup a Stroke over his head which caused him to fall Instantly to the ground, and Farther Saith not.”

Signed with mark

The second deposition is by John Stoup, inter alia, viz:

“—he was reaping in the field of his Father Adam Stoup, and having reaped about ten roods (he) looking back seen Christian Hoober, Henry Hartman, Peter Schriver and John Snyder in the field on which Adam Stoup, John Stoup and others went back to them, and Adam Stoup Desired them to begone (be gone) out of his Field. Hoober said he would not for they would reap the grain. Stoup said they should not come in that Manner, but if they take it by the Law and a Jury, he would not say against it, in which Hartman said that was no occasion of Law for they would take Fence rails, in which they went to the middle of the Field where Hoober began to reap. Adam Stoup Desired Hoober three or four times to quit or he would strike his fingers and Hoober made one cut, and Stoup Struck him a Cross (across) the fingers with a Walking Staff, and Hoober attempting to reap again, Stoup made a Nother (another) Stroke at him, Hoober having a Stick Lying by him he took it up and Struck Stoups on the ribs, on which he seen several blows exchanged on both sides, and Further Saith Not.”

Signed with mark.

Coroner Adlum apparently put Rosanna Morgan and John Stoub, each under £100 bond,

“to be levied on the goods and chattels, lands and Tenemants, on condition that they appear before his Majesties Justices at the next Court of Oyer interminer and general Goal delivery to be held at York for the County of York, to give evidence in behalf of our Sovereign Lord the King, touching the death of Adam Stoub, and not Depart the July 20th, 1773”.

In another document acknowledged before Martin Egdlelberger and John Adlum, two of his Majesties Justices of the Peace of the County of York, dated 25 September 1773, Henry Hartman acknowledges himself to be bound,

“in the sum of one thousand pounds lawful money of Pennsylvania – Upon the condition that he shall be and appear at York at the Next Court of Oyer and Terminer and General Goal Delivery, -- and abide the Sentence of the said Court, and not depart the same without License”.

Ludowick Schriver and John Line both of Hidleberg Township, were the bondsman for Henry Hartman, each in the amount of £500:0.0.

A subpoena appears among the documents to Ludwich Schriver, John McCreary, Thomas Adam and Thomas Buttler, commanding that they,

“lay aside all business and excuses whatsoever and appear before our Justices of our Supreme Court at a Court of Oyer & Terminer & General Goal Delivery to be held at York, for the County of York, on the fifteenth Day of June 1774, then and there to testify all and singular thins and things which you shall know between us and Henry Hartman and Andrew Hoover, then and there to be tried by a Jury of the County. – fail and not (to appear) under the Penalty of one hundred Pounds. William Allen, Esquire, Chief Justice of our said Province. Philadelphia, 29 April in the fourteenth year of our Reign Anna Domini MDCCLXXIV.”

On the reverse is endorsed, Subpoena Dom. Rex Henry Hartman & Christian Hoover, Rosannah Morgan, John Stab, Philip Staab, Jacob Staab, Margaret Staab.

A sheet of paper appears to contain both the minutes of the Grand Inquest and the trial, as follows:

At a Court of Oyer and Terminer and General Goal Delivery held at York for the County of York June 15, 1774, Before the Honorable Benjamin Chew and John Morton, Esquires, Judges.

The Court being opened, the Sheriff to wit, Samuel Edie, Esquire returned the Praecipes to him directed in all Thongs duly executed, Whereupon the following persons were sworn and affirmed a Grand Inquist.

No. Name Remarks/comments

  1. David McConaughy, Esq. Menallen Township (Forman)
  2. Richard McCallister, Esq. Hanovertown
  3. William Bailey, Esq. Mt. Pleasant Township
  4. Thomas Latta Hamilton Bann Township
  5. Michael Miller
  6. Nicholas Wireman Huntington Township
  7. Christopher Slegle Berwick Township
  8. John Hukedson(?)
  9. John Steel Hamilton Bann Township
  10. John Agnew Hamilton Bann Township
  11. Samuel Agnew Hamilton Bann Township
  12. Samuel Pedan Hamilton Bann Township
  13. Hugh Scott Hamilton Bann Township
  14. Alexander Adams
  15. Michael Hahn
  16. George Maul York town
  17. Christopher Laughman
  18. Jacob Gardner
  19. Peter Kul
  20. Amos McGinley Hamilton Bann Township
  21. Adam Lightner
The King v. Henry Hartman
Indictment for the Murder of Adam Staab
Returned by the Grand Jury a True Bill (illegible)

And Now to wit, June 17, 1774, a Jury being called, came (?) to wit:

Martin Eychelberger, Esq. York Town
Henry Slagle, Esq. Berwick Township
John Smith, Esq.
William Leas, Esq.
John Hay York Town
David Newman
John Michael, Junior Cumberland Township(?)
Simon Coppenhoffer Newberry Township
George Neise
Charles Gelwicks Heidelberg Township
Michael Waybright Paradise Township(?)
Michael Karl, Junior Berwick Township

Who being duly impanelled returned challenged ? ? chosen sworn and affirmed upon their Oath and Affirmation respectively do say that they found the Prisoner Henry Hartman is Not Guilty of the Felony of Murder where of he stands indicted.

Judgement that he be discharged paying his (?)

Are you disappointed in the verdict of the jury?

Did you expect the end of Henry Hartman to be a hanging?

We will never know how the deliberations of the jury came to render this verdict. Presumably the two witnesses supra repeated their story. Adam Staab, in attempting to assert his right of possession, if not absolute ownership, by hitting people over the fingers, would certainly cause them to become angry. We are unable to comprehend is this provocation was sufficient to cause heat of extreme passion. Certainly hitting a man with a handle or stick showed reckless disregard for human life and safety. The act of Henry Hartman to commit murder must have been unintentional, but the memories thereof he must have had to bear with a heavy heart all the days of his life.

The name of Henry Hartman is found on the census list of 1762 for Manheim Township, York County. His warrant for land in this township is dated 14 April 1766, surveyed 13 May 1768, 168a, 57p., called “Tillenburgh”. It was not patented until 1787, and by Conrad Rainbard.

At some point in time after this event in his life, he apparently removed from this locale, as his name disappears from the tax lists. However, a Henry Hartman appears for Windsor Township, York County, 1779 and 1780, for 100a and 50a. land respectfully.

For location of the land of Henry Hartman in Manheim Township, see Exhibits O, P and Q.

Adam Staab apparently had other land troubles that involved his M-17 tract originally warranted to James McClean. There is contained with the court documents a typescript page entitled” The Case of Adam Staab, viz:

“James McClean September 10, 1750 obtained a warrant for 50a., more or less, adjoining the land of John Digges, Ludwig Schreiber and Patrick Harris in Heidelberg Township, York County. McClean sold the land to George Paulo, who had 133 acres surveyed to him by Thomas Armor, as appeared by a draught made by said Armor. Paulo sold the same 133 acres to Adam Staab and after he had lived two years on the land, Armor came and demanded the draught back which he refused, and Armor pretended to give him other land. However Armor demanded 20/ of him which Staab paid him although he had been already paid for the survey. Armor then cut out the old survey all the Meadow ground and about five acres to clear land, and reduced the 133 acres to about 70 acres. The neighbors told Staab that one Wirts had paid Armor to get him the land so cut off the aforesaid. Staab demanded his regular return and was told by Armor that the return was lodged in the Surveyor Generals Office. Staab is now come down to pay for his land and found that his survey is not returned, and therefore makes his complaint”. (undated)

At the time of his death Adam Staab was approximately fifty-six years of age. Presumably he was buried in the cemetery in Conewago Basilica. His will was signed 13 July 1773, being the day following his encounter with Henry Hartman, and was written in English.

He states a residence of Mountpleasant Township, and by occupation Yeoman, and “being sick and weak of body but of sound mind and memory and understanding.” He mentions his beloved wife Anna Catharina, and children George Adam Staab, John Staub, Henry Staab, Jacob Staab, Philip Staub, and Catherine Strasbaugh and Margaret Staab. The children are to share and possess his real and personal estate, excepting the maintenance of his wife, less the full amount of what they are charged with on his book. He appoints his beloved sons George, John, Henry, Jacob and Philip Staab, executors. He signs in German. The witnesses are Thos. McCreary who signs by mark, Thomas Blair and Jos. Boude, the latter I suspect was the scribe for the will.

The will was entered for probate 26 July 1773, by the latter two witnesses, and the same day the inventory was filed. The inventory was made 24 July 1773 by Bastian Obalt and Peter Will, and subscribed before Richard McAlester, and signed by the five executor brothers: George in German, John Staab by his mark, Henry Staup in English, Jacob Staab by mark, and Philip Staab by mark.

The content of the Inventory, inter alia, viz:

His riding mare, saddle and bridle: £5.10.0 His wearing apparel: £2.11.6 Carpenter tools: hatchet, broad ax, iron clamp, cross cut saw, iron square, drawing knife, pair of steelyards, scythe, sheep sheers, pair pincers, dung fork and dung hooks, axes, grubbing hoe, wedges, shovel, wagon, wind mill. Household items: 2 beds, 3 heckles, spinning wheel, dough trough, 4 table cloths, dresser, two iron skillets and a frying pan, tin ware, pewter dishes, basins, spoons, ladles and flesh fork, iron pot, books. Farming implements: iron harrow and single trees, tar box, plough and irons, sickles, cutting box and sheaves., Animals included: 7 head of sheep, 2 cows and 1 bull, hogs, and also three bee hives. Grain included: wheat, rye and spelts, barley, oats, Indian corn and flax. Hemp and tow are listed along with 22 linen yarn at the weavers, and 3 heckles. There is a note from John Limer for £10 and another from Peter Noch(?) for £4.5.0. The total valuation of the appraisement is £95.10.3.

An account was filed by the executors 8 December 1774, they signing as above described. They charged themselves with the inventory, plus £12.12.8 by reason of the sale of the goods and chattels exceeding the inventory. A number of additional items include several debts due to the estate, one from Michael Strasbaugh £20, George Staab, £30, John Staab, £50, Jacob Staab £12.2.6 and Henry Staab £18.2.6, making a total of £251.2.11.

Credits for payments were asked as follows:

• for drawing deeds will attending at York to prove the same and drawing the inventory: £2.5.6 • the coroner fees on the inquisition: £3.15.4 • Peter Will, one of the appraisers: £5/ • Dr. Thos. Blair for medicines and attendance on the testor in his last illness, etc: £9.15.0 • Richard McCalister Esq. funeral charges: £1.9.8 • John Cline: £3.12.0 • Henry Simind(?), clerk of the vendue: £11/ • Thomas Hartley, Esquire: £1.10.0 • Bastian Obalt, one of the appraisers: £5/ • David Houck, making decedent’s coffin: £0.15.6 • Patrick McSherry, ground rent, 2 lots: £4 • Hans Adam Furney for carrying the vendue: £0.7.6 • Johannes Cline for mason work: £3.2.0 • Johannes Heiser for brick for the new house: £0.17.7 • Philip Staab for expenses for going to Philadelphia. for deeds: £1.7.8 • John Staab for expenses for going to York for the coroner: £0.8.9 • George Seinert(?), funeral expenses: £0.3.6 • By the accountants for trouble and expense in the administration of the estate, allowed: £16. • Samuel Edie, Esq. for fees on an (?) brought by the Testor against Peter Will and wife: £1.0.7 • The balance in the hands of the accountants subject to distribution according to the will: £171.16.7

There was a second accounting by Philip Staab, undated, asking for credits of over 33 pounds, thus reducing the amount for distribution to approximately £138. One of the credits was for 15 shillings paid James Smith, Esq. for Council fees, and a like amount to Conrad Laub for stating this account and other clerkship.

From the Estate documents we learn more insights into the life of Adam Staub and about the inhabitants of the locale. His will provides for his wife, and mentions all his seven children by name, including the married name of his one daughter, but I suspect the children are not listed in order of birth. Two of the witnesses are the same names/persons that appear as members of the coroner’s inquisition, i.e. Joseph Boude and Thomas McCreary. Bastian Obalt was one of the persons making the inventory and his name too appears on the inquisition list. The five brothers executors all sign various documents, some in English, in German and by mark, and apparently by various surname spellings. The inventory lists many hand tools, especially carpenter tools, only one horse, and seemingly a small number of animals, but an unusual number of pewter items, and the usual cooking and spinning, and household furnishings. He mist have planted many small grain crops per the inventory.

It is apparent from the accounting that Adam Staab advanced in his lifetime money to all his children but Philip. From the credits asked we learn many other things. It seems unusual, but apparent the Estate paid the fees for the coroner’s inquisition. We learn that Thomas Blair is a medical doctor, and that David Houck made coffins, his name (also) appearing on the inquisition list. Richard McCalister, Esq. must have been engaged in the untertaking business. From the account we learn the names of the auctioneer and clerk for the sale. From the items of brick and mason work, we learn the construction time and materials for a new house, although the brick may have only been used in the chimney. The lawyers were among the first in York County, Thomas Hartley, a Colonel in the Revolutionary War, and James Smith, the signer of the Declaration of Independence, and served in several other state positions, and (as) a colonel in the Revolutionary War. He was married to Eleanor Armor, niece of Thomas Armor, a York County Justice of the Peace and Deputy Surveyor. The approximate balance for distribution of £138, represents some $375.00, or some fifty odd dollars for each of his children.

The will of Anna Catherina Staab, widow and relict of Adam Staab, deceased, was made the 24th day of September 1784, written in the German language, and signed by mark. The witnesses were Jacob Lostetter and Andrew Marden who signed by mark. It was entered for probate at York 27 March 1787, by the appearance of witness Andrew Martin, before the Register of Wills, Jacob Barnitz. (The latter held the office for thirty-five years, was an Ensign in the Revolutionary War, was wounded therein and carried a British ball for thirty years, until he had an amputation. He was married to Mary McClean, daughter of Archibald McClean, Deputy Surveyor and county official for many years.)

The will directs that all the bonds and notes which I have, the money which they demand, I bequeath to Pater Jacob Belentz, the intention of disposing of the same is well known to him. The debts besides my son Philip Staab has to pay me is likewise to be paid to Mr. Belentz. Further, that Francis Marshall, my son in law, has to pay unto me shall also be paid to Mr. Belentz. All other possessions are to be divided in equal shares among the children. She chooses Sebastian Obolt as her executor. Presumably the place of her residence is Hanover Township, York County.

On October 18, 1784 Philip Staab entered a caveat against the will. On December 3, 1784 register Archibald McClean scheduled a hearing for December 15, 1784. Philip Staab was suggesting that the will was obtained by undue influence, that the wording is not that of his mother, and at the time of making she was not of sound mind or understanding.

Apparently the hearing was delayed a week until December 22, 1784, when it was held before W.J. Barnitz, Deputy Register, Wm. Scott, Michl. Hahn and Geo. Hake, Esq. Attorney Hartley represented executor Sebastian Obolt and attorney Smith, Philip Staab. The decision of the hearing was, viz:

“A motion on the part of Philip Staab that an issue be (?) to the Court of Common pleas – to determine will or no will and to examine the facts in litigation, and the same is hereby granted -–pleadings to be drawn up and filed with the Register, to be sent to Court, and in the meantime Letters of Administration pendente lite (while the suit is pending) be granted unto Sebastian Obolt – trial of the case – be held next April term”.

The bond was so made on 22 December 1784, with Sebastian Oboldt signing with his mark and John Shorb and Joseph Flath signing in German. The first two from Heidelberg Township, the latter of Germany Township.

The inventory of Catherina Staab of Heidelberg Township was made 3 January 1785, by Paul Miller and Simon Melhorn, and filed 5 January 1785. The inventory consists of chiefly of wearing apparel and household furnishings. Petticoats and aprons are mentioned in several items, two clocks, and a pair of shoes. A hat, jacket, handkerchief, and bed gown. A bed and bed stead are valued at £1.0.6, three table cloths, 2 bed covers, sheets, chaff bag, old chest, at £5/, tow linen and spinning wheel. A basket and little basket are listed along with earthen ware, one knife and fork and spoons, ladles and meat fork, and iron pot and an old tub and two skillets. Dried apples are valued at £0.2.9, and a ½ bushel of wheat and meal(?)£0.2.11. The cow is valued at £2.15/, the most valuable item of personal property. Listed is rent due from Philip Staab £7.13.6, Jacob Maal £18.5.10, and Henry Staab for £7.13.6. A bond of £20, and notes £2.7.5. The total appraised value being given as £63.0.11, although in the account it is stated as £63.2.2.

Apparently the trial in April term 1785 did not take place, and I do not know the reason. The matter must have simmered along among the executor and children without resolve for almost 2 ½ years. On Marcy 27, 1787, Philip Staab affixed his signature under the following sentence:

“I consent that this Caveat be withdrawn.”

At this point Sebastian Obolt was able to administer the estate as executor.

The account was exhibited into the Register’s office on 26 March 1788, by Bastian Obolt, who signs with mark, before J. Barnitz, Register. It lists £8.16.7 as having been received at the sale more than the appraisement, for a total gross estate of £71.18.9. He prays for credits, as follows:

• for letters of administration, pendente lite: £1.0.9 • for letters of testamentary: £1.2.6 • to David Kleindinst for making the coffin: £2.5.0 • to Simon Melhorn and Paul Miller, appraising: £0.10.4 • to Jacob Rudisell for copying inventory & acct.: £0.5/ • to David Houck for crying vendue: £0.11.3 • to Nicholas Walter, clerk of vendue: £0.5/ • to Nicholas Walter and Andrew Merden for coming to York, proving of the will Walter 15/ £1.7.0; Marden 12/ • To Henry Staab, Philip Staab, and John Staab various sums for accounts. Thomas Hartley, Esq. council: £2.5.0 • To the executor for trouble and expenses: £8.0.0 • Balance in the hands of the executor for Distribution according to the will: £18.10.10 (about fifty dollars)

It is not known when Catherine died, except that it was between September 24 and October 18, 1784. Presumably she was buried beside her husband in the cemetery of Conewago Basilica, but no stone exists today to mark the spot, nor is any inscription given in the lists for this cemetery.

I am sure that Adam Staab must have had a few days or hours to reflect upon his dream. He emigrated from a land of oppression, braving the sea, to obtain freedom and ownership of land on his own. Certainly he must have considered his dream shattered while dying to defend his soil/crop. Under these circumstances and the proceedings according to law that followed, we have to wonder how his widow and family could avoid life long feelings of bitterness and resentment toward the circumstances and people involved.

Additional Exhibits

  • Exhibit K: A map of Digges Choice, showing the three Adam Staab tracts.
  • Exhibit L: Wall map of Adams County (1858) showing the locale.
  • Exhibit M: Atlas of Adams County, Field & Co., showing Conewago Township (1872).

From the land records it is apparent that Adam Staab took up land in Mount Pleasant Township as the first claimant. We may wonder what factors played a part in the choice of the tract at this location. Exhibit N is appended, being exerts from the Soil Survey of Adams County, which describes the soil, its characteristics, capabilities and limitations, all of which gives insight about the land Adam Staab worked, as have successive owners.

The children of Adam Staab are listed in his will, with daughter Catherine married to Strasbaugh. In the will of his wife’s daughter, Margaret is married to Francis Marshal. These Two couples were Berwick Township residents. A recent book on the Staub surname by Jean Staub devotes only a few pages to Adam Staab, his family and grandchildren, etc. It is beyond the scope of this monograph to set forth the genealogy of this family, but in passing I record the information noted during the study for this monograph.

Philip Staub seems to have left a rather large record pertaining to his affairs over the years. He apparently died after 1820. His wife Rosanna (variously spelled) who died in 1815, (was) buried at Conewago Chapel. The Centinel newspaper advertised sheriff sales in 1820, 1825 and 1826. The 1798 Federal District Tax lists him as a resident of Heidelberg Township owning 208a, land adjoining Jacob Adams and Peter Will.

(Other land records of Philip Staub are mentioned, but have been omitted here.)

There is a long article of agreement recorded on York County Deed Book H, at page 365, dated 5 April 1780, between Patrick McSherry of Heidelberg Township, Farmer, and George and Henry Stab, two of the sons of Adam Stab, late of Mount Pleasant Township. Patrick McSherry agrees that Philip Burns of Frederick County, Maryland will convey 140 acres, more or less, adjoining the lands of George and Henry Stab in Mount Pleasant Township, for £4 per acre. George and Henry Stab agree to execute a deed conveying all their share or parts of the father’s estate, which sum at the ensealing is agreed upon at £114. Henry Staub acknowledges at York, 1 December 1790 before Thomas McKean, Esq., Doctor of Laws and Chief Justice of (the) State of Pennsylvania.

In the Federal District Tax of 1798, Jacob Staub is listed in Heidelberg Township for 8 acres, adjoining Peter Freet and Philip Staub. He resided in an 18x18 house of wood, and had a 10x14 wood stable.

(In the same tax list) Henry Staub resided in a two story 16x31 house, with 4 windows and 36 lights. He had a 14x17 stable and a 10x21 shop.

No where in the proceedings of law is Henry Hartman identified. No age, occupation, residence or wife/children mentioned. The land mentioned for him in Manheim Township is therefore conjecture. He is the only Henry Hartman known to the locale. Exhibit O is a draft of his land, with some adjoining tracts shown for identification purposes.

(Other comments about the Henry Hartman land are mentioned, but are not included here. The author also suggests possible emigration dates for Henry Hartman.)

Chapter 2

Comments, Observations and Discussion pertaining to the Exhibits

  • Exhibit C: The Mount Pleasant Township boundary at the time of the murder was Plum Run, west of the McSherrystown boundary.
  • Exhibit H: A copy of this exhibit was given to me by Edmund J. Adams, Esq. of Cincinnati, Ohio, many years ago. Unfortunately it is undated and unsigned. By comparison of the handwriting with that known to have been executed by George Stevenson, Deputy Surveyor, the author has been ascertained. It may have been made for the court proceedings, and certainly after (the) 1773 murder of Adam Staab. It is an unusual draft, in which the exact field of the murder is shown.
  • Exhibit I: From the archives of the Adams County Historical Society, this unusual draft setting forth the lines and problems, made by Archibald McLean DS, a few weeks before the murder, labeled, Plan of the Dispute as laid down on the View Between Christn Hare & Thos. Armor.
  • Exhibit J: Aerial map of the Staub tracts made 1957, a so marked per the original surveys. For the S-186 tract where Adam Staab was killed, Sunday Drive is the east line, and the north and west lines can easily be seen, both on this map and (on) the property owners map (Exhibit G). Apparently nothing remains of the southern line today.

For the S-216 tract, the north lines are non-existent as is some of the line on the west (south part). Much of the northern part of the west line exits today. The east line runs not quite parallel to Race Horse Road, but further on to the southwest it follows this road.

For the M-17 tract most all of the line is Hanover Road today and the east and south lines are visible yet today. While the west line does not follow Race Horse Road, part of the old line at the south west corner of the tract is still Race Horse Road.

  • Exhibit K: This map of Digges Choice shows the locations of the three Staab tracts. The M-17 tract was partly in and partly out of the first survey of Digges Choice. See Exhibit G for location of the line through this tract. S-186 and S-216 tracts were not included in the first survey, but were within the area of the second survey.


John Poist Keefer in his book Catholic Colonial Conewago (page 11) mentions that a 1774 petition to Hon. John Penn, Esq., Governor in Chief of the Province of Pennsylvania, by numerous Conewago Valley residents. They ask for protection from the heirs of John Digges who continuously harassed them despite their holding Pennsylvania patents granted them many years before. There is detailed in the petition that “Adam Staab was unhappily killed last harvest season trying to defend the grain he had sown and growing on land patented to him under Pennsylvania patent. Mr. McClean, the surveyor who surveyed the land for Staab, knew at the time the same land to be before patented to another person. There were such proceedings to be countenanced by Digges, then by McClean. Your petitioners are apprehensive more lives will be lost if they, the Diggeses, seem determined to proceed their oppressive plan of ruin may of your petitioners.”

My only comment pertaining to the text of the petition is that, the documentation presented supra is not correctly reflected by the petition.

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