As we unfold the details of our families we begin to understand the shape of our tree, and how deep our roots extend.   We can say with absolute certainty that our tree comes from German stock, and our roots grew from the fertile ground of early German families.  Because of this, our work is focused on our families Colonial Heritage.

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Robert Calvin Graham Families

Boog's parents were Robert Harvey Graham and Dorothy Irene Klinger. Boog's Grandparents from this union were Calvin Stoey Graham and Ruth Etta Barr, and Edwin Charles Klinger and Irene Mary Wrightstone.

Barr Family Genealogy

Barr ~ Ellis

Graham Family Genealogy

Graham ~ Greenawalt

Klinger Family Genealogy

Klinger ~ Kinter

Sollenberger Family Genealogy

Sollenberger ~ Bentz

Sollenberger ~ Diller

Wrightstone Family Genealogy

Wrightstone ~ Arnold

Janelle Aileen Taylor Families

Janelle's parents were Kenneth Henry James Taylor and Jane Alice Hines. Janelle's Grandparents from this union were Austin Taylor and Bessie May Einsig, and Paul Daniel Hines and Irene Belle Mankamyer.

Hines Family Genealogy

Hines ~ Thomas

Hines ~ Mankamyer

Lepley Family Genealogy

Lepley ~ Bitner

Taylor Family Genealogy

Taylor ~ Hengst

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Our Colonial Heritage

We come from German stock with a loving mix of Britain blood. i Whatever their personal reasons for leaving their home lands, our families were all linked on a voyage to the ports of Philadelphia. Arriving between 1734 and 1755, our early settlers invested their future in Pennsylvania’s statehood. Their arrival during this time is intertwined with the birth of our nation, and its early colonization and growth. Aside from how we feel about our family, nothing can get our pride up more than that fact alone.

As we learned the details about our families, it didn’t take much to envision their lives and how they intersected as people and families. Shortly afterwards  we began to understand this from an historical perspective, and another perspective of their life opened up. So with our son Ian, as our history editor at large, we started learning more about our families and their lives; writing down their stories during the events of our nation’s history. From their centuries of ties and traditions in their home land as friends, farmers, and laborers to new homes in Pennsylvania. It’s a great feeling to know that our descendent families participated in the birth of our nation...It’s our UH-RAH...

It was during a period between 1734 and 1755 when Philadelphia was still experiencing its initial growth and expansion into the wilderness regions of Pennsylvania. Colonial people and communities where just beginning to openly publicize their distaste for British rule. It wasn’t that long ago in 1681 when King Charles II of England first granted William Penn and his Quaker friends’ lands west of the Delaware River. Known as Penn’s Woods; [ii] it was a vast region of about 600,000 square miles, larger than the present commonwealth of Pennsylvania, nestled between New York and Maryland. The king granted these lands to William Penn, with the stipulation that the new province be named in honor of William Penn’s father, Admiral Penn

Between 1682 and 1700 the Quakers and other England cultures became the first group of people and proprietors of Pennsylvania. As the 17th century passed, these first groups increased to include other large groups from an expanded Kingdom of Great Britain, including people from Wales and Scotland. These families settled beyond Philadelphia into Pennsylvania’s founding counties of Bucks, Philadelphia, and Chester Counties. When William Penn died in 1718, Chester County was growing as the settlers pushed further into its wilderness. Shortly after Lancaster County was carved out of Chester in 1729, the first of our Scots families started arriving. It wasn’t long until our German families began arriving in 1745, becoming the second largest group of families to arrive at the ports of Philadelphia, bringing with them their language and traditions for maintaining their cultures. As our German families began settling into the new Lancaster regions, many of the English and Scots began pushing further west. Often times the German families would displace the English settlers, pushing them into other Pennsylvania regions. As the Irish and Scotch-Irish arrived from Ireland, they too helped push even further into Pennsylvania’s wilderness territories; often claiming and settling land without formal land grants and payments. They were more notorious of this practice then the German settlers.

Their journeys could not have been easy. Many of the routes traveled during this time were nothing more than horse trails that spread out from Philadelphia to the early large cities within the other Colonies. Being the most direct route between two points, these trails went through the first counties of Pennsylvania, and into the Endless Mountains that lay beyond the Blue Mountains. As families pushed out of Philadelphia by wagon, they followed these primitive trails into the wilderness, settling in the areas where their Colonial roots would take hold. One of the most heavily traveled trails lead to Pennsylvania’s North and Northwestern region of Chester, Lancaster, and Philadelphia counties.

Reading was already a growing city in 1733 when their trail became the first official road out of Philadelphia, known as the “Great Road”. A route our families [iii] would have taken into Pennsylvania’s frontier of Reading and the surrounding areas. While traveling this road our German ancestors settled in the growing towns of Reading, Allentown, and Lehigh Valley regions of the northern region of Philadelphia County. Our ancestors would have already been in this area in 1752, when Berks County was created from parts of Chester, Lancaster and Philadelphia Counties.

The other major trails out of Philadelphia pointed to Pennsylvania’s western frontier, which stretched through the southern sections of Chester and Lancaster Counties. The earlier settlers travelling these routes opened up western Lancaster County to the Susquehanna River at Wright’s Ferry in Wrightsville and Harris Ferry in the area of Paxton. Unsanctioned settlements in 1735 on the west bank of the Susquehanna River, and as far west as the Carlisle and Shippensburg areas, were developing. As these small communities grew, a series of forts were erected along the endless mountains to protect these settlements, leading to forming additional Lancaster townships and cities.

On the Susquehanna River and its West banks at Wrights Ferry lay York city and the southern route to Maryland and Virginia, and west to the Endless Mountain region and the Allegany Mountains, and beyond to the Ohio Valley. As York city and township grew, our Colonial families began settling on the surrounding territories of present day Conewago, Newberry, Dover, Monaghan, Warrington, Shrewsberry, and Fairview Townships. From here they moved further west into present day Adams and portions of Franklin, and Cumberland counties. On the Susquehanna River and its North West banks at Harris Ferry was a region known as the Valley of the Susquehanna and Tuscarora Mountains. The Valley was known by its Indian name Kittochtinny, or Endless Mountain region.

There were no records of settlers in these regions before 1729. York, Shippensburg, and Carlisle started about 1724 to 1730. Our English forebears opened up these new territories, before our German families moved in and began building their farms. In 1736 William Penn heirs and proprietors signed the first treaty permitting westward settlements across the Susquehanna River. On October 25th 1736, the land was purchased from the Indians, and in January 1737 the Land Office was opened to arrange for the sale of land. It wasn’t long until the German families with their strong culture and language misplaced the English from these new townships, moving them to create more new settlements and townships for Lancaster County.

With the purchase of the lands, York became the first recognized city that lay west of the Susquehanna River in 1743, and was formally formed as a County in 1749. The road leading from Philadelphia through Lancaster was then extended, and became known as the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road (adjacent or near present day Route 30).

When Cumberland County was formed in 1750 from Lancaster’s western border with Maryland, the road from Reading to Harris's Ferry (Harrisburg PA) opened. It crossed the Susquehanna on to Carlisle and further west. This region was already settled by the Scots-Irish and other adventurous English settlers. This opening lead to an even greater expansion of the Harris Ferry Road that ran from the valley of Delaware in the north through Pennsylvania and Maryland south to the Shenandoah Valley. From the Harris Ferry they could reach Carlisle, Shippensburg, and Chambersburg to the Potomac. With the passage of Braddock-Forbes Road in 1755, Chambersburg became an important stopping place for travelers going west to Pittsburgh. By 1760 our families first settled in regions stretching North, North West, and West of Philadelphia, eventually they moved further west through Dauphin and Lancaster Counties.

They used Wright’s Ferry to York and Harris Ferry to Shippensburg; some converging on Chambersburg Franklin County, before some of our families moved further west to the Allegany Mountains and Pittsburg. At the turn of the decade in 1780, the first wagon train passed through York heading to other destinations. No doubt some of our families where part of this serpentine train as they headed to new colonies in Pennsylvania’s Somerset and Allegany regions, and Virginia, [1] Most of our German families, looking for solid fertile ground for farming, settled in York County and the Cumberland Valley. This region was very similar to their home land topography with great farm land and weather; a prime location for settling. By 1800 more than three hundred thousand settlers traveled these roads to the South and West. Pennsylvania’s first turnpike was built in 1814, and its routes further opened up Pennsylvania’s and America’s wilderness regions.

Crossing the Susquehanna River to York, Adams, Franklin, and Cumberland counties before branching further westward toward Pittsburg and down through Harper's Ferry, Winchester, and on down to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, through the Piedmont of North Carolina, and further south to central Georgia. It was the use of these routes that accounted for the settlement of Kentucky at a time when Ohio was still Indian Territory. [2]

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End Notes

[i] My son is following this ingredient with his wife’s heritage.

[ii] The Latin translation for Penn Woods is Pennsylvania

[iii] The Greenawalt, Hines, Barr, and Klinger families would have traveled this route between 1735 and 1755.

[iv] This was the route that our Graham, Blume, Heingst, Taylor, Hart, Wrightstone, and others families would have used to settle west of the Susquehanna River between 1735 and 1800.


[1] The Macmillan Company, 1950.p. 187; regarding the Civil War's impact on the communities

[2] The Handy Book For Genealogists published by The Everton Publishers, Inc., P.O. Box 368, Logan, UT 84321

Once Upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly.  I was conscious only of following my fancies as a butterfly, and was unconscious of my individuality as a man. Suddenly, I awoke, and there I lay, myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man.   
-- Chuang – Tzu, 3rd Century BC

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