The Kägy Connection

Here’s some more family history, pertinent to both the Zirkle and Will families, that we find in Franklin Keagy’s A History of the Kägy Relationship In America, Harrisburg, 1899, pages 460-461, 611-612.

The third emigration of Kägys to this country took place Oct. 27, 1764, when the ship “Hero,” Ralph Forster, captain, from Rotterdam, last from Cowes, arrived with 500 passengers (194 of whom were adults), the balance were under 16 years of age. Among this number was one Rudolph Kagy, the progenitor of this branch. It is quite certain that this Kägy located in Pennsylvania and remained there until after the close of the Revolutionary War. When he left Pennsylvania to take up his residence in Virginia is not now (1899) definitely known. The most definite and reliable information we have thus far able to get has been furnished by John Kägy, of Tiffin, O., in a letter to his son, Dr. Isaac Kägy, of near the same city, which I insert here “verbatim et literatim:”

“Dear son Isaac: According to your request, I will give you a biography of the Kägy family as near as I can remember. So far as our family is concerned, I will commence with my grandfather and grandmother. They were both from germany and settled in Pennsylvania, where they had a good property, which grandfather sold and tool the avails of it all in Continental money. He intended to move from Pennsylvania to to Virginia to buy property at the latter place, but he delayed so long in doing so that the money he had received for his Pennsylvania property became worthless, and so he became poor and dependent on manual labor to make a living. He however moved to Virginia and raised quite a large family. They lived in Shenandoah Co. (the place of my nativity), on a small stream called Holeman’s Creek, where he undertook to raise a saw-mill. He and another man went out into the woods to prepare some timber to raise a mill. The man who was with grandfather cut down a tree which fell against another and then fell back where grandfather was sitting and killed him. So grandmother became a widow, and some time afterwards married a man by the name of Jacob Miller, with whom she was living when we left Virginia.

“There were seven children in my grandfather’s family when he died, three boys and four girls. The names of the boys were Christian, Rudolph and Jacob. The names of the two older girls were Barbara and Elizabeth. I have forgotten the names of the two youngest girls. As to their marriage, Christian married Mary Bibler; father (Rudolph) married Hannah Siple; Jacob married Rebecca Bibler, sister to Mary Bibler above named. The two girls married as follows: Barbara married George Zirkle; Elizabeth married David Wine; one whom I cannot name married Samuel Wine, brother of David Wine; and the fourth married Samuel Good.

Thus I have given you a description of our ancestors. Now as to the other Kageys, with whom our relationship is very distant, so thta I cannot give you anything more than the names of some of the older ones, with whom I was acquainted. There was old Henry Kagey, who owned a mill on Smith’s creek; Isaac, who was the miller in said mill; Jacob, who was a Mennonite preacher; John, who was a preacher among the Dunkards, so-called, but now named Triune Baptists; then there was Rudolph, who had a large family of boys, with whom I was never acquainted. All these old Kageys were brothers and respectable people.

“The old ones are dead and no more, and the young ones are scattered throughout the States. This I have given you all the information concerning the Kägys that I am able to according to my recollection.

Your father,

John Kagy.”

The only error, if such it be, in the above statement of John Kägy is the omission of the daughter Anna’s name. It is certain that there was a daughter Anna, which makes five daughters.

From Mrs. Catherine Knupp, of Moore’s Store, Virginia, I have learned that Rudolph Kägy was unmarried when he came to this country and settled in Pennsylvania. His wife, who was Frances Barglebaugh, was 14 years old when she came to America from Germany.

From I. D. Rupp’s 30,000 Emigrants to Pennsylvania, I learn that one Johau Jost Birckelbach came to this country from Rotterdam Oct 29, 1770, on the ship “Sally,” John Osmond, master, 143 passengers. He is confidently believed to be the parent of Frances Birckelbach, who became the wife of Rudolph Kägy…

Mr. Benjamin Zirkle, of Mt. Horeb, Tennessee, a son of Geo. Zirkle, who married Barbara, the daughter of Rudolph Kägy, says in a letter to the Editor dated April 24, 1890: “I recollect hearing my mother say that her father told her that he came from Switzerland; he was a Mennonite and brought his church letter with him. My mother always said, in speaking of the Shenandoah Co. Kageys, that they were cousins in Switzerland. I never heard her say that her father, Rudolph Kägy, had any brothers or sisters.” In regard to the Continental money that Rudolph Kägy received for his property sold in Pennsylvania, Mr. Zirkle says: “My mother told me that they left Pennsylvania in the fall of the year and by spring the money became worthless. A handkerchief of it was used to light the fire in cooking. Mr. Zirkle says: “I saw a few pieces of it around my father’s house.” From the above statements, coming as they do from so authentic a source, we are led to believe that Rudolph Kägy left Pennsylvania in 1781…

References and Notes

  1. Benjamin Zirkle, son of George Zirkle and Barbara Kagey, was the husband of Susan Ruth Pennywitt, daughter of John Pennywitt and Susan Will. See M. Alberta Swartz, “Three Interesting Families,” Jacob William Harpine’s histories of the Harpine and Zirkle families, and Bell.
  2. Barbara Kagey (1779-1863), daughter of immigrants Rudolph Kägy and Frances Bargelbaugh, married George Zirkle (1780-1857), son of George Adam Zirkle and Elizabeth Ridenour. George Zirkle 1780 is the grandson of the immigrant Johann Ludwig Zirkle from Germany.