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Francis Ditto (Franz Dido)
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From History of the Gift, Kern and Royer Families
Aaron Kern Gift, 1909

pages 59-69

A genealogical history of the four daughters of John Adam Gift will follow: Elnore, oldest daughter, was married to Frances Ditto. They lived on their farm, then in Penns, now Adams township, in Northumberland, now Snyder county, in what is still known as Musser's Valley. This farm is now (in 1906) owned by D. A. Kern. This county was then (in 1800), sparsely settled, full of wild animals, such as the bear, the deer, the wolf, the wild cat, the catamount, and all kinds of large and small fur-bearirg creatures. Mr. Ditto was a great hunter and trapper. Many of these animals were laid low by his unerring rifle and never-failing strong steel traps. He felt himself at home among such wild neighbors. He was also a Revolutionary soldier. He related to his granddaughter, Mrs. Mary M. DuBois, now residing at Tiffin, Ohio, that during his military service he often met and talked with General Washington. She further says her grandfather was a strong minded and resolute man and not easily frightened, yet he was strictly honest and upright in his dealings with his fellowmen and he expected the same treatment from them. The following incident happened while living in Musser's Valley. Mr. Ditto was in the habit of burying his apples in a hole or pit in the ground and covering them, first with straw, 'then with earth to keep them from freezing during the winter. About the holidays when the family began to use these a small hole was dug through the frozen earth and a plug of hay or straw was inserted to keep the cold out. After the family had used apples for awhile he made the discovery that the apples were disappearing too fast. He made a new hole opposite the first one and set one of his strong steel traps over in front of the old hole, inside closing the new hole tightly and covering it nicely with snow. The next morning when Mr. Ditto came out of his house he discovered that he had caught his apple thief with his right arm in the hole and his hand fast in the trap and his empty bag beside him. He called Mr. Ditto saying, "come quickly and loosen me, I am almost frozen to death." In Pennsylvania German he said "Kum gaschwind un moch mich lose ich bin by naw zum dod ferfrora." He replied, "I have not time now I mu3t go to the barn to feed my stock." Upon his return he loosened his apple thief and told him: "We have plenty of apples you could have had for the asking, but I don't want them stolen. I will give you a bushel in your bag as a compensation for detaining you so unceremoniously at my apple hole. If you come back again for apples without permission, I will fill you full of buckshot. Mr..Ditto never revealed the name of his apple thief, but it leaked out afterwards that the guilty person was one of his neighbors. Mr. Ditto's residency was close by the north branch of the Middlecreek near its junction with Swift Run.

This locality was densely covered with heavy timber and under brush. This made splendid hunting ground. Mr. Jeremiah Gift when a young man from 1783 to 1790 often accompanied his brother-in.law, Francis Ditto, on his hunting and trapping expeditions, often camping out over night. This was related to the writer, A. K. Gift, when a small boy, by his grandfather, Jeremiah. In the evening, after a day's hunt Mr. Ditto would pass the time in taking the hides off the animals killed during the day.

Francis Ditto followed farming and his favorite business of hunting aad trapping up to 1812, when the country became more thickly settled and game more scarce. Then he followed the example of the renowned pioneer, Daniel Boone, who with his father, 'Squire Boone, settled on the banks of the Yadkin river, North Carolina in 1764. Soon others came and the settlement became crowded. On the 1st of May 1769, Boone and a few others started on an expedition and came to the banks of the Kentucky river where Boonesborough, Kentucky, now stands. Finally he brought his wife and family. Here he became a noted protector and guard to the new settlement against all enemies. Soon many new settlers followed him and that part of the state increased in population, game also became scarcer. So after years of usefulness in that state and because of his instinctive dislike for crowded settlements, he decided to seek a more lonely place of residence. He removed to Missouri. Here the United States government granted to him eight hundred acres of land upon which he lived until the time of his death which occurred in 1820 at the age of eighty-six years. History gives it that in his extreme old age his passion for hunting did not leave him. He made many long excursions on foot entirely alone into the interior of Missouri. In 1845 the legislature caused his remains to be brought back to Frankfort, Ky., and re-interred in the cemetery in that city with much ceremony and honor. Thus ended a useful life, one who lived not only for himself, but for the benefit of his fellowmen and their prosperity.

But to return to the subject of this sketch. On the 4th day July 1812, Francis Ditto, and his wife by their deed granted and confirmed a certain tract or parcel of land containing 228 acres to Adam Kern for the consideration of five hundred pounds, $2433.00, situated in Penn's now Adams township in Northumberland, now Snyder county, Pa. After having so disposed of his farm and personal property, such as could not be transported by wagon teams, as there were no railroads in that early day, Francis and family were ready to go on their long journey early the following morning, July 5, 1812, for the far west, as the Ohio country was them known. The evening before their departure their neighbors gathered to give them a last good-bye. While they were thus assembled a member of the family came in and reported that the fence beyond the barn was on fire. This was quite a distance from the house. The family and their guests all ran out to put out the fire. Mr. Ditto, however, refused to leave the house, saying: "You go, I will remain here with my loaded rifles and my money bag." There were then no banking facilities so he kept $700.00 in a strong canvas bag all in silver and gold coin. This was considerable wealth for those early days. Mr. Ditto readily apprehended what the fire beyond the barn meant so late that night. The fire was soon extinguished by the family and their friends and no attempt was made to rob the house.

After a long and tedious journey they arrived at their destination in Pickaway county, Ohio. One record, however, gives it that they first landed at Piqua, Ohio, than removed to Pickaway county soon afterwards. In Pickaway county, Francis Ditto, procured considerable real estate, mostly government land, in the fertile Scioto river valley. Here he located, permanently. Most of his children had grown up to man-hood and womanhood in Pennsylvania, and were a strong and hearty family, well suited for pioneer life. This Ohio country was then thinly settled.and full of wild game, so Mr. Ditto was in his element, for he found hunting and trapping more remunerative here than in the state and county from which he had come.

Francis and Elner Ditto were blessed with the following children: John W., George, Andrew, and Johnson. All the daughters the writer could, trace at this late day were Catherine and Mary. All the historical data relating to the Ditto branch of the Gift Genealogy ar every frag-mentary. It was mostly obtained by tradition and correspondence be-tween the writer and Mrs. Mary DuBois, a daughter of John W. Ditto and granddaughter of Francis. She is a kind old lady living in Tiffin, Ohio.

John W., eldest son,of Francis and Elner Gift Ditto, was born in 1785 on the Ditto homestead in Penna. now Adams township, Snyder county, Pa. He died in Seneca county, Ohio in 1853.

In 1812 he emigrated with his father's family to Ohio. He settled first.at Piqua. In 1821 he procured a Government Land Warrant for 160 acres in Seneca county, Ohio. He was married, and in 1822 he moved with his family to the new home, which was then wild and heavily timbered. He cleared some land and built a house for himself and one for his parents. He afterwards brought them from Pickaway county to their new home. Here Francis Ditto died at a good old age. By his own request, he was buried on a lot an the farm of his other son, George, near the home of John W. Francis Ditto was a Revolutionary soldier and was personally acquainted with General George Washington. The farm of George Ditto on which he is buried has ehanged owners many times since the burial of this honored veteran. It is said that his resting place is unmarked and greatly neglected. Very few of his posterity are now living there, therefore the county or government should remedy this oversight as soon as practicable and at least erect an inscribed marker.

John W. Ditto, eldest son of Francis and Elner Ditto, was blessed with the following children as near as the writer can trace them: Solomon emigrated from Seneca county, Ohio, to Illinois. He had a son named George W., who years ago emigrated to Dawson county, Nebraska. He is a prominent man and was County Commissioner of said county. The writer while living there, serving as County Surveyor, was well acquainted with George W. Ditto. There was also another son whose history was not obtainable.

Mary M., daughter of J. W. Ditto, was married to a Mr. DuBois, among her children were: John, who with his mother reside on their farm near Tiffin, Ohio.

George W. resides at Cripple Creek, Colorado. He is engaged at mining.

John W. Ditto had another daughter who was five years older than Mrs. DuBois. John W. Ditto was a soldier in the war of 1812 to 1814 against England. His widow for years after his death drew a government pension.

George Ditto, second son of Francis and Elner, was married and re-sided on his farm in Seneca county, Ohio, where his father, Francis, is buried as already noted. He had one son and one daughter.

Andrew Ditto, third son of Francis and Elner, was married and blessed with one son and one daughter. His residence could not be ascertained.

Johnson, fourth son of Francis and Elner, was married and left the old home in Ohio years ago, and emigrated to one of the western states. Very little has been heard from him since, by his relatives in Ohio. Having now noted the sons of Francis and Elner Ditto, will now give a brief history of their daughters, Catherine and Mary.

Catherine Ditto was married to a Mr. Markley. This union was blessed with five sons and two daughters. They live in Henry county, Ohio. After the death of Francis in Seneca county, as already noted, his wife, Elner, made her home with this daughter.

Elner, daughter of Johan Adam Gift and who became the wife of Francis Ditto, was born in Pennsylvania about 1762 and died in Henry county, Ohio, in about 1858 where she is buried. Her age was 96 years.

Mrs. Mary M. DuBois says, "When I last saw my grandmother Elner, some time before her death, she was so beautiful, so kind and so good. Her skin was clear and smooth, her hair was as white as snow, her dis-position was loving and amiable. This picture can never be erased from my mind as I last saw her in life."

Adam Smith was born Dec. 16, 1786. He married Mary Ditto, Who was born Dec. 31, 1788. Mary was a daughter of Francis and Elner Ditto, the latter of whom was the eldest daughter of Johan Adam Gift. Adam Smith and Mary his wife, were blessed with the following child-ren: John D., Peter, Henry, Adam, Michael, Daniel, George, Isaac, Sarah and Delilah.

John D., eldest son of Adam and Mary Smith, who was born Sept. 9, 1806 and died Sept. 8, 1856, was married to Anna Benner. who died at the age of twenty-eight. They had two children, Robert and Catherine.

Robert married Malinda, a daughter of Jacob Gross, of Beaver Springs, Pa. Their issue was: Ira J., Jennie, and Forry; the latter dying in 1873, at the age of Beven years. Later, John D. Smith married Miss Hannah Bubb, daughter of Philip Bubb. Their issue was William B., who married Alvina Fetterolf. To this union were born six sons and three daughters. William B. still on the old homestead, which has been in the Smith name for over a century. Joseph S. married Etta Manbeck, and to them were born four daughters. They reside in Montague, Mich. Benneville married Barbara Ellen Swartz, daughter of Elias Reger Swartz, a greatgrandfather of Adam Reger, founder of Adamsburg, Pa. To this union, were bom three daughters: Anna, who died at the early age of four; Mellie, married to Edwin Charles; and Bessie, single. Ben-neville served as a Jury Commissioner, from 1886-1888, and as County Treasurer, from 1900-1903. He now conducts a music and furniture store in Middleburg, Pa. Adam, another son of John D. Smith, mar-ried Susan J. Klose, with whom she had one son, and four daughters. They reside at Berwick, Pa. Susan, a daughter of John D., married James F. Keller, a veteran of Co. D., 74th Reg. Inft. Their issue being one son and two daughters. Sarah Jane another of John D. 's daughters, was married to Henry Erdly.

Peter, second son of Adam and Mary Smith, was born Feb. 16, 1806. He was married to Miss Hassinger. She was a daughter of Henry Hass-inger. They had two sons, Alfred and Milton. The former married Mary A. Freed, and the latter married Mary Beam. After the death of Peter Smith, his widow, Hannah, married a Mr. Dreese.

Henry Smith, third son of Adam and Mary, born Nov. 23, 1810, was married to Miss Sarah Gross. To them were born the following four sons and one daughter: Irwin, deceased; William H., deceased, who had married Ellen Beaver; Isaac C, married to Mary Speece, with whom he has thirteen sons and daughters, and resides at Enterline, Dauphin Co., Pa., and Elvina, deceased, married George J. Schoch, with whom she had one son and three daughters.

Adam Smith, fourth son of Adam and Mary Smith, was born April 14, 1812, was married to Mary Specht, to whom were born one son and two daughters: Arthur, Kate, married to Leo Wohlschlegel, at Naples, N. Y.; Emma S., deceased, who had married S. A. Wetzel, who was a veteran of the Civil War, serving in Co. I., 184th Pa. V. Inf. Mr. Wetzel also served eighteen years as Justice-of-the-Peace in Beaver town-ship, as Associate Judge of Snyder Co., for two terms, and at present he is serving as Postmaster at Beavertown, Pa. Later the widow of Adam Smith was married to Henry Kern, deceased, and now resides in Beaver-town, Pa. The latter union was blessed with three sons: Frank, Millard and John.

Michael, fifth son of Adam and Mary, nee Ditto Gift, was born May 21, 1818, was never married, and died at about the age of thirty-five years.

Daniel, the sixth son of Adam and Mary, was born Oct. 28, 1824, married to Mary Saltzman, and died in Mifflin Co., Pa. Their issue was three sons and five daughters: Howard; Charles, deceased; Calvin, deceased; Caroline, married to William M. Keller, Beavertown, Pa.; Alvildah, married to P. M. Reigle and resides at Burnham, Pa.; Mary C., married to Wm. Brisbin, of Burnham, and Malinda and Louisa, both of Burnham, Pa.

George, the seventh son of Adam and Mary Smith, was born Sept. 21, 1826, died Nov. 27, 1887, and is buried in the Troxelville cemetery. He was married to Susanna Gross, daughter of Christian Gross. Their issue was two sons and two daughters: Sadie, who is married to Dr. Garinger, and resides at Asherton, Northumberland Co., Pa.; Mary, married to Samuel Kaufman, now deceased, of Sunbury, Pa.; Foster, married to Ella Hassinger, daughter of Robert Hassinger, and resides at Beaver Springs; Isaac C, married to Kate Seebold, and resides on his farm at Troxelville, Pa.

Isaac, eighth son of Adam and Mary Smith, was born June 21, 1828, and was never married. He died at Philadelphia, Aug., 1897, and is buried in the West Laurel Hill cemetery, of that city. He was a soldier of the Civil War, having enlisted in Captain Mitchel's company of New Berlin, Pa. Comrade Smith was promoted to First Lieutenant. His company and regiment have not been reported to the writer. From 1866 to 1867, Isaac was a drummer on the road, selling notions for Fuller, Bucker & Co., of Philadelphia, and from 1867 to 1870, he repre-sented D. C. Clark & Co., after which he became interested in, and a partner of the firm of Smith, Jarrett & Co., wholesale grocers, in the same city. Associated in this firm, with him, were W. J. Smith and Frank Jarret. This co-partnership continued until it was reorganized in 1878, with Isaac and W. J. Smith composing the firm. This firm continued business until 1882, at which time the firm name was again changed to Smith, Foster & Co., who carried on until the death of the senior member occurred. The surviving partners are still continuing the business.

Sarah, oldest daughter of Adam and Mary Smith, was born April 12, 1820, and was married to John Bickel, who operated a paper mill about one mile west of Beaver Springs. Mr. Bickel and wife emigrated to Three Rivers, Mich., about 1855. Here they both died. To this couple there were born five daughters and one son. Susan, Clementine, Jennie and Allie reside at Los Angeles, Cal., Nettie resides in New York City, and the son, John, died at Three Rivers.

Delilah, another daughter of Adam and Mary, was born Oct. 5, 1830, and was married to Capt. Robert Foster in 1849, at State College, Centre Co., Pa. Capt. Robert Foster was a soldier in the Civil War. In 1862, he was appointed, by Gov. Curtin, to recruit and organize a regiment from Centre Co., Pa. This regiment was afterwards known as the 148th Pa., V. Inf., commanded by Col. James A. Beaver, (afterwards Governor of Pennsylvania) and was at once ordered to the front and put into active service, Captain Foster commanding a company.

Thomas Foster of Phila., son of Capt. Robert Foster, says, "My father took part in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville. and others. In these battles, his regiment, the 148 Pa. V. I., lost heavily," "In 1863, when the battle at Gettysburg, Pa., was fought, my father com-manded this regiment. He was killed, July 3, 1863, in the Peach Orch-ard by a sharp shooter, who was concealed in the top of a tree, near "Devil's Den." Thus he gave his life for the preservation of our gover-ment and in defense of his country."

Delilah, his wife, died at State College, Pa., in Dec. 1896. Captain Foster and wife's family consisted of three sons and three daughters. The three sons, Thomas, William, and Robert have been engaged in the wholesale grocery business in Phila., for over twenty years. Robert was elected and served for two terms in the legislature, of his native state.

Mary died at the age of five years, Adaline died at the age of three years, and Christine died at the age of six years.

Mary, second daughter of John Adam Gift, married John Herman in Pa.

He was a weaver by trade. The father of the writer, John Gift, learn-ed the weaver's trade with his uncle, John Herman. In those early days, this was a very remunerative business, for nearly all the clothes, worn by men and women, were home-spun and home-woven, either of flax or wool. John Herman has a son, named John Jr. At an early day, they emigrated to Ohio. It is impossible for me to trace this family any further.

Gertrude, the third daughter of John Adam Gift and his beloved wife Anna Catherine, was born in Penn Township, then Northumberland, now Snyder county, Pa. Feb. 1, 1777. She was married to John Geller. They resided on their farm, in the Mahantongo Valley, in Penn. now in Perry Township, Northumberland, now in Snyer County, Penna. Much effort having been made, but the writer was not able to procure all the necessary historical facts or data, to write an authemtic history of this much respected family, John Geller and Gertrude his wife, and their posterity.

Enough is known, however, that he and his wife, Gerturde, reared a large family of children. The writer was notable to get all their names. One of the daughters, Catharine Zeller, on June 31st, 1797, was married to John Frederick Goy, who came to this valley from York county, Pennsylvania, in 1790. This family was blessed with the following children, the names of whom we give regular order. June 1, 1798, a daughter was born, named Margaret. She died and was buried in the cemetery near Grubb's church, Snyder county, Pa. In November, 1799, a son was born and named John Goy. Baptismal witness was Benjamin Zeller, his uncle. John died November 7, 1836, aged 37 years. He was also buried in the cemetery at Grubb's church. On November 6, 1801, a son was born and named Frederick. He died October 10, 1863, and is buried in the cemetery at Arbogast's church, familiarly known as Zion's church. A daughter was born named Anna Catherine. On Nov. 2. 1805, a son was born named Peter Goy. Baptismal witnesses were Tobias Zeller and wife, uncle and aunt. His burial took place at Arbogast's church. August 30, 1807, a son was born named Benjamin. He died March 23, 1813. November 10, 1810, a daughter was born named Barbara. She died Sept. 21, 1816. January 28, 1813, a son was born named David Goy. He died July 27, 1878. He was married to Miss Mary, a daughter of George Swineford and Susan Freed Swine-ford, his wife, both of whom lived and died in Middleburg, Pa. Mary, wife of David Goy, was born May 22, 1822, and died March 2, 1872. Both she and her husband, David Goy, are buried at the Arbogast church cemetery.

William Goy, son of David and Mary, was born March 12, 1843 and died July 10, 1863. He is buried in the cemetery at the Arbogast church.

Thomas, son of David Goy, was born November 26, 1844 and died January 7, 1866. He is also buried in the cemetery at the Arbogast church.

Amelia Goy was born December 14, 1847. She died Oct. 19, 1866. Is also buried at the Arbogast church cemetery.

Frederick, son of David Goy, was born April 14, 1850 and died April 16, 1870. He is buried in the same cemetery.

Levi S. Goy, son of David Goy and wife, Mary, was born October 15, 1852. He was married December 29, 1872 to Miss Ellen, daughter of Dr. J. B. Brown and his esteemed wife, Catherine Shirk Brown. This union was blessed with the following children.

Henry Laurin Goy was born October 1, 1873, and died August 21, 1898 while serving in the Spanish American War. His age was 24 years, 10 months and 20 days.

Charles Gustavus Goy was born July 4, 1876.

Theodore Frederick Goy was born March 25, 1879 and died April 26, 1900.

Catherine Elfleda Goy was bom March 29, 1881.

Robert Franklin Goy was born April 28, 1883. He was married May 25, 1902, to Miss Lizzie May Wert, by Rev. J. F. Kelley, pastor of the U. B. church.

Mildred Wert Goy, daughter of Robert Franklin Goy, was born Nov. 16, 1902.

Mary Irene Goy was born June 8, 1888.

Miriam Ruth Goy was born September 9, 1895 and died at the age of six days.

Margaret, youngest daughter of Levi S. and wife Ellen (nee Brown) Goy, was born April 7., 1898.

George W. Goy, son of David Goy was married to Miss Emma Bertch, July 11, 1880. Their union was blessed with one son, James Cloyd. He was born March 8, 1881.

Mary, daughter of David Goy, was born July 2, 1855. She was married to G. A. Botdorf, Esquire. She died May 5, 1905. She is buried at Evergreen cemetery at Freeburg, Pa.

Henry David Goy was born March 4, 1895 and died December 5, 1865. He is buried in the Arbogast cemetery.

Frederick Rathfon (Rathvan) was married to Miss Mary Zeller. She was a granddaughter of John Zeller and Gertrude, his wife, who was a daughter of John Adam Gift. Frederick Rathfon and wife resided in the village of Franklin (known as Swineford P. 0.) Snyder Co., Pa. He died Oct, 26, 1892, aged 82 years, 1 month and 10 days. She died February 26, 1891, aged 80 years, 5 months and 25 days. Both arc buried in the cemetery at St. John's church near Fremont (Mt. Pleasant Mills) Pa.

Eva Gift was the fourth and youngest daughter of Johan Adam and his beloved wife, Anna Catherine Gift. She was killed by a sad accident as follows:

The following is an incident related by Jeremiah Gift to his grandson, the writer A. K. Gift, when a boy about ten years of age, which was preserved by him as well as many other data for his future contemplated history.

Eva, a daughter of Johan Adam Gift in about 1795 lived with her brother Jeremiah, who owned and occupied the farm west from where Paxtonville now stands in Franklin township. This farm and home-stead was afterwards in succession owned by Jeremiah's son John, then by his grandson, A. K. Gift. One day Jeremiah Gift was clearing and felling trees in the meadow. His wife Catherine, was assisting him picking brush; Eve was engaged in the house nearby. At noon she got the dinner ready on the table than went to call her brother and his wife to dinner. At her arrival he was just felling a large oak tree. Sho came toward him, he called to her to run, she misapprehended and ran the wrong way and got under the falling tree. Her skull was crushed causing a large flow of blood over which her brother laid a large flat stone to mark the place. She was instantly killed. Upon Jeremiah, the brother and his wife, the stroke fell heavily. They were greatly grieved almost beyond endurance. They planted a rose stalk there to mark the place more permanently.

When his son John, got the farm his father Jeremiah, cautioned him never to disturb the roses. When A. K. Gift came in possession of the farm he in like manner was told by his father John, to take good care of the rose bushes. Afterwards in about 1858 the roses had grown wild and were surrounded by a clump of small trees and bushes.

This spot was thus marked until up to 1869, when the Sunbury and Lewistown railroad was graded. Its right of way extended over it, and tho historical spot was forever obliterated. A, K. Gift, now in 1906, is still able to point out tho place within a few feet where the sad accident happened. Eva Gift's lamentable death occured May 8, 1795. She is buried in the old cemetery at Christ's church familiarly called Hassin-ger's. Her resting place is marked by a small headstone engraved there-on "Eva Gift, May 8, 1795" indicating the time of her death.  

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