Some Notes on the Descendants
of John Hartley & Rebecca Arvecost;
from Kentucky to Illinois, to Oregon

by Charles Hartley, Spring 1999

John Hartley, Rebecca Arvecost and Family

Joseph Hartley and Family

Hartleys Flee To Oregon; Part I

Hartleys Flee To Oregon; Part II

Hartleys in Oregon & Washington

Charles Lycurgis Hartley Family Photographs


Other Hartley Stories 


I began with a copy of an old version of the Hartley genealogy (which presumably came from Effie Kirkpatrick Smith, a grand-daughter of Henry Harrison Hartley). I have accessed genealogies of other families through the internet and records available on the internet. Where these genealogies show only approximate dates or possible connections I add those appropriate notes to the information I provide. Unless that notation is specified the information has probably been verified by the original researchers who generated those genealogies. I have also communicated with several individuals whom I found through searching the internet, and they have sent me information relating to our family. In particular Wayne Hartley, grandson of Henry Harrison Hartley ,has done considerable research into this Hartley line and he has shared much of what he has found. I located a book entitled Hartley Family which contains a photo copy of A Sketch of the Life of Elder Joseph Hartley by Joseph Hartley published in 1864, along with several appendices containing an essay by David Franklin Hartley, an essay by James Joseph Fitzgerrell, an essay by Beatrice Tuttle, a detailed survey of the Hartley Cemetery in Jefferson Co. IL, several geneaologies, and photographs. The Hartley Family book has been a wonderful source of information.

I have, no doubt ,created errors as I have copied and transcribed;I take full responsibility for them . I would appreciate being notified of any errors or omissions you may find.

C.L.H. June 1999, Oneonta, NY

John Hartley, Rebecca Arvecost and Their Children

John Hartley was born 25 Feb 1755. John Hartley resided in Virginia, probably in what is now West Virginia perhaps in Hampshire County. From "Notes on Larue, Hodgen, Keith, Harned, Irwin and Related Families"Contributed by Arthur Leslie Keith, Ph. D., Northfield, Minn., The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 20, page 104, Whittet & Shepperson, 1912 we find:

    " . . . a list of those who contributed in a 'lift of cattle for the youse of the army by William Herrod.' In this list are the following names: Abraham and Jacob Van Meter, Levi Herrod, John and William Hartley, and Henry Keeth. The names indicate the region of Frederick and Hampshire counties, Virgina"

    These counties, then part of Virginia, became part of West Virginia when that states was formed in 1863.

This may well be our John Hartley and a relative as yet unknown to us.

In 1750 disgruntle Indians were pushed from eastern to western Pennsylvania. The French arrived and built a series of forts, including Fort Duquense. In the spring of 1754 Colonial Gen. George Washington proceeded west but lost the battle of Fort Duquense. From 1755 to 1756 settlements began in the area of present day Washington Co. along the west bank of the Monangahela River, south of Fort Duquense. British General Rorbes pushed the French out of Fort Duquense in 1758 and renamed it Fort Pitt and in 1762 the French and British signed a treaty with the French leaving eastern America.

The Daughters of the American Revolution Patriot Index has the citation, "Hartley, John b 2-25-1755 d. bet 1834-1836 m Rebecca Arvecost Pvt Mil PA", indicating that John Hartley was a private in the Pennsylvania Militia. There are indications that he was mustered out at Fort Pitt in 1775. In any case the Daughters of the American Revolution are satisfied that he was in the Militia during the Revolutionary War which began in 1775.

About 1780 he married Rebecca Arvecost (Arvacost or Arbogast) who was born 15 Jan 1763 probably in Washington Co. Pennsylvania. It is known that Rebecca had brothers and sisters Joseph Arvecost, Ann Elizabeth Arvecost and Catherine Arvecost. Catherine was born in 1764 is Bethlehem township of Washington Co. Pennsylvania.

Bethlehem township, Washington Co. Pennsylvania is one of the areas of earliest settlement in Washington Co. on the banks of the Monangohela River in western Pennsylvania, and is west of the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers; these rivers form the Ohio River. Fort Pitt borders on Washington Co.

One can get an idea of the times in Washington Co. PA by reading The Transformation of Western Pennsylvania 1770-1800 . Many of the early settlers made their living by trading with the Indians. In this book on page 127 we find: "Even a small landowner like cordwainer James Hartley, who owned only twenty acres with two cabins and a cabin barn, had a single freeman weaver, Samuel Smith, residing on his land." Perhaps James Hartley is one of our clan!

The tax list of Washington Co. Pennsylvania for 1793 shows a John Hartley in Pikes Run township. Two of the petitioners for the creation of the Westsylvania were Henry Hartley and John Hartley signing some time between 1776 and 1800 in western Pennsylvania. This John Hartley may be our John Hartley b. 1755 or a close relative. There is also a John Arvecost on the tax list in Bethlehem township, Washington Co. Pennsylvania in 1785 and again in 1793. John Arvecost appears in the 1800 "census of taxables" in East Bethlehem township. Arvecost is a relatively rare name, and this John Arvecost is most likely related to Rebecca Arvecost--perhaps her father.

There is little other direct evidence of John Hartley before 1800; I have gathered some evidence that indicates he may have been in the local militia during Lord Dunmore's War at TenMile Creek, PA.

Joseph Hartley (the son of John and Rebecca Hartley) wrote a short autobiographical sketch of himself in 1864 entitled A Sketch of the Life of Elder Joseph Hartley .In this sketch Joseph describes his parents John and Rebecca Hartley.

    My father's name was John Hartley; my mother's maiden name was Rebecca Arvecost. They had born to them twelve children, six sons and six daughters; of which they raised ten--five of each. They were originally from Virginia, and, like most new comers in those days, very poor. The country being new, and having but few advantages, they had to make their living in the hardest toil; and, even in my raising, constant labor was the order of the day. My father had no education, not so much as to enable him to read; and, having been always a frontier man, was extremely illiterate and awkward in language. My mother had but just learning enough to read imperfectly. Thus it was, that in my childhood, I acquired a habit of speaking imperfectly; and, as I advanced in years, I became sensible to this awkwardness, while mixing with others who had been better instructed. Being sensitive of my situation, I was all the time, when in company, laboring under serious embarrassments.

    I will here remark, by way of advice to parents; when your children are learning to talk, teach them to speak properly, if you know how; if you do not, try to learn how; because it is almost impossible for them to throw off habits contracted in early life. My opportunities for acquiring an education were very limited. A winter school, of about three or six months, at most, was about all that was taught in a year; and, from the time I was old enough to be useful at work, I was kept close at that, except a short time in the worst of winter weather. Judging from others, and my opportunities, I learnt very fast--perhaps from my anxiety to learn. Reading, writing and the first rules of arithmetic, was all the education I ever got; and, to the best of my recollection, I was in my sixteenth year before I was ever twenty miles from home. I do not wish to be considered as casting any reflections upon my parents; for, with few exceptions, this mode of life was the rule of the times. . . .

    My mother was a member of the Baptist church, and, I believe, a God-fearing woman. She would often talk to us of the consequences of sin, and the danger of going to the bad place when we died, which would produce in my mind, for a short time, some gloomy fears. . . Most of the families in the vicinity of the church were more or less members of it, excepting my father's--not one of them, whom, besides my mother, made any pretensions of religion. I sometimes thought we were worse than others, and that the Lord had reprobated us to destruction.

John and Rebecca Hartley raised ten children: Jacob Hartley born 1781, Mary Hartley born 1783, Rebecca Hartley born 1785, John Hartley Jr. born 1788, David Hartley born 1790, Elizabeth Hartley born 1791, Rachel Hartley born 1795, Catherine Hartley born 1796, Hanna Hartley born 1797, and Joseph Hartley born 1800 in Nelson County, Kentucky. According to the Harned Family genealogy, Mary Hartley was born in Washington Co. Pennsylvania in 1783. Since Joseph Hartley was born in Nelson County, Kentucky in 1800, some time between 1783 and 1800, John and Rebecca Hartley moved from Pennsylvania to Nelson Co. Kentucky. The Federal Census of 1790 shows no Hartley's as heads of households in Washington Co. Pennsylvania. There are however James Hartley Sr. and James Hartley Jr. living in Fayette Co. Pennsylvania. Fayette county is across the Monongahila River from Washington Co. The census shows no other Hartley households in western Pennsylvania in 1790. However, they may have been in Virginia at the time. It seems likely that John and Rebecca Hartley and family moved from western Pennsylvania or Virginia to Nelson Co. Kentucky some time between 1783 and about 1800.

In A Sketch of the Life of Elder Joseph Hartley Joseph Hartley describes his families movements.

    I was born in Nelson county Kentucky, on the 28th of February, 1800; soon after which, my father and family moved to the western side of Hardin county, Kentucky--then a new country, and but thinly settled. There and there abouts, I lived till my forty-second year, when I moved to Jefferson county, Illinois, where I now live.

Thus John and Rebecca Hartley and family moved from Nelson Co. Kentucky to Hardin Co. Kentucky soon after 1800; the family stayed in Hardin Co. until about 1841.

The Kentucky Census of 1810 does not show John Hartley in Kentucky. However the Census of 1820 shows:

    Jacob Hartley, Hardin Co.
    John Hartley, Hardin Co.
    John Hartley, Green Co.
    Joseph Hartley, Hardin Co.
    David Hartley, Hardin Co.

David Hartley, Jacob Hartley and Joseph Hartley are the sons of John Hartley. It is not clear whether the John Hartley of Hardin Co. listed in the census is John Hartley b. 1755 or his son John Hartley Jr. b. 1788. The John Hartley of Green Co. may be John Hartley Jr. Greene county is somewhat south of, but not an unreasonable distance from, Hardin Co.

The Kentucky Census of 1830 shows the same Hartleys with the exception David Hartley is missing as he died in 1827. Nancy Hartley is shown in Hardin Co. in 1830 and may be the wife of John Hartley Jr..

The Hardin County, Kentucky records for 1792-1822 show the marriages of the children of Joseph and Rebecca Hartley: Mary Hartley to Nathaniel Harned in 1804, Rebeckah Hartley to John Ament in 1809, John Hartley Jr. to Nancy Dougherty in 1815, Elizabeth Hartley to Francis H. Pile in 1817, and Joseph Hartley to Polly Singleton in 1821.

A map showing key locations in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Illinois. Click map to enlarge.

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All text by C. Hartley, unless otherwise noted, copyright ©1999