Honoring the Family of Michael Glatfelter (died 1824)
We do not know when Michael was born, but we do know that he was younger than Henry and older than Casper.
By: Dr. Charles H. Glatfelter
July 23, 2001
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Since 2001, when our longtime historian, Dr. Charles H. Glatfelter, wrote about Michael, much more has been learned. Tom and Pat Clodfelter of Brookfield, Ill., have been major contributors of that information.
Tom wrote about his journey to find his forbearers (see below). It led he and Pat to the "home woods," Heimwald Park and the 100th Glattfelder Reunion in 2005.
Tom and Pat's attendance at the Centennial Reunion in 2005 marked the first time ever that a descendant of Michael had come to a Glattfelder Reunion.
In 2006, they were again at Heimwald, telling us of the discovery of a graveyard in Washington County in western Pennsylvania where Michael and his wife, Anna Mary, are buried. Michael's tombstone was in reasonable shape (see photos below), but hers was broken and the inscription virtually impossible to read.
At Tom's expense, Michael's stone was set in concrete, while Mary's stone basically fell apart.
In a January 2, 2007, letter, Dr. Charles informed Tom and Pat that Patricia Stavovy of the Washington (Pa.) County Law Library had found Michael's will. It was signed in German script as Michael Glatfelder, but whoever wrote the will spelled the last name Gladfelter. In the will book, it is entered as Glodfelter and in the will index it is Clodfelter.
Estate papers provided by Tom and Pat list personal property for Michael used in the house, barn and other buildings, including beds, tools and guns. His son George, back in York County, owed his father $200. The account, filed March 26, 1827, shows assets of $1,445.47 1/2, which was used to pay minimal debts and give $169.33 to each of his heirs. Receipts include $4.01 for funeral expenses, $6.75 for a coffin, $1 each for two witnesses to the will, $1 each to those who took inventory and $1.17 1/2 for clerking the sale.
Michael married Anna Mary in 1780 in York, and in 1781, Michael became owner of a 132-acre property in Shrewsbury Township, which later became Springfield Township, along Yellow Church Road. George, the oldest child, was baptized the same year in Shuster's Lutheran Church. Michael (1788), Margaret (1792), John (1797) and Philip (1802) were also entered in Shuster's register.
The family moved west in 1809, acquiring property of about 186 acres in Washington County in western Pennsylvania.
How long Anna Mary survived after Michael's death in 1824 (he was born about 1755) is uncertain, Dr. Charles wrote in his letter. However, the census of 1830 for Somerset Township lists a Mary Clodfelter as the head of a family of five persons. Dr. Charles wrote that he believed that group included Mary, her son and daughter-in-law, an unmarried son and a grandchild.
A deed dated May 24, 1833, shows five of the children received $3,000 apiece for the homestead of 186 acres. Michael's will authorized the children to sell the estate upon Mary's death, so, as Dr. Charles wrote, Mary was alive as of the 1830 census but had died before the sale of the homestead on May 24, 1833.
Michael and Anna Mary had seven children, born between 1781 and 1802, Dr. Charles wrote. They included the aforementioned George, who remained in York County when the family left in 1809; Michael; Margaret; John; and Philip. The other children were Mary, who married Andrew Ault and sold her share of Michael's estate to John in 1832, and Jacob. All lived to maturity, except for Michael.
In the Somerset Townshp tax lists for 1810-1824, Dr. Charles wrote, Michael's last name is always spelled Clodfelter or Clotfelter. In the 1833 deed for the homestead, they called themselves Clodfelter, which had rather quickly become the accepted spelling of the family name.
At the 2008 Glattfelder Reunion, Dr. Charles' talk began by noting that "one of the truly remarkable features of our more than 100 reunions has been the 'return' of people whose lives have taken them far from Heimwald." That included Tom and Pat. More and more was being learned about Casper's sons, and Tom and Pat had provided that for Michael.
Prior commitments kept them from attending the 2008 reunion, but Tom's "Journey to Glattfelder" was read by Dr. Charles.
"In the spirit of the whole, I all but shouted every word and phrase which was capitalized," Dr. Charles relayed to Tom in a letter sent shortly after the reunion. "No one slept during my reading. As I looked over the audience, I was satisfied that there was much interest in the account of your journey."
The connection that had been made between Michael and our association was an emotional one for both Tom and Dr. Charles. In one of his letters to Tom, Dr. Charles wrote, "Your card read, 'You've touched my life.' Tom and Pat Clodfelter touched ours, especially mine."