Select Teagarden Miscellany

Here are some Teagarden stories and accounts over the years:

Abrahan Tegarden the Pioneer

In 1736, at the age of 48, Abraham Tegarden departed his home in Solingen in North Rhine/Westphalia with his wife Anna Margarethe and many of their children for America.  They boarded the Harle in the Palatine apparently under his wife’s name of Deckart.  However, Tegarden was the name that the family gave on arrival in Philadelphia. 

The Tegardens traveled south from Pennsylvania along the Monocasy Trail and in 1739 purchased land to farm in the Conococheague valley on the western frontier in Maryland.  Later they moved to the town of Hagerstown where both Abraham and his wife Anna died in 1753

Teagardens of Richhill Township in Greene County

Teagardens have been in Greene county, Pennsylvania since the 1750’s and are still there today.  The Teagarden cemetery is located in Richhill township.  It survives although the cemetery itself is in poor condition and quite overgrown. 

Among the Teagarden gravestones to be found are: 

  • Teagarden, William, 1746-1813. Private in the Pennsylvania militia during the Revolutionary War.  There is a Revolutionary War flag marker.  
  • Teagarden, Abraham, 1775-1853.  Private in the 2nd Pennsylvania Brigade, War of 1812, Veteran flag marker.  
  • Teagarden, Abraham C, died in 1863.  16th Pennsylvania Cavalry.  Fell in the Battle of Shepherdstown during the Civil War.  GAR flag marker.  
There was an old Teagarden homestead in Richhill township, inhabited first by Isaac Teagarden, a mill-wright, and then by his son John P. Teagarden, a lawyer.  His daughter Dr. Jenny Teagarden grew up in Greene county after the Civil War.  She attended medical school at Waynesburg and became the first female physician in the county.  Later she helped establish the Children’s Aid Society and served as its president for many years.

The Rev. William and Susannah Teegarden

The Rev. William and Susannah Teegarden were a remarkable couple who were wed for more than fifty years.  They had fifteen children of whom many were over six feet tall.  Four of the sons were medical doctors and two of these became state Senators. 

There have been letters left by Eliza Perry Teegarden in Kentucky.  She had made an early trip to Columbiana county, Ohio to visit her uncles, William, George and Thomas. 

Captain George Teegarden recalled as a boy he hearing conversation among his elders talking with Aunt Eliza about her trip to Ohio from Bracken county, Kentucky.  It seems she felt they were treated in a rather superior manner by Susannah who was quite a lady or at least so considered herself.  

The visit was never repeated.  Captain George who had seen the fine clothes Eliza had worn to Ohio thought maybe that Susannah was merely trying to keep from being overwhelmed by relatives from the south in finery.  Somehow a backwoods preacher hardly seems one who would have been affluent. 

William was really a backwoods preacher.  He often obliged to transport salt and provisions for his family across the mountains on horseback.  He was a man of generous heart and kind disposition and a friend of the Indians in the forest.  The Indians often built their campfires near the door of his cabin.  A Bible Christian Minister, he often rode 25 miles through the pathless forests on an old white horse to deliver his message of cheer to the few scattered settlers who would gather in some pioneer home.

Anna Tegarden nee Todd

Anna Todd grew up in Kentucky.  She was the aunt of Mary Todd Lincoln, the wife of Abraham Lincoln.  She herself married Basil Tegarden in Shelby county, Kentucky in 1797.  They moved to Orleans in Orange county, Indiana in 1814 where they raised eleven children. 

Anna outlived her husband by twenty years and died in 1863 at the splendid age of eighty four.  She was buried next to her husband in the Liberty cemetery east of Orleans.  Several other Tegardens are buried in the same plot, including some of her children.

Jack Teagarden - Did He Have Indian Blood?

Apparently Jack Teagarden was widely seen in the jazz community as being at least part Native American. The theory of Indian blood stemmed from his dark looks plus the fact that he frequently toured with black musicians during a time of segregation.  

But there was no evidence that this was the case.  His father Charles was listed as white on his World War One draft card.  Charles was the chief engineer for the Vernon Cotton Oil Company in Vernon along the Texas-Oklahoma border.  He was also an amateur brass band trumpeter and encouraged both Jack and his three siblings to be jazz musicians. 

Jack in fact had a long German heritage which has been traced back to William Teagarden, a Revolutionary War veteran from Greene county, Pennsylvania.  The line from him went to Oswin Teagarden in Louisiana, a smuggler for the Confederate Army during the Civil War.  Afterwards these Teagardens moved to the Red River area of Texas. 

The Jack Teagarden exhibit at the Red River Valley Museum in Vernon, Texas features his personal effects that were donated by his family after his death in 1964.

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