Jane Klingensmith Shoop

The Identity of
Jane Klingensmith Shoop
of Manor Twp., Armstrong Co., PA

A certain amount of confusion surrounds the identity of Jane Klingensmith, first wife of John Shoop of Manor Twp., Armstrong Co., PA. Beer's Armstrong County and It's People simply calls her _____ Klingensmith, while her tombstone names her as Jane Shoop. It is from her tombstone that we derive what little identiying information we have about her. It records that she died ___ ____ ____, aged ___ years, ___ months, and __ days. This would place her birth ___ ____ 1801.

From here the quest becomes more difficult. There are nearly complete baptismal records for the Klingensmith children found among the records of the various german churches in the area of Westmoreland Co., PA, which at the time included what would become Armstrong Co. Unfortunately, there is no Jane Klingensmith who appears among those records within a decade of the date deduced from her tombstone. Likewise, there is no Klinginsmith girl born on the date when Jane is said to have been born.

This has not stopped some from identifying her, but incorrectly. Some collections of Klingensmith and Shoop information confidently identify Jane as the Mary, daughter of Col. Peter Klingensmith, who married John Shoop __ __ 1828. This marriage was reported in the pages of the Kittanning Gazette, and it also appears in a collection of vital records which relate to the Heilman Lutheran Church, of Kittanning Twp. There is no reason to doubt that such a marriage did occur, but this could not be the marriage of our Jane and John Shoop.

John Shoop, husband of Jane (Klingensmith) Shoop was born __ ___ ____, in Montgomery Co., PA, and came to Western Pennsylvania with his grandfather Jacob and father Michael Schupp by 1814. While no contemporary record of his marriage to Jane has survived, a marriage date has survived among family records, __ ___ ____, almost a full decade prior to the marriage of John Shoop and Mary Klingensmith (that this date has a certain degree of precision can be seen from the birthdates of the oldest children of the couple, in 1821, 1823, 1825, and 1827, all before the John and Mary (Klingensmith) Shoop marriage). Likewise, Col. Peter Klingensmith is identifiable as the son of Nicholas Klingensmith, born in 1787. He would thus have been 14 years old at the time Jane was born and could not be her father. How then do we explain the marriage of John and Mary?

In their migration to Westmoreland Coumty, Michael Schupp and his family were preceeded by his younger brother Jacob, who had settled in what would become Allegheny Twp., Armstrong Co. His oldest son was also given the name John, and the 1828 newspaper notice significantly places the marriage of John and Mary in Allegheny Twp., (Armstrong County), where Jacob was living at the time (the association with the Heilman Church appears to be based on the spurious identification of the groom with his first cousin, later a member of this congregation). Later censuses show John of Allegheny Twp. with wife Mary/Polly, consistant with the proposed identification of the couple reported in this marriage. This was not the only other marriage between the Shoop and Klingensmith families. In this generation alone, there were at least six Shoop/Klingensmith marriages.

Having dismissed this spurious identification, we must return to our original question. Who was Jane Klingensmith, wife of John Shoop? While there is no exact match among the available baptismal records, one notice does draw attention. This is the baptism of Christina Klingensmith, youngest child of John Peter, Jr. She was baptized ___, and the record of this places her birth _____, 1801. What is significant is that this date is exactly one month after the supposed birthdate of Jane. Could the stonecutter simply have made an error in his math? John Peter Klingensmith Jr. was son of John (Johann) Peter, one of the brothers who settled in Westmoreland County in the early 1770s. He married Anna Margaretha Spahr, and had by her ____ children. Significantly, among these were John Klingensmith, who married Catharine, sister of John of Kittanning, and Adam Klingensmith, who married Jane Shoop, sister of John of Allegheny. John Peter Jr. died by ___ when his estate was administered. At that time, his daughter Christina remained unmarried. This was two years before the marriage of John and Jane.

While this identification of Jane as Christina, daughter of John Peter Klingensmith has some promise, it would be rash to make such an assignment based solely on a similarity (but not match) in birthdate. That a person from the Pennsylvania German tradition would have dual names is not unusual, and this occasionally makes identifications difficult. However, before accepting this hypothesis, one would at least like to see some indication that John Shoop's wife Jane also used the name Christina.

Fortunately, such proof exists. Among the baptismal records of the ______ Church, is found a record of the birth ans baptism of John Sauer Shoop, son of John and Christina Shoop. This record places the birth of the child on 25 May 1825, which matches the birthdate which a family record assigns to John Royer Shoop, son of John and Jane. In a late pension record, John himself places his birth on 25 May, but of 1823. This difference in year is not troublesome. John was quite old at the time, and earlier military and census records give him an age consistant with 1825. Likewise the difference in middle name is not terribly troubling. The parents were not regular members of the congregation, and the recorder of the information could have mistakenly assumed (or misread) that the child was being named for a member of the church, John Sauer. The name John Royer is that of the child's great-grandfather, who lived and died in Eastern PA, and would have been unfamiliar to the recorder. On the other hand, the child could have been named for local John Sauer, perhaps his godfather, but renamed after his ancestor when the family moved away from the immediate vacinity.

Thus, we can demonstrate that John Shoop married Christina Jane Klingensmith, and the presence of a birth record in such close proximity to that recorded on her tombstone half a century later renders her identification as the daughter of John Peter and Anna Margaretha (Spahr) Klingensmith highly likely.

Klingensmith/Shoop marriages
Todd A. Farmerie, Ph.D.