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A Historical Article Filled with Confusion
By By Richard W. Knupp SR for Bellefonte Secrets
May 27, 2010
Famous Missing People of Centre County: Part Two
An Eight-Part Series on People Who Were Great in History but Today Are Virtually Unknown
Most people from the area know where Boggs Township is but no one knows much about the person it was named after. Andrew Boggs was the areas first settler. Apparently no one that has ever written about him has ever traced his ancestry. I had originally intended to write this article about him but soon discovered that I really needed to write a book since Andrew Boggs and his father, Andrew Boggs, managed to be connected to most everyone of major importance to the founding and development of Centre County.
Historians of that era seem to have been more like writers than investigative historians. This is probably very true since it is easy to determine that the authors were talking to different people, many years after the fact, about historical subjects that were never recorded in history. In Linn’s History I found nine completely different bits of contradictory information on one subject and many other items with different stories about the same subject.
As I read information on the Dunlop, Harris, Stewart and Paxton families (which includes the Boggs family) on pages 177 to 197 of the “Commemorative Biographical Record” of the area, I discovered that figuring out who was related to whom and in what manner was complicated but also interesting. The one thing that I never came across in the article was a stated connection between the two Andrew Boggs.
They do mention that the older Andrew Boggs had a son named Andrew, the oldest child, but he is the only child that no history is written about in any article I found. It is mentioned that Margery Harris of the Harris family, James Harris’s sister, I think, went south and married some unidentified person.
From other sources I did find the following information. The local Andrew Boggs was married to a Margery Harris who was somehow related to both James Harris and John Dunlop. John Dunlop’s mother was Jane Boggs Dunlop, daughter of the original Andrew Boggs.
This article is basically about a few relatives of the older Andrew Boggs who created the history of the local area. At times I intend to write in more detail about some of the individual people mentioned here which will begin with Andrew and Margery Harris Boggs in the June edition.
To begin with, senior’s wife was a Miss Patton, sister of a James Patton who came to this area. Next we find that James Dunlop was married to Jane Boggs, sister of Andrew Boggs, and their oldest daughter Ann was married to James Harris somehow related to Margery Harris Boggs. The confusion doesn’t end there. Miss Patton and Andrew Boggs produced a son named Colonel John Boggs. His wife was Miss Elizabeth Johnston, daughter of Colonel Johnston who married a widow named Mrs. Findlay who had two sons named Findlay. Her grandson was Governor William Findlay and she also had a granddaughter who was the wife of Governor Francis R. Shunk. She also had another granddaughter named Eliza Findlay who married John Dunlop, the founder of the Bell Font Iron works. Bellefonte was named after his iron works. *
Elizabeth Johnston Boggs married Wistar Miles son of Col. Samuel Miles of Philadelphia the founder of Milesburg and a large local landowner. John Lowry’s mother was Ann Boggs daughter of Andrew Boggs. John’s first wife was Abigail Miles whose father was Richard Miles, a brother of Col Samuel Miles. It doesn’t end there for there are the local connections to the Hall family, the Royer family and members of the Boggs family who married their cousins and others too numerous to mention.
One of the strange connections is that Andrew Dunlop, oldest son of Andrew and Sarah Belle Chambers Dunlop, was married to Sarah Belle Chambers daughter of Col James Chambers son of Benjamin Chambers the founder of Chambersburg. Andrew was an attorney in Pittsburgh whose law partner was George Maderia who was also married to one of James Chambers’s daughters. What makes this interesting is that Centre Counties previous District Attorney was a Maderia. Was he an ancestor of George Maderia? I don’t know but if he is a descendant of the founder of the once celebrated Siemans Edge Tool Factory, he is.
This article is about only a small part of the Andrew Boggs Sr. connection for there are just too many names from the area to mention in this article and many more names that tie him with important people from other areas. They shall be recognized in later stories.
*(Side Note) The only reason for the existence of Bellefonte was to support the iron works. For those believers in the Talleyrand fable, the iron works were called Belle Font before Talleyrand was chased out of England because of his Romeo activities with the wives of prominent men. The name Bellefonte is also an English term that some think it sounds like it is French. It is assumed that bell refers to beautiful in which case there is nothing in France that is beautiful since, unlike America, there are no towns named Belle anything. There is an ancient town in France that has a water source like Bellefonte’s and is called Fountaine de Vancluse. In French the subject comes before the modifier. Example, we have a statue from France which is called the Statue de (of) Liberty and a bell called the Liberty Bell. If the bell were also French it would have been named the Bell of(de) Liberty. (This bell is the subject.)