Peter Probasco was born on October 23, 1799 in Pennsylvania, I believe to Peter and Martha Probasco. Peter was not a common given name in the Probasco families at that time. It first appeared in abt 1746 with Peter Probasco probable son of Abraham Probasco, but he remained in New York until his death in 1808. The next appearance of the name was Peter Probasco born in 1759 in Somerset County, New Jersey to Hendrick Probasco, who named him for his maternal grandfather, Peter Covenhoven. Though this Peter lived in New Jersey, he had a Trenton-Philadelphia stage line and died in Philadelphia in 1806. Many of his children settled in Philadelphia:
The Philadelphia Directory & Stranger's Guide for 1825, p. 113
- Probasco, Henry, justice of the peace 415 N Front
- Probasco, Peter, plane maker 125 N 2nd
- Probasco, Simon, printer 350 N 2nd
Hendrick didn't show up as a given name in the Probasco family until 1730, and he was the father of Peter Probasco born 1759. Note this Peter named his first son Hendrick/Henry as did the Peter of this biography. The coincidences are too strong and make a good preponderance of evidence to support that this Peter definitely is a part of this family.
About 1819, Peter married Anna Crabb Lott, daughter of John Lott and Ruth Fairman, from Newtown, Fairfield County, Connecticut. Their first child, Henry Probasco, was born there in July 1820. Peter was a plane maker in Philadelphia appearing in the Philadelphia City Directory as early as 1823, until the family moved to Warren County, Ohio by the 1830 Federal Census. John Probasco, whom I believe to be Peter's brother, had migrated to Warren County by 1824. I believe Peter followed his brother there. They both showed up in Warren County in the 1830 Federal Census.
By 1834 Peter had moved his family to Cincinnati, Ohio. He appeared in the 1834 Cincinnati Directory:
- Probasco Peter (Miller & Probasco) plane maker, Main b 5th and 6th, h 7th opposite College
and in the 1839-40 Shaffer's Advertising Directory, with his son:
- Probasco, Peter (NJ) Plane-mkr at Seybold's.
- Probasco, Henry (Conn) Clerk at T. Davidson's, 118 Main.
By 1840, he had moved his family to Hancock County, Indiana on a farm near Charlottesville, and only Henry remained in Cincinnati. Peter built a shop and established the business of plane making on his farm, for which purpose he had brought from the "Queen City of the West," a complete outfit of the necessary tools and machinery. According to the "History of Hancock County, Indiana" by J. H. Binford and "Hazzard's History of Henry County, Indiana, 1822-1906" by George Hazzard, Peter Probasco took on a young apprentice named Craft to learn the trade of a plane maker, then afterward Craft continued working for him until 1846 when he went to work for E. F. Seybold and Company, the company Peter had worked for previously. Seybold and Company was a wholesale hardware merchant and manufacturer.
According to "History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions" by George J. Richman, Peter and his wife, Anna, were involved with the Charlottesville Methodist Episcopal Church, and Anna was said to have been the mother of Methodism in the vicinity of Charlottesville. She was the first Sunday School worker there and was superintendent, secretary, treasurer, teacher and chorister, and often swept pathways in the snow so the children could get to Sunday school in the school house, before any church was built. She was very active in church work and would ride on horseback, and sometimes go on foot, to collect money to carry on the work. At one time when the water was high and she could not get across the creek she secured the services of two men and had a large tree felled for a foot log.
The house of Peter Probasco was one of the stopping places for traveling preachers, who went on horseback, and who many times arrived with wet clothes, having forded the swollen streams. They found a welcome with Peter and Anna Probasco, who loaned them clothes while their wet clothing was drying. When a new Methodist church was built in 1903, a memorial window was dedicated to Mrs. Anna Probasco.
Peter passed away in 1865 and Anna in 1889. They had four children living children: Henry, Richard, Elizabeth Ann and John.
I am currently in possession of one of Peter Probasco's plane-maker tools.
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