Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Immigrant Jacob Conrad on the South Branch of the Potomac

This picture, probably a tintype, was posted by Joe Hacker to Nettie Gregory's MyFamily site Braxton County West Virginia Pictures and People1

This picture is interesting to Orlando area folks for two reasons. First, it is of the South Branch of the Potomac, which provided many of Lewis County's and Braxton County's earliest settlers. Most of us have descendents who came to central WV via the South Branch. Second, Daniel Conrad's grandfather built the house to the left in the picture and Daniel Conrad and his wife Margaret (Shields) were among the very early settlers of Braxton County. They are ancestors of not only the Conrads of the Oil Creek watershed but, through their daughter Phebe, the Skinners too.

The house to the left in the picture was built 1n 1763 by Daniel Conrad's grandfather, the immigrant Jacob Conrad/Coonrod, Sr. when he settled on the South Branch of the Potomac River, just south of the town of Ruddle, (This is now Pendleton County, WV, it was then Augusta Co, VA.) According to, "Jacob Sr. built a home of limestone there and was a blacksmith by trade.2" The house was torn down in 1890's.

Widower Jacob Conrad Sr. was part of the Palatine migration. He had come into the Port of Philadelphia from the Canton of Bern in Switzerland in 1750, aboard the ship "Patience" from Rotterdam. Jacob Sr. had brought with him his three daughters and one son. His son, Jacob Conrad Jr. would marry Hannah Bogard and they would have ten children. (Jacob Jr. would also fight in the Revolutionary War and they would become land wealthy.)

One of their ten children, Daniel Conrad, married Margaret Shields and then they moved to Braxton County. Daniel and Margaret had only four children. Those of us in the Orlando area who carry the family name of Conrad are mostly descended through Chrisman Conrad who married Elizabeth Wine and settled just over the hill from the Clover Fork of Oil Creek, near Bulltown. From there their kids would marry into the families of the original settlers of Oil Creek. Daniel and Margaret's only daughter Phoebe3 married Alexander Skinner and became an original settler of Oil Creek and grandmother of all the Skinners of Oil Creek. Thus, the Skinners of Oil Creek also share the ancestry of the old immigrant Jacob Conrad.

Conrads and Skinners who moved into the area in the 1900s may or may not share this particular ancestry. If you are curious about how your ancestry fits in, please contact me, Donna G. at

1. The reference attached to the photo reads: "Subject Counties--Pendleton--Homes Physical Location Photograph Filing Cabinets Source Ruddle, Richard, Loan Date of Acquisition 1973/09/20"

2. Copyright © 1998-2000, Inc. and its subsidiaries.

3 For more about Phoebe (Conrad) Skinner see the entry for Mar, '06 Grandma Phoebe Conrad


  1. Old Jacob was not a widower, his wife was Frena Svena Lauk. She was the mother of his children and died only one year before he did, 1774.

    Here is the info:

  2. Jacob's wife died in 1749 in Switzerland [source: Conrad Bible]. He was a widower.