The Teets Family in West Virginia - Henry Teets, the Pioneer
This document attempts to show convincing evidence that Henry Teets and his wife Mary were the original pioneer Teets family to arrive in what is now known as West Virginia. Also, most all of the Teets surnames found in Monongalia, Preston, Hardy, Barbour, and Upshur Counties in West Virginia were descendants of this family, and probably many other West Virginia counties as well. The table above provides links to 1) A summary of all Teets in the Tax Records of Monongalia and Preston Counties from 1785-1850, 2) a chart showing how the estimated names and birth dates were chosen for the family of Henry and Mary Teets, and 3), a document which compares Oren Morton’s “History of Preston County, West Virginia”, p. 474 on the family of Michael Teets, against recent findings in Monongalia and Preston County. Just click on those links to inspect those documents.
Few credible records are available in Monongalia and Preston County, West Virginia that provide solid, clear confirmation of the ancestor of the Teets families of Monongalia and Preston County. The purpose of this document and the site in general is an attempt to perform due diligence wherever possible to determine the credibility of the claims made on this site.
When the census record for 1800, 1810 and early tax records 1803-1817 in Monongalia County, and 1818 and beyond in Preston County are reviewed in detail, the evidence points to Henry Teets and wife Mary as being the parents or ancestors of most, if not all of the future individuals that have the Teets name in their family tree from Preston County (West) Virginia, formerly Monongalia County (West) Virginia. Most other Teets families in neighboring West Virginia counties have their roots back to this same Teets family as well.
The Sandy Creek, Allegany County, Maryland census for 1800, names a Henry Teats with wife, and 11 children, 7 sons, and 4 daughters. The Monongalia County, VA census for 1810, names a Henry Teets with wife, and 12 children, 7 sons, and 5 daughters. Listed separately in that same 1810 census are Jacob Teets (on the same census page) and Adam Teets nearby. Between 1785 and 1802, no Teets are listed on the Monongalia Tax Lists. On the personal property tax record for Monongalia County, VA 1803, a Henry Teets is listed with no other Teets named. Future tax records show a clear progression of men with the Teets name being listed as they come of age.
In past and present writings about the history and genealogy of Preston County (and especially on the family trees on Ancestry.com and other popular genealogy websites), Michael "Old Mike" Teets has been prominently mentioned as the first with that surname to settle in the county, with immigration from Germany. Further, all the Teets from Preston and associated counties are said in most cases, to be his descendants. This may well be largely due to Oren Morton’s “History of Preston County, West Virginia” (p. 474) documenting a Michael Teets and several children.
However, there is another Teets we should consider as the first of that surname to settle in Preston; Henry Teets and his wife Mary. It is most probable, based on the evidence, that they are the ancestors from which all the Teets of Preston and other related counties descend. Morton also mentions Henry Teets (p. 884) in the original personal property tax list, but he is otherwise not mentioned in Morton’s book.
Important Note: it is NOT the intent of this author to discredit in any way the Oren Morton book on the history of Preston County whatsoever; that book is a well-respected, excellent book and Morton certainly deserves great praise for it. Almost assuredly, most all of the contents in his book are accurate. However, when gathering information for his book, Mr. Morton must have used many available records to be sure, and surely interviewed many families in Preston County in order to build his sketches of the families. This author believes that some of the information provided to Morton in this process is suspect and could be in error. The information herein is offered as evidence that there are some misconceptions resulting from the inaccuracies at the time when Morton was writing his book. Foremost, it is believed that Henry and Mary Teets are the parents of these early Teets in Monongalia and Preston Counties, not Michael Teets. Additionally, no credible evidence has surfaced as of this writing that a Michael Teets (or any “Old Mike” Teets) is involved in this family. Any evidence offered in support of “Michael” Teets would obviously impact the conclusions of this writing. It should be further noted that this author, along with several others who contribute family trees to Ancestry.com, have long cited Michael Teets as the pioneer. This author offers this different view, supported by what appears to be credible evidence.
First, some background; Preston County was not formed until 1818, and all records prior to that year are located in Monongalia County. Between 1785 and 1802, no Teets surnames or variation s (e.g., Deats, Dietz, Teates, Tietz, or Teetz) are recorded in the Tax Records for Monongalia County. Henry Teets is the first, recorded in the year 1803 (he was the only Teets listed), 1804 with Jacob, and 1805 with Jacob and Henry Jr. Males over the age of 16 years were required to pay personal property tax. Henry and Jacob are most likely his oldest sons. The Tax Records for the years 1803-1849 covering Monongalia and Preston County (after 1818) show other males with the Teets surname. It is believed that all of these are sons of Henry and Mary Teets.
Further, on Apr 21, 1808, Henry Teets Sr., his wife Mary, and Adam Teets are summoned to testify in the defense of Henry Teets, Jr. for horse theft. As a result of this court action, Henry Jr. was sentenced to 5 years in prison (documented in Monongalia Court Proceedings), and does not appear on the Monongalia Tax Records between 1808 and 1813, providing further evidence of his imprisonment. This further supports the idea that Henry Teets was the real pioneer of this Teets family.
As the years go by until 1818 when Preston County is formed from Monongalia County, Henry Teets is always in the Tax Records, and is the first Teets to own land (April 1, 1815 deed for 100 acres) in Monongalia County. The other Teets recorded in the Tax Records during the period (1805-1818) besides Henry Sr, Henry Jr., and Jacob are; Adam, Michael, Christian, and John. In 1818 when Preston is formed, an Abraham shows up, then in 1822 David, followed in 1823 by Andrew.
Regarding early census records, Henry Teets is recorded in the 1800 census for Allegany County, MD. He and his wife Mary are between the ages of 26 and 45 with 10 children; seven under the age of 10, three between 10 and 16, and one between 16 and 25. Then in 1810, Henry is recorded in the Monongalia census, along with Jacob and Adam Teets. Henry and Mary are both over 45 years, and have the following children in their household; two under 10, five between 10 and 16, four between 16 and 26, and one between 26 and 45. Jacob Teets has the following in his household; two under 10 years, and three including him between 16 and 26.
Other important records help further support that Henry and wife Mary Teets are the first of their name to settle. One; when Jacob Teets marries Barbara Miller in 1806 in Shenandoah County, Henry Teets is named as the bondsman. Two; Elizabeth Miller, the sister of Barbara Miller, married a Michael Teets/Dietz. Evidence of these marriages is recorded in George Miller’s family bible as well as in Shenandoah County, Virginia marriage records. Three; Mary Teets marries John Wolf as reported in Oren Morton's "History of Preston County", and states that she is the daughter of Michael Teets; however, in the death register of Preston County for the year 1857 Mary Wolf (Teets) 68 years, is recorded and the named parents are Henry and Mary Teets. The husband, John Wolf is the informant, which gives great credibility, since he would surely have known his wife's parents.
A close review of the land records in Monongalia and Preston County reveals that Henry Teets was the first Teets to own land in Monongalia County on April 1, 1815, and that land became part of Preston County in 1818. In 1819, the land purchased in Monongalia County by Henry Teets (and also land owned by Adam Teets) can be seen in Preston County. Henry has 100 acres (purchased from a James Guthrie), and Adam 54 acres (purchased from a Daniel Harvader). In 1838, David Teets/Teetz replaces Henry on the land list. He is shown directly below a David Trowbridge, at the same location Henry was in earlier land records. Directly above David Trowbridge is land owned by Adam Teets. The land owned by David Teets is only 25 acres, so the other 75 acres once owned by Henry could have gone to other of Henry’s heirs (i.e. David’s siblings). The 1830 census shows David Teets, with a male and female aged 60 to 70 years old; it would seem likely that David was living with his parents, on what was Henry’s land at that time. In the 1832-1833 land owner information, it is revealed that Henry Teets is listed, but is crossed out and shown as Henry Teets heirs, implying that he was deceased at that time, and the property was then passed to his heirs. The land owner information, in combination with the tax records indicate that Henry died in late 1832 (after the tax records were recorded), or early 1833. Also, it is clear that David is one of Henry’s children. Other evidence in the land records reveals that John Teets got a land grant.
Based upon the above and other supporting information, this author concludes that most of these Teets in West Virginia descend from Henry and Mary Teets. Many thanks to William "Bill" Travers for his excellent work in finding and summarizing the tax records and other Monongalia and Preston County records which help support this conclusion. The above credible evidence leads this author to believe that Henry and Mary Teets were the parents of the individuals named Teets in the referenced census records, tax records, land owner records, and so on.
And now, the search continues for the parents and the immigration of the ancestors of Henry Teets…further investigation is underway to study the Teets in Brother’s Valley, Pennsylvania and in other Pennsylvania locations where there may be other ancestors.
John J. Teets II, Author
Teets Family & Ancestry