Sarah Catherine (SMITH) GEARHART

Born: 04 Sep 1847 at Woodberry, Bedford Co., PA
Died: 02 Jul 1906 at Vermontville, Eaton Co., MI

Father: Ezra SMITH (1824-1893)
Mother: Barbara KAUFFMAN (1818-1885)

Spouse: John S Gearhart (1843-1903)


  • Samuel Ezra b. 13 Nov 1867 in Lewistown, Mifflin, PA d. 30 May 1920 Pontiac, Oakland, MI, married Rosa May BOOTH (Dianne's brother-in-law's great grandparents)
  • John H b. Jan 1870 in PA m. Edith L SNYDER
  • Amanda b. 1871 in PA m. ? ROBART
  • Magdelena "Maggie" b. 1873 in MI m. ? WINCHELL
  • Dervin E b. Jul 1876 in MI m. Alice DUNSMORE
  • Henry C b. Nov 1878 in MI d. 1958 buried Woodlawn, Vermontville, Eaton, MI m. Lena M JOPPIE
  • Anna b. 1880 in MI m. George HARVEY
  • Barbara A b. Jul 1883 in MI m. Richard I BENNETT
  • Sarah C E b. Jan 1886 in MI m. Wilbur S WEEKS
  • Edith M b. Oct 1890 in MI m. Glenn COTTON

    John and Sarah were married 20 Nov 1866 (date from HOCHSTETLER book, also shows Sarah b. 4 Sep 1846) in PA. Sarah was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, Vermontville, Eaton, MI.

    The 1860 census shows John in Mifflin Co. PA. By 1870 John appears in the Juniata Co. PA census. By 1880 he and his family were in Eaton Co. MI.

    Here is the obituary for Sarah, from The Vermontville Echo, Vermontville, Michigan, Wednesday, July 11, 1906:

    Sarah Catherine GEARHART died July 2, 1906, at her home two miles west of Vermontville, Michigan, at the age of fifty-eight years, nine months and twenty-eight days. She passed away peacefully - as she had lived and died passing to the unknown realm calmly, and showing a resignation of spirit that characterized her action during life. Mrs. GEARHART was born near Woodberry, Bedford Co., Pennsylvania. Her maiden name was Sarah Catherine Smith. When she was about seven years of age her parents moved to Juniata Co., Penn., and at the age of nineteen she married Mr. John S. GEARHART of Mifflin Co., Penn. To this union were eleven children, ten are still living, which are as follows: Ezra of Fowlerville, John of Lake Odessa, Darwin of Bellevue, Henry of Vermontville, Mrs. Amanda ROBERT of Oceana Co., Mrs. Maggie WINCHELL of Kansas City, Mrs. Anna HARVEY of Nashville, Mrs. Sarah WEEKS of Nashville, and Miss Edith M. GEARHART of Vermontville. Besides the children she leaves twenty-six grand children, three brothers, two sisters, and a host of friends. Mrs. GEARHART belonged to the German Baptist church from the time she was eleven years old, and was always ready and willing to do whatever she could in the church and neighborhood. Words cannot express the heart aches she has left and we will miss her smiling face. The dear children will miss dear mother's welcome. She was always pleased to have the children round her table and no one was ever known to go away hungry if it was near meal time. Their home was open to all, rich and poor. Mr. GEARHART dropped dead three years ago on the 1st of July. Rev. Isaiah RARICH of the German Baptist church preached the funeral sermon of both Mr. and Mrs. GEARHART. A large procession followed to her last resting place. Peace to her ashes, her kind acts will remain in our memory while we live.

    In the same paper, the following item appeared in the section on news for West Vermontville:

    John SMITH of Ohio was called here last week by the death of his sister Mrs. Sarah GEARHART.

    John S and family can be found in the census for 1870 PA, Juniata Co, Fayette Twp, page 38 family #236, 1880 in MI, Barry Co, Woodland 7, ED 33 page 16 family 163 and 1900 in MI, Eaton Co, Vermontville, ED 79 sheet 14 family #333

    From Diana ROCHE:
    Sarah Catharine (SMITH) GEARHART's mother was not Sarah KAUFMAN (as earlier thought), it was Barbara KAUFFMAN, a descendant of Jacob HOCHSTETLER, an Amish fellow who immigrated to America from Echery (near St. Marie-aux-Mines, Alsace, now France) via Rotterdam on the ship Charming Nancy and landed in Philadelphia on 9 Nov 1738. Jacob's wife was massacred by Indians in an attack that is meticulously recorded in the Pennsylvania archives. A son was also killed. The Indians had set fire to the house and the family had hidden in the cellar. When they thought the coast was clear, they came out and the Indians got them. Jacob and two sons were carried off into captivity. He escaped after about 3 years, but his 2 sons were held for about 7 years.

    The book that tells this story and documents our GEARHART ancestry from Sarah Catherine SMITH on down is titled Descendants of Jacob HOCHSTETLER the Immigrant of 1736 by Rev. Harvey HOSTETLER (d. 1939), D. D., published by Brethren Publishing House, Elgin, IL (1912). The Rev.'s grandson and another researcher discovered evidence in 1970 that there were 2 Jacob HOCHSTETLERs who came to America about the same time and the wrong one was attributed as the founder of our line. It made little difference, except that the erroneous Jacob was not Amish and was born 8 years earlier in a slightly different place in Europe. The rest of the genealogy is good. Both Dervin and Maggie are included in the book.

    The family at their mother's (Sarah Catherine's) funeral Jul 1906
    Back row: Samuel, John, Dervin, Henry, Edith
    Front row: Amanda, Maggie, Anna, Barbara, Sarah

    - Most of this information came from Dianne Richards (
    - Book: Descendants of Jacob HOCHSTETLER The Immigrant of 1736 by Rev. Harvey HOSTETLER D.D. (d. 1939), Brethren Publishing House, Elgin, IL, 1912 via Diana ROCHE