The Beavers and the Corbins

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Nancy Corbin was the daughter of Richard Corbin and Barbara Beaver (whose biography is the third couple below). In March, 1848, Nancy married William Lewis Sheldon.

William Lewis and Nancy's only surviving daughter, Alzina, would marry an Overturf.

On this page, is a discussion of three couples related to Nancy Corbin:

PLEASE NOTE: There is some dispute about the first Conrad Beaver. There may have been two of them. Please see this website for a detailed discussion of this more recent research.

CONRAD BEAVER (1738 - bef 1783) and MARIA (MARY) KNEISLY (1738 - 1792)

Conrad Beaver may have been born in 1738 in Oley Hills, Berks County, Pennsylvania. It is not certain who his father was, but there were apparently two Conrad Beavers living in the area at around the same time. For years this Conrad Beaver was thought to be (by most genealogical researchers) Johannes Beaver’s son.

Whoever his father may have been, we do know that Conrad Beaver married Maria (Mary) Kneisly in 1755 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of Hans John Kneisly.

Maria Mary Kneisly was born the same year and in the same place as Conrad, so they were both 17 when they married. Maria’s family was Mennonite, and therefore it may have been a Mennonite marriage.

Conrad and Maria remained for a while in Pennsylvania, perhaps for good reason. William Penn, a Quaker and a pacifist, was the founder of Pennsylvania. Known as an early champion of democracy and religious freedom, he created a democratic constitution, and he ruled a large territory a century before the founding of America. The democratic principles which he established provided a model for the U.S. Constitution, but this did not prevent problems between the first inhabitants of Pennsylvania and those who joined William Penn. 2

The first recorded inhabitants of Lancaster county were the Iroquoian-speaking Susquehannocks, whose name meant "people of the muddy river" in Algonquin. They were viewed by the white settlers as a friendly people because many had converted to Christianity and made brooms and baskets for sale.

However, the outbreak of Pontiac’s War in the summer of 1763 (seven years after Conrad and Maria were married) caused many to mistrust many native groups. This mistrust led to a brutal attack on 14 Dec 1763 by the Paxton Boys, led by Matthew Smith and Capt. Lazarus Stewart. They attacked one village, slaughtered the six people present, and burned their houses. Fourteen survivors were placed in protective custody, but the men returned several days later and killed the remaining inhabitants. There was never an arrest.

The area that became Lancaster County (where Maria and Conrad lived) was part of William Penn’s 1681 charter, but there is no evidence that anyone actually settled in Lancaster County before 1710. The county was named after the city of Lancaster in the county of Lancashire in England, the native home of John Wright, one of the early settlers.

By 1758, five years before Pontiac’s War and the Paxton Boys’ raids, Conrad and Maria migrated to Pass Run, Page County, Virginia, with their first child. They remained in Page County for the rest of their lives. Their children were:

To get from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to Page County, Virginia, Maria and Conrad would have travelled southwest to the state of Virginia, passing through the state of Maryland along the way. The city of Lancaster was the center for several migration trails in the eastern part of the United States. 3

Page County was formed in 1831. It was named for John Page, Governor of Virginia from 1802-1805. Pass Run was a very small community, located near the Shenandoah River. South of Pass Run was Luray, the county seat, and where Conrad is said to have died.

Birth, marriage and death dates for Conrad and his wife, Mary, are speculative, which may be due to the fact that Mary’s family were Mennonites who did not keep records. Most of Mary’s siblings moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia. Most of Conrad and Mary’s children moved to Ohio in the early 1800s. No one knows how the name Beaver got changed from Bierber to Beaver; it may have been Conrad, although it is not known if he could read and write.

Conrad Beaver’s exact death date and burial place are unknown but he is listed as deceased (having died intestate) in a 1783 property transaction involving his sons John, Abraham, and Michael. Conrad died, a relatively young man at the age of 45, before 1783 at Luray, Page County, Virginia. Maria survived him by nine years, passing away at the age of 54, in 1792. She apparently remained in Page County until her death.


David Walter Beaver was born in 1769 in Woodstock, Shenandoah County, Virginia, the son Conrad Beaver and Maria Kneisley [See Conrad Beaver and Maria Kneisley above.]

David married Anna Brumback Strickler on 5 Mar 1799 in Woodstock, Virginia, the same place where he had been born.

It is believed that Anna was born on 5 March 1779 in Virginia. She was the oldest child of John Strickler (1762-1802) and Barbara Brumback (1762-).

Anna had five sisters (Susan, Frances, Elizabeth, Barbara, and Mary) and one brother (Henry) who died young. In the family Bible in 1886, Adam Strickler wrote: “The Strickler family is a numerous one and some of them are to be found in nearly all the states of the Union. The old stock of Stricklers were an intelligent and highly respectable people. Some of them held high offices, both civil and military with credit to themselves and this country and I have never heard of one of the name arraigned for any capital offence.” Adam refers to a family bible which is in the possession of Martin Kauffman (whose wife was a Strickler). The Bible is in German and its inscription reads ‘Zurich, Switzerland, 1536.’ This would make the Bible 349 years old and it was brought to America by the Stricklers and remained in the family.”

It would appear that David and Anna moved to Licking County, Ohio, in 1805, when David was 36 years old. By then, several of their children had been born. The Ohio Censuses of 1809 and 1810 put David Beaver in Licking County, Ohio, in the township of Union, and he was the first Beaver immigrant into Licking County, Ohio.

On 22 February 1806 he purchased from Abraham Stipp 1000 acres of land (Fairfield County, Deed Book E, page 274). At that time, Licking County was a part of Fairfield but it was excluded from Fairfield in 1808. Eventually, the village of Hebron spread out to the southern edge of this land and a stream called Beaver Run flowed along the north side. This tract David sold out to his friends and relatives, reserving about 320 acres in the north and central parts for himself.

On 2 April 1813 he sold to his brother Abraham a strip, 80 perches wide and 402 perches long, off the west side of his tract and containing 201 acres. The price was $800 (Licking County Deed Book E, p 81).

On 8 February 1814, David sold to Joseph S[tover] of the County of Shenandoah 56 acres in the east central part. On 12 January 1815, he sold to Alexander Wright of Licking County 50 acres in the northeast corner, but bought it back again a year and a half later. 3 December 1819 he sold to David Groves of Licking County the 56 acres lying between Henry Brumback and Henry Clem.

David and Anna had at least eleven children. According to Nancy Corbin Sheldon, their granddaughter, each child received land, sheep and household goods when she or he married. She said they were a wealthy family that “held no slaves” as they believed that was wrong.

The children, either born in Virginia or Ohio, were:

This information comes from three sources: (1) David Beaver's tombstone that says there were "10 children left to mourn his passing." (2) 1837 property partition that names 10 children and shows their signatures of mark and that of their spouses. (3) Janice B. Patterson, a descendant of the Beavers, who has researched the family for 35 years.

David Beaver is considered a pioneer of Union Township. In Notes of the Early history of Union Township: Licking County, it says on page 8: “In 1805 Benjamin Green, a Baptist preacher, commenced preaching at David Beaver’s, and a few years after this, a society was formed at this place from members that had been attached to the churches of Hog-Run and Pleasant-Run, and held their meetings at the house of David Beaver.

“About the year 1815 or 1816, they erected a hewed-log church with gallery on the sides and one end; this was for some time called ‘Beaver’s Meeting House,’ but was subsequently named ‘Licking Church.’ On the same page it says: “There is said to have been taught a school in the neighborhood of David Beaver’s in the year 1805, by a Mr. Livingston.” This same text, however, does not list David Beaver as a pioneer of Union Township, which seems a little odd.

David Beaver clearly chose to make Union Township his home from about 1809 on. Licking County was named from its principal stream, called by the whites Licking — by the Native Americans, Pataskala. The surface is slightly hilly on the east, the western part is level, and the soil generally yellow clay; the valleys are rich alluvium, inclining many of them to gravel. Coal is in the eastern part, and iron ore of a good quality.  The soil is generally very fertile, and it is a wealthy agricultural county. 

As the Beaver children grew up, several children left the area and little is known about them after they left as communication was clearly nonexistent. Four of the children — David, Francis, Barbara, and Joseph — married Corbins. This is stronger evidence that the two families had land nearby and they may have migrated together to Ohio (while the two sisters, Phoebe and Mary, went to Missouri).

David Beaver died on 15 May 1825 in Union, Licking County, Ohio. He was 56 years old.

Anna apparently married again — to a deaf man named Richard Wells — on 14 December 1828. It is believed that she died in Missouri after 1830 where she went to live with her two daughters, Phoebe and Mary. But no record has yet been found for her death date or burial place, or that of Mr. Wells.

RICHARD WARREN CORBIN Sr. (1809-1886) and BARBARA ANN BEAVER (1811-1876)

The Corbins are connected to the Overturf family line through Alzina Sheldon Overturf whose mother, Nancy, was a Corbin. As well, two of Richard and Barbara’s sons married Overturf daughters.

Richard Corbin was born on 6 June 1809 in Culpeper County, Virginia. He is said to be the son of John Corbin and Lois Jane Myrick, but this cannot be substantiated.

Culpeper County, established in 1749, was named for Lord Thomas Culpeper. During the Civil War, two major battles occurred in the county: the Battle of Cedar Mountain on 9 Aug 1862, and the Battle of Brandy Station on 9 June 1863. However, there were many skirmishes: the county was fought over more than any other county during the war. But these events occurred long after Richard Corbin had left the county, although there were many Corbins in the area as early as the 1600’s.

In 1823, at the age of 14, Richard travelled with his parents by ox cart to Ohio, settling in Licking County.

In 1829, Richard married Barbara Ann Beaver in Licking County, Ohio. Barbara was 18; Richard was 21.

Barbara had been born on 11 May 1811, also in Culpepper Co, Virginia. She was the daughter of David Beaver, Sr., and Anne Stricker [See couple above.]. It is even possible that the Corbins and Beavers travelled together to Ohio and that Barbara and Richard had known each other since childhood.

Between 1830 and 1854, Barbara gave birth to eleven children — four girls and seven boys, all born in Licking County Ohio (and most of them married and died there). They were:

Nancy Corbin, the eldest daughter of Richard and Barbara, said of the Corbins and Beavers: “They were all Democrats from the ground up, except Davy Corbin [who] was a Whig. My father [Richard Corbin] had never affiliated with any church before I was fifteen. At that time Mother [Barbara Ann Beaver Corbin] wanted to be baptized and a Mr. Spencer from Hartford (Ohio) came after her. Then Father was converted and they formed a Christian Church.” In her own memoirs, Nancy Corbin Sheldon tells of being the oldest child in the family. Some of the younger children were born after she was married, and several died before she did.

In 1860, Richard and Barbara were still in Ohio, but by the 1870 Census, they moved to Persifer in Knox County, Illinois. The County was named in honor of Henry Knox, the first US Secretary of War. The first "Knox County" in Illinois is unrelated to the current one. In 1790, the land that was to become Illinois was divided into two counties: St. Clair and Knox. But Knox included land in what was to later become Indiana. When Knox County, Indiana was formed from this portion of the county in 1809, the Illinois portions were subdivided into counties that were given other names. The modern Knox County, Illinois, was organized in 1825 from Fulton County, itself a portion of the original St. Clair County. This county was obviously formed by the time Richard and Barbara arrived after 1860.

Barbara Beaver Corbin's Headstone

Barbara died there on 19 December 1876, and she was buried in the cemetery in Knox County, Illinois.

After Barbara’s death, Richard remarried — a woman named Ellen (no surname) who was 19 years younger than him. They are found in the 1880 Census living together in Persifer.

Richard Corbin died 1 June 1886, in Persifer, Knox County, Illinois and is buried in Myers, Knox County, Illinois, presumably beside his first wife, Barbara.

This page written and researched by Susan Overturf Ingraham, a descendant of both the Corbins and Beavers. Page last updated July 19, 2019.

Return to Table of Contents for Exploring Ancestral Roots: Overturfs, Hansens, McDonalds and Mahoneys

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  2. Map courtesy of Wikipedia

  3. Map at left of Virginia with Page County highlighted is courtesy of Wikipedia.