Who was the First Garlitz of our Family History?
Unfortunately, there is uncertainty as to the actual name of the Garlitz Family progenitor. Most family historians have identified him as Christian Garlitz, referred to in the listings as Christian the First (I). There are several inconsistent historical accounts that include the Garlitz progenitor: Jacob Brown's Miscellaneous Writings of 1896, Charles E. Hoye's article of 1935, St. Ann Mission History of 1930, and presumably the 1790 census. All of these sources were written in good faith, but they must be reconciled with fact and with each other.
Brown's, the earliest record, does not give our progenitor a name but rather records him as the unnamed father of John, Henry, and Christian Garlitz. "-------Garlitz, father of Christian, Henry and John, and two sisters, was born in Montgomery county, Md. During, or near the close of the Revolutionary War, he removed with his family westward and located in the southeastern part of Somerset, (then Bedford,) Co. Pa. Here his family grew up, Henry and John remained in Pennsylvania, and Christian stepping over the line into his native State."
Writing thirty nine years later, Hoye identifies this unnamed Garlitz as Christian Garlitz. "Christian Garlitz I, soon after the American Revolution, moved from Montgomery County, Maryland to what is now Greenville Township, Somerset County, Pa. He settled just north of the Maryland line and was one of the first settlers of that township, then well forested and a fine hunting ground. In the census of 1790 Christy Garlick is listed in Bedford (now Somerset) County with a family of five males and three females. Three of Christians sons were Christian, John, and Henry."
The 1920 History of St. Ann Mission includes the background of Christian Garlitz (III), one of the mission's founders. Based on interviews with the Garlitz parishioners, the writer identifies Christian Garlitz III's father as John Garlitz and recounts that the Garlitz family claim him as the first Garlitz in the area (now Garrett County, MD & Somerset County, PA). This we know to be incorrect. The writer most likely erred when recording the Garlitz family testimony for they certainly knew that the father of Christian (III), that is their grandfather, was Henry Garlitz. The John Garlitz they spoke of was the man they believed to be the first Garlitz settler in the area. We do not know if their story was correct or not, though no records exist pointing to a John Garlitz as the first settler.
Finally, we have the 1790 census. Here we find a Christly Garlick and two Hendrey Garlets. It appears that Hoye referred to the census in deducing that the unnamed Garlitz of Brown's account was Christian, assuming that Garlick was a variation of Garlitz and Christly of Christian. This may be the case and that has been widely accepted. Still, Garlitz family genealogists have had to contend with the census record of Hendrey Garlets and the fact that the Brown history did not conclude that Christly Garlick was the same man as the unnamed Garlitz. Therefore they seek to reconcile Hoye, Brown and the census by naming this early Garlitz as Hendrey Christian Garlitz or simply Christian I. (Hendrey is spelled variously Heinrich, Henrich, Henry) To include the St. Ann Mission account on the father of Christian (III), the first settler is named John Hendrey Garlitz which neatly takes care of the second Hendrey of the census as well as the John story. Presumably this John Garlitz traveled to Western Pennsylvania as an older man with his married son Christian I.
In the end we are unable
to reconcile the facts, because they, to this date, simply have not been
discovered. Therefore we can only reconcile the stories. Thus, for the
present, the history presented on this website lists the first Garlitz
in the area, the one who came from Prussia, as John Hendrey Garlitz. The
Garlitz to whom all the family histories are traced is Hendrey Christian
Garlitz or Christian I. The great hunter of folklore is Christian II. And
the convert to the Catholic faith and the settler of Avilton, MD, is Christian
More on the three Christian Garlitzs