Henry RUPE and Catherine Barbara NOLL ~ The Years in Rockbridge (1793-1801)

One hundred and ten years ago today on 26 March 1906 a great-great-great-granddaughter of Henry RUPE and Catherine Barbara NOLL was born.
Happy Birthday to my grandmother Myrtle Hazel ROOP (1906-1997).

Time to Leave Maryland

I wonder if Maryland was becoming too crowded for the Henry RUPE family in the 1790s? After he sold Rineharts Folly on Tuesday, 23 April 1793, there is no further trace of the family in Baltimore County.[1] If you missed their time in Maryland you can read
Henry RUPE and Catherine Barbara NOLL ~ The Early Years in Maryland (1765-1793).

From family tradition and documents which point to new locations, we know my fifth great-grandparents Henry RUPE and Catherine Barbara NOLL prepared to leave Maryland. They packed up their personal and household goods, rounded up their livestock and five children and made their way to a destination which may not have been known when they set out. Did they have a wagon for the journey ahead or did they buy a Lancaster Conestoga wagon? Did they travel alone or with others? Unless someone kept a diary, we will never know the answers to all of our questions. Some facts, or is it fiction, were passed down and recounted by Henry’s great-grandson Redmond Ira ROOP at a family reunion in 1927 in Carroll County, Maryland (extracts in italics in the boxes).

Traveling on what was once the Baltimore and Memphis Turnpike, the Rupe caravan crossed the Potomac at Harper’s Ferry in 1796.[2]

In 1793 Henry was about 28, his wife Catherine 25, son Jacob 7,  daughter Elisabeth 6, twin sons John and Henry 4, and baby daughter Barbara was less than a year old. If they did not make the trip until 1796 as recounted by Redmond another three years need to be added to the ages.

However 1793 would seem to be more logical as their next child, son George was born in Virginia per his three living children’s 1880 census listings. George who was not found on the 1850 census died the summer of 1859 at the age of 65. This would place his birth at about 1794.

The Three Older Brothers of Henry?

The caravan included Henry, his wife Catherine, and their family of several sons and daughters, the three older brothers of Henry, and their families.[2]

Who doesn’t have a story of several brothers? I asked this question in
Rupe/Roop/Ruppe/Rupp Migration in the Years 1752-1820. I believe not the brothers but a sister’s family may have taken the journey with them as well as a single sister-in-law.

Catherine left behind her elderly father Anthony NOLL age 70, a younger step-mother Catharina, brothers Francis and John, sisters Lovis, Elizabeth, Magdalena and Betsey, and a half-sister also named Catharina. All were mentioned in the will Anthony NOLL left in 1801 in Baltimore County. My fifth great-grandmother Catherine Barbara NOLL and another daughter Polly NOLL were not mentioned in the will.[3]

Public domain, released by David Dilts, a Family History Research Wiki user.

Henry left behind his brother Michael and sister Anna Maria, both married with children. His oldest brother Jacob has not been traced as well as George, who is only known because he signed the Oath of Alligiance in 1778 in Baltimore County. A brother named John, included in the family group by early researchers, has not been documented.

It is not known if his parents were still living in 1793. There has been some speculation by earlier researchers that the older RUPE couple may have accompanied Henry and his family on the Great Wagon Trail through the Shenandoah Valley. Redmond did not mention the parents in his narrative.

Henry’s brother Martin most likely took to the trail several years earlier as his daughter Sophia was born in Virginia abt. 1790. He was in Surry County, North Carolina, by 1795.

Henry’s sister Barbara and her husband George WEAVER also made the trip with their family – but when? George WEAVER sold his land in Baltimore County in 1785 when his wife Barbara relinquished her dower rights. However they remained in the county for five more years having children in 1786, 1789, and 1790. Is it possible the WEAVERs traveled with the RUPE family or the did the RUPE family follow the WEAVERs?

The Trip

Who hasn’t read of the hardship our ancestors endured while traveling overland. Horse and oxen pulled the covered wagons over rutted and narrow dirt roads or trails. Streams and rivers had to be crossed, dry or swollen from rains. Not all crossings went well.

In crossing the Potomac the cattle and other larger animals were forced to swim, and the sons of Henry held the ropes attached to the horns of the cows. One wild cow pulled one of the unsuspecting Rupe boys overboard while crossing and he might have been lost had they not missed the cow, which finally reached shore with the boy swinging to her tail some distance down stream.[2]

The first leg of the journey had taken them from Manchester southwest through Frederick on to Harpers’ Ferry where they entered Virginia after crossing the Potomac River. A crossing retold over the years to become part of the family legend. Imagine the scene! If only I had my great-grandfather Walter Farmer ROOP’s talent for drawing.

The three brothers of Henry split with one of them going to Ohio, one to Western North Carolina, and the other to Georgia.[2]

Per family tradition following the crossing of the Potomac the caravan split up. However I cannot find proof of a RUPE brother going to Ohio or Georgia. As mentioned earlier, Martin RUPE, the brother who went to North Carolina, traveled through Virginia in 1790 when a child was born in the state, and lived in Surry County, North Carolina, from at least 1795 until before 1810.

The End of the First Leg of the Journey

Oren Frederic Morton, A History of Rockbridge County, Virginia, published 1920 by McClure Co., Staunton, Virginia- (https://archive.org/stream/historyofrockbri00mortrich#page/n313/mode/2up : accessed 20 March 2016)

The trail entered the Shenandoah Valley between two mountain ranges, the Blue Ridge on the east and the Allegheny Mountains on the west, near Winchester. At times it was not unusual to see a half a dozen wagons a day passing through a point in the Shenandoah Valley. The RUPE family were bound for the southwestern part of the state but their journey would end, for a while, before they reached the Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County. At a rate of 10 to 15 miles a day it would have taken them about 2-3 weeks to travel from Manchester, Maryland, to this point in Rockbridge County.

Henry and family journeyed through the Shenandoah Valley and into Rockbridge County, bound for the southwestern section of the state, then rather sparsely settled. When they reached Buffalo Creek, four miles north of Natural Bridge, a great flood overtook them and they were forced to remain for several days. A report reached them that Natural Bridge had washed away, and it being the only passage, it would require four years to restore the bridge. They settled on Buffalo Creek and built a mill there, which they operated for years before they learned that the report of the bridge destruction was like Mark Twain’s comment on the first report of his death, considerable exaggereated (sic).[2]

If the WEAVER family had been traveling with RUPE family through the Shenandoah Valley to Rockbridge they likely separated when Henry’s family built the mill and settled on Buffalo Creek. George and Barbara WEAVER were in Stokes County, North Carolina, by 1798 when their oldest son married.

In 1798 Henry RUPE was living in Rockbridge County, Virginia. This is a fact documented in Baltimore County’s land records. Rineharts Folly, the land he sold in 1793,  once again plays a role in the family tale.

BALTIMORE COUNTY COURT (Land Records) 1798-1798 WG 56, pp. 0039-0040 [2 images] MSA CE 66-106. (https://mdlandrec.net : accessed 5 March 2016)
To view the full images of this land record please refer to my post Where I Found the Land Records of my RUPE Ancestors in Maryland for directions.

Henry Roop                     This Indenture made the nineteenth day
To                                       of May seventeen hundred and ninety Eight
Jacob Boblits                    Between Henry Roop of Rockbrdig County
and State of Virginia of the one part and Jacob Boblits of Baltimore
County and State of Maryland of the other part Witnesseth that
the said Henry Rop for and in consideration of the sum of one
hundred and fifteen Pounds Current Money did Convey unto the
said Jacob Boblits by a deed of Conveyance bearing date the
nineteenth day of April Seventeen hundred and ninety three one
hundred acres of land all that Tract of land called Rine=
=harts Folley Resurveyed lying and being in Baltimore County
aforesaid as by said Deed may more fully appear and for as
much as the said Deed is found to be erronious in several parts
therefore the said Henry Roop in order to Correct the Errors in the
aforesaid ded of Conveyance as well as for and in consideration
of the sum of one hundred and fifteen pounds Current money
afsd to him in hand paid before the ensealing and delivering of
the afsd Deed of Conveyance by the said Jacob Boblits the receipt
whereof the said Henry Roop doth hereby Acknowledge and him
selfe to be therewith fully sattisfyed contented and Paid Hath
and by these Presents doth give grant Bargain sell alien
enfeoff and confirm unto him the said Jacob Boblits his heirs and
assigns forever all that Tract of land called Rineharts Folley
resurveyed situate lying and being in Baltimore County aforesaid
Beginning at the original beginning and running and boun
=ding as is expressed in the original Certificate and Grant
of said land which Expresses to contain one hundred acres
of land more or less To have and To hold all the afsd Tract
of land called Rineharts Folley Resurveyed and all the ap=
=purtanances thereunto belonging or in any wise appurtaining
unto hin the said Jacob Boblits his heirs and assigns for
=ever: and for and unto their only Proper use and behoofe
and the said Henry Roop doth hereby for himselfe and his heirs
Exrs. and Admrs. Convenant grant and agree to Warrant and
forever defend the aforesaid bargained land and appertanances
and every part and Parcel thereof with all rights Titles previledges
proffits and benefitts thereunto belonging or in any wise appurtaining
unto him the said Jacob Boblits his heirs and assigns forever against
all manner Persons whatever. Claiming or to Claime any right Title
or interest in or unto the afsd bargained land and appurtanances
or any Part or parcel thereof and In Witness whereof the said Henry
Roop hath hereunto sett his hand and affixed his seal the day
and year first above written                 Henry his X mark Roop  Seal
signed sealed and Delivered                 Received the day of the within
in the Presents of                                     date of Jacob Boblits one hundred
Alexis Lemmon                                        and fifteen pounds Current
Charles his KB mark Boblits
money the full Consideraton for the land appertainances with
=in mentioned                     pr me                Henry his + mark Roop
witnessed by                       Baltimore County Cst on the nineteenth day
Alexis Lemmon                   of May 1798 Came the within named Henry
Roop before us the subscribers two of Justices of the peace for
said County and acknowledged the within Instrument of
writing to be his act and deed and the land and appertain=
=ances within mentioned to the Right Title and Estate of the within
named Jacob Boblits his heirs and assigns forever according
to the true intent and meaning thereof                    Alexis Lemmon
Received to be Recorded the 15th day of                 George Kerlinger
September 1798 same Day Recorded and Examinded p. Wm. Gibson Clk

[Transcription by Cathy Meder-Dempsey, 12 March 2016]
afsd = aforesaid; pr= per; Cst= scilicit (latin meaning that is to say or to wit)

Due to an error or omission in the original land deed dated 19 April 1793 the document had to be recorded again. I may be incorrect about this but Alexis Lemmon and Charles Boblitz may have traveled to Rockbridge County to have the deed signed by Henry Roop who left his mark on 19 May 1798 and then had it recorded in Baltimore County on 15 September 1798. Was Charles Boblitz the son or a relative of Jacob Boblitz, the grantee? Was he taking care of family business by going to Rockbridge? The 1793 deed was missing the day of the month at the beginning but the description of the tract was identical to that found in the 1788 deed in which Jacob RUPE sold the land to his son Henry RUPE. In the deed above the complete description was omitted.

A Wedding Before Moving On

Early in the year 1800 they left Rockbridge Co. and wound up in Lunenburg Co., VA where they had at least one child before settling on Pelham’s Branch, near Little River, about eight miles southwest of Christiansburg, Montgomery Co., VA.[2]

This last statement is incorrect. Henry was still in Rockbridge in early 1801 when he gave witness to the age of a young lady who was married the same day. Later in the year when the tax list was drawn up, he would no longer be in the county.

1801 Oath. Courtesy of Nellie Hart, a descendant of James HART and Polly NULL, received per email 25 Feb 2006.

Rockbridge County To Wit
This Day Came before me a Justice
of the Peace for said County Henry Roop and
made oath that Polly Null who is about
to be married to James Hart is of his own
knowledge above the age of Twenty one
years — Certified under my hand this 13th Jany
1801                     Alex Sheilds (sic)

The marriage which took place in Rockbridge County on 13 January 1801 brings up a question. Who was Polly NULL?

1801 Marriage Bond. Courtesy of Nellie Hart, a descendant of James HART and Polly NULL, received per email 25 Feb 2006.

Know all men by these presents that we
James Hart and John Berryhill
are held and firmly bound to James Monroe
governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia or
his successor in the sum of one hundred and
fifty Dollars to which payment well and
truly to be made we bind ourselves our heirs
Exors & jointly and severally firmly by these
Presents – Witness our hands and seals this
13th Day of January 1801
The Condition of the above obligation is such
that whereas there is a marriage shortly intended
to be solemized (sic) between the above bound James
Hart and Polly Null Daughter of
Anthony Null of Baltimore County
and State of Maryland
If therefore there shall be no lawful cause to obstruct
the same then this obligation to be void or else to
remain in full force
James (his +mark) Hart   seal
James (his o mark) Berryhill   seal
A. Reid Jr.

Polly NULL, daughter of Anthony NULL of Baltimore County, Maryland, married in Rockbridge and had her age witnessed by Henry. Neither document points to Henry’s relationship to the bride. There was only one Anthony NOLL in Baltimore County, Maryland, during this time period. The NULL and NOLL spelling of the surname was found in the land records of Anthony NOLL. Polly NULL has to be a younger sister of Catherine NOLL and a sister-in-law of Henry.

Finding Polly raises several questions. Did she accompany the RUPE family or did she join them several years later? She would have been a young teenager in 1793 and may have gone along to help her sister Catherine with the five young children. Did she choose to join Catherine instead of staying with her father and step-mother? Why did Catherine and Polly’s father omit them from his last will and testament in 1801? Did the RUPE family keep in touch with the families in Baltimore County over the years?

This 1801 marriage is the last documented proof of Henry RUPE, seen at this time as ROOP, being in the county of Rockbridge. Soon after, while Polly NULL and her husband James HART remained in Rockbridge, Henry pulled up stakes and continued south with his family which now numbered 10 persons: Henry was 36 years old, his wife Catherine 33, their children Jacob 15, Elizabeth 14, twins John and Henry 12, Barbara 9, George 7, Caty 5, and William less than a year old.

The RUPE family left for a new destination and it couldn’t have been Lunenburg County, Virginia.


[1] MDLandRec, A Digital Image Retrieval System for Land Records & Indices for Baltimore County, (https://mdlandrec.net : accessed March 2016)
[2] Redmond Ira ROOP (1869-1947) at a 1927 family reunion in Carroll County, Maryland per research notes of Linda Pearl Dickey Roop (1943-1994)
[3] “Maryland, Register of Wills Books, 1629-1999,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-24153-57010-13?cc=1803986&wc=M97S-ZJ3:n1483733492 : accessed 22 Jul 2013), Baltimore > Wills 1797-1802 vol 6 > images 177 and 178 of 288.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Henrich “Henry” RUPE Sr.
Parents: Johann Jacob RUPP and Maria Barbara NONNENMACHER
Spouse: Catherine Barbara NOLL
Parents of spouseJohan Anton “Anthony” NOLL and Maria Magdalena BRENTEL
Whereabouts: Baltimore MD, Rockbridge VA, Montgomery VA
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 5th great-grandfather

  1. Henrich “Henry” RUPE Sr.
  2. James ROOP
  3. Gordon H. ROOP
  4. Gordon Washington ROOP
  5. Walter Farmer ROOP
  6. Myrtle Hazel ROOP
  7. Fred Roosevelt Dempsey
  8. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

When I’m not doing genealogy and blogging, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful Luxembourg countryside.

12 thoughts on “Henry RUPE and Catherine Barbara NOLL ~ The Years in Rockbridge (1793-1801)”

    1. That is also what I thought but there probably wouldn’t be any kind of documentation for it. I’ve seen children in other wills who only get $1 or nothing because they already received their share. But Anthony didn’t do this in this will. Thank you Schalene.


  1. I know that one of my ancestral families travelled from Virginia to Ohio. I’ll be looking at this in detail soon but at the moment I’m concentrating on another theme (immigrant ancestors).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great American story! I love the image of the boy holding onto a cow tail in the river!! You are so fortunate to have these stories and the records behind them.

    Liked by 1 person

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