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Elizabeth 'Betsy' (Sturtz) Comp
(1804-1883)

 
Final resting places of Elizabeth and Jacob Comp, Dry Ridge Cemetery
Courtesy Brian J. Ensley, Find-a-Grave

 

Elizabeth "Betsy" (Sturtz) Comp was born in about 1804 (or 1809) in Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA, the daughter of John "Adam" and Maria "Catherine" (Gaumer) Sturtz Sr.

She married Jacob Comp (1794-1873), son of John and Elizabeth (Sturner) Comp, the father a native of Berks County, PA and the mother born in Somerset County. Jacob grew up on his parents' farm in Southampton Township in what was popularly known as the "Comp Settlement." 

 

German Reformed Church, Wellersburg, 
a local landmark.
Library of Congress

Jacob and Elizabeth are named in the 1912 book by John W. Jordan and James Hadden, entitled Genealogical and Personal History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, Vol. III.

They produced these known children -- Elizabeth Hufferd, Lucinda Geller, Sarah Lepley, John Comp, Solomon Comp, Samuel Comp, Jacob Comp Jr., Adam Andrew Comp, Catherine Ann "Caty" Sarver, Matilda Beltz and Hannah Diehl.

The Comps made a home in the 1840s and '50s in Buffalo Mills, Harrison Township, Bedford County.

In about 1853, Elizabeth purchased a family Bible, published a few years before by John B. Pury, 198 Market Street in Philadelphia. Over the ensuing years, the names of their children and birthdates were inscribed in the pages.

The Comps remained in Buffalo Mills circa 1860 when the federal census again was taken. That year, nine-year-old Rocina Craft lived under their roof, and they were next-door neighbors to their son and daughter-in-law, Samuel and Lucy Comp.

Several of their sons, sons-in-law and grandsons served in the Union Army during the Civil War.

In the summer of 1873, Jacob knew he was dying. He wrote his last will and testament, with Samuel Weisel and George Elder witnessing the document. Because Jacob could not write, he signed with an "X." Despite his failing health, he stated that he was "of sound disposing mind and memory..." His first bequest was to his "beloved wife" who if she remained as his widow was to receive all of the balance of their property. The only exception was their three-cornered tract of 1.5 acres, on which their son Solomon was living at the time, "all that is enclosed within the fence..." He named his son Adam, and "esteemed friend" M.C. Miller, as co-executors of the estate.

He also decreed that upon Elizabeth's death, the real estate was to be sold and the proceeds divided equally among their "beloved" children. He spelled out their names: "Elizabeth intermarried with Solomon Hufferd, Lucinda intermarried with John Geller, Sarah intermarried with Adam Lepley, Catharine intermarried with William Sarver, Matilda intermarried with Louis Beltz, Hannah intermarried with Adam Diehl, my son John's heirs, Solomon, Samuel's heirs, and Adam."

Later, witnesses Weisel and Elder swore that they were present and saw Jacob make his mark and seal, "he being unable to write, that they heard him pronounce and decree it to be his last will and testament."

 

Jacob's last will and testament, dated 1873 (Will Book 5, page 135 - Courtesy Bedford County (PA) Register of Wills

 

Jacob died on Nov. 1, 1873 at the age of about 78. Burial was in Dry Ridge Cemetery, today known as the Trinity United Church of Christ Cemetery in Bedford County. [Find-a-Grave]

Elizabeth outlived her spouse by a decade and succumbed on May 5, 1883.

An auction sale of Elizabeth's possessions was held on May 26, 1883. Her sons and sons-in-law were among a number of buyers. John Hufferd purchased a butter churn and cow. Lewis Beltz acquired two pairs of bedsteads, a bucket, bushel of salt, two cow chains, kettles, skillet, cupboard, hog ringer and lamp, two boxes, four chairs and a tin plate stove. William Sarver bought a side saddle, stove, mattock, lot of fruit cans, dough tray and bureau. Solomon Comp made purchases of a pair of bedsteads, a half barrel of vinegar, a bee hive, crocks of lard, looking glass, 35 yards of carpet, and table and cloth. Adam Diehl acquired a flax hackler, poll axe and butter ball. John Comp was top bidder for a clock and clothes bucket. Neighbor Marcus May -- of the family of Leonard and Catherine (Younkin) May -- attended the sale and took home a bucket and stuffer.

Afterward, the family Bible was placed in the possession of their son Solomon, who had care of it circa 1913.

The Comps were mentioned in a May 1987 article, headlined "Files Reveal Log Home Owners," in the Laurel Messenger of the Historical and Genealogical Society of Somerset County. In response, researcher Richard F. Albright of Merced, CA wrote a letter to the editor, providing additional details about the lives of Jacob and Betsy and his siblings.

 

~ More ~

We are grateful for records provided by Gilbert R. Gaumer of Glendale, MO (compiled 1973-1980), Paul K. Gaumer and Mary L. Shirer in the preparation of this biography.

The Gaumer and Hoyman clans are profiled in the 486-page book Some Notes, Quotes, and Quips of the Hoyman Clan and Related Lines, authored by David LeRoy Baldwin and published by Gateway Press in 1993.

 

Copyright 2000, 2011, 2015-2019, 2021 Mark A. Miner

Contributing their knowledge to this biography have been the late Gilbert R. Gaumer, Barbara (Moss) Wardsworth and Keith Sturts. German Reformed Church illustration courtesy Library of Congress.