Birthabt 1742, Frederick County, Virginia colony
Deathabt 1825, Fayette County, Ohio
FatherMichael Harness (Ernst) (1701-1785)
Birth1742, Virginia colony
Marriageabt 1770, Virginia
ChildrenJohn (~1770-1818)
 Peter, Jr. (~1773-~1852)
 Margaret (~1774-)
 Michael (~1775-)
 Sarah (~1776-)
 Susannah (~1778-)
 George W. (~1783-1876)
 Jacob (1785-1840)
 Elizabeth (~1790-)
 Arthur (~1790-~1831)
 Adam (~1794-1851)
Notes for Peter HARNESS
Peter Harness (born about 1742 in Frederick County, VA and died abt. 1825 in Fayette County, Ohio).
Most researchers believe that Peter and his wife Susan, married and started raising their family in Virginia, first in the Loony’s Creek area of the South Branch, and later in the portion of Rockingham County that became Pendleton County. It is unclear whether Susan died in Virginia or accompanied Peter and his sons to Ohio about 1811. If their birth dates are accurate Peter and Susan would both have been in their late 60’s at that point in their lives.

From John F Valentine book, “Notes in the Joel Wood Family bible indicate Joel and his family moved from (Pendleton County,WV (then VA) to Ohio in 1811 in the company of the families of Michael Carr, Aaron Kendel, Joseph Hidy and Peter Harnes. “
Ref: Joel Wood Family Bible % Jack Kellough Washington C H, OH 1961 (also in Bible records of Fayette Co., OH Vol 2; Comp. by Mrs Harry M Rankin 1962; OAR Gen Records Comm., Fayette Co., OH

According to Michael Stump’s returns for Hampshire County, Peter Harness was a property owner in that portion of Pendleton County that was Rockingham County in 1782. Six people were listed as members of the Peter Harness household in 1782. Hardy County records indicate that 232 acres in Rockingham County were conveyed by deed to Peter Harness by Andrew Trumbo and wife, Margaret (Harness) on August 23, 1781. The Trumbo’s then moved to Kentucky. Pendleton County (which was formed in 1787) is just west over a mountain from Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Deed records of Hardy County, WVA indicate that in September, 1811, Peter and Susannah Harness sold the 232 acres in Pendleton County to John Davis, Jr.
They then presumably left Virginia for Ohio, accompanied by at least some of their sons.
The 1810 Rockingham County, Virginia census included two of Peter and Susannah Harness’ children, John and Michael.

Susan and Peter Harness had 11 children in all: Michael, Elizabeth, George, Arthur, Margaret, Sarah, Susannah, Adam, Jacob, John and Peter, Jr.
Census records indicate that all of their sons spent some time in Ohio, in the Fayette county area, probably in Jefferson township.
The 1820 Federal Census shows the elder Peter Harness, and his sons Peter, Jr., Arthur and George all still living in Jefferson Township, Fayette County, Ohio.

It is believed by some researchers, but not completely documented, that Peter purchased the western half of Edward Duff's Survey # 1271 in Fayette County, Ohio in 1814 (about 1,100 acres) and divided it among his surviving sons. (see Ohio land records later in this file) Other undocumented information indicates that the purchase of the Duff’s Survey land was made from a Jesse McKay and that the entire purchase price was $2,000.

Jefferson Township organized school districts March 18 1826. Records show that township trustees divided Jefferson township into 7 school districts. Land owned by Peter Harness (Jr.), Jacob Harness, Adam Harness and Arthur Harness were included in the 3rd district, Land owned by George Harness was included in the 2nd district. (Peter Harness Sr. had died about 1825, and presumably the land included within the newly designated school districts as owned by his sons was that gifted to them from his 1814 purchase of the western half of the Duff survey. Son John Harness was not included in the gift of land as he had died in 1818 at the hand of another of Peter, Sr.’s sons, Michael, who also was not gifted any land as he had been charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of brother John, had junped bail and fled back to Virginia.

Warrantee Name:   EDWARD DUFF
Land Office:   OHIO
Document Number:   586
Total Acres:   2000
Signature:   Yes
Canceled Document:   No
Issue Date:   November 09, 1801
Metes and Bounds:   Yes
Survey Date:   1793/11/1
Statutory Reference:   1 Stat. 82
Multiple Warantee Names:   No
Act or Treaty:   August 10, 1790
Multiple Patentee Names:   No
Entry Classification:   Script Warrant Act of 1790
Land Description:  
1       No  

Source Information for above:
United States. Bureau of Land Management. Ohio Land Records [database on-line] Provo, UT:, 1997-. Original electronic data from: United States. Bureau of Land Management. Ohio Pre-1908 Homestead & Cash Entry Patent and Cadastral Survey Plat Index. General Land Office Automated Records Project, 1996.

According to Fayette County, Ohio court records all three of John’s children were mentioned in Peter’s will as devisees, a legal term dating back to the 15th century meaning the recipient of real property according to a will. In 1838, John’s children went to Fayette County court to redeem 61 and a half acres of land along Sugar Creek that they said had been bequeathed to them in their grandfather Peter’s will, but had been sold in the interim to satisfy county tax claims. The court ruled in the children’s favor. The land involved was part of Duff's survey #1271 and was likely their father, John's share of the land his father (Peter) had purchased in 1814.

Peter Harness will was probated Feb. 21, 1825 in Fayette County, Ohio. However, a fire in 1828 destroyed many of the county’s records, including the will, according to the Fayette County Records and Archives Center.

NOTE: While Peter Harness’ male siblings appeared to be active in military and other affairs, virtually nothing is known about any similar involvement in such activities by Peter. That he was reportedly lame may account for that. That he was lame is contained in a one line reference made by one of the earliest Harness family historians, Helen Yoakum Black, in a letter she wrote in 1872. Mrs. Black was very elderly at the time and much of the information she wrote has since proven only marginally correct, and it is pointed out here only as a possible explanation as to why Peter Harness appears to have been not active in any pursuits other than farming in marked contrast to some of his brothers.
Last Modified 6 Sep 2009Created 15 Oct 2011 using Reunion for Macintosh