Hagler ancestors migrated from Switzerland to North Carolina

Published 11:59 pm Friday, April 11, 2014

There are a few Hagler descendants residing in Covington County who are proud of their Hagler ancestry. Their immediate parents and grandparents first settled and lived along the border of Dale and Barbour Counties in Southeast Alabama. They had migrated to that area circa 1836 from Mechlenburg County, N.C.

Available records contend that the earliest Hagler ancestor was found in the Germanic Kingdom Westphalia, which is the current northwest area of Germany near the Dutch border. There was a tribal chiefton there in 1230 who went by the Hagler name. Some of the later Hagler families moved before 1750 into the area of Langenbruck, Canton Basel, Switzerland. The exact date of any descendant immigrating to this country is not known.

The ancestors in Langenbruck begin with Hans Hagler I, who was born in 1634 and married Margaret Regenass. Their son, Hans Hagler II, was born in Langenbruck in 1660 and was married in 1682 to Margaret Techudi. They in turn, had a son whom they named Johannes (John) Hagler I, b. 1684 in Diegten, Basle, Switzerland, and died there in 1784. Johannes I was married to Maria Mobler, and their son, Johannes Hagler II, b. 1726, d. 1772, was the ancestor who immigrated to America. After arriving in Pennsylvania, he settled in Mechlenburg County, N.C., where he lived out his life and died in 1872.

Johannes Hagler II was married to Anna Barbara Clontz (1725-1777) whose birthplace is unknown. In 1752, John II attempted to secure land by obtaining a Lord Grandville Grant. He purchased land in 1765 on the Dutch Buffalo Creek in Mechlenburg County, which is now Cabarrus. He also established a “House Mill” there, and operatin a mill became a tradition in succeeding generations of this family. John II made his will in which he named his heirs on May 29, 1771 and then died on May 22, 1772.

Among John II and Anna’s children was a son they named Johannes Hagler III (1755-1811). This John was called “John the Cripple” due to having an inherited clubfoot. Unfortunately his trait was passed down through later generations. In (1766?), John II was married to Catherine “Cathy” Sides (Seitz) (1752-1813). They settled at a site that became Hagler’s Ford, located near the intersection of Dutch Buffalo Creek and Rocky River, N.C. They were charter members of the Cold Water German Reform Church. Also, John served as a public official of Mechlenburg County from 1775 to 1782.

John III and Catherine Hagler reared the following 10 children: Christina Barbara, b. 1772, d. 1856; Jacob, b. 1773, d. 1852, m. (1) 1795 Mary Polly Love (1773-1850 (2) Magdalene Long (3) ?; Mary, b. 1772, d. 1856; John E. IV “Junior,” b. 1774, d. 1834; Catherine, b. 1779, d. 1856; J. Peter, b. 1780, d. 1852; Leonard, b. 1786; Mary “Molly,” b. 1786, d. 1846; Charles, b. 1793, d. 1870; and Elizabeth, b. 1800, d. 1826.

John III’s third oldest son, J. Peter Hagler, was a successful farmer with large acreage on both sides of the county line, and his house mill was located on Rocky River and Crooked Creek in Anso (now Union County), North Carolina. He is the ancestor who packed up and migrated in 1835 with seven of his children to Barbour County in Southeast, Ala. He was the leader of a large group including the Thomas and Long families along with his own who made the move. He had lost two wives in previous years and was at the time married to Margaret “Peggy” Polk. He had five children by his first wife whose name is unknown and two by his second wife, Sally Dry. He and Margaret hand three children together.

Some family researchers have some ideas of why J. Peter pulled up and left the area and why he and Margaret separated at the time. Margaret was a relative of U.S. President James K. Polk and had inherited family land in North Carolina. She refused all of J. Peter’s offers to accompany him and children to Alabama and chose to remain on her property. There are some indications that relations between them had not been pleasant for the 10 or so years of their marriage. The marriage appears to have ended unpleasantly, and no record of a divorce has been found. This may explain why J. Peter appears to have been living with a fourth lady, Sarah Cooley, in Alabama, who has been listed as his consort. So, it is not known if they were ever legally married even though J. Peter listed Sarah as his wife in his will.

Upon arriving in Southeast Alabama, J. Peter Hagler, his sons and his sons-in-law purchased land in Barbour and Dale Counties. They settled on prime land located on a ridge running from Skipperville in Dale County to Louisville in Barbour County. At the time the local Indians had not been completely removed. The son Thomas was the first to own the strategic sight of Blue Springs. The other Hagler men and in-laws chose the lands surrounding the springs and the West Fork of the Choctowhatchee River. This location assured them of a means of transportation all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and a plentiful supply of fresh water.

J. Peter Hagler and is first wife whose name is unknown had the following children: John, b. 1797, d. 1885, m. Barbera Qaisberry (1802-1861); Infant daughter, b. 1802; Catherine, b. 1805, d. 1844, m. Murton Thomas (1799-1852); Phoebe, b. 1808, d. 1848, m. Joel Lee Thomas (1804-1852); and Thomas Jacob, b. 1811, d. 1901, m. Lydia Thomas (1815-1853).

J. Peter and his second wife, Sarah “Sally” Dry (1791-1819), had the following two children: Charles W., b. 1814, d. 1892, m. Nancy ? (1820-1890); and Elizabeth “Betsy,” b. 1816, d. 1880, m. Charles Long (1811-1866).

J. Peter and his third wife, Margaret “Peggy” Polk (1787-1870), daughter of John and Elizabeth Polk, were married in 1920 and had the following three children: Hiram Wilson, b. 1822, d. 1864 during W.B.T.S., m. Rosanna Rushing (1825-1907); Mary Melinda, b. 1825, d. 1886, m. Milas Medlin; and Patsy, b. 1827. Apparently J. Peter and his consort/wife, Sarah Cooley, did not have any children.

Throughout the years J. Peter and his families were actively involved in both the Lutheran and the German Reformed Church. At his death, he was buried on his own land in what became the Hagler Cemetery.

Much research has been done on the Hagler family, which allows for an additional column for next week. The sources for this writing include research and stories shared by several Hagler descendants. Rev. Dr. Don Hagler of Ariton, Ala., had family stories published in The Heritage of Dale County, Alabama. Sarah (Hagler) Kelly of Dothan wrote a family story for The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama and submitted other records. Martha (Clark) Brightwell of Andalusia contributed family records, and some information was taken from Ancestry.com.

Anyone who might find errors in the above genealogy is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.