Barger Family History Society

Barger Family Resources - North Carolina

North Carolina Resources at RootsWeb

North Carolina Fact Sheet

North Carolina Research Outline (LDS)

North Carolina Vital Records

State of North Carolina

1895 North Carolina Atlas

North Carolina County Outline Map

North Carolina GenWeb Project

Mississippi GenWeb Archives

North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans

Everton's North Carolina Resources

Cyndi's List - North Carolina

State Library of North Carolina

North Carolina in the Revolutionary War

North Carolina Genealogical Society

Barrier, Berger, Barger Families of North Carolina

Will of George Henry Barger

Will of Charles Berger

Court Record: Division of Lands of George Berger

Thomas Barger Family of Catawba & Lincoln Co., NC: Originating in England & Ireland

George Henry Berger/Barger Family of Rowan Co., NC: Originating in France & Germany

Barger Burial Places



 Allen Lee Garrison of California traced his line of Bargers back through Oklahoma, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, then to Germany, a task made doubly difficult by the many versions of the surname used by members of the family there and in this country.


The Barger Family of Rowan County, North Carolina


By Allen Lee Garrison


 This is the history of the Barger family which began in America with the immigrant, Johann Michael (or Michel) Beryea (or Berger, Barger, Barrier, Behringer, etc.) who was born in France, and later lived in Wurttemburg, (now part of Germany) before 1714. He died in Rowan County, North Carolina on the 8th day of May 1773. The true ethnic origins of his ancestors are uncertain. Some of his descendants have described themselves as "Dutch" or "Black Dutch" (a term which in America has been broadly applied to natives of any German speaking nation as well as the Netherlands.) Others maintain that he was a French Huguenot. That is a distinct possibility. In those days, French Protestants fled France, seeking refuge from religious persecution where they could; some among the German Lutherans, others in Ireland, England and its colonies.

 What is known about (Johann) Michael and his wife, Catherine, is that regardless of their actual ethnic origins, they were Wurtemburgers in the first half of the 18th Century, and they were both listed in church records in Wurtemburg as the parents of two sons, George H. and Abraham.

 The family departed from Europe through the port of Rotterdam in 1752, and sailed to North America aboard the Phoenix, John Mason, Master, together with 339 Germans. It is not know what become of their son Abraham, but when they arrived in Philadelphia on 2 November 1752, they were accompanied by two sons, Gorge Henry and John, who were born in Wurtemburg in 1734 and 1739, respectively. (It is possible that Abraham and John were one and the same person or that Abraham had left for the new world earlier.) The ship's passenger list includes the name "Michael (X) Behringer." The names of Michael's wife and children are not noted there, but that appears to have been the usual practice.

 Upon arrival, the family settled first in the vicinity of Conestoga Creek in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. (There were other Bargers in the same county at that time, but no relationship to them has yet been disclosed.) They remained there several years.

 Before 1760, the same "George Henrich Birrer" and "Michael Behringer" who had arrived at the port of Philadelphia in 1752, were among those who followed the Great Wagon Road south to North Carolina. The surnames of the father and son are shown differently here and would continue to be shown with various spellings, including Beryea, Berger, Barger, Barager, etc. in tax records, deeds and court records in Rowan County. The North Carolina historian, Robert W. Ramsey, confirms that Georg Henrich Birrer and Michael Behringer were father and son and actually had the same surname. It should be noted that spelling was of little concern in Colonial America. Confronted with persons of foreign birth, clerks and local officials who entered names into public records did the best they could to write what they thought they heard.

 On the 8th day of May 1773, Michael Behringer, the progenitor of this Barger family, died in Rowan County, North Carolina, at the age of 59, leaving his widow, Catherine, and three sons. Two of them, George Henry Berger and John Berger, administered his estate. The youngest son, Jacob Berger, was the only child of Michael and Catherine to have been born in America.

 The second generation of this family line continues with Georg Heinrich Birrer or Berger, who would come to be known as George Henry Berger (or Barger). He was born 30 January 1734 in Vockenroth, Wurtemburg. He came to America, arriving in Philadelphia in 1752, as a young man of 18, together with his parents, (Johan) Michael and Catherine, and his younger brother, John.

 George Henry Berger married Barbara Eddleman, probably in Pennsylvania, but no record of that marriage has been found. It is known that members of the Eddleman family of Northampton, Pennsylvania, leased 50 acres of land in Rowan County, North Carolina from Michael and Katherine Barager in 1769, which suggests that Barbara Eddleman and her family may have been neighbors in both Pennsylvania and North Carolina. It is generally accepted that they were married in Pennsylvania because their first child was born there.

 The second wife of George Henry Berger, whom he married in Rowan County on 28 march 1785, was Catherine Frick Casper, a widow. She was born in 1752, possibly in New Jersey.

 George Henry Berger first came to notice in Rowan County when he enlisted as a scout in Captain Conrad Michael's Company. He is shown on the pay rolls of that company as early as 14 February 1760. In 1761, he became a landowner, having purchased 573 acres of land on Second Creek from the Earl of Granville for 10. He deeded 451 acres to his father in 1762 and continued to buy and sell various parcels of land in Rowan County throughout his life.

 James Brawley, author of The Rowan Story, a history of Rowan County, North Carolina, lists George Henry Berger among those who represented the people of that district in the General Assembly in 1787, and again in 1789, and from 1790 through 1792. He is also listed in that work as a member of a convention from the County of Rowan in 1789, and as Sheriff of Rowan County from 2 February 1779 to 5 May 1778. Brawley's book includes a facsimile of an original document, being the State Oath taken from the February Term 1778 Minutes of the Court, pledging loyalty to the State of North Carolina and disclaiming allegiance to King George the Third, the reigning British Monarch.

 George Henry Berger was clearly a patriot, having participated in a convention in New Bern in August of 1774 which is described as, "the first representative assembly that ever met in America without Royal Authority." The convention, which lasted three days, pledged support to Boston, to the non-importation movement, and elected members to represent North Carolina in what would be the Continental Congress. They established a Council of Safety, as it would come to be known, to review all cases of the local committees and to convene a Provincial Congress when deemed necessary. James Brawley explained that it was the responsibility of the committees to conduct inquiries into the actions and opinions of individuals, to raise money to purchase gunpowder, to organize a militia and to obtain all necessary implements of war, and to enforce with vigor the Resolves of both the Continental and Provincial Congress. The first such committee in North Carolina was that of Rowan County which convened on 23 September 1774, one month after the adjournment of the Provincial Congress. George Henry Berger was among its members.

 His leadership in the community extended to his church. James Brawley, in describing the founding of the German Reformed Church in Rowan County, stated, "The cornerstone was laid in 1795, under the pastorate of the Reverend Andrew Loretz. Colonel George Henry Berger, who was a prominent member of the Rowan Committee of Safety before the Revolution, and Jacob Fisher, were elders of the church at this time."

 The third generation of this family includes the children of George Henry Berger and each of his two wives. The those children include (1) John Berger, the oldest son of George Henry Berger and Barbara Eddleman. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1768. The records show that John Barger married Margaretha Cruse on 2 September 1790 in Organ Church, Rowan County, North Carolina. Margaretha Cruse was born 6 October 1769 in Red Hill, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. John died in 1806 in Rowan County.

 George Henry Berger and Barbara Eddleman's other children were (2) Catherine Barger, who was born circa 1755, and married Jacob Peur; (3) Christina Barger, born circa 1756 in Pennsylvania, who married Henry Leopold (or Lippard); (4) Barbara Barger, born circa 1757, who married a Mr. Masters. They had three sons, David, George and John Masters.

They also had a daughter, (5) Elizabeth Barger, who was born circa 1758; and (6) and child born circa 1759 whose name may have been Sally.

 The third generation also includes the three children of George Henry Berger and Catherine Frick Casper, his second wife. My ancestor was their son, Henry Barger. Henry Barger was born in Rowan County, North Carolina in 1787. In 1805, he married Mary Bruner, a native of Rowan County. Henry Barger later inherited a parcel of military warrant land in West Tennessee from his father, and he and Mary settled there, raised their family, and spent the remainder of their days in the Wildersville community in Henderson County, Tennessee.

 The forth generation includes the children of Henry Barger and Mary Bruner. They were (1) George M. Barger, (2) John C. Barger, (3) Mary Jane Barger, (4) David Barger, and (5) James I. Barger. Their descendants lived in Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi, Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma and California.


 Editor's note: This Barger family of Rowan County, North Carolina was researched by Allen Lee Garrison, whose is descended from James I. Barger of the forth generation. That gentleman was well-known in Henderson County, Tennessee before the turn of the century, as a photographer, inventor and a person of uncommon wit. Mr. Garrison has done extensive family research and has written outstanding poetry which captures the essence of the American experience.


Contact: Allen Lee Garrison

1141 Coral Street

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Telephone (805) 544-2609

E-Mail: agarriso@IN-CON.COM


 Additional note: On 9 October 1998, Marty Sadler of Anna, Union County, Illinois, contacted the Barger Family History Society and provided information about the descendants of Elizabeth Berger, a grandaughter of George Henry Berger/Barger. Elizabeth, who was the daughter of John Berger and Margaretha Cruse, and who was born in Rowan County in 1795, Married Andrew Holshouser, and moved with him to Union County, Illinois (near Carbondale in the far southern portion of the state.) Elizabeth died there 15 August 1864, leaving a daughter, Elizabeth Holshouser (1822-1901), whose family still resides there. Marty Sadler informs us that several old Rowan County families are represented in Union County.