by Karen Rose Overholt Critchfield, © 1999, 2000, 2001,
2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
I am a direct descendant of the Abraham Overholt (1784-1870), who augmented his position as family weaver by "tending the family 'still" and became known as the original distiller of Overholt Whiskey at West Overton, East Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, located in Western Pennsylvania.
This site is dedicated to the Extended Overholt Family -- to those ancestral individuals and their families who originally settled the then wild country west of the Allegheny Mountains, who cleared the land and built log cabins and sowed the fields, and who began a long, distinguished stretch of years at West Overton. The Overholts disappeared from the land following the rise of one of America's early industrialists, Henry Clay Frick, a grandson of Abraham Overholt.
West Overton happened to
be situated in an area richly endowed with coal. In fact,
it was Abraham Overholt (weaver, farmer and distiller of
whiskey) who first discovered coal there, in an era when
this precious commodity was delivered to blacksmiths via
pack animals from the eastern side of the Alleghenies. It
was Abraham who used coal to modernize the work
of his distilleries, and later, it was his grandsons who
reaped the profits from the coal that was "ideally
suited to the manufacture of the finest metallurgical
coke." Frick, just one of these grandsons, plus
others like them, needed coal to feed their thousands of
beehive coke ovens.
However, when the groves of apple trees died, when the rivers and streams became polluted and typhoid became a leading cause of death, when the land became unfit for farming and families -- apparently in a great diaspora, the Extended Overholt Family split up and traveled further westward and elsewhere, until the Family name came to be written in the histories of just about every state in the Union, including Hawaii.
From my searches over the Internet, I have found branches of the Family flourishing in vastly different geographic locations -- coast to coast, north and south, and even into Canada. Currently, there is a distinguished Overholt living and working in Hong Kong, China. And many of these distant cousins have answered my inquiries with a friendly "hello" and uncommon graciousness, sharing interesting family histories and personal stories, making me so glad I began this Internet adventure!
It is my hope that the current Extended Overholt Family will get reacquainted with each other. As an excellent resource, I invite all cousins to visit the GenForum page for the surname Overholt. You can make yourselves known and gather information about your own branches of The Overholt Family Tree.
Additionally, I am hoping to generate a renewed interest in the present operation and the future growth of the Abraham Overholt Homestead House, which is now part of West Overton Museums. You may wish to check out their current web sites.
The following is the
abbreviated version of my lineage. At the end of this
page, you are invited to link over to Page Two
to see some photographs of the Abraham Overholt
Homestead House and West Overton, plus a little more
family history. Also, you are invited to visit my
GeoCities web site for more articles [see URLs below].
THE OVERHOLT FAMILY TREE ~~ Karen's Branches
Karen Rose Overholt Critchfield
1. Marcus Oberholtzer
Book: MC1 Jacob, MC2 Henry, MC3 (Nanny ?),
I/2. Martin Oberholtzer
Henry Oberholtzer/"Overhold" (1739-1813)
III/4. Abraham Overholt
Abraham Stauffer Overholt (1817-1863)
V/6. George Washington
Overholt (---- 1908)
VI/7. George Frederick
VII/8. (Arthur) Frederic
John Overholt (1924-1985)
VIII/9. Karen Rose
Overholt (b. 1949)
Source: (Roman Numerals) A. J. Fretz, "A
I would be happy to hear from you! Send e-mail with just one click!
Go to Page Two of Background: The Overholt Family Tree ~~ Karen's Branches.
Go to the first page of Karen's Branches for more
photos and articles.