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aaron linderman, son of no one?

Aaron Linderman was “a quiet, upright, honest and worthy man, much esteemed by all who knew him.” He was prominent and well known citizen of his community of Crooked Hill, now known as Sanatoga, in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Aaron Linderman
Aaron Linderman

On the 10th of April, 1790, Aaron was born at Crooked Hill, in old New Hanover Township, Montgomery County. Here, at the place of his birth, he lived all his life except about three years and died on the 14th of May, 1875. His absence from home during those three years could have come during an apprenticeship, or additionally, in 1812 when he enlisted with Krickbaum’s 32nd Regiment of the Pennsylvania Militia. In the war, he served as a Private in the company commanded by Capt. Peter Hanley, primarily consisting of residents from Pottstown and the surrounding area.

The identity of his parents is currently unknown; however, there is evidence to suggest that he was the illegitimate son of Rachel Linderman, who is descended from the Linderman family of Germantown. If this is true, it explains many of the inconsistencies and difficulties in the research on Aaron Linderman.

On the 13th of May, 1813, Jacob Naugle died, leaving Aaron Linderman all of his land in New Hanover Township. His estate contained two tracts of land located at Crooked Hill (Sanatoga), formerly New Hanover, and now Pottsgrove Township. Per an agreement, Aaron shared this land with Jacob’s wife Grace Naugle until she died on the 2nd of March, 1815. In her will, Grace directed that her executor, her sister's son-in-law John Buckwalter, deliver a good deed for one of these tracts to Aaron Linderman. Aaron owned both tracts of land at Crooked Hill (Sanatoga) for the rest of his life.

Catharine (Heinrich) Linderman

Later in 1815, on the 17th of September, Aaron married Catharine Henrich, daughter of Peter and Hannah (Fadely/Fedele) Henrich. The connection between Aaron and the Naugle family must have been very strong if not familial. Jacob Naugle and his wife Grace had no children. They married later in life, about 1787, and it was Grace’s first marriage at the age of forty-nine to Jacob, a man thirteen years her junior. Grace was the youngest daughter of Henry Coulston. Upon his death in 1783, his will named Grace Coulston the sole heir of his land in New Hanover Township at Crooked Hill. About four years later Jacob Naugle married Grace and took possession of the Coulston estate. The tract that Grace inherited from her father is the same tract detailed in her will to Aaron Linderman.

Henry Coulston’s third child was Sarah, who was married on the 10th of January, 1760 to John Linderman at Christ Church in Philadelphia. They had two known surviving children, Mary and Rachel. John Linderman died at a young age in 1764, only four years after his marriage to Sarah Coulston, leaving behind two young daughters and his wife who was pregnant with their third child. Sarah Coulston Linderman raised her two daughters on the Linderman plantation which fronted the Schuylkill River in what later became Pottsgrove Township.

Mary Linderman married Israel Ortlip and they inherited the original Linderman tract along the Schuylkill River. Rachel Linderman never married and died in August 1823. Aaron was appointed the administrator of her estate. If Aaron was indeed the son of Rachel Linderman, as an illegitimate child whose parents did not subsequently marry, he would have customarily taken the last name of his mother. Legally, he would have been filius nullius, the son of no one – without any legal rights of inheritance.

Due to Aaron’s connection to the Coulston-Naugle land, it is likely that he was either reared by Rachel on this estate or he was raised by his great-Aunt Grace and Uncle Jacob Naugle. It would not have been out of the ordinary for an illegitimate child to be raised by other family members. In support of his upbringing by the Naugle family, the 1800 Census there is a boy between the ages of ten and fifteen living with Jaocb and Grace Naugle. At this time, Aaron would have been ten years old. Meanwhile, Rachel is living in the same area with a female between the ages of ten and fifteen.

Aaron’s situation may explain why he appears to be an only child, as well as the lack of any mention regarding his early history and upbringing. Though there are other Linderman families in the area, there is no evidence of his relation to them and his connection to the Coulston-Linderman family is very strong. Aaron’s children also bore familiar names, his first daughter was named Rachel, after his alleged mother and his second daughter was Sarah, possibly after his grandmother Sarah Linderman.

Aaron Linderman and his wife Catharine rest in the St. James Limerick Cemetery, in Limerick Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Here also rests Grace Coulston Naugle, her father Henry Coulston, and mother Rebecca Brown Coulston

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