Joseph and Catherine Langton

We started this page for Jeanette's great-great-grandparents with nothing more than their 1850 and 1860 U. S. census records, but have added to our knowledge of them with bits and pieces of information from other sources. Joseph I. Langton, born about 1803 in Pennsylvania, and his wife Catherine Shaver, born about 1807, also in PA, were enumerated in Granville township, Mifflin county, PA, in both years. The usual discrepancies in ages and in spellings of names can be seen between the two censuses. The following is our best estimate of their children's names and dates of birth, based on these records:

  1. Mary A. Langton, born 11 Oct 1831, died 10 Aug 1918 in Altoona, PA.
  2. James Caldwell Langton, Jeanette's great-grandfather, born 5 Apr 1833, died 13 Nov 1900 in Denver, CO.
  3. Martha E. Langton, born 1835.
  4. Isabella Langton, born Dec 1836.
  5. John S. Langton, born 1838, died 19 Feb 1928 in Moultrie county, IL.
  6. William H. Langton, born 1839 or 1840, died about 1918 in Cook county, IL.
  7. Hannah Langton, born 28 Nov 1840. In McVeytown Presbyterian cemetery, there is buried a "HANNA daughter of J & C Langton died Feb. 28, 1842, aged 1 yr. 3mos."1
  8. Hannah Catherine "Kate" Langton, born 1842, died after 1918.
  9. Michael McConnell "Con" Langton, born 4 Jan 1844 in PA, died 29 Mar 1890, probably in CO.
  10. Elizabeth J. "Eliza" or "Lyda" Langton, born 13 Aug 1845, died after 1920.
  11. Joseph [I or J?] Langton, born 1849, died in infancy.

All were born in Pennsylvania, but we have no idea where. Family tradition says that James was born in Mifflin county. According to her obituary, Mary was born "near Lewistown", which was probably the birthplace of her brothers and sisters as well, but we have no evidence of an exact birthplace for them or for Joseph and Catherine. Some discrepancies in the census records should be noted:

We don't have any information on Joseph Langton's parents or ancestors. We've been in touch with a British researcher, Joel Langton, who is investigating and documenting Langtons from all over the world. He maintains an excellent web site called Lost Langtons. We hope that, with Joel's help, we'll be able to make a connection between Joseph Langton and his ancestors, who probably came to the United States from the British Isles. Catharine was the daughter of Major John Shaver and was possibly born in Huntingdon county, which borders Mifflin county to the south.

The 1886 History of the Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys listed Joseph's land holdings in adjacent Oliver township, along with a mention of a James Langton who just might be related to Joseph:

Joseph Langton: 1836 Assessment for Oliver Township. Joseph I. Langton owned 250 acres and James Langton owned 100 acres. James Langton married Elizabeth Bratton, daughter of William Bratton2 and Hester Hamilton. William Bratton was a son of Andrew Bratton. Elizabeth (Bratton) Langton's only sibling (a brother, Andrew) married Rebecca Holliday (daughter of Samuel Holliday). William Bratton was a Captain in the Revolutionary War.

Joseph Langton must have already been present in Mifflin county before 1835, since John W. Jordan's 1913 A History of the Juniata Valley and Its People begins its Oliver township section with this paragraph:

Oliver township, situated in the western part of the county, was erected in 1835. A petition asking for a division of Wayne township was presented to the court at the October term in 1834, when David Hough, William P. Elliott and Thomas McClure were appointed viewers, with instructions to report as to the advisability of granting the petition. On January 8, 1835, they recommended the division of the township on the following line: "Beginning at the Strode mountain; thence north 36 west, crossing the Juniata river to the mouth of Shank's run; thence through Joseph Langton's lane to Jack's Mountain." They also stated, "Our opinions are that said division is the best that can be made satisfactory to a large majority of the inhabitants of said township."

Joseph was still living in Mifflin county at the time of the rebel invasion in the summer of 1863. He is listed in an item in the 1 July 1863 Gazette which refers to raising funds to support the 36th PA Militia Volunteers, who were to help repel the invasion. We found it in a compilation of information on this unit by Robert E. Nale, a descendant of one of the 36th's soldiers:

The following gentlemen were appointed committees to solicit signatures to the indemnifying bonds:
... Granville Township:
... Joseph I. Langton ...

Catharine Langton died in Granville township 1 July 1864.1 At the end of the Civil War, Joseph and his children moved to Moultrie county, Illinois, where they acquired several hundred acres of farmland in Marrowbone township. We're able to identify the time of their move from Joseph and John's entries in an 1875 Atlas of Moultrie County which lists among its patrons:

Name.Post-Office.Sec.Business.Nativity.Settled in Co.
Jas. I.3 LangtonTodds Point, Shelby Co.9Farmer and Stock DealerPennsylvania1865
John S. LangtonMarrow Bone33Farmer and Stock RaiserPennsylvania1866

A map in the same atlas shows J. I. and J. S. Langton's extensive holdings along the south edge of Marrowbone township. Joseph was obviously quite a prosperous farmer in his old age. In the 1870 census, he listed the value of his real estate at $10,000 and his personal estate at $2,500. The 1875 Moultrie county plat book, which is based on the map, lists Langton holdings as follows:

Langton, J.I.280 acresMarrowbone: 13N, 4E, Section 9
Langton, J.I.40 acresMarrowbone: 13N, 4E, Section 5
Langton, J.I.40 acresMarrowbone: 13N, 4E, Section 8
Langton, J.I.80 acresMarrowbone: 13N, 4E, Section 4
Langton, J.S.120 acresMarrowbone: 14N, 4E, Section 33

The Illinois Marriage Index lists a marriage 7 Jan 1867 between Joseph I. Langton and Mrs. Sarah J. Glenn in La Salle county, 150 miles north of Moultrie county. The 1870 census lists a 68-year-old Joseph Langton (some transcribers read Laugton!) in Marrowbone township, followed by a 50-year-old Sarah. The census didn't record relationships of other persons in a household to the head until 1880, but usually a wife was listed immediately after a husband. (Is it coincidental or not that Sarah is also a Pennsylvanian?) William and Michael are listed with Joseph and Sarah, but with ages that don't quite match up with their ages in previous censuses.

Joseph I. Langton's death in Shelby county, IL, received this mention in the 6 Feb 1879 issue of the Altoona Tribune:

LANGTON - On Jan. 25th, 1879, at Todd's Point, Shelby county, Illinois, Mr. Joseph I. Langton, aged about 73 years. Deceased was the father of Mrs. Isaac Beck, of this city, and formerly resided near Lewistown, Mifflin county.1

Where did they all go? Although we started with very little information, we were eventually able to piece together the stories of Joseph and Catherine's children and trace their migrations to several other areas. Most of them now have their own pages in this family album:


Joseph's siblings. There is evidence for at least three people who may or may not have been Joseph Langton's brothers and sisters living in Mifflin county:

In 1840, I could find no other Langtons, either in Armagh, Derry, Granville or Oliver townships, or in Lewistown or McVeytown boroughs. However, the census takers' handwriting was extremely illegible, so I could have overlooked whatever Langtons there were. There were numerous Brattons and Allisons nearby in all censuses, which would tend to confirm any connection between these families and the Langtons. There were also a lot of neighbors with surnames like Hartzler, Yoder and Plank who may have been my own relatives.


Another Joseph Langton? Obituaries of Mifflin Co. Vol. I - 1822-1880, page 33, lists a Joseph Langton, [age] 60, Granville Twp., 7 Jan 1861.1


Joseph Langton's Lane. The following material appeared at the beginning of Chapter 9 of History of that part of the Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys Embraced in the Counties of Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Union and Snyder, Philadelphia, Ellis, Franklin, ed., 1886, pages 592-593:

At the October term of court, 1834, a petition was presented to the County Court of Mifflin County, asking for a division of Wayne township. The court appointed David Hough, Thomas McClure and William P. Elliott as commissioners to view the township and report as to the propriety of division. These commissioners presented a report January 8, 1835, in the favor of division, and suggested to the court the following course as a division line:

"Beginning at the Strode Mountain; thence north 36 degrees west, crossing the Juniata River to the mouth of Shank's Run; thence through Joseph Langton's lane to Jack's Mountain, and our opinions are that said Division is the best that can be made satisfactory to a large majority of the inhabitants of said township as any that can be made."

This report and opinion was confirmed at the April session of court the same year, and the new township was declared erected, and named Oliver, in honor of Judge John Oliver, long a judge of the court.

The following list is taken from the assessment of 1836, and contains the names, number of acres and occupations, except farmers, of the townships of what are now Oliver and Bratton, including also the borough of McVeytown:

... James Langton, 100;
... Joseph I. Langton, 250; ...

This mention of Joseph Langton's lane would seem to imply that some Joseph Langton was already established in Mifflin county by the early 1830s, even though we are unable to locate such a person in either the 1830 or the 1840 census.


1 Information looked up by Mifflin county researcher Donna Glant Terrian.
2 James Langton had already married Elizabeth Bratton by the time of William Bratton's death in 1824 or 1825. Joan Bretz, a Bratton descendant, writes:
There is a short book that abstracts Mifflin County wills that shows Wm's will (dated 29 Sep 1824; probated 20 April 1825) that references son Andrew and daughter Elisabeth, wife of James Lanaton (the transcriber probably couldn't distinguish between a g and an a). James apparently was also an executor of the will along with Andrew. From another source, there is an indication that these were the only children William had...
There are numerous Brattons in Mifflin county, at least as far back as the 1790 U. S. census. Perhaps one or another Bratton descendant will shed some light on the Langton-Bratton connection and thereby help us learn more about Jeanette's Langton ancestors.
3 I believe this is a misprint because of the middle initial and because James C. was living in Nebraska at the time.
This page was last updated 30 Jul 2012.