DURST, Caspar

The following accounts are taken from various online sources with assistance from John McGowan.
Some statements contradict others and should be used only as leads for further research.

DURST - Name is of Swiss-German origin, being recorded August 29, 1729, when Casper Durst arrived in Philadelphia. All immigrants were required to take an oath to William Penn. On June 11, 1735, he married Maria Elizabeth Ferran, and settled in Berks County. Casper Durst II (1732-1823), was a pioneer settler of Somerset County, Pennsylvania. It was said of him that "he could spring a wolf trap and jump out without being caught".
(Hoye's Pioneer Families of Garrett County, 1988)

From Ross Compton Durst, born 1889:
"Casper Dorst (Durst) emigrated from Switzerland to Pennsylvania and settled in Pennsylvania, in 1729.
He married Maria Elizabeth Ferran in 1735. He died ca. 1761.
.[see Marriage record below]
After Maria Elizabeth's death
[see Marriage record below] he married 2) a widow Knoyer.

They migrated to Maryland and several children were born there.

They later returned to Elk Lick Township.

Casper and both wives were reportedly buried in the old [Reformed] church cemetery [on the east side of] Salisbury, in Elk Lick Township.

Descendants listed lived in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Iowa, and elsewhere."

Casper Dorst (Durst) I was born abt. 1717.
He married Maria Elizabeth Ferran on 11 June 1735 in Cocalico, Lancaster Co. Pennsylvania."

NB: "John Casper Dorst and Anna Elisabetha Ferrar were married June 17, 1735 at Cocalico"
Records of Rev. John Casper Stoever: Baptismal and Marriage, 1730-1779
Depository: The Pennsylvania State University Libraries.

In 1922, George M. Durst reported that Casper Durst's father "emigrated from Switzerland and settled in Southern Pa., just about 200 years ago."[1722?] George (born in 1846) said that "Casper was born in Pennsylvania in the year of George Washington's birth, 1732."

[?? dau of this Casper?]

Durst, Christina, dau. of Casper Durst, decd., and Henry Fischer, son of Wilhelm Fischer; Sept. 28, 1761
Source: From Fathers of the Reformed Church, Volume 11, pps. 88-92.
Rev. Henry Harbaugh, D. D., Lancaster, 1857
Baptismal and Marriage Records of Rev. John Waldschmidt - 1752-1786
Pennsylvania Archives
translated from German; edited by Samuel Hazard, John Blair Linn, William Henry Egle, George Edward Reed, Thomas Lynch Montgomery, Gertrude MacKinney, Charles Francis Hoban

His son, Casper Durst II, married Ann Elizabeth Lighthouse in Berks County, Pennsylvania. They had seven children, 1767-ca. 1798.

The family moved to Elk Lick Township, Pennsylvania, ca. 1768.

Casper Durst II born abt. 1743 in Allegany Co., MD
Children of Casper Durst and first wife, Anna Elizabeth Lightfoot:

(1) John "Lightfoot John" Durst (1767-1839 or 1840). Moved to Garrett Co. late in life.
          Married 1) Eva Margaret Glotfelty (born 4/12/1769-1827), daughter of Solomon Glotfelty (2/12/1736-8/13/1818) and Maria Eva Friend. Their children as named in John Durst's will:Soloman Durst, Daniel Durst, Henry Durst, Jacob  Durst and Elizabeth Starnier[Sterner]. Note: Jacob & Henry were twins.

      Married 2) Margaret Robison, a widow. Her six children from a former husband as named in the will: William Robison, George Robison, Mary Robison, Barbara Robison, Maryan Robison & Ellen Robison

Lightfoot John built "Little Thunder" grist mill on Blue Lick.

Sources: 1800 census Elk Lick, Somerset Co., PA
Casper Durst household: 1 male under 10, 1 male over 45; 1 female 16-25, 1 female over 45

John Lightfoot Durst b. 6 Oct 1766, Berks Co., PA; d. abt 1 Jan 1840 Garrett Co., MD. Married Eva Margaret Glotfelty, 26 Sep 1790, Elk Lick Twp, PA
Source: A Chronicle of War of 1812 Soldiers, Seamen, and Marines by Dennis F. Blizzard, Thomas L. Hollowak
Genealogical Publishing Com, 2001

John's will is on file in Allegany Co. MD. dated Oct 14, 18--[last 2 digits omitted]
Probate initiated 14 May 1840.  
Will of John Durst 

Citation 13 July 1841
Appear before the Justices of our Orphans' Court [etc] on the Tenth day of August next, to settle her acct as Executrix of John Durst, deceased.

October 13, 1841
Appear before the Justices of our Orphans' Court [etc] on the 9th day of November next, to settle her 1st acct as Executrix pf Jno Durst, late of Allegany County Deceased.

son of John Lightfoot, Jacob Durst (2/7/1806-4/29/1886) married ca. 1838 Elizabeth Engle (9/9/1819-2/3/1887), daughter of Adam Engle* (11/18/1791-1842) and Elizabeth Mellinger (1791-after 1856). Jacob and Elizabeth lived on a farm not far from Jennings. He served in the war of 1812 as a rifleman in the 1st Battalion, 83rd Regiment, 11th Division. Their children were Elizabeth, Alphonsus, Silas, Lydia, Emma, Asa, William, Margaret, Harriett, Jacob, Annie Mary, and Sarah. The oldest, Louisa, married William Jinkins.
One of William Jinkins and Louisa Durst Jinkins' children was Jacob Arnold Jenkins who married Mary Jane Diefenbach.

Gorman Gideon Jenkins, son of Jacob Arnold Jenkins married Grace Pearl Broadwater, daughter of Lloyd Frank Broadwater and Lucinda Ross Broadwater.

NB: Adam Engle, son of Clemento Engle (1747-1812) and 2nd wife, Margaret Weimer (1770-1843).

Elizabeth Durst (10/10/1794-8/1/1864) daughter of Lightfoot John Durst, married Solomon Sterner (8/28/1798-12/31/1851), son of Michael Sterner (Starner), a Revolutionary War Veteran. They built and operated the Casselman Hotel in Grantsville, Maryland.

Daughter Mary (3/24/1817-1/23/1862) lived with her Durst grandparents and used the surname of "Durst". She married John Custer (12/8/1808-4/20/1865), son of Emanuel Custer II. Their daughter, Catherine Custer, married Peter Stark. Mary Catherine Stark married James Nelson Ross, one of their children being Lucinda Ross who married Frank Broadwater.

For more see Walt Warnick's Western Maryland Family History

(updated March 17, 2018)

(2) Henry Durst (born about 1769).
      Married Barbara Garlitz (born about 1762).

Source: 1800 census Elk Lick, Somerset Co., PA
Henry Durst household: 2 males under 10, 1 male 26-45;2 females under 10, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 26-44

(3) Jacob Durst (born in 1774).
      Married Mary "Polly" Knoyer (born about 1789).

Source: 1800 census Elk Lick, Somerset Co., PA
Jacob Durst household: 1 male 16-25; no females

(4) Susanna Durst (born about 1776).

(5) Elizabeth "Betsy" Durst (May 1780-1863).
      Married Christian "Christly" Garlitz (born about 1777; died in 1845). Southeast of  Grantsville.

(6) Casper Durst III (born 1790 in Pennsylvania)
      Married Catharine (Caderina) Bittinger on 19 Feb. 1822 in Elk Lick, Somerset Co., PA

(7) Christian (born 1791 in Maryland)

Casper "Dorst" was assessed in the 1768 "proprietary Return" for Heidelberg Township; he was taxed for two horses and two head of cattle. During the late 1760s or early 1770s, he moved to the section of western Bedford County, Pennsylvania (now Somerset County).
The name Casper "Durst" was included in the second assessment for the area that is now Somerset County; this assessment was for the 1774 taxes.
Casper was taxed in Bedford County (now Somerset County) during the following years: 1776; 1779 (assessed for 200 acres);
1783 (200 acres, two horses, four head of cattle, seven sheep); and 1784.

Although he was assessed in Brothers Valley Township in the available tax lists from 1774 through 1784, Casper was presumably living in the section that would soon become Elk Lick Township.

Historian Eber Cockley commented, "Elk Lick township was erected in 1785 from part of Brothers Valley. Clement Engle, Casper Durst and Solomon Glotfelty families were neighbors in the Elk Lick settlement. These early families rode horseback 20 miles over narrow pack horse trails in dense forest to the nearest churchhouse, a log schoolhouse located in Berlin. Erected in 1777 on the western frontier of that day, provided for the instruction of children and was also used for occasional religious services.... In 1789 Lutheran and Reformed families formed congregations in Elk Lick and erected a church for joint use by the two congregations."

It is possible that Casper was a soldier in the Continental army for a time during the Revolutionary War. He may have joined a unit across the state line in Washington County, Maryland. (When this county was formed in 1776, it included all of the territory that is presently Washington, Allegany, and Garrett counties.) The name "Gaspert Dust" appeared on the roll of Capt. Daniel Cresap's colonial company from Washington County.

Two of Casper's children and several of his grandchildren were baptized at the Lutheran and Reformed Union church in Elk Lick Township.

Casper and his sons, John and Henry, were named in "A list of inhabitants of Elk Lick Township" who were required to perform militia duty. This list was dated February 7, 1789.

Jacob Brown said that Casper was one of the first settlers in what is now the Grantsville region of Garrett County, Maryland.
Casper may have moved across the Mason-Dixon line to the Grantsville area about 1790.
[see article by Brown below]

His name did not appear in the Pennsylvania schedules at the time of the 1790 census. (The 1790 schedules for now Garrett and Allegany counties were destroyed when the British burned public buildings in Washington, DC, during the War of 1812.)

Widower Casper probably remarried in the late 1790s to Widow Knoyer.
Children of Casper Durst and second wife, the Widow Knoyer:

(1) Michael Durst (born 11/7/1800). Married Mary Hensel.

(2) Lydia Durst (born 1/2/1804). Married Archibald Sterner.

When the 1793 assessment lists were drawn up for Bedford County, Casper still owned land in Elk Lick Township, as "nonresident property holder." The sum that he was taxed shows that he owned a parcel of about 50 acres.

On 3/11/1795, John Durst patented a tract in this township, adjacent to land that Casper owned.

Casper may have returned to Elk Lick Township by the time the 1796 assessment was drawn up. That year, he was taxed for 45 acres (including five acres cleared), two horses, two head of cattle, and one house in the township. The total assessment value was $159.

In 1797 and 1798, the Elk Lick Township assessments listed Casper with 50 acres but no personal property. It is likely that he was a Maryland resident during this period, as the first assessment for western Allegany County (now Garrett County) included his name. This assessment, dated 1798, taxed him for a fair amount of possessions (primarily five horses and 14 "black cattle") but no real estate. In 1799 and 1800, he was taxed for 50 acres of "unseated" land in Elk Lick Township--land on which he was not then residing.

Casper's name was not found on the Allegany County tax lists in 1800.
He was in Elk Lick Township at the time of that year's federal census.
He was taxed for 50 acres in Elk Lick Township from 1801 through 1808; from 1802 through 1806 he was taxed for one horse and two head of cattle. Finally, in 1807 and 1808, he was taxed only for his acreage in the township.

Casper may have died prior to the 1810 census; his name was not found that year in census schedules for Pennsylvania or Maryland. In addition, no Durst household in Somerset or Allegany counties in 1810 (or that of his son-in-law Christian Garlitz) included a male of his age.

(updated March 14, 2018)

Another, later Casper Durst is found in the Civil War:

NARA M384. Compiled military service records of volunteer Union soldiers belonging to units organized for service from the State of Maryland.
Roll: 0120
Military Unit: Third Potomac Home Brigade, Infantry, Br-Z
Full Name: Durst, Casper
Age: 21
Year: 1862
Estimated Birth Year: 1840 - 1841
Conflict Period: Civil War (Union)
Branch: Union Army
Served For: United States of America

(Posted March 10, 2018; updated March 13, 2018)

From"Brown's Miscellaneous Writings Upon a Great Variety of Subjects: Prepared and Written from 1880 to 1895" by Jacob Brown

No one now knows just when Caspar Durst came to this part of the county, but certainly a very long time ago; at any rate he is the progenitor of all the Durst name who so numerously populate Garrett and Allegany counties, to say nothing of the legions that are now scattered over neighboring and Western States. Little is known of old Caspar. Tradition says he was a man of remarkable agility. It is said of him that he could spring a wolf trap with his feet and jump out without being caught. This is a pretty tough story and is not vouched for; but another more reasonable, and no doubt true, is told of his son, Lightfoot John, who was considerable of a hunter. Finding himself short of ammunition and there being none nearer then Cumberland, 27 miles distant, he donned his blue hunting shirt and deer skin moccasins, and off he went afoot (he would travel no other way) to the city and returned home before sundown with replenished horn and pouch, and a buck was made to feel the quality of the new powder and lead the same evening. If John Durst was now here, a young man, he would soon win the Astley belt as a walker. Henry Durst, grandson of Caspar, is now the patriarch of the Durst family at almost four score, but hale, hearty and capable of doing a good day's work. Just here we recall an amusing incident. We were once in the woods gunning together; game was not very abundant, but while standing under a large tree a fine coon was discovered perched in the top boughs; a missive in the shape of a piece of lead was sent up to his abode to invite him to come down; a speedy response came, but the animal was rude enough to throw himself upon the shoulder of our fellow huntsman. Result, a lame member for many days and some "powerful" swearing of the old pattern, openly aimed at the dead varmint, but really at the young man with an empty gun in is hand. The Durst family are by far the most numerous in this part of the county, and are noted for their amiable and clever dispositions, good, law abiding citizens. Maj. Philip and Michael Durst are perhaps better known to the public than the rest. They are worthy, respectable and useful men. The family never was ambitious for public places, but still some of them filled important and responsible offices.
Posted June 21, 2013

Return to Families