Foight Family

FOIGHT FAMILY. John George Foight, the first ancestor of the family in America, was a son of George Jacob Foight, of Iwinsbaugh, Brockenheim county, Wurtemberg kingdom, Germany. He was born November 19, 1800. He served an apprenticeship with a boot and shoe maker in his native village and learned that trade. In the year 1823 he embarked on a sailing vessel bound for America. It is not known from what port in the Fatherland he sailed, but by reason of contrary winds his voyage lasted eighty days. He and his fellow wayfarers suffered some hardships from their long cruise, as the good ship's commissary was exhausted of everything but salt meats before reaching this side of the Atlantic. He settled in Pittsburg, where he began to work at his trade as a journeyman. Sometime later he married Eliza Berlin Wooster, widow of Charles W Wooster. This Widow Wooster was before this time the widow of one Pinkerton, so that she had already outlived two husbands, and after her marriage with her third husband her maternal instincts went out to three lines of children. In 1832 John George Foight removed with his family to Murrysville, Westmoreland county, where he purchased a tract of twenty acres of land, erected a log house and shop, set up as a master in his trade and followed it until a few years before his death. The military spirit ran high in him and he was a member of a volunteer militia company called the "Franklin Blues." He died December 31, 1872.

George Jacob, his father, according to a translation of some old German papers brought to this country and still in the possession of the family, was an attache of the Court at Wurtemberg. When a mere lad John George Foight saw Napoleon's army as it crossed Germany in the campaign against Russia. This pageant was stamped upon his youthful mind and he frequently related it to his family with much pride. It is quite probable that the spelling and pronunciation of the surname of John George Foight, either by accident or design, was changed after he came to America. The German spelling of the name, as attested by Germans of his time and acquaintance was "Voight" instead of "Foight" and the pronunciation accordingly. It was a rather common occurrence among people of the German nationality coming to this country in the early days to endeavor to Anglicise their names. This early custom is revealed by the old legal records of the county.

Eliza Berlin, wife of the American ancestor of the Foight family, was the daughter of Jacob Berlin. She was born at Gettysburg Pennsylvania in 1800. With her parents she crossed the mountains in 1810 and settled in Pittsburg. During the journey a night was spent at Fort Ligonier, where a guard had to be posted to keep wolves away from the horses and camp. The old Foight homestead was on the line of the northern turnpike, which before the building of the Pennsylvania railroad, was one of the main thoroughfares between Pittsburg and Philadelphia. In her day Eliza Berlin Foight was famous for the cakes she made and for a beverage called "spruce beer," which she supplied to travelers on the pike. She and her husband first attended Denmark Manor Reformed church, where now repose their remains. This church was about five miles from where they lived, and before they possessed a horse they traveled to the church afoot. In the latter years of their lives a Methodist Episcopal church was established at Murrysville and they united with it. When a small girl Mrs. Foight was among the company who welcomed Marquis LaFayette upon his visit from France to the United States. She many times spoke to her friends in later years of the warm welcome extended by the people to the famous general upon that occasion. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. John George Foight were: Samuel Berlin, born in 1837, educated in the common schools, after which he was apprenticed as a compositor. After mastering the printer's trade he worked at the case on the Pittsburg Gazette (now Commercial Gazette) and became foreman of the composing room. He was married to Margaret Remaley. He died of a fever in December, 1871, leaving two sons, Harry S. and Frank A. to survive him. Lucinda, married Herman H. Beeson, and shortly after her marriage moved with her husband to Columbia City, Whitley county, Indiana. Lucinda is now a widow, her children all living near her in Indiana. Satiah, married (first) Oliver Purcell, who a short time afterwards died in Pittsburg, leaving one son, John. Satiah married (second) David Miller, and they lived for a time at McKeesport, but now reside near Denmark Manor church. John George, of whom later.

John George Foight, named after his father, was born at Murrysville, November 28, 1842. He received a common school education, and by occupation is a farmer, fruit grower and dairyman. In August, 1864, he enlisted in the Two Hundred and Fourth Regiment, Fifth Light Artillery, United -States Volunteers and served until the close of the war, being mustered out of the service July 4, 1865. He was elected a member of the Pennsylvania legislature in 1888. He was instrumental in the organization of the First National Bank of Export, of which he is a director. John G. Foight, married, in 1867, Mary Emeline Brinker, a native of Penn township, born in 1847. They are both members of the Denmark Manor Reformed Church, and politically Mr. Foight has always been a Republican. Mary Emeline Brinker was a daughter of Josiah and Anna (Kistler) Brinker. Jacob Brinker, her great-grandfather, is supposed to have been born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. The earliest record of him is his will, recorded November 16. 1798, by which instrument it appears he was the father of a large family and that he was possessed of about fifteen hundred acres of land, much of it located in what was then styled the "Opost Settlement," Franklin township. His wife was named Susannah and his children were: George, Jacob, Abraham, Margaret, married one Larner; Katren, wife of John Seeley; Susannah, wife of Jacob Barleen, and one daughter (name unknown) who married a man named Shaver. Jacob Brinker, her grandfather, lived on the land inherited from his father in Franklin township. It is not known to whom he was married. On January 12, 1805, he received a deed from one Coates, an attorney for John and Richard Penn, proprietors of Pennsylvania, for three hundred and thirty-six acres of land in the Manor of Denmark. Which land his father had purchased from the heirs of Penn, and had given to him by his Will, but for which the father had never received the deed. His children were: Colonel Paul Brinker, Josiah, above named; Esther, married John Lauffer of Harrison City; Sarah, wife of Michael Byers, and Lydia, married (first) John Kistler, and later, one Fink. Josiah Brinker died in 1888. John Lauffer, mentioned herein, lived to the ripe old age of over a hundred Years. The children of John G. and Mary E. Foight now living are: Samuel Berlin, Paul R., Mary Elizabeth, wife of J. Logan Kemerer; John H., Jesse Brinker (named after his grandfather), Annie E., unmarried, at home; Harry W., unmarried, at home; and Charles Curtis, unmarried, at home.

Source: Page(s) 85-87, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed February 2006 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

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