Is Johannes Whiteknaught of New Jersey the Father of Henry Whiteneck?

There is much speculation and tradition, and a little fact, surrounding the parentage of Henry Whitenah. As for the facts, in a letter dated 11 November 1782 (see Letter of Johannes Whiteknaught to his Son, Henry), we learn the following about Henry's father:

These facts offer the only first-hand information we have regarding Henry's parents. Moving to secondary sources, the Biography of Margaret A. Van Meter (Henry's grand daughter) gives us the following information which may or may not be reliable regarding Henry, and which might give us clues into his parentage:

Finally, the least reliable source of information we have is family tradition, which may or may not help in identifying Henry's parents. Family tradition says that:

Based on this information, it is likely that Henry's father is one Johannes Witeknaght (Whitenack) who lived in the Sowerland Mountains of Somerset County, New Jersey between 1728 and 1793. From documents and other sources, we know the following about Johannes of New Jersey:

Again, tradition, speculation, and secondary sources give us the following possible facts regarding Johannes:

A quick perusal of the facts and traditions surrounding both Henry and Johannes Whitenack show a fairly good match. If Johannes Whitenack is indeed Henry's father, and if some of the tradition surrounding both is correct, we can see the following similarities:

Despite these intriging possibilities, there is still one missing piece of evidence that definitively links Henry and Johannes together. In addition, there are the following items which might suggest that Johannes Witeknaght of New Jersey might not be Henry's father:

See the following documents for possible additional information about Johannes' parentage:


  1. Correspondence with Scott Whitnah. Scott copied down a descendant chart from a Bible and indicated one or two generations between Johannes and Henry. I have not seen the original source for his notes.
  2. See Roberta Whitnah Family Notes. Similar information has been passed between other family members.
  3. Ibid.
  4. See Will of Johannes Witeknaght.