Hackenbracht etymology

Jay Steele Blog is written by Jay Steel Hackenbracht. With a rather unique sirname, (think: hack und bracht — hoe and get broccoli/produce — you reap as you sow), I chose Steele for the purpose of this blog.

Steele etymology

The “Steele” sirname dates back to 1066 when William the Conquerer passed out sirnames. It could also be from the word “style” meaning “gate” or “turnstyle.” There were all kinds of professions and background that could assume such a moniker. Historically, some made swords, some made horseshoes, and among our particular ancestors, it seems a lot of Steeles have a history in dairy farming.

Tower of St. Bertoline's Church, Barthomley, County Chester

Tower of St. Bertoline’s Church,
Barthomley, County Chester

Many early Steeles were in Sandbach Parish, today’s county Chester. It is a popular name in Scotland, Ireland, Australia, and many other parts of the world. So far, I count about 20 different paternal lines that have emigrated to America. So, like Smith and Jones, a lot of Steel(e)s might not be related. Hackenbracht, on the other hand… well, let’s just say it takes a most tolerant, loving gal to be willing to take a name like that!!


A great number of my ancestors (and probably yours, too), were kicked out of some of the finest countries in Europe. Some were on the losing side of the Ulster Land War. Some were Catholic in a Protestant State, others were Protestant in a Catholic State. Some were Ashkenazic Jews, Secularists, or with religious fervor, emphatically claimed no religion at all. There is an abandoned orphan, probably born out of wedlock. There are ancestors from both sides of the English and American Civil Wars. Ancestral and related families are pretty much a Heinz 57 collection. As a result, like a whole lot of us, it seems we end up as “American.” We are a nation of immigrants.

3 Responses to Author

  1. says:

    I was amazed to find such a detailed description of my family tree (Frank Reith Phillips is my great grandfather) on this website. Please contact me via email.

  2. Mostyn Thayer says:

    Searching for info on origins of Henry Steel, who appears to have been born in either 1750 in Bushkill, Pa., or 1755 in Delaware Township, Pa. He lived his entire life in Delaware Township, Pa., although he appears to have married an Ellener (Ellanora) Van Gorden (Van Garden) in 1775 just across the Delaware River in 1775.
    Any info, hints, tips, comments, thoughts or theories would be most appreciated.
    Mostyn Thayer

  3. Glenda Harkins says:

    I do not see my ancestor Jason on your page. DAR tells me they cannot find him either. Have 51 images of his pension file. I know nothing of his ancestry. Can you help me with that? Thank you so much. Here is the transcription from his pension file to aid.

    Jason Wood enlisted Dec 30, 1775 at Brookfield, Mass. at the age of 17. He was honorably discharged at Ticonderoga, Jan 1, 1776. He served for several short periods after this. His officers were Capt. Jonathan Denforth and Col. Asa Whitcomb.

    On May 2, 1781 he married Sarah Hale, daughter of Joseph Hale, at her father’s home in Bernardston, Mass. This is in Franklyn Co. Witnesses to the wedding were Elijah Hale and Job Weight, minister.


    Henry Wood b Dec 30, 1781
    Sally Wood b ? 30, 1783
    Roxana Wood b Dec 29, 1786
    Olive Wood b July 15, 1788
    Clarisa Wood b Dec 27, 1791
    Dolly Wood b Oct 27, 1793
    Lydia Wood b Sept 9, 1796
    Abigal & Betsy b Feb 24, 1799
    Levi S. Wood b Sept 29, 1791
    Alvia Wood b Dec 1, 1803

    The Photostatic Record Sheet is Wood, Jason W. 16794. The pension was applied for at Chester, VT July 27, 1819. Children listed at the time the widow applied for pension are:

    Roxanna wife of Daniel Bascom, Ticonderoga, NY
    Olive wife of Justin Chapin, Warrenburg, NY
    Dolly Hartwell a widow of Ticonderoga, NY
    Clarisa wife of Johonan Bormoce, East Joba, NY
    Lydia wife of Jonathan Perry, Cornwall, VT
    Betsy wife of Ashael Bemus, Clayton NY
    Levi Wood, Italy, Yates Co., NY

    Pension papers were sworn to by Levi Wood and Elijah Hale. Pension recieved was $8.00 per month, under the Revolutionary War Claim Act, 18th of March, 1818.

    Declaration from his pension file:

    State of Vermont
    Windsor County

    At Chester in sd County of Windsor on the 8th day of April 1818. — Before me the subscriber, one of the Judges of the County Court for the County of Windsor, aforesaid, personally appears, Jason Wood aged sixty years — Resident in Springfield in the County of Windsor aforesaid, who being by me first duly sworn–according to law, doth, on his oath, make the following declaration, in order to obtain the provision made by the late act of act of Congrefs entitled. “An act to provide for certain persons, engaged in the land & naval service of the United States, in the Recolutionary War,” that he, the said Jason Wood, enlisted in Sturbridge in the State of Mafsachusetts in December 1775, entered service the 1st(?) of January 1776 in the Company commanded by Capt. Jonathan Danforth, in the Regiment commanded by Col. Asa Whitcomb of the Mafsachusetts line. That he continued to serve in sd. Corps, or in the service of the United States, until the first of January 1777 when he was discharged at Ticonderaoga in the State of New York– that he was in the Battle of Fort Ann & Benington(?) & Dorstanting(?) and that he is in reduced circumstances, & stands in need of the assistance of his country for support–and that he has no other witness(?) now in his power of his said service.

    Sworn to & declared before me, the day and year aforesaid
    Amos Heald, Assistant Judge of Windsor County Court

    I, Amos Heald, Assistand Judge of Windsor County Court, as aforesaid, do certify that it appears to my satisfaction that the said Jason Wood did serve in the Revolutionary War, as stated in the preceding declaration, against the common enemy; and I now transmit the proceedings & testimony taken thus before me, to the Secretary for the Department of War, pursuant to the directions of the aforementioned Act of Congrefs.

    Dated at Chester in sd. County the 8th day of April 1818. Certified by Amos Heald Assisstant Judge of Windsor County Court

    And I further certify, that from evidence ?, it also appears to my full satisfaction that the sd. Jason Wood is in reduced circumstances & stands in need of the assistance of his country for support.

    Amos Heald, Assistant Judge of Windsor County Court

    Declaration from his pension file:

    State of Vermont
    Windsor County

    At a special term of the Supreme Court of Judicature, begun and holden at Woodstock in the County of Windsor, on the last Monday in July, Anno Domini eighteen hundred and twenty.

    On this first day of August 1820, being the second day of said term, personally appeared in open Court, (the same Court being a Court of record agreeable to the laws of this State, having the power of find and imprisonment, &c.) Jason Wood aged sixty two 1/2 years, resident in Springfield in said County of Windsor, who being first duly sworn, according to law, doth, on his oath declare, that he served in the revolutionary war, as follows: that he the said Jason Wood enlisted for one year in the month of December 1775 and joined his Regiment in said service on the first day of January 1776 in in Brookfield, Mafs. in the company commanded by Capt. Jonathan Danforth in Col. Asa Whitcomb’s Regiment in the line of the Mafsachusetts state on the Continental establishment, that he continued to serve in the said Corps until Jan 7th, 1777 when he was discharged from said service at Ticonderoga in the State of New York (besides several other tours of volunteer service.)

    that he made his orginal declaration on the eight day of April 1818 has recieved a Pension Certificate, No 13269(?) And I do do solemnly swear, that I was a resident citizen of the United States on the 18th day of March, 1818; and that I have not, since that time, by gift, sale, or in any manner, disposed of my property, or any part therof, with intent thereby to diminish it, as to bring myself within the provisions of an act of Congress, entitled “An act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land and naval service of the United States, in the Revolutionary War,” passed on the 18th day of March, 1818; —and that I have not, nor has any person in trust for me, any property or securities, contracts or debts, due to me; nor have I any income other than what is contained in the schedule hereto annexed, and by me subscribed.

    vis 4 1/2 acres of Land 45,- 1 old Horse 12,- 1 Ditto 25- 1 low 14. ($96.00)
    1 heifer 10,00. 1 steer 6,00 – 1 Calf 2,50 – 5 Sheep 6,00. – 1 hog 3,00 1 Gun 13,00. 2 tables 1,00- (41.50)
    2 Chests 1,50. 2 trunks 1,50. 5 bench 3.80- 1 set hace(?) chains of collen(?) 1,34. 2 axes 1,75. (9.89)
    1 hoe 25. 1 pr Stal(?) yards 17. 1 berth(?) & Rings, 50. 1 bellows .75, 1 dish kettle, 1 bake(?) & tea kettle 1,35 (3.42)
    1 large iron kettle 1,50. 8 bottles ,72. 1 old saddle 1,17. Shovel & tongs & crane 1,54. (4.93)
    1 Chain & sickle 1,00, 1 churn, earthen, part of pail 57. 1 Loom old 1,50. Scythe & tackling ,75. (3.82)

    That he hath no debts to him but owes sundry debts to the amount of one hundred and fifty two dollars & sixty eight cents– That he is by occupation a farmer, that he is now unable to labour but very little– that his family consists of a wife aged 60 years & one daughter aged 35 years who is unable to support herself by reason of sicknefs & disability, & one son aged nineteen years who is not very rugged(?) , but will soon be for himself.

    Jason Wood

    Sworn to and declared on the first day of August 1820, before said Court. Attest, Benjamin Swan Clerk

    State of Vermont
    Windsor County

    I, Benj. Swan, Clerk of the Supreme Court for the County of Windsor, do hereby certify, that the foregoing oat, and the schedule thereto annexed, are truly copied from the record of the said Court:—And I do further certify, that it is the opinion of the said Court, that the total amount in value of the property exhibited in the aforesaid schedule is seven dollars.

    In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and affixed the seal of said Court, at Woodstock, this fifth day of August 1820.

    Benj. Swan Clerk of the Supreme Court for Windsor County.

    Declaration from his pension file:

    State of New York
    Ontario County

    On this ninth day of June 1824 before me O. Seymour a Notary Public in the State & County aforesaid, personally appeared Jason Wood, the same person who formerly belonged to the company commanded by Capt. Jonathan Danforth in the Regt. commanded by Col. Asa Whitcomb in the service of the United States, that his name was placed on the Pension Roll of the State of Vermont from whence he has recently removed that he now resides in the State of New York in the Town of Italy, Yates County, where he intends to remain & wishes his pension to be payable in this State of New York in future.

    Jason Wood

    Sword & Subscribed to before me this ninth day of June 1824
    O Seymour N.P.

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