I am indebted to the following individuals for contributions and assistance with my research.
First I think I should mention, Tom Kelly of Claw son, Michigan. He responded to an inquiry placed in the Laurel Messenger, over twenty years ago, questioning the identity of Peter Andrew Topper’s father. I’d begun my genealogical research in the late seventies and acquired quite a bit of information back then. But raising a family and other interests lead to me put my work on hold. Tom’s letter inspired me to find my old dusty notebooks and fill in some of their blank spaces. This new interest, combined with modern conveniences like the world wide web and email –which make research easier and results more immediate, sparked my renewed quest for my family’s roots.
Tom and a trio of relatives from western Pennsylvania were pursuing Topper information from a variety of sources. Tom, it should be noted, is related through Mark Alphonsos Topper, the youngest brother of John Albert Topper, M.D., my grandfather. The three western Pennsylvanians were James Ashbaugh, David Topper, and Patricia Bakale. This triumvirate corresponded with Tom Kelly regarding the Toppers. It was that correspondence/information which Tom was kind enough to share with me.
Also, I am genuinely grateful for the information shared by Stuart Henri Yost, a professional genealogist. He generously provided information on Peter A. Topper connecting him to his parents, George Topper and Sabina Adams. Stuart is related to the Topper line by way of Mathias Topper, son of Andrew Topper, originally from Adams County and then moved onto Columbia County, Ohio. And after Mathias’ death, his family moved onto Indiana. It is quite interesting that Stuart wisely contradicts some misinformation I’ve noticed on the web. Some researchers indicate that Mathias is the son of the younger Andrew Topper (b. 1772), yet believe the he is the son of Margaret Brown, instead of the son of his actual mother Anna Maria Riffel. Stuart offers conclusive reasons to verify this fact.
David Topper is related through John Michael Topper’s, (my ancestor), Francis Topper and his son, his son Hayden Henry Topper, through David Topper. Likewise, I have been pleased to meet David’s son, Mike Topper, via the internet.
James Bernard McDunn of a variety of photographs of Edward Topper and his wife, Edith A. Weimer Topper and some of her brothers, sisters, and parents, Peter Weimer, and his wife Anna Oswald. Peter Weimer was a blacksmith in New Baltimore, PA for many years. The photographs, generously contributed, were accompanied by family tree information that was gratefully received.
Similarly, and still more recently, I have received from Francis Neale Smith concerning the fascinating saga of Virginia/West Virginia Toppers/Spicers —descendants of John Henry Topper and of Thomas Spicer who wed in New Baltimore, PA and had some links to the Schellsburg, Bedford County area. Neale recounted the lives of the Topper/Spicer family in Hampshire County at the foot of the Spring Gap Mountain, near Slanesville, WV.
I should mention the genealogical research of my cousin, Fred Iannarelli, which helped bring me back to the Toppers and genealogy after being away from them for quite awhile. I am grateful for his research and his support.
I should also thank Nancy Halberg for her generous provision of documentation about the descendants of Christian Miller and the family of Harriet J. Miller and related family information about her ancestors and on another occasion information about John Henry Topper, that “impoverished and much travelled gunsmith.”