Teagarden Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Teagarden Meaning
Teegarden and Teagarden are the principal American forms of the Tegarden name that came to America in 1736 with Abraham Tegarden of Solingen in North Rhine-Westphalia.  The name appeared in Solingen as Thegarden as early as 1374 and was recorded as Tegarden in 1488.  Theegarten is a district in Solingen today.  The root could have been the Low German te garden meaning “at the garden;” or, alternatively and very differently.  ti  garden meaning tow path guard.

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Teagarden Ancestry

Christian Tegarden, born in 1650, was the first recorded of the line of Tegardens at Solingen. Family history has suggested that these Tegardens were members of a cutlery guild there.  Solingen was in
fact called the city of blades for the swords that were produced there.  At the time that his son Abraham departed for America in 1736, Solingen had a population of about 2,000.

AmericaAbraham Tegarden was the family pioneer in America, arriving in 1736 with his family and settling on the western frontier in Maryland.

Abraham and his wife Anna brought four sons to America, the eldest of whom was Abraham. He moved with his family to what became Greene county in western Pennsylvania, also at that time a pioneer area for settlement.  Tradition tells of the many thrilling adventures he and his family had with the Indians. The old Teagarden homestead was at Richhill township in Greene county.

One line from William Teagarden, a Revolutionary War veteran from Greene county, Pennsylvania led to Oswin Teagarden, a Confederate smuggler during the Civil War, and to Jack Teagarden, the great jazz trombonist of the 1930’s and 1940’s.

The family lineage has been covered in three books:

  • Joseph Oswin Teagarden’s 1949 book A Genealogy of the Teagarden Family  
  • Helen E. Vogt’s 1967 book Genealogy and Biographical Sketches of Descendants of Abraham Tegarden 
  • and Jeanette Teegarden Jones’ 1972 book Ten Generations of Teegardens.

Teagarden may be the most known spelling of the name in America, but it is not the most common.  There are more than twice as many Teegardens as Teagardens around today.  The largest number of Teegardens was and is in Kentucky. They were also be be found in Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri.

Tegarden generally became Teegarden in Kentucky.  Jeremiah and Katherine Teegarden arrived in Bracken county from Greene county, Pennsylvania sometime in the early 1800’s.

“Jeremiah was always spoken of as a very strong man who never feared man or beast, but was always a gentleman.  One time before he left Pennsylvania he whipped nine men at a logrolling contest for disputing his word in a fist fight when he was about 18 years old. In family references to Jeremiah ever afterward, his name was followed with ‘he knocked down nine men.'” 


Jeremiah was the father of a very large family and was a very extensive landowner on the waters of Big Bracken Creek.  They remained Teegardens (even though the 1850 census registered them as Teagardens). Meanwhile Jeremiah’s cousin the Rev. William Teegarden, a backwoods preacher, came to Columbiana county in SW Ohio around the year 1808.  His son Abraham, a doctor, migrated to La Porte, Indiana and built the Hotel Teegarden
there in 1852.

A Tegarden who also made the westward march from Pennsylvania to Kentucky and Indiana was Basil Tegarden.  He married Anna Tegarden nee Ford, the aunt of Abraham Lincoln’s wife, in Kentucky in 1797 and moved to Indiana in 1814.  Some of his descendants ended up in Missouri.

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Teagarden Miscellany

Reader Feedback – Teagarden as Tow Path Guard.  The origin of the name in this article is incorrect. “Te” derives from “ti” which meant “tow path” and “garden” comes from the root “garden” meaning “to guard.” So “tow path guard” or “watchman of tow path.” Ti was an expression denoting an Alpine tow path or road.

Jeanne (skigrrrrl1964@gmail.com)

Abrahan Tegarden the Pioneer.  In 1736, at the age of 48, Abraham Tegarden departed his home in Solingen in North Rhine/Westphalia with his wife Anna Margarethe and many of their children for America. They boarded the Harle in the Palatine apparently under his wife’s name of Deckart.  However, Tegarden was the name that the family gave on arrival in Philadelphia.

The Tegardens traveled south from Pennsylvania along the Monocasy Trail and in 1739 purchased land to farm in the Conococheague valley on the western frontier in Maryland. Later they moved to the town of Hagerstown where both Abraham and his wife Anna died in 1753.

Teagardens of Richhill Township in Greene County.  Teagardens have been in Greene county, Pennsylvania since the
1750’s and are still there today.  The Teagarden cemetery is located in Richhill township. It survives although the cemetery itself is in poor condition and quite overgrown.

Among the Teagarden gravestones to be found are:

  • Teagarden, William, 1746-1813. Private in the Pennsylvania militia during the Revolutionary War.  There is a Revolutionary War flag marker.
  • Teagarden,  Abraham, 1775-1853.  Private in the 2nd Pennsylvania Brigade, War of 1812, Veteran flag marker.
  • Teagarden, Abraham C, died in 1863.  16th Pennsylvania Cavalry.  Fell in the Battle of Shepherdstown during the Civil War.  GAR flag marker.

There was an old Teagarden homestead in Richhill township, inhabited first by Isaac Teagarden, a mill-wright, and then by his son John P. Teagarden, a lawyer. His daughter Dr. Jenny Teagarden grew up in Greene county after the Civil War.  She attended medical school at Waynesburg and became the first female physician in the county.  Later she helped establish the Children’s Aid Society and served as its president for many years.

The Rev. William and Susannah Teegarden.  The Rev. William and Susannah Teegarden were a remarkable couple who were wed for more than fifty years. They had fifteen children of whom many were over six feet tall.  Four of the sons were medical doctors and two of these became state Senators.

There have been letters left by Eliza Perry Teegarden in Kentucky.  She had made an early trip to Columbiana county, Ohio to visit her uncles, William, George and Thomas.

Captain George Teegarden recalled as a boy he hearing conversation among his elders talking with Aunt Eliza about her trip to Ohio from Bracken county, Kentucky.  It seems she felt they were treated in a rather superior manner by Susannah who was quite a lady or at least so considered herself.

The visit was never repeated.  Captain George who had seen the fine clothes Eliza had worn to Ohio thought maybe that Susannah was merely trying to keep from being overwhelmed by relatives from the south in finery.  Somehow a backwoods preacher hardly seems one who would have been affluent.

William was really a backwoods preacher. He often obliged to transport salt and provisions for his family across the mountains on horseback.  He was a man of generous heart and kind disposition and a friend of the Indians in the forest.  The Indians often built their campfires near the door of his cabin.  A Bible Christian Minister, he often rode 25 miles through the pathless forests on an old white horse to deliver his message of cheer to the few scattered settlers who would gather in some pioneer home.

Anna Tegarden nee Todd.  Anna Todd grew up in Kentucky.  She was the aunt of Mary Todd Lincoln, the wife of Abraham Lincoln.  She herself married Basil Tegarden in Shelby county, Kentucky in 1797. They moved to Orleans in Orange county, Indiana in 1814 where they raised eleven children.

Anna outlived her husband by twenty years and died in 1863 at the splendid age of eighty four.  She was buried next to her husband in the Liberty cemetery east of Orleans. Several other Tegardens are buried in the same plot, including some of her children.

Jack Teagarden – Did He Have Indian Blood?  Apparently
Jack Teagarden was widely seen in the jazz community as being at least part Native American. The theory of Indian blood stemmed from his dark looks plus the fact that he frequently toured with black musicians during a time of segregation.

But there was no evidence that this was the case.  His father Charles was listed as white on his World War One draft card.  Charles was the chief engineer for the Vernon Cotton Oil Company in Vernon along the Texas-Oklahoma border.  He was also an amateur brass band trumpeter and encouraged both Jack and his three siblings to be jazz musicians.

Jack in fact had a long German heritage which has been traced back to William Teagarden, a Revolutionary War veteran from Greene county, Pennsylvania.  The line from him went to Oswin Teagarden in Louisiana, a smuggler for the Confederate Army during the Civil War.  Afterwards these Teagardens moved to the Red River area of Texas.

The Jack Teagarden exhibit at the Red River Valley Museum in Vernon, Texas features his personal effects that were donated by his family after his death in 1964.

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Teagarden Names
  • Abraham Tegarden who arrived in Philadelphia in 1736 was the forebear of the Teegardens and Teagardens in America.   
  • Jack Teagarden was at his peak as a jazz trombonist in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  He is regarded as the father of the jazz trombone.
Teagarden Numbers Today
  • 1,000 in America (most numerous in Kentucky)
Teagarden and Like Surnames 

The first wave of German immigration into America came in the early 1700’s from the Rhine Palatine and Switzerland.  They were fleeing religious persecution at home.  Most ended up in Pennsylvania, bringing their Mennonite church with them.  Some went to the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York.  Their Germanic names often changed under English rule to English-style names.  Thus Fischer became Fisher, Schneider Snyder, Hubner Hoover and so forth.

The reasons for immigration were different in the 19th century – in search of a better life, sometimes to avoid the draft.  They came from all German states and went not just to Pennsylvania but all over as the middle and west of the country was opening up.  And they brought German skills with them, notably beer-making.

Here are some of the notable German surnames in America that you can check out.

AckermanHoffmanLangSpringer
AstorHooverNewmanStern
BergerKaiserSchaeferStrauss
BuckKellerSchlesingerWagner
EversKlingerSchultzWolf
FisherKrugerSnyderZimmerman

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