Hometown Tuesday ~ Hopewell, Fredrick County, Virginia

City Point, the oldest part of Hopewell, was founded in 1613 by Sir Thomas Dale. City Point’s location on a bluff overlooking the James and Appomattox Rivers in Virginia, has been an important factor in Hopewell’s history for almost four centuries.The City of Hopewell had about 119 settlers by 1700. Their main agriculture crop was tobacco which was shipped back to England.
Hopewell Friends Meeting was named “Opeckan”, after nearby Opequon Creek, when it was set off from the Concord Pennsylvania Quarterly Meeting in 1734. It is the oldest Quaker meeting in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The original group of settlers came from the Monocacy valley in Frederick County, Maryland. Initially, this meeting was a member of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. At that time, the settlement included about 100 families. Initially, a log meeting house was built on lands originally granted by Lt. Gov. William Gooch of Virginia to two Ulster Scots with roots in Northern Ireland, a Quaker named Alexander Ross (in 1730) and Morgan Bryan (in 1732).
The government would issue grants and patents over the following two years to the 100 families which Bryan and Ross believed they could attract. Some families arrived before 1732, but the project failed to meet the 2-year deadline, and grants were not issued until November 1735. Prominent London Quaker John Fothergill (1712-1780) visited this meeting in 1736. In 1757, the 1734 meeting house burned. In addition to losing its place of worship, the congregation also almost lost all its early records in a 1759 house fire.
Richard Harrold, my 7th Great Grandfather, was born on August 14, 1680, in Barwell, Leicestershire, England and came to America from London in 1681 on the ship Henry and Ann with his parents. He settled in Pennsylvania. He married Mary Beals (1692-1740) in 1710, in the Concord Monthly Friends Meeting in Chester County, PA. In 1716, Richard and Mary removed to the Hopewell Friends Meeting in Fredrick County, Virginia. In 1711, their daughter Rebecca was born and their son William was born in 1719. Richard died in 1730, at the age of 50.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Hometown Tuesday ~ Paxtang, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania

hometown tuesdayIn 1681, King Charles II handed over a large piece of his North American land holdings along the North Atlantic Ocean coast to Penn to pay the debts the king had owed to Penn’s father. This land included the present-day states of Pennsylvania and Delaware. William Penn purchased the area known as Paxtang, or “Paxto” from the Lenape Tribe.

In 1729 Paxtang Township of Lancaster County was established. The1024px-Dauphin_county_pennsylvania_townships spelling “Paxtang” is from the original Indian name Peshtank, which meant “standing water”. The word “Paxton” is used today instead of Paxtang. Settling within the township during its colonial period were many German and Scotch-Irish immigrants. They established several farms and settlements throughout the area.

Paxton_massacrePaxtang is the site where Presbyterian Scots-Irish frontiersmen organized the Paxton Boys, a vigilante group that murdered twenty Native Americans in the Conestoga Massacre. On December 14, 1763, more than 50 Paxton Boys rode to the settlement near Millersville, Pennsylvania. They murdered six Natives and burned their cabin. Governor John Penn placed the remaining fourteen Conestogas in protective custody in Lancaster, but the Paxton Boys broke in, killed all fourteen people on December 27, 1763. In January 1764, 140 Natives living peacefully in eastern Pennsylvania fled to Philadelphia for protection. The Paxton Boys marched on Philadelphia in January 1764 with about 250 men. British troops and the Philadelphia militia prevented them from doing more violence.

Paxtang is home to the Old Paxton Church, one of the earliest in the area. It was built in 1740, the church is the oldest Presbyterian Church building in continuous use in Pennsylvania, and the second oldest in the United States. In 1726, the Rev. James Anderson of Donegal, Pennsylvania, became the first regular preacher. The history of the church is interwoven with the history of central colonial Pennsylvania.

In 1732, the congregation was officially organized as a Presbyterian1920px-Harrisburg_PA_Paxtang_ 1 Church by the Presbytery of Donegal, with the Rev. William Bertram as the first installed pastor. The Rev. John Elder, the “Fighting Parson,” became pastor in 1738. He was pastor during the French and Indian War and Revolutionary War and served as a commissioned officer. The present stone sanctuary was erected in 1740, replacing a log meeting house which had previously served as the place of worship. A stone marker south of the sanctuary indicates the site of the log building. A replica of the log meeting house was erected north of the present sanctuary.

Adjacent to the church is a historic cemetery. Here lie the bodies of soldiers of the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. People who molded the early religious and political character of America are buried here, including John Harris II, William Maclay, the first United States senator from Pennsylvania, and four of the six commissioners who planned the town of Harrisburg with him in 1785. Ministers, legislators, farmers, teachers, men of affairs, and enslaved African Americans are buried here.

James Forster husband of Elizabeth MooreElizabeth Moore, my 6th Great Aunt, was born in 1735 in Paxtang. She is the fourth of five children born to William Moore (1705-1767) and Mary Wickesham (1706-1763). She married James Forster (1728-1800) who was also born in Paxtang in 1757. They had 8 children, 4 sons, and 4 daughters. James served in the Revolutionary War as a member of the Liberty Company of Londonderry and a Frontiersman in 1775. Elizabeth died in 1805 at the age of 70.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Hometown Tuesday ~ New Castle, Delaware

hometown tuesdayNew Castle Delaware was originally named Fort Casimir. It was founded in 1651 by Peter Stuyvesant, who was sent to provide the Dutch with the command of all river traffic. Because of its strategic location, ownership of the settlement was constantly changing. The flags of the Netherlands, Sweden, and Great Britain have all flown over New Castle.

Settled by Swedes in 1638, it has been called by no less than six names as Swedes,clapboard housing new castle Dutch or English took possession: Grape Vine Point, Sandhuken, Fort Casimir, Fort Trinity, New Amstel, and New Castle. This last being given by Sir Robert Carr when the British conquered the Dutch here in 1664. Most houses in New Amsterdam in 1664 were of wood with roofs thatched with the local reeds and they used clapboard siding. The houses were one story with a garret. Almost all buildings had their gable-end facing the street. The siding was generally horizontal clapboards.

leblanc_headerThe three counties which make up the state of Delaware were added to William Penn’s lands in America. In 1682, Penn came ashore at New Castle and took possession, but these counties, which were already well established, became dissatisfied with his rule. Proceeding to the Court House he was presented with “Turf and Twig, Water and Soyle” in token of his Proprietorship. The Court House in New Castle is the oldest one in the United States, and it is located in the center of a 12-mile circle forming the northern boundary of Delaware. It was the scene of many famous trials. In the Courtroom, there are two pillars on which the hands of criminals were placed while being branded with hot irons. The Common Farms, given under a Charter from William Penn in 1701 for use of inhabitants of New Castle, consisted of 1000 acres of fine farmland that adjoined town. In 1704, when he granted them a separate legislature, New Castle became the colonial capital of Delaware. The lively town also briefly served as the first state capital and continued as the county seat until the 1880s.

New Castle’s location made it an ideal transfer point for trips up and down the coast. logo delawareAs a result, New Castle was a thriving community throughout the 1700s and early 1800s. The courts and general assembly also attracted various judges, lawyers, and government officials who built handsome houses, many of which still remain.

William Dyer, my 7th great-grandfather, was born in Boston, Massachusetts on March 7, 1663. He married Joanna Chard on March 22, 1687. He moved to New Castle, Delaware after the marriage where they had 2 sons, John and Joseph. Joanna died in 1711 and William then married Mary Whitman on April 17, 1712. There were no children born to this union. William died in January 1714 at the age of 51. It is not known where he is buried as the Quakers that ruled this community did not believe in placing headstones or markers on graves.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Hometown Tuesday ~ Easton, St Peter’s Parish, Talbot, Maryland

meeting house signIt is unknown when Talbot County was originally founded. The County is located in the heart of Maryland‘s Eastern Shore, We do know it existed by February 12, 1661, when a writ was issued to its sheriff. It was initially divided into nine Hundreds and three parishes: St. Paul’s, St. Peter’s and St. Michael’s. When the Quakers arrived in 1682, they constructed the Third Haven Friends Meeting House which is one of the oldest churches in the United States. By the late 1700s, the town had grown so large that Maryland’s legislature authorized construction of a courthouse, at which time Easton was deemed the “Colonial Capital of the Eastern Shore.” In 1710 the first Courthouse was built on what would become the town of Easton. It is believed that this town was named after the town Easton in Somersetshire, England.

A lot of history happened in and around Easton. In 1747 it was the first place to enact Tobacco inspection laws which enabled Maryland to control the quality of exports; established multiple inspection points to ensure export of only quality leaf, and set clerical and proprietary officers’ fees. On May 11, 1790, Easton Maryland Herald and Eastern Shore Intelligencer became the first newspaper on Eastern Shore, published by James Cowan.

The most notable historic figure who lived in this area was Frederick Douglas. Hefrederick douglas was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in February 1818. He had a difficult family life. He barely knew his mother, who lived on a different plantation and died when he was a young child. He never discovered the identity of his father. When he turned eight years old, his slave owner hired him out to work as a body servant in Baltimore. At an early age, Frederick realized there was a connection between literacy and freedom. Not allowed to attend school, he taught himself to read and write in the streets of Baltimore. At twelve, he bought a book called The Columbian Orator. It was a collection of revolutionary speeches, debates, and writings on natural rights. When Frederick was fifteen, his slave owner sent him back to the Eastern Shore to labor as a field hand. Frederick rebelled intensely. He educated other slaves, physically fought back against a “slave-breaker,” and plotted an unsuccessful escape.

Third Haven Quaker_Meeting_HouseMy maternal 6x Great Grandfather Thomas William Ford Jr was born in Easton on December 8, 1735. He is one of 3 sons born to Thomas Ford Sr. and Bridget Griffith. He married Sarah, last name unknown, in 1754. They had one daughter named Esther born April 18, 1755. Thomas and Sarah were Quakers and they belonged to the Third Haven Meetinghouse. Not much more is known about them nor their loves but I haven’t given the search to fill in all the blanks. Thomas died December 16, 1776, in Easton and his place of burial is unknown.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Hometown Tuesday ~ New Garden, Guilford Co, North Carolina

hometown tuesdayThe small village of New Garden was founded about 1750. It was located in the western section of Guilford County. The inhabitants of this town had migrated from William Penn’s settlement in Philadelphia. They were all Quakers wanting a little more freedom to worship as they liked. They made the long trip over what is great_wagon_roadknown as “The Great Wagon Road”. It stretched from Philadelphia Pennsylvania, through a sliver of Maryland, and all the way through Virginia. Like many colonial roads, most of the Great Wagon Road was little more than a wide dirt path. Travel was slow. Rainstorms made the road almost impassable. Immigrants came by foot, horse, or wagon. In good weather, a horseman could go about 20 miles a day. A wagon averaged half that distance.

Once the Quakers reached New Garden they were amazed at the beauty of the area. New Garden MeetinghouseThey found plenty of space to build their home and farm the land. In 1757, Richard Williams donated 53 acres and the timbers for the construction of the first New Garden Meeting House. Over ninety public Friends from the North, from eastern Carolina, and from Europe attended meetings at New Garden between the years 1752 and 1778. Once the Meetinghouse was complete the town began to grow around it.

quakerMy 6x Great Grandfather, John Mills III was one of these Quakers that made this arduous trip. He was born on January 29, 1688, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Mills Jr and Mary Kenion. Here he met and married his first wife, Rachel Bates in 1708. They had 5 sons. Rachel died in 1740 and soon after her death, John at the age of 52, took 3 of his adult sons and their family and headed south towards North Carolina. It was about a 440-mile trip and it took almost 2 months. They stopped to rest and worship in Hopewell, North Carolina and John met Rebecca Harrold, a single woman half his age. They soon married and continued their journey to New Garden.

John, his wife, and sons along with their families were among the first members of John Mills deaththe church there. John and Rebecca had 7 children, 4 sons, and 3 daughters. John died on November 24, 1760, at the age of 72. Rebecca died two months later on January 24, 1861, at the age of 44. Their youngest son Jonathan was 3 years old. His older brother William (my 5x Great Grandfather) raise him and all 5 of his siblings.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.