Wednesday, December 31, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 52: William Hamilton

William Hamilton was born 20 Mar 1751 the 10th of 15 children in Adams, PA.
William (24) married Mary Magdalena Bittinger (21), 14 Sep 1775. They had 12 children:

  • Margaret b: 1776
  • John b: 1778 (our ancestor)
  • Jane b: 25 MAY 1780 twins!
  • Florence b: 25 MAY 1780 twins!
  • William b: 1782
  • Joseph b: 1784
  • Enoch b: 1786
  • James b: 1788
  • Robert b: 1791
  • George b: 1792 in York Co., Pa.
  • David b: 1795
  • Jesse b: 1797

 "William and  Magdalena Hamilton lived on what is known as the "Hankey farm,"  three miles west of Gettysburg, the title to which he purchased from the heirs of William Penn; the old homestead  was standing at the time of the Civil War battle, and was used by the  Confederates as a hospital."

I found a 50 page pension file, in which William’s youngest son Jesse relates his father’s war service:

That he (Jesse) is the youngest child of William Hamilton a soldier of the Revolution that he has often heard his father William Hamilton speak of his service in the Revolutionary war, that Jesse has a sword that his father used in the war.  

William served in the army and served as a lieutenant under Capt. Robert McConaughy, he thinks he was out two tours in that capacity but does not know the length of the tours.  It was about the commencement of the war that he heard his father speak of returning home from the war to see his family in the fall of 1776, and his oldest child Margaret was then born, and he stayed at home with his family some days and then returned to the service.  

He heard his father speak of carrying some money from his mother-in-law to his father-in-law Capt Bittinger who was at that time a prisoner of the enemy.  

He heard his father speak of a soldier being shot down by his side in a skirmish at Amity, he has also heard him speak of retreating from the enemy at the battle of Brandywine.  Upon one occasion, being upon a scouting party his father observed the enemy in the act of firing upon him but he fired a moment before the enemy, who fell, his ball passing close by his father’s head.  

His father afterwards enlisted in the artillery at York PA and served under Captain Coven in the artillery, commanded by General Knox.  

Reproduction of pay ledger showing Wm Hamilton

He was a matross (a gunner or a gunner's mate; one of the soldiers in a train of artillery, who assisted the gunners in loading, firing, and sponging the guns.)  in the company and he thinks he entered this service about the spring of 1779.   He cannot tell how long he was in service but thinks it was a considerable length of time until the close of the war or nearly so.  –Jesse Hamilton, 1855

Reproduction of Service Record of Wm Hamilton

After the war, William was one of the commissioners appointed to supervise the erection of the first county building at Gettysburg, when Adams  County was formed.

William (72) died on 22 September 1823 in Adams County, PA.  His wife, Magdalena (88), died 17 Dec 1842.
Wm Hamilton's headstone
A WPA Project in the 1930s

Pension File
"History of  Washington Co." 1882.

52 Ancestors, Week 51: Daniel and Heinrich Chrisman

“Daniel Christman arrived at Philadelphia on 5 Sep 1730 with forty five palatines and their families, 130 persons in all, in the ship Alexander and Ann, Wm Clymer, Master, from Rotterdam, with a stop in last from Cowes, England.  It appears that he and his daughter Anna Ella (age 2) made the journey.

Daniel (25) married Elizabeth Margaret Haas (18) in 1730. (soon after he arrived in America, it looks like.)

They had Felix (1733), Elizabeth (1734), Jacob (1737) George (1739), and Henry (1744) (our ancestor)

Daniel and his family settled in Worcester township, PA.  He was a member of the Lutheran church, and in 1748 contributed five shillings toward paying for a bell for the New Hanover Lutheran church.

Daniel (55) died 21 Jan 1760.

Daniel’s youngest son Henry (Heinrich) was born 25 Dec 1744.

Henry became the owner of a large tract of land, situated on French Creek.  Here he lived during the Revolutionary War and it is handed down as a tradition that he did considerable hauling for the patriots at that time. By trade, he was a saddler.  It is also said that his fine heavy draught horses were sometimes hidden in the thick bushes along the creek to prevent them from being seized by the British who ranged through that neighborhood while Washington was at Valley Forge.  On one occasion he traded a barrel of whiskey, being a distiller, and a set of heavy wagon harness for forty acres of land, which afterwards became valuable.

Henry (23) married Susanna Keeley (17), who was  born 25 Feb 1750.  They were married on 6 Aug 1767, and they had nine children:
Elizabeth 1768
Catherine 1770
Susanna 1773
Magdalena 1776
Henry 1779
Margaret 1782
Anna Maria 1785 (our ancestor)
Jacob 1788
George 1793

Henry died September 16, 1823 and is buried in the family burial plot at Zion’s Church in East Pikeland, Chester County.    His wife Susanna died 19 Sep 1823 only three days after her husband and is buried by his side. “ (1)

(1) Biographical annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

I think it’s interesting that we have the information about three German families who had immigrated from the same region in Germany: the Keeleys in 1728,  the Christmans in 1730 and the Finbiners in 1752, who settled in the same part of Pennsylvania and who married each other.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 50: Valentine Keeley

“The ship "Mortonhouse" with Captain John Coultas, left Rotterdam* in early June 1728, stopped off in Deal, England where a passenger list was compiled on 15 June 1728, then arrived in Philadelphia on 23 or 24 Aug 1728, where another passenger list was compiled.

Valentine Keeley's name was written as "Felde Kille" on one version of the passenger list, and "Valtin Kuhle" on the other.

After arrival in America, his name was spelled many different ways in various records. The original German spelling is uncertain.

*the ship sailed from Rotterdam, Holland, but that's not where the Keeleys were from. During that time period, thousands of German-speaking "Palatines" were leaving Europe as refugees...most floated down the Rhine in small boats, arriving in Rotterdam, where they boarded ships to England and America.

Queen Anne of Great Britain took pity on the Palatine refugees and settled many of them in Ireland, others in America. They were indebted to the Queen and promised to repay her later, some by making tar and pitch from the pine forests of America for the British navy.

Valentine Keeley (37) his wife Susannah (29) and their children Valentine (12) and Matthias (6) made the voyage.

Their oldest two children had been born in Germany:

  • Valentine S.,  b: 16 Jul 1716 
  • Matthias,  b: 15 Sep 1722 (our ancestor)

The family settled in rural Philadelphia County, PA, northwest of Philadelphia, where Valentine built up a nice farm in the Schwenksville area. They had three more children:

  • Sebastian b: 1728/1729 
  • Anna Maria (Mary) b: 1730 
  • Johann Heinrich (Henry) b: Feb 1731 in Perkiomen, PA, christened 24 Oct 1731 in Trappe Lutheran Church, Trappe, PA

Valentine Keeley was naturalized in the Supreme Court at Philadelphia, in September of 1740.  (and the entire family would have been naturalized at the same time as the Head of Household)

Valentine died in 1771.

"General George Washington and the Continental Army camped in and around Schwenksville – September 26 to 29 and October 4 to 8, 1777 – prior to and immediately following the October 4 Battle of Germantown. Washington's headquarters probably was at the (Valentine's youngest son) Henry Keeley House, just southwest of the town that he called "Pawling's Mill." The bulk of the Army camped on the opposite side of the Perkiomen Creek, at Pennypacker Mills." (2)

The events preceding the encampment here had been disastrous for Washington. He had been defeated at Brandywine, September 11, 1777, and retreated from there to Pottsgrove while the British crossed the Schuylkill River below Valley Forge and proceeded to Philadelphia.

 After the Battle of Germantown on October 3, 1777, which ended in defeat for the American forces, Washington returned to this area with his wounded, many of whom were dropped along the way to be cared for by farm families.

Other wounded were housed at Pennypacker's Mill, while it is reported still others were carried by the way of Frog Hollow to Keeley's School/Church, where a hospital had been set up. About 250 soldiers who died here are buried in the Keeley (Schwenksville) Cemetery.

Valley Forge, where Washington's army encamped during the winter of 1777-1778, is located about 10 miles to the south, on both banks of the Schuylkill River." (1)


52 Ancestors, Week 49: Phillip Jacob Finkbiner, a Revolutionary War Rifleman

Phillip Jacob Finkbiner (Jacob) was born 25 Aug 1754 in Philadelphia, the son of Tobias, a recent immigrant from Germany.

Jacob (20)  married Maria Magdalena Schilly on 8 Feb 1774.  They had a son, Johann Vanentin in 1774.

Jacob, (known as Jacob Finkboner in the Revolutionary War records) was a rifleman in the Continental Army:

“A resolution was adopted by Congress, June 14, 1775, directing the formation of ten companies of expert riflemen, six in Pennsylvania, two in Maryland, and two in Virginia - to be employed as light infantry and be paid the following sums per month:
  • a captain, twenty dollars;
  • a lieutenant, thirteen and one third dollars;
  • a sergeant, eight dollars;
  • a corporal, seven and one third dollars;
  • a drummer, seven and one third dollars,
  • and a private, six and two thirds dollars
  •  - all "to find their own arms and clothes."
One of these companies, Captain John Lowdon's, was recruited in Northumberland county PA.” (1)

“Captain Lowdon's commission reads:

IN CONGRESS:   The Delegates of the United Colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina:

To John Lowdon, Esquire:

We, reposing especial trust and confidence in your patriotism, valor, conduct, and fidelity, do, by these present, constitute and appoint you to be captain of a company of riflemen in the battalion commanded by Colonel William Thompson, in the army of the United Colonies, raised for the defense of American liberty, and for repelling any hostile invasion thereof.

You are, therefore, carefully and diligently to discharge the duty of captain, by doing and performing all manner of things thereunto belonging.  And we do strictly charge and require all officers and soldiers under your command to be obedient to your orders as captain;

and you are to observe and follow such orders and directions, from time to tune, as you shall receive from this or a future Congress of the United Colonies, or committee of Congress for that purpose appointed, or commander-in-chief for the time being of the army of the United Colonies, or any other superior officer, according to the rules and discipline of war, in pursuance of the trust reposed in you.

This commission to continue in force until revoked by this or a future Congress.

By order of Congress.

JOHN HANCOCK, President.

Attest:   CHARLES THOMPSON, Secretary.

PHILADELPHIA, June 25, 1775.” (2)

Jacob Finkboner enlisted on June 29th, 1775 in “Captain John Lowdon's Company of Northumberland County Riflemen, a component of what was called the Pennsylvania Line.

Payroll for Captain John Lowdon's company,
Jacob Finkboner is listed in the middle column.

To qualify for service with the company, a rifleman had to fire at and repeatedly hit a seven-inch target at 250 yards, far more than that required for basic marksmanship qualification in any branch of the service today — using modern high-tech rifles. That kind of shooting would immediately get a marksman into a sniper school in the Army or Marines. They were dressed in fringed buckskin and carrying knives and tomahawks as well as rifles.” (3)

“The journal of Aaron Wright, New York Historical Magazine, lS62, page 209, states, that Capt. Lowdon's company was sworn in at Northumberland, June 29, 1775, after which " we chose our officers and lay there until the 7th of July, when we got orders to march next morning.

When on parade our first lieutenant came and told us he would be glad if we would excuse him from going, which we refused, but on consideration we all concluded it was better to consent. * * * In the evening we chose a private in his place. The next morning we marched on board the boats, &c. July 13, reached Reading, where we got our knapsacks, blankets, &c."  (4)

“Lowdon’s Company of crack riflemen was soon ordered to Boston. The men made the more than 600-mile march in a little more than a month, (that was very fast!) They could not only shoot but route step.” (3)

“There they participated in the siege of Boston. He was also involved in the debacle in Brooklyn, the Battle of White Plains and the retreat across New Jersey.“ (5)

Jacob Finkboner was discharged January 26, 1776.  

He and his wife Magdalena had two more children:

  • Jacob Henry in 1778 (our ancestor) 
  • Suzanna in 1783

Magdalena must have died, and he married his second wife, Deborah Eschenfelder, and they had a daughter, Abigail in 1808.

Jacob (68) died 22 Sept 1822 in East Vincent, PA.

Jacob Finkenbeiner's tombstone


52 Ancestors, Week 48: Tobias Finkbiner and the origins of the Finkbiner name

Tobias Finkbiner, was born 5 Jun 1722 in Labbronnen, Freudenstadt, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

Freudenstadt, Germany, today

He immigrated to America in 1752, landing at Philadelphia.

He was married to Maria Dorothea Bruch in about 1753.  Their son, Phillip Jacob was born in 1754.

Tobias died in Trappe, PA in June of 1775.


The Finkbiner line can be traced back to the middle ages:

“Helmut Finckbein (1907 – 1993) of Berlin Germany did extensive research.  He found all the Finkbeiners in the Baiersbronn, Wurttemberg church records of family registers that began in the year 1627. He then studied the medieval records for the Allgaeu region of southwestern Bavaria where he found the earliest mentioning of our first ancestor, Hans “der Fintboner.”

“During the Middle Ages (approximately from 1100 to 1500 AD) Germany, Austria and Switzerland were part of the Holy Roman Empire ruled by the Hapsburg family of Vienna, and the populace adhered to the Roman Catholic faith.  During this time, the German people of noble and influential means began taking on surnames to distinguish one family from another.

However, most of the peasants living in the rural villages and towns during Medieval times were held in bondage to feudal landlords and vassals, and therefore did not possess surnames. Such was the case of our ancestors until the late 1300s when our earliest known ancestor cunningly obtained his freedom.

This ancestor, known originally only by his given name of Hans, was born near the Bavarian village of Memmingen around the year 1340.  He was a bondsman of the feudal lord or patrician Hainrich Kuntzelmann of Augsburg, who owned vast expanses of land in the Allgaeu.

Nothing is known of Han’s early life, although his childhood occurred during the time of the dreaded Black Death (Bubonic or Great Plague) that killed almost half of Europe’s estimated population of 95 million between the years 1347 and 1352.

The peasants preparing the fields for the winter
with a harrow and sowing for the winter grain,
from the The Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry, c.1410

When he became old enough to work the fields, Hans duties as a peasant serf were to cultivate beans (a bean farmer in German is “ein Bohner”).  Beans were the principal staple crop of Europe.

One evening in 1369 after a grueling day in the fields, our ancestor Hans and his overseer Hans Brockhardt decided to celebrate their accomplishments by partaking of German liquid bread (beer).

Overseer Brockhardt, was a freeman being paid by Kuntzelmann to manage his property of both land and men. Brockhardt held the serf Hans in high esteem for his hardworking ethics and knowledge of bean cultivating and subsequently befriended him.

However, unknown to Brockhardt was that the serf Hans had been planning his escape upon the Overseer reaching a state of stupor from drinking beer. While Hans Brockhardt slept off the effects of the beer, the serf Hans made off to the market town of Kempten on the Iller River, located approximately 20 miles south of Memmingen.

Kempten had obtained status as a free town as a result of a treaty signed by the Emperor Rudolph von Hapsburg in 1289, and thus people living within the town’s walls were free from servitude to lords and vassals. (Kempten during Medieval times had a population of about 500 inhabitants.)

Kempten, today

For the next several years, our ancestor Hans lived in Kempten as a free man working as a paid “bohner” (bean farmer) without Hainrich Kuntzelmann’s knowledge of his whereabouts.  Hans soon adopted the surname “der Boner” in honor of his occupation and apparently became a citizen of Kempten sometime in early 1372.

Also living in Kempten at this time were some of Hainrich Kuntzelmann’s relatives, including his brother-in-law Burcken Knopf and a cousin named Jacob Kuntzelmann, who was elected Buergermeister (mayor) of Kempten in 1389.

Burcken Knopt eventually learned of Hans’ identity and informed his brother-in-law of where Hans was living.  Since Hans had earned a solid reputation as a knowledgeable bean farmer, Hainrich Kuntzelmann traveled to Kempten by horseback to fetch back his bondsman.

Upon entering the town’s market square on Saint Michel’s Day (Sept 27th) of 1372, Kuntzelmann presented his spear and shield bearing his coat of arms consisting of a black eagle seal and demanded his bondsman be returned to him by calling out:

Hans! Hans der Fintboner! Meines Eigenmann gibt sich zu mir!”

 (Hans! Hans the found bean farmer!  My bondsman, give yourself to me!”)

However, Buergermeister Jacob Kuntzelmann informed his cousin that under the governing justices for Kempten, Hans was now a free man and a citizen of Kempten.  Realizing that he would not get his bondsman back, Hainrich agreed to release any hold he had on Hans in exchange for 35 guilders and a signed a document acknowledging this agreement.

The previously mentioned document, the original which exists to this day in the Public Office Archives found in Munich, was the earliest written document Helmut Finckbein had discovered mentioning our forbearer.

As a result of the encounter with Hainrich Kuntzelmann, the townsfolk of Kempten began referring to our ancestor as Hans “der Fintboner” which he eventually adopted as his surname.   Three other men are named in Kempten’s records during the late 1300s as possessing “der Fintboner” surname: namely, Hainrich, Bentz and jung (young) Hans.  We assume that these three men were sons of our Hans.” (1)

(1) Finkbeiner Family Newsletter, August 1997, by Gary A Finkbeiner

Monday, December 29, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 47: Robertson Rambo Finkbiner and his wife Gertrude Blanchard Finkbiner

Robertson Rambo (Rambo was his paternal grandmother’s maiden name) was born in Middletown, PA on 29 Oct 1881.

In 1894, his family moved to  Colorado Springs for his mother’s health.  He was the middle of three boys.

In 1900, he was 18, and has been attending school in Colorado Springs.  “Your Grandad [Robertson Rambo Finkbiner] was very proud of being "Major of Cadets" in hi school. He wanted always to go to West Point but never got there.” (1)

In the 1903 City Directory, Robertson is a bookkeeper, younger brother Nilson is a student, older brother Bayly has Finkbiner Brothers grocery and meats at 1201 N Weber.   Dad, John W is a pastor at the English Lutheran Church.  They are all living together at 309 E Platte Ave.

Gertrude and Bob soon after their marriage
taken at the corner of the house
at Blanchard Ranch in Boulder Canyon.

Somehow, Bob meets Gertrude and they marry in Boulder on 12 Mar 1908.  “We  [Robertson Rambo Finkbiner and Gertrude Blanchard] were married by "Grampa Finkbiner" [Rev. John Wm. Finkbiner] at our mountain home and went to our little house in Colorado Springs same day." (1)

Bayly (named for his uncle Bayly (who was named for his maternal grandmother’s maiden name) is born in 1909 in Colorado Springs.
Bob, Gertrude, and son Bayly in 1910

In 1910, they were living at 579 E Yampa in Colorado Springs.  Bob is a clerk in the County Treasurer’s Office.  They moved to Medicine Bow in 1911.

"We lived there when Bayly was born, then went to Cheyenne for a short time, then on to Medicine Bow, Wyoming where we lived many years. "R.R.F." was instrumental in starting the Medicine Bow State Bank and it was from this bank that both Bayly and Robert got their early banking training.” (1)

Robert Walton (a family name) was born in 1914 in Boulder.  I'm guessing that Gertrude went to Boulder to be with her parents and to have the baby.

In 1918, Bob registered for the WWI draft.  He was a bank cashier at Medicine Bow State Bank

On 7 Jan 1920 they were all living in Medicine Bow: Robert (38), Gertrude (37), Bayly (10), Robert (5).

George Horne (named for a family friend) is born in 1920 in Boulder.  Gertrude must have gone (again) to Boulder to be with her mother, to have the baby.

In 1930 they are still living in Medicine Bow.  Robert (48) is in Medicine Bow, home is valued at $5000, and there is a column asking if they had a radio set.  He did.

Bob, Robert Walton, George, Gertrude, and Bayly about 1930

Oddly, Gertrude (47) and the kids are renting a home living in Cheyenne, (with a radio set), Bayly (20), Robert (15) and George (9).  Gertrude is not working, but Bayly is a salesman in a Dry Good Store.  The only thing I can think of, is that Medicine Bow was so small, maybe Gertrude and the kids lived in Cheyenne for the boys to go to school?

In 1940, Robert (58) and Gertrude (57) were living in Medicine Bow and he was still with the bank. Son Bayly and his wife Olive are living just 4 houses down. Bayly was an assistant cashier at the bank and she was a bookkeeper at the bank.

The three brothers and their families, about 1943.  George served in WW II.
Olive, Bayly, Jessie, Bob, George
Janet, Donna, Ronald

Medicine Bow State Bank Will Close on Dec. 5
The Medicine Bow State Bank will close its doors Dec. 5, 1942, after years of faithful service. It is with regret that the many patrons of the bank received this news but all understand the circumstances that have led to the closing of its doors. Lack of business, mainly through the scarcity of loans which have been taken care of through government agencies has caused the bank to cease business operations. R. R. Finkbiner, cashier, has been named as liquidating agent and will assist customers in transferring their accounts.

The Medicine Bow State Bank was opened on June 1, 1911, with R. R. Finkbiner holding the position of cashier, which position he has held during the thirty and one half years of the bank’s existence. Bayly Finkbiner, son of R. R. Finkbiner, has been assistant cashier for the past several years.

Granddad Bob and Grannie (Gertrude) with their
granddaughter Janet.

Bob (73) died on 5 Mar 1955.

Grannie lived with her sister Bess in the 1960s and 1970s in Boulder.

Sisters: Bess and Gertrude

We would go to visit them every summer.
Grannie and her great-granddaughter Shannon (me)

Gertrude's son Bayly, Gertrude, Gertrude's great granddaughter, Shannon (me)

Gertrude and Bess with the great grandchildren
Gertrude (99) died in November 1980 in Casper, Wyoming in a nursing home.

(1) letter written by Gertrude Blanchard in 1963
Federal Census: 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940
1903 City Directory
Family Photos

52 Ancestors, Week 46: John William Finkbiner

John Willam Finkbiner was born in July 1843 in East Vincent, Pennsylvania, the 3rd son on Jacob Henry Finkbiner and Margaret Rambo.

JW enlisted on 18 Jul 1864 for 100 days as a Corporal in the Pennsylvania 194th Infantry Regiment, Company D. He mustered out on 06 Nov 1864 at Harrisburg, PA.  He also served in the Pennsylvania 26th Regiment, Company A. (dates unknown)

In 1870, JW was 27 and living at home on the farm with his parents, Jacob and Margaret and his sister Susan (14).

On 29 May 1873, JW (29) married Martha Eveline Hamilton (20).  She was born Nov 1852.

In 1880, John William was a minister in Middletown, PA, and he is enumerated along with his wife Martha and two kids : Hellen (3) Hamilton (8 months)

In about 1894, the family came to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Martha E. Hamilton Finkbiner lungs needed a higher climate, so the family moved from Maryland. The children were: oldest son, Bayly, then Robertson, then Nilson. Their father, Rev. John Wm. Finkbiner was a Lutheran Minister in Cumberland, Maryland at the time and became Minister of the Lutheran Church at Colorado Springs.      --Letter written by Gertrude B Finkbiner, Fall of 1963

The census of 9 June 1900, in Colorado Springs shows them renting a home at 309 E Platte Ave, and lists the children:

  • Bayly H (20), born Feb 1879
  • Robertson (18), born Oct 1881
  • Nilson (11), born June 1888

Martha said that she is the mother of 6 children, only 3 living.  One of them must have been little Hellen who was enumerated in the 1880 census.  We don’t know who the other two may have been.

Three generations:  JW Finkbiner, his son Robertson
and grandson Bayly, with their dog Sam Johnson in about 1912

The census of 1910 and 1920, in Colorado Springs shows them owning their home at 315 E Platte Ave.  Today on Google Earth, there is a church there, but it doesn't look that old.

Martha Hamilton Finkbiner with grandson Bayly in about 1910

Martha (71) died in early 1923.  

From a story printed in The Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania), 15 March 1923:


Sister of John B. Hamilton, Gettysburg, Passed Away
John B. Hamilton, of North Washington street, has just received word of the death of his sister, Mrs. Martha Hamilton Finkbiner, of Cheyenne, Wyoming. She was born in Butler Township, this county, the daughter of William S. and Eveline Hamilton.

She is survived by her husband, the Rev. J.W. Finkbiner, and three sons, Nilson, of Salem, Oregon; Bayly of Cheyenne; and Robertson, of Medicine Bow, Wyoming. A sister, Mrs. Jerry Hummer, of Mummasburg, and a brother, John B. Hamilton, of Gettysburg also survive. Burial was at Cheyenne.

On 11 Jul 1923, JW (age 80) died in Medicine Bow, WY, and was buried in Cheyenne.

Federal Census:  1880, 1900, 1910, 1920
Civil War Pension Index

Sunday, December 28, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 45: Eli Rambo

This is the work of Ronald S Beatty, with information from his website, with a few of my own edits and embellishments:

“Eli Rambo was born 11 Dec 1773, the youngest of 7 children. When Eli was almost 3, the Rev. Muhlenberg visited the family home:

‘The Rev. writes in his journal on 1 Nov 1776, "On being requested to do so, I went two miles on foot with Neighbor Muller to the plantation of Mr. (Gunnar) Rambo to preach a funeral sermon in English for his eleven-year-old daughter who had passed away.  The mother had also died of dysentery about ten days before, and a fifteen-year-old son is dying of the same sickness. The mother was a lover of the divine Word and was especially cheered during her illness by the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans.  It was her wish that I read and expound this chapter to her mourners at her funeral. 

November 2, Saturday.  I was informed that Mr. Rambo's young son, whom I had seen yesterday, had passed away early this morning and that I was to conduct a funeral service in English at the same house tomorrow, God willing.  The weather is already terribly raw and cold.’

Eli (23) married Margaret (20) (last name unknown) in about 1796.  Margaret was born 9 Oct 1776.

The family Bible was discovered by a book collector at an estate sale in the vicinity of Palmyra-Annville, PA; it records ten children:

1.  Joseph, b. 11 Sep 1797
2.  Mary, b. 5 Sep 1798, d. 2 Dec 1835, m. Henry Isett
3.  Susanna, b. 7 Mar 1800, d. 11 Jan 1851, m. Israel Peterman

In 1800, the family lived in Limerick Township, Montgomery Co., Pennsylvania with two young daughters.

 4.  Alice, b. 26 Mar 1802, d. 14 Nov 1882, m. John F. Shantz
5.  Abel, b. 30 Aug 1803
6.  Jonah, b. 17 Feb 1807
7.  Eli, b. 15 Aug 1811, d. 11 Mar 1847, m. Martha (?)
8.  Hannah, b. 17 Mar 1814
9.  Margaret, b. 29 Mar 1815 (our ancestor)
10.  Reuben, b. 25 Apr 1818

The will of Eli Rambo was written 26 Nov 1823. Eli (50) died 10 Dec 1823, and his will was probated 12 Jan 1824, and recorded in Montgomery Co. Will Book 6: page 187.

‘Norristown Weekly Register" of 28 Dec 1825

Public sale small farm late residence and property of Eli Rambo, deceased, situated in Limerick 2 miles above Trappe about 59 acres of good propagation, of woodland and meadow, a constant stream of water running through same.  The improvements are a 2 story frame dwelling partly new, a good barn, an apple orchard also a lot of 2 acres of woodland.  Apply to Henry Isett living on premises.’
Margaret Rambo (wife of the deceased)

Margaret (55) died 28 Nov 1831.”  (1)


52 Ancestors, Week 44: Gunnar Rambo

This is the work of Ronald S Beatty, with information from his website, with a few of my own edits and embellishments:

"Gunnar Rambo, Peter's eldest son, was born 6 Jan 1649 and married Anneka Cock in 1670.

Anneka was born about 1652, a daughter of Peter Larsson Cock and Margaret (Lom) Cock and a sister of Maria and Brigitta Cock who married Gunnar's younger brothers Anders and John.

Gunnar Rambo was a large land owner and occupied a prominent place in the affairs of the province.  

The 1697-98 roll of the Swedes on the Delaware prepared by Andreas Rudman, pastor of the Gloria Dei Church, listed eight of the nine of Gunnar’s and Anna’s children in the family and their ages:

1.  John (our ancestor), b. ca 1673, d. ca 1746, m. 1) Anna Laicon, 2) Sarah (?)
2.  Peter, b. ca 1678, d. Jul 1753, m. ?
3.  Gunnar, b. ca 1680, d. 1717-1724, unmarried
4.  Anders, b. ca 1682, d. 3 Jul 1755 unmarried
5.  Mons, b. ca 1684, d. Apr 1760, m. Catharina Boon
6.  Brigitta, b. ca 1685, m. Matthias Holstein
7.  Gabriel, b. ca 1687, d. ca Nov 1734, m. Christian (?)
8.  Matthias, b. ca 1690, d. before 1724
9.  Elias, b. ca 1693, will proved 1 Oct 1750, m. Maria Van Culen

He was on his land before 1682 because the Swedes had bought this Pennsylvania land from the Duke of York before Penn ever owned it.  Gunnar Rambo states that he stood at Upland [now Chester, PA] and watched Penn sail up the Delaware in 1682 ... implying that he was on his land at Matsunk above the falls of the Schuylkill (SKOO-kil) River.

Schuylkill Falls

"They chose excellent land.  While southeastern Pennsylvania in general was very good for agriculture, the Swedes' tract lay on probably the finest of the region.  A rolling terrain, it had a deep, well-drained loamy soil, free of loose stones and enriched by limestone deposits.  It lay athwart a limestone belt about a mile wide extending east to west until it widened into the soon-to-be fabulously productive Lancaster Plain.  Several streams arose in or ran through the area, such as Matsunk Creek and Frog Run, although none of them was strong enough to propel a mill.  Amply wooded, with oaks, hickories, and poplars predominating, by with open grasslands as well, the area abounded with wildlife -- deer, turkeys, bears, wolves, foxes, squirrels, and an occasional panther.  The woods supplied material for rafts and canoes and for log cabins.  The limestone which ranged from hard marble to soft stone, not only fertilized the soil but also provided stone for chimneys and ovens and for building more substantial structures.  The Schuylkill River, which enhanced the soil and supplied shad and catfish for the table, was not deep enough for large vessels except during the spring flooding, but rafts and canoes could be used for carrying the settlers and goods to and from the City.  Because of Penn's prior treaty arrangements the few Indians in the area were friendly."

He was a member of the first grand jury under William Penn, a peacemaker for Philadelphia County in 1684, and a member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly in 1685

Gunnar and his family belonged to Gloria Dei church at Wicaco, and in 1684 he and his brother Peter Jr. made a voluntary contribution of 30 guilders for the support of Rev. Jacob Fabritius. The Upper Merion Swedish Lutheran Church was meeting in Gunnar's house earlier than 1712.

The will of Gunnar Rambo was written 4 Jan 1724, entered for probate in Philadelphia on 20 Mar 1724, and recorded in Will Book D: pages 388-389, #306«.  It reads as follows:

"In the Name of God Amen, I Gunner Rambo of Matson in the County of Philada finding myself weak of body but of perfect and sound memory Blessed be God for it, do make this my last will and testament, revoking all former wills ever heretofore made by me or for me this fourth day of January one thousand seven hundred and twenty three/four.  Imprimis I give and bequeath my soul into the hands of Almighty God my Creator and my body to be buryed in a christian and a decent manner as my Executor hereafter named shall think fitt.  

ITEM I Give unto my Eldest Son John Rambo (age 50), the sum of five shillings, which, with what I have heretofore Given him, shall be in full of all demands and his share or portion of this my Estate.  

THEN I give unto my son (second) Peter Rambo (age 45), the Bed and Bolster, that I now lye on, with what he has had before shall be in full of all demands, for his share or portion of this my Estate.  
(third son Gunnar, and his 7th son Matthias were already dead)

THEN I give unto my (fifth) son Mounce Rambo (age 39) the sum of five shillings which with, what he had before shall be in full of all demands for his share or portion of this my Estate.  

THEN I give unto my (sixth) son Gabriel Rambo [#17], the sum of five shillings which with what I gave him before shall be in full demands of his share or portion of this my Estate.  

THEN I give unto my Granddaughter (his daughter Brigitta’s child) Katherin Holston (age 18) the sum of five shillings which is likewise in full of all demands from this my Estate.  

THEN I give unto my (fourth) son Andrew Rambo (age 41 and not married)  the sum of forty pounds current lawfull money of the province of pensilvania to him his heirs or assigns to be paid in Manner and form following (vizt) 

(youngest son) Ellias Rambo (age 30) to pay upon the 26th day of March, yearly after my decease the sum of five pounds p annum, of Current Lawfull money of ye province of pensilvania for eight years until the whole sum of forty pounds be paid, and in the mean time that he shall give Andrew security for the payment of the several sums yearly which is likewise in full of all further Demands from the sd Andrew to this my Estate.  

THEN I give unto my son Ellias Rambo this my plantation containing two hundred and fifty acres of land with all my Improvements and all the rest of my Estate both Real and personal as if every particular were named and I likewise appoint my son Ellias my sole Executor this my last will and 

Testament witness my hand and seal the day and date first above written.  Gunnar Rambo (his mark Sealed and Delivered in the presence of us,  Edward Farmer, Joseph Gray, Peter Yokom (his mark), Lovell Jarpson [Jackson]

Gunnar Rambo died in Upper Merion Township in January 1724 at the age of 75.  His wife predeceased him." (1)


Friday, December 26, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 43: Peter Gunnarson Rambo (part 2)

This is the work of Ronald S Beatty, with information from his website, with a few of my own edits and embellishments:
There are three interesting documents concerning Peter Rambo:
1.  An official encounter with some Native Americans
2.  A letter written to his sister in Sweden
3.  His Will

The first document:  
"During his years of trading with the Indians Peter Rambo learned enough of the language to serve as Interpreter.  Of interest is a colonial document describing a conference between the governor, magistrates of Newcastle and Indian sachems of New Jersey:

'At Newcastle, May 13th 1675

Upon an Appearance of the Indyans before the New Magistrates in the afternoone.    The names of the Chiefs were Renowewan of Sawkin on the Eastern side, Ipan Kickan of Rancokeskill, Kitmarius of Soupnapka, Manickty of Rancokestill heretofore all of N. Jersy side.  

The Govenor declares his desire to continue in friendship with them & his readiness to protect them, & thanks them for their coming down.

They by Israel Helme the Interpreter expresse thie rediness to continue in good friendship, & return their thanks to the Gov.  They are told that it is not, that the governor wants their help -- if the other Indyans will bee bad, he can deale well enough with them, but now is wishing to be kind to those that will live quietly and well.  

They are told they must not kick the beasts or swine belonging to the Christians & the Christians shall not doe them any injury.

The first sachem rises up & walks up & down taking notice of his old Acquaintance P. Rambo & Peter Cock, Lansa Cock with C. Cantwell then taking a band of sewant, he measured it from his neck to the length downward & said his heart should bee so long & so great to the Gov. & the Christians & should never forget the Gov. so presents the belt of wampum, throwing it at the Gov. feet.  

The next rises up & professing much friendship & thanks to the Gov. for his kind expressions presents another belt of wampum.

The Gov. (Andros) tells them the two belts shall be kept as bands of friendship between them.  The belts of sewant were written upon to be kept in token of a continuance of Peace.  The first belt was 15, t'other 12 wampum high.

The Gov. presents them with 4 Coates and 4 lappeloathes.  They return thanks and fall a kintacooying with expressions of thanks, singing kenon, kenon."

Secondly, Peter Rambo's  Letter to his Sister undoubtedly written 31 May 1693.

On 16 Nov 1692 postmaster Johan Thelin of Gothenburg wrote a letter to America containing the inquiry of a woman who wanted to know if her brother, Peter Gunnarson Rambo, was still alive in America.  That letter arrived in New Sweden in May 1693 and Peter's reply has been preserved in the Riksarkivet (Royal Archives) in Stockholm, along with letters written at the same time by his fellow colonists Charles Springer and Lars Cock.  

Peter Gunnarson Rambo had 37 grandchildren by Jun 1693 and was about 81 years old when he wrote this letter to his sister:

"Highly honored Dear Sister: Greetings! by the power of God, your letter, dear Sister, came into my hands here the 23rd of May, dated Gothenburg, the 16th of November 1692; from which letter I understand your temporal condition; that you are still alive, God be praised which makes me, my wife, and children glad at heart, that I might once again be permitted to hear of your condition and the Fatherland, before it pleases God to call me from this world.

Inasmuch as I have also understood from your letter that you now, and for some years past, have lost your eyesight and hearing (which comes as a great blow for me to hear); and you write to me that I should support you with assistance in your poverty, which I should with all my heart to do, but there is now such discord, war, and naval warfare that there would be great doubt whether you should receive it or not.  I have already sent you money several times, but I understand from your letter that you have received none of it. 

Therefore I beg you, Dear Sister, to have patience until I can hear from you again, and safer conditions may be found for my letters and what I send you.

Now what concerns my trade and conduct, and what my life has been here in this land: after eight years I entered the state of Holy Matrimony with Britta Mattzdotter, who (God be praised) is still living; she also came from Sweden, from Wassa, whom I have lived with in harmony and love for 46 years, and have had with her 4 daughters and 4 sons, but the one daughter when she was 8 years old fell asleep in the Lord.  And so I have still 4 living sons and 3 living daughters; all are well provided for and live in plenty with their husbands, wives, and children, so that now from my lineage there are living 37 souls of my children's children.

And I have served faithfully, both the Swedish regime, the Holland Dutch, and now the English: I also sat on the court for 29 years, both in the Swedes and the Hollanders' time; for the Swedes have a rule that no case should be decided at court unless the Swedes had their voice in it; but I am old and can no longer endure that toil.  Our nations also live faithfully with one another both in harmony and affection.  Our land is a very splendid fruitful land, so that we have no lack of anything on which the sustenance of our bodies and lives depends, for the nearby islands are fed by us with the land's goods, with seed, flour, and beer.  We have cause also to thank God that we live in harmony, affection, and faithfulness with the Indians, while the surrounding lands and neighbors have had great duress from the Indians; and I may truthfully say, that God has wonderfully preserved and shielded us and has shown a peculiar grace toward us in this heathenish land.

Nothing more occurs to me to write this time, but my dear wife and children send greetings to you and all good friends who may or can be found living, hoping for and awaiting your reply by the first ship that can come.  Commending you to the protection and care of God Almighty,

Always remaining your most obedient brother until death,

s/ Petter Gunnarson Rambo"

Peter's wife Brita died 12 October 1693.

Third, is Peter Rambo's Will: 

Peter Rambo's will was signed 3 Aug 1694, probated 6 November 1698, and recorded in Will Book A: pages 423-425, #183.  The will reads as follows:

"In the name of God Amen, I Peter Rambo Senior of the Countie of Philadelphia in the Province of Pennsilvania in parts of America, being in good health of bodie & in perfect sound mind & memorie, praise be therfore given unto Almightie God, do make & ordain this my Last will & testament in manner & form following; that is to say, first & principally I commend my Soul into the hands of Almightie God hoping through the meritts, death & passion of my Savior Jesus Christ to have full & free pardon & forgiveness of all my Sins and inherit eternal life, And my bodie I committ into the earth to be therein decentlie buryed att ye burying place of Wicacoe, att the discretion of my exers [executors] herein after mentioned; and as touching the disposition of all such temporal estate as it hath pleased God in his Mercie to bestow upon mee I give and Dispose thereof as followeth ... 
FIRST I will that all debts & funeral charges be first paid and discharged ...  
SECONDLY I give & dispose unto my son Gunner Rambo three hundred acres of land in West-New-Jersey on Homons Creek ... 
THIRDLY I give and bequeath unto my Son John Rambo the tract of land which hee now liveth upon in West-New-Jersey aforesaid Lying on Little Mantua Creek ... 
FOURTHLY I give unto my Son Anders Rambo  that tract of land whereon I now live Containing three hundred fiftie three acres of fast land, marsh, and frirse.  As also twelve acres of Meadow ground Lying opposite to the Township of Passayunk on the west side of the creek as also together with fifteen acres of meadow in the township of Passyunk, With all and singular rights priviledges & Appertenances thereunto the said Marsh and privgs [priviledges] belonging & sipstaining to his Heirs and Assigns forever after my decease, 
FURTHER I give unto my sd Son Anders all my right title and interest in Costers Saw Mill, and 
FURTHER all my moveables, Lands, goods and Chattells, besides what is particularlie above disposed of, & I equallie give & Dispose thereof unto my Sons Gunner, Peter, Andreas & John Rambo  & to Yertrud Bankson  wife of Andreas Bankson & Catherin Dalbo wife of Peter Dalbo, all which Said Six persons' Hoefore b. justlie equal & order not anie one to have any greater part or share in value than the other of the sd Lands, goods & chattels as aforesd mentioned, 
AND unto this my Last Will and Testamt I ordain and Appoint my Son Anders Rambo my full,  ___& sole exers to this my Last will and testam, Revoking annualling and making void absolutie by these presents all will & Wills or testaments whatsoever heretofore by me made either in words or writing and this & none other is to be taken for my Last Will and Testament.  In Witness whereof I Peter Rambo have Set my hand and Seal the 3rd Day of August 1694."  Locus Sigilli Signed Sealed
Witnessed by
Robert Langshore       his
Peter Dalbo [#4] Peter      Rambo
Matthias Holstein       mark
Lasse Cock

Peter Gunnarson Rambo was buried in the churchyard at Wicaco on 29 Jan 1698, one of the last survivors of the original Swedish settlers.

From the now long-lost Gloria Dei (Old Swedes) churchbook of 1697-1750.  Under the list of 'F”de i Sverige' (born in Sweden) was an entry in Swedish:  'Peter Rambo of Hisingen, 85 years and almost 8 months [old] buried 29 Jan 1698, married 7 April 1647 - 12 Oct 1693, had 4 sons and 3 daughters ..... Brita Matsdotter.' “ (1)


52 Ancestors, Week 42: Peter Gunnarson Rambo

This is the work of Ronald S Beatty, with information from his website, with a few of my own edits and embellishments:

"A careful search of available records has turned up only one Rambo who came to America, Peter Gunnarson Rambo.  For the next two hundred years, all other Rambos born in the New World were his descendants.

Peter Gunnarson Rambo was born about 1 Jun 1612 in Hisingen, an island formed by the G”ta River and now part of the city of Gothenburg, Sweden.  There is a hill in Hisingen called Ramberget (Raven's Mountain) with a panoramic view of the city and harbor of Gothenburg.
The literal meaning of Rambo was "home of the raven".

The patronymic system of names was used in Scandinavian countries from early times.  Children received a first name, and a second name was derived from the name of the father.  Therefore Peter Gunnarson was Peter, the son of Gunnar. (Brita Mattsdotter was Brita, the daughter of Matts)  Indeed, records have been found indicating that part of Peter Gunnarson Rambo's wages in 1643 and 1644 were sent home to his father, Gunnar Petersson.  Since there may have been several Gunnars in a community, it became customary to add the name of the place to designate a specific person, such as Peter Gunnarson of Ramberget. (Rambo)

Ramberget as seen from the Göta älv Bridge.

Peter Gunnarson Rambo was an unmarried man of twenty eight when he signed on with the New Sweden Company to go to America as a colonist.  In September of 1639, he sailed on the "Kalmar Nyckel," but twice the ship sprang leaks and had to turn back for repairs.  Storms during December further delayed their departure, but they finally embarked on their journey across the Atlantic on 7 Feb 1640.

The Kalmar Nyckel in Chesapeake Bay, 2008, flying from foretop to stern
the Finnish, Swedish naval, Netherlands and American flags.

The journey was far from pleasant for the Swedish colonists.  The Dutch master of the ship spent his time smoking and drinking with the Company factor.  They showed their dislike of the Swedes by scolding and cursing them.  However, the ship safely reached port in New Sweden on 17 Apr 1640 at Fort Christina on the shores of the Delaware River near Wilmington, Delaware.

Peter Rambo's own recollection was that the ship reached New Sweden on 10 Mar 1640.  The date of his arrival is confirmed by a roll list of 1648 that showed he arrived on the Kalmar Nyckel in 1640.

Additional evidence is obtained from the 1693 church census that listed the persons who were born in Sweden.  Opposite the names of "Pet. Rambo" were words stating they had been in America for 54 years.

Upon arriving in New Sweden, Peter Rambo lived at Christina, near the fort, and was employed as a farm hand at ten guilders per month.  In 1643 and 1644 he sent part of his wages home to his father Gunnar Petersson in Gothenburg.  The roll list of the colony by Governor Johan Printz dated 1644 named "Perr Gunnarsson Rambo" as cultivating tobacco for the Swedish West Indies Company on the plantation at Christina.

On 1 Nov 1644 Peter Rambo became a freeman and settled on a plantation near Cobbs Creek in Kingsessing, located in present day West Philadelphia.

Peter Rambo (35) married Brita Mattsdotter (17) from Vasa, Sweden on 7 April 1647.  Brita was born about 1630.

'There were two men named Matts Hansson in New Sweden; both were single men when they arrived.  Brita could not be the daughter of either of them.  No other candidate named Matts appears. Thus, she either arrived in the family of a stepfather or came as a maidservant.  I think the latter is most likely.  It is quite possible, I believe, that Brita Mattsdotter was the unnamed servant girl who came to New Sweden in 1641 with Lieutenant Mons Nilsson Kling and his wife and child.  Kling was commander of the Swedish fort on the Schuylkill at the time when Peter Rambo and Brita Mattsdotter were married.  Kling returned to Sweden with his family in 1648.  Kling has been described as a 'Swedish Finn,' meaning that he was an ethnic Swede who resided in Finland when he came to America.  Brita came from Vasa in Finland and was also probably an ethnic Swede.'

Peter and Brita had the following children:
1.  Gunnar, b. 6 Jan 1648/49, d. Jan 1724, m. Anneka Cock
2.  Gerturde, b. 19 Oct 1650, m. Anders Bengtsson
3.  Peter, b. 17 Jun 1653, d. 12 Dec 1729, m. Magdalena Skute
4.  Catherine, b. 1655, m. Peter Mattsson (alias Dalbo)
5.  Anders, b. 1658, d. 1698, m. Maria Cock
6.  Johan, b. 1661, buried 17 Oct 1741, m. Brigitta Cock
7.  Daughter, m. Anders Nilsson Friend
8.  Daughter, died at the age of 8 years

Heavy rains in 1652 damaged many of the crops, but evidently Peter Rambo had some surplus grain as he was charged by Gov. Printz for illegally selling grain to the Dutch.

On 7 Sep 1655 he was a member of the group of Swedes who met with Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant.  On the 16th of September, he was present at a Council meeting where the colony passed from Swedish to Dutch rule and in 1656 Governor Stuyvesant granted them a measure of self rule.

He was elected a magistrate of the court in 1656.  In 1660 and again in March of 1661, Peter Rambo petitioned Gov. Stuyvesant to be discharged as a magistrate, claiming he "has to take care of a very large family and therefore cannot well, unless to his great disadvantage, spare the time to attend to the aforesaid office."  His resignation was accepted, but he was again appointed justice on the Delaware River by Gov. Lovelace in 1664.

By 1669 Peter Gunnarson Rambo moved to Passyunk on the east side of the Schuylkill River opposite Aronameck.  The patent for this 300 acres of land was dated 1 Oct 1669.

Historical records show that some court sessions were held at Peter Rambo's house in 1675, that he was repaid for entertaining the governor and other high ranking officials in 1676, and heard criminal cases of murder in 1670 and 1672.

Until modern times his plantation was the site of a large landmark known as "Rambo's Rock."  In 1684, census taker John Cock estimated that "Peter Rambo has 600 acres of land whereof he has improved 16 acres.

Most legal and governmental affairs of the settlement were handled by the magistrates of the court. Only one court existed in what is now Pennsylvania until the arrival of William Penn.  Peter Gunnarson Rambo served on the court under Swedish, Dutch, and English rule for 29 years.

The Rambo family was well-known by William Penn who referred to them in his correspondence in 1684 and later.  When Delaware County was bought from the Indians by Penn in 1684, the sale was witnessed by Peter Rambo.  Penn wrote from London to Thomas Lloyd on 16 Jan 1685, "Salute me to the Swedes, Captain Cock, old Peter Cock and Rambo and their sons, and the rest of them."

In 1684 Peter Rambo gave testimony about Dutch settlements established before 1632 along the Delaware River to refute Lord Baltimore's claim to the territory for the state of Maryland.  At this time, 25 May 1684, Peter claimed to be 72 years of age, confirming his birth date of 1612.  In one deposition of "Certain Ancient Sweeds Living on the West side of Delaware," Peter Rambo, Peter Cock, and Hance Monson gave testimony regarding the establishment of New Sweden and the purchase of land:

'In the year 1640, 10th March one of the above said shipps returned with Peter Holland, Peter Rambo, Andrees Bown & severall other Sweeds, who bought Land from an Indian king Named Kekesikkun' " (1) be continued


Thursday, November 6, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 41: Ann Marwood Durant

Joseph Marwood (17) is listed on the passenger list for the Globe of London ship that sailed from England to Virginia in 1635.  (1)

So that tells us how the Marwoods came to America.  But little else is known about Joseph, except that he had a daughter named Ann, born in 1636.

"Ann Marwood Durant's marriage to George Durant in Northumberland Co., VA, on Jan. 4, 1658/9 was performed by Rev. David Lindsey. Nothing is known of her life before her marriage, although family legend has her born in Virginia, the daughter of John Marwood.

They Durant Family Bible, preserved in the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was printed in London, England in 1599, and is reported to be one of the oldest English Bibles in America. It records that Ann was mother to eight children born over a period of sixteen years:

  • George born Dec. 24, 1659; 
  • Elizabeth Feby., 15, 1661; 
  • John born Dec. 26, 1662; 
  • Mary born Feby., 11, 1665; 
  • Thomas born Augt. 28, 1668; 
  • Sarah born Jany., 16, 1670; 
  • Martha born August 28, 1673; 
  • and Parthenia born August 1, 1675. 
  • (For some reason, it doesn't list their youngest daughter, Ann (1681)

George Durant was a mariner by profession, and this kept him at sea quite often. Ann gained strength of character through the running of the plantation and often hosted political dignitaries at the Durant home.

She achieved a measure of independence unknown to most women of the seventeenth century. Court trials were usually held in private homes during Carolina's proprietary period and Wicocombe was often chosen for this purpose. Therefore, a set of stocks was eventually erected on the house grounds.

That Ann felt comfortable with legal matters becomes obvious after examination of existing colonial documents. Ann Durant first appeared in court on May 25, 1673, as the attorney for a seaman named Andrew Ball. Ball was charging that he had not received his due wages for service on a vessel called the Two Brothers.

Although the court records do not exist to prove that she acted as attorney for her husband, it is believed to have been the case as evidenced by an extant power of attorney dated May 17, 1675, in which George empowered Ann to bring suit and take other actions to collect debts due him or to recover property belonging to him.

Surviving records also show that Ann appeared in court on her own behalf from time to time - to sue for debts owed her or as the defendant in suits against her. The debts at issue in these suits arose in connection with her business activities, which apparently included the operation of Wicocombe as an inn, or at least a less formal provision of board and lodging.

'Her bills contain such items as 'his accommodations,' 'the Trubell of my House' and 'attendance in his sickness.' Other services listed in her bills include making shirts and leather breeches, making coffins, and arranging funerals. Among the articles for which she sought payment were beverages (rum, cider, and quince drink), stockings, cloth, thread, planks, nails, and corn.'

Her contributions to the newly begun colony of Carolina were less conspicuous than those of her husband, but just as important. It is not known what role Anne Marwood Durant played in Culpeper's Rebellion, but it is assumed that she supported her husband, as Wicocombe served as headquarters during the uprising.

George passed from his earthly existence ca. January 1692/93. In his will, George Durant made his wife the "whole and sole Executrix" and granted her the plantation to live on for the rest of her natural life.

In March of 1693/4, Ann Durant named her son John Durant to be "my true and Lawfull atorney." From then until her death, John acted on his mother's behalf in court. Ann Marwood Durant died on January 22 or 23, 1694. She survived her husband by less than two years.

A marker to Ann Marwood Durant was placed at the intersection of NC 17 and state road 1300 in Perquimans County. The North Carolina Society of Colonial Dames XVIIth Century, the Perquimans County Restoration Association, the NC Department of Transportation and the NC Department of Cultural Resources Division of Archives and History sponsored its placement." (2)


(1) Ship Manifest
(2) Parker, Mattie Erma E. “Ann Marwood Durant” Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. 2 D-G. William S. Powell (Chapel Hill, The University of North Carolina Press, 1986), 122-123. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 40: George Durant (part 3)

“George Durant's home was now the unofficial seat of government.

After learning that Thomas Miller was still imprisoned, several men who were loyal to the British government, helped him to escape. Miller headed immediately back to England.

At this news, the rebel government dispatched John Culpeper to London, in order to counter the charges that were sure to be levied. John Culpeper sailed first to Boston with Benjamin Gilliam and from there to London with Benjamin's father Zachariah.

Thomas Miller arrived in London, penniless, sick and bitter. Miller quickly gave additional evidence to the Commissioners of Customs. He charged that, besides the tobacco confiscated by the rebels, that they had also stolen some of His Majesty's customs receipts and fines amounting to 1,242 Pounds Sterling.

Both Culpeper and Gilliam were charged as "being two of the Principal Contrivers and Promoters of the said Rebellion." On 31 Jan 1680, depositions were taken and Culpeper was found guilty of "Treason in abetting and encouraging a Rebellion in Carolina."

The following day the prisoner was committed to Newgate Prison. Zachariah Gilliam was called before the Lords of Trade and Plantations a week later. He skillfully defended himself as an innocent ship's captain, caught up in events of which he had nothing to do. As there was no direct evidence against him, he was allowed to go free and promptly sailed away.

John Culpeper's treason case dragged on and on until 20 Nov 1680, when the trial finally began.

Representing the British government and the ‘Lord Proprietors’ during the trial was Lord Shaftesbury, the Earl of Craven. Lord Shaftesbury's devotion to his "darling Carolina" was well-known and he surprised everyone by siding with the accused!

Apparently he was aware that, should Culpeper be found guilty, the Carolina charter could easily be revoked. The Lords Proprietors were taking no chance of losing their favorite cash cow. Shaftesbury argued that John Culpeper, George Durant, and the others rebelled only due to Thomas Miller's loose tongue, his threats, and his fanatical zeal in governmental operations.

Culpeper's claim that his authority was derived from the Assembly of the people, said the Proprietor, was not without basis. Under their constitution, the people of Carolina had been granted the privilege of electing delegates to the legislature every two years.

Therefore, Carolina’s "pretended Parliament" was in itself a legal body! The verdict was acquittal for John Culpeper. The Proprietors gave assurances that restitution would be made for the confiscated customs, which was done by the Carolinians.

After several years, the uprising finally drew to a close. The Culpeper Rebellion lasted from 1677-1680 and Durant's estate had been a frequent meeting place for insurgents, as well as a jail for political prisoners.

An Act of Oblivion granted pardons to the rebels and in 1681 the Proprietors relaxed their claims on all products of the whaling industry for seven years, in order to allow the inhabitants to steady their fortunes.

John Jenkins was eventually recognized as governor and George Durant became attorney general in 1679. He also served as speaker of the Assembly. However, some of his contemporaries claimed that "though Jenkins held the title, yet in fact Durant governed and used Jenkins as his property."

The Culpeper Rebellion received its name due to John Culpeper's trial in London. Yet it was George Durant who initially determined that Culpeper should go to London and it was Durant that first encouraged the arrest of Thomas Miller and others.

Until his death, Durant continued to influence the colony and did not hesitate to punish his enemies - particularly the Old Neck Quakers who had supported the British Government during the rebellion.

Durant's will was probated on February 6, 1694, some thirty-five years after his first arrival in Carolina.

At the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, George Durant's Bible - printed in London, England in 1599 - is displayed in a locked cabinet. He brought this Bible with him when he came to the New World. It is one of the oldest English Bibles in the United States.” (1)


  • (1) By Deborah Barclift, The Descendants of William Bartlett Website (website link was not active in August 2004) via
  • History of Perquimans County