Saturday, November 28, 2015

Where Were My Ancestors About 1796? Abraham Bradley's Map of the United States: Part 1

This snapshot doesn't do Abraham Bradley's map any justice.  The map actually has some incredible detail and on the Library of Congress site you can zoom way in.

Okay, some old map, so what?  Well, I've discovered this particular historical map, originally made for the nascent postal system, is perfect for figuring out where my ancestors were about 1796.  My understanding is that a copy of this map was in all of the post offices, so this is how people at the time saw the country. This was a map meant to be used.

All of my ancestors, except Englishman William Slater on my mom's side, and my father's mother's Scandinavian ancestors, were all already in the United States.

This edition of the map in particular apparently listed every post office (indicated by a circle and place name) at the time.  Later editions of this map only list the larger post offices.

Ad, Gazette of the United States (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 11 Nov 1796, vol X, issue 1303, page 4; digital images, GenealogyBank ( : accessed 28 Nov 2015).

The ages I assign my ancestors for the year 1796 are largely approximate.

My Gwinnup/Hartley/Paul/Shoemaker ancestors start emerging out of the mists of time in the Philadelphia area about 1796.

Mary Gwinnup, 21, glove maker, was married to her second husband, Antonio "Anthony" Joseph Oneto (?-?) this year in Philadelphia.  Her parents and family were probably in either Philadelphia or Camden, New Jersey (although this map only shows Woodbury in that approximate area).  Four years later her daughter daughter Elizabeth "Betsey' Onetto was born in Deerfield, Cumberland, New Jersey (down by Bridgetown in the map). I do not know where Mary's future 3rd husband, Solomon Hartley, 21, is--he could be in Philadelphia or could have been off on a sea voyage, taking care of the ship's rigging.

Robert Paul, 22 and Sarah D Shoemaker, 16, both allegedly of Quaker ancestry, may have already been married or were possibly courting at this point in either Montgomery County of Philadelphia county.  I have not yet confidently identified either of their parents. In two more years Robert Paul will be consistently found in the now-defunct Oxford Township (now just part of Philadelphia county).

Tibbetts/Young/Snow/Townsend families in the back of beyond in Ohio, Hancock, Maine, inland from the Penobscot River.  The modern-day city Bangor doesn't even register as a place yet.

William Tibbetts, 65, and Laurana "Nabby" Young, 61, had been in Gouldsboro in the 1760's/1770's, and then moved to Kendeskeag Plantation about 1779 (south east nearer to the Penobscot river), before going to Ohio (renamed Corinth in 1811).  Their son, Benjamin Tibbetts, 27, had just married Hannah Snow, 23, probably in Ohio/Corinth.  Hannah was born in Hallowell, Maine, to Philip Snow and Abigail Townsend, who had previously been in Belgrade, Kennebec, Maine before they moved to Ohio/Corinth in the early 1790's (they were in Belgrade at least as late as 1790).  This tells me that Hannah and Benjamin had likely only known each other for 5 years or less when they married.  Their first child, Mary "Polly" Tibbetts, was born in 1796.  My ancestor George Tibbetts was born 2 years later in the same place.

Back in the Philadelphia region, Phoebe Worrall and father Seth were in Marple Township (which is not listed by name, but apparently it was muddy there).

George Tibbetts's future wife Mary Burnight's parents, Jeremiah Burnight, 17, and Phoebe Worrall, 11, had probably not met yet.  I have not yet figured out Jeremiah Burnight's story.  The official story in the family is that he was born in the "Scottish Highlands" and then arrived in the United States about 1800, first in New Jersey and then in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.  What I find interesting is there is a Burnight family, Methodists like Jeremiah, who are found in the Cumberland County, New Jersey, area in the late 1700's/early 1800's.  Where they related to Jeremiah?

Phoebe Worrall was born in Marple Township, Delaware, Pennsylvania, daughter of Seth Worrall and his second wife, Phoebe(?) Moore.

The Messingers and Millers were out in western Pennsylvania.

Abraham Messinger, 35, wife Catherine Hill(?),about 31, and their son my ancestor John Hill Messinger, 6,  were likely in Fallowfield Township, Washington, Pennsylvania (where they were in 1800).  The family story was that they were in Allegheny County but I don't find records to support this--it's in the same general region though).  John's future 2nd wife, Mary Matha Magdalene Miller, was not born yet, and I have not definitively found where her parents, Rudio Miller and Abigail (?) (both likely in their 30's) were, although I have working theory that Rudio was actually Jacob Miller, who was in Moon Township, Allegheny, Pennsylvania*.

Boston Nosler was originally from Germany somewhere, but he shows up in Augusta County, Virginia by August 1758.  He and his wife Sofia likely moved to Montgomery County, Virginia sometime around 1765, and then he seems to have been in Greenbrier by 1783.

Sebastian "Boston" Nosler, 58, and his wife Sofia (?), possibly about 52 if still living, were possibly in Greenbrier County, Virginia (now West Virginia), as Boston is found there on tax lists 1783-1786.  Their son, my ancestor John Nosler, 30, had just married his second wife, Martha Snavely, 20, in Montgomery County, Virginia.  Perhaps John had gone to Greenbrier with his parents at some point, but he seems to have been mostly based in Montgomery County.  Martha's father was likely John Snavely, about 46, of Christiansburg (Montgomery County); her mother's identity is not known yet.  John's mother Mary Brandstetter, about 77, was possibly alive (I have an unsourced place of her death as 1800 in Wythe County, southwest of Montgomery).

Possible places were Hibbs and his wife may have been in  Tennessee in 1796.
One of my most vexing brick walls, Mahlon Hibbs, 49, and his wife Nancy Ann (?), 32, were likely in Jonesboro, Washington, Tennessee (based on a daughter's birthplace) or even possibly in the area west of the Clinch River (later Anderson County, Tennessee), where Mahlon starts showing up in records in 1805.

The Comer/Kibler/ Michael/Rittgers group were all in the Hawksbill Creek, Shenandoah, Virginia area.
Sarah Catherine Comer, 21, daughter of John Comer and Mary Ann Kibler, both around 40 (and granddaughter of Michael Comer, 74, and Catherine Michael, 61, and possibly Pete Keebler), was born and raised in Shenandoah County, Virginia, as had her parents.  She would marry John Augustin Rittgers, 29, in a year after this map was made.  John was from France or Prussia, depending on the record.  According to family story his parents died on the ship over (possibly about 1774?) and he had to go on to America alone at age 7.  Four years after this map was made my ancestor Jacob "Jake" B Rittgers was born in 1800.  His wife, Hester/Esther Patterson, has unknown origins at this time, although she may have been born to a Samuel Patterson in Maryland in 1802.

Just a guess location-wise as to where in Georgia my ancestors Timney Watts and Jesse Warren were.

Jesse Warren Sr, 49, and Elizabeth Fuqua(??), 45, had moved to Georgia in 1791 from Dinwiddie County, Virginia, and started to appear in records in Hancock County, Georgia in the late 1790's.  Their son, my ancestor Jesse Warren Jr, was about 6 when this map was done.  His future wife Timney Watts (not yet born) is very likely to have been part of the Watts group in Greene County, Georgia.  She may have been the daughter of Jacobus Watts, 24.

*Jacob Miller and possible son Rudolph "Rudy" Miller are later found in Dearborn County, Indiana, where my Millers were known to be before Marion County, Indiana.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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