Wednesday, May 30, 2012

William Alexander :: Revolutionary War Soldier... died August 27th 1777

Very little is known about William Alexander, my 4th Great Grandfather.
  • 1745 - Estimated. Possibly born in Maryland. Names of parents are not known. There were several Alexander families in the "New Munster" area of Cecil County, Maryland but he has not been able to be placed within any of them - yet!
  • Married Elizabeth Carruthers, daughter of Francis and Ann (Carr) Carruthers
  • 1776 - December 10th. Commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant in Capt. Johnson's Company, 5th Maryland Regiment
  • 1777 - February 24th. Son, William Washington Alexander, born in Cecil County, Maryland
  • 1777 - August 27th. Died.
At the age of 80, while living in Marysville, Union County, Ohio, his son William W. Alexander submitted an application on August 11, 1857 for a pension stating that:
"he is the Lawful son of William Alexander and Elizabeth Alexander and that the said William Alexander volunteered his services in the revolutionary war in behalf of the United States and that he entered said servase [sic] on the tenth day of December 1776 in the 5th regiment as a Lieutenant and in the Company Commanded by Captain Johnson of the Maryland malitia [sic] and was in actual service in said Company until the 27 day of August AD 1777 when he died in said service from wounds recd in his Line of duty and that he never recd his pay or any part of his pay for said services and that said services has not been paid for by the United States to his widow or any of his heirs and that the same remains due and unpaid at this time"
The affidavit continues with:
"he also further swears that said Elizabeth Alexander maiden name was Elizabeth Cruthirs and that she was married to the said William Alexander on the ___ day of ___ in the County of Cissel [sic] in the state of Mary Land [sic] and that she survived her husband until about the 11th day of August AD 1813, when she started to the south and has not been heard from since and that she was entitled to a pension and that as the Lawful heir of said William Alexander decd and Elizabeth Alexander deceased [word written above deceased but can't figure out what it is] makes this affidavit for the purpose of obtaining the pension and other pay that is due to him by reason of said services. [signed] Wm W Alexander"

William Alexander Pension File R45. Images downloaded from on May 4, 2012. As always, double-click on the images to view a larger version.

William Alexander Pension File R45.

William Alexander Pension File R45.

Since William W. Alexander was only 6 months old when his father died, it is not known how much he knew about his father's service during the Revolutionary War. There was a letter from the Land Office of Maryland that provided evidence of the service of William Sr.
"Land Office of Maryland
"I certify that it appears by the muster Roles remaining in this office that William Alexander of "Johnsons" Compy 5th Regt Lieutenant entered the service on the 10th December 1776 & is listed as having died on the 27th August 1777.
"In testimony whereof I hereto subscribe my name & affix the seal of the Land Office of Maryland this 20th July 1857. [signature is illegible as is the writing below his name.]"

William Alexander Pension File R45.

It didn't take long for the pension commission to respond. Their letter dated August 25, 1857 simply stated:
"The application of William W. Alexander for pension arrears, as the son of Elizabeth Alexander, deceased, widow of William, has been filed under the act of July 4, 1836.

"William Alexander died in 1777. His widow, Elizabeth "Started to the South" in 1813, "and has not been heard from since". As the legal presumption of her death ensued long before the passage of any act granting pensions to widows of Revolutionary officers or soldiers, no arrears can be due her children; and the present claim is rejected.

"There is no law in existence authorising [sic] payment of wages to those who served in the war of the Revolution."

William Alexander Pension File R45.

The above image, from "Archives of Maryland. Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution 1775-1783" (Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore 1900. page 182) confirms the information in the previous documents.

The marriage of William Alexander and Elizabeth Caruthers is confirmed in the will of her father, Francis Caruthers, dated December 14, 1801. (Cecil County Wills, Book 6, pages 397-400)

"I give and bequeath to my beloved daughters Elizabeth Ann Rachel & Leah each the sum of five pounds, and it is further my will that if my said daughter Elizabeth, should be dead or not claim the above legacy in five years - in that case that the same should go and be paid to her son William Washington Alexander -"

Bottom of page 397 of will of Francis Caruthers. Family History Library Microfilm 13868. Scanned February 13, 2012.

Top of page 398 of the will of Francis Caruthers.

We know that William Alexander died on August 27, 1777 apparently (according to his son's affidavit) "from wounds recd in his Line of duty." What was happening at that time?

In 2000, Lynda Alexander Fonde and Marsha Alexander Groff published "American Patriot.... The New Frontier: Alexander, Sprague & Related Families Volume II" which chronicles the descendants of William Alexander and his son William Washington Alexander. On page 13, after some discussion, the authors state "It was during this battle of Head of Elk on 27 August 1777, that William Alexander lost his life."

After a bit of searching on the Internet I found several sites that include a more comprehensive listing of Revolutionary War battles and skirmishes than most other sites.

This Timeline is from US and shows that the only thing "happening" around August 27, 1777 was the landing of General Howe at Head of Elk, Maryland.

Above is a small section of Dennis Griffith's wall map of Maryland, published in 1795, from the website of the Historical Society of Cecil County.

On Monday August 25th, after a 30+ day voyage, General Howe landed his fleet of ships (numbering 260-300 depending upon the source) that were carrying 17,000 British soldiers and sailors at Elk Neck. Located in the upper Chesapeake Bay near the Head of the Elk River (the town located near there is now known as Elkton).

From "the History of Cecil County, Maryland" by George Johnston, 1881, page 329
The two days after the British landed were stormy, but on the morning of the 27th of August, two brigades of light infantry under Howe marched by the old road that led from Elk Ferry to the Head of Elk, leaving a large division of the heavier troops with instructions to cross the Elk River to Bohemia Manor. The British did not confine themselves to the road after crossing Little Elk Creek, but spread over the fields on each side of it, their pioneers or vanguard tearing down the fences and other obstructions to make way for the others.

It was said to have been a beautiful sight to see them as they came in sight on the level slope west of the town, their scarlet coats and bright guns and bayonets gleaming in the rays of an early August sun. After reaching the Head of Elk (now Elkton) the British encamped on the plain, northwest of the town, where they remained for several days.
The British sent out troops to forage for food and supplies. And there were some light skirmishes between the militia and the British but there appears to have been no actual battle at Head of Elk. Washington's army had not made it far enough south and the local militia were far too few to go up against the full force of Howe's British troops. After an American defeat at Brandywine, the British would continue on and by the end of September they would occupy the city of Philadelphia.

There is no doubt that William Alexander lost his life on August 27, 1777 but whether it was in one of the skirmishes with the British troops or for some other reason we'll likely never know for sure. What is for certain is that William Alexander was a Patriot who gave his life for his country. He left behind a young wife and an infant son. And thanks to him, I, and many other descendants are here today to remember him and to tell what little is known of his life. He has not been forgotten.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "William Alexander :: Revolutionary War Soldier... died August 27th 1777," Kinexxions, posted May 30, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Monday, May 28, 2012

Giving Thanks to Those Who Gave All

As the weekend winds down, it is hoped that All Americans have stopped for a brief moment to remember the reason for this holiday that we celebrate - Memorial Day. It has become a time of picnics, of sporting events, and the official start of summer but the real reason for Memorial day (which should actually be celebrated on May 30th) is to honor the Soldiers and Sailors of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and the Coast Guard who died in battle or while in service to their country.

As I began writing this post, it was 3:00 pm. The time designated for a "Moment of Silence" to remember the fallen. Did you remember them?

Leavenworth National Cemetery. Leavenworth, Kansas. Photo taken May 6, 2011.

A little worn, but still flying proudly. Because of those who gave everything.
Thank You.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "Giving Thanks to Those Who Gave All," Kinexxions, posted May 28, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Marriage of Samuel Bray and Susanna Ball

In looking over the documents that I have on the Bray family, I realized that I did not have the marriage record for Samuel Bray and Susanna Ball, my 3rd great grandparents. They also happen to be first cousins. Samuel was the son of John and Nancy Bray while Susanna was the daughter of James and Margaret (Bray) Ball. John and Margaret were the children of Henry Bray.

I don't know how I missed getting their marriage record when I was last there in 1999! Anyway, on the drive back to Indiana from Nelson County, Kentucky I stopped at the courthouse in Owenton, Owen County, which is south of Gallatin County which is directly across the Ohio River from Switzerland County, Indiana. On the south wall of a small room in the Clerk's office were several shelves of marriage books. There was a very large marriage register that simply listed the marriages in date sequence, giving the names of the brides and grooms for each marriage and stating whether a bond had been filed.

Looking closely at the books on the shelves I saw that there were some books of Minister Returns and for Permissions. After a bit of searching, I found the books for the time period that Samuel and Susanna were married - 1821. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the book for the Permissions as it contained the original documents! The individual slips of paper were encapsulated in plastic with four or five per page and they were filed by year, sort of.

Susanna Ball would have been 23 years old and Samuel Bray was 24 at the time of their marriage. Since she was over the age of 21, I really didn't expect to find a permission slip, but it was quite interesting to look at the documents. So it was pretty cool when I found the small slip of paper where James Ball gave his consent for Samuel Bray to marry his daughter! The only other record that I had that she was the daughter of James and Margaret was a transcription of Bible pages in Margaret's widows pension file. The only factor that I can think of as to why a permission slip would be needed for their marriage is that they were first cousins. What other reason would there be for needing a permission slip if both parties were over 21 years of age?

“I do hereby certify that James Ball consented in my presence that Samuel Bray Should intermarry with his daughter Susannah Ball. Augt 29th 1821. Jacob Ball.” (Owen County, Kentucky Permission Slips 1819-1853 accessed May 19, 2012.)
Having had success with the Permission Slips, I moved on to the Minister Returns. It also contained the original documents, which were somewhat larger slips of paper encapsulated in plastic.

“Kentucky Owen County
I James Medley a minister of the gospel legally authorised to Solemnize marriage do Certify that pursuant to a licence Issued from the office of the Clerk of Owen County Court I this day joined in marriage Samuel Bray of the state Indiana and Susannah Ball of said County given under my hand this 29th day Augu 1821 [signed by] James Medley” (Owen County, Kentucky Minister Returns 1819-1836 accessed May 19, 2012.)
The drive from Bardstown to Owenton on the state roads through the hills of Kentucky was beautiful - especially with the sunshine and blue skies. But the icing on the cake was finding these documents... it was definitely a fruitful day. And yes, I had to restrain my enthusiasm while at the Clerks Office but a little “happy dance” ensued once I got out to the parking lot!

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "The Marriage of Samuel Bray and Susanna Ball," Kinexxions, posted May 23, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Locating the Ancestral Lands in Kentucky

After leaving Cincinnati on Sunday after the NGS Conference, I headed a little further south and west to Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky. One of my “goals” was to see if I could determine where the land of Henry Bray was located. Henry is my 5th great-grandfather (times two). His daughter Margaret as well as his son John are my 4th great-grandparents. Margaret married James Ball and their daughter Susanna married John's son Samuel. Yes, they were first cousins. At least it reduces the number of ancestors that need to be researched!

Most researchers of this family put Henry's birth at about 1727 but, thus far, no record of his birth has been found and no other record has been found that indicates when or where he may have been born. Margaret, his first known child was born about 1753 (she was 83 years old when she filed for a widow's pension on September 2, 1836). The 1727 date for Henry's birth was likely estimated based on a probable age of 25 when he was married, assuming that he was married a year prior to the first child's birth. Henry's wife, Cathryn, was mentioned in his will of 1798. However, it is not known with certainty that she was the mother of his 11 children, the last of whom was born about 1770.

Various researchers put Henry's place of residence in the area of Washington County, Maryland and Hampshire County, Virginia (now part of West Virginia), which are only two counties away from each other. There is record of a Henry Bray signing the Oath of Allegiance in 1778 in Washington County, Maryland and a record of a Henry Bray enlisting in 1781 in Washington County, Maryland who was discharged as "unfit for service" several months later. But, again, it is not known for certain that this is “our” Henry Bray.

What is known is that Henry's son, Frederick, while residing in Hampshire County, reportedly enlisted along with his future brother-in-law, Edward Roberts in August 1776. Another son-in-law, James Ball, also enlisted in 1776 in Capt. William Voss' company while residing in Hampshire County, Virginia. A year later, Henry's son, John, just a little over 16 years of age enlisted in the same company. So it would seem that at least some of the children of Henry Bray were residing in Hampshire County, Virginia at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

By 1790, Henry and 9 of his children had removed to the wilderness of what would become Kentucky, with most of them settling for a time in Nelson County. Tax Records show that John Bray was listed in Nelson County, Virginia in 1785 with 2 whites, 1 white tiths somewhere on “the southern waters of Rolling and Beech Forks westwardly of the the waters of Hardings Creek." In 1787 John Bray was listed with 1 tithable in “Pottinger's and Bean's Old Companies.”

On July 19th, 1788 John Bray was included in “A list of Tithes” in “Capt. Charles Reed's Company on Pottinger's Creek" with 3 tithables. Also listed were his brothers Peter and Daniel. Henry Bray shows up in the July 1790 taxlist as part of “Capt. Masterson & Willetts Company" along with sons John and Peter. All three were listed with 1 tithables. Various members of the family continue to appear in extant tax lists through 1799-1800 in Nelson County.

Enough of the background, now on to the land records of Nelson County...

In a land record dated July 30, 1790 and recorded August 8, 1803 (Book 6 pages 224-225) Henry Bray was bound to Aaron Atherton for £90. If Henry Bray conveyed a clear deed of 100 acres off the lower end of the “Survey whereon he now lives” to Aaron Atherton then the obligation would be void. The interesting thing to me is the fact that this record was dated July 30, 1790 while Henry Bray did not purchase the land “whereon he now lives” from Samuel and Anne Oldham until December 15, 1792 (recorded May 4, 1799 in Deed Book 5 pages 424-425).

Another record in Nelson County Deed Book 6 (pages 436-438) and dated July 14, 1805 is essentially correcting the deed that was recorded in 1792 between Henry Bray and Samuel Oldham because the description was in error...

The description of the land in the 1792 deed appeared to place the land on the south side of Pottinger's Creek (the bold-italicized text below indicates differences in the land descriptions in the two deeds):

“Beginning at Meshack Carters So. West Corner two honey Locusts on the Bank of Pottingers Creek extending thence with Carters line two Hundred and thirty three poles to his corner two Walnuts thence with his line South seventy eight West seventy one poles to two white Oaks thence South twelve Degrees West one hundred & eighty poles to three White Oaks thence West thirty poles to a Chesnut Oak & Double Maple thence South forty five West twenty eight poles to two White Oaks and Iron wood thence sixty three degrees West two hundred & eighty poles to two red Oaks & white Oak thence South 27ยบ E 173 poles to an Ash & prissimmon Tree on the Bank of Pottingers Creek thence up Pottingers Creek the meanders thereof to the Beginning.”

In actuality the land was on the north side of Pottinger's Creek as shown in the 1805 deed:

“Beginning at two Honey Locusts and a Hickory on the North Bank of Said Creek. Thence North twelve Degrees West two Hundred and twenty two poles to two Walnuts, thence North Seventy eight degrees East Seventy poles to two white oaks. Thence North twelve degrees West one Hundred and eighty poles to three White oaks thence North forty five Degrees West thirty poles to a Double Maple & Chestnut Oak, thence South forty five Degrees West eighty four poles to two white Oaks & an Iron Wood, thence South sixty two Degrees West two Hundred & eighty four poles to two Chesnut Oaks & a White Oak, thence South Twenty eight degrees East one Hundred and sixty Eight poles to a Persimmon & Beech on the bank of Pottingers Creek, thence up the same binding therewith to the Beginning.”

The 1805 deed also stated that the land was “near the Mouth of Pottingers Creek” and a little further into the deed it said it was “on the North Westardly side of Pottingers Creek.”

In addition, a deed dated November 23, 1807 in Book 6 pages 693-694 the land is described as being on “the North Bank of Pottingers creek.” In this deed, Aaron Atherton executor of the estate of Henry Bray, is selling 450 acres of land to Ignatius Clark, which bordered the 100 acres that had been “laid off for Abraham Bray,” son of Henry.

Regarding that 100 acres laid off for Abraham Bray... I don't have a copy of the deed but an entry in “Abstracts of Deeds 1803-1818 Nelson County, Kentucky” compiled by the Nelson County Historical Society (citing page 365 of Deed Book 11) shows that Aaron Atherton and wife Ann of Hamilton, Ohio sold 100 acres on the North bank of Pottinger's Creek “near the corner of Ignatius Clark” on September 12, 1806 to Abraham Bray. So it appears that Aaron Atherton received his 100 acres of land.

The will of Henry Bray was dated March 2, 1798 and was recorded in Nelson County, Kentucky Will Book A (pages 373-375). Aaron Atherton, named as the executor, filed his bond on July 9, 1799 and the estate was admitted to probate. All of the land transactions mentioned above were recorded in the Nelson County deed books as a result of the probate process.

With the information in the corrected deed, it has been shown that the land that Henry Bray purchased was “near the Mouth of Pottingers Creek” and “on the North Westardly side.” But where was Pottinger's Creek?

That answer was found in the Atlas of Nelson & Spencer Cos., Kentucky (D. J. Lake & Co., 1882). The above cropped and enhanced image shows the southern tip of Nelson county. The dark line going across the image is the Knoxville Branch of the L & N Railroad, which runs alongside Pottinger's Creek.

This road map provides a little perspective on the location, the area of New Haven and New Hope is circled in green.

A slightly different perspective from Google Earth with Nelson County outlined in blue. The squiggly meandering of the “Rolling Fork of the Salt River” creates the western border of Nelson County. The area of interest is outlined in red. All of those dark green areas are tree covered hills. It's pretty rugged countryside.

The topographical map above is a small portion of a map from the Libre Map Project website where they have digital maps for every state. (The individual files can be rather large and are a direct download when you click on your selected locality map.)

At this point it is not possible to determine exactly where the 550 acres of land purchased by Henry Bray was located. Considerably more research in the land records is required to bring ownership up to the current time and to locate the land in its proper place.

But based on the knowledge that it was “near the Mouth of Pottingers Creek” and “on the North Westardly side” I'm fairly confident that his land was within the red rectangular area in the above image.

I spent several pleasant hours one day driving around the area. I think the northern stretch of State Road 247, where it connects to State Road 52 just east of New Haven, goes through or nearest Henry's land. The terrain is hilly with narrow roads running through the valleys. There were numerous farms and fields - one farm had a sign posted stating it was a Kentucky Farmstead, established in 1785. I didn't take any photos during the drive since I was by myself and there really was no where to pull off alongside the road.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "Locating the Ancestral Lands in Kentucky," Kinexxions, posted May 22, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

NGS 2012 Recap :: Fantastic!

First of all, I have to agree with many of the other genea-bloggers who have posted their thoughts about the NGS Conference in Cincinnati - IT WAS FANTASTIC!

All of the sessions I attended, with the exception of one, were excellent. And the company was incredible. It was so much fun meeting and spending time with “old friends” whom I knew through their blogs as well as meeting some new ones.

Of course, I spent a lot of time with my room-mate Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana and hung out a lot (during sessions and lunches and evenings) with Susan Clark, Linda McCauley, Tina Lyons, and Shelley Bishop. I also met Amy Johnson Crow, Kathy Reed, Lori Thornton and several others whose names I don't recall at the moment!

Two social highlights for me came on Saturday - the first was when a blog reader, Linda Edwards, caught my attention as a group of us were walking into the Hyatt after the sessions were over. She recognized me and I'm very glad that she came forward and said so! It was a really neat moment. Thanks, Linda!

Later that evening after supper at Champs with Kathy, Susan, Linda, and Laura we were relaxing and talking with each other when DearMyrtle came in. She sat down and chatted with us for a while then moved on over to her supper group. From what I understand, Laura and I left too soon - an hour or so later some of the more well-known speakers, including Elizabeth Shown Mills, came into Champs. I'm sure that Susan and Linda enjoyed their time rubbing shoulders with the “rock stars” of genealogy!

As I stated above, all of the sessions I attended (except one) were excellent. All of the presentations by Thomas Jones and Elizabeth Shown Mills were filled to capacity but luckily I was able to get into all of them. It was worth getting there a bit early or waiting in a long line to enter their sessions. Even though I have no intentions of becoming a “professional” genealogist, the practices they espouse regarding documentation, research reports, etc. can be put to use in my own research - hopefully making it better. I discovered that in some ways I already use some of the concepts they talked about but definitely not to the fullest extent.

The last session by Mills was partially titled “Information Overload” and it was appropriately named for by that time my head was nearly bursting with so many ideas and so much new information and thinking about how to apply it all to my research in the hopes of finding some of those elusive ancestors!

Lori Thornton and Becky Wiseman (photo taken by Susan Clark).

Susan Clark and Becky Wiseman (photo taken by Lori Thornton).

The view across the Ohio River from our balcony seating at the Moerlein Lager House on Thursday evening.

Supper was a braised short-rib grilled cheese sandwich with sweet potato chips. It was oh, so good! Laura had the shrimp tacos shown in the background. And yes, a little beer was imbibed.

The conference was over and everyone was homeward bound. Tina Lyons stopped to say goodbye as I was watching the vendors below dismantle their displays.

I want to thank everyone I met but especially Laura for being my room-mate and Susan, Linda, Kathy and Tina for allowing me to tag along to lunches and spending some time with them in the evenings. It truly made the conference more special for me! Thanks, everyone! It's such an understatement, but I had a great time...

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

My Bags are Packed... I'm on my way

Off to Cincinnati... In a few minutes, I'll be heading south to attend the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Conference! I wasn't sure I'd be able to go but thankfully situations change. I've got a roommate to help share costs (Thanks, Laura) and I'm very happy to be going even though we won't be staying downtown.

This will be my 3rd NGS Conference but the first one where I feel like I actually “know” some of the other people who will be there, even though we may have never met in-person. Reading blogs will do that...

I've gone over the schedule several times and selected at least one session (sometimes two!) for most time periods. Obviously, I can't be in two sessions at the same time so difficult decisions will have to be made when the time comes. There are so many good things to choose from. I'll be concentrating on the sessions regarding finding the elusive ancestors (of which I have more than a few) as well as locating obscure and/or unusual records. I'm especially looking forward to attending several sessions with Thomas W. Jones and Elizabeth Shown Mills, neither of whom I've had the pleasure of seeing before.

Cincy, here I come!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

It's Looking Better...

One day this past week was spent at the Allen County Public Library attempting to determine the validity of the statement made in an article by Carrie Bray in 1949 that her great-grandfather (my 3rd great-grandfather) John Bray had arrived in Indiana on March 5, 1816.

An affidavit by Daniel Bray in the Revolutionary War pension file of his father John Bray, stated that “Some time in the early part of the year 1816, he went to the land office of Cincinnati to enter the North East quarter of Section No 25, town No 2, range 3 West. That owing to some mistake in the land office he could not effect an entry and he was obliged to return home and that his father John Bray, then went to the office and entered the said quarter...”

So the “problem” was: When was the land actually purchased and why did Daniel state that it was in Range 3?

The book “Indiana Land Entries Volume I” by Margaret R. Waters, published in 1948, contains the records for Indiana that are from the Cincinnati Land Office. It covers the area known as the “wedge” in the southeast corner of the state.

The map above shows the status of the Indiana Territory in 1810 with the four counties in existence at the time: of Knox (Kn), Harrison (Har), Clark (Clk), and Dearborn (Dea). The “wedge” mentioned in the Waters book was the area known as Dearborn county in 1810 as well as neighboring portions of Clark County.

By 1814 there were a few more counties in the Indiana Territory. Franklin and Wayne counties were created in 1811 while Switzerland was created in 1814 from that Dearborn “wedge” area as well as from portions of other counties. The two maps above are from the Genealogy Inc. website.

In the introduction of her book, Margaret R. Waters states that the records were copied solely for genealogical purposes to enable a searcher to learn if an ancestor located in Indiana and if so, where and when. To save time and space the acreage and final certificate numbers were omitted. A minimum amount of information is given (name, property description, date of entry) but enough to determine if the person of interest entered land in what would become the state of Indiana.

At the top of page 79 was the entry for John Bray showing that he entered the “NE 1/4 of S25 on 3-5-1816”. The line just below John, includes the name of Edward Ray who may be the same person who married Jane Bray, daughter of John. The previous page (78) showed that the land was in Switzerland County in T2N, R4W of the 1st PM (Township 2 North, Range 4 West of the 1st Principal Meridian).

The map above (from the Waters book) shows the “wedge” area of land from the Cincinnati Land Office included in the book “Indiana Land Entries Volume I”.

This enlarged portion of the previous map shows the townships that comprise Switzerland County. The dotted lines show the boundaries of Switzerland and Ohio Counties. (Ohio County was created in 1844 from Dearborn.) The land that John Bray purchased was in T2N R4W, which is in that tiny red triangle bordering Range 3 West.

Portion of a Switzerland County Map from the My Indiana Home website showing the location of Braytown in Craig Township.

Luckily for me, the Allen County Public Library has a series of microfilms called “Ohio Land Records” which includes the records of the Cincinnati Land Office. Film OLR-110 contained “Cincinnati Land Office Entries, 1814-1829” and it was even indexed by page number. Most of the page numbers were missing or illegible but it didn't take long to find his entry since I had the date he entered the land.

Cropped portion of the page showing the entry for John Bray (last entry on the image). The date at the top shows the transaction was made on March 5th 1816. The text in the column on the right states “John Bray of Franklin County applied to enter the North East quarter of Section 25 Town 2 Range 4 West - Containing 159 44/100 acres and produces the Receiver's Receipt No 30668 dated this day for $79 72/100 amt [?] being the one fourth part of the purchase money of said quarter Section of Land.”

So it seems that the date of March 5, 1816 as given by Carrie Bray in her 1949 article correlates to the date of purchase of the land. It also confirms the statement made by Daniel Bray in his affidavit that he went to the land office in Cincinnati “some time in the early part of the year 1816”.

But there was a surprise in the land entry document - the statement that John Bray was “of Franklin County”.

In searching the web for information, I came across the site Cincinnati Land Office Records, which appears to be a part of the Ohio Memory project even though those records are not included in their list of collections. The site contains images of the original land patents issued to the purchasers. There are only a little over 300 documents currently online but it is going to be an awesome site when they get more documents published. Anyway, at the bottom of the second paragraph of “About this collection” it states
“In certain instances it has been impossible to determine the correct state of origin of the purchaser; generally this is due to the fact that both Indiana and Ohio have identically-named counties, such as Franklin County. In these cases, both Ohio and Indiana have been listed as the state of origin.”
So that might present a little problem. However, Franklin County, Indiana is so very close to Switzerland County while Franklin County, Ohio is further north and east, closer to the central part of Ohio. Since we don't know the whereabouts of John Bray between 1805 and 1816 (as mentioned in The Evidence at Hand) it is possible that he could have ventured further north, but I don't think so. Perhaps that is just wishful thinking on my part. If he was “of Franklin County, Indiana Territory” then that would be evidence that he was actually residing in the area and would definitely be eligible for membership in the Territorial Guard Society of Indiana.

We have the record of the land entry on March 5, 1816 and the statement by Daniel Bray that he, then his father John, went to the Cincinnati Land Office in the early part of 1816. Does that constitute enough evidence to be able to say that they were then residing in the Indiana Territory?

What other records exist during that time period that can be used to help substantiate the claim that John Bray resided in the Indiana Territory in 1816?

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "It's Looking Better," Kinexxions, posted May 6, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

This Looks Promising...

As mentioned in the post The Evidence at Hand I am attempting to determine if my 4th Great-Grandfather, John Bray, would be eligible for the Territorial Guard Society of Indiana, which requires that he “lived within the boundaries of present-day Indiana on or before December 11, 1816 (the date Indiana was admitted to the United States).

I've been looking through the 78 pages of his pension file. Most of the documents pertain to his widow's attempts to receive his pension after his death in 1832. Long story short, she receives a pension, then she remarried in 1835 to John Bakes and lost the pension, he dies a few years later, and she reapplies for John's pension, which she receives until her death in 1876.

John had applied for a pension on June 20, 1818 through the Circuit Court of Switzerland County, Indiana (National Archives Pension File W 4145). His application was approved on August 9, 1818 and he was allowed a pension of $8 per month retroactive to the date of his application.

Of course, the documents were not in date sequence when they were microfilmed and subsequently digitized so it is like jumping back and forth in time (I'm also creating an index of the documents for future reference).

It doesn't appear to me that all of the documents relating to John's pension are in his file. There is a handwritten note stating “Suspended - See Letters to Claiment & Agent 16 Sept 1823.” Then written below that is “Suspension removed 6th Sept 1824 - See letters to agent & pensioner.” Those letters are not part of the images that were downloaded from what was then in 2007.

It was in the 76th image that I found a document dated February 24, 1824 that looks quite promising. I don't think it would be considered “proof of residence” on it's own merit, but it just might lead me to the document that could provide that proof! I believe it was created to validate the fact that John Bray was not a large landowner and as a result his pension was reinstated. The transcription is below and the images follow.

page 76:
The State of Indiana, Switzerland county SS 
Personally appeared before me William C Keen a justice of the peace in and for the county aforesaid Daniel Bray, of lawful age, who after being duly Sworn deposeth and Saith that Some time in the early part of the year 1816, he went to the land office of Cincinnati to enter the North East quarter of Section No 25, town No 2, range 3 West. that owing to some mistake in the land office he could not effect an entry and he was obliged to return home and that his father John Bray, then went to the office and entered the said quarter, in his own name instead of ours, that he paid the one half of the entrance money, and claimed the one half of the quarter, that the balance of the money was paid for the entering of said quarter by John Cotton and Samuel Bray, and they claimed the other half of said quarter - but on making the final payment, John Cotton, Samuel Bray and myself made an arrangement, so that I was to have and pay for but Sixty acres of the land - John Cotton was to have and pay for forty two acres and a half and Samuel Bray was to have and pay for the balance of the Quarter and was given the balance of the Money due from me on said quarter to John Bray, as it was entered in his name, to make the final payment for us and the land was patented in his name and he has since gave us our deed and further saith not. 
Daniel {his mark} Bray.
Sworn to and Subscribed before me this 23d day of Feby AD 1824. Willima C. Keen Justice of Peace.
It should be noted that Samuel Bray (my 3rd great-grandfather) is also the son of John Bray and John Cotton is his son-in-law, husband of his daughter Elizabeth.

page 77:
The state of Indiana, Switzerland County } SS 
Personally appeared before me William C. Keen, a justice of the peace in and for the county aforesaid, John Cotton, who after being duly Sworn deposeth and Saith that he paid for forty two acres and a half of land off of the within mentioned quarter Section of land as therein Stated and further saith not.
Sworn to and Subscribed before me this 23d day of February AD 1824. William C. Keen
The next paragraph on the same page has lines drawn through it...
The state of Indiana Switzerland county }SS 
Personally appeared before me William C. Keen a justice of the peace in and for the county aforesaid, Samuel Bray, who after being duly sworn deposeth and Saith that he paid for the balance of the within quarter section of land as mentioned in the within affidavit of Daniel Bray and further Saith not.
I have copies of the three deed transactions wherein the land in question (actually Section 25 Township 2 Range 4) was transferred in January 1823 to Daniel Bray, John Cotton, and Samuel Bray.
Switzerland County, Indiana Deed Book B p413. January 1, 1823. John and Elizabeth Bray sold to Daniel Bray 60 acres in S25 T2 R4 West for $120. Recorded November 29, 1823.
Switzerland County, Indiana Deed Book C p78-79. January 1, 1823. John Bray and Elizabeth Bray wife of the said John Bray... for the sum of ninety dollars sold to John Cotton forty two and a half acres in S25 T2 R4 West. No date given for when it was recorded. Deed prior to this one was recorded on September 15, 1825.
Switzerland County, Indiana Deed Book D p490-491. January 29, 1823. John Bray and Elizabeth Bray his wife sold to Samuel Bray for $50 Land off the north west Corner of the north East quarter of Section Twenty five Township two and Range four... The number of acres was not given. Date recorded was not given.

Document dated February 23, 1824 from Revolutionary Pension File of John Bray W4145.

Document dated February 23, 1824 from Revolutionary Pension File of John Bray W4145.

Next step? Records of the Land Office at Cincinnati...

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "This Looks Promising," Kinexxions, posted May 2, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])