Tuesday, July 29, 2014

RUTH NEWTON HUDSPETH Was Definitely the Second Wife of JAMES WHITECOTTON of Hampshire County Virginia, Who Died 1849 Marion County Kentucky

With the discovery of the following documents from the Revolutionary War Pension application of MARY MILES, wife of MICHAEL MILES, deceased,  1840 Marion County Kentucky, it is now entirely clear that RUTH NEWTON HUDSPETH was the second wife of JAMES WHITECOTTON of Hampshire County Virginia, and not the mother of his eldest children born before 1795 in Hampshire County Virginia.

RUTH states in her deposition that she was age 75 in 1840 (thus born 1765), and that she came to the "Falls of the Ohio" i.e. Louisville, Kentucky in 1780 with her father's family.

JAMES WHITECOTTON, then age 90,  states in his deposition for MARY MILES application that he was a soldier in Kaskaskia, Illinois in 1780.  He also appears in tax &  census records in Hampshire County Virginia until 1792.

There is no indication whatsoever that RUTH's family ever lived in Hampshire Co Virginia. Clearly they married after he moved to Kentucky after 1792.  Their first son JAMES HENRY WHITECOTTON was born Dec 13, 1795 in Washington County Kentucky.

JAMES WHITECOTTON's oldest eight children were born 1771-1788 in Hampshire County Virginia. Since RUTH was born 1765, she could not have been the mother of at least five of them, as she would have been far too young to bear children.

Here is a transcription of the original documents, which are available on the website Fold3.


State of Kentucky, Marion County Crt; 

The affidavit of RUTH WHITECOTTON, wife of JAMES WHITECOTTON, taken at her own house this 23rd day of January, 1840 before the undersigned, justice of peace for Marion County.  And being first duly sworn, states that she is 75 years old. That she came to the Falls of the Ohio River in the spring of 1780.  That she was then well acquainted with MARY HARRISON, who married MICHAEL MILES, and who is the same person named in the foregoing resolution and declaration for a pension. Signed by her.  That she was not at the wedding of said MARY, though the morning after she understood they were married, and that she knows that they lived together afterward as man and wife. She always understood that MICHAEL MILES was an officer in the army of the Revolution.  She thinks the marriage took place in the later part of 1781 or first of 1782. She is acquainted with said MARY, and states that said MARY has remained a widow ever since the death of MICHAEL MILES which she understood took place about 45 years ago.  She also states that MARY is a woman of (illegible) RUTH WHITECOTTON, WILSON EDMONDSON, J P 

The Deposition of Mrs RUTH WHITECOTTON, resident of Marion County, taken this 17th day of August, 1840 to (be) used as evidence in favor of the application of Mrs MARY MILES for a pension.

Deponent being seventy five years old, deposeth & saith that she in company with her father’s family moved to the Falls of Ohio, now Louisville, KY in the spring of seventeen hundred & eighty.  Some ten or twelve days thereafter, the THOMAS HARRISON family landed at the same place, and the deponent on their arrival became acquainted with MARY HARRISON now MARY MILES, the present applicant.  Some time during the year seventeen hundred and eighty one, the Deponent became acquainted with MICHAEL MILES who then belonged to the army and was courting MARY HARRISON.  And the said MICHAEL MILES and the said MARY HARRISON were married in the latter part of the year seventeen hundred and eighty one or the forepart of the winter of seventeen hundred and eighty two. The Deponent was not at the wedding, but heard that she was to be married and the next morning after their marriage heard they were married, for the deponent was still at the said Falls of Ohio.  Deponent further saith that she understood MICHAEL MILES died about forty years ago, and that the said MARY MILES who lives but a few miles from the Deponent, has remained a widow ever since. And further saith not.  RUTH X WHITECOTTON her mark

State of Kentucky, Marion County; the above deposition was this day sworn to and subscribed by Mrs RUTH WHITECOTTON before me the undersigned Justice of the Peace in and for the county aforesaid. And I certify that the said RUTH WHITECOTTON is a woman of good moral character and a person of truth & veracity. Given under my hand the day & year above written. WILSON EDMONDSON JP

The Deposition of JAMES WHITECOTTON a resident of Marion County taken this 17th day of August 1840 to be used as evidence in the application of Mrs MARY MILES for a pension.  Deponent being ninety years old deposeth & saith that he belonged to General GEORGE ROGERS CLARK’s Regiment and was at the taking of Kaskaskia, and while at said place he became acquainted with MICHAEL MILES who was acting at that time as sergeant major in the Regiment commanded by Col JOHN MONTGOMERY, under General CLARK. Shortly after this acquaintance the said MICHAEL MILES was sent off with other troops, and the Deponent thinks to the Falls of Ohio, and the deponent did not recollect seeing the said MILES anymore during the Revolutionary War. The deponent recollects hearing that the said MICHAEL MILES was married to MARY HARRISON but what time the marriage took place, the deponent cannot say. The deponent heard of MILES death, and has been acquainted with MARY MILES, the widow of said MICHAEL MILES for about forty years, and known she has continued a widow ever since the death of said MICHAEL to the present (illegible). JAMES WHITECOTTON

State of Kentucky, Marion County;  The above deposition was this sworn to and subscribed by JAMES WHITECOTTON before me the undersigned Justice of the Peace in and for the county aforesaid, and certify that the said JAMES WHITECOTTON is a man of truth & veracity. Given under my hand this day and year first above written WILSON EDMONDSON JP

NOTE: Wilson Edmondson’s brother WILLIAM EDMONDSON married CATHERINE WHITECOTTON, daughter of JAMES WHITECOTTON & his unknown first wife

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

TRYPHENA FISHER, wife of CURTIS OTWELL of Maryland & Delaware

Well, it has taken me fifteen years, but I believe I have finally found the family of TRYPHENA FISHER, born about 1741, wife of CURTIS OTWELL of Maryland & Sussex Co Delaware.

In her writings about her Quaker family's history, ANN MILLIS FRAZIER WAY indicated that TRYPHENA FISHER was the daughter of HENRY FISHER, and that they were "from Ireland".

For fifteen years I have labored under this assumption, finding absolutely nothing. Now I have solid evidence that TRYPHENA FISHER was from a Maryland family, and that her father was not HENRY FISHER.

What has really helped is that the Maryland State Archives are now online with a searchable database for their records!

The first clue I discovered in the Maryland State Archives records was that SOLOMON OTWELL--who married RACHEL CURTIS & was father of CURTIS OTWELL--died 1755 in Dorchester Co Maryland, and not in Somerset Co Maryland as I had previously been led to believe.

Here are the index cards for SOLOMON OTWELL's 1755 probate & the 1756 Estate Account by RACHEL OTWELL from the Maryland State Archives.  Unfortunately I live on the west coast, and can't go to the Maryland State Archives to copy these files. There were several more index cards related to the death of SOLOMON OTWELL, by the way.

I am uncertain exactly when SOLOMON OTWELL moved from Somerset to Dorchester Co Maryland; more records need to be found tracing the family in Dorchester.  Parts of Dorchester Co Maryland became Caroline Co Maryland in 1774, so records may exist in that county also.

TRYPHENA FISHER, the daughter of JOHN PRITCHETT FISHER Sr & REBECCA EDGAR, was born about 1741 in Dorchester Co Maryland.

JOHN PRITCHETT FISHER Sr , born about 1700 Maryland, died before June 10, 1762 Dorchester Co Maryland, was the son of HENRY FISHER & MARY PRITCHETT of Dorchester Co Maryland, and grandson of Dr JOHN PRITCHETT/PRITCHARD & MARY PRICE,  early settlers of Dorchester Co Maryland.

To her credit, ANN MILLIS FRAZIER WAY was only one generation off in her remembering.  HENRY FISHER of Dorchester Co Maryland was the grandfather, not father, of TRYPHENA FISHER.

JOHN PRITCHETT FISHER Sr left a will Nov 21, 1761 in Dorchester Co Maryland. Here is an abstract:

27 Nov. 1761 WILL of   JOHN PRICHET FISHER, Dorchester Co. Maryland,  Gentleman;
--To my son HENRY FISHER, Rang 50a where he lives, a cow & heifer, 2 ewes, & my desk. 
--To my 2 sons, JAMES FISHER & JOHN PRICHETT FISHER, the rest of my lands div. by a line from the first bounder of Hopkins Horse Pond to the middle of Fishers Venture, JAMES & JOHN to have the E & W parts respectively, & to son JAMES my old gun & to son JOHN my new gun. 
--To my dau. ELIZABETH GOSLIN, a cow. 
--To my dau. MARY BARWICK, 6 yr.-old hogs. 
--To my dau. JANE FISHER, mulatto boy TOM. 
--To my dau. TRIPHENA FISHER, mulatto boy SAMBO. 
--The residue, equ. div.betrw. my 4 chldn. - JAMES, JOHN PRICHETT, JANE, & TRIPHENA FISHER - on the d. of my wife. 
--Extrx: my wife, REBECCA FISHER.  Witn: Jeremiah Prichett, William Morris, Salathiel Parrish. 
    10 June 1762, sworn to by all 3 with.
SOURCE: "Maryland Calendar of Wills Vol 12 1759-1764" by F. Edward Wright p 162

TRYPHENA FISHER  likely married CURTIS OTWELL in Dorchester Co Maryland--which is why I have never been able to find a marriage record for them in Somerset Co Maryland. I am estimating marriage in around 1769. By 1777, CURTIS OTWELL was mentioned as a landowner in Sussex Co Delaware, and his will dated April 1779 names wife TRUFENER, and children (not named).  CURTIS OTWELL was approximately 42 years old when he died.

What became of TRYPHENA FISHER OTWELL after CURTIS' death is unclear.  I did not find a will for her in Sussex Co Delaware.  According to Ed Brezenger, TRIFFINAH OTWELL, widowed wife of CURTIS OTWELL is listed in the 1790 Northwest Fork Hundred, Delaware census. I have not yet seen this record myself. Another source indicates that the entire 1790 Delaware census was destroyed in the war of 1812. So now I am very confused.

Many questions swirl around the FISHER, PRITCHETT,  & EDGAR families of Dorchester Co Maryland:  Where did they come from?  Were they Quakers, as most of their descendants were?  Did they relinquish their Quaker faith when they settled Maryland?  If they were Quakers, did they first settle in Accomack County Virginia, as the CURTIS family did, before moving to Maryland in 1661, when Virginia outlawed the Quaker religion in the colony?

And speaking of the CURTIS family... RACHEL, the wife of SOLOMON OTWELL was not RACHEL SMITH, daughter of HOLLIDAY SMITH, as has been erroneously reported in many online trees (including my own, at one time).

RACHEL was likely the daughter of JAMES CURTIS born Nov 7, 1666 Annamessex, Somerset Co Maryland, son of DANIEL CURTIS, the Quaker, previously of Accomack Co Virginia.

JAMES CURTIS married SARAH HALL Feb 2, 1685 Somerset Co Maryland.  He was apparently not a Quaker during his lifetime. His will was probated April 18, 1720, and in it he names his daughter RACHEL CURTIS.

I recently found the record for RACHEL CURTIS OTWELL which probably started the rumor that she was RACHEL SMITH.

On Feb 4, 1770 "RACHEL OWTWELL"  witnessed the Kent Co Delaware will of REBECCA SMITH:


Of course, there is no way of knowing from this will how or if RACHEL CURTIS OTWELL was related to REBECCA SMITH, and besides, SMITH was likely REBECCA's married name, not her maiden name.  

Finding the will of RACHEL CURTIS OTWELL has proven to be difficult; did she die in Dorchester/Caroline Co Maryland, or in Sussex Co Delaware?

And one last thought:  JAMES OTWELL, son of TRYPHENA FISHER & CURTIS OTWELL, freed his slaves in 1800 in Guilford Co North Carolina, likely at the request of his Quaker wife, ELEANOR REYNOLDS. Were the slaves that he freed the descendants of the mulatto boy SAMBO who was willed to TRYPHENA FISHER by her father, JOHN PRITCHETT FISHER in 1761?

Stay tuned.....

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2014