Saturday, May 1, 2010

Surname Saturday: OTWELL of Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, Indiana and Iowa

I actually have quite a bit of information on my great X 3 grandmother  MARY "POLLY' OTWELL, born Dec 12, 1798 in Guilford, North Carolina. She married HENRY FRAZER on Jan 16, 1813 in Guilford, NC; she was the daughter of JAMES OTWELL & ELEANOR REYNOLDS; and she was a Quaker.

HENRY & MARY (OTWELL) FRAZER migrated in about 1830 from Guilford, NC to West River, Randolph Co Indiana (Cherry Grove MM), with most of their extended family, and possibly most of their Quaker Monthly Meeting from North Carolina.  I suspect, but have no proof as yet, that the move was at least partially based on their dissension in the Quaker church on the issue of slavery.

In 1839,  HENRY & MARY (OTWELL) FRAZER moved from West River, Randolph Co IN (Cherry Grove MM), to Hamilton Co IN (Westfield MM).  In 1844 they moved from Hamilton Co IN (Westfield MM) to Boone Co IN (Sugar Plains MM).  They can be found in the 1850 Boone Co IN census, with some of their children. At some point before 1855, HENRY & MARY (OTWELL) FRAZER moved to Mt Pleasant, Henry Co Iowa, and that is where MARY passed away. After that, HENRY moved with some of his children to Bangor, Marshall Co Iowa.

The previous generations of the Otwell family are a little less clear.  MARY's father, JAMES OTWELL  was born abt 1772 in either Somerset Co MD or Sussex Co DE.  I have not found definitive proof that he and his parents were originally Quaker.  His wife ELEANOR REYNOLDS, born July 19, 1777 Guilford, NC, was a descendant of a prominent Quaker family, her immigrant ancestors being HENRY REYNOLDS b Jan 5, 1655 Sussex, England (who likely accompanied William Penn and was an original purchaser of land in Chester Co PA) and his wife PRUDENCE CLAYTON born Aug 20, 1657 Sussex, England.

JAMES OTWELL born abt 1772 was the son of CURTIS OTWELL (born 1737 Somerset Co MD died April 13, 1779 Sussex Co DE) and TRYPHENAH/TRUFENER unknown, who died after her husband in probably Sussex Co DE.  Some researchers have indicated her last name as FISHER or FISHCHER, but I have found absolutely no records proving or disproving this.

I have never been able to find any indication that CURTIS OTWELL and his wife TRYPHENAH were Quakers; however three of their sons, JAMES OTWELL b abt 1772, SHADRACK/SHADRACH OTWELL b about 1771 and HOWARD OTWELL b 1770-1775 all migrated to Guilford, North Carolina, and/or  married Quakers and/or had children who married Quakers.

I have traced back several generations of the Otwell family in Somerset Co MD, and have had only moderate luck finding wills, land deeds or other records that would document this family.  At least one other researcher, Ed Brezenger, has published a book on the family.

For more information on my Otwell family research, please see my Rootsweb Online Family Tree "Ancestors of Alonzo Cox Huber"

As always, your comments appreciated!

Have a great day!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you can get in contact with somebody in Delaware, perhaps on RAOGK, maybe they can look up James Otwell.

The Delaware Archives in Dover have all the early births, deaths, marriages, and more. If I still lived in Dover, I would certainly offer. Alas, I have no genealogical friends back there.

Good luck on your Otwell line!