Kearsley #242

Jonathan Kearsley (1718-1782)

Born in Scotland.  Arrived in Pennsylvania about 1739 and

Scotish flag animationJane Wife of Jonathan Kearsley (1720-1801)

Probably born in Scotland and arrived in Pennsylvania with her husband about 1739.

 

Jonathan Kearsley (1718 – 1782), 5th great grandfather – Margaret Kearsley (1748 – 1828) – Robert Cooper Henderson (1784 – 1858) – Matthew Henderson (1836 – 1924) – Florence Henderson (1869 – 1956) – Florence Eugenie Watkins (1903 – 1985) – Penelope Jane Walholm (1939 – ) – Tor Martin (Majerus) Hylbom

Jonathan Kearsley and his wife, Jane are also my 5th great  grandparents through their daughter, Rebecca, as follows (Robert Cooper Henderson and Sarah McComb were 1st cousins):

Jonathan Kearsley (1718 – 1782), 5th great grandfather – Rebecca Kearsley (1762 – 1848) – Sarah McComb (1807 – 1846) – Matthew Henderson (1836 – 1924) – and continuing as above through – Tor Martin (Majerus) Hylbom

Information on the life of Jonathan Kearsley and his wife, Jane is sketchy.  Most of the information is recorded in a book[1] written by Elmer L. White in 1900.  White explains his sources as follows:

“Major E. R. Kearsley, of Bucyrus, Ohio, when a boy of six years of age, after the death of his mother,  lived for some years with his grandfather, Captain Samuel Kearsley,  at or near Harrisburg, Pa.,  and from his own recollection of the Kearsley, Cooper and Woods families got together such data as he had with a view of putting it in form for distribution among such members of the family as he knew….  Finding the work more onerous than his advancing years permitted he turned the data in his possession over to me, with request to put it into printed form.  Inquiries in various directions brought further data, and the record has grown to about three times the size originally expected… Mr. George T.  Kearsley, of Radford, Va., who possesses the old Kearsley Bible[2] with the record on page 6,  has supplied the data for his branch of the family,  as well as for the Henderson and Woods branches… Professor P. H. K. McComb has supplied the data for the McComb branch. The writer has secured much other data from the records in Lancaster and Cumberland Counties, the Pennsylvania State Library, and the Pennsylvania Historical Society of Philadelphia[3].”

Therefore, what we have from White is an incomplete record that was assembled many years after the events.  In any case, I will recount the facts as White relates them:

Jonathan Kearsley migrated from his native Scotland first to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where he married his wife, Jane, whose surname I have been unable to ascertain.  According to White,

“Jonathan Kearsley… came to this country, when a young man, as a fugitive, without acquainting his parents, and settled in Pennsylvania, and married his wife Jane there.   From the notation in the Kearsley Bible, above referred to, that the child Robert was buried in the Calvinist burying ground at Lancastertown, Pa., it was supposed that he had settled in Lancaster county.  A search of the records in that county fails to reveal his name, either in the assessment lists, marriage or death records, or elsewhere.

The earliest date at which we get any definite record of him is the year 1761, from the account books of John Agnew, Esq., a merchant of Carlisle, Pa., which shows that Jonathan Kearsley and his wife Jane were residents of Carlisle at that time.   These account books of John Agnew are now in the possession of Mr. C. P. Humrich, attorney-at-law, of Carlisle.

From the fact also that he appears first in the assessment lists for the year 1762[4], and is on the list of lot owners for 1763, it seems probable that he lived elsewhere prior to 1761 [perhaps Lancaster County, Pennsylvania?]…

The records of Cumberland County are very complete, and show that he lived at Carlisle from 1761 down to 1779-80, when he removed to Shippensburg, where he died in 1782.”

White summarizes his conclusions regarding Jonathan Kearsley as follows:

“Jonathan Kearsley was evidently a man of strong character and high standing in Cumberland County; was a merchant, keeping a general store, and had in addition a very complete drug-store, as the inventory on page 12 shows[5].   This likely accounts for his having the title of “Doctor.”   He was evidently a chemist of wide reputation, as the Colonial records show that Dr. Jonathan Kearsley was recommended by the prominent citizens of Carlisle to the Committee of Safety at Philadelphia as a competent person to manufacture salt-petre, during the Revolutionary war, and the Pennsylvania Archives contain a letter from Jonathan Kearsley to the Committee of Safety complaining of his inability to produce greater quantities and inquiring if they knew of any new process for making it, as he understood salt-petre was being made in Virginia… The record of Deed Transfers for Cumberland County shows that he was a property holder of considerable proportions, and the wills of himself and wife Jane show that he left considerable property.   Photo-engravings of the original wills made in 1782 and 1790 are herein given, the originals being in perfect state of preservation; although yellow from age the ink is clear and perfect.

The strong religious character of the family is shown by the’”Deathbed Memoirs’, and the letters given.

Many of the descendants in all branches of the family have been famous in the professions, the ministry and in business… While most branches of the family have remained residents of Pennsylvania and Virginia, descendants are to be found in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and as far west as Nebraska [as of 1900].

It is greatly to be regretted that we have been unable to find in any of the records examined the family name of Jane Kearsley, the wife of Jonathan.   Neither have we found the date of their marriage, nor anything to throw light upon the statement in his Memoirs that he came to this country as a fugitive, when a young man, without the knowledge of his parents, who had given him pious training, but it is presumed that it was simply his youthful desire for adventure and the fear that his parents would have withheld their permission.  It seems evident that he came to this country about 1738-40, and was married about 1742-3.”

The children of Jonathan and Jane Kearsley are:

  1. Elizabeth[6], was born 19 Nov 1743 and died 8 Oct 1829.  She married Rev. (Dr.) Robert Cooper, who was pastor of the Middle Spring Presbyterian Church (Cumberland County, Pennsylvania) from 1765-1797[7].
  2. John (Judge), born 20 Oct 1745; married Nancy Morrow 16 Oct 1816; died 26 Jun 1819 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; buried in the graveyard at 4th and Pine Sts.
  3. Margaret Kearsley, 22 Jan 1748; married Matthew Henderson (1746-1796); died 5 Apr 1828.  Their children are:
    1. Daniel, 1770-1803; succeeded his father as Deputy Surveyor of Franklin County,  Pennsylvania.  Did not marry.
    2. Jonathan, 1772-1833
    3. John (Dr.), 1774-about 1848
    4. Matthew, 1776-1817.  Did not marry.
    5. Robert Cooper Henderson, born 9 Feb 1784.  He was named for his uncle Rev. (Dr.) Robert Cooper (wife of Margaret‘s sister, Elizabeth), who was pastor of the Middle Spring Presbyterian Church (Cumberland County, Pennsylvania) from 1765-1797.  Robert died 24 Mar 1858.  He married (1st) Mary 
Stewart of York County, Pennsylvania and married (2nd) his cousin,  Sarah McComb (daughter of Rebecca Kearsley and William McComb, see below) and resided near Columbus, Ohio.
    6. Samuel, died 1793; did not marry.
    7. Lydia, died 1801; did not marry.
    8. Eliza; dates unknown
    9. Joseph, born about 1791
    10. Isabella, 1794-1871
  4. Capt. Samuel Kearsley (1750-1830) - grave market at Middle Spring Cemetery, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania (photo credit: Blyden)

    Capt. Samuel Kearsley (1750-1830) – grave market at Middle Spring Cemetery, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania (photo credit: Blyden)

    Samuel (Captain), born 15 Sep 1750; died 22 Mar 1830; married Sarah Kirkpatrick (1754-1826) in 1774.   He was a Captain in the Revolutionary War,  to whom General Washington presented the sword which he had worn at Braddock’s defeat[8].  The fifth child of Samuel and Sarah is Jonathan Kearsley[9] (1786–1859), who was a military officer and politician. He fought in the War of 1812 and was a two-time mayor of Detroit.

  5. Robert, born 17 Feb 1753; died Jul 1753;  buried in Calvinist burying ground, Lancastertown, Pennsylvania
  6. Mary, born 2 Nov 1755; August 1826
  7. Ann, born 1 Jul 1758 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; died March 1759
  8. Jane, born 18 Mar 1760; died 28 Mar 1835
  9. Rebecca Kearsley, born 30 Aug 1762 and died 29 Nov 1848.  She married William McComb, born 1757; died 10 Feb 1835.  The fifteenth child of Rebecca and William is Sarah McComb, born July 1807; died 4 Jan 1846.  She married her cousin,  Robert Cooper Henderson (son of Margaret Kearsley and Matthew Henderson, see above) on 15 Oct 1829.
  10. Stilla, born and died 6 Mar 1765
  11. Jonathan (Jr.), 6 Mar 1766; died 1804.  Nothing further is known of him, except that he was a “doctor of physic” (mentioned in the Deed Records of Cumberland County).
Infantry of the Continental Army

Infantry of the Continental Army

Matthew Henderson (1746-1796) was an officer in the Revolutionary War.  He organized a company of one hundred and four (104) men in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania and was Captain 9th Pennsylvania Continental Line[10]. The term “Pennsylvania Line” referred to the quota of numbered infantry regiments assigned to Pennsylvania at various times by the Continental Congress. These, together with similar contingents from the other twelve states, formed the Continental Line. The 9th Pennsylvania Regiment was authorized 16 September 1776 and was assigned to the main Continental Army on 27 Dec 1776. It was organized during the spring of 1777 to consist of eight companies of volunteers from Westmoreland, Lancaster, Chester, Philadelphia and Cumberland counties of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The regiment was assigned to the 3rd Pennsylvania Brigade of the main Continental Army on 27 May 1777. On 1 July 1778 the regiment was re-organized to eight companies. On 22 Jul 1778 the regiment was re-assigned to the 2nd Pennsylvania Brigade.  It was consolidated with the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment on 17 Jan 1781 and re-designated as the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment and concurrently furloughed at Trenton, New Jersey.  The regiment would see action during the Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth and the Battle of Springfield.  We do not know in which of these engagements Matthew Henderson was involved.

According to Elmer L. White, Matthew Henderson was “second son of Daniel Henderson, who lived and died in Chester Co., Pa., before Revolutionary War”.  Beyond that, Matthew Henderson‘s ancestry remains a matter for future research, although it is likely that he was a descendant of Scots-Irish immigrants to Pennsylvania, probably in the early 18th century.  Around this time, this area of Pennsylvania, known as the Cumberland Valley  (then a frontier settlement), was dotted with Scotch-Irish settlements, forming a district which had become almost exclusively the possession of this ethnic group, with whom were mingled small numbers of English and German settlers constituting perhaps ten percent of the population.  It was well adapted to farming, and the Scotch-Irish, in this early period, were mostly farmers, but later they developed a marked aptitude for trade and the professions[11].  In general, Scots-Irish Americans are the descendants of Presbyterian and other Protestant dissenters from the Irish province of Ulster who migrated to North America during the 18th and 19th centuries.  Most of the Scots-Irish were descended from Scottish and English families who colonized Ireland during the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th century.

Historical marker at Middle Spring Presbyterian Church (Cumberland County, Pennsylvania)

Historical marker at Middle Spring Presbyterian Church (Cumberland County, Pennsylvania)

In 1781, Capt. Matthew Henderson is mentioned as a church building subscriber to what was known as the “Old Stone Church” of the Middle Spring Presbyterian Church in  Cumberland County, Pennsylvania[12].  Middle Spring Presbyterian Church is located in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania in the small community of Middle Spring, Pennsylvania on present day Pennsylvania State Route 4001 (old Pennsylvania 696), two and six tenths miles north of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.  A group of Scots Irish immigrants settled in this area in about 1730.  The Scotch Irish were the earliest settlers on the Pennsylvania frontier of the early 18th century.  In those days, the Middle Spring area was very much a part of this rugged frontier, where Indian attacks were common.  Many of these early settlers fell victim to these attacks.  These immigrants brought their Scotch Presbyterian origins with them, and Presbyterian preaching began on this site in the open air as early as 1736.  These settlers erected a Presbyterian Church building at this Middle Spring site in 1738, close to the bank of the small Middle Spring creek that ran through the area. The pioneer Scotch-Irish settlers in the Cumberland Valley almost always built their churches near streams and springs to have available an abundant source of water.  The first building was a log church, which became not only a house of worship but a gathering place for the early settlers in the area.  There are two other springs in the area – Big Spring and Rocky Spring.  They called the church site “Middle Spring”, because it was located mid-way between the Big Spring and the Rocky Spring.  The original church was small – about thirty-five feet square with slab benches and a dirt floor.  The parishioners replaced the first log church with another in the 1760s.  In turn, they replaced this church with the “Old Stone Church” in 1781.  However, it suffered from a “structural defect”.  So, the congregation had to tear it down and replace it in 1847.  At that time, they moved the church from where the old cemetery is still located (about one-tenth mile to the northwest) to its present location.  A Christian Education Building was added to the 1847 sanctuary in 1964.  Middle Spring possesses four cemeteries: the Lower Cemetery, the Upper Cemetery, the Modern Cemetery and Hannah’s Cemetery, located outside of Newburg.

The Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, Brooklyn, New York: Fort Greene in Brooklyn is one of the oldest continuously operated parks in the City of New York. The Park is located near Brooklyn Hospital Center. The monument is sited within the Park. The crypt is located between two sets of stairs leading up to the great Martyr's monument, the McKim-Mead pillar is on the top of the hill. The pillar rises over 140 feet in height and would need 15-20 people holding hands to encircle. The stairway to the top is not open to the public. The steps look out towards lower Manhattan (photo credit: Paul W. Romaine; taken 7 Jan 2000).

The Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, Brooklyn, New York: Fort Greene in Brooklyn is one of the oldest continuously operated parks in the City of New York. The Park is located near Brooklyn Hospital Center. The monument is sited within the Park. The crypt is located between two sets of stairs leading up to the great Martyr’s monument, the McKim-Mead pillar is on the top of the hill. The pillar rises over 140 feet in height and would need 15-20 people holding hands to encircle. The stairway to the top is not open to the public. The steps look out towards lower Manhattan (photo credit: Paul W. Romaine; taken 7 Jan 2000).

William McComb was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and a prisoner on board the British prison ship Jersey[13].  He and his wife settled in Washington County, Pennsylvania,  in which state all their sixteen children were born.  They emigrated to Ohio in 1818.  They spent their first winter in a house owned by Col. Culberson,  at Franklinton,  just west of Columbus,  and finally settled on a tract of land lying on Big Walnut creek, eight miles east of Columbus.  As soon as the seed for a crop was in the ground,  a church was built on land dedicated for that and cemetery purposes by William Patterson (husband of the eldest daughter).  This church yard was consecrated by the burial therein of the grantor’s own wife, Jane McComb Patterson, the first interment.  The church was called “Truro”.

The children of Robert Cooper Henderson and Sarah McComb (1st cousins) are:

  1. Jonathan, Died in infancy.
  2. Rebecca
  3. Mary
  4. William McComb
  5. Matthew Henderson, born 31 Oct 1836; died 24 Jun 1924; married on 1 Sep 1864 to Elizabeth Handley, born 26 May 1837; died 11 Jan 1918
  6. Ellen
  7. Daniel, born in 1842 and died in 1883.  He was unmarried.

Note: Robert Cooper Henderson, married twice; first to Mary Stewart of York County, Pennsylvania.  They had three children:

  1. Margaret, born 1820; died 1845; unmarried.
  2. John, born 1823; died 1893, in Perry Township, Franklin County,  Ohio; married,  had two daughters; for 12 years a college professor.
  3. Joseph, born 1824; died in 1890; had 10 children.
Elizabeth Handley (1837-1917) and Matthew Henderson (1836-1924) - photo taken in 1916 (from the family album of Thomas Smith, their 2nd great grandson)

Elizabeth Handley (1837-1917) and Matthew Henderson (1836-1924) – photo taken in 1916 (from the family album of Thomas Smith, their 2nd great grandson)

The daughter of Matthew Henderson (1836-1924) and Elizabeth Handley is Florence Henderson, born 31 Jul 1869 in Columbus,  Ohio;  died 13 Jun 1956 in Winona, MinnesotaOn 16 Oct 1889, she married Paul Watkins, born 9 Nov 1864 in Lebanon, Ohio; died 24 Dec 1931 in Winona, Minnesota.  At this point, the Kearsley lineage merges with the Watkins lineage, where it is continued.

 


[2] “an old family Bible,  printed in Edinburg,  Scotland, by Evan Tyler,  printer to the King’s most excellent Majesty,  in the year 1698; now in the possession of George T. Kearsley, of Radford, Virginia.”

[3] White did locate information concerning two Drs. John Kearsley of Philadelphia. The elder of these was a famous physician and amateur architect, and made the designs for Christ Church as well as for the Statehouse and steeple (our famous Independence Hall), and at his death he endowed Christ Church with large sums, leaving the balance of his estate to his nephews and nieces in Sedgefield, England. The second Dr. John Kearsley (nephew of the one above mentioned) also came to Philadelphia and practiced as a physician. During the Revolutionary War he was arrested as a Tory and confined in the military prison at Lancaster, being later removed by direction of the Committee of Safety to the military prison at Carlisle,,  where he died. He left his property to his brothers and sisters in Sedgefield, England.  A careful search of the records in the Pennsylvania Historical Society at Philadelphia failed to show any connection between these two Drs. John Kearsley and Jonathan Kearsley of Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  Of course, a connection of some sort cannot be ruled out, as documents establishing the link may have been lost. White states that in a letter dated 21 Mar 1900, Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell (the 2nd great grandson of Jonathan Kearsley) affirmed that the two Drs. John Kearsley of Philadelphia, uncle and nephew, came from the County Durham, England.  Furthermore, he wrote that his father said that the other Kearsleys were from England, and came hither from Scotland, and were of one family with the Philadelphia Kearsleys, and that he had evidence of this in papers destroyed in 1813.  His small belongings were in charge of a Mr. Caldwell, clerk of the U. S. Supreme Court, and were in his office at the Capitol at Washington, when the English burned it.  Silas’ father is John Kearsley Mitchell (1798-1858), a physician and writer, born in Shepherdstown, Virginia (now West Virginia). He graduated from the Medical College of the University of Pennsylvania in 1819. Before he went to Philadelphia to practice his profession, he made three voyages to the Far East as ship’s surgeon. In 1826 he became professor of medicine and physiology at the Philadelphia Medical Institute and in 1833 professor of chemistry at the Franklin Institute. From 1841 to 1858 he was professor of the theory and practice of medicine at Jefferson Medical College. He wrote several medical related books.  Silas Weir Mitchell was also a noted physician in Philadelphia. He studied at the University of Pennsylvania and received the degree of M.D. at Jefferson Medical College in 1850. During the Civil War he had charge of nervous injuries and maladies at Turners Lane Hospital, Philadelphia, and at the close of the war became a specialist in neurology. In this field Weir Mitchell’s name became prominently associated with his introduction of the “rest cure”, subsequently taken up by the medical world, for nervous diseases, particularly hysteria; the treatment consisting primarily in isolation, confinement to bed, dieting and massage. His medical texts include Injuries of Nerves and Their Consequences (1872) and Fat and Blood (1877). Mitchell’s disease (erythromelalgia) is named after him. In 1863 he wrote a clever short story, combining physiological and psychological problems, entitled “The Case of George Dedlow”, in the Atlantic Monthly. Thenceforward, Mitchell, as a writer, divided his attention between professional and literary pursuits. In the former field, he produced monographs on rattlesnake poison, on intellectual hygiene, on injuries to the nerves, on neurasthenia, on nervous diseases of women, on the effects of gunshot wounds upon the nervous system, and on the relations between nurse, physician, and patient; while in the latter, he wrote juvenile stories, several volumes of respectable verse, and prose fiction of varying merit, which, however, gave him a leading place among the American authors of the close of the 19th century. His historical novels, Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker (1897), The Adventures of François (1898) and The Red City (1909), take high rank in this branch of fiction. He was also Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s doctor and his use of a rest cure on her provided the idea for “The Yellow Wallpaper”, a short story in which the narrator is driven insane by her rest cure.

[4] He is not included in the list of slave owners in Cumberland County in 1762.  The Will of Jane Kearsley in 1790 mentions I also give and bequeath to my said daughter Jane the remainder of the term of service of Esther Welsh, an indented [sic] servant girl…

[5] White later explains: “These inventories show that Jonathan Kearsley was either a merchant, keeping a general store, from the list of items in the inventory of articles on hand, or else he kept a large stock of sundry articles on hand for family use. He must have certainly kept-a drug-store, as complete as any that could have existed at that time, judging by the list of medicines included in the appraisement, as well as the shop furniture…”

[6] The maternal grandmother of US Supreme Court Justice Robert Cooper Grier (1794-1870).  See “Notable Kin” for details.

[7] From The Centennial Memorial of the Presbytery of Carlisle, A Series of Papers, Historical and Biographical, Relating to the Origin and Growth of Prebyterianism in the Central and Eastern Part of Southern Pennsylvania (1889), p. 46-47: “Robert Cooper was born in Ireland about 1732. His father died when he was a child. At the age of nine he came with his mother and two sisters to America and settled in Lancaster County, Pa. The family had very little means. He, like many others, was greatly indebted to the energy, industry and economy of an excellent mother in obtaining an education, whose physical and mental qualities he is said to have inherited. He was ever mindful of the self-denying efforts and struggles of his mother for his comfort and advancement, and manifested his appreciation and gratitude for the same by the most affectionate filial attention as long as she lived. He prepared for college under Rev. John Roan, pastor of the New Side congregations of Paxton and Derry and Mt Joy, entered Princeton College and graduated September 1763. He studied theology with Mr. Roan and Dr. George Duffield, of Carlisle, was licensed to preach by Presbytery of Donegal, February 22, 1765, ordained and installed pastor of Middle Spring, November 21, 1765. His pastoral relation with this church was dissolved, on account of impaired health and depression of mind, April 12, 1797, and he died April 12, 1805. His remains were interred in the lower graveyard of Middle Spring Church. Dr. Cooper was an able, instructive and edifying preacher, a diligent, laborious and successful pastor, and continued in the work of the ministry with great fidelity, usefulness and success for a period of over thirty-one years. He had a good library for his day, a part of which had been selected and purchased in Scotland for him by Dr. Witherspoon. He was a well-read theologian and noted for being a competent theological instructor. Among those who resorted to him for theological instruction were a number, of students who afterwards attained to distinction in the church, such as Dr. John McKnight, Dr. Joshua Williams, Dr. Francis Herron, Dr. Matthew Brown, Dr. David McConaughy, Rev. Samuel Wilson and others. His church greatly increased under his ministry. He was moderator of the United Synod of Philadelphia and New York in 1775, and was a member of the committee to prepare rules for the government of the Assembly in 1785. Dr. Samuel Miller, in his life of Dr. Rogers, in speaking of this committee, said of Dr. Cooper, that he was a man of remarkably sound mind, and a divine of great judiciousness, piety and worth. He was regular in his attendance at Presbytery, and took a lively interest in all the movements of the church at large. He was eminently patriotic, and on December 24, 1776, was regularly commissioned as chaplain in the Revolutionary Army, which commission he resigned January 25, 1777. Mr. Cooper was married to Elizabeth Kearsley, of Carlisle, by whom he had two sons and two daughters. One son died in infancy. The other son, John, had charge of Hopewell Academy. His oldest daughter, Jane, married Samuel Nicholson, died early in life, leaving one daughter. His second daughter, Elizabeth, married Rev. Isaac Grier, the father of Robert C. Grier, of the Supreme Court of the United States, and of Rev. Isaac Grier, of Mifflinburg, Pa., of John C. Grier, of Peoria, Illinois, and of General Wm. N. Grier, of the U. S. Army. Rev. J. Grier Hibben, now pastor of Falling Spring Church, Chambersburg, Pa., is a great-grand-son of Dr. Robert Cooper”.

[8] Elmer L. White recounts the family legand in his book, the truth of which I cannot verify: “In the dark days at Valley Forge, Captain Samuel Kearsley and his estimable wife provided the soldiers with flour and meat to the extent of their means. The charitable act coming to the ears of Washington touched his great heart. The commander-in-chief ordered the troops paraded at headquarters, and calling Captain Kearsley to the front commended him for his meritorious services as an officer and his philanthropic efforts for the relief of the soldiers, and presented him with his (Washington’s) own sword. It is a sharp, three-edged French rapier, which Washington wore at Braddock’s defeat, 1755, and upon which is engraved Draw me not without reason; Sheath me not without honor.  The scabbard having been lost, Captain Kearsley converted the sword into a sword-cane, substituting a portion of the antler of a deer of his own killing for the hilt. The precious relic descended to [Samuel’s son] Major Jonathan Kearsley and is now in the possession of his son, Major Edmund Roberts Kearsley, of Bucyrus, Ohio.”

[9] Jonathan Kearsley was born in Middletown, Pennsylvania on 20 Aug 1786 and graduated from Washington College in Washington, Pennsylvania (now Washington & Jefferson College) in 1811. He was one of the founders of the Union Literary Society at Washington College. He joined the Army the following year as a First Lieutenant in the Second Artillery Corps, eventually reaching the rank of Major. He fought in several battles during the War of 1812, including the Battle of Stoney Creek, Battle of Chrysler’s Farm and the Battle of Chippawa (following the Capture of Fort Erie).  In the latter battle, he was wounded, and one of his legs was amputated. The operation was performed incorrectly and he suffered pain for the rest of his life from it.

[10] Page 252, Rev. C. P. Wing’s History of Cumberland County: “A meeting of the inhabitants of Cumberland County was held at Carlisle on the 12th of July, 1774, at which large numbers from various portions of the county were in attendance. There were about 30 representatives from Shippensburg, some of whom went to Carlisle on foot.  One of the committee appointed at that meeting, Dr. John Colhoon, was a resident of this place. When the people began to find that war with the mother country was inevitable, and when at last, on the 17th of June, 1775, the reverberations of the British cannon were heard from Breeds and Bunker Hills, the hardy, resolute men of Cumberland County exhibited a spirit of which their descendants need never be ashamed. One company was promptly raised in Shippensburg, by CAPTAIN MATTHEW HENDERSON. Captain Matthew Scott undertook to raise a company also but only partially succeeded. Captain Henderson’s company numbered 104 men, but the number raised by Captain Scott I have not been able to learn. The rolls of both companies have either been destroyed or lost, but that numbers of them were not members of the place must be clear and well known. A village of 500 or 600 inhabitants in a rural district could not have furnished so large a number of men. “It was said, however, by one who was a member of one of the organizations, that there was scarcely an able bodied man in the place who was not enrolled in one or the other of the organizations.”

[11] Wayland F. Dunaway, The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania; University of North Carolina Press, 1944, p. 60.

[12] Swope, Belle McKinney Hays, History of the Middle Spring Presbyterian Church, Middle Spring, Pa., 1738-1900 (Newville, Pennsylvania: Times Steam Printing House) 1900, p. 42.

[13] HMS Jersey was a 60-gun fourth rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 14 Jun 1736. She is perhaps most noted for her service as a prison ship during the American Revolutionary War. One of the most gruesome chapters in the story of America’s struggle for independence from Britain occurred in the waters near New York Harbor, near the current location of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. From 1776-83, the British forces occupying New York City used abandoned or decommissioned warships anchored just offshore to hold those soldiers, sailors and private citizens they had captured in battle or arrested on land or at sea (many for refusing to swear an oath of allegiance to the British Crown). Some 11,000 prisoners died aboard the prison ships over the course of the war, many from disease or malnutrition. Many of these were inmates of the notorious HMS Jersey, which earned the nickname “Hell” for its inhumane conditions and the obscenely high death rate of its prisoners. The remains of those that died aboard the prison ships were reinterred in Fort Greene Park after the 1808 burial vault near the Brooklyn Navy Yard had collapsed. In 1908, one hundred years after the burial ceremony, the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument was dedicated.

 

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