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Coverlets, land warrants, and a birth on Will’s Creek

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Laszlo Zonger by a Jacquard Loom at the Coverlet Museum

Laszlo Zonger by a Jacquard Loom at the Coverlet Museum

Please, please, please! If you ever visit Bedford County, Pennsylvania go to the coverlet museum! The coverlets and the accompanying personal tour, both enthusiastically provided by Melinda and Laszlo Zonger, impart knowledge of the craft, its history, the impact of a weaver’s place of origin, and the role of the global economy on weaving in America. So what does this have to do with the blog besides being of historical interest? Well, look below.

Cumberland Evening Times December 21, 1905

Cumberland Evening Times December 21, 1905

Sometimes you find a place so engaging and interesting that dragging yourself away seems impossible, no matter what your plans. After my last posting saying I was off to Ohio, I received this message, “I have my 5 great grandfather David Huston being born in 1796 in Maryland and his Father was Andrew/ Ellinore Devore mother. Do you have any information about the property or where in Maryland he was born?” I went to my records thinking to make quick work of a straightforward question. The hours whirled by. Two new discoveries and some inferential detective work later, I sent an e-mail which, as I looked back, seems a decent example of using the place knowledge to inform questions of birth. At the end of this post, I include a portion of the e-mail, slightly revised to correct errors and hopefully provide clarity. There you will also find links to the probate records mentioned in the e-mail. Andrew Huston Jr. practiced the art of weaving, probably the more basic version of the craft performed by in-home crafters. He, with his Will’s Creek neighbors, lived near the Maryland border and, judging from the newspaper clipping, were economically connected to Cumberland, Maryland. By the way, I nearly passed by the newspaper record because the paper was dated 1905. I only looked twice because, due to information on a land warrant, I knew Andrew was a weaver. Birth and death isn’t everything. Investigating place and the history of place makes a difference, even in ferreting out a birth. How close did they live to the Maryland border? Retracing some records, I also found this land warrant. “Andrew Huston applies for forty acres of Land Situated in Londonderry Township Bedford County adjoining Thomas Potts and Andrew Huston on the West the Maryland line on the South Wills Mountain on the East, & Cornelius Devore on the North.” (signed by Benj Tomlinson as witness and Andrew Huston in a good hand on the 11th day of Sept 1815) Underlining and opinion of his hand are mine. And here is the e-mail regarding David Huston’s place and date of birth. “I can give you this much information from my end. The Will’s Creek community in Pennsylvania is only a few miles from Maryland (2 miles from the border and maybe 4 to Cumberland.) Line disputes ended officially with the Mason/Dixon survey, but who knows how well understood or accepted the survey was in the minds of inhabitants of the area. Here is what I know for sure. 

  • Andrew Huston Jr. was the son of Alexander Huston (verified by the families probate dispute, 1835.) 
  • It, along with the Bedford county dispute, 1832-33, verifies that David was Andrew Jr.’s son. 
  • Alexander’s probate dispute lists David’s residence as Colombia County, Ohio. I suspect this is Colombiana County. Numerous of the Will’s Creek neighbors migrated to the area about 1800, including my great (4x) grandfather Jacob Croy who married Mary Huston, Andrew Jr.’s sister. (added note: the 1820 census lists a David Huston living in Rose Township, Stark County, Ohio once part of Columbiana County)
  • Andrew Jr. is first listed on Cumberland Valley Township (later Londonderry Township,) Bedford County, PA records in 1782 with 3 horses, 6 cows, 6 sheep-no land listing.  Likely living on, grandfather, Andrew Huston‘s land. 1783-85 he is listed as a single freeman. He is also listed as a Jr. on the 1786 Septennial Census for same place. 
  • Andrew’s father Alexander is verified an inhabitant of Cumberland Valley Township, Bedford County, PA from 1773 through the early 1800’s
  • Andrew Jr. married in late 1785 to 86 based on tax data to Elenore (Nilly) Devore (based on probate) who was the daughter of Cornelius Devore, a long time Will’s Creek resident (based on property and tax records.)
  • Based on the probate dispute for Andrew Jr., David is likely the second born son. John is definitely the first born. I do not have definitive dates for births and deaths of his children. (I have made it a “rule” to stick to direct lineage, their children and then basics of brothers/sisters. It can get overwhelming to keep organized otherwise. (added note: I have found little birth information for this period except on gravestones. When I visited the Bedford County Historical Society, I was told that little birth information exists for 18th century Western Pennsylvania.)
  • The tax and census records drop to a single Andrew Huston in Londonderry Township after 1786. My assumption is that Andrew Senior died by then. It is possible that Andrew moved on immediately after marriage and then returned in 1815, but the 1790 census shows an Andrew of Londonderry with one male child under 16 (John?) and two females (one likely a child.) Andrew Senior would not have had young children by then. Even Alexander, Andrew Jr’s father, was living at the time with only his wife. The 1800 census verifies the appropriate number of children for Andrew Jr. (the boy and girl above born between 1785-1790 and 2 boys and 2 girls born between 1791 and 1800) living in Londonderry Township, as does 1810, 20, 30. So if Andrew Senior was not dead by 1787-90, why does the land warrant for 1815 list the land of “Andrew Huston on the south?” Most likely it is additional land that Andrew Jr owned. 

Sooooo….I think it likely David was born right there in the Will’s Creek, Cumberland Valley Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania located very close to Maryland between 1791 and 1800, unless mom slipped over the line for a birth. Probate does indicate that John Huston (David’s brother) gave authority to Philip Devore to “sell the same and all other land claimed by me either in part or altogether situate in the state of Pennsylvania or Maryland…” (My underlining.) Others of the community also went into Allegheny County, Maryland for business and land purchase.” Probate records for Andrew Huston Jr.              Alexander Huston wills

About croywright

The author, a writer of history and historical fiction, always yearned to go back in time.

3 responses »

  1. I have been looking for Alexander Huston, Sr (c1745-1814) father. I suspected that it was Andrew Huston Sr (Cumberland Twsp, Bedford Co) but after looking though all of the Huston’s wills in Bedford Co, Cumberland Twsp probate records (c1760-1800) did not find an Andrew. Do you have a record confirming Andrew Sr’s death?

    • I do not. The last time two Andrew Huston’s appear on the tax records for Londonderry Township is in 1786. An Andrew Huston (likely patriarch) and Andrew Huston Jr. (son of Alexander, son of Andrew Sr.)are listed there. I do know that Andrew Jr. remained in Londonderry Township based on the Orphan Court record I obtained from the Historical Society in Bedford. Cumberland Valley Township broke up in 1785 and the Will’s Creek Area was designated part of Londonderry Township. I hope this helps with your search, and if you find court records, I hope you will share. Thanks for the hard work!

  2. Patricia Oswalt McHenry

    nice work Donna


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