Friday, July 9, 2021

It's 1776. Do You Know Where Your Ancestors Are?

TOF intended to post this for the 4th of July, but the Friday within the octave of the Glorious 4th will have to do.

The World of 1776.

We have previously looked at the worlds of 1920, 1870, and 1820; that is. the Singularity (1870-1920) and the Fuse (1820-1870) that lit it. Technically, we should now look at the world of 1770, but the Revolution is close enough. 

The 1770s were not too much different from the 1820s, except that railroads were not even a glint on the horizon. Frank;in has only recently discovered that lightning and the 'electrical fluid' are the same thing. The Leyden Jar (an early capacitor) was invented only thirty years ago.  But electricity is as yet only a curiosity. For now, the world is powered by wind and solar, and thus is energy-poor, especially for the poor. Messages travel only as fast as a courier on horseback or a schooner. Stagecoaches are the usual means of long distance travel. A few canals have been dug in France, England, and the Germanies, Captain Cook has discovered Australia.six years ago, (The Australians always knew it was there) fourteen-year-old Marie Antoinette has arrived at the French court.and married Louis-Auguste (who will later became King Louis XVI). Rubber has been discovered to remove pencil marks, to the joy of students everywhere. The first partition of Poland has begun. 

Other notable developments of the early 1770s include the ending of slavery in England four years ago. The slave trade will follow in 30 years. The young teenage phenom, Wolfie Mozart is wowing them on the Continent. "Papa" Hayden is still cranking 'em out, but Beethoven is not yet six years old,

Scientists -- meaning people who will one day be called scientists, the word does not exist yet -- have produced nitrogen and then oxygen out of thin air. Someday, these may prove useful or something. So may the recently invented sulfur dioxide. Messier has discovered the Whirlpool Galaxy, but no one knows these things are Other galaxies akin to the Milky Way.

Of more immediate use to people, the Longitude Prize has recently been won with the invention of the marine chronometer, putting ocean navigation on a more secure footing. Wilkinson has patented a method for boring cannon from solid metal (as opposed to casting them like bells), this will later be used for accurate boring of steam engine cylinders. Speaking of which, James Watt has just built a successful prototype for a steam engine. Hoorah, we can keep mines from flooding, Wonder what else steam engines might one day be useful for.

Samuel Johnson, Immanuel Kant, Voltaire, Goethe, Sheridan (The Rivals, 1775) are all scribbling away. Mrs Malaprop has made her debut upon the stage -- and in the lexicon. This year, Edward Gibbon publishes the first volume of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Adam Smith publishes The Wealth of Nations

Washington Irving is not yet born, but Phyllis Wheatley has just last year published a volume of her poetry in London and in consequence will be emancipated by her supportive owners. Last year, she sent a poem of praise to George Washington and early this year at his invitation she visited him in his camp at Cambridge. Thomas Jefferson, otoh, dissed her poetry as 'not even rising to the level of criticism.' She has entered into correspondence with John Newton, a former slave ship captain whose hymn Amazing Grace will be performed this year for the first time to accompany a sermon.

Of more immediate interest to sundry Flynncestors and Margecestors were some recent local events.

Five years ago, Wake County, NC, was established. The War of the Regulation, fought through the area where the Whites will live, has just concluded with the protestors driven toward the Tennessee frontier. 

The Watauga Association Compact in East Tennessee creates the first non-colonial government in British North America.

South Carolina revolutionaries march through the Ninety-Six District ("the Snow Campaign"), ending all major support for the Loyalist cause in the backcountry of South Carolina.

Men, women and children of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes begin a 23-day encampment at Mobile, in the British colony of West Florida, as their leaders negotiate a treaty. 

The territory of Baden-Baden is inherited by Charles Frederick, Margrave of Baden-Durlach, reunifying the territories of Baden, where the Zaengles, Schwars, Ryses, and others live.

Last year, "the Shot Heard Round the World" was fired on Lexington Green, where a small group of Minutement were routed by a British expeditionary force. A little later, the same British force was defeated on Concord Bridge by the gathering militias of the region. They are harassed all the way back to Boston, where they are now under siege. An American Revolution is is full swing and Georgia, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and other places are now effectively free of British rule.

All but two of the Flynncestors are in Europe at this time. All of the Margecestors are in America. To keep this overview manageable, TOF drew a line at the great-great grandparents of himself and the late, great Marge. (You have to draw the line somewhere.) We will take each of these families and ask where they were in 1776, ignoring additional families that crop up each generation back. That is, we will inquire of FLYNN, but not MAHONEY; of JONES, but not MENDENHALL.

Some exceptions to this will happen.


FLYNN. unknown father/grandfather of Martin Flynn. in Loughrea town OR Killeenadeema townland, Co. Galway
LYNCH. John Lynch, tenant farmer in Stradbally, Co. Waterford

HETZLER. utterly unknown.
OKENFUSS. Johan Fidelis Okenfuss (20) in Bohlbach, Baden. He is about to get married. His mother, the delightfully named Anna Maria Eggs, has just died.

CANTREL. Francois Theodore Cantrel. is living in Quoeux, Pas de Calais, France
TOULOUSE. Jean-Philippe Louis Joseph Toulouse is presumably also in Quoeux.

MCGOVERN. unknown father of Matthew McGovern Sr. cooking moonshine in the Glan, Co.Cavan
DOLAN. unknown. but also in the Glan

SINGLEY. Lorenz Zaengle (18) in Oberhausen living with father Johann Michael (52)
WEAVER. unknown, probably in Bucks Co. PA.

METZGER. Josef Metzger (49) in Niederhausen, married to Maria Anna Lauber, with kids
STEIDINGER. unknown in Bucks Co. PA

SCHWAR. Sebastian Schwaer Sr. (1) with parents Martin Leopold Schwaer (34) and Katherina Morgenthaler (32)
KRESCH. Anton Groesch (36) is living in Niederhausen. He has married, or is about to marry Katharina Zehender.

HUNGREGE. unknown father/grandfather of Conrad Hungrege Sr. prob in Hoexter, Westpfalz
RIESS. Franz Xavier Rys (17) with his father, Johann Rys (46). Mother Katharina Foeller will die in three years.


Revolutionary War service highlighted in RED

WHITE. unknown father/grandfather of Ransom White, in NC, prob Wake Co.
ALLEN. (Supposing this to be Patsy Stanly's maiden name.) Bartlett Allen will soon be a corporal in the Wake Co., NC militia.

MARLOW. Reuben Marlow will not be born in KY for 32 yrs. His father will come from VA and his mother from TN.
PATTERSON. Moontubbee's unknown father is in AL or MS. The Choctaws have not yet been removed.

TAM. James Tam (22) is settled in and starting a family in Kent Co., DE. His father Samuel Tam (46) dies this year.
CAIN. unknown. Margaret Cain will be born in Ohio in 38 years,

EADS Isaac Eads (36) is in Rowan Co. NC with his wife, Elizabeth Allen (43).
DOWELL. Peter Dowell (62) is living in the Sugar Land Hundred, Frederick, Maryland. He will swear the Oath of Fidelity and Support in 1778. His son, William Dowell (15), appears in the roster of NC soldiers in the Revolution. Another son, Richard Dowell (23) will enlist in the 8th Company of the Montgomery County, MD militia in 1777. He will enter the service again in the VA line for 3 years. When the Captain runs from battle, Dowell will take command and be elected Captain. When his term expires, he will move to NC, raise another company of which he will be elected Captain and serve his term for 18 months.

HAMMONTREE. John Hammontree jr (32) is about to enlist in the 10th Virginia Line and will die at Valley Forge. His brother, Harris Hammontree, (18) will follow him to Valley Forge in the 1st Virginia Line. Alexander and William Hammontree (26) will move to Lincoln Co, NC after the war.
GASTON. unknown. possibly in TN

JONES. Richard Jones (10) is in Lenoir Co., NC, with unknown parents.
PARSONS. Joseph Garrett Parsons Sr (36) is living in Ninety-six, SC. Several different sources state that he fought in the Revolutionary War; however, there are no official records of his service, so he may have been a Tory.

HARRIS. unknown. Joel Harris will not be born for 43 years. His father will be from MO, mother TN
GOSS. Shearman Goss Sr (21) is living in the Tar River district of NC. He may not be married yet.

HOLLAND. George Holland Sr (56) is living in Frederick, VA, and George Holland Jr (18) is living in Goochland Co., VA. Young George will marry Sussanah George in three years. A George Holland is listed as 1st Lt in Continental troops from Virginia. Probably the younger, but Sr is not impossible.
HELMS. George Helms Sr (53) is among those honored on a plaque of Revolutionary War veterans  displayed at The Union County (NC) Historical Society in Monroe, NC.
His son, John "Blackhead" Helms (20) a soldier in revolutionary war in Rowan County, NC


Families, by location 

Loughrea, Galway: FLYNN
Stradbally, Waterford: LYNCH
The Glan, Cavan: McGOVERN, DOLAN
The Germanies
Bohlbach, Baden: OKENFUSS
Hoexter, Westpfalz: HUNGREGE

unknown: Hetzler

Frederick: DOWELL
Kent: TAM
Cumberland: HAMMONTREE
Frederick: HOLLAND
North Carolina
Tar River: GOSS
Lenoir: JONES
South Carolina
Ninety six: PARSONS
Choctaw Nation
ca. Alabama: PATTERSON



Allen, Dowell, Hammontree, Helms, Holland


  1. Every one of my ancestors whose location I am aware of was in Quebec at that time.

  2. Cook discovered Australia? Leaving aside the local residents, Cook wasn't even the first Englishman, Dampier beating him by 70 years. There was a plethora of Dutch before that beating Cook by 150 years or so. And that's just the Europeans :)


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