Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Thomas OTTOWELL (1583-1645), married Mary

Edna OTWELL-SIM > Edwin > Maurice > John F. > William > Francis > William OTTWELL > Francis > Charles > Francis > William > Thomas OTTOWELL

The following (indented) is from the research of Rev. Edward H. OTWELL and Edward BREGENZER’s The Otwell Manuscript (The Otwells in America Since 1619) which is a compilation of their research on the Otwell family history, dated 1998. (You can find a link to this document on our resource page.)
  • Thomas was born in 1583 in England. He married Mary and it is believed that they had at least 5 children: John, our ancestor William, Thomas and Mary. He migrated to Jamestown Colony on the ship THE BONA NOVA between 1619 and 1624.
  • Thomas was a servant to plantation owner William BLANEY (also originally from Huntington).
  • Between 1623 and 1650, Thomas owned land in York County, Cheeseman River.
  • Thomas next married Margaret about 1630 and they had at least one child, a daughter named Frances (1631).
  • Thomas died in 1645 in Lancaster County (north of his Cheeseman Plantation).

The Virginia Company’s hope was to send colonist to the New World to discover gold. No gold was found and The Company settled on tobacco as their cash crop. Tobacco farming requires large tracts of land and laborers. Land was plentiful. Laborers were enticed to risk a voyage across the ocean by offering free passage and a promise of 50 acres of land after 7 years of indentured service was completed. In the early 1600s, few English farm laborers had the opportunity to own land or improve class status. 

In 1618, the Virginia Company changed the requirements for land ownership to 3 years of service and 100 acres parceled at 50 acres now and 50 acres upon completion of service. This applied to existing colonists, too. The hope of a better life motivated Thomas, nearly 40 years old) to risk a voyage, loose his freedom for 3 years and survive colonial life. Disease, starvation and Indians were all threats to the Jamestown colonists.

There are no ship manifests showing when Thomas arrived in the colonies. We know it was between 1619 and 1622. The BONA NOVA travelled between England and the New World between 1619 and 1624. The earliest record of Thomas is a 1623 census.  If Thomas is our ancestor, the OTWELLs have been in America for nearly 400 years.

After learning of a horrific Indian massacre (1622), King James I dissolved the Virginia Company, took procession of the colony, called for a census (to determine which colonists survived the massacre) and a muster (1624) (a type of census that listed all property owners and their servants along with property such as stored food, arms, homes and livestock). A quarter of the colonists had been killed in this massacre.

Thomas OTTOWELL appears on the first census as a survivor of the 1622 massacre. His location was “At the Plantation over against James Cittie”.  Those that died had been on the outskirts of the town.  Thomas was safer near the city as they had time to prepare for the attack.

On the muster, Thomas OTTOWELL appears as a 40 year old servant on the Edward BLANEY Plantation. It also says that Thomas came to the colonies on a ship called the BONA NOVA, but the date of his arrival was not recorded.

There is quite a bit of information on Edward BLANEY.  At age 25, he came to the colonies about 1620.  He travelled to and from England in 1621 and could have recruited Thomas at that time.  It is assumed that, like BLANEY, Thomas was from Huntington, England.  In the 1924 muster, BLANEY had over a dozen servants (all male) and 2 plots of land. The first had 2 houses, 2 boats, no arms, stored food (30 barrels of corn, half a hogshead, 9 bushels of oatmeal & peas, 2000 dried fish) and livestock (20 cattle, 10 goats, 5 kids, 21 swine and 8 pigs). That gives us some indication as to the diet they ate.  It notes “The rest of his servants Armes ect at his plantation Over ye Watter”. This refers to the southerly side of the James River opposite James Island and is likely where Thomas was in 1624.

“Over ye Watter” plantation had 3 dwelling houses, 3 tobacco houses, no food or livestock and the following arms: 7 lbs powder, 12 lbs lead & shot, 8 pieces (guns), 2 coats of mail, 2 quilted coats (usually worn under mail), 12 swords, 1 murderer (a small brass or iron ordinance that was used on ships and forecastles to clear decks of boarders), 10 matchcockes (guns that used matches at primer), 6 jacks (leather jackets), matches (slow burning fuses made of twisted hemp soaked in saltpeter or a piece of cotton rope). It is impressive that young BLANEY attained this much land and possessions within only 5 years of settling in the colonies. There were a total of 22 houses and BLANEY owned 5 of them.

Thomas' plantation was farther inland from James City.  As more colonists moved in, they encroached further into Indian lands staining those relations. He died at age 62 in Lancaster County, north of the Cheeseman plantation.

Virginia locations of the BLANEY plantation, James City
and Thomas' plantation

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

William OTWELL (1610-1690), married KENNER

Edna OTWELL-SIM > Edwin > Maurice > John F. > William > Francis > William OTTWELL > Francis OTWELL > Charles OTWELL > Francis OTWELL > William OTWELL

The following (indented) is from the research of Rev. Edward H. OTWELL and Edward BREGENZER’s The Otwell Manuscript (The Otwells in America Since 1619) which is a compilation of their research on the Otwell family history, dated 1998. (You can find a link to this document on our resource page.)
  • William was born about 1610 in England. He was married in England to a woman with surname KENNER. William had at least 4 children born in the colonies: our ancestor Francis, Richard and 2 daughters.
  • It is believed that William was the son of Thomas OTWELL who came to the colonies from England. 
  • On the north end of Chesapeake Bay, Kent Island was an English settlement with a trading post as early as 1629. Between 1631 and 1638, colonist were brought north to settle the area. In 1636, William and his brother John travelled to Northumberland and Kent Island. John died and William settled on a tobacco farm somewhere on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay.
The document linking William to the KENNER family is interesting. Richard KENNER’s will of 17 September 1627, proved 13 November 1627, states: “Residue to my sons in law William OTWELL als STEVENS and Thomas SKAY executors.” This indicates that William also used the surname STEVENS, at least when he was in England, and leaves us with many questions as to his true identity and the origins of the OTWELL surname.

On the eastern shores of the Chesapeake Bay stands a house known today as "The Otwell".  We have not found evidence that William lived here, but the Otwell Manuscript says that this land was under legal dispute for many years and our William was involved in the dispute. In 1659, the area was platted for the first time by William TAYLOR, who grew up there.  It encompassed about 500 acres, a house and some outbuildings. Originally known as "The House of William Taylor", it  is now known as “The Otwell” and believed to be named after either TAYLOR's mother's or wife’s family. Successive owners built onto the original house.  The document from the National Registry of Historic Places does not list owners prior to 1659, so we do not have evidence that this house or land was owned by our ancestor.


William was known to have travelled from Virginia
thru Northumberland to Kent Island.

"The Otwell" still exists today and was highlight in National Geographic magazine (April 1955). Where Land and Water Intertwine: An Architectural History of Talbot County, Maryland by Christopher WALES, 1984 has more information on this building. Our cousin Jim O. visited this location a few years ago and shared these photos:
 
The Otwell, photo courtesy cousin Jim O.
 
Front gate of The Otwell, photo courtesy cousin Jim O.
(I wonder who planted those trees.)
 
Little Otwell Road, photo courtesy cousin Jim O.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Francis OTWELL (1630-1700), married to Mary

Edna OTWELL-SIM > Edwin > Maurice > John F. > William > Francis > William OTTWELL > Francis OTWELL > Charles OTWELL > Francis OTWELL

The following (indented) is from the research of Rev. Edward H. OTWELL and Edward BREGENZER’s The Otwell Manuscript (The Otwells in America Since 1619) which is a compilation of their research on the Otwell family history, dated 1998. (You can find a link to this document on our resource page.)
  • Francis was our first OTWELL ancestor born in America about 1630. His father was named William OTWELL and his mother’s surname was KENNER. Francis married Mary and they had 4 children: two daughters, Thomas and our ancestor Charles (of Nanticoke).

The Otwell Manuscript calls him Francis OTWELL of Bashaw. This may be incorrect. On-line research shared by Mike HITCH indicate that “Bashaw” was located in Worcester Co., MD and that a Francis OTWELL purchased the tract on 6 March 1711. Our Francis would have been 16 years old by then. He sold a portion of the tract in 1755. Our Francis would have been 125 years old. HITCH places the Bashaw tract under our Francis OTWELL of Somerset, but we know he appeared on the Pocomoke Hundred tax records between 1723 and 1740. He may have owned two parcels, or it may be another Francis all together. More research is needed.  We do not believe we are descended from the OTWELLs of Worcester.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Charles OTWELL of Nanticoke, DE (1675-1745), married to Rachel

Edna OTWELL-SIM > Edwin > Maurice > John F. > William > Francis > William OTTWELL > Francis OTWELL > Charles OTWELL

The following (indented) is from the research of Rev. Edward H. OTWELL and Edward BREGENZER’s The Otwell Manuscript (The Otwells in America Since 1619) which is a compilation of their research on the Otwell family history, dated 1998. (You can find a link to this document on our resource page.)
  • Charles was born about 1675 to Francis and Mary OTWELL. He married Rachel and they had at least 3 children Isaac, an unknown child and our ancestor Francis (of Somerset).

Here is a map showing where Nanticoke is in relation to his son Francis who lived in Somerset.

 
 
  

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Francis OTWELL of Somerset, DE (1695 -1775), married to Hannah


Edna OTWELL-SIM > Edwin OTWELL > Maurice OTWELL . John F. OTWELL > William OTWELL > Francis OTWELL > William OTTWELL > Francis OTWELL
 
Flag of Delaware
The following (indented) is from the research of Rev. Edward H. OTWELL and Edward BREGENZER’s The Otwell Manuscript (The Otwells in America Since 1619) which is a compilation of their research on the Otwell family history, dated 1998. (You can find a link to this document on our resource page.) 
Francis was born about 1695 in Sussex, Co., DE to Charles and Rachel OTWELL. By 1714 (age 19), he had married Hannah (1689-1750). He may of had at least 6 children: Francis, Solomon, our ancestor William (of Sussex), Charles, James and Nellie. He next married Lurany and she died in 1776.

Maryland and Delaware counties are divided into areas called Hundreds. We found Francis in Pocomoke Hundred, Somerset MD tax records 1723 through 1740 (Thanks to our distant cousin at Betty's Boneyard Blog). The surname was listed as OUTWELL. Besides Francis and his son William, 2 other OUTWELL households listed were headed by a Charles and a Francis (the latter with dependent Solomon). These were likely his sons.

 
 
 

 



Tuesday, April 24, 2018

William OTTWELL of Sussex, DE (1717-1798)

Edna OTWELL-SIM > Edwin OTWELL > Maurice OTWELL . John F. OTWELL > William OTWELL > Francis OTWELL > William OTTWELL

Shilling circa 1798
Finding the parents of Francis OTWELL of Scott Co., KY has been our “brick wall” because there are few documents from this time period. Since Francis had a son with the unusual name of Parker, it is assumed that our family is linked to William OTTWELL and Grace RIGGIN who also had a son named Parker and a son named Francis with similar birth year. It seems likely that Francis named his sons after his father and brother as this appears to be a tradition in the OTWELL family tree. We need additional documents to confirm.

We see many different spellings for the surname in generations prior to Francis of Kentucky.  You will note that William's surname is spelled OTTWELL - this is based on his last will. 

Let's start with a map of Maryland and Delaware.  Just note that Maryland is on the left and is divided by the Chesapeake Bay.  To the right and outlined in red is Delaware.  Keep in mind that in the early days, there was a dispute as to where the border was.  So, in upcoming blogs, areas called Delaware then may be Maryland now and vice versa.

The following (indented) is from the research of Rev. Edward H. OTWELL and Edward BREGENZER’s The Otwell Manuscript (The Otwells in America Since 1619) which is a compilation of their research on the Otwell family history, dated 1998. (You can find a link to this document on our resource page.)

William OTWELL was likely born in Sussex Co., Delaware about 1717 to Francis and Hannah OTWELL. The family later moved to Somerset, MD.
By 1769 at age 52, he was married to 21 year old Grace RIGGIN (1748-1819), daughter of Charles RIGGIN and Amory TOWNSEND of Somerset Co., MD.
10 known children were: William, Hannah BEAVINS, Polly (aka Mary), Parker, Francis, Eleanor SHORT, Druzilla, John, Obediah and Joshua.

Sussex is the southern most portion of Delaware.  The following map is of the Chesapeake Bay area and will be used in the next several blogs.  Sussex County is where William was born and where he died, Somerset County is were he lived in his early years.

The earliest record of William is the 1740 census where he is listed as a dependent in his father's household in Somerset, MD.  Here, the surname was listed as OUTWELL.

The date of marriage is unknown. Because of the age discrepancy, it is possible that William was previously married and his older children were from a previous wife. On various sites, there is reference to up to 3 different wives, but no documents are provided.

William died 10 April 1798 in Sussex. We know that at this time, our ancestor Francis was already living in Kentucky. William’s will was dated 20 December 1797 and it lists his wife and all of his living children. Note the spelling of the surname is OTTWELL in this document:

“William OTTWELL 20 December 1797
To son William OTTWELL -one shilling
To daughter Hannah BEVINS-one shilling
To daughter Polley OTTWELL -cow and calf or money to buy one
To son Parker OTTWELL -one shilling
To son Frances OTTWELL -one shilling
To daughter Elenor SHORT-large pot, ewe and lamb
To daughter Druzilla OTTWELL -bed furniture, cow and calf, pot, ewe and lamb, 6 pewter platted, pewter dish, 6 earthen plates
To son John OTTWELL - my house and the land to the division that was made between him and his brother and yoke of oxen and $10
To son Obediah's OTTWELL - the land that was allotted by the division between him and his brother and yoke of oxen and $10
To son Joshua OTTWELL - three years schooling by his brothers John and Obediah's and 50 pounds if they refuse to give him schooling. If John or Obediah's should die without heir, Joshua to have the land given them
To wife Grace OTTWELL - whole estate for widowhood
Executor: wife and son John
Witness: Levin CONNAWAY, John TRUITT, Barsheba TRUITT 10 April 1798”

In general, wills had the names of children in order of age (but not always). From census records, we know our Francis OTWELL was born between 1766 and 1774.  William, Hannah, Polly and Parker all appear before Francis in the will and likely were his older siblings (though most on-line sites list them all as being born about 1770 and later). It is also noted that these older siblings inherited very small amounts. One shilling in 1797 is equivalent to less than $10 today. It could be that they were already established and William wanted to give his estate to his youngest children. Or, it could mean that only the younger children’s mother was Grace and she ensured that she and her sons received the bulk of the estate with the older siblings given a nominal amount to avoid lawsuits. 

At this period, the US was still using shillings and pounds as they were converting to dollars and cents and you will note that the will refers to several denominations. In addition to the land, John and Obediah received $10 (about $200 today)  Youngest son Joshua was about 14 years old at the time this will was written and William ensured that he receive his education from his brothers else they pay Joshua 50 pounds (about $9,500.00 today).

After the Revolutionary War came the westward expansion and some of William's descendants were early pioneers in the territories.  Our Francis moved to Kentucky by 1797 (along with a Solomon OTWELL, though we are unsure how Solomon is related).  John settled in Pike, Illinois by 1828 after a brief stay in Ohio.  The youngest son Joshua initially went to Pike, then moved to the wilds of Texas.

Widowed at age 51, Grace next appears in 1810 census (age 63) in Delaware next to John SHORT, likely her son-in-law. No additional information was found for Grace.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

DNA Tested for Male SIM - Part 3 of 3

 
Migration Map
In genetic research, they have determined the probably migratory routes our ancestors took based on DNA of different populations in different areas of the world. Above is a map of the probably route our SIM ancestors took. Starting at green circle in central Africa, take orange, blue, green, pink lines north through the middle east, then blue line to Europe and the U. K. 

Males inherit their Y-chromosome from their fathers. The analysis of my brother’s Y-chromosome (which would be the same as my father John SIM, grandfather George SIM, great grandfather John William SIM, 2xgreat grandfather James SIM, -any male in our family with the SIM surname) shows that it belongs to the R-U152 group. This branch is called the Italo-Celtic branch which probably originated in the Alpine regions of Southern Europe during the Bronze and Iron Ages. It is found throughout most of Western Europe, but highest concentration today is found in Northern Italy near the Alps.

The word Celtic in the name of this branch is not in reference to what we normally think of as the Celts of the U.K. Celtic here means the Indo-European people during the Iron and Bronze Ages that had a distinct set of languages and cultures.
Read more about the Celts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celts and https://www.ancient.eu/celt/

Between 500 and 100 B.C., waves of these warring tribes came to Britain directly from Europe or by way of the Iberian Peninsula. The SIM ancestors eventually made their way to Scotland.