A New Irish Family!

Of my husband’s eight great-grandparents, we know the origins of six and a half: two were descended from nineteenth-century Irish immigrants, three were descended from nineteenth-century German immigrants, one’s mother was the child of Scottish immigrants (father unknown), one was adopted, and one had early American ancestry, probably originating from the British isles.

The early American line is that of his great-grandmother, Sophia Mary (Clark) Kinney (1858-1951), who was born in Buchanan County, Iowa, and died in Mitchell County, Iowa.1 Sophia was the daughter of John Clark and Sarah Neville,2 who married in Holmes County, Ohio, in 1851.3

The family of Sophia’s mother Sarah Neville has been traced back to Beaver and Mercer counties, in western Pennsylvania, at the turn of the nineteenth century. Sophia’s Barnes grandmother’s family goes back to Anne Arundel County, Maryland, in the late 1600s. 4 It appears that her Buckmaster grandfather’s family originated in Scotland and came to Maryland in the late 1700s.5 Her Neville and Richardson grandparents also came from colonial Maryland.6

The family of Sophia’s father John Clark originated in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, where five of John’s siblings were baptized at the Bethel Presbyterian Church in 1842.7 The names given to several of John’s siblings–Walter Finney Emery Clark (1827-1900) and Joshua Emery Clark (1835-1911)–and passed forward to John’s son Walter Finney Emery Clark (1852-1926) suggest that Emery may be a family surname, and, in fact, the death records of two of John’s siblings verify that their mother’s maiden name was Nancy Emery.8

I am excited to report that I recently identified Nancy (Emery) Clark’s family in Washington County, Pennsylvania, a few miles from the Bethel Church where she baptized her children in 1842. Descendants of two of Nancy’s brothers appear in Washington County histories. J.M. Beers’ Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania’s article on Nancy’s nephew Robert Emery includes the following paragraph:

The first of his ancestors to land in America was the grandfather, Thomas Emery, a native of the Emerald Isle, who, with his family, immigrated to eastern Pennsylvania about 1771. He remained there several years, and finally removing to Washington county, made his permanent home near Canonsburg. The children born to his pioneer were as follows: Joshua, Walter, Phinney, Jeremiah, Mrs. Nancy Clark and Mrs. Martha Jamison.9

The map below shows the respective locations of the Bethel Church and Canonsburg.

Find A Grave provides entries and photographs for the gravestones of Thomas Emery, who died 8 August 1824 aged 78 (thus born about 1746), and Mary Emery, “consort of Thomas Emery,” who died 21 December 1819 aged 63 (thus born about 1756), in the Chartiers Hill Cemetery, Canonsburg.10 Chartiers Hill Cemetery is associated with the Chartiers Hill United Presbyterian Church, also known as the Hill Church, established by the Presbyterian clergyman John McMillan, “the apostle of the west,” in 1776.11

Record entries for Thomas Emery and the others mentioned in the Commemorative Biographical Record amplify the information in the Emery article. Thomas Emery’s will, dated 21 April 1824 and proved 20 August of the same year, mentions a wife Martha Emery and directs the division of Thomas’ property and money among Joshua Emery, Jeremiah Emery, Agness Clark, the children of Walter Emery, deceased, and Martha Jamison. The will was witnessed by John McMillan and Samuel McMillan.12 It is likely that the two witnesses are the Presbyterian minister John McMillan, a neighbor of Thomas Emery, and his son Samuel. Thomas Emery purchased land on Chartiers Creek bounded by “land of the Revd John McMillan” in 1809, and John McMillan had a son named Samuel. 13 The widow Martha named in the will appears to be a second wife, Mary Emery having predeceased her husband in 1819. Thomas Emery executed a bond to marry Martha Gibson in April 1821.14

I am pleased to welcome this Presbyterian Irish family to the roster of my husband’s ancestors!

  1. Mitchell County, Iowa, Record of Deaths 2:270; Office of the Recorder, Mitchell County Courthouse, Osage.
  2. Ibid.
  3. “Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993,” database and images, Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=61378 : accessed 9 August 2018), Holmes > 1825-1859 > image 351, entry for John Clark and Sarah Sheidler. Sarah was previously married to Isaac Shidler (see Ibid., image 178 for Isaac Shider and Sarah Nevill).
  4. See Shirley Moore Barnes, The Kindred Venturers (Springfield, Vermont: Shirley M. Barnes, 1993), 77-215, 243-245.
  5. See Family History Library catalog entry for Michael Mabrey Hobby, The Buckmasters in America: a Beginning (Mabelvale, Arkansas: M.M. Hobby, 1981), FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/oclc/866736905?availability=Family%20History%20Library : accessed 9 August 2018).
  6. See Neville family group sheets, vertical files, Holmes County District Public Library (Central Library), Millersburg, Ohio.
  7. See my earlier blog post, “An ‘Easter Egg’ in some Pittsburgh Church Records,” 9 October 2017.
  8. Death records have been found for three of John’s siblings–Thomas W. Clark, Walter Finney Emery Clark, and Joshua Emery Clark. Thomas’ death record gives his mother’s name as Emery, Walter’s gives her name as Nancy Clark, and Joshua’s gives her name as Nancy Emery. For Thomas, see “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9ZR-V9NX-Y?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-GTY%3A1296107069%2C1296034102 : 30 September 2014), Knox > Death records, 1867-1908, vol 1-3 > image 385 of 588; county courthouses, Ohio. For Walter, see “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9ZB-P99T-P?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-P3M%3A1296032501%2C1296613814 : 30 September 2014), Franklin > Death records, 1899-1903, vol 3 > image 97 of 402; county courthouses, Ohio. For Joshua, see “Missouri, Death Certificates, 1910-1967,” database and images, Missouri Digital Heritage (https://www.sos.mo.gov/images/archives/deathcerts/1911/1911_00006781.PDF : accessed 9 August 2018), entry for Joshua Emery Clark, certificate number 6796.
  9.  Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, and of many of the Early Settled Families (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893), 596-7; digitized book, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/commemorativebio00jhbe_0 : accessed 9 August 2018).
  10. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/44735708/thomas-emery and https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/44735771/mary-emery : accessed 9 August 2018), entries for Thomas Emery, Chartiers Hill Cemetery, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, memorial ID 44735708, and Mary Emery, Chartiers Hill Cemetery, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, memorial ID 44735771.
  11.  Find A Grave (https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/44570/chartiers-hill-cemetery : accessed 9 August 2018), entry for Chartiers Hill Cemetery, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.
  12. Washington County, Pennsylvania, Will Book 4: 84-5, Thomas Emery; “Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993,” digital images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8802/005537969_00344/2007796?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/48990/person/402029409461/facts#?imageId=005537969_00344 : accessed 9 August 2018). The will book imaged is typescript, thus probably a later recopying of an earlier, handwritten original will book.
  13. Washington County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 1U: 648-9, John McDowell Esqr & wife to Thomas Emery, 27 August 1809; digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS4T-6YBK?i=357&cat=225855 : accessed 9 August 2018). For the identity of Samuel McMillan, see Dwight Raymond Guthrie, John McMillan, the Apostle of Presbyterianism in the West, 1752-1833 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1952), 47; digitized book, University of Pittsburgh ULS Digital Collections (https://digital.library.pitt.edu/islandora/object/pitt%3A31735057894598 : accessed 8 August 2018).
  14. “Washington County (Pennsylvania) Marriage Bonds, 1803-1827,” p. 9, typescript of listing found in the papers of E. B. Iams, apparently copied from court records about 1940, in Citizens Library Genealogical Records, Washington County PA Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1806-1854, Fort Vance Historical Society (http://www.fortvance.org/FV_Docs/Washington_County_PA__Births_Marriages_%20and_Deaths_1806-1854.pdf : accessed 8 August 2018).
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