Part of the suspected graveyard (all unmarked) where William Ewing, son of Captain Patrick is believed buried on the property once owned by his sons, located in the woods on the south side of Gregory Rd., north of Covington, Newton County, GA.
Believed last residence and grave (unmarked) of William Ewing, (son of Captain Patrick), slightly northwest of Covington, Newton County, GA.
William Ewing and Hannah Whaley
A long-awaied story
This story has been in the making for far too long. Beginning in the 1970s Margaret Ewing Fife, a cousin of mine and my father's (From the Jones Henderson line) began an effort to find her ancestors, a task so difficult that to accomplish this meant unwinding almost all the Ewing lineages in America. She did this without the benefit of the internet or digitized media. Everything was in musty card-catalogs, courthouse books, archive boxes, and inaccurate histories by previous ancestors.
In the end, with all due respect and admiration for all Margaret's efforts, her published conclusions were wrong, a fact first revealed through DNA analysis and further confirmed with conventional research. However, her research left clues to a possible resolution, and again DNA played a major part in the confirmation of our new lineage.
These new findings take nothing away from the incredible work she performed with the limited resources available to her, and I hope somehow she now knows how this all turned out.
Pictured to the left may be the unmarked graveyard where William Ewing was laid to rest. This is not confirmed because unfortunately there are no markings, there is no record, and it only lies very near to the land held by William Ewing and his Sons. They appear to be approximately from the right period. That said, there is another small graveyard within 100 paces to the west that has some marked Ewing headstones from a later period. Both these graveyards are slightly north of Covington Georgia in Newton County. To the left is a google map pointing out the approximate location along with a link to a full google map. However, a future link will contain better information on the precise locations of the Ewing land and the cemeteries that I speak of.
Full map of Newton County, with the sites of land and graves marked.
b: 7 Jan 1770, Cecil Co. MD
m: bef 1802
d: bef 27 Feb 1827, Newton Co. GA
m: Hannah Whaley
b: 27 Oct 1780, possibly coastal Maryland
d: aft 1860, Gwinnett Co. GA
Green Berry Ewing
b: Aug 1802
d. abt 1867, Colbert Co AL
b. 25 Dec 1807, Jackson Co. GA
d. 11 Nov 1892, Oklahoma
William Ewing, Jr.
Jones Henderson Ewing (CS)
b. 14 Jan 1821, Walton Co. GA
d. 14 Nov 1876, Gwinnett Co. GA
Charles H. Ewing
b. 12 Aug 1824, Newton Co. GA
d. 12 Mar 1887 Gwinnett, Co. GA
b. abt 1825, Newton Co. GA
Regardless of the final resting place of William Ewing, son of Captain Patrick, we now know that in this area of Newton County was the final property that he owned. And after all that he went through as a pioneer to settle in this area of Georgia, we can be grateful because it was his offspring that fathered the Ewings of Gwinnett.
A Quick Lesson in DNA as it relates to the Ewings of Gwinnett:
We cannot begin without this, as it is core to understanding how I arrived at the conclusion that William is the son of Captain Patrick Ewing of Cecil County Maryland. Although I also now have some rather circumstantial evidence of the traditional kind that supports the conclusions as well, at this time I rather look at the traditional research I've perform as helping to tell the story of how the conclusions found by the DNA evidence played out in history.
Back in about 2008 I had been working to fill in gaps in the lineage of our family as set forth by Margaret Ewing Fife. For years we had always felt uncomfortable with the reasoning that led to her conclusion that William Ewing was the son of John Ewing of Cumberland County PA (reference Margaret's book "Ewing in Early America", chapters 38 and in the blue book edition the special section entitled "Part II", in the red book edition Part II is replaced with chapter 43). Although the letter from Allen Leeper in chapter 38 describing his move from Cumberland County PA., stopping over to visit William Ewing gave a lot to her story by justifying how it all could have happened, I decided to take a DNA test (kit#136217) through FamilyTreeDNA.com, where I knew the Ewing Family Association (then called Clan Ewing of America) was performing analysis of DNA results to provide more accurate information on the various lines. Here is a link to all the articles that have been published on it.
When my results were returned, I got an email from the EFA person doing the research (I believe it was David Neal Ewing) saying that mine, Margaret's, my father's, ... basically all of our conclusions based on traditional research were incorrect, that we could not be related to the John Ewing of Cumberland County PA and his fore-bearers because that family group was proven and the DNA of their descendants did not match ours.
So, after about a ten year pity party, I disassembled all the research to determine what was wrong and found that the area we've always suspected was at fault. William of Newton County Georgia who married Hannah Whaley was not related to the group in Cumberland County PA that migrated through Franklin County GA, helped found New Hope Presbyterian Church. The Franklin County bunch ended up later moving to the area of Marshall County TN... all of them.
So who are we? Here's how we found out:
First, review THIS DOCUMENT from the EFA, beginning on page 14 (I am "ST" in group 2c).
Traditional genealogy research consists of taking information from family members, finding evidence in courthouse records, deeds, wills, marriage certificates, etc., and putting together a family tree. Traditional research can have errors or gaps for a variety of reasons, the courthouse burned, an overwhelming number of unrelated people with the same name born or dying at the same time in the same place, intermarrying of relatives, step-siblings, adoptions, and the list goes on. So when the technology became available in the 1990s for the average person to get their DNA tested, it was at first of little use because you have to compare your DNA with that of someone else who has done traditional family research and thinks they have the same ancestor as you so you can conclusively determine if you are both related. There was not an overall effort to organize people with similar family names and compare their DNA to see in great detail how everyone was related. The Ewings were among the first to do this thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the Ewing Family Association.
So what David did was to take the Y-DNA results from the Ewings (recommending the Y-DNA 37-marker kit or higher) and looking at the variations in the DNA markers he began to group those with similar results. Looking at the traditional research for those people, there was consistency between some and not between others. This revealed a number of folks who had errors in their traditional research. I was one of them. See THIS DOCUMENT for details on how this all happened (again, I am "ST" in group 2c).
Getting from this to where William came from:
So after I started getting back into the family research I reached out to EFA staff genealogist Karen Avery and we corresponded a great deal. It turned out that in my absence from research David Neal Ewing and Karen Avery had continued to look at the people in group 2c to determine genetically where we fit among the known Ewing lines, and at the same time they too were focusing on our William and where he might fit in some of the known trees. Their answer came in a proposal that they genetically fit best in the family of Joshua Ewing from Cecil County Maryland. Joshua was one among several brothers and a half-brother who traveled together to America from Ireland in the early 1700s and settled in northern Maryland. They are a well-known family group in Ewing circles and heavily documented in Margaret Ewing Fife's book, as well as the writings of the late Jim McMichael (another well-known Ewing researcher). When I thought we came from a different line I always called them "that Cecil County bunch" because their family influenced so much in the mid-Atlantic colonies.
David and Karen had already settled on Joshua's son Patrick as the likely father to our William because Patrick's son William was one of the only people named William in that tree that had not been accounted for. However, I knew through Margaret Ewing Fife's research that there was another William with an insufficient story and that was the direct son of Alexander and Jane Patrick Ewing, who was son of Nathaniel (Joshua's older half-brother). Both these Williams were born in the proper time frame. So, Y-DNA research put us in this family, and there were two "candidate" William ancestors.
I really liked this situation much better than where I was with Margaret Ewing Fife's conclusions ten years earlier because it was much neater, less complex, and it didn't feel like such a long stretch as Margaret's assertion that William Ewing of Jackson County Georgia was the son of John Ewing who died in 1806 from Cumberland County PA. Even Margaret struggled with the dilemma of having little material evidence to support this link. While researching the vast files of Ewing Genealogists including Margaret at the Allen County Library in Ft. Wayne IN (the repository for all the Ewing Family Association archives, and where my research files will someday be), I ran across some 1982 letters between Margaret and Mr. Reid Ewing of Winter Park Florida where they seem to be wrestling with details of both the Cumberland County PA Ewings and the Cecil County MD Ewings. I found the other half of these letters in the Cecil County Historical Society files, so I have both Margaret's and Reid's side of the discussion. I found another letter in Cecil County that sheds light on her struggle between these two families, and basically she picked the one she felt had the strongest link. (These letters along with everything else I have will eventually be in an online archive that I make available through this site). It does not appear that in her mind it was completely proven, but it seems she felt she made the best judgement based on the information she had. The important thing was that she was apparently considering the Cecil County bunch at least to some degree.
In determining which of the two Cecil County Williams was mine, I made two research trips to Cecil County and determined that William Son of Alexander appears to have moved to west to Missouri. In Margaret's book she shows both of these Williams and appears to decide that it was the son of Patrick that went West, but if you read her comments about William the son of Alexander, it is clear that she is undecided which went west. That said, it bears pointing out that to someone living in Maryland in that period, Georgia was southwest, and given the migration roads and trails of the day all went southwest, it is very possible that someone going west would end up in Georgia, the Carolinas, or Tennessee.
So why am I asserting William son of Patrick is ours? Well, in part due to timing. William son of Alexander in 1810 refused to take part in the purchase of the land of his father when it was divided. This could not have been the same William as ours because our William was paying taxes on his land in Jackson County GA in 1801. However, William the son of Patrick has no trace in Cecil County records after about 1792, when I have him at West Nottingham Presbyterian Church with his father Patrick voting on a building expansion (source: West Nottingham Presbyterian Church records, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia PA).
As best I can tell, William Ewing, son of Patrick, left Maryland somewhere between 1793 and 1801, made his way to Georgia, acquired 50 acres of third-quality land (meaning un-cleared and virgin land) from Ignatius Few on the waters of Beech Creek next to a man named Littleton Riggins, paying 37 1/2 cent in taxes on that land in 1802. Jackson County was formed in 1796 from a part of Franklin county. I have been unable to find record of his land purchase in Franklin or Jackson county. It is likely he was established on that land by 1802, meaning he purchased it between 1793 and 1801.
According to the book "The Georgians: Genealogies of Pioneer Settlers" by Jeannette Holland Austin, Ignatius Few acquired the Jackson County land from a John Bender in 1788. However, it must be noted that there was not "Jackson County" in 1788. I possess a copy of the deed of the transaction between Bender and Few which specifies that land (at that time) was in Franklin County, but was later registered in Jackson County after it was formed. Ignatius received other headright grants in Richmond and Wilkes County in the years before and after acquiring the Jackson County Land. It appears that William's Jackson County neighbors received their land from Ignatius as well, probably from this tract purchased from John Bender.
So reasoning out how William might have come upon this Jackson County Land opportunity might help explain some things. William did not receive this land as a grant, but purchased it, which means he would have "shopped" for it. Where does one go to shop for land in the post-revolution era? Likely to nearby cities and towns. So let's discuss what we know about Ignatius Few, and that might give us some ideas. Ignatius Few, his father, and his brothers, all played a large part in the American Revolution, all of them served in some manner. They were further heavily involved the academic community. Ignatius' father William had a descendant William Preston Few who was the president of Duke University. Ignatius himself had a son Ignatius A. Few who helped found Emory University and served as its first President. And although I haven't found a direct connection yet, they may have had a hand in the setting aside of land for nearby University of Georgia in 1801. They were also very politically influential. His brother William represented Georgia in the Continental Congress from 1780-1788; was at the Constitutional Convention of 1777 and a signer of the US Constitution; Commander of Creek-Cherokee Conference 5/1783; House of Representatives of Columbia Co. In 1796; Surveyor General of Georgia in 1779. They were very well known in Georgia, and residing in Columbia County Georgia just north of Augusta on the Savannah River at the time our William Ewing arrived.
We can only speculate on how our William came to Georgia. He may have traveled west down The Great Wagon Road from Maryland through the Great Valley then down the Shenandoah valley, crossing into the Carolinas, and down into the Augusta area, or he could have traveled by sea, leaving from the northern Chesapeake Bay or from Baltimore, then down to Savannah where he entered the Savannah River and then up to Augusta. I have not yet found him on any ship passenger list for such a voyage. Either way, he likely ended up in the Augusta area.
Upon arriving he might have asked around about acquiring land, or there may have been advertisements in the local paper. I have not found any reference to the sale of Ignatius Few Jackson County land, much less a specific transaction with our William Ewing, but Ignatius did publish all of his business of the period in the Augusta Chronicle and Gazette. Advertisements for land sales, including some with associated with him, are indeed published there. This is an area I will continue to research with the hope of running into a find.
There is also the possibility that the Ewings knew the Few family. William Few was born on a farm in Baltimore County MD, his family struggling to prosper. Their farm was a few miles to the west of the Susquehanna River, just a few miles from the Ewings in Cecil County to the east. It is possible that their close proximity permitted them to know or know of each other. They would not have attended church with each other as the Ewings were Presbyterian and the Fews were Episcopalian. But they may have known each other from trading in common agricultural markets, travelling in the same roads, and so on. It is possible that the Few name may have been familiar to William when he arrived in Georgia, prompting him to seek Ignatius out. But because of this possibility, however remote, my future research may be in the Columbia and Richmond Counties in Georgia. While it is unlikely our William owned land there, I may find trace of him in other court records or paying taxes.
Below are links to more information on the Few family.
Ignatius Few - https://www.geni.com/people/Ignatius-Few/6000000025245548598
William Few - https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Few-53
William's Mother (Captain Patrick's first wife) was Jane Porter (b 1739 d 26 Sep 1784), daughter of James Porter (some sources indicate he was the immigrant of that family) and Eleanor Gillespie. William was thought to be born 7 Jan 1770, so he would have been 14 when is first mother died. That's a mighty formative age to deal with a mother passing. William's maternal aunt (Jane Porter's sister) was Elizabeth Porter (b 20 Jan 1750 d 11 Mar 1819). Four years after the death of Jane, Captain Patrick married Elizabeth, meaning William was his own half-brother and cousin by marriage. I say this in jest, and although it is true, it was unlikely to have been that big of a deal for an 18-year-old William to have had that much trouble with this unusual family development... except that it indeed was NOT unusual for this family.
In fact, In Captain Patrick's will (recorded April 5, 1819) he calls out one of his daughters, Jane Elinor Ewing (little sister to our William) giving "the sum of one hundred pounds Maryland Currency upon condition that she shall or may have obtained a divorce from her husband Nathaniel Ewing...". That Nathaniel was a cousin and son of Patrick's uncle Nathaniel.
The Porters came up a great deal in this period of history. As mentioned above, James Porter was the father to Patrick's first and second wives (the Jane and Elizabeth). This James Porter owned substantial land throughout West Pennsboro Twp, Cumberland County, PA. In fact, Elizabeth ended up with some of this land, which Patrick helped her sell to Matthew Wilson April 3, 1794. Also, a son of Jane and Patrick, James Porter Ewing, was claimed to be a "nephew" of the elder James Porter, and left land to him in Cumberland County, which he also later sold. Oct 6 1803, William Gillespie sold land to Patrick and Elizabeth (sp. Eleanor) in Cumberland County.
I say all this about the Porters to say this. If you can get a copy of Margaret Ewing Fife's book, "Ewing in Early America", just thumb through it, and it is very difficult to find a Ewing line that does NOT involve Porters. The Ewing line that Margaret Ewing Fife had thought was ours was found in West Pennsboro Twp and throughout Cumberland County, PA. Sure enough, there are Porters there too. My point here is that this rampant intermarrying and intermingling with the Porters (as well as the Gillespies I might add,) was likely a very strong point of confusion for Margaret as she chose which line she belonged to. Additionally, the fact that Patrick Ewing and his children had ties to Cumberland County (thanks to the Porters and Gillespies), the confusion was reinforced.
Back to our William
So, that's the story of William and I'm sticking to it. I've been contacted by Ewing's from other parts of the country asking if I'm sure Patrick's son William didn't end up in Missouri like Margaret's book implies. I'm sure. This time I have DNA on my side.
About the Period
William lived in that funny period between the American Revolution (born in 1770 and the war was over by the time he was 13) and the Civil War. He was too young to fight in the Revolution, but probably old enough to hear about it. He probably heard about British troops when Sir William Howe's English/Hessian army landed on the shores of the Chesapeake on Aug. 25, 1777. The army landed on the Elk River and marched 11 miles north to Head of Elk (present day Elkton, MD. Howe soon advanced to the short and victorious campaign of the Brandywine, and then to capture Philadelphia (the Continental Congress fled to York Pennsylvania). He probably heard about them again on March 8, 1781, when the Marquis de Lafayette embarked his troops there to attempt a capture of Benedict Arnold. Finally, George Washington himself and Rochambeau (the French) with their combined forces stopped in Elkton on September 6–7, 1781, on their way to Yorktown and the final defeat of Lord Cornwallis. That was plenty of excitement for a young William Ewing. Again, he would see excitement when his own father contributed to the writing of the first Maryland Constitution as a part of a nation of free states. He was a little old, but could have been in a local militia during the war of 1812, but I have found no such record of it if he did. Some of his siblings and nephews participated in the Militia, and I will speak on them at some point in the future.
As William was raised on a farm and around a couple of old grist mills, he saw a somewhat normal life apart from his father's activities as a American Captain and Commissary for Cecil County to supply Washington's army. I suspect he continued that work as his father was involved in Maryland politics. Perhaps that also contributed to his moving to Georgia. He was a middle child, without a lot of accomplishments. But he had ears and he could read, and he knew that land was opening up out west and down south. He knew how to farm. All he needed was to go. He was raised Presbyterian (West Nottingham Presbyterian Church, Cecil County, MD), and his father was an upstanding member. But where he was going, there were no Presbyterian Churches yet. When he arrived in Jackson County, there were Baptists, Methodists, and one branch of Congregationalists. But I have yet to find any evidence that he darkened the door of any church in Jackson County.
William and Hannah were married before 1802. I know that because the first son Green Berry was born in 1802. Hannah's father William Whaley was in Greene County in 1795 (wrote his will there). At some point he moved to Newton County and many of his children were lived there, including Hannah's brothers William and Eli. Oddly, the oldest child Hester was reportedly born in Pennsylvania, Eli in Maryland, and stories say that Hannah was born in Maryland as well. I still hope to stumble on a connection between our Ewings in Maryland and the Whaleys, but alas I have not found it yet.
Jackson County is a fair distance from Greene or Newton County in Georgia. In a modern vehicle both are over an hour away. A trip on horseback or carriage would be an all day affair. How did William Ewing and Hannah Whaley meet? The answer is simple. Hannah's brothers Eli and William Whaley were both next door neighbors to William Ewing according to the 1803 tax record for Capt. Aaron Wood's district. There is no record of how the couple became a couple, but one can only surmise that Hannah was visiting or living with her brothers in Jackson County and met our William Ewing there. This implies one important thing. We already know that our William was paying tax on 3rd quality land here in Jackson County in 1802. That's our first record of him in Georgia. Green Berry was born in August 1802. Dialing the clock back 9 months from August would be December 1801 would have been when he was conceived. Therefore it is likely that William and Hannah married in the summer or fall of 1801, or perhaps earlier. That means the land was likely bought in 1801.
So I can speculate some things here that might be useful considerations for future research. Perhaps the Ewings knew the Whaleys in Maryland and the families being familiar with each other allowed a short courtship. Or perhaps they met with our William Ewing passing through Greene County on the way to Jackson County, or perhaps William met them in one of the few Presbyterian Churches in the Georgia frontier. We might also speculate that they all met at Hopewell Presbyterian Church in present day Covington Georgia and founded by Ewings and other families from Cumberland County PA (Big Springs Presbyterian Church). If that were to be the case, then there is yet another source of confusion between these Ewing families.
Regardless, they met and likely married in Jackson County, though no Marriage Record exists in Jackson, Newton, or Greene Counties. And they were responsible for the Ewings of Gwinnett.
Where I go from here
I still have to figure out what happened between 1793 when I last see him in Maryland and 1802 when he's paying taxes on uncleared land in Georgia. I have theories and ideas, but so far nothing solid. One idea is that he settled up his inheritance with father Captain Patrick early and traveled to Russell or Lee County Virginia where many of his relatives went. I've also found that some of his siblings and cousins ended up in North Carolina and Kentucky as well. It is possible that as he left Cecil County, he followed the Great Valley Road, and where it split in Roanoke he might have continued the main road into Russell or Lee County to stay with relatives for a while, or he may have come on down the southern branch through the Carolinas and stayed perhaps in Abbeville SC (not far from the north Augusta Georgia area where Ignatius Few lived) until land came available in Georgia. In fact, I recently found on the 1800 Federal Census a Robert Ewing and a William Ewing living in Fairfield, SC. It's probably not him because there is a wife, two children and and one other living with him, but you never know. My search goes on nevertheless.
DRAFT ONLY... I MAY YET HAVE MORE ON WILLIAM AS I CONTINUE TO RESEARCH THE MISSING 8 YEARS BETWEEN MARYLAND AND GEORGIA.