From Ned Heite (former Delaware State Archivist), 22-28
are currently working on a site that was occupied by Nathan Williams
shortly before 1839. The site is on McKee Road in Dover, across
the road from the site of the Carney house now at the Delaware
Williams is something of a mystery. The site is identified in
other documents as his, but I find no deed record.
on the census data, Williams was born around 1800. He is described
in the census as colored and in another paper as a free negro.
He disappears from the records here in Kent County about 1840.
name Williams is not that unusual among Indian remnants. Yesterday
at Piscataway I heard a story about an Indian named Williams who
lived in southern Maryland around 1735. Hannah Durham, daughter
of the Daniel Durham who died in 1801, married a Williams around
1801, because her name changes during the probate period. In a
later generation, Elizabeth, daughter of Elisha Durham, married
Baynham Williams and moved to New Jersey.
we have two clues that might identify Nathan Williams with the
surrounding community. Can anyone fill in the spaces? Was Nathan
somehow related to these two Williams marriages to Durhams? It's
too bad these folks didn't file flight plans, but then genealogy
would be no fun.
our visit to the Piscataway/Conoy last week (early February, 1997),
a mystery man was discussed. This was an Indian named Williams,
who during the early eighteenth century refused to vacate a site
on the Potomac that the settlers wanted to claim. The Piscataway/Conoy
of today can't identify him.
1800 there was a Williams marriage in the Cheswold community (Hannah,
daughter of Daniel Durham). Later, a Baynham Williams married
a Cheswold bride, Elizabeth Durham, and moved to New Jersey.
am trying to find as much as possible about Nathan Williams, who
is identified as "colored" in the census. He appears
on the local records for only a short time. He was gone from this
site (on McKee Road) by about 1838. Coincidentally, the census
date bracket for his birth is in the same general period as the
marriage to a Williams!
we have Indian-descended Williams families in the Potomac valley,
Cheswold, and New Jersey. (Sorry, I keep saying Cheswold, Probably
should say Mitsawoket!)
Nathan Williams who lived on McKee Road could have been a member
of this family (these families?).
Ned Heite, 18 & 19 Mar 1998:
Martin from Ohio was here doing some archives research. I finally,
I believe, convinced him that Thomas Gonseala, who arrived in
Kent County a little after 1680 was the first Thomas Conselor.
In his probate record, his name is spelled with a G, and his administratrix,
almost certainly his widow, spells her name with a C.
keep running into interesting race perception things. All the
Consealors in Duck Creek and Little Creek hundreds were "Negro"
in the 1803 statewide property tax assessment. Over in New Jersey,
in the Salem County 1850 census returns, the Consealor men are
all described as mulattoes. Their wives are described as white.
this difference in perceived status and race have anything to
do with the exodus to New Jersey during the early nineteenth century?
Thomas Consealor of Bloomsbury was the only "mulatto"
in one of the store accounts of circa 1809-1814.
had correspondence earlier this week from a Williams descendant,
whose grandfather Williams was supposed to be an Indian. He lived
in the Harrington area of lower Kent County, and pictures seem
to indicate that he was indeed Indian, even though his marriage
license (in 1900) described him and his wife as white. He moved
around, working as a telegraph operator and a truck farmer.
am pursuing the Williams trail because I am trying to nail down
Nathan Williams, who occupied our site on McKee Road in Dover.
He was alleged to be a "Free Negro" in a document dated
1838, but if so he was the only black Williams in Kent County.
I figure he was born about 1800.
now here is what is interesting about the Williams family. First,
there was a Williams marriage in a Cheswold family at about the
period of Nathan's birth. There were other individuals named Williams
in the vicinity before 1800, but I have not been able to nail
them down. But Williams was also an Indian name in Maryland. The
Piscataway/Conoy told (archeologist) Cara Blume and me about an
Indian named Williams who refused to vacate some tribal land on
the Western Shore in the 1730s.
was a John Williams who was an Indian living on the Locust Neck
reservation in 1757.
have the funniest feeling that it will be necessary to sew together
all these threads of Williamses.
my search for Nathan Williams, a few items have come to light
relating to a wide range of subjects interesting to this group.
of the Bloomsbury site occupants was Agness, who first married
Jeremiah Loatman, then William Sappington, and finally Samuel
Whitman. Her son Jonathan and her son-in-law Stokely Morgan became
involved in a court case that involved a debt of five pounds.
Joshua Whitman went security for Morgan, who defaulted. When the
constable went after Morgan, he had absconded. Now we know what
happened to the daughter of Agness.
entered the United States service around the time of the War of
1812, and apparently died in Canada. There is an orphans court
case from 1815, seeking to protect the estate of his daughters
Rachel and Lydia. He left a plantation in Little Creek Hundred,
which had a landing on Little Creek for oysters. The property
was described as 100 acres, of which 20 is upland.
found a case from 1812 involving Edward Kearney, who also used
the alternate spelling of Carney. It was an involved land suit
against Thomas Hall and James Scotten over some land in Little
Creek Hundred and a lot in Kenton. What is interesting is the
two spellings in the same document. I have long understood that
Kearney was the original Carney spelling, but this document shows
Durham, who died in 1801, had a daughter Hannah Williams, married
about that time. I am working on a site along McKee Road that
was occupied by Nathan Williams in the 1830s. Who was the Williams
that married Hannah? Was Nathan her son? There was a John Williams
at the Locust Neck Nanticoke reservation 1759. Of course, the
name John Williams is so common that it might be difficult to
trace with any certainty.
1907, the government printing office printed the 1790 U S Census
of Maryland. It is very interesting, and a whole lot better on
the eyes than the microfilm. Unfortunately, the Somerset County
return has not survived. In the Queen Ann's returns I found the
Greenage heartland. Most interesting is the person whose name
is transcribed as "Greenwich." Is that the origin
of the name?
Queen Ann enumerator distinguished between Free Negro and Free
Mulatto. Again we have the problem of subjective observation,
but some of the results speak volumes.
Grinnage is identified as F.N. (free Negro), with one free white
female and six free persons of color in the household.
Benjamin Grinnage is F.N. with six free persons of color.
are also marked F.N. with free nonwhites in the household:
Zachariah, with 8
and Cusby with 5.
Caroline County, there was a Sherry Greenage with six free persons
of color and four slaves in the household.
Ned Heite, 4 Jun 1998
Seeney's "Seney Internet Newsletter" this evening reported
that (Dave Seeney is) running a webpage devoted to the descendants
of Owen Seeney, of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Kent County,
morning in the Delaware Archives, I came across an undated fragment
of a Chancery case in which Nathan Williams sued Owen Seeney over
a piece of property. (My own family, the Blackshares, were involved
in the dispute, but that is not why I checked it out.)
happens that I am currently writing a report on the homesite of
Nathan Williams, whose racial origins are ambiguous. He occupied
the site about 1820-40, but there were also two other people by
that name in Kent County at the time. If anyone knows about this
case, particularly when it happened, I would be forever grateful.
case relates) to a cause between Owen Seeney and Nathan Williams.
I can't find anything in the index relating to this case. Nor
can I find any details in the text.
like a bunch of good old boys were trying to snooker one another
over a piece of property. Not much has changed in Kent County.
is an extract:
answer of Owen Seeny to the bill of Complaint of Nathan Williams
that the said Nathan Williams did contract and agree with the
said Thomas Blackshare to convey to him the said parcel of land
as by the said Bill is expressed and did seal and execute the
writing obligatory in the same bill mentioned as in and by the
same bill is set forth: and this Defendant also saith that it
is true that the said Thomas Blackshare did assign unto this defendant
the writing obligatory aforesaid as by the said bill is set forth
and that this defendant did thereupon give notice to the said
Nathan Williams of the assignment of the said bond to him and
did require the said Nathan to convey to this defendant the land
mentioned in the said condition of the said bond according to
the form and effect of the same condition which to do the said
Nathan altogether refused and thereupon this defendant doth deny
that the said bond was assigned to this defendant without any
real or valuable consideration for the same and this defendant
further saith that he does not know of any contract or agreement
made between the said Thomas Blackshare, Nathan Williams and the
said James Darling for or concerning the land and further the
said Nathan Williams did put the said James Darling into possession
of the same land by making livery and seisin thereof to the said
James Darling and this defendant further saith that at or before
the time of the making of the assignment of the said bond to this
defendant, he this defendant did not know or had notice that the
agreement aforesaid in the bill of complaint set forth was made
between the said Thomas Blackshare and James Darling and the said
Nathan Williams ..."
it seems to be all one sentence.
week some time I expect to check the loose papers from the Kent
County courts, but the chancery docket doesn't seem to have an
entry for this case.
anyone have any ideas?
name "Nathan Williams" occurs in Kent County over a
long period of time, and I am currently working on a site occupied
by a person of that name. There are two others by that name, so
I need to sort them out. I still suspect that the Seeney family
now in Kent are descended from Owen, but the proof has not been
From Ned Heite 15 Jun 1998 -- notes from the archives
afternoon as I was coming out of the Kent County administration
building, I met our correspondent Chuck Martin coming in. The
Martins had attended the pow-wow in Bridgeton this weekend, and
Chuck was catching up on research. Next weekend is the presentation
in Bridgeton. I'll probably be flying solo
I am looking for that Williams family. They keep eluding my efforts
to identify the Nathan Williams who lived in the Cheswold community
is what I have. Does anyone have a clue about who these people
-- In 1790, James Williams, Jr. and Mariam his wife bought part
of the "Greenwich" tract on Mudstone Branch in Kent
County. This was land originally surveyed for Norton Claypoole
in 1684. It became a subdivision this year. George Manlove sold
the property as part of his mother's estate. In a rather complicated
mortgage agreement, Williams deeded back part of
the property to Manlove.
In 1789, Joshua Fisher of Kent County deeded a farm to Solomon
Williams of Queen Anne's County, Maryland, Farmer. This was 232
acres, 124 square perches, bounded by Leipsic Creek, Alston's
Branch, and Walker's Branch, lying east of the Great Road from
Dover to Smyrna. This is, roughly speaking, the quadrant northeast
of the intersection of Route 42 and Route 15, at Bishop's Corner
near Cheswold. The previous conveyance had been from James Raymond
to Sarah Alston in 1725. It was part of "Little Tower Hill"
and "Travellers Delight" tracts. This is a key part
of the historic Cheswold community, and it comes at a time when
one of the community acquired a husband named Williams. Unfortunately,
Solomon does not appear in the census, anywhere in Delaware, any
James nor Solomon is identified by race.
cases can be tedious, but I have been trying to match up the missing
case file with no luck so far.
I stumble on something interesting, however, I can't resist sharing
it In the bastardy bonds, there is a notice of the illegitimate
child of Jehu M. Reed in 1835, just as he was revolutionizing
the peach industry by planting budded plants in his nursery. Reed
lived at a place called Little Heaven, and he renamed a nearby
gut the River Styx. On the far side of this stream was a farm
he called Little Hell, which folklore states he left to his less-favored
son. Wonder which one was the legitimate one?
as they are, bastard records can be useful. Three seem to be of
interest to some in this group, so I'll pass them along and hope
nobody is offended. Parents of illegitimate children were required
to give bond to the overseers of the poorhouse, to ensure that
the child would not become a ward of the state before reaching
seven years of age, at which time they were considered workers
able to earn their own keep.
Grinage fathered a daughter with Margaret Lee 2 Feb. 1831.
Hutt fathered Ann Cott's daughter, born 28 July 1834. I believe
John Cott was her father, since he signed the bond. Samuel Johnson
also went bond.
Sammons declared that she was the mother, but would not name the
father, of her male bastard born 20 May 1841. She gave bond, and
Perry Jones was her surety. His relationship is not stated.
the May term of Kent County Common Pleas for 1767, Joseph Snow,
executor of James Snow, sued Benjamin Sisco and John Wilson to
collect a note. I believe this is the earliest reference to a
looks like the Seeney descent in Kent County from Owen Seeney
can be demonstrated. Since I am descended from that lineage, I
must do that research on my own time, so it will take a while.
Ned Heite 16 Jun 1998 -- Williams
have just spent two days at the Delaware Archives trying to sort
out Williams lineages. At last count, I have four individuals
named Nathan Williams in Kent County. They threw me out of the
state archives at closing time, right in the middle of my last
go-through of the 1804 assessment. By the way, the only Durham
in that assessment for Duck Creek and Little Creek was Charles.
different Williams families from Maryland bought adjacent land
at Bishop's Corner, the east edge of Cheswold. Neither, however,
seems to have settled.
all started when I discovered that one Nathan Williams, too old
to be the one on my site, sued Owen Seeney over some land. I have
since accounted for all the (acknowledged) children of the other
anyone else noticed how there are some affinities that we know
exist, but can't nail down among these families? There will be
a family in the neighborhood, and their name will appear in a
later generation, but we can't nail them down. Was it unrevealed
cousin marriages? Liaisons that were not reported? I tried the
bastardy books and loose papers, but the families are almost absent.
now, I'm trying to nail down Benjamin Sisco (not to be confused
with the Captain), who was a tenant of William Killen in 1804,
at about the time John Sisco was at the adjacent Bloomsbury farm.
Killen was the one who stated that Thomas Conselor and his brother
were the only honest tenants he had ever had. Another document
states that Thomas Conselor was the son of a man who had farmed
one of the Ridgely farms, presumably Fox Hall. He was being considered
for the rental of Hillyard's Adventure which lies between Killen's
farm and Bloomsbury.
we confused yet?
Ned Heite 22 Jun 1998 -- Found Nathan!
Williams has finally left a trail in the Delaware records.
the 1839 delinquent list of the Dover Hundred assessment, he is
written off as "good for nothing." That isn't as worthless
as the fellow Kent County taxpayer on another delinquent list
who was listed as "ran off with wife's daughter."
still looking. I never had any suspicion there were so many Williams
Ned Heite 23 Jun 3 & 2 July 1998: -- Hutt, Williams,
anyone know anything about a family called Hutt? Nathan Williams
apparently was married to a Hutt, and it was a Hutt who fathered
the illegitimate child of Ann Cott, daughter of John Cott, who
later (1840) married Elijah Durham, son of George.
is interesting is that George was a son of Isaiah and Mary. When
Isaiah died, Mary married John Sisco, who tilled the Bloomsbury
been at the Archives doing some intensive research on the Nathan
Williams site. I still don't know what happened to him and his
family later in life, but I have been picking up a lot of biographical
details I thought I would pass along. Hope someone finds a useful
Greenage, age 5, was in the poorhouse in 1815
Greenage of Dover Hundred fathered a female bastard born by Margaret
Lee 2 February 1832, according to the bastardy bonds. His bond
was signed by John Miller of Duck Creek Hundred.
Hutt fathered a female child of Ann Cott, born 28 July 1832. John
Cott (her father) and Samuel Johnson went bond 6 December 1834.
and Rachel Hutt were admitted to the poorhouse June 2, 1845 from
Little Creek Hundred. He was 87 and she was 75. She died June
22, 1845. He re-entered the poorhouse in December from Dover Hundred.
David Hutt died at the poorhouse 15 Dec. 1847
Cambridge died at the poorhouse 28 Jan. 1852 she was blind and
had been a resident for some time.
Sammons and Perry Jones gave bond 24 July 1841 for the support
of a male bastard born to her 20 May 1841. She declined to name
the father and they gave bond for support without naming the father.
Sammons, age 37, was at the almshouse between 6 and 9 December
1815, with three persons, probably her children, no ages given,
named William, Robert, and Henry. All were listed in Murderkill
Hundred, which then included the present West Dover.
1816, Peter Sammons, age 12, of Murderkill, was in the poorhouse
April 1 and out on trial in December. Robert, age 8, came at the
same time and was out July 9. Thomas and Henry Sammons of Murderkill
were in the poorhouse June 18, December 2.
Durham, Little Creek Hundred, age 33, entered the poorhouse in
Loatmano of Duck Creek, 2 years old, was in the poorhouse June
11, out Aug 17, 1811.
Common Pleas, Kent, May Term 1767, Joseph Snow, executor of James
Snow, sued Benjamin Sisco and John Wilson, yeomen, over a note.
James Seeney Question: The
orphans court file of James Seeney (1831-1837), of the Owen Seeney
family, indicates that he had a wife Caroline and three children
named Thomas, Henry, and Mary. The daughter was in school in Greensboro,
Maryland. She was 17 years old in 1842. William K. Lockwood, an
in-law, was the administrator of the estate. Lockwood appears
among documents in the Cheswold community, including Perry Handsor's
marriage bond certificate.
From Ned Heite 25 Aug 1998: -- Still looking for
of these days I am going to stop looking for Nathan Williams.
anybody have a line on what happened to the Williams family who
were among the Nanticokes at Locust Neck when they had that dust-up
about electing George Pocatus as their tayac or sachem? We have
a Williams marriage in Cheswold around 1800, but I don't know
who the husband was. Nathan was born just after that time.
does the word "infuriating" come to mind?
slowly over the Federal recognition guidelines, I believe it is
absolutely possible to satisfy the stated requirements with just
a little more work on the Cheswold community. I don't want to
get anyone's hopes too high, and I know that the recognition gauntlet
is depressing at best, but those guys in Washington are historians,
and they should be able to understand a competent historical workup.
In the past few months, I have seen glimmerings of attacks on
the great void between 1700 and 1775, and I think it is do-able.
and we are working on this, the definition of "mulatto"
and reassessment of so-called "mulatto" as always meaning
"free black" definitions need to be reassessed. A journal
article is in the works on this, to which reference may be made.
It should be possible to extract the Indian records from the mass
of undefined nonwhite entries.
story of Indian people coming into the Cheswold enclave and forming
a body needs to be fleshed out. The feds will recognize such amalgamations
if they can be shown to have a coherence during a historical period.
are lots of details like that, which will depend upon how you
say it, not so much the content of what you say.
a former bureaucrat (Delaware State Archivist), I may have entirely
too much confidence in the bureaucratic process, but I think it
is definitely worth a try.