I don’t believe that anyone has definitive proof yet that John Beaty’s wife Elizabeth was a Criswell. (I’m using the spelling “Beaty” because John signed his will this way.)
Your posting suggests that John Beaty’s will named his wife as “Elizabeth Criswell”, which was not the case. He specifically referred to her as “Elizabeth Beaty”.
The will of James Criswell, found in Cumberland Co. Will Book E, page 87 refers to his brother-in-law John Beatty.The will is dated October 20, 1785 and was proved October 25, 1786. It is possible that this James Criswell was the brother of John Beaty’s wife and she was, in fact, a Criswell.
Another possibility is that this James Criswell’s wife, who is not mentioned in his will, was a Beaty and was the sister of John Beaty.This would also make James Criswell and John Beaty brothers-in-law. If someone can identify the wife of this James Criswell, and she was not a Beaty, I believe we would have sufficient proof that John Beaty’s wife was a Criswell. (Several online trees at Ancestry.com say, without source information, that James Criswell’s wife was Letitia or Letitica McCormick. Certainly not proof.)
Another possibility, much less likely it seems, is that “brother-in-law” (as well as “brother-by-law”) was then sometimes used instead of “step brother”.
The will of Robert Criswell of “of Juniata in Cumberland County” is recorded in Cumberland Co. Will Book B, page 133. It is dated August 10, 1772 and was proved December 4, 1772.He refers to his wife Elizabeth, his two sons John and David, his “daughter by law” Marye Miller and his “son by law” Robert Miller (these two were possibly his step children). The “whole of my land estate” was to be divided equally by his two sons John and David Criswell. His land holdings are not described in the will.On August 23, 1788 John and David Criswell of “Wean Township” (presumably Wayne Township) Cumberland County, sons of Robert Criswell, sold 21 acres of land, located is the same place, that had belonged to their father to John Beaty of the same place.The spelling of Beaty’s name was given as “Baty”, “Beaty” and “Batie”. The land sold was adjacent to Beaty’s other land.The price paid by Beaty was only 5 shillings. This deed is recorded in Cumberland Co. Deed Book___, page 222. I have a photocopy of this deed but have no idea where it came from. I don’t have the book number.
I don’t yet know where “Juniata in Cumberland County”, Robert Criswell’s residence, is located. Juniata County wasn’t created until 1831. Juniata Township, now in Perry County, was created in 1793 as part of Cumberland County. See “The Townships of Mother Cumberland” by Raymond Martin Bell of Washington and Jefferson College, 1962.
Where did John Beaty live? I think it is pretty clear he lived in what is today Bratton Township, Mifflin County. According to“History of That Part of the Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys Embraced in the Counties of Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Union and Snyder” by Franklin Ellis (Philadelphia, 1886) page 534: “Robert Forgy emigrated to this county about 1772. He was a weaver by trade, and came to what is now Bratton township, to the house of John Beatty, who was also a weaver, and carried on the business. He married Elizabeth, the daughter of his employer….”According to “A History of the Juniata Valley and its People”, John W. Jordan, editor, Lewis Historical Publishing Co.,(New York, 1913) Vol I, page 119, early settlers of Bratton Township included “John Beatty, who was a native of Ireland, Elijah and Benjamin Criswell….”(These Criswell names suggest that further research should be done in Chester County, PA.)
So, according to “The Townships of Mother Cumberland” the place where John Beaty lived would have been part of the following places, during the following times:
Cumberland CountyFermanagh Twp1754 to 1766
Cumberland CountyDerry Township1767 to 1782
Cumberland CountyWayne Township1782 to 1788
Mifflin CountyWayne Township1789 to 1834
Mifflin CountyOliver Township1835 to 1849
Mifflin CountyBratton Township1850 to present
Cumberland County land warrant records on microfilm at the PA State Archives in Harrisburg show that John Beaty had a warrant, dated October 21, 1768 for 150 acres in Derry Township. He never obtained a patent for the land during his lifetime.The warrant was returned in 1824. The property surveyed at 154 acres, 22 perches.The patent was issued to “James Criswell, et al” (book H21, page 567). I have not seen the patent. Presumably it was issued to the executors of Beaty’s estate.
I’ve seen online family trees showing Patrick Beaty to be the father of John Beaty, without source information. One LDS pedigree resource file shows this information and cites as a source a note which I sent to a Ferrier researcher (or his father) many many years ago.That note related to the Beatty family of Water Street (now Morris Township, Perry County) including early settler Patrick Beatty and his eldest son John. I believe this Ferrier researcher erroneously concluded that the John Beaty of Mifflin County and the John Beatty of Water Street were one and the same person. I don’t believe we have any reliable information on the identity of the father of John Beaty.
It appears that John Beaty served in the Cumberland County militia during the Revolutionary War.I believe that he served a two month active tour of duty in the fall of 1777 in the 5th Battalion, 5th Company under Captain Wm. Wilson, under an order dated September 7, 1777.I don’t know the nature of this service but it is possible he was part of the Pennsylvania militia present but not engaged at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown.
This company was again called to active duty in July of 1778 but Beaty did not serve, and was fined.
He again served a two month tour under an order dated August 1, 1780 in the 1st Battalion, 8th Company. When this company was next called out for an additional two month tour, Beaty was excused from serving: “Inability of body due to a fall off his horse and a natural shortness of breath. Excused this call.”
Although “The Pioneers of Mifflin County Pennsylvania” by John Martin Stroup and Raymond Martin Bell (Lewistown, PA 1942) indicates (page 6) that John Beaty was a Revolutionary War pensioner, it is clear that the pension file was that of another Mifflin County John Beatty (1763-1840) of Armagh Township.
According to “Mother Cumberland: Tracing Your Ancestors in South-Central Pennsylvania” by Raymond Martin Bell (Alexandria VA, 1989) page 21: “It was continually necessary to man the forts on the frontier against Indian attacks. This lasted until 1782. The Mifflin Co. Battalion sent 4 companies on tour against the British and several companies on tours against the Indians (a total of 13 such tours against the Indians.” By “Mifflin Co. Battalion” I believe he means the men of Derry and Armagh townships referred to below.
The sources relied upon for this militia information are the Revolutionary War Military Abstract Card File of the Pennsylvania State Archives available online at www.digitalarchives.state.pa.us/archives.asp and the Cumberland militia rolls found in the printed Pennsylvania Archives, Series 5, Vol. VI.I counted 49 abstract cards for men named John Beatty/Beaty/Beattey. Identifying our John Beaty in these records is a bit tricky, because the records give little identifying information on the individuals named. The most important piece of information in solving this puzzle is that the militia units were organized geographically. On paper, all militiamen from Derry and neighboring Armagh Townships were listed in the 5th Battalion of the Cumberland militia from March 1777 to March 1780 and redesignated the 8th Battalion for the following three years, consisting for 4 companies of Derry men and 4 companies of Armagh men.However, when called for active duty the battalion designations were changed due to a complicated set of numbering rules, which can be found at
Applying these rules it is possible to identify which John Beatty was from Derry Township, in combination with the information in the pension file of the John Beatty from Armagh Township available online at Fold3.com.
It is possible that John Beaty earlier served in the French and Indian War.Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, Vol II, page 566:
“A Return of the Recruits Raised by Captain Benjamin Noxon, 1758
Name, age, where born, date of enlistment and occupation
Beatty, John, 24, Ireland, May 1, weaver”
(The recruiter’s name may have been Nixon, according to a reference to or transcription of this record contained in the periodical “Your Family Tree” Vol VIII, page 62, found at the library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston.)
I have no idea if this man is the John Beaty who settled in Mifflin County, but further research is needed.
Wayne H. Thayer in Ohio