The first source cited in Myth #3 [unknown title, unknown author, but p. 19 headed “Boyd Family: Boyds in America) tells us this:
[The colony was] “…located FIRST on Sir Wm. Keith’s tract called Newberry, in Newberry Township, York County, Pennsylvania.This tract extended in 1732 from Conewago Creek, York and Adams Counties, Pennsylvania, to Yellow Breeches Creek, York County, Pennsylva-nia.The land was close to Wrightsville, York County, Pennsylvania, on the Susquehanna River.”
The second source cited in Myth #3 [Gilmor’s “…the Union of Four Families” tells us:
“They located AT FIRST in the Sir William Kieth’s tract called Newberry.This tract extended from Conewago Creek to Yellow Breeches Creek.”
There is a Newberry Township (created 1747) in the northeastern part of present-day York County.I have been unable to find any confirmation, however, that Sir. William Keith (who was a Governor or Lt. Gov. of PA) ever owned a tract there, or in the vicinity.Yellow Breeches Creek flows west to east across present-day Cumberland County to empty into the Susquehanna River opposite the southern part of present-day Harrisburg.Conewago Creek flow northeasterly from present-day Adams County across northern York County to empty into the Susquehanna River about 12 miles down-river from the mouth of Yellow Breeches Creek.The area thus described was mostly not in the bounds of the Manor of Masque of Adams County.
In any case, no settlers were allowed on the west side of the Susquehanna River (boundary between present-day York and Lancaster counties) until (formally) 1736.(To be sure, some isolated “adventurers” and “outlaws” did cross the river, but there were no organized settlements – those who did cross early had reason to avoid any settlement.)However, in 1734-1735, the Penn family authorized a Samuel Blunston to survey land and grant “licenses” to a number of settlers.These Blunston licenses are an oft neglected but important part of PA history.For more history and detail just Google “Blunston licenses.”For a fairly good history and description go to the PA Archives site at:
And search on the page for “Blunston licenses.”
So, if these licenses were first granted in 1734, where were the colony of settlers led by Captain Hance Hamilton between August 1729 – when they supposedly landed at New Castle – and 1734 - when the first of the licenses were made?They most assuredly did not go immediately to the area where these licenses were made, or said another way, we have at least 5 years to account for.
I strongly suspect that the misinformation that Capt. Hance Hamilton led the settlers to this area is caused by the misquoting of the wording in three of those licenses.Abstracts of all the li-censes issued are provided in the March 1932 edition of “Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania,” Vol. XI, No. 3, and more specifically for our purposes, on p. 273.I have seen several instances of “quoting” these abstracts as, e.g.:
Blunston License Book 1733-1739
--April 12 1735-500 acres on Dogwood Run a branch of Yellow Breeches Creek by the Indian path leading from Paxton to CAPTAIN HANCE HAMILTON’s.
--April 18, 1735--James Willson 400 acres on the North West branch of Marsh Creek about two miles above the fork near the Paxton road leading to CAPTAIN HANCE HAMILTON’s.
--April 30, 1735 - 200 acres.Thomas Heald on both sides of the Yellow Breeches creek a quarter of a mile above the road from Paxton to CAPTAIN HANCE HAMILTON’s.
But that is not what the actual abstracts say!They say:
“1735, April 8 – James Willson, 400 a.On the North west Branch of Marsh Creek about two miles above the forks near the paxton Road Leading to CAPT HANCE’s.”
“1735, April 12 – James Wilson, 500 a.On Dogwood Run.A Branch of Yellow Britches Creek by the Indian path leading from Paxton to CAPT: HANCE’s”
“1735 30 April – Thomas Heald.200 a.On Both sides Yellow Britches Creek abt a quarter of a mile above the road from Paxtan to CAPT HANCE’s.”
So someone embellished the actual wording by gratuitously telling us that “Capt. Hance” in the abstract was “Captain Hance Hamilton.”Unforgiveable!
If “Capt. Hance” was not “Captain Hance Hamilton” then who was he?He was a Swedish Indian trader whose name was John Hanson “Hance” Steelman, but who was for most of his adult life was referred to as “Capt. Hance,” and whose trading post was located in the southwes-tern corner of what is now Adams County.Go here for a picture of a monument to him (and the map linked at the site provides the location):
Notice that in all three of the above abstracts, the tracts were being described as located near a road from Paxton to Capt. Hance’s.Paxton was at, nor near, the present site of Harrisburg.Capt. Hance’s was, I contend the southern point of that road or Indian trail, the trading post of Capt. Hance.This road or trail would probably closely follow present US highway 15 from Harrisburg across Adams County to Emmitsburg (the original road veering to the west a little above Emmitsburg).
Want more “proof”?Don’t you find it curious, that if Captain Hance Hamilton was really meant, that in a formal licenses (almost a grant) that he would be referred to informally as “Capt. Hance” instead of “Capt. Hamilton”?Don’t you find it curious that a leader of a large group of settlers, or even just a prominent man, did not receive any such license for himself?No Hamilton of any name or description is on the Blunston license list.
Another credibility problem for our cited sources…The first source above proudly and positive-ly boasts:
“The Boyds with which this book deals came from the north of Ireland with one hundred and forty other families, under the leadership of Hance Hamilton, landing at New Castle Delaware, 24 August 1729.The other families included the McPherson, McKEEN, McElwee, McClean, Morrison, Gilkerson, Simonton, BLACK, Moses McCarley, Henry McDonough, Duncan Evans, John Craig and many other friends and kinsmen.”
I did not spot any of those names on the Blunston license list, except (Alexander) “McKain.”The “McKeen” (a.k.a. McKean/McKain/McCain) family is well known to me.Three of the children of Hugh McKeen married three of the children of Hance Hamilton (d. 1772), and I am a descendant of one of those marriages.Hugh McKeen, and his presumed brother, Alexander, can be found on the tax list for 1725 & 1726 of Donegal township which is in the northwestern corner of present-day Lancaster County.In fact, some of the names in the Blunston license list are the same (though I cannot confirm that they are identically the same people) as in the Doneg-al tax lists for 1725-1726.For example, the Donegal township tax list includes a Thomas Black and a John Black “and sons” living close to the McKeen brothers, and Black’s Graveyard is located where the original Upper Marsh Creek Presbyterian Church was located (Black’s Gra-veyard was the church’s cemetery).
The Alexander McKain on the Blunston license list was entered on the Blunston license list as:
“1734, November 28 – Nathaniel Nelson [assigned to Alexander M’Kain], 200 a.On the North side of Conedogwt One the right hand of ffrank Stephen’s path.”
(I think the above Alexander “McKain” was the son of the Alexander McKeen in the Donegal township list – but that is another subject for another day, and another forum.)
If the McKeen/McKean/McCain family closely tied with Hance Hamilton (d. 1722) came to America with him and settled near the Manor of Masque, then how do we explain their being in Donegal Township in 1725 – 4 years before the alleged arrival of the colonists at White Castle?
The first record that names Hance Hamilton and is connected with the Marsh Creek Settlement is the following:
“Hance Hamilton, Guardian in Trust for the mannor [minor] Children of John Craig Deced.Apr. 1739”
But even the above date is questionable.That record comes from a list compiled by Robert McPherson in 1765 in which, from memory, he was attempting to name all the early settlers and the dates on which the land was first settled (not necessarily by the person named as present owner in 1765).Thus, there is ambiguity in the above.Did Hance Hamilton (notice the absence of a title), start serving as the guardian for John Craig’s children in 1739, or was Hance Hamilton the guardian of John Craig’s children at a later date, the 1739 date being when John Craig settled the land?
Robert McPherson’s records do make it clear that Hance Hamilton was there by 1740.
A John Hamilton does appear in some of the earliest Marsh Creek Settlement records, and Hance Hamilton named his brother, John Hamilton, as the executor of his 1772 will.So John and Hance, at least, appear to have been brothers, and finding one or the other in earlier records in other locations may lead to where they were living before they came to the Marsh Creek area.Other POSSIBLE brothers are the William Hamilton who appeared in some early records of the general area, and a James Hamilton who died in 1748 in York County, naming his brother Hance Hamilton as the executor of his will.
Lou Poole, Richardson, TX