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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Guthrie Tract Along Limestone Road

1886 Dennison House, site of the 1822 Guthrie House
At first I wasn't sure what to title this post, or exactly how to approach writing it. In it, we'll look at two properties along Limestone Road that were associated with a family that's been mentioned before, but never directly featured -- the Guthries. What's a little odd about the houses we'll focus on is that neither was the family's home for the bulk of their tenure in the area. One was built by the subsequent owner of much of the original farm, and the other was built for the widow of the last Guthrie to farm in the area. What ties the sites together is the family, whose ties to the area stretch back into the mists of the 18th Century.

The Guthrie family in Mill Creek Hundred is, depending on when and where you look, either fairly easy or very frustrating to try to follow. Thankfully for the purposes of this post, the branch that resided along Limestone Road is pretty easy to trace. The other main branch in MCH lived in the Milford Crossroads area near Paper Mill Road and Possum Park Road. This is the family that has been mentioned in connection with Ebenezer Methodist Church. The two are certainly connected, most likely with the Limestone Road line breaking off during the days of the Early Republic. At some point I hope to have more information about the Milford Crossroads Guthries, and a better understanding of how the two fit together. But like with some other families, the Guthries are challenging to trace partially because of reused names. In this case, the name is Alexander.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

More About William Morgan

Marriage Bond of William Morgan and Martha Williams
Last year I did a post about the William Morgan Farm, a beautiful gray stone house and barn along Doe Run Road in Corner Ketch. At the time, I lamented the fact that there was little information I could find about the farm's builder and namesake, William Morgan. Several weeks ago, though, I was contacted by Marcia Healy, a Morgan descendant who does happen to have more about him and his family. In graciously providing this information about her family (she's actually a descendant of one of William's sisters, if I understand it correctly), she managed to both confirm and refute some of the assumptions I had made about Morgan. But thanks to her, we'll now have a more complete (and accurate!) picture of who William Morgan was.

First the part I got right -- The William Morgan buried at Pencader Presbyterian Church in Glasgow is the correct one. He was born in Pencader Hundred in about 1762 to John Morgan, also likely a native of that hundred. The Morgans were probably of Welsh origin, as were many of the early 18th Century immigrants to that area (the word "Pencader" itself is a Welsh term meaning "chief chair" or "highest seat"). Although William's resting place is included in the "Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots", we haven't yet found any other concrete evidence that he served in the Revolution. However, he would have been about the right age, turning 18 in about 1780, right in the middle of the war. Since there must be some evidence somewhere to explain his inclusion on the list, I would assume that he in fact probably did serve in one of the Delaware regiments.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Walter Craig House

Largest standing wall of the Craig Barn
For (I think) fairly obvious reasons, most of the structures profiled on this blog are, or recently were, still standing. Occasionally we'll look at a house, school, or mill that disappeared long ago, but in those cases there's usually nothing at all left of the building. In this area, that's normally because the land that the historic building stood on has since been developed. Once in a while, though, you can find the ruins of an old house in an area that hasn't been developed, if you know where to look. I didn't know where to look, but I was contacted recently by someone who does. He was kind enough to take me on a hike one morning and show me what he had found, which was A) the remains of some old structures, and B) a fascinating example of just how fast a landscape can change.

Roger Suro has been hiking the woods northwest of Corner Ketch for about thirty years now, always with an eye toward nature and history. Among the treasures he's come across on (and a good bit off) the trails in what's now a part of the White Clay Creek Preserve are the ruins of several structures just north of Thompson Station Road. The stone remains sit west of a road that used to run south from Corner Ketch Road to Thompson Station Road, crossing over Turkey Run just prior to its (the old road's) southern terminus. The road seems to have been passable by automobile as late as the 1950's, but now it remains only as a footpath, in some places only one person wide.