Monday, September 30, 2013

The Whiteman Family Revisited Part 2 -- Henry Whiteman and AJ Whiteman Houses

Henry Whiteman House, 1913
In the last post I began to revisit the story of the Henry Whiteman House, a topic I first covered several years ago. As I noted, there are actually several Whiteman houses near Paper Mill Road, between Smiths Mill Road and Polly Drummond Hill Road. (There are maybe a half dozen others throughout MCH, but we'll focus on these particular ones for right now.) We've covered the oldest of these homes, the Jacob Whiteman House built sometime between 1804 and 1816. The next one, the Henry Whiteman House, sits on what was the southern portion of his father Jacob's original 196 acre tract. Henry purchased this half of his father's land shortly before Jacob's death in 1826, and by 1828 Henry had already erected a stone house on the property for himself and his family. At the time, he and wife Anna (Kinsey) had four children, with the fourth, Henry, Jr., being born in 1827, around the time the house was completed. The couple would ultimately have nine children.

Henry resided here for almost 30 years, up until his death in 1855. At that point, the history as written in the 1999 UD report stated that the house and farm went to his son George. This was another of the points at which I was confused the first time around, since I couldn't find a George Whiteman in the 1850 or 1860 censuses. I now know why, and I also know a bit more about this man.
The man in question is Henry and Anna's third son, George Washington Whiteman. The reason I couldn't find him in the 1850 Census is that he was listed as Washington Whiteman. (Like his brother Andrew Jackson Whiteman who often went by Jackson or Jack, George Washington seems to have preferred his middle name.) To be quite honest, I can't really be sure exactly what transpired without seeing the property documents firsthand, but if (George) Washington did inherit the house from his father, one way or another he didn't own it long. The history was somewhat (ok, very) vague on how, when, and why the house passed to the next brother, Henry, Jr., saying only that George had it for at least five years and that it had gone to Henry by 1864. Thanks to a piece of information sent to me by Wendy Orley, a descendant of the family (we'll get to her particular line shortly), we now have a better idea of about when and why George gave up the house, and why he didn't appear in the 1860 Census. [I should also credit Donna Peters, who apparently sent me similar information a while back, but I didn't put two and two together correctly at the time. My bad.] The article below appeared in the (Richmond, VA) Daily Dispatch on February 7, 1860:
SUICIDE- The Wilmington (Del) Commonwealth learns that a sad case of suicide occurred in Mill Creek Hundred on Sunday week. A man named Washington Whiteman, who had been drinking for a long time, swallowed about 2 ounces of laudanum, from the effects of which he soon died. It appears that Whiteman some years since came in possession of a farm by the death of his father, which he sold for about $3500, and with a portion of the money, he purchased a brick store-house at Milford Corner, about which time he commenced to drink, and without attempting to do anything or improve his property, continued to drink until he had wasted his substances, and finally in a fit of despair ended his miserable life as above stated. He leaves a wife and four small children to mourn his unhappy end and buffet the waves of a hard-hearted world.

This story clears a few things up (like G.W.'s absence from the 1860 Census), but raises a few more. (Honestly, though, they could probably be answered by, "The newspaper article isn't exactly accurate.") It says he had been "drinking for a long time", then seems to say he didn't start until after the death of his father. His father, Henry, Sr., died only five years earlier. Another seeming contradiction is the fact that the UD paper states that George had the house for at least five years, although it doesn't state why they say that. The above article implies he sold the farm not long after receiving it, and certainly well before his 1860 death. Without seeing the original documents, I can't be sure what the real story was. On another level, though, none of these details make the story any less tragic for his wife and children.*

Henry Whiteman House, 1913

Whether it was due to George Washington Whiteman's untimely death, or whether it was due to an earlier transaction, the stone house built by Henry Whiteman around 1826 did eventually end up in the hands of Henry, Jr., his fourth son. Of the two remaining older sons, John Kinsey was already established on a farm east of Pike Creek, and Lemuel, to whom we'll return in a moment, had moved out of state. As best as I can tell from the census and map data, Henry, Jr. remained at the house until his death in 1884. The 1868 map shows the house as "H. Whiteman", and the 1860, 1870, and 1880 Censuses seem to show Henry and family in the same house. The only glitch is the 1881 map which shows a "W. Whiteman" in the house. But since there are no W. Whitemans in the 1880 Census outside of Israel's teenage sons just to the north, I have to assume that this is an error on the map. The 1893 map lists it as "S. Whiteman Est.", which presumably is the estate of Henry's widow, Sarah Ann (Moore).*

Stepping back a few years, though, we get a little personal story from the Whiteman clan, courtesy of Wendy, an eventual result of the story. Lemuel, second son of Henry, Sr., had married a woman named Elizabeth, who gave birth to a daughter named Mary Ann in 1844. (Mary Ann is Wendy's great-grandmother.) Elizabeth died not long after, and Lemuel remarried to a woman named Hellen. It seems that the young Mary Ann did not get along with her new step-mother, only 14 years her senior (whether this fact had anything to do with it, I don't know). Although Lemuel was still nearby in MCH in 1850, Mary Ann had gone off to live with her grandfather Henry in his home, along with her grandmother, three uncles, and an aunt. She remained after her father and stepmother moved to Cecil County, MD. In the fall of 1862, a young man named Edward Swain Past came to stay with the family. He was a 21 year old soldier wounded at the Battle of Antietam, and a relative of Anna Kinsey Whiteman (Henry's wife). Edward had been sent to the farm to recuperate from his injury.

Edward Past, c.1862 and Mary Ann Whiteman Past 1894

In what must have been a storybook romance, Edward and Mary Ann quickly fell in love, and were married in March of the following year. They spent 51 years together, until Edward's passing in 1914. Soon after marrying the couple moved out west, but returned to Mill Creek Hundred on the occasion of their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1913. Many of the photos included in this post were taken during that trip. A number of the pictures feature the last of the three Whiteman houses in this area, the Andrew Jackson Whiteman House that stands a few hundred feet back from Paper Mill Road, across from Henry's home.

A.J. Whiteman House, 1914

It's with this house also that my understanding of the history deviates a bit from what's written in the UD report. It states that in 1864, Henry gave the farm (and by implication, the house) to Jackson. Since Henry seems to be living in the house the rest of his life, what I think may have happened is that Henry gave his younger brother a portion of the property, on which Jackson built his own house.* The fact that it doesn't appear on the 1849 map but does in 1868, plus the style of the house, seem to bolster this idea. When the Pasts came back to visit in 1913, Jackson was still residing in his house, while the Henry Whiteman House may have been owned by one of Israel's sons. The only intriguing piece of information that doesn't quite fit this story is that the A.J. Whiteman House apparently has some sort of small, stone interior section. This make me wonder if maybe Jackson didn't just greatly expand upon an older, existing stone house. If I'm ever able to find out more about this house, I'll certainly pass along the information.

Although they were not among the original settling families in MCH, the Whitemans have over two centuries of very meaningful history here (continuing to this day). There are certainly many more stories to uncover relating to the family, and at least a few more houses that I know of, to get to another day. I want to thank Wendy again for sharing some of these stories and pictures with us. These family stories (like Mary Ann and Edward's) may not seem all that significant sometimes, but I really do believe that more than anything else, they help to bring us closer to our predecessors in the area. Local history really is made of these.

*Additional Facts and Related Thoughts:
  • Another reference to Washington Whiteman, found by Donna, lists his cause of death as "fever". Not surprisingly, it seems the family might have tried to "clean up" their history. I'll have to do more research to find out exactly where his property was at Milford Crossroads.
  • Here is as good a time as any to note the very, very tight bond between the Whiteman and Moore families. Amongst the children of Henry Whiteman and Thomas J. Moore, there were no less than six marriages. John Kinsey Whiteman - Margaret Moore. Henry Whiteman - Sarah Moore. Gilbert Whiteman - Rachel Moore. Margaret Whiteman - Jacob Moore. Andrew Jackson Whiteman - Mary Moore, then Susanna Moore.
  • It was presumably in this house, then that the tragic death of Jackson's first wife, Mary, occurred in 1866. That story can be found here, and updated here.


  1. My name is Rob Pineda, and I am a direct descendant of the Whiteman family on my moms side. So glad to have found this site...filling in some blanks for me. Thank you!

    1. Rob - Glad you found us, and glad I could help. If you ever come across any family info or photos that might be interesting, feel free to contact me.

  2. I am a descendent of GW Sr through his some GW Jr. I had not heard that story but know that alcoholism affected all the men on that side for generations so am not surprised. However, my grandmother (GW Jr's granddaughter) used to tell a story whenever we were near that area: Her grandfather, who died before she was born, (but based on your explanation her great-grandfather GW Sr) was said to have owned close to 100 acres but drank to much one evening and bet it all away. I wish I had more information than that. However, I do have a photo of GW Jr if interested.

    1. Thanks for writing! And thanks for the additional information. Seems to help put the rest of it in context. I have not heard the gambling story, but I'll keep my eyes open for any clues that might corroborate it. And yes, I'd love to see a photo of GW Jr. If you have a scanned copy, you can email it to me at Also let me know if it's OK to post it. I'm sure others would be interested, too. Stories are great, but nothing makes someone come to life more than actually seeing their face. Thanks again!