Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Pocahontas was the daughter of a Powhatan Indian Chief who married John Rolfe, an early American English settler. Their daughter Jane Rolfe married Robert Bolling. In the next generation Jane and Robert had a son, Colonel John Bolling, whose daughter Mary, married Colonel John Fleming in Virginia. The Virginia Fleming family also claim to descend from the Earl of Wigton. The children of Col John Fleming and Mary Bolling would marry into families with kinship to George Washington, Stephen Douglas, Stonewall Jackson, James Madison, members of Congress and at least one Supreme Court Justice. While we do not share kinship with Pocahontas, we do share ancestral kinship with her descendants from the children of John and Mary.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

More Pennsylvania Information

More on the Flemings in early Pennsylvania has been found, particularly about Robert Fleming, the brother to my 4th great grandfather, John Fleming. This confirms the relationship found in John's will and adds information about land ownership.

All of this information was found in "Past and Present of Clinton, County, Pennsylvania".

" Prominent among the early settlers of the West Branch Valley was John Fleming. He was a descendant of the Earl of Wigton, a Scottish Nobleman. His ancestry can be traced back to the fourteenth century. In 1773 he secured possession of a large tract of land lying between the Susquehanna river, and the Bald Eagle creek, which is the land upon which the city of Lock Haven and Part of Flemington now stands. His territory was a part of Dr. Francis Allison Tract. After the death of John Fleming which occurred in 1777, his land consisting of over 1000 acres was divided among his five sons and three daughters, namely Joseph, John, David, Robert, Ezekiel, Mary, Elizabeth and Rosanna. John Fleming built a house on the bank of the Susquehanna, near the abutments of the dam, where he died in 1777. Several hearth stones of the chimney of this house were found by workmen in excavating for the erection of the abutments at the time the dam was built, nearly half a century later.

His son the Hon. John Fleming, who came to this section in 1773. was appointed to the associate judgeship of Lycoming county by Governor Mifflin, in 1798. He was a native of Chester County, Pa, and born near the London Cross Roads, He was married to Susan Chatham, a daughter of Col. Chatham who at one time owned a mill and large tract of land at Chathams Run. Mrs. Fleming was born in Dublin, Ireland, coming to this county when an infant she died in 1824. Hon. John Fleming had nine children, namely, General Robert Fleming, John Fleming, who was one of the first associate judges of Clinton County, Algernon Sydney, who was sheriff of the county, from 1866 to 1869, Exekiel, who went to Kentucky in 1833, William, who died at Alton, Illinois in 1846, Sarah, who Married Joseph Montgomery, Nancy who married David McCormich and Mary, who was the wife of Hon. Joseph Quay

Land Holdings:

Land; Grantee index, Northumberland Co., PA; John and Robert Fleming, grantees, Nehemiah Breese grantor; Vol. D page 8; 26 Sep 1777; 6 Sep 1787;

Biographical; John Fleming (who died in 1777); "The Fair Play Settlers of the West Branch Valley 1769-1784; A Study of Frontier Ethnography" by George D. Wolf, 1969, F157.L9W6; BYU-Idaho. P. 67, "However after the treaty one Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Francis Alison, pastor of the college of Philadelphia, applied for land above the mouth of Bald Eagle Creek and was granted some 1500 acres. Alison never came into the region and,in fact, sold his entire purchase to John Fleming in 1773." (The author cites 'History of Centre and Clinton Counties' by John Blair Linn, page 520.)
Page 53 Refers to Squire Fleming's daughter Betsey, and says the Squire had "two fine daughters (including Betsey).
Page 77 (Referring to their roles in the Revolutionary War) Robert Fleming was a regional leader, John Fleming was a local leader.
Page 81 (Regarding Robert Fleming and his several leadership positions): "During the revolution he was primarily concerned with the area around the Great Island (in the West Branch of the Susquehanna, near Jersey Shore), serving at Reed's Fort (present Lock Haven) and on the Fleming estate, which some referred to as Fort Fleming. Robert had a brother John...Their combined holdings ran to almost 3,000 acres of which 1,250 was Robert's."
Page 82 John Fleming actually resided outside the Fair Play territory, on the Provincial or State side of the Susquehanna (he lived on the north or west side). He died in 1777.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Famous Flemings

From select surnames website:
Select Fleming Names

Sir Thomas Fleming was the Lord Chief Justice who sentenced Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plotters in 1605.
Thomas Fleming
was the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin in the early 17th century.
Michael Fleming, a Catholic bishop, was regarded as the most influential Irish immigrant to have come to Newfoundland in the 19th century.
Sir Sandford Fleming was a Scots-born Canadian engineer and the creator of Standard Time.
Robert Fleming was a Scots financier from Dundee who founded the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co.
Sir Alexander Fleming was the discoverer of penicillin in 1929, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1945.
Victor Fleming was the director of two classic American films, Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz.
Ian Fleming was the novelist and creator of James Bond.

Tommy Fleming from Sligo is one of Ireland's top singers.

Select Flemings Today
  • 28,000 in the UK (most numerous in Lanarkshire)
  • 28,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 35,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada).

Possible Royal Kinship

While Squire John Fleming is as far back as I have been able to get in our Fleming family tree, there is evidence that he descends from Scottish royalty. Here is a citation to make the argument:

From Linn's County History of Clinton, Pennsylvania

Prominent among the early settlers of the West Branch Valley was John Fleming, he was a descendant of the Earl of Wigton, a Scottish nobleman. The families descended from him still prize and use the earl's coat of arms. This very year (the year, John McCormick came to the neighborhood) he entered into the possession of the large track of land lying between the Susquehanna River and the Bald Eagle Creek, on which the city of Lockhaven now stands and part of the borough of Flemington, which he had purchased of the Rev. Dr. Francis Allison. After his demise which occurred in 1777, his land containing over 1600 acres was divided among his five sons and three daughters. John Mc Cormick, who had married his daughter Elizabeth, subsequently purchased the part that fell to her brother Joseph.That was the part commonly known as the "point" lying immediately west of the junction of the Susquehanna with the Bald Eagle.

The royal connections for the Earl of Wigton are well documented. The Earl of Wigton was descended from King James V of Scotland. If you climb his tree further you will find a daughter of the famous rebel Robert The Bruce who married James I of Scotland.

While this is a citation, it is far from complete. It indicates this lineage but we do not know what the exact family tree was and, therefore, still must look for proof.

This is not the only royal connection to the Flemings. The Bartlett family is said to descend from William the Conqueror. the first Norman King of England, pictured above. He lived from 1028 to 1090, about. While this is a very long time ago, it is not that far fetched. The Bartlett family had a chapel on their property in England within which was a bible recording the previous 300 years of baptisms, marriages and deaths. This would take us back from 1600 to 1300, and someone as famous as this would be remembered for that long.

Goodeth Gilman is said to be related to royals and Mary Stearns is said to descend from the last queen of Albania. I have listed these ladies in my lineage previously.

But, in all of these cases, we have to look much further for definitive proof.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Squire John Fleming

Pictured here is the current view from John Fleming's land on the Susquehanna River near Lock Haven Pennsylvania. As you will see from his will he owned quite a large tract of land. He and his wife Mary had eight children. His son David is the one from which I descend. One of his children, John, went on to become a judge. Flemington, Pennsylvania is named after him.

His will was written May 1, 1777. He died a few days later, May 6, 1777. It remains on file in the county records of Northumberland County located in Sunbury, Pennsylvania.

In the name of God Amen, I, John Fleming, of Bald Eagle township, in the county of Northumberland and the state of Pennsylvania, farmer, being sound in mind and memory, thanks be to Almighty God for his mercies. but at the same time knowing the uncertainty of this fleeting and transitory life, and do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner following, that is to say;

First: I recommend my soul to God that gave it, and my body I commit to the grave; I desire that after my decease, that my just debts be paid, and I give and bequeath until my well beloved son Robert Fleming the place whereon William Reed now lives of two hundred acres, and to my well beloved son Joseph Fleming two hundred acres at his choice, except the place I live on; and to my well beloved daughter Rosana Jameson, one hundred acres of land or one hundred pounds as soon as conscience will admit, and to my well beloved daughter Elizabeth Fleming one hundred acres of land or one hundred pounds in money aforesaid,

And to my well beloved son John Fleming two hundred acres of land, and to my well beloved daughter Mary Fleming one Hundred acres of land or one hundred pounds to be paid in manner aforesaid. and to my well beloved son Ezekiel Fleming two hundred acres of land and to my well beloved son David Fleming the place whereon I now live, and the stock to be divided in equality among them, that are of age, and the aforesaid land to them their heirs and assigns forever, and I do order and appoint my BROTHER Robert Fleming Executor, together with my sons Robert Fleming and Joseph Fleming Executors, of this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all former Wills by me made, and do declare this to be my last will and testament. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this first day of May 1777 John Fleming signed in presence of us, John McCormick, William Reed, John Fleming (Seal)

His will was probated on June 13, 1777. There was no mention of any provisions for his wife, Mary, so she is presumed to have deceased before this time.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

More Presidential Kinships

Completing my research on the advice of Gary Boyd Roberts to look at the Perkins family, I have discovered several more presidential kinship worthy of mention.
Thomas Perkins was born in England in 1525. Through the chart below, he became my tenth great grandfather. He is also connected to a number of U. S. Presidents.
Thomas Perkins is the 10th great grandfather of Calvin Coolidge(30), the ninth great grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt(32) and Richard Nixon(37), and the eighth great grandfather of Millard Fillmore(13).
Here is the line of descent into the Fleming family;
My tenth great grandparents: Thomas Perkins = Alice Kebble
My ninth great grandparents: Henry Perkins = Elizabeth Sawbridge
My eighth great grandparents: John Perkins = Judith Gater
My seventh great grandparents: Rev. Thomas Wells = Mary Perkins
My sixth great grandparents: Moses Chase Jr. = Elizabeth Wells
My fifth great grandparents: Seth Chase = Elizabeth Bartlett
My fourth great grandparents: Rebecca Chase = John Bartlett
My third great grandparents: Silas Leland = Lucina Bartlett
My second great grandparents: Robert King Fleming = Lucina Leland
My great grandparents: Thomas H. B. Fleming = Ellen Giblin
My grandparents: John Leland Fleming = Margaret Finnegan

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Our Connections to various Presidents

Once again, thanks to the help I received at the New England Historical and Genealogical Association from Gary Boyd Roberts, I discovered a number of Presidents of the United States which we have kinship to. Gary Boyd Roberts has literally written the book(s) on the ancestry of the United States Presidents. Each time a new President is elected, Gary updates and publishes another book. His most recent publication was in 2009 after President Obama was elected. He has also done research on various royal family lines and published those works. When Gary advised the group he would work with each of us for two hours, we were sure to learn some interesting things. Here is a little background on Gary. He grew up in Texas, went to Yale and has worked in genealogy his whole adult life. Gary has a great memory for names and history. He has a few beliefs that are quirky. He refuses to use computers, ATM machines, cell phones or credit cards. When Gary was tearing my Fleming family tree apart, and ran into the name Aquila Chase, he told me we had kinship with a number of presidents. Below is my line back to Aquila Chase and his wife Anne Wheeler.

My ninth great grandparents : John Wheeler - Agnes Yeomans
My eighth great grandparents: Aquila Chase - Anne Wheeler
My seventh great grandparents : Moses Chase - Anne Follansbee
My sixth great grandparents : Moses Chase Jr. - Elizabeth Wells
My fifth great grandparents : Elizabeth Bartlett - Seth Chase
My fourth great grandparents : Rebecca Chase - John Bartlett (cousins)
My third great grandparents : Lucina Bartlett - Silas Leland
My second great grandparents : Robert King Fleming - Lucina Leland
My great grandparents : Ellen Giblin - Thomas Hart Benton Fleming
My grandparents: John Leland Fleming - Margaret Finnegan

John Wheeler is the ninth great grandfather of:
1) Leslie Lynch King, Jr., whose name was legally changed to Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr.,the 38th U. S. President,
2) George Herbert Walker Bush, 41st U. S. President and
3) Herbert Clark Hoover, 31st U. S. President.
He was also the tenth great grandfather of George Walker Bush, 43rd U.S. President, and the sixth great grandfather of James Abram Garfield, 20th U. S. President. All of this is straight out of Gary Boyd Roberts book "Ancestors of American Presidents" 2009 Edition.
There is another line that may connect us to a few more Presidents: Nixon, Coolidge, Fillmore and FDR. I have a little research to do on this line.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Salem Witchcraft Trials 1692

One of the things that I was most surprised to learn was of our familial connection with the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692. This had never been mentioned by my mother as a possibility. However, once you trace your ancestry to families living in Massachusetts before 1700, pretty much anything is possible. There just were not that many people living in Massachusetts that early.
Once Gary Boyd Roberts had noticed the family name of Towne in our Fleming and Leland lines, he focused on this possibility.
There were three Towne sisters who were convicted of Witchcraft. They were all married: Sarah Towne Cloyse, Rebecca Towne Nurse and Mary Towne Estey(Esty). Mary and Rebecca were executed and Sarah was condemned but never executed. In referring to these three sisters, it should be noted that the state of Massachusetts paid the families a settlement less than twenty years after their death, for wrongful death. They were clearly the victims of some Puritan hysteria.
What Gary discovered for me is that Jacob Towne, brother to these three, was my 8th great grandfather. His father William Towne, father of the three, was my 9th great grandfather. This makes Mary, Rebecca and Sarah my eighth great grand aunts.
According to "The Towne Family" by Lois Payne Hoover,William Towne, son of John Towne and Elizabeth Clarke, was baptized March 18, 1598/99 at St. Nicholas Church, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, and died before July 24, 1673 in Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts. He married Joanna Blessing April 25, 1620, also at St. Nicholas Church. Joanna had been baptized June 22, 1595 at Holy Trinity Church, Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk, England. Her parents were John Blessing and Jone. Joanna died before January 17, 1682/3, in Topsfield. Neither William nor Joanna lived to see their daughters accused of witchcraft. Much of this research was attributed to the Parish Register of St. Nicholas Church. This register also confirms the baptisms of the first six Towne children and the burial of child Susan.
There is a Towne Family Association that has verified these facts over the years. The Towne family is now holding an annual family reunion. Next year, 2012, they will meet for a tour of the various locations in England where the family lived.
On September 26, 1635, William and Joanna were cited for failing to appear for communion at St. Nicholas Church, and were labeled "Separatists, William and Joanna Towne, his wife" according to the Norwich Consistory & Archdeaconry Visitation Records. The term Separatists meant that they were no longer attending church but did not mean they had left England.
William Towne is first seen in Massachusetts records in 1640 when he was granted ten acres of land in the Northfields area of Salem.

Here by generation is the Towne family in relation to me:

My ninth great grandparents: William Towne = Joanna Blessing

My eighth great grandparents: Jacob Towne = Catherine Symonds

My seventh great grandparents: John Towne = Mary Smith

My sixth great grandparents: Isaac Towne = Susannah Haven

My fifth great grandparents: John Haven = Susanna Towne

My fourth great grandparents: Lois Haven = Solomon Leland

My third great grandparents: Silas Leland = Lucina Bartlett

My Second great grandparents: Robert King Fleming = Lucina Leland

My great grandparents: Thomas H B Fleming = Ellen Giblin

My grandparents: John Leland Fleming = Margaret Finnegan

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I wanted to make one more post today about our Fleming origins. So far I have posted about the families who married into the Fleming family, Bartletts and Lelands.
Lets go back from Robert King Fleming. His parents were David Fleming and Eleanor King. Both fathers of this couple would be recognized for their contributions to the Revolutionary War.
David Fleming was the son of John and Mary Fleming. Mary's maiden name has been applied as McQueen, Sullivan and other names in various sources. We don't know definitively what her name was. John and Mary lived in Bald Eagle Township, Waterford County, Pennsylvania. During the early part of the year of 1777, John was elected to represent Bald Eagle Township on the county Safety Committee. This was the first election held under the democracy framed by the early patriots in Pennsylvania. For this patriotic service he was recognized by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Eleanor's father, Robert King, who came to this country when he was six years old from Donegal, Ireland, served as a Captain in the Continental Army. He was wounded and later received a pension.
John Fleming is as far as I have been able to go on this line and feel certain we have the right ancestor. I am sending off for his will which should still be on file in Waterford County. Hopefully it will shed some light on where he came from.

The Bartlett Family

Here is a list of the Bartlett line before it joins the Fleming family and where the signer of the Declaration of Independence fits into it.
Richard Bartlett III and Hannah Emery had two sons of interest to us, Stephen and Richard IV.
Stephen Bartlett was the father of Josiah Bartlett, pictured left, who signed the Declaration of Independence. Josiah was elected the first chief executive of New Hampshire. Later the title was changed to Governor. His portrait hangs in the New Hampshire state capitol building. His home in Kingston, New Hampshire is a national historic site. His statue is in the town square of his place of birth, Amesbury Massachusetts. Bartlett, New Hampshire was named in his honor. He was a medical doctor by profession. He also was on the committee that drafted the Articles of Confederation, the forerunner to the Constitution. He was also Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
The other son of interest to us is Richard Bartlett IV, our direct ancestor and a first cousin of Josiah. The technical relationship between myself and Josiah is that I am his first cousin, seven times removed.

Richard Bartlett III and Hannah Emery were married on November 18, 1673. Their son Richard IV was born on October 20, 1676. Their son Stephen was born on April 21, 1690. Stephen married Hannah Webster on December 18, 1712, and their son Josiah was born on November 21, 1729.

Richard Bartlett IV married Margaret Woodman April 12, 1699. Their daughter Elizabeth Bartlett would marry Seth Chase.

(Note: The Bartlett family tree was very confusing to me for two reasons. First, there are quite a few Richard Bartletts, and second there was quite a bit of marriage involving first cousins. Our ancestor, Lucina Bartlett actually has Bartletts on both sides of her family tree. So, I am basing this information on notes written out for me by Gary Boyd Roberts who sorted through this. Gary based his notes on the book "The Descendants of Joseph Bartlett" and others. To ensure that I understood this, I photocopied many of the pages of books that were applicable.)

Elizabeth and Seth Chase would have a daughter, Rebecca Chase. Rebecca married, Gary believes, a cousin, John Bartlett. These were the parents of Lucina Bartlett who married Silas Leland. Their daughter Lucina would marry Robert King Fleming. For the Flemings I have previously shown the lines of descent.

Finding Our Signer

When I presented my family trees to the professionals, they closed in on the Flemings fairly quickly. I am all Irish on my father’s side and mostly Irish on my mother’s side. But there was one family that caught their attention in our Fleming family line: the Lelands. In short order, I would learn:

Almost all Americans named Leland trace their heritage back to Henry Leland who was born in England about 1625. He was a founding father of Sherborn, Massachusetts.
Henry and his wife Margaret (Badcock)had five children.

Henry’s son Ebenezer, born January 2, 1657/8 would be our Fleming ancestor. Other sons were two boys names Hopestill. One died in infancy and his brother was given the same upon his birth two years later. Eleazer was their fourth son and Experience was their only daughter.

Next in line would be Ebenezer’s son with Deborah Brazier, James Leland, who was born September 20, 1687. Deborah and Ebenezer had four children before Deborah died in her thirties. Ebenezer married a second time to Patience Rice having five more children with her. James, working as a farmer and Captain would marry Hannah Learned and their son Moses continues the line toward the Flemings.

Moses Leland was born in 1716 in Massachusetts. The family lived in various places which included Sherburne, Grafton and Sutton primarily. Moses married Abigail Robbins and they had nine children. Moses supported his family as a farmer.

Solomon Leland was the son of Moses and Abigail. He was born in 1742, lived in Sutton and was a farmer, church deacon and State Representative. Before he died in 1808 he would marry Lois Haven and they would have eight children.

It is at this point that the Leland family is about to accept into their ranks a relative of Josiah Bartlett, first Governor of New Hampshire and a Signer of the Declaration of Independence. Silas Leland was the sixth of the eight children of Solomon and Abigail. He would marry Lucina Bartlett. This couple would be the ones to leave Massachusetts for the midwest, living in both Wisconsin and Illinois. Silas worked as a blacksmith and “machinist” in New Diggings, Wisconsin near Hazel Green. At the time there was a lead rush in the area they settled. I believe that Silas used the plentiful supply to make metal parts for wagons and other equipment. Silas and Lucina would have five children: Candace, Lucina, Silas, Larinda and William H. Their daughter, Lucina Leland, born in 1808 would marry Robert King Fleming.

Robert and Lucina would have 6 children and would be the first of this line of ancestors to move to the Saint Louis area. Their youngest son was named after a family friend, Thomas Hart Benton Fleming would work as a printer and reporter in Saint Louis. He would marry Ellen Giblin and they would have six children, the second of which was my grandfather, John Leland Fleming born in 1875.

Here is a graph

Henry Leland = Margaret Badcock

Ebenezer Leland = Deborah Brazier

James Leland = Hannah Learned

Moses Leland = Abigail Robbins

Solomon Leland = Lois Haven

Silas Leland = Lucina Bartlett
(1781-died after 1850)

Lucina Leland = Robert King Fleming
(1808-1878) (1801-1874)

Thomas Hart Benton Fleming = Ellen Giblin
(1840-1923) (1853-1920)

John Leland Fleming = Margaret Finnegan
(1875-1919) (1880-1969)

This gets our line the families of the women who married into both the Fleming and Leland families, but it does not get us back to our Signer. So, in the next article, I will close in on Lucina Bartlett and her forebears.

My Week in Boston

I can remember as a small boy, being taken to the Saint Louis library by my Mom and accompanying her while she looked through what seemed like a mountain of books. She was researching our genealogy and would occasionally show me one of these reference books. It would contain lists of births, marriages or other vital statistic. One of the consistent things that she would tell me was that we were related, in some way, to a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The name of the signer was fuzzy, and many years later, my sister Margie and I thought it was Stephen Hopkins from Rhode Island. We thought this because my Mom had gone to a convention in Rhode Island and talked about going to a museum there. The Hopkins House has been converted to a museum.

As I began to do amateur genealogy work, I searched records online and found nothing to lead me to any signer. I had picked off all the easy stuff and had hit brick walls beyond that. In the summer of 2011 Nancy and I decided that I should go for some additional training to better help me gather more deeply hidden information. The New England Historical and Genealogical Association was offering a class “Come Home to New England” at their Headquarters in Boston. We debated the expense of the trip, cost of a hotel in downtown Boston for a week, plane fare and so forth. I am forever grateful that Nancy thought it was important enough to spend a considerable amount on this effort.

I attended the training last week and am committing what I learned with these postings. Our 20 or so students had a world class library at our disposal and a team of expert professional genealogists with whom to consult. We started each morning with a one hour lecture on a topic related to research. We spent very little time working on internet sources although I did pick up a few new places to look online. After our opening lecture with questions and answers following, we would move from the classroom to the library. NEHGS has a six story building. The first floor is a high ceiling rotunda, the second floor is their classroom area. The third floor houses their administrative offices while the fourth has their extensive microfilm collection. The fifth and sixth floors are their extensive libraries. These contain many family genealogies done by professional genealogists over the years and manuscripts, rare books and a variety of other books with historical references of all manner.

All of us had brought our own genealogy projects to work on so we would begin to do research. We would also be assigned a consultation with a professional genealogist of our choosing. There were ten available to us and we were given each of their specialties in advance. Inevitably these consultations would deepen our understanding of possible sources. In some cases they debunked the work that students had done before the class. Luckily in my case they did not find any problems with my work in advance.

We had one other invaluable resource at our disposal. The first morning, Gary Boyd Roberts, announced that he wanted to work with each one of us for at least two hours during the week. In order to accomplish this, he was going to be keeping the library open until 11:00PM every night. Gary is the author of several books on genealogy “Notable Kin”, “The Ancestry of U.S, Presidents” and others. He was born in Texas, educated at Yale and has spent his working life pretty much at NEHGS. Gary’s generosity with his time was the key to the discoveries I would make during this week.

So thats the background, now on to our Fleming family kin.