This all started as a result of seeing the spelling of Freeney as Freeny in the newly found Freeney family Bible (see earlier entry). Now confident that both spellings are used in our family, a renewed effort was made to find more of our Freeney ancestors.
We know our Freeney’s / Freeny’s have a long history in the town of Delmar which is split by the Maryland – Delaware state line. However a new discovery made this week says that history goes much further back than we knew… Here is what I have learned from the research compiled by Charles Freeny III:
In 1707 Peter Freeny arrived from northern Ireland and settled near what is today the town of Delmar. Peter’s grandson Joshua Freeny (who fought in the Revolutionary War), documented the following as reported in “Peter Freeny and His Descendants in America”:
The first of the family who came to America was Peter Freeny of Ireland, who settled in the disputed territory, near the boundary between Maryland and Delaware, near the town of Delmar. Here he cut and hewed the logs from the forest and built his home on the land he supposed to be in Maryland. When the boundary dispute was settled, the boundary line ran through his plantation but the home was then in the province of Delaware. Freeny was not pleased with the prospect of being a resident of Delaware, and wishing to remain a citizen of Maryland, carefully pulled down his home and carried the logs across the line and built his home on the part of the land that was in the province of Maryland.
Peter Freeny and his family were protestants and most likely were part of an ethnic group in Ireland known as the Ulster-Scots – persons descended mainly from Lowland Scots who settled in the Province of Ulster during a planned process of colonization during the 17th century.
Our Connection (tree)
John Freeny (b.1675 Ulster, Ireland). John’s son, Peter Freeny (b. cir. 1695 Ulster, Ireland arrives Delmar area in 1707). Peter’s son, John Freeny (1718 – 1786) lived in Delmar. John’s son, Joshua Freeny (1739–1828) a Revolutionary War Soldier. His son, Richard Freeny (b. cir 1779). His son Peter Freeny (1810–1896). His son Thomas Barton Freeny, Sr. (1850 – 1884) whose headstone references his parents and was moved from his farm to St. Stephens cemetery. His son, Thomas Barton Freeney, Jr (1884 – 1950). And his daughter, Sara Marguerite Freeney (1911 – 1987) who married Dr. W. L. Howard (1906 – 2005).
Why Didn’t Marguerite Freeney Howard document this?
My grandmother, Sara Marguerite Freeney Howard is buried in St. Stephen’s Cemetery, Delmar, DE with her husband, her parents (Thomas Barton Freeney, Jr and Sara Jane Webster Freeney) and her grandparents (Thomas Barton Freeney Sr. & Emily Goslee Freeney). Thomas Barton Freeney, Jr. was an optometrist in Delmar, DE.
Until a few days ago I had not been able to trace further back than Peter and Elizabeth Freeney, who were the parents of Thos. Barton Freeney, Sr. Our knowledge of Peter and Elizabeth was limited to the fact that their names were mentioned on Thomas Barton Freeney, Sr.’s gravestone – nothing more could be found. I had always thought this unfortunate as Sara Marguerite Freeney Howard was interested in genealogy and did some research, but as far as I know never documented her father’s paternal Freeney / Freeny line. There is always the possibility that she was aware of the connections above, but did not believe they were hers. On the other hand, the research we are relying upon was published after her death. One final new tidbit that surfaced: The names of Thomas Barton Freeny, Sr.’s siblings includes one Sara M. Freeny.
You've heard the song "...I am my own grandpa". Well....it's not quite that bad, but I am my own 24th cousin. My common ancestors (besides my parents) are Edward Plantagenent and his wife Eleanor de Castile. The links above show the details (scroll to the right after the page loads to see it)
It's always fun to make a breakthrough from an "Immigrant Ancestor" back to his country of birth. It's even more fun if you can continue the line back in the birth country. In the last few days I've connected the Freeney line back to Wales via Nathaniel LITTLETON who was born in Henley, Shropshire County, Wales. As a bonus, his line in Wales is documented back to the year 1000.
I was able to find quite a few notes on many of the individuals in this line, which appear at the end of each persons record -- probably worth a quick read...for example: Eleanor Cobham tried for wichcraft and treason, orAntigone the bastard child of Humphrey Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester.
So after quite a bit of work, you can now (for the first time ever!) see each generation from William The Conqueror to Marguerite Freeney from the link above (after the page loads, be sure to scroll your browser to the right or you will think you are looking at a blank page).
It is interesting to see how "facts" sometimes arise if a fabrication is repeated often enough. The Elizabeth Whittington described below is described in many genealogies as the only daughter of the William Whittington b. 1650 and his 5th wife, also named Elizabeth. (Our Freeney linbe descendants are the children of William Whittington b. 1650's, second marriage to Esther Littleton)
The points and comments below kindly emailed to me by Jacque-Lynne Schulman, convincingly dispute there was a marriage between Sir Thomas Johnson and Elizabeth Whittington or that this Elizabeth even existed.
1. I have visited the Public Record Office in Liverpool. Sir Thomas had a wife in England during the time he would have been married to Eliz. Whittington. I found a record of the marriage and the death of said English wife in the St Nicholas Parish rolls. That church was burned totally during the Blitz as it was very near the shipyards and docks. The rolls had been copied in the 1930s and deposited the the PRO.
2. During the time Sir Thomas would have been in Virginia, he regularly appears in London for Parliament and also is regularly quoted in Norris's rentals in various business affairs taking place in Liverpool.
3. The "proof" that Sir Thomas was in the colonies flows from two deeds that name him that are in the Maryland Archives. These mention him and are filed by his export agents/attorneys. He does not appear himself.
4. There are too many Elizabeth Whittingtons. The child of the 5th wife is nowhere mentioned in Wm Whittington's will or in land records.
While the absence of a child named in will or deed is not probative, items 1 and 2 are proof that Sir Thomas was not in the colonies at the time Whittington Johnson senior was fathered. The only opening would be proof that Elizabeth Whittington was in England in the early 1700s but that begs the fact that Sir Thomas has a English wife during thet time period before and after conception.
The title Collector of Taxes on the Rappahannock is described in English sources as an honorary title, those holding such titles did not themselves in person manage the collections so he would not have actually lived in Virginia for that purpose.
I have spent quite some time on Sir Thomas. My grandmother (1884-1966) was convinced of the connection and it meant a lot to her and to others in the family. As Grammie lived with us, I heard a lot about Sir Thomas. We even had a Manx cat named Sir Thomas - you may know the Isle of Mann is in the Irish Sea near Liverpool. I have reams of information on Sir Thomas and visited the Town Hall in Liverpool, the street that bears his names, etc. etc. etc.
Alas, the weight of facts strongly suggest there is no tie between Sir Thomas Johnson, Knight and the colonial Johnson Family of Northampton-Dorchester.
I would like to find why a child was named WHittington Johnson. There likely was some connection - perhaps the Johnsons were friends or neighbors - I hope someday to find why Whittington became a family name but for now, I have to conclude, my Johnsons are not blood kin the the Whittington Family.
By the way, we figured out that we are 8th cousins 1 time removed - our common ancestors being Michael Todd and Margaret Insley.
An email contact from Vanessa Long informs us that there is a Webster family reunion every year in MD, and that quit a few members of the Webster line and Shores line attend. She is from Princess Anne, MD.
She also provided details on the descendants of John K. Shores b. 1819 who married Charlotte Webster which are now added to the database.
John K. Shores by the way, is the brother of Lambert Hyland Shores. Lambert is the 2x great grandfather of Sara Marguerite Freeney, while Charlotte Webster is the sister of Samuel S. Webster. Samuel is a 1x Great Grandfather of Sarah Marquerite Freeney.
Bill Polk, Kansas City, MO., wrote some extensive notes on the Polk lineage dated 30 Nov 1998 -- some excerpts:
"Robert (Pollok) Polk and his family probably came to America from Northern Ireland sometime between 1672 and 1680. However, their arrival may have been earlier."
"It 1659 he took ship at Londonderry, and after a stormy voyage, during which one of his children died, he landed on the Eastern Shore of Maryland......" It is probable that the family left Ireland to escape religious persecution (Robert was a Covenanter) and for the opportunities the new land afforded to practice their religion and build a home. Thomas, Robert's elder brother, inherited the family estate in Ireland, and the opportunity to secure land of his own in the colonies must have been factored into the decision to leave Ireland."
Diana HOWARD Bahna wrote to say she was going through some old boxes and came across a small photo album from the Freeney side of the family. One of the gems we discovered was a photo of Emily Goslee Freeney holding her granddaughter Kathleen FREENEY (later Herget)
James Knox Polk, 11th President of the USA descends from William B. Polk. William B. Polk was the son of Robert Bruce Polk, the immigrant who cam to the Eastern Shore of MD from Donegal, Ireland.
You are his cousin if your name is on this list, and has a little "tree" icon next to it. (click on the tree)