Let’s correct an identity error that has been in circulation since 1898. When it comes to our favorite old published family histories, we often have a greater sense of trust in what we read there. The authors and their family correspondents were far less removed by decades or distance than we are today. Surely they must have gathered all of the facts with perfect accuracy, right? Not always. Errors happen. We need to try to avoid them, fix them when they do occur, and pass the corrections on to those who need it.
Today’s case of Mistaken Identities involves Guthrie Family Group 2A – Branch F:
1. James Guthrie Sr (1732CT – 1804NY) married to Abigail Betts
2. James Guthrie (listed as their son) married to Mehitable Hickox/Hicock
3. James Guthrie (actually their son) married to Elizabeth ‘Betsey’ (MNU)
Connecticut Vital Statistics and the Barbour Collection reveal James Guthrie Jr was born in Woodbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut on the 19th of November in 1757 to parents James Guthrie and Abigail Betts, and baptized the following Spring on 5 March 1758. These facts seem straight forward, but have been attributed to someone else. The 1898 publication ‘Records of the Guthrie Family of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Virginia‘ by Harriet Nancy Dunn and Eveline Guthrie Dunn, a beloved resource for Guthrie descendants, listed one tiny error that took over a century to discover.
Countless family trees, and more recent publications have copied this marital error, including Laurence R. Guthrie’s ‘American Guthrie and Allied Families.’ Most of us had no reason to question the connection. Ancestry user LMAC563 was the exception. Finding conflicting information about her ancestor, she posted a query requesting clarification on “The Real James Guthrie of Washington Connecticut (1761-1839),” married to Mehitable Hickox. More than one red flag in the document review suggested that her James might not be the son of James and Abigail (Betts) Guthrie. Let’s find some answers!
This segment will cover key points on the Guthrie-Hickox line, but its main focus will be finding evidence for the man who was replaced. We’ll call him: “The Lost James Guthrie Jr of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio. (1757-1813)”
Beginning with a look at the parents, James Guthrie Sr (1732CT – 1804NY) and Abigail Betts, authors Dunn & Dunn correctly documented the couple as moving from Connecticut to Lenox Township in Berkshire, Massachusetts where they joined the First Congregational Church on 4 August 1771. They had at least nine children all under the age of 16, which presumably means they accompanied their parents to Massachusetts. James Guthrie Sr worked as a yeoman (farmer), but also fully engaged in pre-Revolutionary War politics. He reportedly helped to draw up and signed ground-breaking historic documents such as The Lenox Covenant in 1774, which was considered a precursor to the Declaration of Independence and one of the first formal acts of defiance against taxation without representation.
As with many of these Mistaken Identity cases it all boils down to the presence of men with the same name born about the same time having connections to the same or similar residential locations. Vital statistics and locations are the obvious boxes we check when collecting data as we build our family trees. Sometimes the truth can only be found by digging a little deeper into available records. Mehitable Hickox married her James Guthrie at her father’s home in Washington, Litchfield, Connecticut, with the couple residing in the same county the rest of their lives.
1. Although James Guthrie and Mehitable Hickox’s marriage occurred in Litchfield County it turns out that he was not born there nor a county resident at the time. Without that information, it is easy enough to believe that James would be directly related to a local Guthrie family. Based on his approximate age, he seemed to be a good fit for the family of James Guthrie Sr and Abigail Betts, who also resided in Litchfield.
2. Dunn & Dunn documented that James Sr & Abigail had moved to Massachusetts. In order to marry Mehitable in 1783 Litchfield, James Jr would have had to remain in Litchfield County at a time his parents and siblings moved away, (he was only 14 in 1771), or return there 12 years later. Either scenario falls into the possible but improbable category without supporting evidence.
3. Overlooking details in the existing Revolutionary War Widow’s Pension File for Mehitable Hickox (W.25.667) showing that Mehitable’s husband James Guthrie was born in Pound Ridge, Westchester, NY, and was a resident of Danbury in Fairfield County prior to their marriage. Neither location matches what was documented for the couple designated as his parents, James Guthrie Sr and Abigail Betts. These facts suggest James was listed in the wrong spot on the family tree.
THE FACTS on JAMES GUTHRIE & MEHITABLE HICKOX
- Per the Pension Records, James Guthrie was born at Pound Ridge, Westchester, New York. The documents do not identify his exact birth date or parents. In an 1820 document, he is listed as 59 years old, which would estimate his birth year as 1761. Close in date, but not the known DOB listed for James Jr on 19 Nov 1757. Also wrong location.
- On 29 May 1777 • Enlisted as a private soldier in the army of the US in the 7th CT Regiment commanded by Col Swift and that he served in said regiment until 26 May 1781 when he was regularly discharged. He joined the army at Peekskill under Capt Theodore Woodbridge, was drafted out and put on board the sloop Camden where he continued thru the summer, and was then detached and joined the Regiment at Valley Forge.
- On 5 Jun 1777 • James Guthrie, age 15 years, size 5 feet 5 inches, Cordwainer by trade, Born at Pound Ridge State of New York, Place of residence Danbury, Fairfield County, Connecticut, brown hair, fair complexion.
- 28 Jun 1778 • He fought and was wounded by a bayonet at the Battle of Monmouth, and was in the battle of Middle Ferry on the Scuykill at Norwalk when the British burned the town.
- Married Mehitable Hickox on 25 Sep 1783 in Washington, Litchfield, CT at the home of Thaddeus Hickox. Known children: John, Laura, Absalom, and Eliza.
- The biographical sketch in ‘American Guthrie and Allied Families, p.99, indicates that James Guthrie Sr and Abigail Bett’s son “James Guthrie with his family removed from New York to Ohio,” which is not the case for the Guthrie-Hickox family according to the Census Records that consistently show they remained in Connecticut as residents of Sharon and Washington Townships in Litchfield County.
- Pension Roll of 1835 • James Guthrie. Rank: Private, Age: 73, Birth Year: 1762, Pension Enrollment Date: 27 Sep 1815, Residence Place: Litchfield, Connecticut, USA, Service Description: Connecticut Line
- James Guthrie died 7 Sep 1839 in Bethlehem, Litchfield, CT
- There are no other documented connections between this James Guthrie and the parents/siblings to which he was assigned. All other records can be traced to the “lost” son, James Guthrie Jr.
Guthrie-Hickox descendants must now take up the task of discovering the identity of their ancestor’s parents. The Guthrie DNA Project currently has only 1 Autosomal DNA participant from that line. There must be more of you out there to allow for a DNA comparison. Ideally, a male Guthrie with a Y-DNA test could determine if the line remains part of GFG2A. Participants with Autosomal DNA (Ancestry or Family Finder) tests could expand our understanding of this family’s origins.
Is this James Guthrie still part of Guthrie Family Group 2A? Do descendants still belong to Branch F as descendants of John Guthrie and Abigail Coe? Probably. Their son John Guthrie was a member of Danbury First Congregational Church, being admitted there 5 July 1772 and died there in 1775. The most likely candidate may be the “presumed son” of John Guthrie and Patience Knapp.
Positive proof may be difficult to find as British troops set Danbury ablaze in 1777. (Read: The Burning of Danbury)
LOOKING for CLUES: FOLLOWING the FAMILY & their RECORDS
Pension records can provide a lot of details not normally found in other types of records. Not every soldier or sailor ended up with a file. Many of them died before the pension laws were created, or had no surviving widows to apply for pensions when eligible. Others felt they had no need of a pension and never applied, or they may have been receiving some other kind of compensation from the government.
Unfortunately, there is no second pension record to provide easy answers for the ‘lost’ James Guthrie Jr. We must turn back to the data on the parents, James Guthrie Sr and Abigail Betts, and dig through the family documents as they moved from CT to MA to NY in order to find records associated with their real son, James Guthrie Jr. They purchased property in Lenox, Berkshire, Massachusetts, which borders the Connecticut and New York lines, and were located there by 4 August 1771 when they joined the First Congregational Church. Next up are the Revolutionary War years, in which they were still living in Massachusetts.
Dunn & Dunn reveal that “James Guthrie Sr was a Revolutionary soldier, enlisting from Lenox, with his sons, Samuel and Joseph.” Yet, James Jr was the second son by rank, and also old enough to serve. Would he not have also done so from Massachusetts? Note that Mehitable Hickox’s husband enlisted in Connecticut.
Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War
State Library of Massachusetts / Ancestry Digital Database / Family Search
Gutherie, James (p.967)Private, Capt. Erastus Sergeant’s co. Col Benjamin Simond’s detachment of Berkshire Co. militia; muster roll dated Ticonderoga, feb 25, 1777; enlisted Dec 16, 1776; enlistment to expire March 15 1777.
Guthrie, James. (p.968)Private, Capt. Erastus Sergeant’s Co., Col Benjamin Simond’s detachment of Berkshire Co. militia; enlisted Dec 16 1776; discharged March 22 1777; service 97 days, travel included, at Ticonderoga.
Guthree, James (p.968)Private, Capt. Oliver Belding’s Co, Col John Brown’s regt; enlisted Sep 21 1777; discharged Oct 14 1777; service, 24 days at the Northward.
Guthiee, James (p.967)Private, Capt, Charles Dibble’s Co, Col Rossiter’s (3rd Berkshire Co) regt; enlisted Oct 14, 1780; discharged Oct 17, 1780; service, 3 days on the alarm at the Northward of Oct 14, 1780.
Guthrey, James (p.968)Private, Capt Charles Dibbel’s Co, Col Rosseter’s (3rd Berkshire Co) regt; discharged Oct 21 1780; service 4 days, on the alarm at the Northward of Oct 18, 1780.
James Guthrie Sr (1732-1804) signed the Lenox Covenant in 1774 and reportedly other documents having to do with revolutionary ideals. His political leanings were certainly in the right place to be a Revolutionary Soldier. He was about 42 years of age. This is technically a little ‘long in the tooth’ for those days, but George Washington was also born in 1732 just a few months earlier than James Sr, so men of a certain age were certainly signing up to fight for the cause.
What is unclear is whether the above entries are applicable to James Guthrie Sr (1732-1804), or if some or even all were associated with his son, James Guthrie Jr instead. Without more details on the soldier that determination may be impossible. A closer look into the Massachusetts records is necessary. The original documents may provide details the excerpts do not.
After the war, James Guthrie Sr and wife Abigail sold 24 acres of their property to Samuel Northrup. They continued to live in Lenox and were there during the 1790 US Census where the household consisted of 3 Free White Males 16 and Over, 3 Free White Males Under 16, and 5 Free White Females.
In 1792, they moved from Massachusetts to New York. John Lincklaen, of the Holland Land Company, wrote in his Journal “Thursday, Oct. 11, 1792, we passed through Sherburne, Chenango County, where we found one Mr. Guthrie, who had been there three or four months.” James Sr and Abigail sold the remaining 99 acres of their Lenox property on 25 Jan 1793. Their eldest son Dr Samuel Guthrie had settled in Stafford, Tolland, CT after his 1789 marriage, but would later return to Massachusetts.
The Meeting House on West Hill was the first church building to be erected in Sherburne. The society was formed in the home of James Guthrie, Tuesday Nov. 25, 1800. The census of Sherburne, Chenango County, New York for 1800 included the James Guthrie Household listing 1 Free White Male and 1 Free White Female 45 and over, and 1 Free White Female 10 – 15. The same census page includes households for John Guthrey, Benjamin Guthrey, Joseph Guthrey, and James Guthrey Junr. Sons-in-law Averill and Jenks were also listed. The youngest son, Dr Nathan Guthrie, was also in Chenango County, but living in DeRuyter.
These census records show that James and Abigail (Betts) Guthrie were living in Sherburne, Chenango, NY in 1800 with nearly all of their children living nearby. Although the terms Senior and Junior were sometimes used to represent an older and younger person of the same name rather than just a father-son relationship, it seems more likely that the James Guthrie Junr listed here is the actual son of James and Abigail rather than the man married to Mehitable Hickox who was at that time living in Sharon, Litchfield, CT.
James Guthrie Senior died on 22 April 1804 in Sherburne, Chenango, NY, but the town records show the continued presence of a man named James Guthrie Junior. The younger man had a wife named Elizabeth, also known as “Betsey”, whose maiden name remains undiscovered.
THE FACTS on JAMES GUTHRIE JR. & ELIZABETH ‘BETSEY’ (MNU)
- Prior to his parents making the move from MA to NY, it appears that James Guthrie Junr had moved with his uncle, William Guthrie, to Chumming, Montgomery County, New York. The James Guthrie household was listed there in the 1790 Census with 1M over 16, 3M under 16, and 1F.
- On 16 Feb 1791, Montgomery County, NY was divided. Three new counties were created: Herkimer, Otsego, and Tioga. The land that James Guthrie would purchase was part of Herkimer County, NY. He also appears to have made a larger purchase and then divided it up between himself and his brothers, as shown the next entries.
- 12 Sep 1794 – Herkimer County, NY (Chenango Deed Book G, p.123)
William S Smith of City of New York, gentleman, & Abigail his wife, sell to James Guthrie of the County of Herkimer and State of New York. Sum of 175 pounds lawful money of NY. Land lying in Herkimer County distinguished as Lot 59 in ninth township.
- 12 Dec 1794 – Herkimer County, NY (Chenango Deed Book K pp.104-105)
Indenture between James Guthrie of Sherburne and John Guthrie of same for sum of 50 pounds. The 2nd part of tract of land being 1/2 of remainder of lot No. 5 in eighth township conveyed to Joseph Guthrie by Wm S Smith then to Benjamin Guthrie.
- 23 Dec 1794 – Herkimer County, NY (Chenango Deed Book L pp.76-77)
James Guthrie Junior of Sherburne in Herkimer and Joseph Guthrie of same. Sum 75 pounds current money of NY. Land consisting of 3/7 part of Lot No. 59 in TWP 9 originally conveyed 20 Sep 1794 by Wm S Smith.
- 23 Dec 1794 – Herkimer County, NY (Chenango Deed Book L pp.477-479
James Guthrie of Sherburne in Herkimer to Benjamin Guthrie of same for 50 pounds lawful money. Tract where Benjamin lives, part of lot No. 5 in the 8th two. sold to Joseph Guthrie then to James.
- On 15 March 1798, Chenango County, NY was formed from Tioga and Herkimer Counties.
- The 1800 census of Sherburne, Chenango, NY includes the James Guthrie Jr Household: 1M and 1F 26-44, 1M 16 – 25, 2M 10 – 15, 2M and 3F under 10. Total Household Members = 10.
- The 1801 NY Tax Assessment Rolls of Real and Personal Estates also includes James Guthrie Junr. Value of Real Estate 1611; Value of Personal Estate (blank line). Tax = 3.7
- The 1802 NY Tax Assessment Rolls of Real and Personal Estates lists James Guthrie Junr. Value of Real Estate 1969; Value of Personal Estate 0; Tax = 4.13
- The 1803 NY Tax Assessment Rolls of Real and Personal Estates also includes James Guthrie Junr. Value of Real Estate 1611; Value of Personal Estate (blank line). Tax = 3.7
- Father James Guthrie Sr died in Sherburne, Chenango, NY on 22 April 1804. He left a will in which he identifies only 4 children by name: Sarah, Ester, Nathan, and John, with the latter acting as his executor.
- 3 March 1808 – Chenango County, NY (Deed Book BB pp.350-351
Sale by James Guthrie and wife Elizabeth to John Guthrie 2nd for $100. part of Lot No. 59. Neighboring David Guthrie, James Guthrie, Joseph Guthrie. Witnesses include Anslem (K or H) Guthrie.
- 6 Mar 1810 – Chenango County, NY (Deed Book P, pp.61-62
Purchase by James Guthrie of Shurburne from Daniel D Gardiner of same. Sum of $150. Land part of lot No. 60.
- The 1810 Census of Sherburne, Chenango, NY – James Guthrie Household:
1M and 1F 45 and over; 1M and 1F 16-25; 1M and 1F 10-15, 1F under 10.
- 6 April 1812 – Chenango County, NY (Deed Book P, pp.276-278
James Guthrie of Sherburne and wife Elizabeth and Asa Gifford of same. Sum of $3000 in hand paid. Land in Sherburne being the 4th part of lot No. 59 and 11 acres of north part of lot No. 60.
- The confusion created in ‘American Guthrie and Allied Families’ on p.99 stating “James Guthrie with his family removed from New York to Ohio” is now made clear because that is exactly what happened to the correct James Guthrie Jr.
- The Firelands, or Sufferers’ Lands, tract was located at the western end of the Connecticut Western Reserve in what is now the U.S. state of Ohio. It was legislatively established in 1792, as the “Sufferers’ Lands”, and later became named “Fire Lands” because the resale of the land was intended as financial restitution for residents of Connecticut towns whose homes had been burned in 1779 and 1781 by British forces during the American Revolutionary War. Additional pioneer settlement of these land began to occur about 1807.
- Huron County, Ohio: About 1812, the “First settlers in Avery, now Milan. Those who settled in the township, with families, prior to the war of 1812 with England were the following…. and in the fourth section…. (includes) James Guthrie.” (Avery Township in Huron County is now called Milan in Erie County, OH.)
- The article Charles Parker’s War of 1812 Blockhouse: The Historical Record and the Terry Speer Collection of Historic Artifacts, by Patrick Tucker includes a map pinpointing James Guthrie’s property nearby. Guthrie was a neighbor of Charles Parker.
- Almost immediately after their arrival in Huron County, Ohio, James Guthrie Jr and his son David B Guthrie died. There is no indication of a cause of death in any of the records found so far. James was about 55 years old. He died intestate (without a will). On 1 June 1813, the Court of Common Pleas in Cuyahoga County, OH, presumably the largest populated area being Cleveland, granted Letters of Administration to Anslem Guthrie, of Wheatsborough. Josiah Smith, Daniel Sherman, and Charles Parker were assigned as appraisers of the estate. On the same court date, Letters of Administration were also issued to Anselm Guthrie on the estate of David B. Guthrie.
- A letter of administration was approved back in Sherburne, Chenango, NY for his brother, John Guthrie, to act as his administrator. It specifically identifies “James Guthrie late of the town of Avery in the County of Huron and State of Ohio.” Joseph Guthrie personally appeared before the court making oath that he had received letters from the widow and a son of the deceased. [Letters of Administration Oct 30 1813. Letters Recorded Book A p.52. Inventory Filed 21 Jun 1814.]
- The same was issued to John Guthrie to act as administrator in Sherburne on behalf of the estate of “David Guthrie late of Avery, County of Huron and State of Ohio.” An oath was made that John “had received letters from Betsey Guthrie and Abigail Guthrie of the town of Avery County of Huron and State of Ohio, the former the mother and the latter a sister of David Guthrie… that David Guthrie died intestate in the month of December 1812 having one child only of about the age of eight years, that the wife of the said David had since died, and that David had left credits in County of Chenango amounting to about $300. [Letters of Administration Dec 31 1813, Letters Recorded Book A p.62, Inventory Filed 21 June 1814.]
The identification of James Guthrie Jr’s family has proven just as complicated.
His wife Elizabeth’s maiden name remains unknown. AKA ‘Betsey’. The 1800 Census lists her as 26 – 44 years of age estimating her birth year as between 1756 – 1774. No record of their marriage was found. Betsy was still living at the time of her husband’s death. A Huron County Deed lists her in Bloomingville, Huron, OH on 4 Sep 1816 purchasing 1 acre of land from Jonathan Sprague for $100. Witnesses: Thomas Hamilton and Rassalus Guthrie.
CHILDREN of JAMES GUTHRIE JR. and ELIZABETH “BETSEY” (MNU)
1. Dr. Anselm Guthrie
2. Erastus ‘Rassatus’ Guthrie
3. David B. Guthrie
4. Abigail ‘Abby’ Guthrie
5. Beulah Guthrie
6. Unidentified Son
7. Unidentified Son
Unidentified Daughter Elisa Guthrie
9. Unidentified Daughter
Even before trying to determine the children’s names, we can determine their numbers by reviewing census records.
The 1790 Census of Chemung, Montgomery, New York:
1M over 16 (James Guthrie, Jr. – known age 33)
3M under 16 (presumed sons born 1775-1790)
1F (Betsy, wife – age unknown)
The 1800 Census of Sherburne, Chenango, New York:
1M and 1F 26-44 (James Guthrie, Jr – known age 43; Betsy, wife, born 1756-1774)
1M 16-25 (born 1775-1784)
2M 10-15 (born 1785-1790)
2M and 3F under 10 (born 1791-1800)
The 1810 Census of Sherburne, Chenango, New York:
1M and 1F 45 and over (James Guthrie, Jr – known age 53; Betsy, wife born 1756-1765, aged 45-54)
1M and 1F 16-25 (born 1785-1794)
1M and 1F 10-15 (born 1795-1800)
1F under 10 (born 1801-1810)
In addition to the simple misidentification error that led to Dunn & Dunn attaching the wrong James Guthrie and his wife Mehitable Hickox to the family of James Guthrie Sr and Abigail Betts, there was a tragic series of family deaths or departures that may have led to the lack of a cohesive family history among James & Betsey Guthrie’s descendants.
The 1800 census, above, provides us with the best outline of their family structure with the addition of 1 daughter by 1810. Property and Court Records have also aided the identification of some of the children, although there is much more left to be discovered.
CHILD 1: DR. ANSELM GUTHRIE
Firstly, this man is not the same person as GFG1A’s Anslem Guthrie (1796VA-1879IL) who married Matilda Brock. That couple lived in the Tennessee/Kentucky region and settled in Union County, Illinois. Some family trees have erroneously linked that man to Amanda Perry, the wife of Dr. Anselm Guthrie.
Dr Anselm Guthrie, may or may not have been the oldest of James & Betsey Guthrie’s children. He was the designated administrator of his father and brother’s estates, but that role does not always automatically fall to the eldest child. If he was the eldest son, his birth may have been as early as 1775. I think he was more likely to have been one of the sons born 1785 – 1790, or at least born closer to the end of the 1775 – 1784 range.
His middle initial may be “K” or “H” based on one of the listings of his name as a witness to a deed between his parents and John Guthrie 2nd. (Deed Book BB, pp.350-351)
On 10 July 1813 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio before justice of the peace Myah Comstock, Anslem Guthrie married Amanda Perry. His younger sister Abbey Guthrie also married Daniel Sherman that day. Their marriages are recorded in consecutive entries.
The family had settled in the Firelands in what was then Huron County, Ohio. It was later divided into two parts, and the northern section became Erie County, Ohio, and so its history is now documented under that location. The Standard History of Erie County, Ohio notes that “The first physicians were Doctors Goodwin and Guthrie. Before their arrival in the settlement, people in need of medical attention were obliged to send to Cleveland.”
On 1 Oct 1815, Anselm Guthrie purchased from Dougal Campbell of Wheatsborough in Huron County, for the sum of $206.40 lots in the Village of Bloomingville, Huron, Ohio No. 15, 21, 28, 29, and 30 fronting on Main Street; No. 40, 46, and 48 between Union and Amity Streets; Nos. 59 and 62 on Amity Street, small lots; No. 7 and 10 on Young Street, large lots. (Deed Book Old 1, p.540)
Anselm sold the property to Nathan Wood on 4 Apr 1816 (Deed Book Old 1, p653) for $106. Land in the town plat of Bloomingville, viz: No. 28, 30, 62, 15, and 46, small lots; and No. 7, large lot.
Dr Anselm Guthrie (also written as Anslem) settled in Huron (Erie) County for four years, but then removed to Canada. It seems that his marriage to Amanda Perry was unsuccessful. On 27 May 1817, David Abbott, Clerk of the Huron Supreme Court posted a Notice in the Western Reserve Chronicle. Amanda had filed for divorce. Anselm had disappeared to parts unknown (apparently Canada).
Huron County Court Records Volume 1, Pages 6 – 7 for September Term 1818 lists the Case of Amanda Guthrie vs. Anslem Guthrie: Petition for Divorce. The record also mentions a daughter, Clarissa Guthrie.
Dr Anselm Guthrie moved north to Canada where he worked as a physician in the Chatham-Kent area of Ontario. A Centennial Chronicle of Kent Doctors mentions “Pioneers pointed out on the west bank of Clear Creek, in Orford, the grave of Dr Anselm Guthrie, the first physician on the Thames, who married a daughter of Pioneer Matt Dolsen.”
No records of the above marriage have been found so far, nor any other details of Dr Anselm Guthrie’s life in Canada. Amanda and Clarissa’s fates are also unknown.
CHILD 2: DAVID B. GUTHRIE
There is a David Guthrie household listed in Sherburne, Chenango, New York for the 1810 census that is probably this man. He is listed in the Males of 16 – 25 category, which puts his birth year range at 1785 – 1794. His unidentified wife was at least a year older as she is in the 26 – 44 category that year.
David and his family made the move from New York to the Firelands in Huron County, Ohio, but he died in December 1812. This was at the same time or shortly proceeding the death of his father, James Guthrie, Jr. This may have been too early for the Huron County Court, for the Letters of Administration granted to brother Anselm Guthrie were from Cuyahoga County.
There were also Letters of Administration granted to John Guthrie back in Sherburne, Chenango County, New York stating that David had credits there.
The documents reveal that David’s wife had predeceased him and that he had one daughter. Her identity is unknown.
Although an inventory is indexed for both David and his father for 1814, it was not located in the records online.
CHILD 3: ERASTUS “RASSATUS” GUTHRIE
Again, Erastus was most likely born 1785-1800. He was a witness to an 1816 deed between Jonathan Sprague and Elizabeth Guthrie documenting the purchase of one acre of land.
He died when he was probably in his early 30s, cause unknown. Huron County Court issued Letters of administration for his estate to his brother-in-law Daniel Sherman and to David W Henman.
There is no mention of a wife in these limited court records, and a look at the inventory of his ‘estate’ suggests that he was landless and single. There are no Huron County, OH deeds listed under Erastus Guthrie’s name as Grantee or Grantor.
One Horse ($75.00), one saddle, bridle, and martingale ($5.00), three vesty one pair suspenders and trunk ($2.25), one h__ $1.00. Dougal Campbell and James Strong, appraisers.
CHILD 4: ABIGAIL “ABBY” GUTHRIE
According to Find-a-Grave, Abigail Guthrie was born on 12 August 1798 in Sherburne, Chenango, New York. This would make her only 14 at the time of her marriage to Daniel Sherman on 10 July 1813. It was the same day her brother Dr Anselm Guthrie married Amanda Perry. This was also about the time of her father’s death. They lived in Sherman Township, Huron, OH. There were 3 children born to this marriage: 1) Elizabeth Sherman b 5 Nov 1814 who m. Caleb Hall; 2) William Sherman b.20 Jan 1817, d. at Mansfield, OH on 24 Sep 1876, unmarried; 3) George E Sherman, b. 20 Mar 1819, d. 6 July 1831. Abby died at Sherman on 23 Apr 1820 at only 21 years 8 months and 11 days of age. She is buried at Jones Cemetery in Sherman Township.
Daniel Sherman remarried to Laura Hubbel (1791VT-1873OH). They had 2 children: 1) Harriet Eliza Sherman, b. 4 Apr 1825, m. Sidney Dole Fish; 2) Charles William Sherman, b. 10 Oct 1827, d at Ridgefield, 28 Dec 1836.
Family data sourced from ‘Sherman genealogy, including families of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, England‘. Daniel Sherman also wrote ‘Memoirs of Townships-Ridgefield‘ included in The Firelands Pioneer, March 1859.
CHILD 5: BEULAH GUTHRIE
This daughter is most likely the youngest child of the family, born 1801-1810 in Sherburne, Chenango, NY. Way back in Oct of 1998, Mary H. Arnold posted a Rootsweb message board query:
A letter dated 5 March 1816 from my ancestor, Jonathan Sprague and his 2nd wife, Elizabeth, is addressed to Mr. Joseph Guthrie Sherburn, Chenango, County, New York, and speaks of Jonathan’s dissatisfaction with the handling (expenses) charged against the estate of James Guthrie, whose estate was probated in Cuyahoga County, Ohio in 1813. Further research indicates that Jonathan and Elizabeth had the care of one Bula Guthrie, who apparently was the child of James Guthrie. The letter mentions “your brother John and Mr. Tilly Lynde”. There was also an estate for a David Guthrie. Unfortunately, only the index is extant. Bula later married a William SLY in Huron County, Ohio. Anything sound familiar to anyone? Thanks.
Yes, Mary. Yes, it does sound familiar. Thanks goes to you, too, twenty-five years later. You’re the reason I started looking for clues in Huron County, Ohio.
What is the origin of the letter? Had Joseph Guthrie taken over the administration of James Guthrie’s NY estate by 1816? That was 3 years after his death and 2 years after the estate inventory was filed back in Ohio. Is it a coincidence that Jonathan Sprague’s 2nd wife is named Elizabeth and that they have the care of Bula, or was his 2nd marriage to the widow Guthrie? Need details. We know about his brother John, who was originally assigned as James Jr’s admin. We also know about David Guthrie, the son of James and Elizabeth who died about the same time as his father. No idea about Tilly Lynde at this point.
Beulah Ann Guthrie married William H Sly Jr, a native of County Wexford, Ireland, on 25 Nov 1827 in Huron, Ohio, USA. Trees include her in the family of Ebenezer ‘Eben’ Guthrie, but this appears to be another misplaced person error. Eben was a cousin of this Guthrie line. He was a son of Ephraim Guthrie and Thankful Stone, born in 1770 in Kent, Litchfield, CT. He moved from Cayuga NY to Norwalk, Huron County, OH sometime between 1810 and 1820, and had quite a few land transactions documented in the records. His 1855 will names his children, but makes no mention of a daughter named Beulah or grandchildren named Sly.
Beulah Ann Guthrie was born 9 April 1808 in Sherburne, Chenango, NY. She and her husband had about 13 children, two of which died in their infancy. They relocated to Northville, LaSalle, Illinois before the 1850 census. William died in 1876. Beulah lived until 15 Dec 1898. She died at 90 hears of age and is buried at Lette Cemetery in LaSalle County.
THE UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN 6 – 9
There are still 2 sons who remain a mystery. One is still potentially the eldest child of the family born 1775-1784 unless Anslem, Erastus, or David fill that role. The other is either a middle son or the youngest one, born between 1785-1800.
The continuing records for Huron County, Ohio list only the names found among Eben Guthrie’s family. The only Guthrie household in Huron County, Ohio in 1820’s US Census is that of Eben Guthrie.
There are also 2 unidentified daughters. Both Abby and Beulah’s dates of birth are known. They were the two youngest daughters in the household.
The eldest daughter was born 1785 – 1794 and was still living in the household in 1810 at 16 – 25 years old.
The other daughter was born between 1795 – 1800 and would have been 10 – 15 in 1810.
Huron County, OH Marriages:
Roxanna Guthrie 18 Nov 1818 to Henry Levy [Eben’s daughter]
Elisa Guthrie 17 May 1821 to Jacob Bonck [Could be the widow Elizabeth or a daughter]
Abigail H Guthrie 4 Sep 1824 to Jonas Leonard [Eben’s daughter]
Prudence Ann Guthrie 1 Mar 1840 to Miles J Beach [Eben Jr’s daughter]
Sarah Maria Guthrie 15 Aug 1846 to William Lutts [Unknown]
Clarinda M Guthrie 13 Jan 1855 to Lewis Moore [Unknown]
Elizabeth Guthrie 24 Oct 1855 to Almen Hoyt [Phineas’ daughter]
The 1830 Census of Huron, OH lists a household for Jacob Bouck:
1M 30-39, 1F 20-29 born 1801-1810, 1M 5-9, 3F under 5. Note the female is too young to be one of the above daughters of James & Elizabeth Guthrie.
Another marriage record was found for Jacob Bouck in Huron County, OH dated just a year later for 5 July 1822 to Olive Graves, which suggests Elisa Guthrie Bouck had died 1821-1822.
Additional evidence is recommended, but Elisa Guthrie is a good candidate to be one of James and Elizabeth’s daughters.
CASE CLOSED ?
“The Lost James Guthrie Jr of Connecticut, New York, and Ohio. (1757-1813)” and his family have finally made an appearance. We’ve uncovered quite a bit, but there may be more out there to discover. Keep your detective hats on. If you’re related to this Guthrie family please share your story.
For those of you who descend from James Guthrie and Mehitable Hickox try not to think of this as losing your place in the Family Tree. Now you have the opportunity to claim your true birthright by discovering the identity of James’ real parents. Was it John Guthrie and Patience Knapp from Danbury, CT? Are there other clues we can glean from the CT records? Does your DNA contain the evidence to prove or disprove a continued connection to Guthrie Family Group 2A Branch F? Let us hear from you, too.
- Review the other Mistaken Identities discovered so far.
- Family Trees are great places to find HINTS. They are equally great places to find ERRORS. They should never be your primary resource when building your tree.
- Use the “Trust but Verify” approach to build your Family Tree whenever adding information from published works and existing online sources. Collect the data, but verify it. Look for the evidence that proves that relationship or added info.
- Billions of free easily accessible documents are available in the Family Search Records Collection.
- It’s better to have a Brick Wall in your Family Tree than 10 generations of incorrect ancestors.
- Consider adding a tag, note, or warning if you include Unproven / Theorized Ancestors.
- Check out multiple sources. In this case, Revolutionary War Pension File details shed light on 125 year old error, but it also provided a lot of details about that James Guthrie, too. Land/Property/Tax Records, Church Records, and Estate/Probate Records can all reveal personal details and help to trace and connect families.
- Collaborate with each other to build your knowledge remembering to “Trust but Verify” as you work together.