2A-G: James Guthrie Esq

James Guthrie bef.1751PA – 1812PA and Jennet Culbertson and Martha MNU
of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA

Parents: James Guthrie 1720IRE-1801PA and Jeanette (Wilson) Moore abt.1720-aft.1787PA
Birth: Before 1751. Noted to be the eldest son.
Birth Location: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, USA
Marriage (1st): Jennet Culbertson estimated bet. 1770-1775 in Westmoreland County, PA
Marriage (2nd): Mrs Martha Scott 30 Oct 1803 in Chambersburg, Franklin County, PA
Death: 14 May 1812
Death Location: Hempfield, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Location: Unknown, presumably in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, USA

Parents: Samuel Culbertson 1719IRE-1789PA and Jennet Shields abt.1718IRE-1782PA
Birth: 1754
Birth Location: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, USA (Franklin created in 1784 from Cumberland)
Guthrie Sons: James (1777), Samuel (1782)
Guthrie Daughters: Hettie (1775)
Death: 22 February 1801
Death Location: Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Location: Unknown, presumably in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, USA

Parents: Unverified – Speculative Parents are Thomas Barr and Janet Hutchinson
Birth: Unknown
Birth Location: Unknown, presumably in Pennsylvania
Marriage (1st): John Scott, Esq., date unknown, presumably in Cumberland County, PA
Scott Sons & Daughters: Jane Scott, Elizabeth Scott – Need copy of John Scott’s Will – Franklin Book B, p118
Guthrie Sons: None
Guthrie Daughters: None
Death: Unknown, after 1812
Death Location: Unknown, presumably in Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Location: Unknown, presumably in Pennsylvania, USA

Laurence R Guthrie, author of ‘American Guthrie and Allied Families‘ had difficulty distinguishing the family members and records for James Guthrie/Jeanette (Wilson) Moore and son James Guthrie/Jennet Culbertson. He goes so far as to admit “that one is uncertain at times as to which of the two is meant,” but doing so allows us to scrutinize the records listed. I believe I have worked it out, but there may be room for debate on the subject.

James Guthrie, presumably the eldest son of James Guthrie and Jeanette (Wilson) Moore was born in Pennsylvania. This was most likely Cumberland County, Pennsylvania where the couple had been living at the approximate time of James’ birth. We don’t know an exact year, but as we do know that his presumably younger brother William was born in 1851. This also makes sense as James Guthrie purchased ‘Guthrie’s Fortune’ (165-1/4 acres) in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania on 13 June 1769. He was most likely legally an adult of at least 21 years at the time of the purchase making his estimated DOB in or before 1748.

When the United States declared their independence, a James Guthrie of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania signed up as a private in the Sixth Battalion, First Class. This James Guthrie rather than his father, who would have been nearly 60, seems to be the best candidate for that role as a soldier during the American Revolution.

He married Jennet Culbertson before the war. We know of only 3 children: Hettie (abt. 1775), James (1777), and Samuel (1782). On 27 Feb 1783, it was “ordered that James Guthrie, Esquire, be appointed a Justice of the Peace for the County of Westmoreland and commissioned accordingly.” Four years later, on 20 April 1787 “James Guthrie of Greensburg, Tavernkeeper, and Jean his wife, for 218 pounds, 15 shillings, convey to Adam Hope, yeoman of Mt Pleasant Township, a certain tract in said township called ‘Guthrie’s Fortune’ containing 165-1/4 acres.”

That same year James Guthrie and Christopher Truly were appointed Wood Rangers for Westmoreland County. James served as the executor to the estate of David Rankling of Mount Pleasant in 1788. In the fall of that year he was elected High Sheriff of Westmoreland County. Greensburg was incorporated as a borough on 9 Feb 1799 officially establishing its first newspaper, and building its court house, jail, and public market house. The Guthries purchased 150 acres in Hempfield Township on 15 February 1800 and sold it a couple months later on 12 April 1800. “James Guthrie, Esq. of Hempfield Township, and Jane his wife, sell to Daniel Turney, a tract of land in said township containing 150 acres and allowances, it being a part of a tract granted on application No.3528, June 23, 1769 to Joseph Brownlee.

The household of James Guthrie is enumerated in the 1800 US Census of Hempfield, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania: 1M & 1F 45+ (<1755), 2M 16-25 (1775-1784), 2F 10-15 (1795-1800). Both his wife, Jennet (Culbertson) Guthrie and his father died in 1801 after which James Guthrie Esq made sale of another property in Franklin Township on 29 July 1801. “I James Guthrie of the Borough of Greensburg…” for 50 pounds, sell to Conrod Ludwick, a piece of land situate in Franklin Township containing 401 acres, 153 perches. Signed by James Guthrie in the presence of his son-in-law, Paul Morrow.

James Guthrie remarried on Thursday, 30 Oct. 1803 in Chambersburg to Mrs Martha Scott, the late widow of John Scott, Esq. She had 2 daughters by her first marriage. On 13 May 1805 “James Guthrie of Greensburgh, and Martha his wife, for $130.79 sell to Jacob Rugh, a parcel of land in Hempfield Township containing 3 acres, 155 perches strict measure being a part of a tract surveyed to James Waterson, 5th July 1769.” The household of Captn. James Guthrie was enumerated in the 1810 US Federal Census for Hempfield: 1M & 1F 45+ (<1765), 1M 16-25 (1785-1794), 1M & 1F 10-15 (1795-1800), 1M<10.

James Guthrie wrote a will on 23 April 1812 providing for his wife Martha, step-daughters Jane and Elizabeth, daughter Hetty’s children, and naming William Jack, Esq, Thomas Huge, Isaac Parr, and sons James & Samuel Guthrie as executors. He died on 14 May 1812 in Hempfield, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania. The will was proved on 21 May 1812. James Guthrie Esq took on the debt owed by his father James Guthrie Sr to Isaac Parr who had provided him bed and board during his final years. So, on 15 May 1817, William Jack, Thomas Code, James and Samuel Guthrie, executors of the last will and testament of James Guthrie, late of Hempfield Township, dec’d: — (excerpt) convey right of tract on Crab Tree Run to Isaac Parr. (Westmoreland Deeds, Vol 5, p.186-7) Parr had been married to Elizabeth Guthrie, daughter of James Guthrie/Jeanette (Wilson) Moore, and so was James Guthrie Esq.’s brother-in-law.


abt. 1775PA – 1811PA

The name Hettie is typically a nickname for either Henrietta or Esther. Find-a-Grave lists her DOB as 16 May 1780. Some trees list 26 May 1779. Need an original source for her DOB. She married Paul Morrow on Thursday, 23 March 1797 by the Rev. Sam Porter of Congruity Church. They had 3 daughters and one son. She died on 8 Jan 1811 and is buried in Old Kittanning Cemetery, reportedly the first to be buried there, in Kittanning, Armstrong, Pennsylvania.
1) Jane ‘Jennie’ Morrow 1797PA-1851 m.1819PA David Mclean +children
2) Molly’ Morrow 1799PA-1861PA. Unmarried.
3) Hettie Guthrie Morrow 1802PA-1887PA m. James Ramsey Speer (physician) +children
4) James Guthrie Morrow (physician/pharmacist) 1804NY-1845IA m. Harriet Maranda Olds +children

Y-DNA Project Participants: N/A – Female Guthrie
Autosomal DNA Participants: No

1777PA – 1850PA

The History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania includes a biographical sketch of the Rev. James Guthrie, the first pastor of Tyrone congregation, (See pp.794-795) identifying his parents as Scot-Irish covenanters who carefully instructed him in the duties and doctrines of religion. He entered Dickinson College to study theology. He was later licensed and ordained as a minister of the gospel at Laurel Hill, Redstone Presbytery, in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.

He was married on 30 August 1803 to Martha Torrence, the daughter of Joseph Torrence. They had one son: Joseph Torrence Guthrie (1807). Martha died on 7 May 1807. At the time, James was only about 30 years old, and he remarried by 1810 to a Miss Gallaher of Dunlap’s Creek. This was most likely Sarah Gallaher, the daughter of Thomas and Ann Gallaher. The second of four wives, she was the mother of the other children in the family: Martha Torrence Guthrie (1812), Ann (1814), James Culbertson (1815), George (1819), and Sarah Jane (1821). Sarah (Gallaher) Guthrie died on 2 Feb 1826 in the 46th year of her age and is buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery.

They say it is a pastor’s duty to present an example of marriage to his flock, and so Rev Guthrie married again for a third time sometime after 1828 to Hannah, the daughter of William Smith and widow of David Hunter. She died at about 43 years of age on 6 May 1833 and is also buried at Laurel Hill. Sometime prior to the 1840 census, James married yet again, this time to Elizabeth (Skiles) Beeson, the widow of Jesse Beeson who had died back in 1826.

The 1850 census finds them living in Dunbar, Fayette, Pennsylvania listed as James Guthrie, 76, Presbyterian Minister, and Elizabeth Guthrie, 58, both born in Pennsylvania. The good reverend died that year on 24 August 1850. He is buried in Old Laurel Hill Cemetery, Dunbar, Fayette, Pennsylvania. His will written 16 April 1849 names his wife Elizabeth, 4 children, and 2 sons-in-law. The will was registered 6 September 1850. Estate records include a petition by Mrs Elizabeth Guthrie in March 1855 citing that her stepson James Culbertson Guthrie, acting as executor of the reverend’s estate, was mismanaging it. The citation was awarded and served to the executor to appear in court. Another petition was issued in Sept 1861 by Clark Davidson, son-in-law of Rev. James Guthrie, for issue of a citation against executors Samuel A Russel and James C Guthrie stating that the estate account had never been settled. The citation was dismissed. The following September 1862 Davidson again made petition bringing allegations against both executors, and was awarded the citation. An estate sale occurred on 14 April 1866 for Lot#111 containing 1/4 acre lot in New Haven, Dunbar, Fayette, PA recorded on 18 April 1866. The final accounting of the estate was recorded March 1867.
1) Joseph Torrence Guthrie 1807PA-aft.1867 – unknown marital status / children
2) Martha Torrence Guthrie 1812PA-1866MO m. Clark Davidson +children
3) Ann B. Guthrie 1814PA-1833PA – died at 19 years of age, unmarried.
4) James Culbertson Guthrie 1815PA-1879PA m.1842PA Mary Rogers Work +children
5) George G. Guthrie 1819PA-1821PA died at 2 years of age.
6) Sarah Jane Guthrie 1821PA-1853PA m.1840PA James Allen +children

Y-DNA Project Participants: Yes
Autosomal DNA Participants: Yes

1782PA – 1820PA

Samuel Guthrie was born on 18 August 1782. He received his higher education at Dickson College in Carlisle, PA and was admitted to the first bar of the County Court of Armstrong, Pennsylvania in December of 1805. Brother-in-law Paul Morrow was the court clerk. He seems to have carried on his father’s legal business, as well as the buying and selling of real estate. He also appears as a Justice of the Peace.

Samuel’s marriage took place at the First Presbyterian Church of Carlisle on 26 Oct 1807 to Jean, the daughter of Hugh Wilson, a local merchant. They settled in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. His inheritance from his father included the house and lot opposite from the Courthouse, which must have been very convenient for his position as an attorney. Samuel and Jane (Wilson) Guthrie were parents to James (1809), Sybilla Wilson ‘Sibby’ (1810), William Jack (1814), Hugh (1816), Samuel (1817), and Margaret Jack (1820).

At the young age of 38, Samuel Guthrie, Esq. died on 28 December 1820. His widow Jane petitioned the courts on 8 Jan 1821 for the assignment of David Mclean as her children’s legal guardian. All were under 14 years of age at the time. Administration of the estate was granted on 10 Jan 1821 to Joseph Wilson and William Johnson having given bond of $4000 swearing their faithful performance with security by Paul Morrow and Jacob Turney. A petition by William Johnson, one of the estate administrators, was submitted on 28 May 1823 stating that upon settlement of the administrative account there is a balance due from the personal estate insufficient to pay the debts owed and requesting the court to appoint auditors to the case.
1) James Guthrie 1809PA-aft.1821 – no further info
2) Sybilla Wilson ‘Sibby’ Guthrie 1810PA-1891PA m.1837PA Isaac Parr Henry +children
3) William Jack Guthrie 1814PA-1834PA died at 19 years of age. Unmarried.
4) Hugh Guthrie 1816PA-1818PA died in early childhood.
5) Samuel Guthrie 1817PA-aft.1821 – no further info
6) Margaret Jack Guthrie 1820PA-1850IL m. John Irwin +children

Y-DNA Project Participants: No
Autosomal DNA Participants: No


BOOK: Guthrie, Laurence R., American Guthrie and Allied Families: Lineal representations of the colonial Guthries of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North and South Carolina, some post-revolutionary emigrants and of some allied families, Chambersburg, PA, 1933. Digital repository: Internet Archive.
Note: The section on James Guthrie/Jeanette (Wilson) Moore and son James Guthrie/Jennet Culbertson have many errors attributing some facts to the father versus the son or to the son versus the father. The author also notes “that one is uncertain at times as to which of the two is meant.”

BOOK: Culbertson, Lewis R., Genealogy of the Culbertson and Culberson families: who came to America before the year 1800, and several families that have come over since then : containing biographical sketches of some of the more prominent members of the various families – Original 1893, Revised Edition, The Courier Company, 1923.

BOOK: Ellis, Franklin, History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania: with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men., Philadelphia, LH Everts & Co., 1882. Digital Repository: Internet Archive.