2A-G: William Guthrie

William Guthrie 1751PA – 1828PA and Elizabeth (Guthrie) Brownlee 1755PA-1842PA
of Cumberland, Westmoreland and Armstrong Counties, Pennsylvania, USA

Parents: James Guthrie 1720IRE – 1801PA and Jeanette (Wilson) Moore abt. 1720 – aft. 1787PA
Birth: 9 July 1751
Birth Location: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, USA
Military Service: Revolutionary War Soldier
Occupation: Soldier / Frontier Ranger (Captain)
Marriage: Mrs Elizabeth (Guthrie) Brownlee on 7 July 1784 in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania
Death: 10 March 1828 (age 76)
Death Location: Redbank, Armstrong, Pennsylvania, USA (Armstrong formed from Westmoreland in 1800)
Burial: Unconfirmed – Old Salem Church Cemetery, Derry, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, USA

Parents: John Guthrie 1725IRE – 1797PA and Jane Reed 1726IRE – 1780PA
Birth: 1755
Birth Location: Londonderry, Londonderry, Ireland
American Immigration: 1771 (abt. 16 years old)
Marriage (1st): Abt. 1776 to Joseph Brownlee
Marriage (2nd): William Guthrie on 7 July 1784 (per Guthrie family records), but possibly not until 1786.
Brownlee Children: John (1779), Jane (1782)
Guthrie Sons: William (1785), James (1786), Joseph Brownlee (1798)
Guthrie Daughters: Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ (c1788), twins Jane and Mary (c1789), Jane ‘Jennie’ (c1791), Nancy (c1794), and Joanna (c1796)
Other: One Guthrie child of unknown gender born in 1793
Death: 11 February 1842
Death Location: Redbank, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial: 12 February 1842

Laurence R Guthrie, author of American Guthrie and Allied Families misidentified the mother of William Guthrie. See p.183. There were apparently too many Jeanette/Jennet/Jean spouses within a three generation span.

William Guthrie was the second of two sons of James Guthrie Sr and Jeanette (Wilson) Moore. He also had a half brother John Moore from his mother’s first marriage to William Moore. John Moore became presiding judge for Westmoreland County. His brother James Guthrie served as a Justice of the Peace and was appointed a Wood Ranger for Westmoreland. William Guthrie served as a patriot soldier in the Revolutionary War with the initial rank of private, and later commanded a company of frontier rangers as their captain. He was at the battles of Trenton and Princeton, among others.

The soldiering life seems to have been William Guthrie’s main focus. When he married it was not until his early thirties choosing his widowed first cousin, Elizabeth (Guthrie) Brownlee who had survived a harrowing ordeal as a captive of Seneca natives. Her husband, Capt. Joseph Brownlee, son John, and many others died in the massacre and burning of Hannastown on 13 July 1782 by a group of Seneca and their British allies. My personal feeling is that this 2nd marriage was not a love match, but one of necessity on Elizabeth’s part. She tells that she returned to Westmoreland County “emaciated, sickly, without consolation of her husband, without money, without friends who could afford her any relief, her house and furniture burned by the savages with all her husband’s papers and accounts.” Elizabeth states that she supported herself for two years by her own industry at the end of which time she married Capt. William Guthrie who commanded a company of frontier rangers. Considering her situation, the offer of marriage by her cousin may have been Elizabeth’s only viable option in those times.

William Guthrie was apparently ill-suited for the settled lifestyle of a farmer and was unable to commence any other business. The only substantial monetary help they received was his military pension. Yet the couple had no difficulty producing children. William Guthrie met a tragic end when he accidentally fell off of a wagon while crossing a high bridge. After petitioning the state legislature, the state treasurer was authorized to pay Elizabeth Guthrie an immediate sum of $60 for 1829 and scheduling an annuity of the same payable half yearly during the remainder of her life.

One might think the genetics might be complicated with two Guthrie lineages represented in one family, but both William Guthrie and Elizabeth Guthrie descend from the same “Branch G” lineages headed by their fathers James and John. All male Guthries who descend directly from this couple are eligible for Y-DNA testing, and represent the line of James Guthrie. All descendants of the couple are eligible to participate in Autosomal DNA testing, such as AncestryDNA or FTDNA’s Family Finder test, which would include any inherited DNA from both sides of the family.


Abt. 1779PA – 1782PA

The eldest child of Joseph and Elizabeth (Guthrie) Brownlee. John was born about 1779. He was only around 3 years old when the Seneca and their British allies attacked Hanna’s Town on 13 July 1782. He was killed that day along with his father and many others, while his mother and infant sister were taken as captives.

Y-DNA Project Participants: N/A
Autosomal DNA Participants: N/A

1782PA – 18??OH

Jane ‘Jennie’ Brownlee, the only daughter of Capt. Joseph and Elizabeth (Guthrie) Brownlee was likely born in Hanna’s Town, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Elizabeth and Jane, then about 4 months old, were among the captives taken by the Seneca and marched north to Buffalo and Niagara. When the journey made it too difficult to hold an infant Jane was strapped to her mother’s back. Both mother and daughter survived the ordeal. A British officer purchased Elizabeth for $20, Jane for $10, and two gallons of rum, after which they were held in Montreal until they were released through a prisoner exchange and returned to Hannastown. Jane grew to womanhood likely with no memory of the experience, but certainly with the story of what had happened. She married James or Jesse Hugle (or Hike or Hughes). They moved to Muskingum County, Ohio and had 4 sons and 3 daughters. The 1820 Muskingum Census lists a James Hughs, age 26-44, in Brush Creek and a James Huckle in Springfield, also 26-44.
1) Unidentified Son, birth order unknown
2) Unidentified Son, birth order unknown
3) Unidentified Son, birth order unknown
4) Unidentified Son, birth order unknown
5) Unidentified Daughter, birth order unknown
6) Unidentified Daughter, birth order unknown
7) Unidentified Daughter, birth order unknown

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

1785PA – 1867PA

The eldest son of William and Elizabeth Guthrie was named for his father, William. He was born on 21 April 1785 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. He became a farmer. His wife’s name was Jane, but her maiden name is unknown. They had two daughters. William and Jane were living in Porter, Clarion, Pennsylvania. William’s will was written in 1860. He died at Smithland in 1867. His will was registered 9 April 1867.
1) Elizabeth ‘Betsey’ Guthrie abt 1819PA – at.1880PA m. Thomas F Elder (farmer) +children
2) Nancy Guthrie 1823PA-1898PA m.Joseph Downs (farmer) +children

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

1786PA – 1851

Due to his mother’s tale of suffering at the hands of the Seneca, James Guthrie developed a great hatred for the Indians. James was born the 6th of either January or June of 1786 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. It is said that he had a natural son (born out of wedlock / illegitimate) named for James who was raised by his maternal grandmother James settled on a large farm near Summerville in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania and married 22 Feb 1814 to Margaret McRae (18 Jan 1793-15 Sep 1836). They had 7 children. The 1850 census lists him with “Anna Guthrie” presumably a new wife. James died 29 June 1851.
1) James B. Guthrie (farmer/laborer) 30 Mar 1811PA – 13 Jun 1890PA m. Elizabeth Bish +children
2) William Guthrie (farmer/laborer) 27 Jun 1816PA – 14 Oct 1902PA m. Harriette Fuller +children
3) Alexander Guthrie (farmer) 4 Jun 1818PA – 9 Aug 1894WI m. Almira J Fairweather +children
4) James Guthrie (carpenter) 1 Dec 1820PA – 28 May 1899 m1 Docas Jones, m2. Susan Alexander +children
5) Joseph Guthrie (farmer) 31 Mar 1823PA – 11 Nov 1907PA m. Elizabeth Brown +children
6) Thomas Guthrie (laborer) 19 Dec 1824PA – 6 May 1889 m1.Anise Huffman, m2.Mary Morgan +children
7) Elisabeth Guthrie 5 Sep 1826PA – 25 May 1829PA died in early childhood.
8) John Guthrie 31 May 1829PA – 24 Oct 1856WI – marital status and issue uncertain

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

1788PA – 18??OH

Betsy “married a Mr Boles and moved to Ohio. They had five sons and five daughters.” (LRG, pp416-417) Online trees identify the couple as Walter Boles and wife Elizabeth from Pleasant, Brown County, Ohio and assign them 3 sons: Allen, Walter, and Shaffer Boles who are living with a widowed Elizabeth during the 1850 and 1860 censuses. Other trees credit Shaffer as the sons of John Allen Boles and Elizabeth Shaffer.
1) Unidentified Son Boles, birth order unknown
2) Unidentified Son Boles, birth order unknown
3) Unidentified Son Boles, birth order unknown
4) Unidentified Son Boles, birth order unknown
5) Unidentified Son Boles, birth order unknown
6) Unidentified Daughter Boles, birth order unknown
7) Unidentified Daughter Boles, birth order unknown
8) Unidentified Daughter Boles, birth order unknown
9) Unidentified Daughter Boles, birth order unknown

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

1789PA – abt. 1809PA

Mary Guthrie was one half of a set of twins. Her sister Jane died either at birth or in infancy. Mary reportedly lived until she was nearly twenty, but died unmarried. No further data.

Y-DNA Project Participants: N/A – Descendant of a Female Guthrie
Autosomal DNA Participants: N/A

1789PA – 1789PA

Jane Guthrie was a twin to Mary Guthrie, but died either at birth or in her infancy.

Y-DNA Project Participants: N/A
Autosomal DNA Participants: N/A

1791PA –

Born in 1791, Jennie was presumably named after the twin that died, but her grandmothers Jeanette and Jane.

“William Matthews was born in Armstrong County, PA, where he grew to manhood and learned the trade of a carpenter. For his wife, among the maidens of Armstrong County he chose Miss Jane Guthrie, who was also a native of that county. Soon after marriage they proceeded to Montgomery County, IN, and settled among the early pioneers of that region, where William Matthews followed farming until 1854. (They) came to Illinois with their family, and located on section 29, in Tolono Township. At that time there were only nine families in this locality, who lived amidst timber in the southwestern part of the township. On the north, the nearest settlement was where the city of Urban now stands. (William and Jane) died the following year.”
1) Ezekial Matthews (farmer) 1808PA-1875IL m. Clarissa Ann Philips +children
2) Lydia Matthews 1813PA-1885IL m. William Gibson +children
3) Sarah Jane Matthews 1816PA-1891IL m. Joseph McKelvey (farmer) +children
4) Nancy Matthews 1818PA-1882IL m. David Amos Allen (farmer) +children
5) Unidentified Child, probably b. 1820-1824 – d. before 1887
6) Unidentified Child, probably born 1824 – 1828 – d. before 1887
7) John Marion Matthews (farmer) 1830IN-1907IL m.1856 Lovisa Ann Monroe +children

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

1793PA – ????PA

William and Elizabeth reportedly had 10 children. One child of unknown gender was born about 1793 and presumably died during infancy.

1794PA – 1826PA

“Nancy Guthrie was born in 1794. She married a Mr. Coon and died on 15 March 1826 of consumption leaving a little daughter, Mary Coon, who was born 1 May 1824. She was adopted and raised by her grandmother Guthrie. She married Robert Brown.” If I have the right family from Redbank, Clarion County, Pennsylvania, Robert Brown was first married to a Margaret, who was the mother of his children, and later to Mary. They are buried in Frazier Cemetery in Mayport, Clarion, PA.
1) Mary Coon 1824PA-1894PA m. Robert Brown. His 2nd marriage. No known children.

Y-DNA Project Participants: N/A – Descendant of a Female Guthrie
Autosomal DNA Participants: N/A

1796PA –

Joanna Guthrie was born in 1794. She married Alexander Brown who died 27 May 1860 aged 86 years __ months and 18 days. Buried in Frazier Cemetery in Mayport, Clarion, Pennsylvania. It is unclear whether Alexander and Joanna had children of their own. Alexander’s will includes several small bequests to people with the Brown surname, none identified with a relationship, but the bulk of his estate went to Mary Coon (see above), his wife’s niece, who apparently cared for the couple. Mary was living with them during the 1860 census, which was prior to her marriage to Robert Brown. Joanna presumably predeceased her husband by a matter of months.

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

1798PA – 1883PA

Born on 29 Dec 1798, Joseph Brownlee Guthrie was the 10th child of William and Elizabeth Guthrie. He married Mary Ann Fleming (1811-1883) on 16 March 1837. They lived in Licking, Porter Township, Clarion, Pennsylvania. He died on 23 September 1833.
1) Sarah Everetta Guthrie (dressmaker) 29 Jan 1839PA – 28 Feb 1919 m. Mr Henderson. No children.
2) William Fleming Guthrie 5 Nov 1840PA – 16 Jun 1899PA m1888PA. Jennie Beatty. No children.
3) Joseph Brownlee Guthrie Jr born 25 March 1843 – died 13 Jan 1862 of diphtheria, aged 18.
4) Elizabeth Ann Guthrie born 16 Oct 1849 – died 13 Jan 1862 of diphtheria, aged 13.

Y-DNA Project Participants: N/A – No known surviving descendants
Autosomal DNA Participants: N/A – No known surviving descendants


WEBSITE: Westmoreland Historical Society – The 1782 Attack on Hanna’s Town

WEBSITE: Westmoreland County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project – The Destruction of Hannastown

REPORT: Warren, Anna L., A Captive’s Tale: Story of Elizabeth etc Brownlee Guthrie, a 15 page report by the Westmoreland County Historical Society Research Committee, 1977, reprinted 2002. Available for purchase at the Westmoreland Historical Society.

BOOK: Curtis, Gail A., Woman on Fire: Based on True Events: A Story about Elizabeth Guthrie Brownlee Guthrie, 2019. Available for purchase and/or download at Amazon.

JOURNALS: (downloadable PDF)

BOOK: Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois, Chapman Bros., Chicago, IL, 1887. See sketch of John M. Matthews, son of William and Jane (Guthrie) Matthews, pp.411-412.