Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 139

Today contained unexpected bonuses. I made a quick trip to Lexington but was unimpressed with the art galleries. Then it was off to Harrodsburg and the historical society. There was no information in the regular surname files but there were two land deeds for William Starling in the closed vertical files. The deeds mention William's son Edmond Lyne Starling and William's wife Polly. The deeds are dated 1812 and 1814. This helps as I had two conflicting dates for Suzanne Lyne Starling, William's first wife and our 5 gg. The information leads credence to the 1802 death date. But confirmation came from a totally unexpected quarter.

I was looking at marriage records and found the marriage of John McDowell and Lucy Starling (William and Suzanne's daughter) in 1809. In the same listing were Lucas Sullivant and Sally Starling in 1800, William Starling and Mary McDowell, and then - William Starling and Polly McDowell in 1805. Obviously, the Starling and McDowell families were close geographically and emotionally.

I was then searching through some old research from the 1950s and what pops up - Alexander Robertson. I had lost track of the Robertson/Robinson family after Augusta County, VA. I knew they had come to Kentucky and Margaret Robertson married Benjamin Thomas Letcher (4 GGs) but had no luck in locating Alexander and his wife Margaret (5 GGs). Now I have confirmation. They came, probably with Alexander's brother James and a nephew Stephen about 1775. Alexander claimed 400 acres of land through improvement (a crop of corn and 2 cabins) and then a preemption (additional acreage for free) of 1000 acres. The courts approved is petition in 1776. Now here is what really blew my mind - especially after visiting Pleasant Hill (the Shaker settlement just a few miles from here) 2 weeks ago:

Mercer County, KY Court Records - Deed book 10: July 14, 1816 - Robertson Heirs to Shaker Society. James George and Elizabeth his wife, Benjamin Letcher and Margaret his wife, John Hann and Jane his wife, James Robertson, Samuel McKee and Patsy his wife, George Robertson, Charlotte Robertson of the County of Garrard, State of KY convey to John Bryant, Abraham Wilhite and Francis Foris for and in behalf of the Society of people on Shawneed Run called Shakes of the County of Mercer, for the sum of $1., a tract of land in Mercer County on the Kentucky River containing by estimation 1,400 acres and know as Samuel Woods settlement and preemption claim which was patented to Alexander Robertson and John McMurtry and being the residue of said 1,400 acres mentioned in a deed of relinquishment which was executed by the said Robertson to the heirs of John McMurtry.
Acknowledged by the parties in Garrard Co. and recorded in Mercer Co. July 25, 1816.

This transaction gave the Shakers nearly 1/3 of the 5,000 acres they ultimately acquired. The Samuel Woods mentioned in the court record was Alexander Robertson's step father. AMAZING. I will now look at the Pleasant Hills with new eyes.

Of course with the Robertsons and Robinsons to look at, I didn't have near enough time at the historical society. Luckily, a volunteer is painting at their facility tomorrow and said I could come back rather than waiting until Tuesday. YIPPEE!!

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