Help me research this Killingsworth family story about a stolen patent? (Delaware/Pennsylvania/NJ mid 1800s)

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Annie Peregoy Killingsworth has been a brick wall for me for a while.  Magically appears in the 1860 census, already married.  I've assembled a bunch of circumstantial evidence (detailed on her profile) suggesting that her father is Manlove Killingsworth, a shoemaker who lived in Delaware/Maryland.  But now I've found some other evidence (below) that doesn't seem to fit with that conclusion, and I'm trying to figure out how to approach it.  Advice and info welcome!

Among the old family letters that my mom has, I found a note written by my grandmother about a story she heard from *her* grandmother about her grandfather (Annie Killingsworth's father, my grandma's great great grandfather).  There's an initial note and then a "*" with a followup after Grandma got some clarification about the story from her dad; she initially thought it was about her grandmother's other grandfather, Eli Bangs.  Here's the story from Grandma:

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NOTE:  Grandmother Jett told a story a number of times about her grandfather (Eli Bangs, I understand).  It seems he was taking a trip across the Delaware River to straighten out a matter concerning an invention he had made [but?] claimed by others.  I’m very hazy as to the part of the story concerning the invention, it seems to have been either a pump* or something to do with a boat.  Perhaps a pump for getting water out of a boat.  Anyhow, he was hi-jacked and never seen again.  In other words he was “taken down the river”

            Dad thinks perhaps he was taken, as often happened then, to work on a boat going to China, or some far away place.

 

*Dad says it was (said to be) a pump for pumping water out of the Delaware River.  The first such pump ever invented.  He was going across the River to see about getting a patent for it, and some men stole his plans and wouldn’t let him cross the River.  Dad says it was her grandfather Killingsworth.  (Wm. Hoffman Bangs married Annie Killingsworth.  Issue: Grandma Mary Louisa Bangs m. Wm. Jett)

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This is the only concrete information I have about Annie's father, and I have no idea what to do with it.  The incident could have happened any time during Annie's lifetime (about 1830-1886) and could have been on the Delaware River near Wilmington, Philadelphia, or in New Jersey.  An inventor who mysteriously disappeared isn't really consistent with my idea about Manlove Killingsworth the shoemaker, who lived to be at least 70, so I have to rethink things.  But there's also some inconsistencies in the story (if he disappeared, how do we know someone stole his patent?).  It's possible none of it is true.  (It's a better story to tell a kid than "Daddy ran off with wife #4" or something.)  I've tried searching newspapers.com for stories about it with no luck.  I could try to look for patents, but if the plans were stolen, there wouldn't be a patent in his name.  Any other ideas?  Anyone want to tackle this puzzle?

WikiTree profile: Annie Bangs
in Genealogy Help by Lisa Hazard G2G6 Pilot (208k points)

1 Answer

+2 votes

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has a full-text search available on-line for patents that states that it contains patent information to 1790 - https://www.uspto.gov/patents/search.  It permits searches by titles of the patents (e.g. Patent for Pump to Process,,,,) and by full text in addition to by owner name.

I use it occasionally at work and think that it's rather clunky, but you could try it.

There are also patent search firms that you could hire, but those firms get expensive really quickly.

by Roger Stong G2G6 Pilot (481k points)
edited by Roger Stong

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