Data compiled by Bailey Fulton Davis, A.B.;Th.M.
This is one of my father's lines. We are faced with a great many contradictory traditions when we get back of the Bourbon pioneer, Joseph Hedges. There are several who have done research on the family and they are in disagreement as to their findings and interpretations. We are putting down the facts that are known to us and then will set forth the various arguments and theories. We are beginning with the family in Bourbon and then will examine other data.
This ancestor came into Bourbon and settled at Stoney Point. I have correspondence received from Mr. J.L. Hay whose address in November, 1938, was 645 Merrick Avenue, Apt.#36, Detroit, Michigan. He spoke of his forthcoming book on the Hedges family, but I have never seen any references to it since then. It is probable that he died before publishing it. Mr. Hay said that JOSEPH was the son of CHARLES HEDGES who was the son of JOSEPH HEDGES. The Hedges family was an early Maryland family and the Bourbon pioneer was born in Maryland in 1750. He married SARAH BIGGS of Maryland in 1770 and she was the daughter of JOHN BIGGS. There is a long article about Sarah Biggs Hedges in Johnson's History of Kentucky, 1912, Vol. 3, p. 136 Off. Some of the data therein disagrees with the above, but essentially it gives the true story of the Kentucky branch. It states that both Joseph and his wife came from Frederick County, Maryland. As a Baptist minister, I was interested in the fact that Sarah Biggs Hedges was a devout and active Baptist. On page 1361 of Johnson is this sketch: "Mrs. Sarah Hedges, nee Biggs, was a characteristic type of the noble pioneer mothers. Of gentle birth and unaccustomed to the ruder conditions of life, and of a handsome and striking appearance, she numbered among her accomplishments that of being a thorough horsewoman and an excellent judge of the qualities constituting fine horses. She was remarkable for her industry, piety, and Christian influence, and took an active interest in the Baptist Church, with which she had long been associated and to which she was a pillar of strength, prior to leaving her native state, as evidenced by the records of Frederick, Md.: 'July 10, 1790, Sarah Hedges appears among the number of persons who entered into an agreement for the re-organization of a Baptist congregation.' After the death of her husband in 1804 Mrs. Hedges continued to live at the old home place with John (her son, B.D.) until 1822, when she entered the higher service. Both are buried in a locust grove within sight of their home."
I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this statement, but I have been told that more Bourbon D.A.R.'s have joined on Joseph Hedges' service than on any other pioneer's line. Joseph Hedges renounced his allegiance to King George III and served in the Revolutionary war. He was Ensign in Michael Troutman's Company, Middle District of Frederick County, Md., Militia. He was a signer of the Association Test in Frederick County, Md., in 1775. In 1778 he hired Luke Horsfield as a substitute for the duration of the war, passed by Lt. of Frederick County, May 20, 1778; service being in Col. Price's Regiment. I have a copy of the S.A.R. application of William Calvin Gillespie on the basis of Joseph Hedges' service and he cites National numbers of previous successful applicants: 14529, 14534, and 111330.
The article in Johnson's history is at variance as to the above regimental service. I shall omit it here and deal with other data: "Joseph Hedges engaged in farming at Standing Stone in Maryland on a 434-acre tract which he owned jointly with his brother, Absalom.--After the War, in common with many of the settlers on the Atlantic coast, he determined to emigrate to the wilderness of Kentucky, obtaining patents on Sept. 1, 1791, for Hedges' Silence, Hedges' Range, Shintaler Gut, and resurveys on Fleming's Purchase and Pilgrim's Harbor, for the purpose of conveying these farms to the purchasers. Early in 1792 (2) he started on the long journey, accompanied by his family and slaves, his brother Shadrach, his sister, also several Maryland families--The Troutmans and others (It will be noted that he served under Michael Troutman B.D.), all traveling in Conestoga wagons. About twelve miles above Wheeling they visited Mr. Hedges' brother, Charles, who settled at Beech Bottom Fort in Ohio County, Virginia, in 1776. While sojourning here they constructed flat boats to complete their journey down the Ohio river, taking their wagons apart to carry them. Upon reaching Wheeling, Shadrach Hedges, having been wounded by an Indian, abandoned the trip and his sister returned to Maryland with him. The party drifted down to Limestone, now Maysville, Ky., 309 miles from Wheeling, with no special incident to mark their transit other than the falling overboard of Mr. Hedges' little daughter, Jemima, and her rescue by her brother, James, who caught her by her floating skirts and pulled her into the boat. Disembarking at Limestone, they coupled their wagons, hitched their horses, and followed the buffalo trail, afterward the State road, to where Paris is now located. Here they pitched their tents for two weeks during very inclement weather, while Mr. Hedges negotiated with Ralph and Mary Morgan for the purchase of a choice body of land in the vicinity of Stoney Point, near Strode's Creek. On March 25, 1792, the deal was closed and he started soon afterward the erection of a substantial and comfortable log house of a story and a half, of roomy dimensions, and, assisted by the slaves, planted his first crop on Kentucky soil. His farming ventures were not successful for several years. The energy expended in clearing the new country and adapting himself to unusual conditions at his age undermined his constitution and his health gradually failed until the end came in 1804.
Joseph Hedges and his wife, Sarah Biggs Hedges, had nine children. This list is taken from the Johnson article. The children were as follows:
John, born in 1771, "of fine business ability and accumulated a large estate";
Charles, born in 1773--"spend his life at Clinton-ville";
Rebecca, born in 1775, "married Mr. McCray of Middle-town" (Note: North Middletown in Bourbon is what was meant. My father, John Fulton Davis, had a sister named Bertie Davis and she married Tom McCray, so my aunt's children have two Hedges lines. B.F.D.);
Joseph, born in 1778;
JAMES HEDGES--my line--born in 1783--"lives at Sharps-burg";
Jonas--born in 1785, "a farmer of Bourbon and Clark Counties";
Jemima, born in 1790, "married Mr. Reid";
Samuel, "born in 1792, in Kentucky" (Note: there is a sketch of this line in Johnson, B.F.D.);
Mary, "born in 1795 and married Dr. Carney of Ohio".
I might state here that the Johnson Article was prepared by some of the Ewalt family. Joseph Hedges Ewalt has long been one of Kentucky Masonry's leading men. I recall the unique way in which I met him. I had seen his name in the Masonic Journal and had written to him, but he had never replied. One day my wife and I were driving out in Bourbon County looking for old stone homes built by another of my ancestors, Thomas "Stonehammer" Metcalfe, 10th Governor of Kentucky. We found a beautiful old stone house and I drove back to a crossroad to question an old man whom I had seen sitting out in the yard. I went over and introduced myself and found that it was Joseph Hedges Ewalt. They call that locality "Hedges Cross Roads", if memory serves me correctly. He found out that I was a minister and said, "I got a letter from a Sky Pilot about the Hedges family, but I never have answered it." I told him that I was the writer of the query and we had a nice visit.
It is also well to tell of the way in which the older members of the family were confused in their thinking about the Hedges family. Perrin's History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison, and Nicholas Counties has a sketch on page 471 which records this legend that caused so much confusion. It is the article on Silas Hedges, deceased, and starts out like this: "The Hedges family trace their ancestry to Sir Charles Hedges, an English politician, who graduated at Oxford in 1675 and died in 1714. he had four daughters and one son, whose name was Joseph, who emigrated to America at an early day and located in Prince William County, Maryland." The person who gave in the information then listed the children of Joseph. The tradition was that Sir Charles was infuriated at his son for leaving home and having married without his consent and had left a will whereby his vast estate was tied up for the descendants. The Hedges family in America organized and set about to get this supposedly fabulous estate that was due them. I have a number of old papers that belonged to my grandmother, Pauline Campbell Davis, and she had preserved them from the effects of her mother, Margaret Lucinda Banta Campbell. She, in turn, had kept them from the papers of her mother, Dorcas Hedges Banta.
These old papers are quite interesting and show the extent of the movement whereby the so-called heirs of Sir Charles Hedges tried to get possession of his estate. The movement seems to have begun in 1881 and faded newspaper clipping tells of the meeting on April 8, 1881, in Frederick City, Maryland, and states that the minutes of the Hedges' heirs, held in Paris, Kentucky, on April 5th, were read. Another clipping tells of the Paris meeting which was held in the Council Chamber in this city last Monday. There was a "reasonable attendance" despite the inclement weather. John Hedges of Sharpsburg presided and E.B. Hedges, Paris, was secretary. Dr. Hedges of Cynthiana presented the data relative to what was being done by heirs in various places. The meeting adjourned with reference to further action to be taken at the meeting of "all the heirs in the United States" shortly to be held in Cincinnati.
I also have a copy of the minutes of the Cincinnati meeting which was held May 18, 1881. It is stated therein that 500 copies were ordered to be printed. It contains 13 pages and has a good bit of genealogical data in it. Mr. Hay, of Detroit, insisted that there was no will for Sir Charles Hedges, but on page 9f. of the minutes is a letter from John R. Mayo, barrister in London, England, in which he states that he found the will after much search.
There is a receipt printed on green paper and it bears date of April 11, 1881, Frederick City, Maryland: "Received of Mrs. Dorcas Banta - $2.00 - to be used in the prosecution of the claim of the Hedges Heirs, now recorded in the Bank of England, as certified in the Books of Gun's Agency (or Index). See Numbers on record. J.P. Creager, per Joyns". There is also an old post card which bears date of April 13, 1881, on which Creager requested that Mrs. Dorcas Banta send genealogical data so as to be recognized at the Cincinnati convention. I also have a letter which T.I. Davis copied. It is a history of the Hedges family and bears this notation: "Written by George S. Hedges on the 5 day of November, 1874, at the request of the owner of this book, E. Clendenen". T.I. Davis was my grandfather.
I infer that all was not sweetness and light as far as my great-grandmother was concerned. Her mother, Mrs. Dorcas Hedges Banta, had joined, but her daughter (my great-grandmother, Margaret Lucinda Banta Campbell) evidently did not like the way things were handled at Cincinnati. She had sent a letter to her uncle, John H. Hedges, Sharpsburg, and he replied in kind: "Sharpsburg, Ky. June the 18th, 1881 (I am copying it just exactly as written and spelled. B.F.D.) Dear Niece, I receive (sic) yours of the 16inst contents noted. You seem to criticise our proceedings at Cincin-nati Oh. The first item I notice is that you find L.M. Campbell's name appears on the list of legal heirs of the Hedges estate in England. Now my dear neice where does it so appear? See first page. On motion all heirs or representatives (underscored) attending the meeting were admitted as deligates (sic) and were as followes (sic). Now the very first name on the list from Oh. is Geo. W. Patter of Paleldin is no heir. But he was a deligate (sic). Now turn to the 5th page and you will find the name of D.A. Roach of Crawfordville he is no heir But a delegate his mother in law is and (sic) heir (Sister Polly Gillespie). The same as L.M. Campbell he married my niece my sister Dorcas Banta's daughter. Your mother was not there neither was Polly Gillespie there. But each had a Son in law as a deligate so you can see a very great differance (sic) in the statement and the one you give. Lon M. Campbell is no heir neither are you an heir at law while your mother lives. She is an heir. We have a family organization at Paris, Kentucky, for Kentucky alone and if you want your Mother's name enrolled as an heir you can do so by sending to Ed. B. Hedges of Paris who is our secretary for Ky. $1.00. He will enter her name in a book for that purpose as an heir. My name is entered and my dollar paid. So is Warren's. We want to get all in Ky. on our book so it can be presented at our next National meeting. So their names may appear as heirs we have brought the family history of our fore parents down to my and your mother's grandfather, Joseph. He is the Son of Charles who left 14 children and he a Son of Joseph the Emigrant who made a will on the 6 day of September, 1732. Now I hope the explantion will be satisfactory. If your husband had spent some ten dollars and attended the convention his name would have been enrolled as a delegate. Now for the 2nd item you also seem to think we committed an error. Here is what we say in relation of Sir Charles Hedges: It appears from the information brought before the convention of the Hedges heirs--that Sir Charles Hedges was an English politician, who graduated at Oxford in 1675--died in 1714. Your history commences with Sir Charles Hedges in 1700 and ends in 1707. Ours in 1675 and ends in 1714. Now which history is correct? If yours is correct you can see at onst (sic) we lost considerably by your or your husband not being at the convention to give us the information. Your information was not before the convention. We don't say our history is correct But give it as it appeared from History--all we could gather from several persons. You lose sight of Sir Charles in 1701, we trace him to 1714. If we have made an error in the History of the Hedges we can correct all errors that may be presented and pointed out to us at our next national meeting and have it all made in a book containing all heirs at law and sell it to help pay expencies (sic). Those of course who will not take the pains to give there (sic) family history will be left out. I remain Your uncle, John H. Hedges." Marginal notes state: "Our next State meeting will be in Paris the first Monday in September" and "We are well and send our respects to you all". The old fellow's letter is given as it was written. His superficial knowledge of grammar was not helped by his wrath at his sister's daughter because she had dared to disagree with him.
This estate talk was common about that time and seems to have been promoted by a group of promoters who were eager to collect funds from gullible victims. I could point out a great many other such stories, too, from my study of genealogy. Just how long the hoax was continued is to me, but modern researchers state there was not basis in fact for belief in the existence of any connection between Sir Charles Hedges and all of these American Hedges. My last evidence at hand consists of two pamphlets which were printed in 1882 and one states that a lawyer is ready to sail for England as soon as the ready cash is at hand. $700 and 140 new members stood between them and $250,000,000 (with interest, mind you) in 1882. Those 140 folk must have decided that wild-cat oil stock brought more hope than an investment in Hedges stock.
He was one of the sons of Joseph Hedges, Bourbon pioneer, and James is our ancestor. I have not tried to trace all of the children of Joseph, but for the information of my McCray cousins I did find out that James' sister, Rebecca Hedges, married Samuel McCray on Aug. 15, 1796. They were married by another of our ancestors, Rev. William Forman, who was to become the father-in-law of James Hedges. William Forman was a pioneer Methodist minister in Central Kentucky.
We are fortunate in that we know a good bit about James and his early movements in Kentucky. Many years ago a Presbyterian minister by the name of Shane lived in Bourbon County, Kentucky. He loved history and took great delight in interviewing pioneers and jotting down their memoirs. The original papers are now in the library of the Historical Society of Wisconsin. They have been photostated and copies are now in two libraries in Kentucky: Filson Club and the Historical Library at Frankfort. One has to go to both places in order to get a complete study. John and James Hedges were both interviewed by Shane. I have not seen the papers on John. They bear reference number 11CC19. Those pertaining to our ancestor, James Hedges, bear number 12CC117. I give them just as Shane jotted them down: "James Hedge (Brother of John Hedge, No. 9, p47, Bourbon) lives to the left of the road, leading from Sharpsburg to Mount Sterling-near, on the banks of Hinkston. Came to Kentucky in the Fall of 1791. We staid (coming out) at Reinhart's farm on Monongahela (said to be where Braddock's defeat was) two weeks. 10 mi. above Ft. Pitt. Were 18 days on the river. St. Clair's battle was fought while we were on the river. Came down on two boats. One a family and one a horse boat. Old Peter Troutman and Peter Troutman, a son of Michael Troutman, and a son-in-law of old Peter were along."
"Maysville was called 'The Point'. A good many wagons waiting at Maysville, the point for loading when we got there. Loading of immigrants. In 1793 the waters were low, seemed as if the place was full of wagons--but little gotten. I was down and got a little.
As we were coming to Kentucky John Troutman overtook us this side of Maysville; at Ready Money Jack's (Ready Money Jack, an Irish-man). Ready Money Jack had a double cabin. It was here that Holyday was for a great while after. John Troutman, Ralph Morgan, and a good many others had gotten there before us that same night we staid there, had been out to bury the dead at St. Clair's defeat--and were just returning; they had gotten everything ready when we go there and had a great frolic that night.
Migration to Kentucky about this time--for 2 or 3 years was very great.
We spent the first winter in Paris. The winter of 1791-92. Old man Kelly, first merchant in Paris. Afterwards in partnership with Brent. Kelly was a sort of contractor for the Iron-works. Kept a small store-did a great deal of trafficking. Kelly married an old Man's daughter that lived opposite us (in a cabin), the old man's wife was dead. I forgot his name. I think there was no other frame house then in Paris except a little frame house they held court in that winter of 1791-'2. That year, however, old man Harris, a potter (came that same winter we did) who had some money, turned in to improving; built a frame house, 1792.
Old man Jackson kept the first Court house. Moved the frame Courthouse off, and kept the Post-office in it. Next year, 1792-that summer, Thomas West built a brick Court House. Smedley made the brick. Tom West had the contract. Don't know who put it up for him. Don't know that West completed it. It wasn't finished then, I think. West had to quit. Some difficulty in his affairs made him. A man by the name of Lindsay living where Cotton Town now is, an old widower. Plenty of cane where Cotton Town now is. Linsay's the only house on the side of Stoner.
Lindsay and another man built a flat to ferry Stoner with. The flat was launched about the middle of the day. Sycamore trees leaned far over the banks on each side, and their branches reached over the water. Part of a family was coming from above, moving somewhere on this side, and waited all night at our house--our house was the next one to the bank--in Paris, till the boat should be launched. Little boy had been detained up about Georgetown, going to school or something; the family had gone on before. When the boat was launched, this little boy, Dr. Webb, and James (or Thomas) Hughes, afterwards sheriff, got in to cross. The boat struck a sycamore and the water capsized the boat (was turned down and carried it against the sycamore). Webb and Hughes clung to the trees. The little boy was drowned. My brother, Charles, found the boy, after 2 or 3 days, after the water fell. Lindsay swam across. He and the other man were the proprietors. Don't know the name of the other man that was with him now. As soon as the people of the town heard of it, they came to see and laughed at Hughes and Webb. One of them a large fleshy man. Had a canoe, in which they took Hughes and Webb to the shore. The road from this side leading in to the creek was very bad, there, ground soft. They would sink in deep. Next fall, they built rock-pins and made a wooden bridge.
We moved out the last week in March, on to Stoner. We put in a crop, in 1792. Jimmy Baits was the only one who had put in any before. He had been there 3 years. Put in the 3rd crop this year. Jimmy Baits was gone a prisoner among the Indians 3 years and 6 months. Swearinger in the same company. Baits lived on Stoner, right where the Spring branch, coming down from John Hedges, empties into Stoner, between where Peter Hedges and Algan Smith now live. I heard him say myself, the crop of 1792 was his third crop. At the mouth of a spring branch.
Springs are better now than they were then. Dug a good many wells that fall, we moved out (after) until the country became settled. Was trodden and cleared.
Mentioned a good many old settlers around Bath. Gave an account of Huff and his son-in-law, Swinner. Swinner sold lots to which he could give no title. Place became dissipated. Owners of houses took away the buildings. Hauled them off.
Crawford happened on Smith at Mt. Sterling and got a hundred acres of land for one year's work.
Ralph Morgan married the widow of Douglass who was killed in the battle of Blue Licks. She was a sister of Jimmie Baits' wife.
When we came Winchester wasn't laid out yet. Troutman had a tanyard over in the bottom at Paris, on Houston, where it comes into Stoner, to the right of Paris. He went out and we got his cabin that first winter. He went up somewhere about Morgan's station and the old forge and made a tanyard there. John Troutman, son of Michael Troutman, who yet lived in Maryland. Judge Allen, then judge of the court, grandfather of Sanford Allen of Sharps-burg, then in Paris. Michael Troutman, a tanner in Maryland, near Frederick Town, near where we had lived. Heard my brother, Charles, say he helped lay out that road which they cut out for Troutman to move upon. It went from Paris to Jimmy Baits' and so on. They followed the traces leading from one neighbor to another, those times in making roads."
This is the interesting data which our ancestor gave and which sheds light upon pioneer customs and personalities. James Hedges married Amy Forman in Bourbon County, Kentucky. The famous preacher, Barton W. Stone, performed the ceremony. The return is in Marriage Book #2, page 13. Amy Forman was the daughter of one of Methodism's early ministers in Central Kentucky. His name was William Forman and I have a good bit on this family and that of his wife, Betsy Allen. In Will Book E, Bourbon wills, page 384, Feb. 6, 1815, James Hedges is named as one of the administrators of William Forman's estate along with Joseph and Aaron Forman, Charles Lander, and Robert Scott. In Order Book F, p. 129, James Hedges is listed as an heir of William Forman's. Betsy Forman was granted her dower in Order Book F, page 140. I am including all of this Forman data here for when I first found the marriage the old writing seemingly appeared to be "Amy Farmer", but I knew that my informa-tion said that she was a Forman and these other documents substan-tiate tradition.
James Hedges left a will that was probated in Bath County, Kentucky. It is in Bath Wills, Book F, page 176. It was written on July 15, 1868, and probated on October 12, 1868. In it he names his children as follows: William Hedges, Forman Hedges, Joseph F. Hedges (deceased) and James Warner (called James Warren elsewhere and we know that this is correct from the mention of him in the cited letter of John H. Hedges) Hedges, son of Joseph F. Hedges.
I have never seen this will, but Mrs. W.F. Reiner of Portland, Oregon, has done a good bit of Hedges research and sent me a copy. Letter from Miss Elizabeth Grimes, now dead, Paris, Ky., gives June 17, 1784, as the birthdate of Amy Forman and her death date as Nov. 14, 1867. This latter date is also given in the S.A.R. papers of William C. Gillespie. Oct. 10, 1868, is given by both of these as the death date of James Hedges. Mr. Hay of Detroit lists eleven children in his data;
William Hedges--born 1804; died 1876;
Jonas--born 1806, died 1841. He had this query by Jonas' name--"Was he a twin of Dorcas?" It is quite probable for it will be noted that Dorcas' birth date is for the same year and she had twins herself.
Sythia--born 1808, died 1870;
Elizabeth--born 1811, died 1890; John Harrison--born 1813, died 1860. Mr. Hay notes that he had secured complete data on this line from Mrs. J.A. Cooper of Springwood Farm, about seven miles north of Dayton, Ohio.
Sarah, born 1815;
James. F.--born 1822, died in 1896; Mr. Hay states that he has all--or practically all--of this line.
Dorcas Hedges--born 1806, July 28th. It will be noted that I capital-ized her name in the will and gave the spelling as it was sent to me--"DARCUS BANTY". The correct spelling is Dorcas Banta and I shall have more to say about her in the next section for she was my great-great grandmoth-er and I have a picture of her and of her husband, Abram Banta. I suspect that I have more data on the Banta family than any other line, but it is too voluminous to even attempt to give too much of it in this sketch.
[I have checked several times and can find only ten children listed.]
For the benefit of the descendants of Jemima Hedges, daughter of Joseph and Sarah Biggs Hedges, this information is inserted here: See sketch of Capt. Greenberry Reid, Perrin's History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison, and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky, page 488f. There is one mistake there, though, for it is asserted that Joseph Hedges was in the War of 1812. On page 529 of the same book is the sketch of James Hedges who was a son of Joseph and Margaret (Goulden) Hedges.
I am not asserting that the following references are all that pertain to Hedges descendants in the Perrin volume cited, but I have found treatment of them on the following pages; 450; 462; 470; 471; 476; 480; 483; 488; 522; 527; 529; 539; 542; 558; 663; 684; 693; and 757.
Dorcas was one of the children named in the will of her father, James Hedges. As stated, her mother was Amy Forman. On page 732 of the Perrin book is a sketch of the husband of Dorcas Hedges, Abram Banta. In this article it is stated that they were married in 1828. However, I am inclined to believe that another date is correct. I fail to recall whether I have looked up the court record on this. In the early 1880's a genealogy of the Banta family was published which was called "A Frisian Family". Theodore Melvin Banta was the editor and it is considered to be one of the finest works of its kind that ever came from the press. I was able to borrow one from one of the Bourbon clan and had everything that pertained to the Kentucky branch copied. He included all data on our line from 1659 down to my great-grandmother, Margaret Lucinda Banta Campbell. In his data on Abram Banta and Dorcas Hedges he gave their marriage date as September 4, 1824.
|Kentucky, County Marriage Records, 1783-1965|
|Kentucky, County Marriage Records, 1783-1965|
|1860 United States Federal Census|
|1870 United States Federal Census|
|1880 United States Federal Census|
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On 7 Mar 2019 at 01:24 GMT Laurie Banta wrote: