no image

John Mercer (abt. 1764 - 1820)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
John Mercer
Born about in Sassafras Neck, Cecil County, Marylandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married in , Cecil, Maryland, USAmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Sassafras Neck, Cecil County, Maryland, USAmap
Profile manager: Jenny Redo private message [send private message]
Mercer-151 created 27 Mar 2011 | Last modified
This page has been accessed 1,266 times.

Categories: Cecil County, Maryland, Slave Owners | Estimated Birth Date.



John Mercer

Origin, Uncertain Mother

John was born c. 1764, a son of Robert Mercer Jr. (died after 19 February 1767) and Mary Unknown (not Sarah Beeston).[1]

Birth Date

The birth date for John Mercer is guessed.
The Birth Date is a rough estimate. See the text for details.

It is inferred with a possible range of: after 1760 to before1769. If in 1760, John would have been old enough to sign the pledge of allegiance in 1778, which he did not do, and he was obviously living when his father wrote his 1769 will.

Title: Cecil County Wills

Early years

John's father died before 19 February 1767, when he was only about three years old.[1] According to his father's will, John's guardian was to be, if his mother died, John Bolton.[2]


John married 11 October 1793 at Cecil County, Maryland to Rebecca Davis. Sometimes the date 26 September 1793 is given as the marriage date, perhaps the date of intention.[3]

Rebecca died in late November, 1802, just months after the deaths of her two young sons, John and James.[4] Dysentery is thought to be a contributing cause in these three tragic deaths. John was left with an infant daughter, Harriet, and Ann and William, six and eight years old.[4]

Children of John and Rebecca (all born at Sassafras Neck, Cecil County, Maryland):

  1. William Davis Mercer b 26 Sept 1794
  2. Ann Mercer b 22 Feb 1796
  3. (?) George Mercer b 1798
  4. John Mercer b 20 Feb 1798
  5. James Mercer b 24 Feb 1800
  6. Harriet Mercer b 30 June 1802


The Anglican Church was the official church in the area from 1692 to 1776. Cecil County has two parishes, St. Mary Anne's and St. Stephen's. St. Stephen's was also known as the North Sassafras Parish in its early history. Earlier generations were found in St. Stephen's records, however John's, Rebecca's, nor their children's records were not found at either parish in Cecil County.

Sassafras Neck, Cecil County, Maryland

The Mercers and Davises descended from prominent families that began receiving land grants from the British Crown as early as the 1600s. There were kinfolk all across the Delmarva Peninsula of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia.[4]

John Mercer had three plantations at Sassafras Neck, including The Rounds.

The manor house at The Rounds has been variously described by historians, including King: ?Georgian in architecture, as it faces the hills, Queen Anne, on its river side, it overlooks the broad Bohemia from a high slope, as Mount Vernon looks over the Potomac. Tradition in the Davis family claims that it was built in 1740 with bricks brought from England. Inside, the house is spacious and well proportioned.

Slave Owners

According to Mercer family researcher, Roger Hughes, "Records show the Walker branch of President George W. Bush?s family, which settled in central Illinois, included slave owners.[4]

John and Rebecca (Davis) Mercer owned slaves.[4] There were six slaves on Mercer land at Bohemia Hundred in Cecil County in 1790, 15 in 1800, and 18 in 1810.[4]

Last Will and Testament

Will written 30 Oct 1818, and a codicil dated 1 May 1819, lists and names three children. Shows Harriet was under 21 when the codicil was written as John specifically states that all the real and personal estate that he had "willed and devised to his daughter Harriet, shall go to his son William D. Mercer, and held by him until Harriet shall arrive to the age of twenty-one years." The descendants of John Mercer mentioned in his will are son William Mercer, daughters Harriet Mercer and Ann Davis and grandson David Davis.[5]

Death and Legacy

John died in October 1820 at Sassafras Neck, or Rounds, Cecil County, Maryland.[6]

The Mercers were fourth great-grandparents of the president and grandparents of Davis.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Roberts, Gary B., "Further Additions and (a few) Corrections to Ancestors of American Presidents" (Vol 5.5 2005, Page 42) New England Ancestors. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2000-2009. (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009.) accessed December 16, 2014
  2. Cates, Alice, "Re: Robert Mercer/b,1697+Ann Mounce/Cecil CO", Rootsweb post August 22, 1999, accessed August 22, 2014
  3. Hall, Rich, "Ancestors of President George W. Bush: Rebecca Davis" Famous, accessed December 17, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Hughes, Roger, "Legacy" Illinois Times, April 5, 2007, accessed December 17, 2014
  5. Walker, Rosa K., and H. D. Pittman, editor, Americans of Gentle Birth and Their Ancestors (Pages 314-16) Saint Louis: Buxton & Skinner, 1903
  6. Roberts, Gary B., Notable Kin, Volume One. (Boyd - V1, p119) Published in cooperation with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts, Santa Clarita, California: Carl Boyer, 3rd, 1998

1800 & 1810 US Census

In 1800, living in Bohamia, Cecil, Maryland[7]

In 1810, living in Cecil, Maryland[8]


[source "Americans of Gentle Birth and Their Ancestors" v1 ed. Pittman, Baltimore Genealogical Publishing Company, 1970, pp.312-318]
"occupied position of prominence and trust"
"built for himself one of the handsomest houses of that day and continued to reside there until they removed to Illinois to join the family of Hon. David Davis, who had married a sister of Harriet Mercer."

[source: Alice Cates] His guardian was to be, if his mother died, John Bolton, according to his father's will. The only John Bolton in the area seems to be John Bolton, merchant, of Chestertown, Kent, MD. This John Bolton was born in Philadelphia of an English father. An Ancestral File entry indicates John Bolton's sister, Ann, was married to a John Mercer, but I think this was Robert.[2]

The Sidney George Fisher diaries say that John Mercer was agent for Fisher's mother.
Text: Witnesses testified to seeing John Mercer sign will. Will recorded 30 Oct 1820. Will is recorded in Cecil Co., Md. Will Book A-8-2.
Title: St. Stephen's, North Sassafras Parish, register
Harriet and Ann Mercer were two of their children.[4]
In David Davis: Lincoln's Manager, a 1960 biography, author Willard King wrote: As early as 1790, John Mercer had six slaves. In 1810, he had eighteen, and . . . he must have had many more by 1820. A few years later, in the Deep South, each thousand acres of plantation had about a hundred slaves, and John Mercer owned more than 1,600 acres.?
John Mercer had three plantations ... see above under heading "Sassafras Neck, Cecil County, Maryland" (needs source)

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored by MyHeritage

Searching for someone else?
First: Last:

DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with John by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with John:

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Family Tree DNA.


There are no public comments yet.

John is 16 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 16 degrees from Joseph Broussard, 24 degrees from Helmut Jungschaffer and 19 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II Windsor on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

M  >  Mercer  >  John Mercer