27 October 2014

Mystery Monday: Who fathered George David Still?

Genealogy Roadshow filmed in Philadelphia this weekend and I had submitted some info about my family mystery. I did not hear back, not even a "sorry you're family is not exciting enough for television." Nothing. I suppose that may be true. We were not slaves (seems to be the current trend of these shows recently) nor did we (to my knowledge) ever own any or help any escape. We did not mingle with the local Lenape nor did we stand out in any major sort of way locally. My STILL family simply seems to be a small white family of farmers throughout the year. All the same, we do have a mystery and a tale ...

My 4th great grandmother (Margaret Still) has always been a bit of a roadblock for me. I have traced most of my other lines back to my immigrant but my STILL line is stuck in Chester County, PA around the time of the Revolutionary War.
The story goes: Margaret got pregnant out of wedlock and her father put her out on a farm away from the family and left her be. I have confirmed that Margaret did in fact have two children out of wedlock. The only time a husband is mentioned or rather implied is in her will where she refers to herself as a widow. Her parents lived in Uwchlan Township and she was "put out" in Goosetown in East Fallowfield Township. Both are in Chester County. (Photo of townships is from the USGS).

When "applying" for the Genealogy Roadshow, they asked what we wanted to know and what specific questions we have. I want to know who my 4th great grandmother was. My specific questions:
  1. Who was George David Still's father? (George was Margaret's son born out of wedlock in 1808)
  2. Were George and his brother David really half brothers? If so why use the name David for George's middle name?
  3. What did Margaret do that she was able to afford land in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County in 1829?
  4. Where were her parents (Charles Still and Margaret Rhoades) originally from?
They also asked what we know so far.

Charles Still (1760 - 1830) married Margaret Rhoades. They had four children: Charles, Henry, Jacob and my Margaret. 

Margaret (1788 - 1873) had two sons: my George David Still and David Still. I am still trying to resolve spousal issue. Son David's death certificate lists father as David Still and maiden name of mother as Margaret Still. Birthplace of both parents unknown. 

  • 1788 - born in PA
  • 1808 - son George born May 3rd
  • 1823 - son David born
  • 1827 - court records show David Phipps committed "fornication and bastardly" against her. (see below taken from the Chester County Archives - Quarter Sessions). The court records show that David Phipps was a yeoman. The Grand Inquest record reads: "(David Phipps) did commit fornication, and on the body of the said Margaret Still did then and there beget a male bastard child." The Grand Inquest was held on 28 April 1827. The document reveals Margaret, in 1827, was a single woman living in Uwchlan Township. A Jacob Still (her brother perhaps) was bound for her appearance in court. A John Phipps (brother or father) was bound the same for David Phipps' appearance.
  • 1829 - as per Sheriff Deeds (online) she purchased 3 lots from the Kennedys in East Fallowfield Township.
  • 1830 - son George marries Sarah BING on 30 December.
  • 1830 - land records show Margaret sold son George 37 acres, a building, a horse and a cattle
  • 1845 - son David marries Agnes Armstrong on 16 April.
  • 1850 - census shows her living with David and his wife and their son William in East Fallowfield Township.
  • 1851 - 23 January she sold George land she had purchased on 2 February 1829
  • 1870 - census shows her living w/David in Marshalton, East Fallowfield Township.
  • 1871 - 4 December wrote will and refers to herself as a widow. (I circled the word widow.)
  • 1872 - died in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County, PA
  • 1872 - 15 August will executed

George David Still (1808 - 1888) married Sarah Bing (1811 - 1891). They had six children: John, Margaretta, Robert, Jane, George, and my Franklin. George was a farmer. The farm that George got from his mother is the same that Franklin received which he in turn passed to his youngest. 

Franklin Still (1853 - 1931) married Sarah Jennie VanHorn (1864 - 1946). Franklin was a teacher, a farmer, worked in the steel mill and was an inventor (yes I have his two patent info).They had six children. Their oldest was my Pierson George Still.

Pierson George "PG" Still (1886 - 1977) married Mary Kilpatrick (1884 - 1916). She was a domestic from Ireland working on the Main Line where he did work as a blacksmith. They had five children. Only the two sons (Uncle Jim and my grandfather Lloyd) lived into adulthood.

My roadblock though is that Margaret had a child out of wedlock! Paper trails back then were frustrating if trying to trace the female. Finding out my above questions relating to the STILL line, would answer so many nagging questions! It would also - I'm sure - provide some direction as to origins of the STILL family.

Mystery Monday is a daily genealogical prompt promoted by GeneaBloggers.
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.