07 February 2015

52 Ancestors: My Still line seems So Far Away

Amy Johnson Crow, of No Story Too Small, challenges fellow geneabloggers each week with her 52 Ancestors Challenge. This week’s prompt is “Which ancestor is the farthest from you, either in distance or in time/generations? Which ancestor have you had to go the farthest away to research?” My Still line is the furthest back I’ve got so far and it is also the one that seems the furthest away. 

The Still line is one of the first lines I worked on. You would think, after 30 years, I would be further back than 1760. You would think that I would at least know my immigrant ancestor or where the Still family actually came from. Charles Still is my “far away” ancestor. 

My mother & her father …

My search began with my mother, a Still by birth. Her parents – Lloyd and Mary Welsh Still – lived full lives and I was fortunate to have known them well. My grandfather was born 24 March 1914 in Unionville, Chester County. He was 79 when he passed on 4 May 1993. My grandmother – who was very much into family history and helped a great deal with her lines – passed away on 20 May 1989 in West Chester, Chester County. She was 77 years old. 

My great grandfather Pierson …

My grandfather’s brother Jim and their father – Pierson George Still – lived with my grandparents for several years until they passed. Again I was very fortunate to know them both. My great grandfather lived to be 90. I don’t remember him and Uncle Jim ever not being there but to be honest I cannot say when they moved in. My great grandfather lived an incredible life.  

He was born on 16 March 1886 in Unionville. He was the oldest of six children to Franklin and Sarah Jennie VanHorn Still. He was a farmer and a blacksmith. He had his own blacksmith shop in Unionville but often was called down the Main Line (outside Philadelphia) to shod horses for the well to do families. It was there that he met Mary Kilpatrick, who he would marry in 1908. They had five children, but only Uncle Jim and my grandfather lived to adulthood. Mary – they called her Minnie – was from Ireland and wanted so badly to visit there again but she died in childbirth in 1916. She and the stillborn child are buried together. My grandfather was only two when his mom died. A housekeeper was brought on to help with the boys. Both Pierson and Uncle Jim worked for King’s Ranch and lived out Colorado for a time, tending livestock. When they returned East, they both came to live with my grandparents in Kennett Square. 

My 2x great grandfather …

Franklin and Sarah Jennie VanHorn Still had six children. Franklin was a school teacher in his younger years and worked at the steel mill in his later years. He was also a farmer during his lifetime. I am not sure how the two met. Their youngest – my Aunt Helen – is the one who helped the most with the Still, Vanhorn and related lines. They married in Philadelphia, where Sarah’s family lived, on 6 November 1884. The farm he lived on was adjoining the Doe Run Presbyterian Cemetery in East Fallowfield, Chester County. Many Stills are buried there. Franklin lived from 31 March 1853 to 17 February 1931. The photo here is of Franklin and Jennie (as she was called) sitting on the side porch of their house.

My 3rd great grandfather …

Franklin was one of six children of George David Still and Sarah Bing. George was, in 1841 at least, a trustee of the Methodist Episcopal Church in East Fallowfield, although he and Sarah are buried at Doe Run with the rest of the Stills. George and Sarah, and their children, lived in East Fallowfield, where George was a farmer. It is his parents that seem so Far Away. George lived from 1808 to 1888. 

My 4th great grandparents …

George’s mom was Margaret Still. I have yet to discover his father. Margaret was born in 1788. On 3 May 1808 she gave birth to George. That means she would have got pregnant August or September of 1807. According to Aunt Helen, Margaret came from an affluent family but when she got pregnant out of wedlock (remember it was 1807!) her father bought her a farm in Goosetown (a hamlet near Mortonville, Chester County) and put her out on it. In 1823 she gave birth to another son, whom she named David.  

In 1827 court records indicate that a David Phillips committed fornication against her. Did that happen then, in 1827? Did he father David? Did he father George? Is David Phillips my 4x great grandfather? 

My 5th great grandparents …

Before Margaret got pregnant, she lived at home with her parents and three brothers. Her parents, my 5th great grandparents, are Charles Still (1760 – 1830) and his wife Margaret Rhoades. I know little of them except they lived in Uwchlan Township in Chester County and he owned a tavern there. 

If Charles was born in 1760, that makes him the furthest away I have on my side.


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is a weekly genealogical challenge issued by Amy Johnson Crow, of No Story Too Small.
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.