Wigton Walker Research: 20 questions

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20 Questions Regarding Wigton Walker Research </center> The following questions were originally developed in 1999, and posted to the Wigton Walker mailing list on Rootsweb. They were subequently picked up by Don Erikson and posted on his Wigton Walker web site, and partially revised in 2001. Please note that despite the revisions, some mistatements remained in the text. I am now working to scrub out those mistatements, and to otherwise update the answers to these questions. Some of the questions have been answered, probably as well as we can expect them to be answered. Most of the 20 questions remain problematical. Indeed, with the advent of DNA testing, we now have so many additional questions that a future supplement is probably in order. Also, please note that these quetons related to Wigton Walker heritage are simply the questions in which I'm personally interested. As a result, some of the questions are specific to the line of John Walker III, and may have little interest to people in other lines. (However, the truth is most memebers (roughly two-thirds) of the Wigton Walker list are in fact descended from John III.)

Questions Answers
1. Are there any [primary] records that have been found that confirm the family of John I in Wigton?---I know there are Walker marriage records etc for the time period in Wigtonshire, but can any of them be firmly tied to the family of John I?---and in particular, can anyone confirm the statement in White 1902 that John II married Katherine Rutherford in Wigton on 7 Jan 1702. Cousin Cyndi Myers wrote "While in Wigton, I met an author named Donna Brewster who writes historical fiction ...I found it very interesting reading taken place in our Walker area and during the time period of the covenenters. ... She was very interested in any information I could give her on our ancestors. She had a computer database that had early settlers on it, and she searched it for ours. It contained the early church records, marriages and births. We did find
A. a birth of Alexander Walker, son of John and Jane McKnight Walker born 1682, Wigton. ...
B. Also in the register of Sasines, 1701-1720 found at the Dumfries Galloway Family History Center, a John Walker, son of Alexander W, minister at Kirkcud. Date of record, 21 April 1713, Vol. 103, Fol. 269 Peebles County.
C. A John Walker, tenant in Athelsford, date of record 11 August 1703, Vol 83, Fol 297,County Berwick."

Cindi didn't give full citations for all of the above Item [A] is particularly interesting in the light of other discussions concerning the Cowan Walker connection. This data suggests that there is a record substantiating Alexander as the son of John I. Just don't know what it is. Don't know exactly what went into the data base. Could be an inference based on the marriage records of Alexander that we have seen.
Item [B] is also most interesting. The John being referenced could conceivably be John I. But he could be the son of the Alexander in [A], or someone else altogether. Again, this shows that there is at least some data out there worth tapping---

Can't say that I see the relevance of item [C}

Other than the above the closest I've come here is citing the fact that there is a tombstone (more likely a cenotaph) to one George Walker in one of the church cemetery's in Wigton. The stone is dated 1685. His body may or may not lie beneath the stone, which may or may not be contemporary with his death, or within living memory of those who knew him. So its value as a primary record is moot. Also, there's nothing to link him directly to our family anyway, other than his last name. Probably all this shows is that the Walker surname was in the area prior to 1700, but I think we already could assume that.

From time to time others have noted references to a Rev. George Walker been cited as the father of John I. Wayne Walker, for example, noted a reference to a George Walker in the area, as dying in 1677. Other sites give Rev. George as the father of John, and sometimes also as the son of yet another Rev. George Walker. Presuming that these various and sundry George Walkers were Presbyterian, and ministers to boot, adds to the plausibility of a connection to Rev. Samuel Rutherford. Its unfortunate that other than the tombstone above we have little in the way of primary records for these Georges. I should also note that these Rev. Georges seem to be on occasion confused with the Rev. George Walker "Hero of Londonderry"---but that would seem to be a red herring of an entirely different color.

2. Who were the parents of John I and Jane McKnight? Some have identified John's father as George Walker (see Question 1 above). This particular bit of information could be said to be consonant the often made assertion that George Walker "Hero of Londonderry") was related to our Wigton Walkers. Unfortunately, if there's any documentation to support any of this, no one has come forward with it.

Possibly the reference to George Walker is the individual whose cenotaph appears in the church yard at Wigton---its possible that someone noted the name, and jumped to the conclusion that he must be John I's father. The DOD would be consistent with someone of age of John I's father. But the fact that its possible doesn't make it so. George could be John I's father. He could be an uncle. He could be of no relationship at all. Without better data on who he was, we are nowhere at all with this question. And the bottom line on George is that we need documentation for his existence before we can show that he's John's father.

Its worth noting that if John I's father was in fact George, you'd sort of expect John I, Alexander I, or their descendants to have named someone after him. If there's one thing our Wigton ancestors were its uncreative when it came to given names. I may not know who John I's father was, but I'm willing to bet that his given name was one of the following: John, Alexander, Joseph, James, or Samuel. "George" is a real long shot.

With regard to Jane McKnight's parent's: Some have identified them as John McKnight and Sarah Moore. The basis for identifying her father as John McKnight appears to be the inscription in the Walker Rutherford Bible, printed 1621, with the name John McKnight born 1627 "written in this book"--(White 1902:278). Some have used this information to infer that John McKnight must be Jane's father. That interpretation is consistent with the likely DOM from John Walker=Jane McKnight (c. 1680---when John McKnight would have been about 50 years of age---appropriate for the marriage of a daughter of marriagable age). Unfortunately, showing that these facts are consistent with identifying John as Jane's father, is not the same as showing it to be true. These same data would be consistent with him being an uncle, a cousin, or no relation at all.

Paul Parker noted (personal communication) that someone had identified John McKnights wife as Sarah Moore. There doesn't seem to be any information as to the basis for this.

Again, for any and all of this information, primary documentation is much needed. I believe that from the number of references (especially those noted by cousin Cindi) there are extant records that are worth pursuing. If anyone has done a systematic search of these records I'm sure we'd all welcome hearing the results of their search.

3. Is there anything that supports or denies a relationship of Katharine Rutherford to Rev. Samuel Rutherford and Rev. Joseph Alleine as per White 1902? This is a complex problem, mostly because the relationship has been widely accepted, both by authors preceeding, and following White 1902. Most of these authors, including White 1902, base their information on two sources: McPheeters, 1842 and Brown, 1854. So far, McPheeters is the earliest source I have that draws a connection between the Reverends Samuel and Joseph on the one hand, and Katherine Rutherford on the other.

[ need segway ]

There's been quite some discussion of this subject from time to time. There's much information available about the Rutherfords. So much so that I think it imprudent to attempt to summarize that information as part of the twenty questions. The bottom line is that again, primary data confirming what is widely bruited about, seems absent. Some have focused on the relative merits and demerits of various source of information about the Rutherford lineage. Without going into the detail that this problem deserves, but which is beyond what I think I can reasonably do...I'll say the following. Some of the information out there is undoubtedly spurious. Based on cousin Katherine's evaluation it would seem that Kenneth Rutherford Davis' work on this subject is the best available. This work and others may be good sources of information on the Rutherford lineage. Unfortunately without primary source information its impossible to judge what's good and what's bad data. Despite all of the discussion I've yet to see anything documenting a basis for saying that Katherine Rutherford was or was not related to Rev. Samuel Rutherford...or for any of the other key pieces of information related to the Rutherfords in our line.

On occasion folks will say that White 1902 states that Katherine is descended from Rev. Samuel. Cousin Tali Barbosa cited a caveat made by Emma White herself in an email to the list of 19 Dec. 1999. White stated that:
"On page 489 of his History of Virginia Henry Howe says that James Moore (whose mother was Jane Walker, daughter of John of Wigton) was a lineal descendant of Rev. Samuel Rutherford; failing to find proof of this assertion I only say in my book that he was nearly related to our ancestor, John Rutherford."

So White was convinced that there was a relationship; she just wasn't convinced what that relationship was. I'd like to see the evidence that supports the relationship given in (as always) primary documentation, as that's what's needed to resolve this question. In particular, the following specific bits of data need documentation:

  1. evidence that Isabella Alleine married John Rutherford
  2. Evidence that John Rutherford was in fact related to Rev. Samuel Rutherford. (You can find this stated in many places. The issue is what is the documentation that supports this. White 1902 doesn't count. Neither does a citation to any author that doesn't include reference to the underlying sources of information.)
  3. Evidence that John served in Ireland during the Willamite wars.
  4. Evidence that John was a minister, and served at Kirkcudbright/Anwoth, just as Rev. Samuel did.

With regard to Rev. Joseph Alleine, the evidence for a connection is very limited. White makes it clear that she thinks a connection exists, but so far I've seen nothing that would seem to support this idea.

Too be blunt, even if it can be shown that Katherine's mother was Isabella Alleine,---and even if it can be shown that Isabella's father was a Rev. Joseph Alleine, that doesn't mean that he was THE Rev. Alleine. During this time period there actually were two or three Rev. Joseph Alleine's---but only one of them is the author of Alleine's Alarum etc. that White shows a connection to. Again, the bottom line here is that without primary documentation this is interesting, but in my opinion its not even a good working hypothesis. Just an example of how we all tend to gravitate in the direction of concluding our ancestors were famous folks. I like nothing better than for someone to prove this one. Don't think its going to happen though, and don't think its true.

4. When did the Walkers leave Wigton for Ireland? Current---It would seem that this event must have occurred sometime after Jan. 1702 (the date of John and Katherine's marriage in Wigton), and their departure to the new world (1726, 1728, or 1730). DOB's/POB's of John and Katherine's children seem to suggest that this was about 1711, but can this be confirmed? (This point, by the way has important implications for whether the Alexander Walker that appears in later birth and marriage records of Wigton is in fact Alexander I. If John and Katherine left for Ireland in 1702, then you need to explain how this Alexander's children who were born after this date got to Ireland and then to the New World. Cousin Lin's hypothesis is that possibly following Alexander's second marriage the children of the first marriage became a problem for the new couple. So they were sent overseas to live with their uncle John.)

5. And the perennial Chestnut----what was the name of the ship that the Walkers came to America in? From time to time the "George and Ann" gets bruited about as THE SHIP. Cousin Bob Cowan has noted that his original copy of White 1902 has a note in the margins that indicates the ship was the "George and Ann". The George and Ann did make a voyage to America about this time, but the timing is not exactly right to match up with White 1902. Also, while the passenger list includes Cowans, and certain other individuals who are know to have ended up on Borden's Grant 110 to 15 years later, it includes no Walkers. However, we're unsure of the year when the Walkers came over, so perhaps the well known voyage of the George and Ann about this time was simply the wrong voyage. I personally think this is unlikely, and another case of folks gravitating toward the famous. (The voyage of the George and Ann about this time is fairly well known, mostly because most of the passengers died during the voyage.)

Nothing much else seems to have shown up as a candidate for THE SHIP.

6. Did the Walkers get to America in 1726, 1728, or 1730? (White 1902:2)

Current Answer. As far as I remember nothing much has come up on this other than White seems to favor 1726. This seems to be based on the Joel Walker record. See questions 7 and 8.

7. Did ALL of the extended family of John II come as a group, or were there separate transports, perhaps at different times, and separated by several years?

We've seen that at least some of the other members of the extended Walker family came over a bit later than 1730. Unfortunately I can't dredge up the basis for this conclusion. Its someone could help me out here, I'd appreciate it.

However, even if some of the family came over in say 1730 can we be sure that the main Walker family didn't come over then as well? In part, this is a problem because White doesn't explain the basis for the other dates for their arrival, just saying that "other documents" say 1728 or 1730. Presumably she was basing her 1726 on the Joel Walker record.

8. What [primary] documentation exists for the presence of our Walkers in the PA/MD area.

Again, I've revised this question to emphasize primary documentation. Several have pointed out that "the Captives of Abbs Valley" predates White 1902, and indicates that the Moore's were in the PA area. This seems to confirm White 1902, but in point of fact, White clearly used Abb's Valley" as a source, so this isn't an independent confirmation of what's in White 1902. Bottom line here is that even though Abb's Valley was composed much closer to the events than White 1902, it still isn't exactly primary documentation.

What we'd really like to have here is a land record, a church record, or a tax record (etc.) that shows our Walkers in the area by a certain date. Cousin Phil Rhoton has been looking at the marriage and land records in PA, and with the exception of the data on Ann Houston=John III, has noted nothing that seems to clearly (or unclearly) point to our Wigton line.
Some related questions: "Where exactly did our family first settle? White 1902 implies that they settled near the Nottingham Meeting House. But where was that? I've seen nothing other than White 1902 that really places the Walkers et al in this area. Where exactly was the Walker homesite? Where were the other family home sites (e.g, Campbell's, Hudson's, etc.). My suspicion is that the Walkers were living in East Nottingham based primarily on the fact that Ann's brother is identified as a "farmer of East Nottingham". This could be either north or south of the present Pa/MD border. I'm inclined to suspect that they lived south of the border near the community of Rising Sun. In part this is based on the fact that Hugh and Elizabeth Rutherford Hudson settled in Maryland (White 1902), and Elizabeth is identified as sister of James Rutherford, brother of our Katherine Rutherford. So if Katherine's sister settled in Maryland, perhaps Katherine and John did to.
There were Walkers in the Nottingham area of PA and MD before 1726 when the Wigton Walkers got there. There were Walkers there after 1738 when the family of John III and others moved to Borden's Grants. Are these other Walkers related in anyway to the Wigton line? Are there descendants of John I who came to America with John II, settled in this area, but are not accounted for in White 1902?

9. When exactly did the Walkers get to Borden's Grant? Reading White 1902:3, you'd have to say 1738 or later---but when exactly? Were they among the 92 original settlers of Borden's Grant, or did they come a bit latter? The answer for this question lies with the original processioner's lists for the 92 settlers who formed the basis for Borden's grant of 92,100 acres. It appears that these lists are no longer extant. What we are left with are the deeds that were ultimately recorded for the original property. About the best we can do here in the way of dates is 1740 or so. The Walkers were amongst the earliest of those deed holders, but that doesn't tell us when they actually got to the grant. They were probably among the original 92 settlers, but we'll probably never know for sure.

10. When exactly did John III leave Bordens Grant for NC?

Current answer: Sometime toward the end of the French and Indian War, and 1756 seems likely, but son-in-law Patrick Porter was apparently still on Bordens Grant in 1760 when he's shown on a militia roster. But we know John III was in NC prior to this date, as we have deed records in the area he settled prior to 1760. Might could be that these records are for a different John Walker.---If so that John Walker is perhaps a Wigton, and perhaps not.

11. Who are those 'other Walkers' in Caswell Co area?---same area as the family of John III, but they didn't relocate to SW Va. Who were they? How do they connect to the Wigton Walkers? Do they connect at all?

Current answer: Who knows?
12. Who were the parents of Patrick Porter (wife of Susannah, dau. of John III).

Bob Beverly has shown that it can't be the traditional Benjamin Porter=Ann Campbell, as Benjamin's will doesn't show a Patrick, though it shows lots of other children. Was Patrick's father Samuel Porter "Schoolmaster of Drumore Township"? Samuel apparently died in the early 1750's. Patrick seems to have assumed adult responsibilities at a fairly early age, and this may indicate that he had taken over as HOH in his father's stead. On the other hand, Samuel may only have returned to Dromore Township, rather than having died.

13. When and where did Ann Houston die?

Current Answer: Apparently in NC, but that could be anywhere between 1756 and 1771. Looking at DOB's and marriage records for their children might suggest something here, but we don't seem to have good dates for many of them.

14. When did the Walkers et al get to the Clinch? Was it as early as 1769 as suggested by the History of Scot Co.? Or was it more like 1771/1772, as some statements of Patrick Porters children seem to indicate?

Primary records don't support a date earlier than 1770.

15. How soon after they got to the Clinch did John III die?

The conventional answer here is 1778. However, this is based on the probate date for his will. I believe this to be a misinterpretation of the data. The will may have been probated in 1778, but it would seem that he died somewhat earlier. The late probate date is probably due to the fact that for the most part, filing wills was one of the least important items on the settlers list of needs. However, about 1778 more stringent rules came into play concerning settlement rights. If a settler died with out securing those rights, and without a will, his descendants could loose those rights. Hence in 1778 there is a sudden increase in the number of wills being probated. John III's was amongst these.

This suggests that in truth John III had died prior to 1778. When exactly is unclear. However, her his will mentions sons Samuel and John. yet we know from other sources that Samuel probably died about 1776. So we'd guess that John died prior to 1776.

16. Did Samuel Walker, son of John III marry?

This one's been resolved for a long time, but I'll include it for completeness. The answer appears to be No, he died without marrying, since his brother John is listed as 'heir at law'---meaning no issue of his own, and probably not married. (I regret I can't remember who resolved that chestnut, Jerry was involved, but I thought the basic idea came from someone else.---I think this one predates the migration of the list to the Rootsweb server, so the archives won't be much of a help in this regard. Somebody help my memory please.)

17. John IV settled near Houston's Fort. Where exactly was his homesite? Was it possibly the same site as the Kilgore Fort House?

John IV left the area 1785. Shortly thereafter Rev. Robert Kilgore=Jane Porter Green moved east of the Clinch to settle where the Kilgore Ft. House stands. The thought has struck me that maybe they moved to the same site as John IV lived.

18. John IV's wife has been identified as Mary Anderson, not "Miss Long" as per White 1902). Who were Mary's parents? Were they on Clinch where there are several Anderson families during this time period?---Did "Miss Long" actually exist? Did John IV=Mary Anderson marry in NC? Did her parents come to SW Va with the Walkers?

I don't have the answer to this. However, I now think John IV married before moving to NC with his parents. Conceivably he could have married a "Miss Long" first, and second Mary Anderson. However, scrutiny of the land records (and the Hildebrandt map of primary land transfers on Borden's grant) suggests something to me. In particular a John Walker Jr. Received 303 acres of land in 1753. I believe this is John Walker IV. Consulting Hildebrandt's map this particular bit of property lies on the north side of a barren area corresponding to a small hill (northern extension of Bunkin Hill?) on my Delorme. Immediately south of this feature is the property of one Isaac Anderson. I'm not going to say that Mary Anderson is Isaac's daughter (though he had a daughter Mary I believe she married someone else). However, my guess is that if Isaac isn't John IV's fatherinlaw, he's likely to be a brotherinlaw, or other close relation.).

19. During the various moves of John III (from Scotland to Ireland to Maryland, to Borden's Grants, to Caswell Co to the Clinch), folks with the surname 'Cowan' have always been close at hand. Are all of these Cowans' related? When did John III's daughters marry the three Cowan brothers? Were they related to the Cowans that are found in Wigtonshire 1710-1720? Some say--"of course!"---but can anyone prove the connection?

Marriage and birth records in Wigtown have been cited for an Alexander Walker marrying a Janat Cowan about the time of John II (in the 1710-720 range, or thereabouts). Some have interpreted this Alexander as Alexander I, brother of John II, emphasizing the purported long-term relationship between the Walkers and the Cowans. If this is correct, than his children would be the nephews of John II that went with him to America. Names and DOB's etc. seem consistent with this line of reasoning, and cousin Lin has developed a very nice hypothesis about how all of this could fit together. Namely that Alexander's first wife died, he remarried, and for whatever reason the children of the first marriage weren't welcome in the new household, so went with uncle John to Ireland live---or perhaps joined him there.

Some have accepted this idea as an unquestioned fact...witness several web sites that state this as fact. While I think the hypothesis has considerable merit, I personally think it remains unproven. It's one thing to come up with a good hypothesis which explains how loose ends could fit together. Its another thing to prove that hypothesis to be true. Considerable weight would be given to this idea if it could be shown that the Alexander who married Janat Cowan is indeed Alexander I.
Some have placed great emphasis on the "long standing relationship between the Walkers and Cowans through the generations". The implication with such statements is that the Cowans who are indubitably present in Wigtonshire around 1700, and continue to be present to the present day, are related to the Cowans who are known to have married into our Wigton line (notably the three Cowan brothers who married daughters of John III.) The possibility that such a relationship exists is highly intriguing. Indeed, at almost every location that John I, John II, John III, and John IV lived---there are Cowans nearby. Regretfully, we do not know that the Cowans in each of these locations (Wigton, Newry (? not sure of this), Nottinghamshire, Rockbridge, NC, SW Va, NW TN, and the Knoxville area TN) are related. Obviously some are, but for this line of reasoning to do much good you have to show that there's a continuous connection between the Cowans at least in the critical range of PA to Rockbridge to NC and SW Va. A break anywhere along the line renders this argument null.
Cousin Bob Cowan clearly believes that there is continuity in the Cowans between SW VA, NC, and Rockbridge. As yet I remain un-convinced that, for example, the Alexander Cowan who married one of John III's daughters, and lived in SW Va, is the same as/related to the Cowans that lived on Beverly's grant, a few miles north of Walkers Creek. Its likely that they are connected, but I have yet to see sufficient proof.
---It would be very good if it could be shown that the Cowans who married John III's daughters, (or their immediate family), in fact lived in all of the places that John II and John III lived. If that could be done then the idea that the Alexander who married Janat Cowan is in fact Alexander I, brother of John II would become very much credible.

20. And to make an even 20, did the Walkers/Kilgores/Cowans/ move from Caswell Co to the Clinch as a unit, or did they meet only after they reached the Clinch?

Current Answer: Who knows. I'd guess that at least some of the marriages between the Cowan's and Walkers took place on Borden's Grant, but I don't see evidence to prove that, or that the Cowans on Beverley's grant are in fact related to the Cowans who married the Walker sisters. An answer to this question would go a long way toward answering number 19 as well.

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