Thursday, January 23, 2014

Nathaniel Brittian (1744 - 1817)

By the time of the American Revolution the Brittain family had lived in America for well over a hundred years. Nathaniel Brittian, Jr. (1665 - 1729) lived on Staten Island.  William Brittian (1723-1804) and his wife Mary moved first to Monmouth County, New Jersey, then to Hunterdon County and finally into Northampton County, Pennsylvania where his name, as well as that of his son Nathaniel,  appears on the 1800 census for Lower Mount Bethel Township.

Imagine a family divided by political views at the time of the Revolution.  The six sons of William and Mary Brittain divided three and three. Our ancestor Nathaniel and his brothers Zeboath and Samuel,  became patriots and fought for the independence of the colonies, while their brothers William, James and Joseph were Loyalitists who joined the army of King George and fought for English sovereignty in the colonies.

Nathaniel Brittian served   multiple times in the Militia of Northampton County, Pennsylvania during the War.  He is on a muster roll, dated May 14th, 1778 as a private of the Sixth Battalion, Third Company  of the Northampton County Militia. He served, according to a return of April 23, 1778 and again in the year 1781 in Captain Timothy Jayne’s Company of the Northampton County Militia.  And again he is listed as a private in the Fifth Battalion of the Northampton County Militia under Captain Hugh Gaston in 1781 and 1782.

He was in Northampton County, Pennsylvania as a single man  as early as 1768 when his name appears on a tax list. Throughout this time Nathaniel continued to acquire and  farm land.  Many records of land ownership can be found showing that he became quite a large land owner in the area of Lower Mount Bethel, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania.  This image  of a handwritten note with his signature is interesting to see.

Pennsylvania, Land Warrants and Applications, 1733-1952

Another tax  record in 1787 shows “Nathaniel Britten, 300 acrs, 2 horses, 3 horned cattle, tax 1 pound 4s4d”.

He married Jane Simonton, a daughter of Robert Simonton about 1769. The Northampton County Tax record of 1768 names him as a single man, but not in this record for 1769: "Nathaniel Briton, 4 acres clear land, 21 acres woodland, rated 12s, 1 horse/mare, 1 horned cow,   the whole rate 1 pound, 12s, tax 2s, quit rent 1/2."

The Children of Nathaniel and Jane Britian were listed in the Orphans Court record at Easton, Pennsylvania.  They were Nathaniel, Samuel, William, Mary, Elizabeth, Robert, Jane, Sarah, and John.

Nathaniel and Jane are buried in the Scotch-Irish Presbyterian Cemetery in Martins Creek. 

Nathaniel Brittain,  d. 10-2-1817, 73y

Jane, departed this life 8th day of March, 1799.

After Jane died in 1799, Nathaniel, 55 years old, remarried.  This very interesting epitaph from  The Scotch-Irish of Northampton County,  "John Brittain died 4 November 1810, in the sixth year of his age.  The only son of his mother and the youngest son of my old age, his father, Nathaniel Brittain." Little John’s mother was Sarah Davidson (1763- 1843). She is buried in White Cemetery, Warren Co., New Jersey.  “Brittain, Sarah, widow of Nathaniel Brittain (late of Lower Mt. Bethel); d. March 4, 1843, aged 80-1-2. (from transcription of Albert Hosbach)”

Now, here is how we fit in. Mary Brittain, the daughter of Nathaniel and Jane,  married Moses Ayers, son of David Ayers.  Their daughter Jane, married Henry Rasley and they had a daughter named Sarah. Sarah Rasley married William McEwen and were the great grandparents of my mother, Lois McEwen Hughes.

Some sources:
Gravestone pictures found at Find A Grave.

Pennsylvania Archives 5th Series, Vol. 8 
The Scotch-Irish of Northampton County, Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society, Easton, Pennsylvania,1926

                       Please see this list of all My Revolutionary War Ancestors
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Friday, January 17, 2014

Matthew Scott (1739 - after 1797)

Matthew Scott was the son of Jonathan and Thankful Scott of Sunderland, Massachusetts.  Remember Thankful?  I love her name and wrote a tribute to her on October 18, 2012.

Matthew was born August 4,1739 in Sunderland, Massachusetts.  He married a woman named Sarah.  I always guessed  that her maiden  name may have been SNOW since her first born daughter is named Sarah Snow Scott.  Sarah’s parents names were  unknown in the records that I received from my grandmother, Zilpha Estep Hughes. Through correspondence with Tim Cadden, a distant cousin,  I have learned that her maiden name was Chamberlain.  My speculation that Sarah’s maiden name was Snow was a good clue. Records show that her mother was Sarah Snow who married John Chamberlain.  Sarah Chamberlain married Matthew Scott in November of 1764 in Amherst, Hampshire Co., Massschusetts.   She was 25 years old.

They settled in Bennington, Vermont about that time.  Orrin Peer Allen lists their children: Zerah, born 9 Oct 1765: Noah, born 5 Jun 1768: Sarah Snow, born 11 Dec 1772: Cynthe, born 8 Jun 1775: Matthew, born 24 Nov 1781: and  Jonathan,  born 24 Dec 1784 (please see Blog post about Jonathan).

Matthew served throughout the time period of the hostilities of the Revolutionary War as a minute man in the Vermont Militia.  I don't know if he belonged to the famous "Green Mountain Boys" or if he took part in the Battle of Bennington on August 16, 1777, but Knapp’s book provides multiple accounts of his services.  His name, Matthew Scott, Sergent,  appears as a member of the  First Company of Militia in Bennington, organized October 24, 1764. 

His name appears  in the  "payroll of Lieut. Jona Scott’s company, raised out of the Militia for to guard the Continental Stores in Bennington, engaged and discharged at different times, from June 30, 1778 to January 4, 1779 both days included", the name of  Matthew Scott , Sergent appears.  Also we learn that he  is included in  "A Pay Roll of the men that went over the mountains to assist the Sheriff in the execution of his Office from the 22d of  May to the 30th of ditto, 1779, both days included; signed by  Sam Robinson, Capt. on which the following persons are allowed  for the no. of days set to their several names", Matthew Scott, Sergent.

Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, 1775 to 1783

 By Vermont, Chauncey L. Knapp

Historical records of Woodford, Vermont, a town settled right after the Revolutionary War, show that he was  the first town clerk upon its organization, February 11, 1789. Later in 1797 he is named as the town treasurer.  I have not discovered when or where he died. 

You read about Thankful Hitchcock Scott,  the mother of Matthew.  Matthew was the father of Jonathan Scott, who married Sarah Merritt, daughter of Thomas Merritt and who eventually moved to Troy, Pennsylvania.  Jonathan's son Hosea married Sarah Angeline Chauncey. They were the great grandparents of my grandmother, Zilpha Estep Hughes. Now read an interesting story of Matthew's son, Jonathan.


  • Descendants of William Scott of Hatfield, Massachusetts. 1668 - 1906 and of John Scott of Springfield, Mass. 1659 – 1906 by Orrin Peer Allen, Palmer, Mass. 1906. (available online)
  • Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, 1775 to 1783, By Vermont, Chauncey L. Knapp, 1904.  (available online)

  • History of the Town of Woodford, online at

                                    Please see this list of all My Revolutionary War Ancestors.

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Jonathan Scott (1784 - 1870) A Reckend of Ages

On this page is a handwritten note listing the names and ages of the family of Jonathan Scott and his wife Sarah Merritt Scott. In his own handwriting Jonathan Scott reports his birth date  and those of his wife and children in a document that is part of the Revolutionary War  Pension Record  of his mother-in-law, Anna Ayers Merritt, who was the  mother of  Sarah Merritt, Jonathan's wife. The Revolutionary War Pension Record for the widow of Thomas Merritt  contains family records of Thomas and Anna Merritt's children and their families.

Jonathan Scott and Sarah (Sally) Merritt came from Bennington, Vermont.  They first lived in Warsaw, New York before moving to Troy, Pennsylvania.  When they arrived in Troy in 1811 it is said that there were only three houses in the town.

Sarah Merritt Scott was born January 1, 1786.  She attested to her date of birth in the Revolutionary War papers filed on behalf of her mother, Anna Ayers Merritt, to claim the pension due her for the service of her husband, Thomas Merritt, in the Revolutionary War.

A Reckend of Ages
Jonathon Scott Was Born Sept the 24 1784
Sarah Scott  Was January the 1 1786
Thomas M Scott  Was Born April the 15   1807
Zina L. Scott  Was Born   Auggust 3 1809
Caroline Scott  Was Born   January  the 28 1812
Sarah Ann Scott  Was Born  July the 16  1814
Emely Scott  Was Born  Auggust  the 24 1816
Dan Scott  Was Born  Febury 14 1818  and died the 15 1818
Hosea Scott Was Born   Auggust 7  1820
George Scott Was Born  June 1 1823
Martha M Scott Was Born  November 20 1825... Her name has been incorrectly reported to be Nathan by others who have looked at this record.  She married Leonard Van Horn and provided a home for her sister Emily for over 30 years. 

This document provides a definitive birth date of September 24, 1784 for Jonathan Scott. Most historians have used the date December 24, 1784.  It is probable that Orrin Peer Allen in recording the family of Matthew and Sarah Scott in his book "Descendants of William Scott of Hatfield, Mass. 1668-1906 and of John Scott of Springfield, Mass., 1659-1906"  recorded a baptism date  for Jonathan. 

That said, I want to clear up a  long standing myth regarding Jonathan Scott.  Family historians have long thought that he was the son of Zerah Scott.   But his name does not appear in the list of children born to Zerah and Sybil Scott as is  recorded in The Revolutionary War  pension application records of Zerah.   The records contain an account of Zerah's children as recorded in the family Bible.  Zerah's children were:

Elijah Scott, born April , 1787
Sarah, born  Mar 3 1790
Claria, born  Nov. 23, 1793
Vera  born,  Sept. 20, 1798  d.  Jan. 5, 1813
Betsy Scott,  born  April 5, 1802
Joseph Spenser Scott,  born  June 5, 1807

Since Zerah and Syble were married August. 3, 1786 in Bennington, Vermont, our Jonathan Scott, born September 24, 1784,  could  NOT  have been his son.  Zerah, born October 8, 1765 in Bennington, Vermont  was his oldest brother. There was an  age span of about twenty years  between these brothers. They were the sons of Matthew and Sarah ScottI believe that Zerah may have taken in his  younger brother to be reared by him.   Jonathan very well may have been raised as the oldest child in Zerah's family and he  may have looked to his older brother as his father.  Therefore the confusion in the reported family history.

Jonathan Scott's son, Hosea, was my great great grandfather.  He married Sarah Angeline Chauncey.  Their daughter Helen married Charles Estep, whose daughter Zilpha was my grandmother. 

It is estimated that Jonathan and Sarah died before 1860 as they appear on the 1850 census, but not on the 1860 census. Family histories note that Jonathan is buried in the old  cemetery at Troy. I have not located the grave or a transcription of gravestones in that cemetery.  If anyone has knowledge of such, please contact me.


Written family history passed down to me from my grandmother Zilpha Estep Hughes.

Descendants of William Scott of Hatfield, Massachusetts. 1668 - 1906 and of John Scott of Springfield, Mass. 1659 – 1906 by Orrin Peer Allen, Palmer, Mass. 1906.

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