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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