Pettijohn Image Map R.J. Pettijohn Ray Pettijohn Mary Catherine Rainwater Pettijohn Arthur Pettijohn Homer Pettijohn Clive Pettijohn Dyer Burgess Pettijohn

Something of the Pettijohn (Pettyjohn) Family




IN ATTEMPTING anything in the nature of the present work we are at once confronted with the important consideration of a point of beginning. The place of residence of the family, prior to coming to America is shrouded in the mists of the past, and all we have to enlighten us in that direction are two fairly well established, but opposing, family traditions, one of which tells us that our fore fathers came from Wales, while the other, perhaps as well supported, lends credence to the belief that France was the ancestral home. We feel that no good will be accomplished by entering into a discussion of the reasons which have been advanced in support of either or both of these contentions, and therefore shall confine our efforts and direct our attention to matters and things which have transpired since our ancestors came to America.

In 1931 there was copyrighted the voluminous and well presented work in two large volumes by Mary Walton Ferris entitled "Dawes-Gates Ancestral Lines," in which the compiler devotes a chapter to the "Pettyjohn Family." In that work the author has, in our opinion, exhausted every possible source of information and has set forth with meticulous care the results obtained from a painstaking examination of a multitude of documents and records, all of which are identified, and in many cases enlarged upon in copious foot notes which appear throughout the volumes, which, in the interest of brevity, will hereafter be referred to as the "Dawes History."

The periods covered by the "Dawes History," so far as the present inquiry is concerned, begins with James Pettyjohn (1) and includes his descendents down to Abraham Pettijohn (13), the grandfather of the compilers hereof, and in the Genealogical List we have, with the permission of the copyright owner, drawn from that compilation for much of the data as to those early members of the family.

The story as told in the "Dawes History," is to the effect that the earliest known man of the name in America is James Pettyjohn (1) who lived in Hungar's Parish, on the peninsula, in Northampton County, Virginia, prior to 1660. The author then proceeds to treat this James (1) as our emigrant ancestor, but states that the fact is not definitely proved, and in 1946, Margaret Pettyjohn (304) of [address omitted], Walla Wall, Washington, having investigated all available data, writes that she was "unable to trace any direct descent from these 1660 Virginia Pettyjohns to William Pettyjohn (6)," her ancestor, who married Ruth Scarborough. Be that as it may, for want of a better starting point, and with the knowledge that our conclusions are perhaps based more on speculation and possibilities, than on definite and established facts, we shall, for our present purposes, and in the absence of proof to the contrary, accept and consider James (1) as our ancestor and proceed from that point. The record of the probate of his estate, and that of his wife, Isabel, as well as the guardianship proceedings for their four minor children are among the probate files of Northampton County and a more detailed account thereof may be found in our Genealogical List, the numbers herein, in parenthesis, referring to the family numbers in that list.

Among the children of James (1) was a son John (2), who, being a minor at the time of his father's death, was placed under the guardianship of Capt. Wm. Jones, who later resigned and turned the task over to one John Cole, an innkeeper. This Pettyjohn (2) appears in the lists of the tithables of Accomac County, Virginia, in the 1680's, and in 1692 he removed with his wife, Sara, and family to Sussex County, Delaware, where, in 1721, he was executor of the estate of his son Thomas (2), whose will left all his property (except a bay mare to his brother Richard (46)) to his wife and an only child, Isabel Pettyijohn.

Among the children of John (2), son of James (1), was a son, William (5), and various land transfers of record show that he (William) and his brothers, as well as their father before them, dealt heavily in land in Sussex County, Delaware, where he died, his will being probated February 2, 1750. This William (5) had a son William (6) who, likewise, had a son William (7), and according to the "Dawes History," after the death of the first William (5), his son and grandson of the same name removed from Delaware to Virginia where William (6), a land surveyor, served in the Virginia Assembly in 1785 and 1786. (See families Nos. 5, 6, and 7, in the Genealogical List for more about these three Williams.)

As is shown in the Genealogical List, members of the family were in Virginia and Delaware in the early 1600's, and seem to have remained more or less in that part of the country until after the Revolutionary War, when many of them joined the westward tide of emigration, several families going to Ohio, some to Tennessee, others to Missouri, Texas, Minnesota and Indiana. The story has been told that Davy Crockett's wife was a daughter of a Samuel Pettijohn. Be that as it may, all who have been contacted, regardless of how much or how little they may know of their ancestors, agree on one count. They all hark back to Virginia and Delaware and claim a common ancestor who was an immigrant from either Wales or France.

The facts and incidents here are written with the thought that they may be of interest, first to the descendants of Dyer Burgess Pettijohn (37), and also to those lateral branches having a common ancestor in William Pettyjohn (5) whose great-grandson, Abraham (13) passed the word on to his son, Dyer Burgess Pettijohn (37), that there were three Williams there in Virginia, in a direct line, the last of whom was William Pettyjohn (7), who was Dyer's (37) grandfather.

In 1928 Orson Pettijohn (294), with his sisters, Celia (297), and Gertrude (296) who were then living in Akron, Ohio, made a trip back to West Virginia to find out what they could from the records about our ancestors. Gertrude writes: "In the court house at Fairfax, West Virginia, we read the original wills of our great-great-grandfather William (6), also that of his father William (5), and bills of sale of property of the two men, who evidently owned considerable property for those times. We found records of thousands of acres of land that had been granted by the Commonwealth of Virginia to our great-great-grandfather William (6) who was a land surveyor and worked in that capacity for the state. He also served in the Revolutionary War and had a seat in the Virginia Assembly in 1785 and 1786."

"From the records we located the plantation which he mentioned in his will, went out to the place and walked up the lane which led to the house and barn from the plantation. The house, built by great-great-grandfather William (6) about 1750, had stood all these years until 1924 when an Improvement Company from the city had it torn down, leaving as a sole witness to the location, a corner beam a foot thick still standing. The site of this house was some distance from the one built in 1785 by his son William (7) which is still standing, and which was of logs which have since been covered by weather-boards. In this latter house the chimneys are of stone, the fireplaces, with mantels very high and narrow, are large enough to take logs five feet in length. Just inside the door is an enclosed stairway leading to the second floor. The location is about seven miles from Fairmont, West Virginia, on Gladys Creek." Gertrude continues: "Upstairs we found many things more than one hundred years old, among them being three spinning wheels, a reel and a number of old colonial style chairs. The old loom-house has been partly torn down. There is a fine spring and spring house just a step from the house where the water stands in a hollowed out rock with the water running through the spring house which stands in the shade of a large chestnut tree. Trees planted by great-great-grandfather William (6) are still growing in the yard."

In his will found at the court house at Fairfax, West Virginia, William Pettyjohn (6) mentioned his daughter, Mary and the History of West Virginia, found in the Cleveland library accounts the marriage of this Mary to Major William Haymond. Two of Mary's sons became quite prominent, one being elected to congress from Ohio, and another was a judge in Indiana.

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