Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Margaret Patterson Adams - Not Donnell

Margaret _____ Patterson Adams - She Never was a Donnell

Bio | Why Not Donnell | 1744 Will | Timeline | Sussex DE | Augusta VA 

By Wes Patterson (Last Revised: 15 August 2018)

Who was Margaret Adams?

Answer: She was the mother of Robert "R" Patterson who died in York Co SC in 1775.

She has been hailed as Margaret Donnell Patterson Adams in certain published works, and especially on the Internet. I have also perpetuated that name Donnell, but with a "?" in front of it. I have always said that I didn't know where the name Donnell came from, but I couldn't prove OR disprove it.

That has now changed (in 2010), in my opinion. I believe I can disprove it. In other words, I believe I can prove that her maiden name was not Donnell, at least not for the reasons previously assumed.

D.O. Hood and his theory about Donnell

You see, it begins with Dellmann O. Hood's book, The Tunis Hood Family. On page 465 Mr. Hood takes a stab at why he thinks her maiden name would have been "Donnell". Quote:
"...As a general rule in those times middle Christian names were not bestowed on children, but were given occasionally to honor the mother or grandmother. The only middle Christian name accounted for in the immediate family of Jeremiah Harrison and Catherine Adams was in the case of their daughter, Lydia Donnell Harrison.... Hence it seems likely that the maiden name of Margaret Patterson-Adams was Donnell..."

Jeremiah Harrison and his wives

Jeremiah Harrison married his first wife in or around Sussex Co DE about 1730, give or take a year. Mr. Hood believed Harrison's only wife was Catherine, but he had missed the fact that Harrison's first wife was Elizabeth Patterson.

The "daughter" Mr. Hood names as Lydia Donnell Harrison, was born in the early to mid 1730's. We know that Jeremiah's wife Elizabeth was still alive in 1744 when her mother (Margaret Adams) wrote her will. Elizabeth later died, and Jeremiah remarried to a Catherine, last name unknown.

People have always assumed Catherine was an Adams since her "daughter" Esther Harrison was named in Margaret Adams' 1744 will. However, that is another wrong assumption, as Esther was Catherine's step daughter, and the connection was a Patterson connection. In fact, none of Jeremiah Harrison's children (16) descend from the Adams lineage.

Lydia Donnell's Baptism Record

So what? you might say. Well, here's where it gets interesting. Rev Craig baptized this Lydia Donnell girl on 17 May 1743 near the Halfway House, which is where Jeremiah Harrison was baptized in 1740. Here's the entry in Craig's diary:
"Jeremiah Herison, stood sponsor for a child baptized named Lidea Donnel at Halfway House."
The key phrase to notice is where it says "stood sponsor". In all other baptism records for children in Rev Craig's diaries, it names the father then the child's name, but no such phrase like "stood sponsor". To me, this proves that Lydia Donnell was named just that - and not Harrison. She may have been raised by the Harrisons. Perhaps Jeremiah became her guardian, but she wasn't a Harrison by birth.

With that in mind, I'm afraid it renders Mr Hood's assumption utterly baseless. Remember, his declaration of Margaret Patterson-Adams' maiden name being Donnell was based on this girl being named Lydia Donnell Harrison and her being the daughter of Jeremiah Harrison and his wife, which we know now to have been Elizabeth Patterson.

So what WAS the full name of Margaret Adams? We know that she entered a land patent in old Orange Co Va under the name of Mary Adams. This we learn from the following record in Augusta Co Va following her death in 1769/1770:

"15th May, 1770. Samuel Adams, of North Carolina, to Joseph Dictum, power of attorney to convey 340 acres on Linvel's Creek, devised by Margaret Adams and from him descended to Samuel as eldest son and heir, having been patented in the name of Mary Adams. Title yet to be made to Samuel."
However, we have learned in 2018 according to Thomas Jefferson's Memorandum Books that there was a court case involving Margaret Adams' land that cleared up the fact that the name "Mary" was in error. Her name truly was Margaret Adams - not Mary Adams. Therefore, we believe that her name was Margaret ______ Patterson Adams. I can no longer record her maiden name as "?Donnell". I have that info in many places and this is my first attempt at explaining what I consider to be an error. Things like this happen. We all try to uncover hidden clues. But this is a great example of an assumption gone awry.

Hope this makes sense, and perhaps helps clarify some of the mystery surrounding this lady. Margaret Adams (as she was known most of her life) was my 7x-Great-grandmother.


P.S. Jeremiah Harrison, and the Pattersons and Adams families, all came from Sussex Co DE to the Shenandoah Valley of Va in the late 1730's. What many researchers did not know until the last few years is that Jeremiah Harrison was first married to Elizabeth Patterson, daughter of Margaret Adams. Margaret was first married to William Patterson, and they were the parents of Elizabeth and Robert (d. 1775 SC). Thereafter, William died and his widow then remarried to John Adams, who likewise died in the 1720's.

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