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William Stewart (1722-1804)

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

 

Biography of William Stewart

 

Introduction

 

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Historical Stewart Genealogy Research

People have been talking about their own genealogy and ancestors probably since the beginning of time. The descendants of William Stewart have been no different. Studying how people perceive and pass on their own genealogical history is a fascinating subset of genealogy. In the William Stewart line for example, there has been and still is a pervasive multi-generational tradition that the descendants of William Stewart are descended from English or Scottish royalty. Historical figures usually cited are Mary I (Mary Tudor 1516-1558), or Mary, 'Queen of Scots' (Mary Stuart 1542-1587). William Stewart's great-great-grandson, A J Stuart, writes about talking with his brother when young about being related to "Bloody Mary" and "other murderers." I myself have talked to distant cousins I have met online that can remember their parents and grandparents telling them they are related to various historical Stewart royalty. In this section of the story I will attempt to provide a little on the history of the research into the William Stewart line and some Stewart family genealogists of the past that I have become aware of.

The earliest genealogical writings we have about the William Stewart line are probably from letters written by William Stewart's grandson, William McCallen Stewart (WMS), to his younger brother James Park Stuart in 1872. These letters were found by researcher Hugh Stewart at the Swedenborgian Library in Bryn Athyn, PA in the 1970's. I have not been able to examine the original letters myself yet, but they have been transcribed by Hugh Stewart and are reprinted in the 1999 work A Stewart Lineage: Ancestors and Descendants of Irenius Dow Stewart 1845-1918 written by Hugh Stewart, Gladys Barnes, Lois George-Smith, and Chris Stewart. (More on Hugh Stewart and A Stewart Lineage to follow shortly.) The 1872 WMS letters are a remarkable history of the William Stewart family as WMS understood it. In the letters WMS describes his grandfather William Stewart's background in Northern Ireland, and his immigration to America before the Revolutionary war. He goes on to talk about Williams' children, including WMS' father Robert, and ends with a fairly substantial autobiographical section on his own life. The discovery of these letters has been hugely important to modern Stewart genealogical research. Without these letters, many aspects of the life and background of William Stewart and his family would probably never be known.

Scots-Irish Immigration

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'The Stewart Passport'

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William Stewart's wife, Ann Park

Ann Park was probably born around 1725, most likely in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Its estimated she married William Stewart between 1750 - 1755 in County Antrim. Ann, along with her husband, are recorded on a 'Passport' dated 1762 that was issued by a local magistrate in Clough, Antrim, Ireland allowing the couple to immigrate to North America. Ann probably had at least three children with William before leaving Northern Ireland, and she had another two children after arriving in the colonies. Her surviving children were: James b.1755, Margaret b.1761, Robert b.1762, Ann b.1765, and Mary b.1767. After getting permission to immigrate, Ann and her family arrived at New Castle or Philadelphia between 1762 – 1765. After a short stay with William’s brother in Maryland, the Stewarts lived for a time in St. Peter's Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Ann and her family moved to Western Pennsylvania in about 1781. Ann Park is thought to have died in about 1789 in Tyrone, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. It has been speculated that a crude gravestone simply marked "A.S., 1789" which was found by a Stewart researcher and descendant at nearby Old Tyrone Presb. Church graveyard may be her gravestone. William Stewart's 1790 Tyrone township census shows no women living in the house with him which would seem to confirm that she had died by 1790.

It is not known who either of Ann's parents were. It has been speculatively suggested, based on onomastic analysis, that her father's name may possibly have been 'Robert Park'. Early 20th century family traditions have said that Ann was related to President James Knox Polk. Ann Park Stewart does have descendant grandchildren and great grandchildren named 'Park' and 'Pollack', but she has no known descendants named 'Polk'. A kinship with President Polk would have to be considered highly unlikely considering Ann’s descendants knew virtually nothing of her ancestry, and President Polk's line has no apparent connection to Ann Park Stewart. In summary, we know almost nothing about Ann Park. She is not mentioned in a single written record during her entire lifetime other than the 'Passport' record with her husband. Everything about Ann Park is speculative and is only inferred within the context of her husband's life.   

William Stewart's brother, Robert Stewart

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Onomastic Study

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Eastern Pennsylvania

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Western Pennsylvania

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Kentucky and Ohio

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James Stewart

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Robert Stewart

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The McCallen Family

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Margaret Stewart Torrance

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Ann Stewart Hood

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Mary Stewart Wilson

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Conclusion

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Last updated, Wednesday, November 21, 2012