Category Archives: TIDD

Bucks County, Pennsylvania?


This may be a new lead in the hunt for the elusive Hill clan in early Pennsylvania. On the 1790 census for Bucks County, there are some familiar names: James Hill and a few folks with the name Crooks. There’s Thomas Hill, James Hill, Nathan Crooks, Mary Crooks, and William Crooks.

Was James Hill, future husband of Sarah Tidd, living in Bucks County in 1790 rather than what I had assumed, Northumberland County? With a son named John Crooks Hill, I know there is a meaning to the name. But what are the specifics?


June 23rd, 1757 — The Death of John Tidd

John Tidd

Sometimes my ancestors weren’t so lucky.

On June 23rd, 1757, during the French & Indian War — what some have described as the first world war and known outside of North America as the Seven Years’ War — John Tidd, my great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather, was murdered and scalped by “a large body of Indians” near Fort Hamilton, Pennsylvania, in what is now the borough of Stroudsburg in Monroe County.¹


1. Fort Hamilton was a “palisaded house, with four half-bastions, 80 feet square, and garrisoned by 60 to 100 men and horses.” It was “built by the Pennsylvania colonial militia from plans by Benjamin Franklin.”

James Hill, Shoe-maker


Here is more evidence supporting my theory that James Hill of White Deer Township — then in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania and what is now Union County — is my ancestor, the same James Hill who married Sarah Tidd and died in Hardin County, Ohio in 1862.

In White Deer Township in 1796, James Hill is living in a small cabin and working as a shoemaker. A John Hill is nearby, residing in a cabin, presumably a larger one. He, too, is a shoemaker.

My ancestor, James Hill of Hardin County, Ohio—born in June of 1763 in Pennsylvania, was also a shoemaker.

James Hill was a shoemaker by trade.”


Is It Elizabeth? Or Jacob?

After all these years, I think I have finally found ’em.

This past Tuesday I was searching on Ancestry and came upon a woman named — which is not common — on a “Tax & Exoneration” list, whatever that means. Usually a woman mentioned by name during this period means she is widowed. Sometimes, rarely, she may be single and unmarried. Otherwise, it would be the name of her husband in her place. She would go unnamed.

Elizabeth Hill is her name. From 1778 to 1780, she is listed, living in White Deer Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. White Deer is now, apparently, in Union County.

Is Elizabeth Hill the mother of my ancestor James? Or is she an aunt and Jacob his father? Who knows. At least, now however, I have names and a location to focus on. This should be the breakthrough I have been hoping for.

What sealed the deal for me is a name scribbled out below Elizabeth and Jacob, William Jordan. You see, William Jordan is the father of a woman named Mary Jordan. Mary married a man named James Hill.

Jacob Hill is recorded right after Elizabeth. James Hill had a grandson named Jacob A. Hill. This has been confirmed by DNA testing.

After 1780, Elizabeth Hill disappears from White Deer Township, at least in the records she does. Did she die? That would be my guess. Of course, she may have simply moved, to another town or into another household. She may have remarried.

In 1781 a woman named Elizabeth Hill was living in a place called Northern Liberties near Philadelphia. She was still there in 1790, living with three boys less than 16 years old and one female, her age unknown.

In 1790 James Hill is living in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. He is the only male in a household of six, meaning he and Mary likely had at least four daughters.

William Jordan and his brother Samuel are living nearby. William died on  January 8, 1795 in White Deer Township, Northumberland County.

If this James Hill is my ancestor, then he would go on to marry a woman named Sarah Tidd, who went by the name Sallie, and they would settle in Ohio.

I don’t know what happened to Mary Jordan or their four daughters. One may be Rebecca Hill, who was born in 1785 and married Samuel Tidd, a brother of Sarah.


September 19, 1837

Someone has apparently found a newspaper clipping mentioning the death date of my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather Martin Tidd. According to the collection of obituaries gleaned from two newspapers in Ashtabula County, Ohiothe Ashtabula Sentinel and the Conneaut Reporter — he died on September 19, 1837. Ashtabula County is north of where he lived, in Kinsman, which is to the south, in Trumbull County. The clippings are apparently bound together in a book, currently located somewhere among the holdings of the Western Reserve Historical Society, which also has a large portrait of him. He was a veteran of the Revolution and what is known as the Yankee-Pennamite wars.


Honor Roll

The name of my great great uncle, Leslie Warren Darling, can be seen below the stained glass window in this photograph of the chapel at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France.

The name of my great great uncle, Leslie Warren Darling, can be seen below the stained glass window in this photograph of the chapel at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France.
The name of my great great uncle, Leslie Warren Darling, can be seen below the stained glass window in this photograph of the chapel at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France.

Today while at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery — “The Arlington of the West” — the main speaker at the ceremony noted the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day. Memorial Day is set aside to remember those who have fallen in battle while Veterans’ Day is a day to honor every veteran.

So today I am noting three relatives who died during three wars.

The first is John Tidd. John Tidd lived before the United States came into being. He was living in part of British North America, at a time when the colonies were quarreling with the French. The competing interests and animosity developed into a war, what some historians consider the first truly global conflict. Today it is known as the French and Indian War, at least the conflict in North America. Globally it called the Seven Years’ War. John was killed at the outbreak of this war, on June 23, 1757 in Pennsylvania. He was attacked and scalped by Native Americans. The site of his grave is unknown.

Next is Leslie Warren Darling. Leslie Darling, brother of my great grandmother, joined the Iowa National Guard in the summer of 1917. His is a remarkable story, one I hope to complete in full by writing a book. In the fall of that year, after months of training in Iowa and at Camp Mills, Long Island, New York, he was ordered to Europe with his unit, the 168th Iowa Infantry, which had been grouped into the 42nd ‘Rainbow’ Division, with a very young and brash chief-of-staff named Douglas MacArthur. In July 1918 Leslie Darling was cut down by German machine gun fire during a counter offensive. He died a few days later while in a field hospital and is buried in France.

Finally, there is Hiram Goodell, brother of my ancestor James. Hiram died while serving during the American Civil War. He died in Memphis, Tennessee on December 18, 1863. Hiram was in Company D of the 103rd Illinois Infantry Volunteers. His brothers James and Levi served as well, in the 55th Illinois.


March 25, 1797

The flag of the United States in 1797, with fifteen stripes and fifteen stars.
The flag of the United States in 1797, with fifteen stripes and fifteen stars.

Today is a significant date in my family history. It is a day of multiple celebrations. One goes back hundreds of years.

On March 25 in 1797, a Saturday, my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, James Hill, married Sarah Tidd in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, in the vicinity of Pittsburgh. In fact the wedding may have been at Fort Pitt.

Meanwhile elsewhere, Abigail Adams penned a letter to her husband the very same day. A newspaper in Philly, The Philadelphia Minerva, printed an edition.

Later in the year, in August, Fort Pitt was decommissioned by the Army and sold off piece by piece.

“Notice was given to area residents of an auction of all salvagable remains of the fort on August 3, 1797 . . . ”

James and Sarah did not settle there, however. They continued west, on to the Ohio country and the lands of the Western Reserve, first settling in Youngstown, then Kinsman. Back then it was known as the Northwest Territory.

One hundred and seventy-seven years later, to the day of that fateful wedding, at 10:21 in the evening, I was born.


Our Own ‘Connections’ To History

A map showing the area of Pennsylvania where my ancestors lived and died
A map showing the area of Pennsylvania where my ancestors lived and died

Most of my nephews attend some sort of non-traditional schools. Part of my oldest nephew’s homework is memorizing key events throughout history. It’s called CC Memory Work, part of something called Classical Conversations.

The Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution are on the list, so I decided to show him how we are connected to these wars of yesteryear. One of my favorite classic TV shows is a British production titled Connections. The host, James Burke, explains history as a sort of thread, connecting all manner of inventions, discoveries, and events.

I started by showing my nephew a portrait of a man named Martin Tidd, one of our ancestors. Martin’s father, John Tidd, had been killed at the outset of the French and Indian War, the name of the Seven Years’ War in the North American theater.

Murder of John Tidd, 23 June 1757

From the journal of Captain Johannes Van Etten, 1757, as reprinted in “Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania”:

“[June 1757:]

23. In the morning, near Eleven O’c, the fort was allarm’d by some of the neighbours who had made their escape from the Enemy, five of them in Company near Brawdhead’s [Brodhead’s] house, seeking their horses in order to go to mill, was fir’d upon by the Enemy, and said that one of them, John Tidd by name, was Kill’d, whereupon I immediately Draughted out 9 men, myself making the tents, in as private a manner as possible, and as privately went back into the mountains in order to make a discovery… […Here follows an account of pursuing and driving off the Indians…] Being come, we found him Kill’d and Scalp’d, his Body and face Cut in an inhuman manner, Cattle also lying dead on the Ground, where upon they all went of and left me with my small number to take care of the Dead man; whereupon we took him up and Returned to the fort; in which time my men that went to Easton Return’d to the fort.

24. Att about nine in the morning, having made redy, I went with 18 men and buried the man [Tidd], then went from the grave in search and found 15 Cattle, Horses and hogs dead, besides two that was shot, one with 5 bulits, the other with one, and yet there are many missing, out of which the Enemy took, as we Judg, the value of two Beaves and almost one Swine – in the Evening sent an Express by two men to the Maj’rs.”


The Elusive Mr. Hill

Hugh Hill Tidd (1813-1878) Was he named after his grandfather?
Hugh Hill Tidd (1813-1878) Was he named after his grandfather?

For years, ever since becoming interested in genealogy in 1989 and discovering I was descended from a man named James Hill, I have been hunting for his father.

Sure, I have been looking for his mother, too, but somehow I thought searching for the dad would be easier. Well, it hasn’t been. Neither of them have been easy to find.

I thought I had something when I read that Mrs. Hill, mother of James, had died in 1825 or 1826 in Ohio and was buried on the family farm.1 But there’s only one source for that, the book The History of Hardin County, Ohio, and there is contradictory information throughout it, so nailing down the facts hasn’t been simple. It may be true, but there isn’t another source confirming the story, at least I haven’t found one yet, and she is not named, further complicating matters.

Today I was poking around on a family tree database called WorldConnect. I came upon a theory that James’ sister, named either Rebecca or Barbara Hill, used her father’s name for one of her sons.1 She had married Samuel Tidd, a brother of Sarah (who went by Sallie) and son of Martin Tidd. Sarah had married James Hill.

Samuel Tidd’s son was named Hugh Hill Tidd. And researcher Darren Bagley thinks this may very well be the name of their father: Hugh Hill.

So I will have to see what I can find to prove or disprove this.


1. The site where an online version of the book was available for many years for free has changed to a subscription site, and I haven’t found the actual text anywhere yet, which I wanted to include here.

2. The name of James Hill’s sister has been convoluted by the book The History of Hardin County, Ohio, which has her as both Rebecca and Barbara. Thankfully her gravestone still exists, and it clearly has the name Rebecca on it. Where the name Barbara originated is unknown, although it is likely just a mistake by the gentlemen who compiled the Hardin County book.

PA Frontier History Day

A day of events, called PA Frontier History Day, is focusing on colonial life in Pennsylvania. It is a joint venture of Midtown Scholar Bookstore and the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, both in the Harrisburg area.

I love reading about the period. Different branches of my family lived in Pennsylvania during the colonial and early republic eras.

It is sometimes hard to re­member amid the urban and rural sprawl surround­ing Harrisburg, but this re­gion was once the frontier for European settlers, and that even once the colony of Pennsylvania was founded, the western edge of the state was still a wilderness.

Some authors will be there, including Brady Crytzer and Pulitzer Prize nominee Scott Weidensaul. Crytzer is the author of Fort Pitt: A Frontier Histo­ry and Weidensaul wrote The First Frontier: The Forgotten His­tory of Struggle, Savagery and Endurance in Early America.

The book [The First Frontier] . . . traces more than two centuries of widely forgotten clashes and culture shock between European settlers and the natives living be­tween the Atlantic and the Appalachians.