THIS WAS A LECTURE I GAVE IN 1995 AT A CONFERENCE IN WASH, D.C.
Introduction: Have you ever wondered how the surname you are researching spread to other parts of the country from where you are? Many times when I relate to people which names I am researching, they tell me that they knew someone with this surname and ask whether I am related to that person. Well, here is an example of how my surname of DENT migrated throughout the US from the land of southern Maryland.
SOME MARYLAND MIGRATIONS
by Saundra Oliver Brown firstname.lastname@example.org
As one researches his/her family tree, one gathers a plethora of miscellaneous information. Usually this miscellaneous information is not directly connected to any known fact that the researcher is working with at the time. It takes just one or two connecting links to create strands to tie the miscellaneous information to the established information. Such was the happenstance of my collection of facts concerning the migrations of Marylanders to other states.
"Lord Baltimore obtained a land grant from the English crown that >became the Maryland colony. He sought to use the land as a refuge for Roman Catholics who were persecuted by the Church of England. The first group shipped to Maryland consisted of twenty Catholics and two hundred Protestants. They were joined later by a number of Virginia colonists. Within the first century of Maryland's existence it became the home of English, Scotch-Irish, and German immigrants. Hundreds of Pennsylvania Germans migrated across the southern Pennsylvania border to settle in the Maryland Appalachians. " (ANCESTRY'S GUIDE TO RESEARCH, "Families On The Move", p.307)
Kentucky was originally explored by Dr. Thomas Walker in 1750 and Daniel Boone in 1773. Later in 1775, the event of the creation of the Transylvania Land Company by Col. Richard Henderson led to the eventual settlement of Kentucky primarily by people from Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. Presumably, these settlers brought their slaves with them. Those who are researching Kentucky can agree that this state was divided up into the following counties:
in 1776, Kentucky was named Kentucky County, Virginia
in 1780, it was then divided into Fayette, Jefferson, and Lincoln counties
in 1790, these counties were further divided into Mason, Bourbon, Woodford, Fayette, Madison, Jefferson, Mercer, Nelson, and Lincoln counties.
in 1792, Kentucky became the 15th state.
Many settlers began to leave Maryland in order to occupy land in the West and South of North America. There was a large migration of Marylanders who played an important role in the settlement of Kentucky during its first 50 years from 1775-1825. There were:
1. the Combs, Greenwells, Goughs, Mattinglys, Edelens, Cecils, Auds, Abells, Mills, Spaldings, Morgans, Medleys, Taylors, Fenwicks, Prices,Haydens, Lees, Balds, Cissells, Paynes, Brewers, McAties, Clarks, Elliots, Mudds, Byrans, Dants, Speaks,Mills, Byrnes, Hagans, Wathans, Thawles, Bowles, Lucketts, Mollihornes, Norrises, Meltons, Hutchins, Miles, Hills, Mahonys, Lucases, Stevens, Frenches, Boones, Burches,Peakes, Browns
2. those Catholics from Charles, Prince George's and St. Mary's Counties who went to Kentucky from mid 1789's through 1810. (See Henry C. Peden, Jr., MARYLANDERS TO KENTUCKY, #761, $15, Maryland State Archives, Hall of Records, 350 Rowe Blvd.,Annapolis, Maryland 21401; Ben J. Webb's THE CENTENARY Of CATHOLICITY IN KENTUCKY [reviewed in the BEACON newspaper, April 8, 1897] ; Coad's "The Times That Were", The BEACON newspaper, April 8, 1897). There is an organized Maryland-Kentucky Catholic Reunion held each year. In 1992, I attended one in St. Mary's County, Maryland.
Why did some of the Catholics leave Maryland? Even though Maryland was founded as a haven of religious tolerance for all, Catholics were persecuted in the Colony during the Colonial period. In 1692, the Anglican Church (later known as the Episcopal Church) was decreed/established as the state church of Maryland. Some Catholics had to flee to Virginia for their safety. Before the Revolutionary War, Catholics could not hold office, could not attend Mass in public, and many other restrictions were imposed on them.
The various white DENTS that are mentioned below are all kin to the DENT family that owned my ancestor, Henry Dent: George Dent, son of a George Dent (16__-1750) who was the son of John and Mary (Hatch) Dent, was born in St. Mary's County, and died in Fairfax County, Virginia in 1757.
Thomas Dent (1778-1862), son of William and Margaret Rettea (Smoot) Dent of Charles County, Maryland, disposed of his Maryland land and settled first in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Later he moved to the village of Franklin in Heard County, Georgia.
John Baptist Dant and his wife Susannah Gough, former natives of Southern Maryland, gave birth to a son, Joseph Dant on August 9, 1792 in Nelson County, Kentucky.
Henry Burch, who sold land to Gideon Dent (17__-1814), son of Benjamin, of "Dent's Inheritance", Charles County, on April 17, 1799, later settled in Kentucky.
Further Major Migrations: From Kentucky, some of the Marylanders, and later many of their descendants, went on to settle in other new territories: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas.
Major Migrations passing through Maryland: Pennsylvania to Kentucky and Tennessee, After 1790, The people who migrated from Pennsylvania took one of several routes to the interior. The first route was from Philadelphia to HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND, then south on the Great Valley Road to the Wilderness Road or the Nashville Road into Tennessee and Kentucky. They also took the Cumberland Road to Wheeling where they took water passage on the Ohio River to the Maysville Turnpike which led into the Kentucky interior.
On the morning of April 11, 1823, Jesuit Priest Van
Quickenborne, his party of novitiates and 6 slaves (Tom, Moses, and Isaac with their respective wives, Polly, Nancy, and Succy, all of whom had been employed on the
White Marsh plantation in Southern Maryland were now assigned to service in Missouri) left White Marsh, Maryland behind them and took the road to Baltimore
on their way to Missouri. The reason for this journey was to open in the country beyond the Mississippi the first house of their order since its restoration in 1814.
Frederick Dent, of Missouri, the father of Julia Dent (Mrs. U.S. Grant), was the son of a Maryland landed proprietor who laid out the town of Cumberland on the upper Potomac.
3. those who went because of economic factors.
4. those Nicholites who went to Guilford County, North Carolina, and Gum Swamp near Little Pee Dee, South Carolina.
Major Migrations: The longest road in colonial America was the Post Road that extended from Portland, Maine to Boston and then south to Baltimore where it moved inland. It passed through Richmond, Virginia, Raleigh, North Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia, and then St. Augustine, Florida. The road was built at British direction to link the colonies and provide a road for mail service.
Mary Manning __________ (last name unknown), wife of Ensign Joseph Manning Dent (1750-179_) of Charles County, Maryland, and her children moved to Wilkes County,
Georgia, and settled near the town of Washington where many other Maryland families had previously migrated
sometime after Joseph's death, after 1806.
There might be the designation written in the tax list for
delinquent tax payers as "defaulter" or "Gone to Carolina": Captain Hatch Dent of Charles Co, Maryland (May 20, 1751-1799), son of Hatch and Anne Dent, moved to Rowan County, North Carolina where he officiated as a clergyman in a section which was then being opened for settlement. However, he didn't stay there long, because he returned to Maryland and became the principal of Charlotte Hall Academy in St.Mary's County, Maryland. On April 27, 1797, the vestry of All Faith's Parish called him as their priest, an office which he filled until his death in 1799. It was at All Faith's Parish wherein my great great great grandmother had her son,
Addison Dent baptized on May 3, 1863.
Ensign Michael Dent, son to Michael who was born at "Dent's
Inheritance", Charles County, Maryland, moved to Halifax District of Franklin County, North Carolina with his brother John. He applied for a land grant on August 28, 1778, and was subsequently granted on October 13, 1784, 640
acres ordering Richland Creek. According to the 1800 census, Michael was the head of a family in Franklin County, North Carolina. Later, having earned the title of
Captain, Michael served from Georgia in one of the early Indian Wars, and under the Lottery Act of 1819 received land acquired from the Creek and Cherokee Indians.
There were a few Black Dent families listed in the SIGNATURES OF DEPOSIT, FREEDMAN'S SAVINGS AND LOAN, Augusta, Georgia, microfilm 709, Roll 7 that reflect the migrational route described above.
For example, #3030, Rosetta Dent (over 60 years old, born before 1811 in North Carolina), application dated April 25, 1871. Residence - Telefase below center, in Georgia; occupation - a cook for Mrs. Bailie. Her husband's
name is Peter deceased). Her children were Renee Drayton, Harrison, and Harriet who married Moe Jones in Savannah. Her father died before she was born, and her mother's name was Sylvia who left her in North Carolina. She had brothers named Ephrain in North Carolina, Moses Dent, and George K. Dent.
#3319 Nancy Dent (age 16, 1855, born in Georgia), residence Green Corner Elle, occupation Miss Merrick School. Her father's name is Zach Taylor deceased) and her mother's name is Laura. Her siblings were Jacob, Sarah Johnson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia (deceased).
#278 (after #4802) Lucy Dent, Vice President (age 66, 1805,born in Virginia). Her husband's name is Alfred Dent (deceased). They had Marianne, Martha, and William. Her mother's name was Elsie, (age 98, 1773, born in Georgia).
She never knew her father because she was brought from Virginia as a child.
5. those who fled to fight for the Confederacy. There are many stories of Marylanders who just went across the
>water into Virginia in order to fight on the Confederate side of the War. See the Freedmen Bureau's list for their abandoned lands. The Freedmen Bureau confiscated the abandoned lands of those who left and designated them as "government farms" and allowed the freed Blacks to work these lands. There are lists of such abandoned lands in the Bureau's records, and also, in the early version of the Signature of Deposit forms, before 1873 used by the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company. When the applicant was asked of their residence, many said "government farm".
6. those members of the Dent families of St. Mary's and Charles Counties in Maryland that migrated into Mississippi. There they established a least two Dent Cemeteries in Mississippi. In Laurel, Jones County,
Mississippi, there is buried in a cemetery called Cato Cemetery, near the Cato Baptist Church, a Ferdinand Hayes Claiborne, the son of Uriah Hatch Dent. Uriah Hatch Dent
was the grandson of the Rev. Hatch Dent from Charles County, Maryland. Uriah was a soldier in the War of 1812. Uriah's wife Sarah Walker Dent Womack (d.1882) is buried there also.
There is a large number of Dents in Washington County,
Mississippi, and there is a town named Dentsville in Mississippi. There is a Dent Cemetery located in
Jefferson County, Mississippi, near Miss George Noland's home, on the right hand side. In it are buried, George R. Dent, Sr. who died at the age of 82 years, 4 mos., 6 days, on July 15, 1862. His consort, Pricy who died on August
29, 1851 at the age of 68 and who was a native of Maryland, and his son Washington Dent who died at age 2 years, 8 months, on November 8, 1822 are also buried there. Warren R. Dent (July 25, 1818-October 8,
1886), his son George R. Dent, Jr. who died on September 25, 1862 at age 5 years, 7 months, 14 days, are also buried there.
There are at least two Black Dent families listed in the 1870 Mississippi census that have heads of the household who were born in Maryland. There was a Peter Dent who was born in Maryland around 1822, living in the town of Edwards, Hines County, Mississippi in 1870. He was living there with a wife, Julia, who was born in Virginia around 1816. Somehow, Peter Dent was carried from Maryland through Virginia and picked up a wife on the way, and continued behind his master to Mississippi. His son, Philip is listed in the 1870 census at age 22, indicating that he was born around 1848 in Mississippi.
Also, there was a William Dent who was born in Maryland, while his wife, Amanda was born in Mississippi around 1840. Their first child, Celia was 12 years old in the 1870 Bolton Town, Hines County, Mississippi Census. This
fact would indicate that she was born around 1858. This could be the approximate of William Dent's arrival in Mississippi. This 1870 entry into the census is proof of migrations to Mississippi.
The following information was taken from the National Archives Microfilm Publication M826, Record Group 105, pp. 178-179, Section C- Guide to Genealogical Research In the National Archives, Chapter 12, "Records of Black Americans",(a photograph is there of the actual log record), Register of marriages of Freedmen: August 18, 1854, Andrew Dent, age 32 (1822) from Vicksburg, Mississippi married Sarah Johnson, also from Vicksburg,
Mississippi. Andrew was of mixed color, and had lived with
another woman for 2 years. He was separated from her by her desertion of him. His father was black and his mother was mixed. Sarah was age 18 (1836), and her color is
listed as black. Both of her parents colors were listed as black. The Officiating Minister and Witness was Joseph Warren.
7. those who went to Louisiana. There are 4 articles in the St. Mary's County newspaper, THE ENTERPRISE, in January and February 1971 by Jack Kershaw. In the articles, Kershaw referred to proposals, as early as 1752, for group migrations to possible "islands near Virginia," on the Arkansas River, and in the Louisiana region. It is believed that any negotiations considered about the first two were abandoned; but it is known that an early settlement of Marylanders was made in Louisiana.
8. the Mecklenburg Signers
1. "Families on the Move", ANCESTRY'S GUIDE TO RESEARCH, p. 307
2. Henry C. Peden, Jr., MARYLANDERS TO KENTUCKY
3. Ben J. Webb, THE CENTENARY OF CATHOLICITY IN KENTUCKY
4. Coad, "The Times That Were", THE BEACON newspaper, April 8, 1897
5. Jack Kershaw, THE ENTERPRISE newspaper of St. Mary's County, Md.,January and February 1971
6. Contact: Gerald Thompson, an Archivist, P.O. Box 7, St. Mary,Kentucky 40063, (502) 692-3228