Saturday, November 9, 2013

Surname Saturday ~ Whitman of Unknown and Nova Scotia

The earliest Whitman I have in my family tree is Christopher Whitman and I have a death date for him of 1778. I have a name of Barbara for his wife, but nothing more. This information is from a secondary source and is therefore very questionable.

I descend from their son George.

Generation 2:
George Whitman was born in the late 1750's or early 1760's. The Pyle book [1] and Loyalist Lineages of Canada [3] indicate a birth place of Pennsylvania, but I have not found primary source information confirming the date or location. He was a Loyalist during the Revolution and ended up in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. He married Esther Atwater on March 13, 1788, in Guysborough. She was born in 1771 in New Haven County, Connecticut, to Loyalist parents who also fled to Nova Scotia after the Revolution.

Guysborough, Nova Scotia
As I have noted before, the book Guysborough Sketches and Essays, by A.C. Jost (originally published in 1950, revised edition published in 2009) is an invaluable resource for those researching families in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. This book includes lists of Loyalists who arrived from different parts of the newly-formed United States to settle in Guysborough and what lots of land they received. I found my Pyle Loyalist ancestor (Stephen) was listed under "The Associated Departments of the Army and Navy," among the last to leave New York.

I find George Whitman's name in the list entitled "The Duke of Cumberland's Regiment (Montague Corps.)," which appears to be a list of men who arrived at Guysborough with Lord Charles Greville Montague, the last English Governor of South Carolina, and two ship loads of men arrived from Jamaica. I need to do quite a bit more research on this.

George Whitman died on July 16, 1849, well after his wife, who died on February 11, 1814. They are buried in Christ Church Cemetery in Guysborough, Nova Scotia, according to Christ Church Burials: Guysborough, 1787-1880, an online index of burial records by Patricia Lumsden.

They had twelve children, born between 1789 and 1813. I am descended from their seventh child, Thomas Cutler Whitman.

Generation 3:
Thomas Cutler Whitman was born on April 2, 1803, in Manchester, Nova Scotia. He married Diana Morgan, whose ancestry is less clear, as her parents are considered part of the "Pre-Loyalist Settlers of Guysborough," [A. C. Jost: Guysborough Sketches] on March 13, 1827. They had nine children.

In 1857, Thomas and Diana left Nova Scotia. I have often wondered if they followed their oldest daughter, Esther Abigail Whitman, who left Nova Scotia several years earlier and married James Pyle in New York in 1853. The Whitmans ultimately ended up in Jamaica, Queens, New York, where I find them in the 1860 U.S. Census, with Thomas as a farmer.

U.S. Federal Census. Year: 1860; Census Place: Jamaica, Queens County, New York;
Roll: M653_845; Pages 925 (lines 31-40) & 926 (lines 1-3); Record for Thomas C. Whitman household.

Although the 1860 U.S. Census does not indicate relationship to the head of household, I believe the relationships are as follows: wife Diana (56), children: Judson (19), Ira A. (15), Harriet (14), Charles (12, and in school), and Gordon (9, and in school). Son William (26) is married (within the past year) to Esther (28) and daughter Maria (26) is married to William Bruce (29) and has two children of her own: Caroline (3) and James (1). All were born in Nova Scotia with the youngest James born in "Canada." (I wonder why Canada and not Nova Scotia...)

Diana (Morgan) Whitman died on April 25, 1861 in New York. I even found a brief death notice for her in the New York Times.

Thomas Whitman died on July 22, 1870, in New York. According to a death notice in the New York Herald, his funeral was at the Berean Baptist Church at the corner of Bedford & Downing.

They are buried in Elmont Cemetery, Elmont, Nassau County, New York. See the Find A Grave Memorial for Thomas.

Generation 4:
Esther Abigail Whitman (1828-1921) married James Pyle (1823-1900). They had seven children and three died very young.

Generation 5: James Tolman Pyle (1855-1912) married Frances Adelaide McAlpin
Generation 6: Charles McAlpin Pyle (1893-1966) married Elizabeth Adsit
Generation 7: Charles McAlpin Pyle, Jr. married my mother.
Generation 8: Me

Much of what I know about my Whitman line are from the following sources:

[1] Pyle, Smith and Allied Family Histories (Privately published, 1951). As I noted in my Surname Saturday~Pyle post, there are only a few copies of this book owned by second cousins. However, keep in mind that this is a secondary source that does not include primary sources. I'm not 100% sure of its accuracy.
[2] Guysborough Sketches and Essays, by A.C. Jost. The revised edition was published in Guysborough, Nova Scotia in 2009.
[3] Loyalist Lineages of Canada, Part 2, by Dorrine Robertson Macnab and the Toronto Branch, United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada (1991).


  1. George and Ester are my 5th Great Grandparents. I have him being born in Somerset, PA but unfortunately I did not record sources early on in my searches.

    Cheryl Dieter

    1. Yes, that's my problem with this line - the sources are not very good. If I ever confirm a birth place (and date) for him, I will definitely blog about it! Thanks for the comment.