Of all the thousands of ancestors and relatives whose birthdays are recorded in my research, I found only one with the same birthday as mine. His name was Thomas Hollingsworth and he was both my eight-times-great grandfather and my nine-times-great grandfather. (I descend from two of his children, one by each of his two wives.)
Thomas was born on May 1, 1661 in Belliniskcrannell, Sego Parish, County Armagh, Ireland. He came to America with his father Valentine in 1682, possibly on a ship called Antelope. They were part of the Quaker exodus from the British Isles during the years when Quakers and other religious “Dissenters” were treated poorly. Valentine made a great life for himself and his family in Pennsylvania (see my previous post, Valentine Hollingsworth).
Just a few years after moving to America, Thomas married another Irish immigrant named Margaret Calvert. They had only one child, a son, before Margaret’s untimely death. My great grandmother Sarah Edna Ferree descends from their son Abraham, who moved to the Winchester, Virginia area and remained influential in Quaker circles there.
A house which was started shortly before Abraham’s death in 1748 and finished by his son Isaac is still standing near Winchester. Isaac used this house–called “Abram’s Delight”–to host Quaker meetings. You can read more about it at the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society website.
After Margaret’s death, Thomas remarried to Grace Cook. Grace bore him nine children, including a son named Thomas, Jr. from whom my great grandmother Esther Crowe descends. Thomas, Jr. died while on a trip as a Quaker missionary to the Carolinas in 1753–he was 54 years old. He had been a Quaker minister for 25 years.
Thomas Jr.’s grandson Levi moved his family to Belmont County, Ohio and became one of the first settlers there in 1804. His daughter Hannah reported that when he first came to Flushing in Belmont County, “he occupied a shanty 12 x 14, with puncheon floor, door, ceiling, table and cradle, with greased paper as a substitute for window lights. Beds were made by setting a post at a proper distance from the wall, placing poles from that to the wall, and stretching deer skins thereon.” An essay written by Levi in the 1820s has been preserved at the Ohio Historical Society.
The Hollingsworth family’s history is filled with interesting stories. You can read more on Doug Hollingsworth’s website at www.valentinehollingsworth.com.