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Hi, My name is Vickie and to tell you a little bit about myself, I was born and raised in Kentucky and the majority of my ancestors have been in Kentucky since the 1790’s. I have always loved history, a good mystery and puzzles and that is what Family History Research is all about. As a child we would take day trips on Saturdays and head down some dirt road looking for old cemeteries. A lot of the time we weren't looking for anyone in particular, we just like to read the epitaphs. We would have a picnic lunch packed and have lunch at whatever cemetery we were at. If the weather was bad my Dad and I would go to a court house and dig through old records in musty old basements looking for our ancestors. So as you can see I have had an interest in Family History for quite some time.View my complete profile

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Meriam Eddy Stillwell

My ancestor this week is from my Mom’s side of the family and is my 8th great-grandmother, Meriam Eddy.  Meriam Eddy was born January 29, 1708/1709 in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey the daughter of Scottish immigrants, John Eddie and Elizabeth Edwards who were married in Woodbridge on March 31, 1706.  After her mother died Meriam’s father married Janet McCullough in about 1731.  Meriam was the second child of her parents and she had ten siblings and four half-siblings and all of them were born in Woodbridge.

Meriam’s siblings were: Allison Eddy 1707, James Eddy 1710, Jeane Eddy 1712, Elizabeth Eddy 1715, Robert Eddy 1717, John Eddy 1719, Gavin Eddy 1721, William Eddy 1723 and Thomas Eddy 1725.  Meriam’s half-siblings were: Samuel Eddy 1732-1809, David Eddy 1734, Agnes Eddy 1736 and Alexander Eddy 1738.

I have yet to find the actual marriage date but sometime around 1731, Meriam Eddy met and married Elias Stillwell and they became the parents of at least nine children.  These children were: Elizabeth Stillwell 1732-1804, Obadiah Stillwell about 1735-before 1780, Jeremiah Stillwell 1739-1821, Joseph Stillwell about 1740, Rebecca Stillwell 1742-1836, Sarah Stillwell 1744-1801, John Stillwell 1746-1823, Rachel Stillwell about 1748 and Mary Stillwell about 1750-after 1813.  My direct line is their daughter Elizabeth Stillwell who married James Thomas Graham.

Meriam and Elias and their family lived in New Jersey up until about 1745 when they had moved to Frederick County, Maryland.  However, by 1765 they had moved up into Pennsylvania.   They lived in an area that is now the present day counties of Bedford and Fulton.  They lived along the Tonoloway Creek and the following little history about the Tonoloway area was taken from the Heady Family Newsletter that I found at the Salt Lake Family History Library many years ago.  "The stream now known as Tonoloway Creek, but called 'Konolawa' by the Indians living along its bank and 'The Conolloways' by the white settlers, follows a meandering course through the southern part of present Fulton County, Pennsylvania crossing the boundary line into Maryland about three miles before it joins the Potomac at a point just below that river's northern most bend.   The Big and Little Tonoloway Settlements lay about five miles north of the Potomac along branches of Tonoloway Creek and immediately west of the large and small basins named, respectively, the Great (Big) Cove and Little Cove.   These settlements had been founded by a few Scotch-Irish immigrants, at least one Welch family (that of Evan Shelby), and a band of Monmouth and Middlesex county, New Jersey families which included those of Moses Graham, William Linn, Joseph Warford, Adam Stiger, John Melott, Benjamin Truax and Elias, Richard and Jeremiah Stillwell, Thomas Heady, Gavin Eddy, Samuel Hedden, the Coombs, Belieus, Applegate's and no doubt others.   Whether the Monmouth and Middlesex county families came as a unit or over a period of several years, is not known but they were all there by 1765 or earlier.”   

For your information the Eddy’s, Stillwell’s, Graham’s, Warford’s and Truax’s are all blood lines of mine through my Mom’s side of the family.

Life in Pennsylvania which was considered the frontier during those days, would have been wild and dangerous to say the least.  I am sure they lived in forts or close to each other to help in protecting the people in the area as well as everyone’s livestock and crops to keep the Indians from stealing the livestock and burning down the crops.  Things would not have been easy for anyone and illness, epidemics and every day injuries would have been common place and deadly in the majority of instances.

Stories that have been passed down through the years, state that Meriam was a great doctress, and examples of her handwriting show she was a woman with an education.  We are talking America before the French & Indian and the Revolutionary Wars.  It was not a common thing for a woman to be educated, that was left to the men back in those days, and here in America during that time would have been something very rare to say the least.  Even in Europe and the British Isles that would have been rare.  Unfortunately I don’t have any examples of her handwriting, so I need to see if I can find some, so I can see for myself.   

Meriam, I am sure knew all of the common folk medicines and possibly even regular medicines that would have been used during those days and she apparently had a knack for doctoring which would have been a very handy occupation to have on the frontier.  I wonder if her talent was more towards being a midwife and delivering babies then it was being a regular doctor, but if she knew anything at all about medicine, she would have been someone you wanted to have in the fort with you.

Meriam lived to a ripe old age and again this was a rare occurrence in America and really anywhere in the world back then.  In the summer of 2002, I was able to go to the Tonoloway Primitive Baptist Church and cemetery just outside Warfordsburg, Fulton County, Pennsylvania where Meriam and her husband Elias were buried and others of their family, and you could still read their tombstones, somewhat, even as old as they are.  Meriam’s stone reads, “In Memory of Meriam Stillwell Wife of Elias Stillwell Esq. Who departed this life Oct the 19th Anno 1803 aged 95 years, My loving mate I did survive And true my age was great, I lived the years of 95 But here behold my fate.”  Elias’ stone reads: “Elias Stillwell departed this life Feb the 4, 1792 Good God on what a strand Hang everlasting things The eternal fates of all the dead Upon life's feeble strings.”  You could tell that the stones were probably placed very close to the time of their deaths, because of the style that was used, and not ones that were added years after their deaths.

I took a lot of pictures when I was there that day, but unfortunately I have not been able to find them.  I thought I had scanned most of my cemetery pictures, but apparently not these ones.   I also took some pictures of the old church building which was built in 1828, but so far no luck in finding any of them yet.  If I run across them I will post to this article later.  I know that www.findagrave.com has some pictures that others have taken and placed on that site, of the church and Elias and Meriam’s graves so check there to see those if you would like.

Well it took a few days but I finally found the pictures I took on July 6, 2002 and here they are.  First the old church house and for your information this building has been standing here since 1828, but the church was started here in the mid 1700's.  Then Meriam's marker, then Elias' marker, then the church house again in the background with me in the picture this time.








2 comments:

  1. Loved it as usual...I will go back and read Elias tombstone for the 3rd time as I really don't understand it.

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  2. Hi. Thomas is my 5th great grandfather. I believe I and my sister are the closest living relative to Thomas and Meriam. Ernest Heady

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