Researching James Baxter, Sr., Ancestor #11/52

Here is the main post for James Baxter, Sr. (1769-1828), Ancestor #11/52

James Baxter, Sr. in the Records

James Baxter’s family tree through marriage is associated in Indiana with several families, particularly the surnames Riddle, Kerr, Francis, and Wilson. These collateral lines would be hugely useful in researching James Baxter and his family’s activities. However, that research is beyond the scope of this timeline. I need to spend enough time with these families to apply Elizabeth Shown Mills’ FAN principle: look through the records of James and Rebecca Baxter’s Friends, Associates, and Neighbors. From Mills’ website, Evidence Explained:

The evidences we use to reconstruct human lives–all too frequently–are not outright statements of ‘fact.’ For want of those ideal documents, handily left to us by diligent scribes, successful researchers learn to harvest clues. Bits and shards of evidence that prove nothing by themselves can be immensely valuable as pointers to other records or as fragments we can assemble to build a case for whatever question we seek to answer.

I hugely recommend her book by the same title, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 2nd Ed., Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 2009. Please note that I have not cited Elizabeth’s website correctly in this post. I rarely give a full citation of my sources here–so sue me. One of the reasons I don’t cite sources and notes correctly as if I were writing an article for publication is because of the klugey nature of WordPress. Unless I upgrade to “Premium,” which costs money, I’m stuck with the basic toolbar that won’t allow me to automatically number my sources. It just isn’t worth it to do it by hand.

This is a photo of a whiteboard chart I made of these families several years ago. I need to get back to this research:


James Baxter and collateral families.

1769 | 6 Jun. James Baxter born in Gathenaysay or Gatheneysay, Tyrone County, Ireland. The problem with the village name is that there doesn’t seem to be any name like that in Ireland. So I’m not sure where to go with that.

James Baxter’s gravestone has been cleaned and repaired within the last 2-3 years. Below is the “before” (taken about 2010) and “after” (taken by me in 2014). The stone had broken off above James’s wife’s name, “Rebecca Baxter.” This is an important artifact, because it was evidently the source of information for James Baxter’s DOB that was used in DAR lineage applications since it was apparently the only source for James’s DOB.


James and Rebecca were buried at Craig Cemetery. Their son, William Baxter, was also buried at Craig. Their son Daniel, although buried at a different cemetery, lived in the same township where William Baxter lived. Their sister Nancy Baxter Morgan also died in Madison County, Indiana. So likely the stone that says “Our Father and Mother” was put up by siblings William and/or Daniel and/or Nancy. The DOB is specific, including a day and month, suggesting that the date was taken from a record they had in their possession.

I also have in my possession a copy of a letter written in 1931 by James Baxter’s great grandson, Alfred Crum Baxter (the lineage is Alfred, his father Hiram Baxter, Hiram’s father William Baxter, William’s father James Baxter). It was apparently written in response to someone doing genealogy research on the Baxter family, a Mrs. John Buck. In 1931, Alfred’s father, Hiram Baxter, was still living, although frail and in his 90s. James Baxter died in 1828 and Hiram was born in 1840, so Hiram didn’t know his grandfather personally, although surely he grew up hearing stories about him. From the letter:

My dear Mrs. Buck:

James Baxter’s father was Daniel Baxter and his mother was Mary Tudor, a distant relative of the famous Mary Tudor. James Baxter was born near the village of Gatheneysay, Tyrone, Ireland, of Scotch parentage.

I have not been able to identify the village of Gatheneysay in County Tyrone, Ireland.

about 1785 | Immigrated, James Baxter and his brother Daniel Baxter. From the Alfred C. Baxter letter noted above:

He [James] came to this country about a year and a half after the close of the American Revolution, and settled in what is now Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He brought with him his brother Daniel, who after two years returned to North Ireland and brought back his father and mother. Ten days after landing they [the parents] developed a cholera and died, and were buried in Apple Pie Center, New Jersey.

I haven’t yet found any records that corroborate this information in Alfred Baxter’s letter. Don’t even bother looking for passenger lists this early on. In 1820 the U.S. Congress passed a bill requiring that lists be made of all people coming into the country. From that date we have fairly complete passenger lists. Before that date we do not.

“Gathenaysay” and its variants seems to be incorrect (assuming it’s a village), but that’s not to say that Tyrone County is incorrect. If the Baxter family was from County Tyrone, then remember that Tyrone is a county of the province of Ulster. So where records refer to “Ulster,” that’s the area that you’re looking for.

“Apple Pie Center, New Jersey”–where would that have been and what was Daniel doing there with his parents? From an article about Ulster place-names in Pennsylvania, 1700-1820:

Tens of thousands of immigrants from the north of Ireland arrived at Delaware River ports in the eighteenth century (Gilmore, no page no.).

I’m assuming that Apple Pie Center, New Jersey would have been one of these Delaware River ports. Admittedly, I don’t have a clue about Delaware River geography. The Delaware River is the state boundary between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. There’s nothing on modern maps called “Apple Pie Center,” New Jersey. I’m just guessing here, but I think the route they would have taken to get to Carlisle, Penn. would have been from Philadelphia to Carlisle–about 125 miles. If Apple Pie Center, New Jersey was a Delaware River port, then it presumably wouldn’t have been far from Philadelphia.

What can I find out about him in the Pennsylvania records? I’ve decided to start a post for James Baxter that focuses on his Pennsylvania years, c.1785-1800.

The fact that I can’t confirm an Irish village for James Baxter’s birth (by “can’t confirm” I mean that I can’t find a name place anywhere in Ireland that matches, with any variation of spelling, the village where James was supposedly born–“Gathenasay”) means that I need to question everything about what I supposedly “know” about James’s Irish birth. James’s oldest son Daniel belonged to a Presbyterian church, so that may be a clue to helping me find James. Rebecca Baxter’s obituary says that she was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, organized in 1842, Monroe Twp., Indiana. I would guess that if James were a member of any church when he lived in Pennsylvania, then it would have been Presbyterian. For sure he wasn’t Catholic.

James and his brother Daniel must have had a reason for choosing Cumberland County. Were there people from their [Irish village] who had already settled there? That seems to be the most likely guess.

about 1792 | Married, James Baxter and Rebecca Riddle in the Borough of Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. From the Alfred C. Baxter letter:

James Baxter married Rebecca Riddle in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the date I do not know, nor do I know the name of her father and mother.

Carlisle is located in the Cumberland Valley and was settled by Scots-Irish immigrants. The Borough of Carlisle in Cumberland County was established in 1783. Are there early marriage records for Cumberland County? I need to know more about “Mother Cumberland”–nicknamed the Mother of Counties because Cumberland is the parent of five other Pennsylvania counties. There’s a lot I need to learn about doing genealogy research in Pennsylvania. It’s interesting to note that “Tyrone” was a township of Cumberland County when James lived there. It’s intriguing to think of the possibility that three generations later someone in the Baxter family might have confused Tyrone Township, Pennsylvania with County Tyrone, Ireland. I’m not saying that’s the case, simply that it’s something to think about when researching the early years of James Baxter and when relying on his great-grandson’s 1931 letter.


I have a note that says James’s wife, Rebecca Riddle Baxter, was born 27 Nov 1865 in Carlisle, Cumberland Co., Pennsylvania. I’ve found no record to corroborate the place of her birth.

1794 | the Whiskey Rebellion. If James Baxter wasn’t part of the Revolutionary War, was he possibly part of the Whiskey Rebellion where Penna and New Jersey troops assembled in Carlisle under the leadership of George Washington. GW worshipped in the First Presbyterian Church at the corner of Hanover Street and High Street.

One way to track the residence of James and Rebecca Baxter is to follow the birth place of their children.

1794 | Nov. Born to James and Rebecca Baxter, Daniel Baxter. Unfortunately for the hypothesis that James & Rebecca remained in Pennsylvania for several years at the beginning of their marriage, the 1850 census indicates that Daniel was born in Ohio. I would say that the census is very likely wrong. The 1860 and 1870 census records list him as born in Pennsylvania.

1799 | Jul. Born to James and Rebecca Baxter, Nancy Baxter. The Pennsylvania birthplace is confirmed in the 1850 census.

1800 | U.S. federal census. Where is James Baxter in the federal census? There is a James Baxter living in Tyrone, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. However, the age of this James is “45 and over.” My James Baxter would have been 31 years old in 1800. Also, there are no Riddle families found in Carlisle, Cumberland, PA in the 1800 census. If Rebecca Riddle’s family was from Cumberland, PA, then why aren’t there ANY Riddles in the 1800 census?

1803 | Montgomery County, Ohio was formed from Hamilton County.

1804 | 10 Jun. Married, Daniel Baxter Jr. (James’s brother) and Ruth Barker, in Montgomery County, Ohio. From the Montgomery County Marriage Records, Vol. A., pg. 3. I believe this is the first notation I’ve found of Daniel Baxter in the records. It shows he was in Ohio with his brother very early on. Common sense says that Daniel and James migrated from Pennsylvania to Ohio together. Daniel and Ruth had three children together, all born in Ohio: Mary, about 1805; Peggy (probably Margaret), about 1807; and Anna, about 1810. Their names appear in Daniel’s probate record.

1804 | 1 Aug. Born, William Baxter, son of James and Rebecca, in Ohio, my 3x great grandfather. This is from an 1889 county souvenir history:

The subject of this sketch was born near the Little Miami, Ohio, in 1804, and came to Jefferson County with his father when quite young, and spent his youth and manhood days, and died August 25, 1861. He was a farmer, and by careful saving of what he made by his industry, he was enabled to own 360 acres of land at the time of his death.

1804 | 28 Dec. Daniel Baxter witnessed another man’s agreement to pay $100 in whiskey or horses. Mikesell, Vol. II, pg. 21.

1807 | 9 Jan. James Baxter was part of a Jury. Mikesell, Vol. II., pg. 43.

1807 | 1 May. James Baxter was part of a Jury. Mikesell, Vol. II., pg. 63.

1809 | 3 Jan. Daniel Baxter was a buyer at a public sale. Estate of John Stuart of Dayton Twp., 8 Oct. 1808. Mikesell, Vol. II., pg. 126.

1810 | Daniel Baxter and James Baxter both appear on a tax list for Dayton Twp., Montgomery County, Ohio. The federal Ohio census was lost except for Washington County.

The little village (Dayton) at the convergence of three rivers grew quickly. A population of 383 in 1810 supported five stores, three saddlers’ shops, two cut-nail factories, a wagon maker, and six taverns.

1810 | 7 Jan. Daniel Baxter was a buyer at a public sale. Estate of Thomas Davis by Mary Davis. Mikesell, Vol. II., pg. 129.

1810 | 5 Apr. Born, James Baxter Jr. to James and Rebecca Baxter, in Ohio. The birth place is confirmed by the 1850 census.

1811 | James and his brother Daniel Baxter paid taxes in 1811 in Dayton Twp., Montgomery County. They were “resident proprietors” of  Montgomery County, Dayton Twp. Mikesell, Vol. I., pg. 142.

about 1812 | Born, Daniel Baxter III, Daniel and Ruth’s fourth and last child. He was born in Montgomery County. His name appears in Daniel’s probate record.

1812 | 18 Feb. Land patent signed by James Baxter of Montgomery County, for the north 1/2 of Sec. 25, Twp. 2, Range 7. This is land lying between the Great Miami River and the Virginia reservation. This was in the same section as the land later bought by James Riddle in 1818. Common sense says that this James Riddle was related in some way to James Baxter’s wife, Rebecca Riddle Baxter.

1812 | 1 May. James and Daniel Baxter, buyers at a public sale, estate of George Fryberger. Mikesell, Vol. II., pg. 135.

1814 | Resident proprietors of Montgomery County, Dayton Twp. Present owner, Daniel Baxter; original patent to, James Baxter. For R7 / T2 / S25. Mikesell, Vol. I, pg. 149.

1814 | Sep. Administrator of estate, James Baxter for Daniel Baxter. Daniel died sometime before September, 1814. One of the appraisers of the estate was James Riddle–brother?–of Rebecca Riddle Baxter, wife of James. Mikesell, Vol. II., pg. 152.

1815 | Deed signed. James & Rebecca Baxter signed over their land located at Sec. 25, Twp. 2, R 7 to Samuel Boogher. I don’t have a more specific date. Mikesell, Vol. I., pg. 101.

1815 | 5 Jan. James Baxter was part of a jury. Mikesell, Vol. II., pg. 155.

1815 – 1816 |  James Baxter bought several parcels of land in Jefferson County, Indiana. Among them were: Twp. 5N, R10E, Sec 21, NE 1/4; 5N, R10E, Sec 22, NW 1/4; Twp. 5N, R10E, Sec 22, NW1/4. This information comes from and Indiana land records search.

1816 | Dec. It looks as though Daniel Baxter’s widow, Ruth Barker Baxter, remarried. John Huston was appointed guardian of the Baxter minor children: Mary, age 11; Peggy, age 8; Anna, age 5; Daniel, age 3. Mikesell, Vol. II, pg. 173. Also pg. 115.

1820 | 7 Aug. U.S. federal census for 1820, Jefferson County, Indiana, township not stated. This is the James Baxter household.

1 male under 10 (James Baxter Jr.)
1 male 10-15 (William Baxter)
1 male 45 and over (James Baxter Sr.)
1 female 16-25 (Nancy Baxter)
1 female 45 and over (Rebecca Riddle Baxter)

1827 | James Baxter found on the Jefferson County Tax Assessment list for Lancaster Twp., Indiana. James’s farm was in Lancaster County–later Monroe Twp. (1842).

1828 | 17 Jan. James Baxter wrote his will. James was 58 years old. It wasn’t unusual for someone like James to die intestate, so the fact that he had a will tells me that he was ill at this point and knew that he didn’t have long to live. That’s only speculation.

1828 | 31 Aug. Died, James Baxter, on his farm in Lancaster Twp. (later Monroe Twp.), Jefferson County, Indiana. He was buried in Craig Cemetery. The first known burial at Craig Cemetery was in 1819. The land was deeded to the trustees of the burying ground in 1831. His gravestone says: Aged 59y 2m 23 d. Craig Cemetery was originally located on the Craig Farm, Sec. 19, Twp. 5N, R10E in Monroe Twp. The cemetery was moved to Madison Township as part of the Jefferson Proving Grounds program by the U.S. government in 1941.

1828 | 22 Sep. James Baxter’s will was proved. The will mentions Wife Rebecca; Sons James, Daniel, and William; Daughter Nancy. Land NE Sec 21 Twp5 R10. James Jr. to inherit land after his mother’s death (Rebecca Baxter). He is to care for Rebecca until her death. From Will Record C / 1827-1832.

to be continued. . .


Gilmore, Peter. “From Rostrevor to Raphoe: An Overview of Ulster Place-Names in Pennsylvania, 1700-1820.” This article was available for download at Downloaded 3/16/2015/. Gilmore is a faculty member at Carlow University. He has many articles about the Scotch-Irish from Ulster.

Early Settlers of Montgomery County, Ohio. Genealogical Abstracts from Land Records, Tax Lists, and Biographical Sketches. Compiled and edited by Shirley Keller Mikesell. Vol. I Heritage Books, Westminster, Maryland, 1991.

Early Settlers of Montgomery County Ohio, Vol. II. Genealogical Abstracts from Common Pleas Court Records, Civil and Probate. Compiled and edited by Shirley Keller Mikesell. Heritage Books, Westminster, Maryland. 1992.

Early Settlers of Montgomery County Ohio, Vol. III. Genealogical Abstracts from Marriage and Divorce Records, 1803-1827; Early Deeds Recorded Late; Election Abstracts; Obituary of an Early Settler. Compiled and edited by Shirley Keller Mikesell. Heritage Books, Westminster, Maryland, 1993.

[All of the Mikesell books found at the St.L.Co.Lib.]

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One Response to Researching James Baxter, Sr., Ancestor #11/52

  1. Pingback: Searching for James Baxter, Sr. in Pennsylvania, c.1785-1800 | The Shoebox Under the Bed

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