We began our search with limited information. A journal entry by Joachim Hammitt, tells us our history begins in New Jersey. In 1791 Samuel and Jane Hammitt witnessed the will of Andrew Corson, a Maurice River resident. The 1793 will of John Kille refers to his Maurice River plantation as being in “possession of Samuel Hammitt”. For us, those two documents confirmed we had New Jersey roots. Concentrating our search in New Jersey, we next discovered the Burlington County family of George Hammitt and Rhoda Packer. A second Hammitt family in New Jersey deserved a closer look.
George Hammitt and Rhoda Packer
The genealogy of George Hammitt and Rhoda Packer is repeated many times on Ancestry.com. For the most part, the trees are consistent, well researched and well documented. George Hammitt and Sarah Ruckman are most often identified as the parents of George Hammitt (Rhoda Packer’s husband). In a previous post we questioned whether this was accurate and still consider his origin a mystery. (See: George Hammitt or George Hamack.) George Hammitt is listed as an immigrant from Nova Scotia1 and the marriage of George and Rhoda is recorded in the U.S. and International Marriage Records2. This record identifies Rhoda’s birthplace as Pennsylvania, but provides no information regarding George. The records don’t prove Rhoda Packer’s husband was the immigrant from Nova Scotia. But they do deserve consideration when trying to identify George Hammitt. We have not been able to directly connect our family to the family of George and Rhoda. But we have continued to research the family, relying heavily on the Packer family records for support.
Rhoda Packer Borton and Mathias Aspden, Jr.
The search for Rhoda Packer lead us to the History of the Borton and Mason Families in Europe and America, by Freeman Clark Mason. Published in 1908, the book includes the 1823 Affirmation of Rhoda (Packer) Borton from the case of Packer vs. Nixon. The case sought to identify the heirs of Mathias Aspden, Jr., who was also a Packer family descendant. Rhoda Packer Borton and Mathias Aspden, Jr., were first cousins. Litigation in the matter began in 1828 and continued until 1850, following a second hearing ordered by the Supreme Court. One of the issues addressed was the 1786 transfer of property originally purchased by Aspden’s great grandfather from William Penn. At the conclusion of the matter, the property in question had grown in value to approximately $600,000. Determining the heirs was, without question, of great interest to many people.
Rhoda Borton’s statement identifies multiple generations of the Packer family, including the family of her aunt, Rhoda Packer Hammitt, wife of George Hammitt. The document is an important part of any genealogical research related to early New Jersey families. We have posted a transcript of Rhoda Borton’s Affirmation in the features section on the Genealogy homepage. A digital copy of The History of the Borton and Mason Families in Europe and America, by Freeman Clark Mason, 1908, is available online at: Archive.org. The Affirmation is found on page 257/image 382.
Descendants of the Packer Family
Surnames referenced in the statement include: Hartley, Aspden, Brick, Hinchman, Zanes, Ellis, Kay, Lopen, Bailey, Caldwell, Sims, Duffield, Reynolds, Cox, Bee, Hunt, Leeds, Wiley, Sickler, VanSciver, Wheaton, Haines, Manning, Wothon, and Coates
1 “U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s – Ancestry.Com.” Accessed November 24, 2019. https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=7486&h=2663983&ssrc=pt&tid=50220280&pid=27779849451&usePUB=true.
2 “U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 – Ancestry.Com.” Accessed May 1, 2017. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=7836&h=520494&ssrc=pt&tid=50220280&pid=27779849451&usePUB=true.