Samuel Hammitt and Esther Sharp

Samuel Hammitt (Hamack), married to Esther Sharp, is most often identified as the son of George and Rhoda (Packer) Hammitt.  But you will also find family trees that list Samuel Hammitt married to Elizabeth Sharp and trees who have Samuel married to both Elizabeth and Esther.  The search to identify Samuel’s wife lead us to the discovery of Samuel Hamack, whose father was also George.  One thing lead to another and suddenly the evidence was pointing in a different direction than what was commonly accepted.  Records of the Friends Society’s Haddonfield Monthly Meeting provide clues to Samuel Hammack’s short life and give a glimpse of his wife, Sarah Sharp.  George Hammitt’s 1784 Will provides additional clues that support the theory there were not only two Samuel’s, but two George’s.

The Will of George Hammitt (married to Rhoda Packer) was written in 1784 and proved June 26, 1788.  Identified as a yeoman, this George Hammitt was from Evesham, Burlington County, New Jersey.  An abstract of the Will tells us he had three sons (Samuel, George and Thomas) who pre-deceased him and that he left a child’s share of his legacy to “each of the children of the deceased”.  The document confirms Samuel not only predeceased his father, but that he had issue.

The Friends Society’s Haddonfield Monthly Meeting record shows Samuel Hammack and Esther Sharp first declared their intent to marry on February 9th, 1746.  Samuel is identified as the son of “George Hammack”, deceased, and Esther is identified as the daughter of William Sharp, also deceased.  The notes mention Samuel would need his mother’s consent since he had not reached the proper age to marry.  The record, which identifies Samuel Hammack’s father as George Hammack, confirms he was deceased prior to the February 1746 appearance of the couple and tells us Samuel would have been born sometime after 1725.  Samuel and Esther appeared a second time the following month on March 9, 1746, and on April 13, 1746, Josiah and William Foster[i] reported the marriage had taken place accordingly.

Esther Sharp Hammitt next appears in the Haddonfield Monthly Meeting notes of May 8th, 1749, when she and Job Haines announced their intent to marry.  In this record, Esther Hamack is identified as the “widow of Samuel Hamack”, son of Samuel Hamack, deceased.  Also in the notes, the said “widow, not having any child, her affairs require no settlement”.   Esther and Job were granted permission to marry and on the third month William Foster and Thomas Wilkins reported the marriage had been accomplished in an orderly fashion.

Job Haines, Esther’s second husband, was the son of Jonathan Haines and Mary Matlack.  He died in 1783, leaving Esther the farm where he lived and the use of a cedar swamp in Atsion, Evesham Township, Burlington County, during her life.  The Will identifies him as a yeoman from Newtown Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey.  Job Siddons[ii], Richard Watson and Joseph Lippincott were witnesses on the Will.

Esther Sharp Hammitt/Hamack Haines died a few years later.  Her Will, dated July 18, 1785, proved on August 8th of the same year, identifies her as being from Newton, Gloucester County, New Jersey.

The 1749 Monthly Meeting notes differ somewhat from the 1746 notes in a few areas.  The biggest discrepancy being Samuel’s father, who in 1749 is identified as Samuel and not George.  While we can’t be certain, we can assume there would have been more discussion regarding the couple at the first meeting, when both Esther and Samuel would have been required to identify their parents.  It’s more likely the record of their first appearance is correct and the latter is possibly an error on the part of the transcriber.  Next is the entry stating the Widow Hamack had no children.  This is contrary to the Will of George Hammitt, who included the children of his deceased son, Samuel, in his legacy.

The various spellings of Hammitt may present additional clues to the family.  In the 1746 and 1749 Friends Society records Samuel’s name is spelled Hamack.  The 1877 book, Sketches of the First Emmigrant Settlers in Newton Township, Gloucester County, West New Jersey[1], by John Clement, uses the Hammock spelling when referring to the 1747 [sic] marriage of Samuel and Esther, but then uses the Hammitt spelling when referring to the 1749 marriage of Esther to Job Haines.  You will find the “Hammitt” spelling used frequently when referring to Esther Sharp.  In this instance the Hammack and Hammitt spellings appear interchangeable.   The Hamack spelling is also found in the 1708 Will of Thomas Ruckman, where he identifies his daughter as “Sarah, wife of George Hamack”, along with a grandson, John Hamack.  The Ruckman Will was proved 5 years later on May 13, 1713, in Gloucester County, New Jersey.  Since only one grandchild was named we believe Sarah Ruckman and George Hamack only had one child.  If Samuel had not yet reached the age of 21 in 1746 when he and Esther married, then this George Hamack was neither his father, nor Rhoda Packer’s husband, but instead may have been another George Hamack/Hammitt.

[1] “Ancestry.com – Sketches of the First Emigrant Settlers in Newton Township, Old Gloucester County, West New Jersey,” 407, accessed May 4, 2017, https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/13831/dvm_LocHist001513-00205-1/395?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/50220280/person/27780160308/facts/citation/540091148997/edit/record.
[i] The Foster surname appears in several documents and was possibly a family friend or relative.  William Foster was originally appointed to inquire about the couple when they first announced their intention to marry.  Josiah Foster is most likely his brother.
[ii] Job Siddons is believed to have been the father of Joseph Siddons.  Joseph was married to Rebecca Hammitt (parents unknown) in Philadelphia on May 28th, 1776.  John B Blinn, “Pennsylvania Archives 2nd Series,” 375, accessed May 6, 2017, https://ia800502.us.archive.org/2/items/recordofpennsylv00linn/recordofpennsylv00linn_bw.pdf.