Tag Archives: John Kille

Searching for Samuel Hammitt and Jane Simmons

Samuel Hammitt (1754-1807) and Jane Simmons (1750-1825)

Our biggest roadblock throughout this search has been determining the ancestors of Samuel Hammitt and Jane Simmons.  Following the family’s roots back to Philadelphia was easily documented.  Documenting a jump across the river has proven a bit more challenging.  It was Joachim’s journal that told us to make the leap when he identified his ancestor as Isaac, who first made a home in South Jersey.  Almost all the 1800, 1810 and 1820 New Jersey Federal Census records were lost, the exception being the 1800 records for Cumberland County and the 1820 records for Roxbury and Morris Counties.  While the Cumberland County records survived, they are not available online.[1]  For the time being we rely on tax records, Wills or the abstracts of Wills, Church records and the Monthly Meeting records of the Friends Society.  Through these records we identify extended family members and begin to understand the relationships between families.

Samuel is first found in the records of Christ Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where, on 10 January 1763, Samuel, his sister, Mary, and their father, Isaac, were Baptized by Rev. Richard Peters, D.O.  Continue reading

About that Impressment Story

Each family has its’ stories passed down through the generations. For us, one of the most intriguing tales is the story of how our 3rd Great Grandfather, Isaac Hammitt, got his name. If you read the previous post, Isaac Hammitt, John Kille and Isaac’s Ark, you know there was a pact between two impressed seamen resulting in a long held family tradition. The book Life in Apollo in the 1890’s, by Marion Dewees Gropen, tells a similar story. Discovering the story had been passed down through another Hammitt family gave it credibility and piqued our curiosity.

The Isaac featured on our home page was born in New Jersey in 1790, the son of Samuel Hammitt and Jane Simmons. His grandson, Joachim (pronounced Joe-ah-cheem) wrote a series of notes in 1941. His words best describe the story:
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Isaac Hammitt, John Kille and Isaac’s Ark

The tradition of family names has been observed for generations. Though not quite as popular now as it once was, it’s a tradition still followed in some families. Most often it’s a name that holds significant meaning, honoring a person of great accomplishment or character. The name Isaac was especially popular in our family throughout the 1800’s, making it difficult to determine what record goes with which Isaac or even which Isaac goes with what family. The Hammitt family actually had two naming traditions. Most prominent was the name Isaac. Our first Isaac has proven to be somewhat of a mystery and difficult to document. But family notes, bits of information and a tradition that lasted generations tell us he existed. Since so much of our family history is centered on shipbuilding, we decided an Ark would be the perfect place to gather all the Isaac’s. And so, the meaning of Isaac’s Ark.

The second name, although not quite as common but equally important, is John Kille Hammitt. Continue reading