Tag Archives: Samuel Hammitt

Rhoda Packer Borton and Her Affirmation

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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.

The Family of Elizabeth Gominger Hammitt Fow

A Blended Family in 1850

Listed in the 1850 Census for the 5th Ward of Kensington are John K Hammett, born 1833, and Thomas J Hammett, born 1835. They are living with the family of David and Elizabeth Gominger Hammitt Fow in the Northern Liberties section. The household of Elizabeth and David introduces us to a blended family of Hammitt, Gominger, Sutton and Carr family members. The 1850 Census didn’t identify relationships, making it easy to assume most of the residents are boarders. But a closer look uncovers family ties and clears up a few mysteries.

Elizabeth Gominger Hammitt Fow

A search for David Fow tells us he and Elizabeth Hammitt were married on May 23, 1841 in the Kensington Methodist Episcopal Church. Living with David and Elizabeth Fow in 1850 are Continue reading

Hammitt Family

Our research does not tell us the origin of the Hammitt family, but the journal entries of Joachim Hammitt have guided us in the search for our ancestors. Sometime around 1941 Joachim wrote:

In the early 1700 hundreds the Hammitts settled in New Jersey built a white cedar log house for a home. My ancestors name was “Isaac”. . .

The Hammitt family represents the roots of our project and while we are still searching for records confirming the family of the original Isaac, we have documented many of the descendants of Samuel Hammitt and Jane Simmons. Samuel and Jane had 8 children, 4 sons and 4 daughters. Their sons, Isaac and John Kille, were shipbuilders. John K’s shipyard was in Philadelphia, along the Delaware River in the Kensington area. Isaac Hammitt was one of the Kensington shipbuilders called upon to build Commodore Perry’s flagship, the USS Brig Niagara. Isaac is reported to have joined the squadron in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie. Samuel’s daughter, Jane Hammitt married Peter Deal, Jr and settled in Salem County, New Jersey. Daughters Mary and Bathsheba remain somewhat of a mystery, as does Josiah. Son, Thomas, died fairly young, leaving behind a wife, Elizabeth Gominger Hammitt and 5 children. Daughter, Elizabeth, married John G Stevenson and also settled in Salem County.

Hammitt families are found living throughout Southern New Jersey. The loss of early New Jersey records has made it difficult to confirm how the families are related. Changes to county boundaries and long forgotten town names make it even more difficult. But we keep finding clues that confirm their existence, from marriage records, newspaper accounts and petitions we have pieced together several families. Branching out to the families they married into and tracing their histories may be the only way of finding answers.

We still have a lot to discover, but we have also covered a great deal of territory. You’ll find the Hammitt line represented on both trees in the Genealogy section. Since our research methods and interests tend to lead us to different discoveries you may also find differences in our interpretation of the records. Uncovering and reviewing those differences is what has lead us to some pretty interesting discoveries.

Fennell Family

The Fennell family connects to the Hammitt line in 1923 when Ruth Eva Fennell married Isaac Edwin Hammitt on October 6th. Isaac was the 2x’s great grandson of Samuel Hammitt and Jane Simmons. The photo featured in the header of the website is of Isaac and his children.

Currently the family is represented in Cheryl’s tree. This branch of the tree holds the records of over 1000 Fennell descendants and ancestors. From church beginnings to the discovery of oil, the Fennell families played a large part in the settling of Western Pennsylvania. Although family events and accomplishments are well documented the progenitor of the family is not.

Like other Fennell researchers we have relied heavily on The Fennell Chronicles, by Mrs. Raymond Ralston. Mrs. Ralston’s accounting identifies Frederick Fehnel, Sr. as the “earliest Fennell ancestor” and one of four brothers. In a letter to Mrs. Ralston, Lt. Col. Fennell identifies the four as: Christopher, Frederick, Conrad and Abraham. He also wrote that tradition tells us the family “fled Germany during the prosecution of Protestants to England during 1702 – 1709, thence coming to America”.

Newspaper accounts from 1911 reported the first Fehnel reunion, held at the Moorestown church in Moorestown, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. Attended by over 60 families from seven states, the reunion was held to honor the memory of Gottlieb Fehnel. It was reported that Gottlieb had “settled in Northampton County in the early part of the eighteenth century” having landed “from Odenwald, Germany.

Could Gottlieb have been the first Fennell?

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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