Kissin’ your cousin

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Elizabeth Young Stewart has an interesting ancestry. Elizabeth would be my fourth great grandmother on my mother’s side of the family from her father’s side. Elizabeth’s was born November 26, 1808 in Mercer Pennsylvania. Her ancestors came from county Donegal Ireland and the Gass line would immigrate to North America some time between 1738 and 1742 in the Cumberland county, Pennsylvania area.

In 1740 in Ireland Protestant householders in counties Antrim, Armagh, Donegal, Londonderry and Tyrone are listed. Also during this time period Ireland woul experience a famine. This famine would not be the one most people would remember historically from 1847. This famine would be caused by  extremely cold and then rainy weather in successive years, resulting in a series of poor harvests. " The year 1741, during which the famine was at its worst and mortality was greatest, was known in folk memory as the ‘year of the slaughter’ (or ‘bliain an áir’ in Irish). " (Wikipedia)  

The Stewart line, according to some sources, would not be found in North America until some time in 1758, William Stewart, Elizabeth’s grandfather, having come to the states in his 20’s to find his fortune, leaving behind the estates of the Stewarts of Fort Stewart at Green Hill, near Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland. Other sources will state that William came to the States with his mother after the death of his father about 1745.  Traveling with his mother were his brothers and sister, Charles, Robert, William, Frances, and Margery. This information is taken from the will of his mother dated December 28, 1748 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The eldest son Alexander would remain in Ireland and inherit the estate. As of 1909 the Baron of Fort Stewart, Sir Harry Stewart, who lived on the Fort Stewart estates, which included the ivy covered ruins of the old Fort Stewart, came home from India 15 years previous to inherit the estate from an older brother, and an uncle Sir Abraham Augustus James Stewart, both of whom died unmarried very close together. The first 10 of William’s children would be listed in the family bible as Stuart before changing the spelling on the last to Stewart.

The Elder’s would arrive in Pennsylvania before Elizabeth Elder was born in 1758. Both of her parents were born in Ireland.

Cumberland county was formed from Lancaster county in 1750 and is in Southeast, Pennsylvania and is one of four counties that make the greater Harrisburg area. By 1860 Elizabeth and her family would be found in Mercer county, a westward move for the family.

One of the most fascinating facts about Elizabeth is the number of times the Galbraith and Stewart lines show up in her lineage. Elizabeth’s grandparents on her father’s side were first cousins. William Stewart, Elizabeth’s grandfather, born August 21, 1738 in Ireland, married Mary Gass born 1742 in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. Mary’s parents were Benjamin Gass and Eleanor Galbraith. William’s parents were Alexander Stewart and Rebecca Galbraith. Eleanor and Rebecca were sisters.

On Elizabeth’s mother’s side of the family the Galbraiths and Stewarts would show up again. Alexander Stewart and Rebecca Galbraith had a daughter Margery, William’s sister. Margery would marry David Elder, and their daughter Elizabeth would marry John Young. The daughter of John Young and Elizabeth Elder, Mary would be Elizabeth’s mother.

This lineage makes Elizabeth’s parents Robert Stewart and Mary Young, first cousins once removed. Elizabeth would marry James Kilgore and continue to live in Mercer, Pennsylvania until her death in 1875. The Stewarts and the Kilgores would be a part of the Underground Railroad in Mercer that I have written about previously. Elizabeth would have 9 brothers and sisters and one half sister. The family, for the most part, would remain in Mercer, the Stewarts becoming prominent citizens in the area.



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