Sunday, March 16, 2014

Two Hugh Forgeys?

Hugh Forgey Pension Document states date of birth, and place, and his locations in America

I didn't realize we had two contemporary Hugh Forgeys wandering around  Kentucky. An Alexander Forgey researcher, Paula Solar, shared some of her info with our Forgey/Forgy Facebook group. An obit for Alexander Forgey stated he was raised by his Uncle Hugh Forgey after his father died, which confirms this is not the same Hugh I had in mind. I was thinking his Uncle, or Grandfather, was Hugh Forgey of Bourbon County, KY. It can't be the same man because the Hugh Forgey I've always been familiar with lived and died in Bourbon County, KY where he left a will. This other Hugh died in Lawrence County, Ohio 10 years later. I've decided, armed with this new information, I need to reevaluate the evidence. I need to go back to Pennsylvania and Kentucky and reevaluate the Hugh Forgey records and decide which Hugh is being referred to, and where were these men living and when?

We do know the Bourbon County, KY Hugh was a Revolutionary War Veteran. We find detailed personal information for him in his pension. He stated in this pension application document that he was born in 1754 in Co. Antrim, Ireland. He also stated that he landed at the Port of New Castle, Delaware in 1774; from there he migrated to Lancaster, Pennsylvania where another Samuel Forgey had been living since the 1850's or 1860s. After the War we find this Hugh in Greenbrier, West Virginia. In 1787 he married Mary Dyer in Greenbrier. This would be a late first marriage for a male born in 1754. I have a feeling he was married before, and may have had at least a couple of children already? In 1794 we find him at his long time home in Bourbon County, KY. We know he is there by then because of his marriage in that year to Sally Everman. His wife Mary apparently died in childbirth.

Hugh Forgey's 1848 Lawrence County. OH will
Moving on to the other Hugh Forgey, we first find him on an 1800 Tax list for Montgomery, Kentucky along with his brother James. We know his brother's name was James because this fact is stated in his will. James Forgey married Peggy Rogers in Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky in 1797. Winchester is 18 miles from Bourbon County, Kentucky. It's assumed that Hugh Forgey was also in this same area in 1797. Hugh later migrated to Lawrence County, Ohio with his nephew Alexander Forgey, son of James, who he raised after his father's death. We know he was there by 1817 when Hugh married an Elizabeth Kneff. He was probably in Ohio in 1812, because there is a Hugh Forgey listed as a War of 1812 Veteran serving in an Ohio battalion.

So we have both Hughs living between 17 and 20 some miles away from each other in the early 19th Century. It's difficult to say whether they both settled in that part of Kentucky because they were relatives or it's just coincidence? If they are related could Hugh have been their father? Hugh had a young family with Sally Everman and they had sons named James and Hugh. Could Hugh have much older children with the same names? There was no law against that. That's a possibility. Another possibility would have been that Hugh was their uncle. We saw a previous instance an uncle raising Nephews. We have a John Forgey in Mason County, KY in 1800. Could he be another brother of theirs? He seemed to be either a recent immigrant based on a naturalization document or he was John Forgy of Cumberland County, PA's son?

We also have an Alexander Forgey in Washington County, Virgina who has no identified children. James and Alexander could be his sons? Alexander Forgey was born around 1740, while James and Hugh were born between 1770 and 1780.

About 200,000 immigrants came to America from Ireland before the Revolutionary War. For a few decades after the war another 100,000 Scots-Irish migrated from Ireland. Another possibility is Hugh and his brother James were part of the wave of immigration after the war, and had no close relationship to any of the earlier families? It doesn't look like that is the case. We don't find them living in Pennsylvania or landing at a port there. It was typical for immigrants to stop over for a brief time in Pennsylvania after arrival.

I looked again at the 1790 Census for Pennsylvania and considered who the Hugh Forgey of York County might have been. I forgot that this Hugh was probably not a Forgey at all, but instead was a Fergus. He appears on most tax lists for York as Hugh Fergus. We actually have a small number of Forgey immigrant families, probably less than a dozen. With just a handful of immigrants it shouldn't be that enormous of a job to place them in proper family units? Land records may help to link some of these families? DNA is also an important tool because so few records survive. I'm hoping it will be useful in our case. So far all of the Forgey males who have tested are tightly related sharing a common ancestor sometime in the past 300 years. I'm hoping that our next round of testing will uncover more diversity so we can separate families into family into groups.

New Castle, Delaware the port where Hugh Forgey landed in 1774
and popular port for Scots-Irish immigrants

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