HART (No.1)

Of America

From Irish Pedigrees; or the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation by John O'Hart

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THERE are several families of this name in America since the beginning of the 17th century: some of them claiming to be of Irish; some, of English; and some, of Scotch descent. The prevailing way of spelling the name, which, however, has obtained in the New World, is: "Hart," "Harte," "Hartt," "Heart," and "Hearte."

Some of those families are descended from Stephen Hart[1] (or Harte), a Puritan, who, about 1632, emigrated from (it is supposed) Braintree, in Essexshire, England, to Massachusetts, United States of America; and from whom "Hart's Ford" (more lately rendered "Hartford") on the Connecticut river, took its name. That Stephen Hart was a farmer and large landholder; he and the company with whom he went to America settled in Braintree, Mass., and afterwards removed to Newtown (since called "Cambridge"), Mass., and there constituted themselves a church, of which the said Stephen was elected "deacon:" hence has he been called "Deacon Stephen Hart." He was in Cambridge (Mass.) in 1632, and admitted a freeman there, on 14th May, 1634. He went to Hartford in 1635; was there a proprietor in 1639; and became one of the eighty-four proprietors of Farmington, in Connecticut, in 1672. At his death, in March, 1682-3, he was 77 years of age, and then lived at the village of Farmington, on a tract of land (bordering the present town of Avon) which is still known by the name of "Hart's Farm." His children were: 1. Sarah, who on the 20th November, 1644, m. Thomas Porter; 2. Mary, who was twice married—first, to John Lee, and, secondly, on the 5th Jan., 1672, to Jedediah Strong; 3. John, who m. Sarah ——; 4. Stephen, the name of whose wife is not known; 5. Mahitabel, who m. John Cole; 6. Thomas, b. 1643, who m. Ruth Hawkins. From those six children of Deacon Stephen Hart, have descended many of the families of distinction, now (1883) living in the Great Western Republic.

The sirname of said Stephen appears as Hart, in the list of Winthrop's New England, among those who took the freeman's oath on the 14th of May, 1634; while his brother Edmund's name appears in the same list as Harte, where the e final is added. The history of Dorchester, Massachusetts, makes that Edmund one of the first settlers of that town, and there he had his house-lot in 1632; but he subsequently removed to Weymouth. His children were, according to Savage, all daughters. It is worthy of remark that Stephen Harte, of Westmill, in Hertfordshire, England, was the first of the name recorded as living in that country. And (see the "Harte" pedigree) it was in the 12th century that a junior branch of the "O'Hart" family anglicised their name Harte, from the Irish O'h-Airt, and first employed the e final in the name.

Another distinguished branch of the "Hart" family in America is that descended from John Hart, who was born at Witney, in Oxfordshire, England, on the 16th of November, 1651, and who went to America with William Penn. He was a Quaker preacher of note, and settled near Philadelphia. He was elected a member of the Assembly for the county of Philadelphia, and took his seat therein on the 12th March, 1683. He died at his residence in Warminster, in Sept., 1714, in the 63rd year of his age. From that John Hart is descended General W. W. Hart-Davis, of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, living in 1883. All things considered, we are of opinion that the above mentioned Stephen Hart, the Deacon; Stephen Harte, of Westmill, in Hertfordshire, England; and John Hart, the celebrated Quaker preacher, were all of the same stock and of Irish origin.

Another eminent branch of the "Hart" family in America is that descended from Edward Hart, of Hopewell township, formerly in Hunterdon county, New Jersey, who fought under Wolfe on the Heights of Abraham (Quebec). His son John Hart (see Note, "Independence," p. 76, ante) was one of the Signatories who, on the 4th of July, 1776, signed the famous "Declaration of American Independence;" and is still remembered in America as:

"Honest John Hart."

This John was born at Hopewell, N. J., in 1715; and, in 1774, was first elected to the General Congress, at Philadelphia. New Jersey was soon invaded by the British Army, who devastated Mr. Hart's estate, and made special exertions to take him prisoner. He, however, frustrated their designs, by wandering through the woods from cottage to cottage, and from cave to cave, constantly hunted by the English soldiery; so that he never ventured to sleep in the same place twice in succession. The capture of the Hessians by General Washington put an end to that state of things: Mr. Hart was enabled to return to his estate, on which he passed the remainder of his life. He had two sons in the War of the Revolution: Edward, and Daniel; and three of his sons (supposed to be Jesse, Nathaniel, and John) acted as General Washington's guides while he was campaigning in New Jersey.

The said John Hart married Deborah Scudder (who died on the 26th October, 1776), and, according to entries in his writing in the Family Bible, the following were their children:

1. Sarah, born 16 Oct. (year not legible.)

2. Jesse, born 19 Nov., 1742

3. Martha, born 10 Apl., 1746

4. Nathaniel, born 29 Oct., 1747

5. John, born 29 Oct., 1748

6. Susannah, born 2 Aug., 1750

7. Mary, born 7 Apl., 1752

8. Abigail, born 10 Feb., 1754

9. Edward born 20 Dec., 1755

10. Scudder, born 20 Dec., 1759

11. (A daughter) born 16 Mar., 1761

12. Daniel, born 13 Aug., 1762

13. Deborah, born 11 Aug., 1765

Sarah married a Mr. Wyckoff; and her grandson, Samuel S. Wyckoff, was in 1882 a prominent merchant in Murray Street, New York City. Susannah m. Major Polhemus, an Officer of the Revolution, and was the mother of Mrs. Kurts. Deborah m. Joseph Ott. Daniel went to Virginia.

Joseph Hart, a grandson of the said John Hart, was in 1874 living on the top of Rich Mountain, in West Virginia; and H. S. Hart, of Circleville, 'Kansas, living in 1874, was a great-grandson of John, the Signer of the Declaration. The said John's personal appearance was, it is recorded, very prepossessing: he was tall and straight, with black hair and dark complexion. The time of his death has been variously stated by different writers: Sanderson, in his "Lives of the Signers," puts it in the year 1780; others make the time 1778; but we believe we are correct in saying the true time is the 11th of May, 1779.

There is a Monument erected to his memory at Hopewell, New Jersey, on the Front of which are the words: "John Hart, a Signer of American Independence, July 4, 1776;" on its Right side, the words: "Erected ... by the State of New Jersey, by Act Approved, April 5, 1865;" on its Left side, the words: "First Speaker of Assembly, August 27,1776," and "Member of the Committee of Safety, 1775-1776;" on the Rear, the words: "Honor the Patriot's Grave." Around the Monument are the graves of those who were his companions and associates.

Patrick Hart, of Youngstown, Ohio, living in 1877, and Thomas Hart, living in 1880, near Courtland, Decalb county, Illinois, are (see the "O'Hart" pedigree) members of our own family.

There is yet another branch of the "Hart" family located in Pittston, Pennsylvania, which we cannot connect with any of the foregoing families, but which, judging by its coat of arms, is, in our opinion, a branch of our own family. We can trace the descent of that branch only from Jeremiah[2] Hart, who when a young man lived in Duchess County, State of New York; removed to Saratoga County in said State, there married, owned a large farm, and lived and died. He had two elder brothers—1. John, 2. Richard: that John had a son John, both of whom held commissions in the English Army during the American Revolution, after which the younger John came to reside in England; Jeremiah remained faithful to the American cause; but we have learned nothing of Richard and his descendants. Commencing with Jeremiah the following is the descent from him:

1. Jeremiah Hart, of Saratoga County, State of New York, b. circa 1750; m. Abigail Purcell (née Macomber), and had five sons and three daughters—1. John, 2. Stephen, 3. Reuben, 4. Philip 5. Jeremiah, 1 Hannah, 2. Sarah, 3. Phebe. He died at Stillwater, Saratago county, N.Y., about 1825.

2. Philip: the fourth son of Jeremiah; b. about 1775; m. Anna, dau. of Joseph Seeley and —— Millard, and had five sons and four daughters——1. Philip, 2. Theodorus, 3. Henry, 4. Lorenzo D., 5. Rebuen B., 1. Maria, 2. Abby, 3. Amy, 4. Sarah-Anne. He d. at Pine Island, in Minesota, about 1860.

3. Theodorus: his second son; b. 5 Aug., 1809; m. Eliza, dau. of Sylvester Ruland and Rebecca Lobdell, on the 30 Mar., 1821, and had four children—1. Alonzo, 2. Theodorus, 3. Adelia, 4. Marion-Ellen—all living in 1883.

4. Theodorus Hart, Jun., of Pittston, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.: second son of Theodorus; born 10 Sept., 1847; and living in 1883; m. Rebecca (b, 11 June, 1849), dau. of William Dymond and Malvina (Slocum) Eyet, and had in 1883 one child—Mary-Lawson-Dymond, b. 13 July, 1875.

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[1] Stephen Hart: See the "Genealogical History of Deacon Stephen Hart and his descendants, 1632-1875." By Alfred Andrews, New Britain, Conn. (Hartford: Lockwood, Brainard, and Co., 1875.)

[2] Jeremiah: This is another name for the Irish Dermod.