Years ago, in the 1970s, my brother Karl sent me a page providing pension information about a certain William Longley. He was a Revolutionary War militia soldier who died in a county close to my grandfather John Marion Longley’s born in Tennessee. So, it seemed likely there should be a relationship, but how could one be certain?
After visiting the Church of Latter-Day Saints library and Federal Records depositories, I patched together ancestors back to William. I found an excellent narrative that William dictated to a scrivener in the 1830s to justify his application for a pension. He described his service marching with Lafayette and then serving on the Gloucester side during the battle of Yorktown. He was present at the British surrender and marched POWs to a camp.
Researching ancestry was fully involving and took some time. However, I could put together from family memory my grandfather’s father, Brazil (Braziel). With a bit of research, I determined his father was likely James and his grandfather Andrew Jonathan. It was only one step further to William.
At the Federal Records Depository, Hayward, California, the pension application I found disclosed that William came from New Jersey but did not name his parents. To research further, on several occasions, the family members visited Polk County, Tennessee, where William settled on Horn Creek, near the Ocoee. He passed, and his son Andrew Jonathan, a fifer in the War of 1812, also died. The County has a very active historical and genealogical society, which I joined. I talked with the Society president, Marian Bailey Presswood, who provided additional background information about the family.
But what about New Jersey? There were no particulars in the areas I have reviewed. However, Doris Ross Brock Johnson of Grand Prairie, Texas, edited an informative genealogical website, “Our Texas Family.” She had researched many families, including the Longley family. From her investigation, I determined that the father of William was Joseph, whose father was Joseph, and whose grandfather was Thomas. The further I went back from Tennessee, the more tenuous the connection seemed to be. Still, it endured and became more apparent or emphasized by authors on the subject, especially Doris Ross Brock Johnson.
Y Chromosome Test Defines Expectations
My wife Theresa Longley has been a diligent and competent genealogist about her Lewis and Council lines. In 2006, she enlisted me in Family Tree DNA Y chromosome tests. They tested for 37 markers. She then enrolled me in both the Longley and Langley groups.
Immediately a connection with 1 step of difference came up with William as an ancestor. By 2007 a 25-marker exact match was disclosed with Benjamin Longley of Baltimore. In 2012, a 37-marker match with one degree of distance was disclosed with Leonard Longley of Waterford, Maine. In the same year, a 37-marker test with one step of difference was revealed for Roger. This result, however, had no specification of the earliest paternal known ancestor.
Nevertheless, it appeared to be a key, so I emailed the contact. The contact responded, indicating the family came from Canada, and the contact provided the connection with an American census. Checking the information and searching the genealogy back, I found Deacon John Longley as an ancestor.
To develop a like-by-like analysis, I ran the Y DNA TiP Report for each match at the 9th generation. I did discount for three generations that were not a common ancestor by direct knowledge. The results are:
CA = Common Ancestor
RL/89.2% CA by nine generations 37 markers-3, Deacon John Longley of Groton, MA
PVL/ 88.1 % CA at nine generations 25 Marker-3 Benjamin Longley of Baltimore, Maryland
SRL/76.9% CA 9 gens 37 markers-3, Thomas Longley of New York, Deacon John Longley
AL/76.04 CA 9 generations 37 marker-3, William Longley of VA & Tennessee
DL/75.18% CA by nine generations 37 markers-3, Leonard Longley of Waterford Maine
JJL/75.18CA nine generations 25 markers-3, Jonathan Longley of Maine, Deacon John Longley
CQL/64.3% CA nine generations 25 marker-3, Benjamin Longley of Baltimore, Maryland
AL/59.12% CA 9 generations 25 marker-3, William Longley of VA & Tennessee
My review of the information led me to conclude that there was a common ancestor with the Massachusetts Longley line. I learned that the Maine connection was Massachusetts because Jonathan and Leonard were in Deacon John’s line.
I see the significant finding from the analysis is the consistent high probability of a common ancestor with the line of William Longley, who joined the community of Lynn, Massachusetts maybe as early as 1638.
William Longley of Lynn, Groton, and Charleston, Massachusetts
Henceforth, “Old William”
Interestingly, the original grant of lands not too long after the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth was confusing. The original name in the book was Richard Longley. Between 1638 and 1649, there was confusion about whether the initial grant of 40 acres was to Richard or William. By 1661 the court in Ipswich determined to confirm the grant after the Towne failed to approve it. The determination led to charges of perjury against William Longley (aka in the history Langley, Langh) and Andrew Mansfield, who supported the claim with testimony, which led to charges of defamation against John Hathorne. The town history sums it up: “It was a small matter but kindled a great fire.”
William removed to Groton about 1660 according to the 1878 publication “A Brief Account of Some of The Early Settlers of Groton, Massachusetts”. “William Longley was among the town’s earliest settlers and was the owner of the thirty-acre right.” He was married to Joanna Goffe, and their children were John Longley, William Longley, Jr., Elizabeth (Longley) Blood, Hannah (Longley) Tarbell, Lydia (Longley) Nutting, and Sarah (Longley) Rand. (Note: Thomas Goffe was a merchant adventurer, who was a co-owner of the Mayflower and Deputy Governor of Massachusetts. Some authors specify he is the half-brother of Joanna.)
As specified above, there was confusion about who was who. It is reported a letter to an attorney on August 8, 1639, regarding the sale of land inherited from his father, John Longley of Firsby, Lincolnshire, specifies he had brothers Richard and Jonathan Longley. The letter claimed that they were living in Lynn. Something happened nearly 400 years ago that is very difficult to untangle now but does not cancel the overall story.
The connection between the Tennessee and Massachusetts Longley families has been considered but is challenging to break out. At best, the conclusions will be an educated guess looking at DNA results, various family speculation, some source documents, and an attempt to understand the history of the times.
Martha Hixon Longley Hypothesis
Longley “Boys” Married Jersey Women
One theory based on the family lore is that several Longley “boys” came down from Massachusetts and married New Jersey women. Martha Hixon Longley (1764-1844) made this claim. She was a “Jersey Woman” born in Monmouth, New Jersey marrying Thomas Longley. She died in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her son was the Rev. Abner Hixon Longley, an early Universalist preacher, and writer.
According to Jersey woman Martha Hixon Longley, the leading contender is William Longley, born in 1731. He was the son of Nathaniel (1697-1773), the grandson of William (1676-1697), the great-grandson of John, who was born in 1640/38.
Narrative in an Ancestry family tree claimed when William Longley was born on April 25, 1731, in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, his father, Nathaniel, was 33 and his mother, Lydia, was 28. According to the Ancestry post, he had one son with Sarah Nicholson in 1761. He died as a young father in 1761 in New Jersey at the age of 30. Ancestry specified the son as William Longley. This naming of William is the first of the competing hypotheses.
Fork in The Road
We are now at a fork in the road regarding the interpretation of the Ancestry of the Virginia/Tennessee/California Longley families. In both cases, William’s (often called William C in subsequent genealogical statements and sometimes William F from other sources but to my knowledge not so identified in records) great, great grandfather was John Longley, son of “Old” William Longley of Frisby Lincolnshire, England; Lynn, Charlestown, and Groton, Massachusetts. For clarity we will refer to John as “Jack”.
There is not a clear answer to the question of the family tree. However, the traditional family tree I have seen is from Thomas Langley, Joseph Langley I, Joseph Longley II, to William Longley. In this tree, Thomas Langley’s father is John Langley, and the charts claim his father to be Robert Langley of Baltimore, Maryland.
My understanding this relationship is proven based on circumstantial information and not established by documentation. Researching Robert Langley, it appears from the record that he immigrated to Maryland in 1672, well after John Langley was born around 1638. Also, I have not found documents specifying Robert Langley and John Langley came to America together.
A Plausible Case Connecting John Longley to John Langley
Based on our research, we can make a plausible case that John Langley of Gloucester, New Jersey, was John Longley of Lynn and Groton, Massachusetts. The essence of the connection is that John Longley was the firstborn of “Old” William Longley. He married Sicilia Hannah Elvey, presumably in 1667. They moved to Groton, Massachusetts, but in 1676, the Narragansett warriors attacked the town during King Phillip’s War and essentially drove the inhabitants from the village. Some of the inhabitants returned in 1678.
John and Sicilia’s son William had been born in Groton in 1669, and the son Nathaniel was born after the Groton attack in Lynn in 1676/8. A standard narrative is that Sicilia died after the birth of Nathan. The determination of her death is a fundamental fact and we believe it happened later.
What we have found in Salem records is (Massachusetts, U.S., Town and Vital Records) “Longly (see also Longley) John s. John and Sicilia. 11: 11 m. 1680 CT. R.” From this, documentation is provided Sicilia was alive in 1680. When she died after that is a crucial question, as we have indicated relative to the fluid timing of the marriage by John Langley to Susannah in New Jersey.
One approach sometimes expressed is to conclude John had two wives in Massachusetts, one Hannah and the other Sicilia, after Hannah’s death. My reading of Ancestry is they are a single person who immigrated from Lincolnshire, England, but further research could better demonstrate the fact of the matter. Ultimately, it does not appear to detract from the possibility that John Longley removed from Lynn/Salem or Groton to Westbury, Gloucester County, New Jersey, should he have been previously married once or twice.
The author P. Gifford Longley wrote the excellent books Captive and Compelledabout Deacon John Longley. “The Captive,” whose family was massacred in 1694 in Groton and who became a hostage of the Abenaki Indians, uses the uncle John Longley (a focus of our inquiry), whom he identifies as “Jack” as central to his narrative. Mr. Longley established by reading arcane town records that “Jack” was appointed the Surveyor of Roads in Groton in 1689. Also, there are depositions listed for him and “Cilia” in 1691.
Beyond the difference in name, Langley versus Longley, these facts are the primary evidence against establishing John Longley of Lynn and John Langley of Gloucester, New Jersey, maybe the same person. The facts are essential, but at this point, not fully clarified in my opinion. We are interested in how long John served as the surveyor of roads after his appointment and what the appointment involved. We are also interested in the depositions. Did John and Cilia appear, and what were the subject and content?
Society of Friends
John Langley Married Susannah Wainwright
Thomas Langley Married Mary Chew
The Society of Friends (Quakers) is the center of much of the narrative. As indicated in the history below, John Langley married Susannah Wainwright around 1694, though there is some controversy because the Ancestry summary specifies 1680 as the year. The history of South Jersey documents that John Langley and Susannah Wainwright appeared before a Court to establish their marriage. The witnesses William Warner and John Tatum, who appear associated through the Society of Friends, supported the claim. “The Court ordered them (John and Susannah) to consummate their marriage in conformity with the laws of the province . . .” The year of marriage in this record is 1694.
Interestingly, John Langley and Susanna had a child, Thomas Langley, around 1686, well before the court proceeding. In 1686 Susannah would have been 36 and John Langley about 46 or 48 depending on birth, seemingly old for a first marriage by both.
Thomas Langley would eventually marry Mary Chew, the daughter of Richard Chew, who immigrated to New Jersey from New York with a Quaker group to purchase land. A “Thomas Langly” was reported in the records in 1696 for the Society of Friends Chester meeting. Chester is about 17 miles from Woodbury, NJ.
William Warner and John Tatem appear prominently in Woodbury Society of Friends meeting records into the 1700s. Susannah Wainwright’s community of Woodbury was a center of Quaker community activity.
When John Longley was appointed Surveyor of Roads in Groton, MA, John Langley purchased a property in Gloucester, New Jersey. The New Jersey land records document this purchase.
“1699 December 30. Do. Susannah, widow of John Langly of Woodbury Creek, Gloucester Co., to John Tatem, for 50 acres on Woodbury Creek, N.W. Wm. Warner, SE John Test, half of the 100- a. lot sold by Wm. Salisbury to Jonathan Wainewright September 7, 1689, and 50 a. thereof of him bought by said John Langly September 14, 1689.“
So, what is the rationale?
Why would someone travel hundreds of miles in a migration?
John Longley of Lynn, MA had been dispossessed by his father William in his will in 1680. Though the oldest in a time of primogeniture (Biblical birthright son which was important to a Calvinist family), William’s will conferred upon his first son John only a life estate if he should return to Groton. William and Nathaniel, John’s sons, received the fee after the life estate in William’s will.
Later, John’s (“Jack’s”) mother’s will was read in Charlestown. It did not mention him (nor his brother William who had died in the 1694 Indian attack) but did devise land to William, the son of John (“Jack”), telling it was adjacent to the land willed earlier by “Old” William the grandfather. John, her son, was not mentioned, nor was any mention made of Nathaniel, the grandson of William, son of John, and brother of William, who received the devise. The children of her dead son William, though currently dead or in custody of the Indians were given religious publications in absentia.
This exchange had been perfected in the meantime between the will of “Old” William in 1680 and that of Joanna in 1698. I wonder if this could be the subject of the deposition ordered for John (“Jack”) and Cilia? I would like to read them.
I can hypothesize an older son who never returned to his home Groton to live after the 1676 traumatic escape (as demonstrated by his father’s 1680 will). Instead, he felt profound sorrow with the loss of a son John around 1680 and a wife also around 1680 (maybe 1691 as suggested by P. Gifford Longley). He then migrated south 300 miles to Philadelphia and Woodbury, New Jersey. It is close enough; he may have visited several times to join Quaker associates who were verboten in Lynn but had land for sale to the South.
John’s (Jack’s) visit and move South within the Society of Friends who had land available in New Jersey. We cannot establish that he was a member nor attended meetings in either Lynn, Woodbury, or Philadelphia. However, we can show John Langley was associated with many Quakers and that his daughter-in-law’s family was Quaker, and it appears his son Thomas attended meetings.
The Annals of Lynn state that the first Society of Friends meeting house was established in Lynn in 1678 on Wolf Hill. The sect grew, and by 1694 the established Church was in strong opposition. The Annals of Lynn for 1694 discloses,
“The society of Friends having increased, Mr. (Rev. Jeremiah) Shepard became alarmed at their progress, and appointed July 19, as a day of fasting and prayer, ‘that the spiritual plague might proceed no further.’ (And the versatile Mather says, ‘The spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ gave a remarkable effect until this holy method of encountering the charms of Quakerism ….”
It is plausible that a dispossessed son, saddened by the death of his family, would visit and eventually move to Philadelphia and Woodbury. By 1686 when Thomas was born in New Jersey, John Longley’s children in Massachusetts would be 17, 15, 13, and 10.
Between his sisters and older children, it appears likely his children with Sicilia Hannah Elvey could be cared for if he left Massachusetts. Even as late as 1691, if that is when he took up the last residence after some time as a surveyor and completing a deposition and possibly purchasing 50 acres down South, the children would essentially be fully grown.
Doris Ross Johnson’s Hypothesis
John Langley died in 1699 at Woodbury, New Jersey. By the narrative, he is buried at the Goodbury Creek Cemetery. (Note: I have attempted to find it and have been unsuccessful.) John’s son Thomas was born when John was around 48. In the line documented by Doris Ross Brock Johnson on her now lost website, “Our Texas Family,” after Thomas and Mary Chew was Joseph Langley. By the records, Thomas would be 21 when Joseph Langley was born. The date of birth of his son Joseph Longley is 1735 (some sources say 1730). That would make Joseph Langley the elder, 23 or 28, when his son Joseph was born. All of this is within reasonable ages.
Joseph Longley II was born in 1730 or 1735 in Hunterdon County. At this time, the County was early in its development. The Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commission has prepared an interesting book, The First 300 Years of Hunterdon County 1714 – 2014. This book explains the early development:
The first European purchase of Hunterdon County land was made in 1688 and the last in 1758. The more critical purchases were those of David Coxe in the southern part, the Lotting purchase in 1703 of lands laying on both sides of the South Branch of the Raritan, the Lewis Morris purchase about 1710 of 100,000 acres along the northern border, and the Willock’s Purchase in 1709 of approximately 18,000 acres between Holland’s Brook, Cushetunk Mountain and Alamatunk (Pottersville).
The online narrative indicates that Joseph was born in Hunterdon County. However, the lineage normally before Joseph Longley appears not to have established permanent residences in the County though they may have lived in it for some period. Grandfather Thomas died in 1735 in Cohansey, Cumberland County, New Jersey, while father Joseph died by some records in 1770 in Salem, Salem County, New Jersey.
Both Cohansey and Salem are about 100 miles from Hunterdon. The wife of Joseph Langley, Mary Campbell, is listed as being born in Monmouth County, New Jersey, around 1700. Monmouth County is on the coast about 70 miles from Hunterdon. In her sister’s will, she is to have lived in Cohansey as Mary Langley around 1717. She died in Salem County, New Jersey.
There is some additional evidence that the family was in the Hunterdon County area. The Church Records for Hopewell, New Jersey, located within 20 miles from Hunterdon, disclose that Joseph Longley and Mary Longley were baptized to the membership in 1730. The record also indicates they were dismissed but did not indicate why. In the same time frame, Doris Ross Brock Johnson reports that Joseph Langley was an executor of John Campbell’s (his father-in-law) estate in Pennsylvania in 1731/2.
Evaluating Hypotheses: Martha Hixon Longley and Doris Ross Johnson
The investigation is the connection of the New Jersey, Virginia, Tennessee Longley families to the Massachusetts Longley families. We have the Martha Hixon Longley Hypothesis, based on William, the son of Nathaniel and the great-grandson of John of Lynn. We also have the Doris Ross Johnson Hypothesis based on Thomas and successive Josephs. It does not connect to the Massachusetts Longley families.
To find how an apparent connection may have occurred, we have investigated John Langley of Gloucester circa 1689 to 1694. We have asked, could this fellow be the same as John Longley of Lynn, Groton, and Salem? With both William and John, we ask the question, Ubi corpus? Or, bottom line where is the body buried?
From our sources, we know a John Langley was buried in Goodbury Cemetery, New Jersey. We have heard speculation about Groton and Salem, Massachusetts, but neither has specified John’s (“Jack’s”) will nor grave.
The same is true for William, John’s (“Jack’s”) son. Checking Ancestry; in one family tree, his death is in New Jersey. We have been unable to find any corroborating information regarding his residence in New Jersey around 1761. We have reviewed “Virginia Tax Payers 1782-87“, and we have found that for Loudon County in 1782, there was a Joseph who had two individuals subject to the poll tax and William who had none. In addition, another William Longley was residing in Montgomery County in 1782, South of Roanoke. Montgomery County is 240 miles from Loudon County.
The Loudon County taxpayers are likely to represent father Joseph and another adult male, possibly his son Joseph. At the same time, William in Loudon County may not have been subject to taxation yet. It is close, though, because sometime in 1782, William of New Jersey, Virginia, and Tennessee (who we will term “Patriot” William) would have been 21, and he would have just returned from militia service.
I have searched records and cannot determine who the 1782 William in Montgomery County may have been. However, it is interesting that the Loudon Longley family moved towards that area over the next couple of decades and then across the border into Tennessee. I expect a lot more going on between Longley/Langley families than we may appreciate today. Families seemed to visit, stick together and move together.
We have not found William Longley (Jack’s great grandson) of Chelmsford grave yet. The Martha Hixon Longley hypothesis could be correct that he married a Jersey woman and moved to Virginia. However, we have not established any connection with Patriot William.
An Outlier Hypothesis About Joseph of Groton, Shirley, MA, and Greenbush, NY
One other possibility exists of a Longley without a grave in the correct period. That is Joseph Longley, the son of Deacon John Longley. He was born in Groton in 1724 to John Longley and Deborah Wilder Longley. He married Mary Longley and was the father of 4 children, the last being Olive Longley in 1757.
Joseph was fully involved in Shirley’s town government, serving as a selectman and the town clerk. He served until 1758, when he left with the militia in the French and Indian War. He did not return home.
The report is he died in 1758 in defense of Fort William Henry near Lake George, New York. The specific information was Joseph was mortally wounded and died soon after at Greenbush, New York.
Some matters probably should be clarified. First, by my research the defense of Fort William Henry was about a year earlier, in 1757. Second, Greenbush is 65 miles away, a big trek for a gravely wounded man in 1758. Third, the report is of his burial somewhere at Greenbush, but “Find A Grave” has no grave specified.
In terms of distance, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, is 187 miles – not a great stretch for a mobile 33-year-old man even in 1757. Yet, I can find no record of this nor any suggestion he removed to New Jersey from New York.
The probate records are present, as are the documents providing for the guardianship of Joseph’s children. It must have been a difficult time for the entire family. Still, especially for his last child Olive, born just before he left with the militia, she died at only 18 years of age in Shirley, Massachusetts, apparently unmarried and without children.
The account of Joseph is truly an outlier. It doesn’t accuse a veteran of early American service of abandonment, but only to express that there are so many variables, and they were so difficult to resolve more than 200 years ago. The difficulty with the resolution is especially true when we do not know where the location of the grave.
Specifying the facts
A listing of facts will allow us to evaluate our competing hypotheses:
In the April 1895 publication “The West Jersey Society’s Great Tract in Hunterdon County,” by Dr. Henry Race, from an administrator of property Joseph Longley is specified as a tenant in 1757 “to the Westward of PIERCE’s Road.” According to the publication, Pierce’s Road is now called the “Hickory Road,” leading from Pittstown to Bloomsbury by way of the old Hickory Tavern.
In his pension statement, William Longley specified he left for militia service in 1780 from Loudon County, where he resided with his father.
In his pension statement, William Longley indicates he was born in the State of New Jersey in the year 1761, as his parents informed him.
In his pension statement, William Longley stated he resided in Loudon County for a short time after this War (he was discharged in February 1782 and returned home.
In his pension statement, William Longley states he resided in Loudon County for a short time after his service. Then, he went to Shenandoah, Rockbridge, then Washington County, all in Virginia.
In his pension statement, William Longley states he removed to Sevier County, Tennessee, in 1800.
Conclusions from Investigation
In this analysis, we have covered a great deal of time and ground. Unfortunately, the results have not slipped into place as cogs in a puzzle. Instead, we have achieved some insight and some plausibility.
Genealogy is often fitting names and places. However, after having reviewed hundreds of family’s trees, it appears that their preparers have fit together the most boxes aligned in time and space. This process is not incorrect; it follows William of Ockham’s razor “entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity,” sometimes inaccurately paraphrased as the more simplified “the simplest explanation is usually the best one.” I can say that it is so easy to become confounded by shallow information and blurry options that become more manifest because they are names in boxes.
THE BEST I CAN UNDERSTAND the Y DNA Analyses frames the conclusions, along with previous genealogical research, specific documentation, and the history of the times. In terms of the logic of the numbers are:
Even the most fundamental assumption has some doubt. The basic understanding has been that “The Patriot” William Longley of New Jersey, Virginia, and Tennessee is a central figure. Reviewing DNA results, it appears that he is a common ancestor, with some others claiming his line is around 50% – a coin toss. That makes it plausible but hardly inevitable. I have reviewed my line of “Patriot” William to Andrew Jonathan, to James, Brazil, John Marion, and John Raymond. It remains clear and follows, including documentation, that James lived in the household of Andrew Jonathan in 1830. For our purposes, this confirms a connection to Patriot William.
Martha Hixon Longley’s hypothesis that William, the son of Nathaniel, William, and John (whom we have identified as “Jack”) may have traveled to New Jersey and then onto Virginia. Still, there is no record he was the father of “Patriot” William. Moreover, as we have previously noted, when we check tax records, we see in Loudon in 1782 that a William had not reached majority in a separate household and a Joseph with another white majority male in the home.
There was also a William in Montgomery County around modern Roanoke, further South from Loudon. Further checking, it appears he signed a pledge of allegiance to Virginia in 1777 while denouncing King George III. This William may or not be Jack’s descendent. Still, the timeframes indicate it is a possibility – he would have been 46 in 1777 and 51 in 1782 – beginning to be “long in the tooth” for those times on the frontier of Montgomery County, Virginia.
The DNA testing together with the genealogy indicates a close connection with Thomas Langley of Gloucester/Salem. The probability is 88.1%. The finding essentially dismisses the Outlier hypothesis I presented involving the Shirley soldier Joseph and a paternal relationship for William, the great-grandson of “Jack”. Instead, it reinforces “Patriot” William, Joseph Longley of Hunterdon County, Joseph Langley of Gloucester/Salem, and Thomas Langley. The soldier Joseph was the son of Deacon John and out of the line, and William (“Jack’s son) would have intervened in the line later than Thomas.
If there is a close common-ancestor with Thomas, then it must extend back because it must have a source. The earlier common ancestor could be in England, though there are no specific leads, or it could be in Massachusetts. Because of the very high percentages for a common ancestor in the 70% to high 80% range for nine generations and 92.5% for 11 generations (which would be “Old” William of Lynn, Groton, and Charlestown)– the likelihood of the connection this side of the pond (Atlantic) in Massachusetts appears very likely.
This analysis supports the hypothesis that “Jack” Longley moved to Gloucester for a new wife’s comfort after being widowed, the fellowship of Friends, and a piece of property with Susannah; he begat Thomas. Likely he had some remaining business in Massachusetts, but my suggestion is he was a visitor then, not a resident. It does not prove the case, though, and a specific name in a book or a gravestone in Massachusetts may disprove the hypothesis most convincingly.
At the beginning of this summary, I wrote about my concern regarding the connection to “Patriot” William. The same proves true on the other side of the analysis. The closest Y DNA connection appears to be with the line of Deacon John. The lead is through Deacon John’s son William Longley who moved to Shirley similar to the soldier Joseph and lived between 1708 and 1788 – generally coeval with Joseph Langley.
He and his wife had six sons, and we know where all died and the bodies buried. Some went North, event to Nova Scotia, but no reports are of them living in New Jersey and Virginia in the early days. If the connection is through “Old” William, the William of Shirley’s great grandfather, it would be interesting to understand why there would be such a high probability for a common ancestor at the ninth generation. This is an area we need for insight.
The significant finding from my analysis is how we operated as families. When the Longley’s arrived in the new world, the initial controversy was about brothers William, Richard, and Jonathan. That was the subject of assemblies and courts. It then moved to Groton, where the settler’s achieved stability before and after combat with the Indians, and wealth was built and dispersed by “Old” William’s will of 1680 and Joanna Goff Longley Crisp’s will of 1698. On the edge of the frontier, battles were brutal with the massacre of 1694, and only faith and perseverance carried them forward.
The hypothesis is that a second movement was by Jack to the South to seek comfort and opportunity. Again, my belief is Jack and Susannah built a family through Thomas and the Josephs. We can postulate that the younger Joseph was in Hunterdon County, near the frontier in 1757, and believe he may be a sole actor. Looking at church records, however, we see his father and mother, Joseph and Mary were in the community of Hopewell during the available time frame.
We have found a Joseph Longley as a tenant on Hunterdon County property in 1757. During the period, there was purchasing of great tracts of property by wealthy and connected individuals, and there was a conflict between property owners and settlers, who were often squatters. The owners of vast lands sent agents to negotiate with those living on the ground, and the result could be a lease, sale, or eviction. The process appears to have been often chaotic. This interaction happened in the 1730s into the 1750s/60s. Accounts do define settlers had the options of leaving their property or paying again to occupy it. Likely this choice came to the Longley family, and they chose to move to Virginia.
The journey was by Joseph Longley and sons Joseph and William, possibly including others. The family settled in Loudon County, where the Virginia militia drafted “Patriot” William to serve in the Revolution. After the Revolution, the indication is that “Patriot” William and his brother Joseph moved further South. They lived for a period in Shenandoah and then moved to Rockbridge and then Washington counties.
The family of Joseph Longley remained in Rockbridge and grew into the 20th Century. With his wife Mary, sons, and daughters born in Virginia, William moved initially into Sevier County and subsequently into McMinn, which became Polk County during the “Trail of Tears.” My reading is that these were sizeable family combinations. Jonathan Longley in 1830 had 12 in his household, including my ancestor, James; in 1840 Jonathan had 10 in his home.
With the death of James in 1863 at a young age, apparently from disease, not war nor strife, the deprivation of a provider lost, and the Civil War challenged the family. The son William Brazil, so the legend goes, was around 20 when detained by Union forces near his home. However, we do not know why he was under threat of execution as a spy and, in the end, not executed.
Nearly all the family members were farmers and their spouses’ home keepers. Other employment in census materials is often farm labor, all free labor. Best I can determine from the research, the moves from England to Lynn, Massachusetts through New Jersey, Virginia, Tennessee to, Tulare County, California was in pursuit of property and deriving their livelihood from farming. The family seemed to live the ideal of Thomas Jefferson’s yeomanry. Often, they gained ground from grants, and it is normally not always clear why the property was sold or lost. In reviewing the Massachusetts family, they appeared to farm but otherwise had employment, served as town clerks, selectmen, and military officers and soldiers. I guess they were just more established by time.
By 1904, the fifth big move was from Meigs County, Tennessee to California. From direct family conversation may years ago, it appeared somewhat hectic. John Marion and Eliza Davis Longley moved back to Tennessee in 1914, only to return to California in 1919. This analysis is for the California Longley family only.
Other Longley family members had dispersed to the West, including Waterford, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire. Another descendent of “Patriot” William, Campbell Longley, moved to Texas to join Sam Houston in his fight and I have read they became good friends. His progeny included a lawman James and a nasty fellow William Present Longley who was hanged but had great words from the gallows.
Previous moves had been from Lincolnshire, England to Massachusetts; Then from Massachusetts to New Jersey; Then from New Jersey to Virginia; and from Virginia to Tennessee. In each of these instances, family members had remained and prospered. Interestingly, the movement was close to the frontier as long as there was an American frontier. Their livelihood was on the margin, often in adverse situations with little hope for future new land and opportunity to empower it. They just persevered and carried on.
The encouraging feature is that Providence always seemed to provide, which has to be the “take-away” from this quintessentially American story.
I see the picture and wonder. Are the soldiers marching to the sound of battle or preparing for battle tomorrow?
They seem purposeful and stolid, but must also be terrified. The universal code of soldiers prevents them from showing fear at the probability of their death somewhere past the mules over the horizon. In our relatively safe, comfortable time and space this is incomprehensible.
These Australian soldiers are not unique: The American generation born around 1900 lived their personal anxiety as did the generation born mainly after 1920. When told at basic training, either the soldier on the right or left would likely not return home whole.
My generation from the mid 40s to early 50s experienced the vision of death in a rice paddy, vividly reinforced by the nightly news. The Xers died in the hot, forlorn desert without the military draft. The Silent Generation died in the frozen waste or stifling heat of Korea with the military draft. Applying the universal code, we all handled our concern personally.
Some embraced the persona of warrior duty exuberantly. Others, with the nagging fate of death faraway accepted (however reluctantly) their service as the lawful prerogative of our government. For many it may have been that duty calls or the inevitability of doing what is expected by friends and family. In the long run, personal rationale made little difference, except we have remained worthy of respect.
Those not serving hid in plain sight or confronted THE MAN yelling: “Hell No We Won’t Go!!” – They have avoided the demons and the fight, and opportunistically have inherited the Earth
Those who served learned discipline to survive in harm’s way and that should have made them more resilient as their years proceeded. Instead, their influence has dissipated because they have lost the leverage of triumph while remaining worthy of respect. The explanation: Victory has been rendered ambiguous or lost by those who have led us.
Where do we go from here?
Only forward, past the mules, over the horizon. Anything else would offend the code.