The Genealogy of William Molyneux


Hattie F. Molyneux (1881-1968)
School Teacher
Great Granddaughter of William Molyneux
Married Sedgwick Hottenstein (1867-1935)
Source: Marolyn Cole

DOWN TO A.D. 1890

ALSO AN HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE MOLYNEUX, BIRD AND WARREN FAMILIES/THE FIRST SETTLERS IN WHAT IS NOW SULLIVAN COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA

By GEORGE MOLYNEUX PARDOE
of Sioux City, Iowa

GOLDIE BROTHERS BOOK AND JOB PRINTERS 1891
Subseqeuntly re-printed by McHenry Commercial Printers, 119 Carpenter Street, Dushore, PA October 1976

The First Settlers of Sullivan County, Pennsylvania

Some years ago I was requested by the Historical Society of Western Sullivan County to prepare a genealogical record of the family of William Molyneux and descendants, for the reason that they contemplated holding a centennial anniversary of the first settlement of what is now Sullivan county, in the fall of 1894, and that it would be interesting as well as profitable to have there the genealogy of the descendants of three families who first settled there, at about the same time, to wit: those of William Molyneux, Powell Bird and John Warren. I have prepared the record, which is practically complete to the year 1890. It contains the names of 423 persons, in addition to the 114 coming into the family by marriage, there being 114 families. Thirteen families, containing 43 persons, are the descendants of William Molyneux's son John; five families, containing 13 persons are the descendants of his daughter Elizabeth; 59 families, containing 232 persons, are descendants of his son Edward; and 36 families, containing 131 persons, are the descendants of his son Thomas. These people are to be found in nearly all the states of about the same latitude as Pennsylvania, extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.

As a preface to the genealogy of the Molyneux family, I have thought proper to insert an historical sketch of the three first settlers and their families. At the time this first settlement was made, the portion of the state now known as Sullivan county formed a part of the county of Northumberland, which was on the 27th day of March, 1772, organized from a part of the sixth Indian purchase made by the Penns in 1768, and was the tenth county organized in the state. On the 13th day of April, 1796, the county of Lycoming was organized, including within the limits what was on the 15th day of March, 1847, organized into the county of Sullivan.

The following from a song composed about the time of location of the county seat will be remembered by the older residents:

Sullivan county, new Laporte
In the woods they hold their court
It's well founded on a rock
About four miles from Loyalsock

Dates are important on an occasion like this, and frequently hard to obtain. History makers are seldom history writers. These pioneers little dreamed that in one hundred years from the beginning of that settlement in the forest, hundreds of their descendants extending to the sixth generation, would be gathered at the forks of the Loyalsock celebrating that event or that their descendants would in one hundred years number almost a thousand, and would be scattered from ocean to ocean, occupying more states than the Union then contained.

Many records which were made have been destroyed. The first house built here, that of William Molyneux, was destroyed by fire, and with it was consumed all his household property, including the old family bible containing the family record. By reason of this fire, his son Thomas never knew what particular day in February was his birthday, and therefore was compelled to celebrate the whole month or none at all. It may seem strange that a father should forget the date of his son's birth, but perhaps not so extraordinary if the troubles of that father during the first three years of that son's life could be correctly detailed, a brief mention of which will hereafter be made.

I find in the report of the state superintendent of public instruction for the year 1874 the following statement concerning Sullivan county: William Molyneux came here in 1794, and then returned to England. That he came back in 1797, and found Powell Bird and John Warren living there with their families. They had located in 1795. This statement is very nearly, but not quite, correct.

Josiah Warren of Canton, a son of John and Mary Warren, and who was born on the old Warren homestead near Millview May 10, 1808, and who knew all of those pioneers well, told the writer in 1890, that William Molyneux came up first with a surveying party for Joseph Priestly, Jr., of Northumberland. That soon after he came back and brought Powell Bird with him, and that Molyneux at least built his house at that time. That they then went back to Northumberland, and Molyneux went to England to get his family. That the next spring his parents, John and Mary Warren, came up with their family, and lived in the Molyneux house until they had built a house for themselves on their land above and adjoining the Molyneux land. That his sister Jane was born on the way up, at Abram Webster's on the old Genessee road, between Muncy and Hillsgrove. That the father and the oldest child, Sarah, came on and left the mother and babe at Webster's, who a few weeks after completed the journey on horseback. That his sister Jane was born May 24, 1795. That Molyneux and Bird came afterwards with their families, he thought in the fall of the same year. He also stated that his mother, Mary Warren, was the first woman who baked bread in Sullivan county. That Rebecca Bird (Molyneux) was the first white person born there. That he, Josiah Warren, was at time the only living member of either of the three first families, and also the oldest person then living who was born in the settlement.

This statement as to the date of sister Jane's birth I find verified in the old family bible of the Warrens, now in the possession of William Warren on the Ecklands. I see that Now and Then for January and February, 1892 gives the date of Jane Warren's birth as May 5, 1795. As I get the date May 24, 1795, from the original family record, and, as I understand, in the handwriting of Mary Warren herself, I think I cannot be wrong.

I think it is reasonably certain that of the permanent settlers, William Molyneux was the first to come and spy out the land, and the first to make improvements, which was in 1794, just one hundred years ago. That in all probability Powell Bird was the second to come and view the land, which was also in 1794, and that John Warren, who came with his family in 1795, was the third to come, and the first to bring his family, and that William Molyneux and Powell Bird brought their families in the fall of the same year.
Editor's Note: The Molyneux, Warren and Bird families were tied closely by geography and marriage, but that does not mean they always got along, as related in The Molyneux Feuds.

At least three men had previously lived for short periods in this vicinity, but they never became in any sense of the word, settlers. One of them, a man named Strong, came from Cherry Valley, in "York state," and built a cabin on the bench of land where Millview now stands, close by the mountain brook which starts from a spring on Geo. C. Bird's land, and is still known as Strong's run. He had been led to believe that it was only twelve miles down the Loyalsock to its junction with the West Branch of the Susquehanna, but when he made the trip to the river, and ascertained that instead of twelve miles the distance was at least forty very difficult miles, he returned to Cherry Valley. Another by the name of Brown came and built a cabin on the land now owned by Isaac Rogers, near the foot of the mountain gap, which bears his name, but soon afterwards abandoned his cabin and moved away. Still another by the name of Ogden lived for a while near Hillsgrove. When Molyneux, Bird and Warren settled at what is now Millview, ten miles away. Ogden said the country was getting too thickly settled to suit him, and moved to the neighborhood of what is now Clearfield county. He was a peculiar man, and it is said disliked English settlers for the reason that a son of his had been killed by the English in the Revolutionary war. A small creek entering the Loyalsock just below Hillsgrove is still called the Ogdonia, presumably in honor of the old trapper.

Many stories are told of the hardships and privations endured by these first settlers. There had probably been but one road made into this part of the country at that time--Wallis' road--which was not much more than a blazed path from Muncy, then Pennsyborough north, through Wallis' Gap to the top of the mountain, then in a northeasterly direction to the neighborhood of Double Run, then northwardly past the "world's end" to the forks of the Loyalsock, where Forksville now stands, which was used by surveyors while surveying the large tracts of land then owned by Robert Morris, Joseph Priestly, Jr. and others in the vicinity. Another road or path was known as the "Harris' path," but where it was located I am not informed. Harris was also a surveyor, who was in this vicinity with Wallace at various times from 1777 down to about the time the first settlement was made.

I understand that in coming here these setters came over the mountain from Muncy, past Abram Webster's, and struck the Loyalsock at or below Hillsgrove. It is told that they forded the Loyalsock thirteen times from Hillsgrove up. That everything had to be packed on horseback or on their own backs, as horses were scarce they frequently had to go on foot to Muncy, their nearest trading place (only thirty miles) and bring back what few store goods they were compelled to use. The mortar and pestle was the only mill they had for years.

Game was plenty. Trout, deer, wild turkeys and bear meat could almost be had for the asking. I have heard my grandmother Molyneux, formerly Rebecca Bird, say that they could go out before breakfast and catch all the trout they could eat, and that some of them were eighteen inches in length.

It is told that when on one of the first trips up, probably that of Molyneux and Bird in the fall of 1794, when near Ogden's cabin, they heard the barking of a dog, and one of them (Bird I suppose, as Molyneux had been up before) supposed they were coming into a camp of Indians, and was for retracing his steps at once. He was, however, induced to proceed, and was overjoyed to learn that instead of blood-thirsty Indians they had found a friendly white man and his dog. Another story is told, that when the Bird family came up they camped for the night on a large flat rock on the northwest side of the Loyalsock, between Forksville and what is known as the "wolf trap," and that George Bird, at that time about five years old, said that would be a good place to build the house, and they need not go any further. The place is known as George's Rock to this day.

There were dangerous wild beasts here then, but I believe there was but one casualty on their account, and that fortunately did not result in the loss of life, except to the beast. In the year 1811 Job Summers, a lad about eleven years of age, living with Powell Bird, his grandfather, was sent across the creek and up on the side hill to bring the cows. When coming back with the cows he heard the cry of a panther, but as the sound was much like a human voice he concluded that it was his uncle George Bird, who was then a young man of twenty-one, and called back, "Oh, you can't scare me, uncle George," and went on with the cows. When they came to the creek, just opposite the Bird residence, the cows started to ford the creek, and little Job walked on down towards where the canoe or dugout was tied in which he had "poled" himself over. As soon as he had left the cows the panther sprang upon him. Job called murder as loud as he could and fell on his face. The panther turned him over with his paw and endeavored to get at his throat, but he had on a home-made tow shirt, with buttons sewed on with linen thread, which would not give way. The cry of murder was heard at the house, and this same uncle George and the hounds hastened to the rescue. The hounds drove off the panther and treed him. By this time it was getting dark, and straw was brought and lighted so the panther could be seen, when a shot from Uncle George's rifle put an end to him. Job's wounds consisted in the loss of one of his small fingers and a terribly lacerated face, the scars from which were plainly discernible to the day of his death, which occurred March 1, 1887. The panther was opened, and it was found that he was starving, as his entrails contained but the boy's finger and some of his blood.

Another panther story may as well be told here, in which Joseph Warren, the second person born in the settlement, was one of the participants. It seems that the hounds, which were quite numerous at the Warren farm as well as at Bird's, had chased a half grown panther into some driftwood at the forks of the Little Loyalsock, where he was shot. Supposing him to be dead, Joseph Warren placed him upon his shoulder and started for the house, only a short distance away. He had not gone far before he noticed the hounds were acting strangely and seemed to be anxious to get at the panther. Joseph Warren looked around and discovered that the panther was moving his head about, and keeping a sharp watch on the dogs. He was not long in dropping the panther, and with the help of the hounds he killed him some more, and thereafter had no trouble.

These pioneers selected lands on the Little Loyalsock adjoining each other. The lands of William Molyneux contained 402 acres and 51 perches and the "allowance," and extended forth forks of the creek down to the John Huckell farm. The patent from the state to Joseph Priestly, Jr., from whom Molyneux purchased, recites that said tract was surveyed in pursuance of a warrant dated 3rd February, 1789, conveyed the same to Dr. Benjamin Rush, who by deed dated 3rd February, 1789, granted to the said James Cross, who by deed dated 5th February, 1789, conveyed the same to Dr. Benjamin Rush, who by deed dated 18th February, 1794, conveyed the same to the said Joseph Priestly, Jr. Although William Molyneux apparently purchased his land in 1794, the same year in which Priestly obtained his deed, the land was not conveyed to him until January 18, 1803. The Molyneux farm has a large amount of bottom land and is one of the best in the county, the greater part of which is still owned by his descendants. The village of Millview now stands on this tract.

The first house built by William Molyneux, and which was also the first house occupied by a permanent settler in the county, stood on the north bank of the Lick creek, about half way between the mill dam and the junction of Lick creek and the Bird's creek, or Little Loyalsock, and between the creek and the road running up to the Warren and Bird farms. This house was destroyed by fire, and a second house was built on the other side of the creek, and below the road running between the school house and the saw mill above Millview. The third house was built on the bank of Strong's Run, in the present village of Millview, and only a few yards south of the present Molyneux homestead, which is the fourth house built by the Molyneuxs. In this third house, William Molyneux died on April 3, 1848, in the 88th year of his age, he being the last survivor of the first generation who made this first settlement in the country. I saw him but once. One of my aunts took me to see him the year previous to his death. I remember him as he came into the room, walking with two canes, to see his great grandson. In many respects, he was a remarkable man. He was noted for having very acute hearing. He claimed he could hear a fly walking on the board. It is told of him that during the war of 1812, while upon the mountain near his home, he thought he heard the sound of cannon. Putting his ear to the end of a log, he more distinctly heard the sounds, and said to those with him that a battle was being fought, and that he had heard the cannon. In due course of time he learned that on that day and hour a naval battle was fought on Lake Erie. It seems incredible, but he always insisted he heard the battle.

The land of John Warren adjoined the Molyneux land, being the next farm up the main creek. I understand Warren's first house stood about half way between the present residence, formerly the Warren homestead, and the creek, on a bench of land near where an old log building stood until a short time ago. The second house was built just across the road from the present residence on that farm, which was the third and last Warren homestead. John Warren died April 17, 1813, being the first of the original settlers to pass away. His good wife, Mary Ward Warren, the first woman who came there, lived until May 14, 1840. The Warren farm is now owned by the descendants of William Molyneux and Powell Bird.

The land of Powell Bird adjoined the Warren land, and still farther up the creek which still goes by his name, at least in this vicinity. It is now owned and occupied by his grandson, John K. Bird. The first house built by Powell Bird stood only a few rods from the residence of John K. Bird, across the mountain brook which runs between the house and the barn, and nearer Bird's creek than the present residence. Powell Bird died April 13, 1829. His wife, Lydia Hannant Bird, died January 29, 1832. One of the most ancient of "grandfather's" clocks in this county is still to be seen in this old Bird homestead. One of the peculiarities of the clock is that it has only one, the hour hand, but whether the clock was made at a time prior to the invention of the minute hand, or the hand was omitted for purposes of economy, I will leave for others, better versed in clockology than I am, to determine.

The remains of these first settlers are buried in the little family cemeteries located on each of the old homesteads. It would seem proper to give the names of the sons and daughters of these pioneers. I have endeavored to obtain them, and have done so as to the Molyneux and Warren families, but have only a partial list of the Bird family. I regret this the more for the reason that Powell and Lydia Bird, as well as William Molyneux, were my great-grand parents.

William Molyneux was a widower when he came to this country, and never re-married. He was born in or near the city of Manchester, England, February 17, 1761. He had three sons and one daughter, all born in England, to wit: John, born April 30, 1786, and died on the old homestead October 23, 1861; Elizabeth, or Betsey as she was called, born November 28, 1787, and died at Lockport, N. Y., in 1829; Edward, born April 16, 1789, and died on his farm near the old homestead, March 2, 1872 [Editor's Note: See his will below.]; and Thomas, born February -- , 1791, and died in Wisconsin February 28, 1861. Edward did not come to this country until he had attained his majority, and was considered quite a dude by the other boys for the reason that he wore "store clothes" on Sunday. Josiah Warren tells the story that one Sunday, soon after Edward came to this country, a number of boys were lounging around the mill day, and that Edward was dressed in his knee breeches, silver buckled shoes, "biled" shirt, ampc. that his brother Thomas induced him to walk out on a saw log that lay with one end against the bank, and then rolled the log and gave him a ducking, fine clothes and all.

John and Mary Warren were from Liverpool, England. They had four sons and seven daughters: Sarah, born April 22, 1791, and died May 8, 1855; Jane (Lambert), born May 24, 1795, and died ---- ;Joseph, born January 27, 1798, and died March 22, 1878; Mary (Wenck), born September 30, 1800, and died September 4, 1884; John, born November 10, 1802, and died August 5, 1872; Hannah and Elizabeth, twins, born September 15, 1802, Hannah dying August 5, 1821, and Elizabeth dying March 20, 1823; James, born September 17, 1805, and died July 26, 1888; Josiah, born May 10, 1808, and still living; Charlotte and Judith (Edkin), also twins, born May 7, 1810, Charlotte dying ----, and Judith dying March 8, 1881.

Powell and Lydia Bird were from Norfold, England. I find the account in Now and Then, before quoted, that they were the parents of twenty children, nineteen daughters and one son. I have been unable to get a correct list of the family, some of the children never having lived here. Even the old family bible, containing the family record, was left with a married daughter at Georgetown, D.C., but I always understood there were born to Powell and Lydia Bird twenty-one children, nineteen daughters and two sons. The list I have contains the names of two sons and ten daughters: Mary (Jones) born October 12, 1775, died January 9, 1843; George, born----, 1790, died July 14, 1872; Rebecca (Molyneux), born January 1, 1797, died July 24, 1882; Sarah (Bennett); Ruth (Bennett); Lydia (Urous, or Yours); Elenor (Bull), died -----, 1862; Esther; Phillippi (Cropley); Elizabeth (Summers); Naomi; and Robert.
Editor's Note: You can find out more about the Bird and Molyneux families as well as their relationship to the Vough and Rinebold families at For the Record: Early Settlers of Lycoming County.

But little is known of these people prior to their coming to America. There is a sort of family tradition that the Molyneuxs came from Normandy, France. That at the time of the vacation of that country by the British armies, a certain Captain Molyneux, an adherent of the British, came to England, and that the English branch began with him.

There is a pathetic page in the life of the pioneer William Molyneux, which I will now relate. Soon after the birth of his son Thomas, probably early in the year 1792, he being then about thirty one years of age, living with his wife and four children near the city of Manchester, he went into the city to purchase material for his business, which I am told was that of a weaver. After he had started home, he was seized by what was known as the press gang, and forcibly conveyed on board a man-of-war then lying in the harbor. The ship soon after crossed the Atlantic and cruised in American waters. Smarting under the cruel injustice which had been done him, for he was not as much as allowed to visit his family to bid them farewell, he sought for a chance to except. One dark and stormy night, while his ship was lying at anchor in the Chesapeake Bay, he sprang overboard and swam ashore. He made good his escape, and finally reached the English settlement at Northumberland. Here he obtained employment to go to the "beech woods," as this vicinity was known, with a surveying party. While on that trip he saw and was pleased with the wide and fertile bottom land just below the forks of the Little Loyalsock, which he afterwards purchased. After completing the job he returned to Northumberland, but soon came back again and erected a log house thereon, as before stated. He then went to Philadelphia, and shipped as a sailor, and returned to England for his family. Soon after landing at Liverpool, the authorities attempted to arrest him, but with his usual good luck or shrewdness he eluded them and went on to Manchester. Here he learned that his wife and infant daughter who had been born after his seizure had died. Taking his sons John and Thomas, and his daughter Elizabeth, his son Edward having gone to live on a farm about twelve miles from Manchester, he conveyed them to Liverpool and put them on board a vessel bound for America, and again shipped as a sailor. Before the vessel started, however, the authorities again received information of him, and officers even came on board to arrest him. It is said that Molyneux feigned lunacy. He thought it useless to attempt to hide or escape, so he crammed his mouth full of bread and went among the officers who were looking for him, laughing and jabbering, and acting his part so well that they failed to recognize him and went ashore. Without further molestation he again reached America, which was to him indeed a land of the free.

He brought his three children to the house he had erected in the wilderness for them and their mother, who he then supposed was alive, and went to work clearing up his farm, on which he lived in peace for fifty-three years, and on which he died in peace in his eighty eighth year and also on which his earthly remains still lie buried in the little mountain cemetery just across the creek from and in full view of the spot where he, so full of hope, erected his log house just one hundred years ago.

In appearance William Molyneux is said to have much resembled his son Edward whom many here still remember. Once again, in his old age, he visited his native country, and hunted up the merchant and paid him for the bill of goods he purchased on the day of his seizure by the press gang.To us, who are accustomed to volunteer when our army or navy needs additional men, and when there are not sufficient volunteers the number required are raised by a just and humane system of enrollment and drafts, in accordance with law, the system of impressment practiced by the British one hundred years ago, in order to man the Royal Navy, is looked upon in horror, and equaled in brutality only by the slave trade. It could only exist in countries ruled by kings and princes, where the selfish interests of the royal family and its favorites only were considered, and the masses were looked upon as vassals, from whom the favored family could draw upon at will for their subsistence and the advancement of their military or naval glory. Desertion is a crime in this country, but is there any one who will condemn William Molyneux for escaping from the tyrants who so unjustly treated him? Is there any one who can but admire the heroism with which he took his life in his hands when he made his escape, and when he bearded the British lion in his den in going back to bring over what remained of his family? If there is such an one, I would ask him what part he played in the hour of his country's danger? In this matter of patriotism, the descendants of William Molyneux fear no criticism. One of them, a grandson, went from the old homestead to fight his country's battles, and it is supposed his remains lie buried somewhere among the "unknown" at Gettysburg. Another, a great grandson, lost his life at the battle of Marietta, GA. Twelve of his grandsons and great grandsons served their country in the late war, all of whom were volunteers, and none ever showed the white feather.

The Molyneuxs are frugal and industrious, strictly temperate, and of strong religious and political convictions. They are usually of small stature, light complexion, flaxen hair, blue eyes, and capable of great endurance. The children are mostly "tow heads," but the hair becomes quite dark as they grow older. They seldom become gray or bald.

The Edward Molyneux branch of the family is subject to a peculiar disease, known in medical science as Haemophilia, or hereditary hemorrhage. The patient is usually called a bleeder. This disease is inherited through the Birds, from the Hannant family of Norfolk, England. The bleeder is always a male, and son of a female of the bleeding family. Where a bleeder has brothers who are not bleeders, the bleeding trait has never reappeared in their descendants. The same is true of the descendants of females who according to the rule might have had bleeding sons, but in whom the bleeding trait failed to appear. The bleeding results from cuts, bruises, the pulling of teeth and other wounds and is a capillary oozing of the blood, the vessels not being seen. In one particular this feature of the family differs from the Haemophilia of all other families so far as I have any knowledge. With one or two exceptions it has been about nine days after the wound is received before this bleeding begins. They are frequently styled the "nine day bleeders." After the wound is received, instead of healing, a sort of core, of very dark color, composed mostly of coagulated blood, forms in the wound, which in about nine days opens, and the blood begins to flow as if from a freshly severed artery. It usually continues to bleed about two weeks, or until the patient is thoroughly exhausted, when the "core" falls out and the wound heals. Binding up the wound does no good. The only death known to have occurred through bleeding is supposed to have been caused by binding the wound tightly to stop the flow of blood. Various remedies are used. Ergot is sometimes used, taken internally. Persulphate of iron, or Monsell's solution, is often applied in such a way as to keep the wound constantly moist with it. Hamamelis, or Pond's Extract of Witchhazel, is often applied when the wound is in the mouth.

The following recipe for a linament is given by a woman who had five bleeding sons and numerous grandsons, and is vouched for by her producing excellent results: One pint of alcohol, 2 oz. camphor gum, 2 oz. hartshorn, 1/2 pint sweet oil, 1/2 pint spirits of turpentine. All well shaken together. By keeping the wound wet with the liniment so as to keep it clean and prevent the forming of the "core," the wound is said to commence healing at once, and further danger is avoided.

A chart is appended hereto, showing the occurrence of the bleeding trait through six generations. None of the females are bleeders, and none of the males except those so designated. The names of the families wherein this bleeding trait now exists are: Molyneux, McCarty, Rowe, Plews, Bedford, McChord, Merrick, Rivers, Pardoe, Summers and Jones. While this peculiar feature is not likely to result fatally, it is, nevertheless, a source of anxiety and trouble, and for that reason I have given the subject more attention than I otherwise should have done. A glance at the genealogy of the family will show that the branch of the family in which Haemophelia exists, is more prolific, and live fully as long as the other branches.

This sketch and genealogy is now submitted. The writer is conscious that it contains many errors, but he has done the best he could. In writing the genealogy of a family so widely scattered as this one and of events occurring a century ago, of which but little, if any record was made, it would not be expected that what has been told him would agree in all respects with what has been told by other. Blank pages have been added to the genealogy, with the hope that the various families will continue the record of their families for the benefit of coming generations.

July 26, 1894
G.M.P.




Last Will and Testament of Edward Molyneux (1789-1872)
Son of William Molyneux, the Emigrant
Written January 2, 1867
Resolution by Other Family to Approve Settlement by Joel Molyneux, March 25, 1872
Final Settlement November 20, 1893
Contributed by Charlotte Tappan
Source: Winifred Molyneux Bird, great-granddaughter of William Molyneux
as found in this Pardoe history of the Molyneux family

Note from Marolyn Cole: I have no other parts of this booklet. A copy of this booklet was sent to me by my cousin, Charles Nicholson in 1980. I am impressed by a similar story of impressment attributed to James Harding and wonder if that story ever got mixed up, glamorized and enhanced and thereby claimed by more than one family.

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