Monday, September 5, 2011

Covenanters

Well, I thought I was on to something today, but I always think that, right? I ran across some excellent history of the Southfield Reformed Presbyterian Church, also called the Covenantor Church of Southfield, Michigan. Here is the website:

from http://www.reformed.com/history(thompson).php

Mostly this is a reprint from an interview done with Mary E. Thompson for the Birmingham Eccentric and published in 1915. The history of this piece is just wonderful. I got excited because I suddenly recognized surnames that I haven't really paid much attention to before: STEWART and PARKS. In addition are other surnames that have connections, like MCCLUNG.

David Stewart + Ann Porter
     Margaret Stewart + John Parks
          David John Parks + Mary Greer 
         (dau of John Greer Sr. + Isabella Gillespie)

Alexander McClung + Sarah McWilliams
     Ellen McClung + Thomas Gillespie
What I was really excited about was remembering recently reading a book (available on google) called Genealogy of Hugh Stewart and his descendants. This great book goes into some detail about Stewart-Gillespie marriages. If I could tie the Covenantor Stewart to any of the Hugh Stewart's then at last there might be a connection between "Pine Bush" Gillespie's and my NY Gillespie's.

But for naught. The very bottom line is TIMING!! All the "early" Stewart's and Gillespie's arrived before the American Revolution. There's just no getting around that. David Stewart arrived in 1800, which is precisely when I suspect "my" Gillespie-Greer's also arrived. The rub has been did they arrive before or after the War of 1812? And better yet, maybe they were deported as enemy aliens and then emigrated again?!

I will say this. The Covenantor connection is important in tracing these family lines. AND that connection seems much more obvious along the GREER lines than the GILLESPIE. The Gillespie's were definitely practicing Presbyterians in Quebec where the children from John Gillespie's second marriage landed. And Thomas Gillespie (Jr.)'s marriage to the daughter of a Covenanter elder would probably have him involved in the church as well. But generally speaking, I am finding more church association in America for the GREER than the GILLESPIE families.

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