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September 25, 2017

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Records search continues for Pennsylvania woman’s parents

Stefani Evans

Stefani Evans

How might I prove the parents of Margaret (Kelly) McCorkle when I can't find the records?

Margaret McCorkle, widow of Archibald McCorkle Jr., was 78 when she died in Newtown, Bucks County, Pa., in 1854 (calculating to her birth about 1777). Moses Kelly and Sarah Slack, Margaret's likely parents, married in 1772 at Bucks County's Tinicum Presbyterian Church, where they baptized their first child in 1773. Beginning in 1773, church records show a 15-year gap until 1788, "partly due to the war," during which time Margaret was born. No other Bucks County church names the Moses (and Sarah) Kelly family, and none of Margaret's records name her parents.

In 1790 the Bucks County household of Moses Kelly contained 12 individuals, possibly including the approximately 13-year-old Margaret.

In 1796 Moses Kelly and Archibald "McCorkel Jr.," were listed as inhabitants of Newtown. Margaret Kelly and Archibald "McCorcle," both of Newtown, married in 1800 at Newtown Presbyterian Church. Archibald McCorkle and Archibald McCorkle Jr. appear on the same roughly alphabetized page in the 1800 census enumeration of Newtown; Moses Kelly was listed out of order on the same page. Archibald McCorkle Jr., carpenter, purchased a Newtown lot in 1801, which Archibald McCorkle and wife Margaret sold in 1802. Records place Moses Kelly in the same place at the same time with Margaret Kelly's husband, Archibald McCorkle Jr. However, records do not connect Margaret Kelly to Moses Kelly.

The History of Bucks County (W. W. H. Davis, 1876) states, "Sarah, daughter of Abraham Slack born 1722 and died 1802, married a Moses Kelley, whose descendants are to be found in Newtown, Fallsington and Philadelphia. Mrs. Jane Harvey, wife of Joseph Harvey, of Newtown, and Doctor Lippincott, of Philadelphia, husband of Grace Greenwood, are two of her descendants." The quotation provides an avenue for research. I might prove the connection of Margaret McCorkle to Moses Kelly and Sarah Slack by proving the ancestry of Mrs. Jane Harvey.

Jane McCorkle, daughter of Margaret and Archibald McCorkle, was born in 1807 and baptized in 1809 at Neshaminy Presbyterian Church, Warwick.

Jane was 9 when the Bucks County Intelligencer reported the death of carpenter Archibald McCorkle, aged 37. In September 1836 the same newspaper announced Jane McCorkle's marriage to Joseph Harvey, both of Newtown.

In 1850, Joseph Harvey, 42, Jane Harvey, 40, and Margaret "McCorcle," 74, were enumerated in Newtown; calculated birth dates for Jane and Margaret are within a reasonable margin of error. The census taker noted that the Harveys and "McCorcle" were born in Bucks County.

In 1852, Margaret McCorkle deeded to Jane Harvey, wife of Joseph Harvey, a lot of land in Newtown that Margaret, widow of Archibald McCorkle, had purchased in 1839 for $300. Jane Harvey paid $100 for the land. Although Margaret and Archibald McCorkle had other children, Jane was the couple's only daughter. The deed states no relationship; but the property was likely worth more than the $100 paid by Jane. Jane had no children of her own with whom she could live if she found herself widowed and aged, and likely Margaret wanted her only daughter to enjoy the financial security that property ownership had provided her.

In 1854 Newtown Presbyterian Church records note, "Mrs. Margaret Macorcle was buried this day . . . 78, and widow of Archibold Macorcle, formerly of this church."

Records prove Mrs. Jane Harvey was a daughter of Archibald McCorkle Jr. and Margaret Kelly, both of Newtown. But Jane Harvey is only half of the story. I have not proved Margaret's relation to Moses Kelly and Sarah Slack. My case will be stronger if I also prove the ancestry of "Doctor Lippincott, of Philadelphia, husband of Grace Greenwood."

Stefani Evans is a board-certified genealogist and a volunteer at the Regional Family History Center. She can be reached c/o the Home News, 2360 Corporate Circle, Third Floor, Henderson, NV 89074, or [email protected].

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