Sunday, December 5, 2010

William Baskin, Sr.

I. William Baskin, Sr. (born about 1705 in Ireland, probably Donegal; died about. 1765 in
Abbeville, SC) married Mary Stuart/Stewart (likely born about 1700 in Chester County, PA)
in about 1730. William and Mary had eight children together:

1. John Baskin (born about 1731 in PA, died about 1767 in SC) married Elizabeth Craig on
June 11, 1765 in Augusta County, VA.

2. Thomas Baskin (born about 1733, died about Nov. 1765 in VA) married Margaret
Hartgrove about 1759 in VA.

3. Margaret Baskin (born about 1735, died about 1808 in Elbert County, GA) married John

4. William Baskin, Jr. (born about Feb. 14, 1735/36, died April 9, 1804 in Abbeville County,
SC) married Ann Reid (born Dec. 24, 1747) on January 12, 1769 in SC.

5. James Baskin (born about 1739, died 1790 in Abbeville, SC) married Margaret Pickens on
Sept. 28, 1765 in Augusta County, VA, then married Prudence Reid Crawford on April 3,

6. Charles Baskin (born about March 1740/41 in Tinkling Springs, Augusta County, VA, died
Aug. 10, 1822 in Augusta County, Va) married Mary Craig in October 1765.

7. Hugh Baskin (born about March 1742/43 in Augusta County, VA, died June 1797 in
Abbeville County, SC) married an unknown woman in 1779, then married Sarah McKinley
Calhoun, widow, about 1786.

8. Elizabeth Baskin (born Dec. 1745 in Orange County, VA, died before 1790) married Isreal
Pickens on March 6, 1768 in SC.

William Baskin, Sr. was the first of our ancestors to come to America. At that time, we were still a loyal British colony on the outskirts of the known world. William and his family, being Scots-Irish, inhabited the edge of the colonies: the Pennsylvania frontier. Many Presbyterian immigrants from Northern Ireland, the Scots-Irish, settled here. They were considered outcasts on both sides of the Atlantic because of their religious beliefs and ancestry. As such, they tended to stick together in groups of like-minded people on the dangerous American frontier, which was the only place they were allowed to settle. As in Northern Ireland, they were generally poor, hard-working people with dreams of a better life in a new land. Some were successful. I would argue that William Baskin, Sr. was one.
William was born in Ireland, probably County Donegal (for there are still many Baskins there today) in approximately 1705. We cannot know what his life was like there, but we can assume it wasn't easy, and he longed for a change. So, in about 1730, William and his friend, John Pickens, came to the Pennsylvania colony in the New World, as had so many of their countrymen in the few years prior. William first settled in East Nottingham Township in Chester County and moved to the newly opened Paxton region a few years later. William may have been married before he came to Pennsylvania, but it seems more likely that he married there.
Little is known of William's wife, Mary Stuart/Stewart, but it seems she and William began having children shortly after William's arrival in Pennsylvania. Whether she was born in Ireland or the New World we may never know, but we can be sure her life wasn't easy. She must have shared William's religious beliefs, and she surely lived on the frontier with her growing family. William and Mary had eight children who lived to be recorded - 6 boys and 2 girls. Mary must have been pregnant and/or nursing for the better part of 14 years! First came John in 1731, then Thomas in 1733, Margaret in 1735, William, Jr. in 1735/36, James in 1739, Charles in 1740/41, Hugh in 1742/43, and finally Elizabeth in 1745. It appears Mary Stuart/Stewart Baskin would have been about 40-45 years old by the time she gave birth to Elizabeth. Imagine it: 45 years old, living on the American frontier with your husband and 8 young children. I think we can safely assume that Mary was a tough lady!
In the middle of all of this, about 1740, the Baskin and Pickens families moved again - this time to Orange County (later Augusta County), Virginia. There the family clearly joined the congregation of Rev. John Craig at the (Augusta) Stone Presbyterian Church. Rev. Craig, a prominent minister, baptized Charles Baskin on March 15, 1741. This would prove fateful for Charles, as he later married Rev. Craig's daughter, Mary.
Life seems to have improved for the Baskins after they moved to Virginia. In 1742 William's name appeared on the muster roll there. He apparently served as constable for the area until 1745 when he resigned. In 1747, 42 year old William became a road overseer and purchased 212 acres on Lewis Creek. In 1749 he purchased another 232 acres from John Pickens on Buffalo Run, and the family had a servant in 1752 and 1761. Clearly the Baskins were living the American dream of their time - they had joined the land-owning class. William and Mary must have been glad to have so many sons to help with work on the farm.
But work on the farm wasn't the only work available to a young man on the frontier. There were constant threats to the safety of the settlement from the native people of this land. When the Indians joined forces with the French to make war on the British colonies, young men were called to fight. Both William, Jr. (age 21) and John Baskin (age 25) were members of Captain Isreal Christian's company August 9, 1756. William, Jr. continued his service during the French and Indian Wars in Pennsylvania, and was stationed at Fort Ligonier in 1761 - 62.
All of this fighting opened up a new land on the South Carolina frontier new the current Georgia border, and in 1763, after the war concluded, John Baskin moved there and purchased land. He must have been doing well there, because soon he had convinced the whole family to join him - around 1765. William and Mary had already celebrated the marriage of their son, Thomas, to Margaret Hartgrove in 1759, and in 1765 the had more reason to celebrate. In that year Charles married the Rev. Craig's daughter, Mary, and John married Elizabeth, who may have been Mary's sister. But this happiness was short-lived as William, Sr. died that year, too.


  1. As a direct descendant of Reverend John Craig, I was pleased to find your blog. If you like, I would enjoy a correspondence with you in order to learn more about our common ancestry. I can be emailed at
    Peace, Thomas in NC

  2. Well, I just wiped out several minutes of detailed info! Ugh!

    My wife is a descendant of William and Mary Baskin, her GGGGG Grand daddy. We call him William the 5th to keep all the Williams straight, which is impossible, as I am married into the Baskin Clan.

    Recently retired, I am searching on-line to update my filed from a decade ago when I had a serious computer crash, lost everything, except hard-copies and my nose for research.

    We came back a few weeks ago from our Burgess Society Meeting at Colonial Williamsburg. On our return trip we stayed a few days in Augusta County, Virginia (Harrisonburg) and followed up on information I found on the Baskins in Shenandoah Valley 1740-1765, visiting Tinkling Springs and Augusta Stone Presbyterian Churches where Baskins were both members. Augusta Stone is the oldest continuous operating Pres. Church in Virginia, c 1740.

    My wife direct line is Hugh Baskin who was Charles brother, who married Mary Craig, daughter of John Craig and Isabella Helena Russell, all buried in one of the two cemeteries', which we were able to visit.

    Google Earth is pretty cool these days, it helped me to locate various landmarks, cemeteries, roads, etc. along with the resources I got hits on. Set the stage for our visit.

    I am looking for any data about cemeteries' that William and Mary, Hugh and Sarah are buried. So far it is doggy. I found a source for the Will of Hugh Baskin in Abbeville and thought some details may be there. Most resource found have no record of the death of William or Mary except sometime after 1765. Hugh passed in 1797. If you have any leads, would be happy to follow them up.

    My email is


    Ron Bangert and Marylyn Louise Baskin Bangert

  3. I am a 6th G-dau of Hugh Baskin and Mary Craig. I am looking for info past William Baskin, Sr (above). Anyone have anything? Thanks much!

    1. I don't think anyone has any reliable information beyond this, unfortunately, but I will post it here if I do find it!!

  4. I was happy to find your blog, hope you receive this message. I have been going around and around with Mary Stuart. Most people have her as daughter of Levi Stuart 1690-1785 and Eva or Ava Orr 1690 or Archibald Moses Stuart 1691 and Elizabeth. I too feel neither of these are her parents and we may never know who her parent were.. If anyone has any further information or thoughts I would love to hear from you.

    1. I have Archibald Stuart and Elizabeth as well. Not sure if this is correct. I would like to know for I am doing family history research

  5. Hello Im just curious about Mary Stuart's mother Elizabeth's maiden name. These women are my seventh and eighth grandmothers.

  6. Hello Im just curious about Mary Stuart's mother Elizabeth's maiden name. These women are my seventh and eighth grandmothers.

    1. Hi Mei,
      As you can see from the other comments here, no one really has any reliable information about either Mary or William beyond this point. I'm not even completely sure her maiden name was Stuart. Some have suggested it could be Montgomery. The paper trail at this point is very thin, so we may never know more than this. I would encourage everyone to do DNA testing, though. We may be able to make more educated guesses that way!

  7. Hi Alicia, thanks for your response. I have done a DNA test and most of my European ancestry trails back to Great Britain. I am going to check with my church on more info for Mary and William. We have family research days, maybe the members can help out.

    1. I am Mary Stuart's 5th great granddaughter. I had my DNA test done too. I would love to see what you find out.