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.