Issues [10 December 2009]
1. What evidence exists for the presence of a William Edmiston in Cecil County, MD?
2. What evidence exists to show that he had three sons, William, John and David?
3. What evidence exists to show where son David lived and died.
4. Where did William live prior to Cecil County? Is there any specific evidence that he came through Talbot County as is sometimes stated?
Copied from John Edmiston (1) topic"
Who is William of Cecil (William Edmiston (9)? Well, I'll tell you what I think...(yes it's a theory, everybody's got one)
Male members of diverse groups of Edmondsons throughout the country have submitted DNA samples that show that high probability of common ancestry. The use of the term “probability” is always included by the scientific and statistician crowds discussing test results. They are reluctant to drop that term even when the odds are in the order of the colloquial “a million to one.” Let's just say that is almost impossible that these groups are not related. Technically, the testing only confirms that the groups are related. It can “substantiate” their claims of lineage, but cannot confirm or prove it, so for now we should still consider much of this as speculative. However, when taken as a whole the evidence begins to be a bit overwhelming.
Several groups with what I'll say is a proven genetic relationship are claiming to be descendants of William Edmondson the Quaker minister b 1627 d 1712 in Ireland. This William , often refereed to as “Irish Hammer,” was an associate of George Fox and founded the Quaker church in Ireland. He was, in fact, born in England and migrated to Ireland with his brother, John. William fought in Scotland and John fought in Ireland in the Parliamentary Army of Oliver Cromwell. William also made three trips to America, for six Atlantic crossings, remarkable for the 17th century. But William is not William of Cecil.
The first group claims ancestry to “Irish Hammer” (I'll use that nick name since the hills are full of William Edmondsons) through John Edmondson of Talbot Co, MD b 1635 Ireland d 1697 Maryland. This is now generally accepted to be the brother of “Irish Hammer.” Others have been tested that claim John as an ancestor as patriarch, all have DNA relationship.
There are at least two groups claiming ancestry to Irish Hammer through Caleb Edmundson Sr b 1713 Ireland d 1790 in South Carolina. Note: Caleb's son Isaac was born in Cecil Co, MD, 1742. There is a DNA relationship between this group and the Talbot Co, MD group.
Finally, there is test submitted by a member of a Georgia line of Edmondsons that claim Robert Edmisten (2), brother of person: John Edmisten (1), as patriarch. This test shows a relationship to the other groups previously mentioned. I have not been tested as yet because I share the common ancestor of Lewis Edmondson b 1816 Burke Co, NC d 29 Oct Gilmer Co, GA. I may be tested eventually because the identical grouping results by test subjects with common ancestors are are inherited from and thus shared by the ancestor. So, we can gain evidence of the ancestors DNA without collecting a sample from the remains, and in fact, even where we do not know the location of the remains. So the partial matches can be even more valuable the further up the tree the common ancestor is. Note: to individuals not familiar with this process, this test is for y-chromosomes that are only passed from male to male.
There has been speculation about “Irish Hammer” and John of Talbot for years. In “Immigration of the Irish Quakers into Pennsylvania, 1682-1750” By Albert Cook Myers 1902 (public domain available for download) Mr. Meyers completely dismissed the possibility that they are brothers. In a foot note Meyers writes:
“It has been said that William Edmundson's brother John was the same John Edmundson a wealthy Quaker planter who resided in Talbot County Maryland as early as 1 660 but this cannot be correct for as late as 1679 John Edmundson suffered persecution in Queen's County Ireland to which he had removed with his brother. William Stockdale: “A Great Cry of Oppression” 245 Rutty 345 Besse II 466 468”
Secondly, Meyers' own work documents that “Irish Hammer” had a brother John. The early part of the book describes how John convinces William to move to Ireland. If not for John, William would not be the “Irish Hammer.” It's well documented, in this book and elsewhere, that “Irish Hammers” mother was named Grace. John of Talbot names his first daughter Sarah, after his wife, and his second daughter Grace. “Irish Hammer's” father dies in 1635, the same year as John's birth. It is well documented by the “Friends of Third Haven,” the local Quakers, that “Irish Hammer” visited the house of John Edmondson while in Talbot County.
So, since Meyers is from Pennsylvania and writing a book on Quaker migration from Ireland to Pennsylvania is he biased against claims that the first Quakers in America were in Maryland? Possibly, but it's not that simple. In “Irish Hammer's” journal, published as William Edmundson, he never mentions his brother or the meeting in Maryland. The truth is that “Irish Hammer” was one of the first and most vocal opponents of slavery in America. He was confrontational, and jailed for it more than once. He confronted a Governor and a Bishop and any minister that wouldn't side with him. And the simple truth is, John E Edmondson of Talbot Co, Maryland, was a slave owner. The obvious rift between them is a microcosm of the rift that would divide the family, and eventually the nation who's birth was still almost 100 years away.
So who was William of Cecil?
William “Irish Hammer” Edmondson's son William was born in 1655. He, too, is not mentioned in his father's journal. Most of “Irish Hammer's” children are mentioned in Meyers' book, but the sole mention of William is in a listing of all of the family in an appendix that reads “William, b 1655, at Lurgan (Ireland), left Friends.” That's not an obituary. He left his fathers religious sect and was stricken from the records. They record his birth, and his departure, not his death, which was in 1716 in Ireland. To the friends he was already dead.
I believe William left Ireland and joined his uncle, possibly with his father's blessing. He may have left before his father's first trip in the 1670's (John was in America ca 1660). William may have even accompanied his father on his first trip. It was on “Irish Hammer's” first trip to America that he first witnesses slavery and starts his crusade against it, prior to that he does not seem to have an issue with his brother or his son William. Did William of Cecil find himself between the rift between his father and uncle? If so would his uncle still support him? Did he return to Ireland after his father's death in 1712? John of Talbot died in 1697. Two of his sons and one son's wife all die in 1702. The remaining daughter in law inherits the estate of one of the richest men in America and the estates of at least two of his three sons, William and James. William has purchased land not paid for by the time of his death, there seems to be issues with the ships he owned. The mess is in the courts for at least five years. She also has her children and the surviving children of William, Jr to deal with. It's unclear to me what happened to John's other son Thomas, but even if he survived 1702 I think I might have a breakdown.