Analysis:Parents of Martha Work



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Work Famly History: 12 Generations in America, 1690-1969
Data:Houston Marriage Records at First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, 1702-1745


The following summary of the family of Martha Work is given in Work Famly History: 12 Generations in America, 1690-1969.

Martha Work d/o Henry Work; died either 1748 or 1754. She married 1) about 1720 John Sterrett. s/o John and Rebecca Sterret (or Benjamin and Isabelle Sterett); John d. 5 April 1748, Lancaster County, PA; Martha married (2) Robert Huston. Martha's Will was proved in 1754. John Sterrett's will shows a wife Martha, a grandchild name Young, a brother-in-law named Andrew Work
James Sterrett b c1723 Lancaster County PA, d 30 March 1808, bur Donegal Church yard
Joseph md Catharine; d 17 Jan 1782
Mary md 1748-1751 a "Smith"
Ann called spinster in 1753 deed
Elizabeth md before 1748 to Edward Crawford
Martha md 3 Apr 1745 to James Wilson
Sarah md beore 1748 to William Lowry (or Abraham Lowry), she his second wife
Rebecaa md William Young.
Citing The Sterrett Genealogy by T. Woods Sterrett
Elias History of Lancaster County, p764
Lancaster County Probates

According to the above, Martha married her first husband John Sterrett about 1720, and bore him 9 children. DOB's for this children are not given, but if we assume that Martha married John in 1720, then the youngest would have been born about 1739. [1]

According to the above Martha's second husband as Robert Huston. The basis for this is not given, but it seems likely that this marriage is taken from the fact that a Martha Work married a Robert Houston at First Philadelphia Presbyterian Church. However, that marriage occurred in 1734, as shown by the church marriage register, yet Martha's first husband John Sterret did not die until 1748. There are several possiblities to explain this:

a) Martha and John divorced b) There were two Martha Work's, one married to John Sterrett and the other to Robert Huston c) Martha wife of John, did not marry a Robert Huston, and the belief that she did is simply based on a confusion, where by Work family genealogists have assumed the marriage of Robert Huston and Martha Work referred to the daughter of Henry Work, wife of John Sterrat.

Source:Mayhill, 1973:35, 37 notes that John Sterrat died leaving a non-cupative will, and lists his children, though not his wife. This could indicate that either a) Martha had predeased him, or b) he and Martha had divorced.


From a Work Family Genealogy: fide mathis " ....five brothers left North Ireland in 1660 and settled in Scotland and lived there until 1690, moving to Belgium for two years, then sailing for America in 1692, landing on the Jersey Coast.... The names of the five brothers were: John, William, Alexander, and Andrew.... It is not known if all their families were with them or if some remained in Holland, Scotland, or Ireland. It is believed by some that they migrated as a Clan. Perhaps this was accomplished over a period of years. Henry Work held a warrant for 200 acres in Bart Township. Middle Octoraro Church in Bart twp. (org. 1720) built on a tract conveyed to Henry work et al by the Penns on June 29, 1738. It is still in possession of the Presbyterian congregation, except for 6 acres sold to the United Presbyterian congregation upon which stands there church and parsonage. Close by is the graveyard where some of the original settlers are buried."

From Work Family History, by Von Gail Hamilton, Park City, UT: " William McClean Work of Pittsburgh, PA stated that about 1930 a Mr. Godcharles, PA state librarian disclosed the following: By horseback, henry and his brothers went to Vermont to look at land owned by the Witherspoon who was sometime the President of Princeton, but they did not buy. That the brothers also went to N.C. but were still not satisfied. they then settled in Lancaster County, PA. (We do not know what prompted these journies. Works did reside in both areas at the time. It is also possible the entire Clan was banished, from that part of Scotland previously held by the Work Family, into Ulster and they emigrated to the American colonies at various times during the next 40 or 50 years...Von Gail Hamilton)."