Person:John Gass (6)

John Gass
b.Est. 1690 prob. Ireland
  • HJohn GassEst 1690 - 1734
m. est. 1712-1715
  1. Benjamin Gassest 1690-1700 - Bef 1751/52
  2. Isabella Gass1716 - 1766
  3. Henry GassEst 1717-1725 -
m. c.1728
  1. Capt. David Gass1729 - 1806
Facts and Events
Name John Gass
Gender Male
Birth? Est. 1690 prob. Ireland
Marriage est. 1712-1715 Poss. Pennsylvaniato
Marriage c.1728 Lancaster, PAto Margaret Cowan
Death? 1734 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania


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Document:Will of John Gass, Lancaster, PA, 1734


Person:David Gass (2)


John Gass married twice. He married his first wife by about 1715; her name is unknown. He apparently had three children by her, though only two are known by name. In his will John refers to "my three older children". Given that he had only been married to Margaret for six years, it seems likely that this refers to children by a previous marriage. Two of these children by this presumed marriage are believed to be Isabella (b 1716), and Henry Gass (b. 1717), but the identity of the third child is not known.

His first wife seems to have died by 1727, for about that time he married a married Margaret Cowan in Lancaster County. [1] [2]The number of children which John and Margaret had is unknown.

John and Margaret (and probably his first wife, name unknown) seem to have lived close to the Donegal Presbyterian Meetinghouse, near Mt. Joy, Lancaster, on the east side of the Susuquehannah. According to one source [3]

James Cunningham was one of the pioneers who settled near Donegal meeting-house in 1723. He took up several hundred acres of land adjoining the glebe land on the north. On the 10th day of March, 1730, he sold to John Gass, whose executors, in 1736, sold to William McClelland and Michael McCleery, who, in 1739, sold to James Kerr, who sold to Andrew Kerr, William Wilson, and William Kerr.

It seems likely that Margarets parents were living in this area at the time of marriage.

Shortly before his death John Gass obtained a Blunston license of land in what is now Cumberland County. [3]

25 Feb. 1734 Blunston Licenses 1733/34, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania - John Gass, 250 acres. No Survey returned. On the South side of the Conedogwainet about three miles above the Mouth of Letort Spring.
25 Feb. 1734 Blunston Licenses 1733/34, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania - March 2nd, for the use of Minister, 300 acres. No Survey returned. Between the tracts of John Gass and John Davis.
11 Mar. 1734 Blunston Licenses 1733/34, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania - John Gass, 150 acres, Assigned to Wm. Miller. No survey returned. On the North side of the Conedogwainet to be bounded to the Westwd with John Garner.

While the second license ("for the use of the Minister") may be in the Mt. Joy area, near Donegal Meeting House, the other two license' are clearly in what is now Cumberland County.

Location map for John Gass, James Cowan, and Michael Woods;  Achibald, son of Michael Woods sons, married the widow Isabella, daughter of John Gass.  The relation of James Cowan to Margaret Cowan is unknown at this time (January 2011.  Q 21:07, 16 January 2011 (EST)
Location map for John Gass, James Cowan, and Michael Woods; Achibald, son of Michael Woods sons, married the widow Isabella, daughter of John Gass. The relation of James Cowan to Margaret Cowan is unknown at this time (January 2011. Q 21:07, 16 January 2011 (EST)

John died soon after the licenses were issued,. In his will he stipulates that he wished to be buried in the Donegal Cemetery. This may indicate that they couple had recently moved to the Conodoguinet area, and that with death imminent, John sought comfort in being buried in familiar surroundings. Whether this happened or not is not known, as a gravestone for him is not found in the Donegal Meeting House cemetery. Interestingly, soon after John's death Margaret Gass secured a warrant for land on the north side of Conodoguinet Creek. This may be one of the parcels for which John secured a Blunston license. The entry for this warrant in the PA Archives, does not show that the land was ever surveyed.

Temporary Notes

Benjamin Gass was named exc. in 1734. In his will the elder John Gass directed that his remains "be desently buried in the church yard of Donigall" and that "ye plantation (be left) to my sons." *Donegal Church is located in the present day town of Hershey, Daulphin Co., Pa. At the time of John's death this area was located in Lancaster Co., Pa. No "Gass" is shown as having been a member of Donegal Church. Those I did find with similar spelling are: Joseph and Mary Guess ... Joseph Guest ... The following all have surname Gest: Ann, Benj., Daniel, Deborah, Deborough, Elizabeth, Hannah, Henry, John, Joseph, Margaret, Mary, and Ruth.

It's believed and undoubtedly so, that William Magill was quite possibly the third husband of Margaret Gass. Margaret removed to Virginia sometime after Johns death ... wherein, she and William were married. Thusly, the older children listed for William Magill would be his children and not hers. It's further speculated, because of the unusual request in John Gass' Will, that Margaret may not have been the mother of all of his children and that he feared for her well being after his death.

Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Viginia extracted from the original court records of Augusta Co., 1745-1800. "Abstracts of Wills of Augusta County, Virginia, Augusta County Court ... Will Book Number 1:

Page 202 10th Octorber, 1749. William Magill's will -- Wife, Margaret, and her son, David Gass; sons, James and William, adjoining Charles Campbell; son, John; grandchild, James' son; daughter, Elizabeth. Executors, Robert Cravens, Hugh Campbell. Signed William Magill, Margaret Magill. Teste: Andrew Erwin, Charles Campbell. Proved, 29th November, 1749, when Margaret renounced the will.

(p. 15) An Index to the Will Books and Intestate Records of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania 1729 - 1850 (The following Cowen's can be found in the above described index)

David Cowan (1757)
David Cowan (1758)
Henry Cowan (1760)
John Cowan (1760)
Thomas Cowan (1770)
Wm. Cowan (1793)
George Cowan (1799)

  1. The only confirmed child of this couple, ([[person:David Gass (1)|]]), is said to have been born in 1729. This implies a 1728 DOM, or earlier. (Original source documentation for these data are needed.).
  2. Margaret's last name is known to us only through family tradition. (Original source documentation for these data are needed.) . She is not mentioned by name in his will, but her name is provided in land transactions following his death.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Intermediate sources attribute this to Source:Ellis and Evans, 1883, but the record could not be found in that work. Note also that some sources describe Donegal Presbyterian as near modern Hershey, PA, which is not fully consistent with being near "Mt. Joy".