Letter of engagement from J S Torrence to J W Kernohan.

July 14, 1919

Mr J W Kernohan
Park Road
Belfast, Ireland

Dear Sir

Your letter under date of December 27th, 1918, to Mr. Hugh Torrence was
by him forwarded to me.

In order to save time, I have decided to communicate directly with you.

As you may not have them, I am sending you herewith copies of the old
Torrance letters in my possession. They form an excellent basis from
which to search.

I have no further information regarding the descendants of Hugh and
Elenor, excepting that I have a complete account of all the descendants
of Robert Torrance of Middlebury, who was my great grandfather. You will
note that he wrote to Ireland under date of October 29th, 1803. He kept
a copy of that letter, and I have that copy in his own writing, and I
have the original of all the replies thereto, enclosed as above stated.

The Irish letters give a pretty good history of the family at that time.

There are three distinct lines of Torrance's in this country, and the
original emigrants of each of those migrated from County Londonderry in
the latter half of the eighteenth century. My great grandfather came to
America in 154. He landed at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His eldest
sister Jean, married a Torrance, whether of kin or not, we do not know.

In Robert's letter of date the 16th of June, 1804, to his Uncle he says.
"My father requests that if you know anything concerning his brothers,
etc." We know definitely that soon after his arrival in this country. my
grandfather went to live at Woodbury, Connecticut, and thence to
Salisbury, Connecticut, and later and about 1770 went to Middlebury,

In Cothren's History of Ancient Woodbury, Vol. 1. page 786 and included
in the list of soldiers in the Revolutionary War who went from Woodbury,
I find the name of "Torrance, Thomas; wounded in the 'Danbury Alarm' of
April 27th, 1777, in the thigh." Torrance, Capt. Samuel. Both of these
Torrance's married and have many honourable descendants now living. None
of these descendants have any knowledge of their ancestors back of their
Woodbury ancestors. It is possible, therefore, that the Samuel and
Thomas, mentioned in Cothren's History, are the identical Samuel and
Thomas mentioned in Robert's letter, and the brothers in-law of Jean, my
great grandfathers eldest sister. It would be exceedingly interesting to
prove a degree on consanguinuity between Jean and her (Torrance)
husband, as that would definitely connect two existing lines of
Torrance's in this country.

The mere fact that my great grandfather went to Woodbury to live, where
we know that the Samuel and Thomas mentioned in Cothren's History had
previously settled is strong evidence, (although not proof) of their

I am also enclosing a line of Torrence's descended from Sergeant Hugh
Torrance, who was a sergeant in the British Army during the Siege of
Derry. The diagram gives all of the known data concerning Sergeant Hugh
and his children. It is noticeable that the same names follow down this
line of Torrance's. There is one evidence of consanguinuity between the
different lines of Torrance's here which I will note at this point.

Nearly every Torrance which I have ever met has a large frame, clear
colouring and a tendency  towards a broad square face, and fairly large

There is a striking resemblance between some of the present living
descendants of Sergeant Hugh and some descendants of my great
grandfather, Robert.

I am anxious to prove, if possible, what I apprehend is true, viz. that
Sergeant Hugh Torrance, and my great grandfather were blood relations.
They evidently lived in the same locality in Ireland: the names Hugh,
Elenor and James are in the descending lines of each family, and it is
my recollection that I was told that Hugh, son of Sergeant Hugh, born
1701, settled first in Chester, Pennsylvania, which locality seems to
have been the destination of residence at about the same time of John
Torrance, (see postscript to old Irish letter) son of Jean, and nephew
of my great grandfather, Robert: Robert Torrance my great grandfather
and Hugh, son of Sergeant Hugh, a remarkable coincidence if they were
not related.

The third, and probably the largest branch of the Torrance family in the
United States, is descended from Aaron Torrance and Susannah Torrance
who came to America from County Derry sometime between 1758 and 1770,
and they also landed in Philadelphia. They had four children:
1, Joseph Torrence, born in Franklin County, 1751
2, Samuel Torrence, born in Franklin County, 1755
3, John Torrence, born in Franklin County, 1758
4, David Torrence, born in Franklin County, 1762

They seem to have spelled the name Torrence. using "e" instead of "a".
They were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. It would be interesting to
ascertain if thereby any record of Aaron's family in County Derry, and
if there by such s record to look for any ties of consanguinuity with
Robert or Sergeant Hugh.

I am sending you enclosed exchange for twenty pounds. I assume that this
sum will pay your time and expenses sufficient to ascertain whether
there is any records in existence in County Derry of the families. In
the event that you are able to find sufficient records to warrant a
careful and thorough search, I will be glad to be so advised and I will
send you a further sum to cover the service and expenses therefor, and I
would be glad to have you estimate the sum required to make the search.

I had intended to write this letter several months ago, but through a
peculiar train of circumstances, a man by the name of Gustave Anjou of
New York City wrote me a letter claiming that he could supply me with
the ancestry of Robert Torrance of Middlebury back seven generations and
through the seventeenth century. He also stated his ability to furnish
proof of a consanguinuity between Robert Torrance and Sergeant Hugh

There is, at this time, in New York City a gentleman by the name of
Ridgley Torrance, who was formerly librarian of the New York City
library, and who is now a writer of drama, poetry, etc. of considerable
repute, and is descended from the Aaron Torrance line.

I replied to Mr AnJou that if he would furnish the information claimed
to the satisfaction of Mr. Ridgley Torrance to whom I referred him, I
would buy his data. It seems that Mr. Ridgley Torrance was personally
acquainted with Mr AnJou, the acquaintance dating back some twenty odd
years when Mr. Torrance was librarian, as above stated, and that
acquaintance had not impressed Mr. Torrance with Mr. AnJou's
reliability. Mr. Anjou declined to allow Mr. Torrance to examine his
data, and after considerable correspondence I have decided that Mr.
AnJou is so unreliable as that any data he might have would have to be
checked up at considerable expense before I would be justified in using
it. This expense, added to the sum of money demanded by him for the data
was so large that I have decided to refer the whole proposition to you
for examination along the lines above indicated, rather than deal with
Mr. AnJou. I think the foregoing covers the proposition sufficiently in
detail for you to make a preliminary examination and report the results
to me, as above indicated.

Expressing the hope that you will be able to report successfully in the
premises, I beg to remain,

Yours very respectfully

(no signature - carbon copy of letter)

Top of page

Page Information

Document URL: genealogy.torrens.org/Torrens/LettersJWK/19190714_JSTtoJWK.html
Last modified: Wed, 22 Nov 2017 14:08:11 GMT