Torrens and Allied FamiliesThis book by Robert McIlvane Torrens
was originally Published in 1938.
This is a reproduction of it.
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Albert Torrence and Hugh Torrance came to America, while James remained in Ireland. The three sons, who each became the head of families, will be treated in their order with names of their descendants. Thus, all descendants of Albert Torrence will be given in extenso before those of the younger brothers. The spelling corresponding to that used by the different individuals so far as can be ascertained.
Before outlining the more personal history of Albert Torrence and his family, it seems appropriate to touch upon the two periods of large emigration from Ireland and Scotland to America. The first took place from 1718 to the middle of the century. The causes were, among others, that the Scotch were discriminated against in matters of religion, as they were Presbyterians. At this time, the Bishop's party in the Irish Parliament, which was ruled by the Episcopal, or State church, enacted many unjust laws. Presbyterians were deprived of their right to hold office in Ireland and were required to pay tithes in support of the25
On April 13, 1758, Richard Bard's place was raided by 19 Indians in York County, now Adams, and he was carried away into captivity. The Indians proceeded towards the mountains. They picked up a child, Thomas Potter, whom they promised not to harm. At a distance from the house, they sunk the spear of the tomahawk into his breast, scalped him, and continued on their way. After crossing the mountain, they passed the house of Albert Torrence. Seeing him in his doorway, they shot at him.
Dr. George Patterson Donehoo speaks of the pioneer village of Scotland: "An important town in Green Township, is located on the Conocoheague Creek about five miles from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; the Thomsons and Torrences were the first settlers in this Community." Note 29-5
Patented to Albert Torrence, on August 4, 1769, 250 acres in Letterkenny Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, called Dumbarton; signed by Richard Penn. Recorded March 81, 1773. Note 29-6
The capitol of the early Scotland was Alcluyd, or Dunbreatan, Hill of the Briton, now known as Dumbarton."Note 29-7 Albert Torrence, in selecting a name for his plantation, must have had this place in mind.
Albert Torrence's will, dated September 9, 1775, is recorded in Carlisle, Cumberland County.Note 29-8 29]
After the usual formalities, it reads: I, Albert Torrence, of the township of Letterkenny and County of Cumberland and Province of Pennsylvania, farmer, being weak in body, etc. . . . First, I give to my beloved wife Elizabeth . . Item: I give and bequeath to my Son Hugh Torrance .. . Item: . . . to my son James, the tract where he dweleth . . . Item: . . to my son Albert, all that tract of land whereon I dwell, including my stone house, orchard, barn, including two hundred acres of land, more or less, together with all farming utensils. Item:. . . to my son William, all that tract of land situated on the north side of the land bequeathed to Albert, being the remainder of the tract, to my sons, James Torrence, Albert Torrence, and William Torrance, their heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns, for ever. Item: . . to my daughter Isabel Ferguson, £20 to be paid by my son William one year after my decease. Item: to my daughter Mary Wiley the sum of five shillings, to be paid by my son Albert. Item: to my daughter Jean Torrance, one horse and saddle, one bed and furniture, which has been called hers, and the sum of £40, to be paid by my son Albert, one year and a half after my decease, and a room in my stone house until such time as she is married. I reserve one bond of £60, due by Samuel Perry, and one bond of £40, due by my son Albert Torrence, to be kept at "Justice" for my wife, the interest to be paid to her yearly. At my wife's decease, and after the other bequeast are carried out, two bonds are to be returned to my son Albert.
I constitute and appoint my well beloved wife and my son Albert, Executors of this my last will and testament. I do ratify . . . etc. In witness . . . here unto set my hand and seal, this day
Signed, sealed, and published, in presence of
Albert Torrence: [SEAL]
Letters Testamentary were issued June 20, 1776.
Family records relate that Albert Torrence married twice, in Ireland. The name of his first wife is unknown and his children by her, with the exception of Hugh, were not mentioned in his will. By reason of this fact, it has been necessary to find, identify and place such of his children. A number of references will be cited as authority for conclusions reached.
Miss Elizabeth H. K. Torrence, of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, in Her history Note 30-1 of the descendants of her ancestor Hugh Torrance, brother of Albert Torrence, begins as follows:30
The first authentic history we have of our forebears, was with Hugh Torrance, or Torrens, who lived in the north of Ireland. He was an officer under William III, Prince of Orange, was said to have been in the memorable Siege of Derry, or Londonderry, in 1689, and no doubt later in the Battle of Boyne. He had three sons: James, who lived and died in Ireland; Albert, and Hugh. The latter two emigrated to America in the first half of the 18th Century. They settled in the southeastern part of Cumberland County, in Pennsylvania, near what is known as the Conocoheague Settlement, near a stream by that name. Their names are found among the taxables, or freeholders, of Hopewell and Lurgon Townships, in 1751. Albert was married twice. By his first wife, he had a son Hugh. (If there were others, the record does not give them.) This son Hugh, had a son Hugh. By his second wife, he had six children. . .
The statement that Albert Torrence had a son Hugh, who had a son Hugh, is born out by facts appearing in deeds and surveys found in Franklin and Allegheny Counties, Pennsylvania.
James Torrence, of Allegheny County, made a deed Note 31-1 dated July 30, 1806, wherein he stated that his father, Albert Torrence, obtained various office titles for land on, or near East Conococheague Creek in the names of himself and his sons, and whereas the said Albert Torrence died, seized thereof, having first made his will, duly registered in Carlisle, Cumberland County, and therein, among other things, did give, devise, and bequeath to me, the said James Torrence, certain parts of his lands now situate in Franklin County, on or near, said Creek, and whereas Albert Torrence, Jr., late of Franklin County, deceased, did purchase of me the said lands, it is now alleged that no sufficient conveyance thereof can be found. . . . Now the said James Torrence, for the consideration of fifty pounds . . . paid me . . . do grant, bargain, sell. . . and transfer to my nephew Hugh Ferguson, the acting executor of my brother Albert Torrence, Jr., all right, title and interest. . . . Signed, James Torrence. Witnesses: Andrew Endsley and Albert Torrence.
Since the above deed said that Albert Torrence, Sr., obtained for himself and his sons titles for land, a search in Deeds and Survey Book No.3 was made, disclosing on pages 115 and 319, for Letterkenny, now Green Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, that 273 acres surveyed and given No.18, dated August 4, 1766, are in name of William Torrance, and around his tract are others in names of Albert Torrance, James Torrance, and 319 acres, with allowances, in the name of Hugh Torrance, the latter being dated March 18, 1767, and bounded on the east by the Conococheague Creek.31
The wills of Hugh Torrence, Sr., and Hugh Torrence, Jr., will appear in proper sequence.
George 0. Seilhamer's Genealogical Notes,Note 32-1 State Library, Harrisburg; purchased by the State of Pennsylvania, for the Library, gives the following:
Albert Torrence, the ancestor of the Torrence family of Pennsylvania, was settled on the East Conococheague before the organization of Cumberland County, his name appearing on the tax list for Lurgon Township in 1751. He lived near the bend of the stream, northwest of the present village of Scotland, and was shot at in his doorway by a party of Indians that was carrying Richard Bard and his wife into captivity in 1758. He died in 1776. Aaron Torrence, son of Albert, was twice married. By his first wife, whose name has not been ascertained, he had a son Samuel. Samuel Torrence, son of Aaron, was married by the Rev. John King, D.D., on December 31, 1778, to Jean McConnell and had, probably among others, three sons: John, Joseph, and Aaron, and a daughter Susannah.
The above reference checks satisfactorily. The name of Aaron Torrence's wife, which had not been ascertained by Seilhamer, was Susannah Finley; their son, Samuel Torrence, was, as stated, married by the Reverend John King, on the date given, and had the children named, as well as others. It also shows that Albert Torrence had a son Aaron Torrence, who was the father of a Samuel.
The letter which follows was written August 13, 1922, to Mrs. Anna Torrence Garlough, of Yellow Springs, Ohio, by Mitchell T. Torrance, of Randolph, New York. He was born July 3, 1845, and died in 1927.Note 32-2
Would say that Thomas Torrance, my great-great-grandfather, and his brother Aaron, came to America before 1740, from the north of Ireland, and settled near Bristol, Conn. Thomas Torrance was born about 1718, in Ireland, and married Anna Mitchell. They had a large family, among others were Thomas Torrance, Samuel, Hugh, and Styles Torrance.
Samuel Torrance was my great-grandfather and was born in Roxbury, Conn., April 5, 1750. He died Dec. 5, 1843. His wife was Anna Root.
This letter confirms the relationship of the brothers Thomas and Aaron, to their father, Albert Torrence, and concludes with the writer's line of descendants, which will appear in the proper order of succession.
The first of the two letters, next to be presented, contains a sketch of the family history, as understood by the Reverend George Paull Torrence, regarded as a most reliable genealogist.32
December 3, 1907
Mrs. Wm. Henderson
Niagara Falls, N. Y.
My dear Mrs. Henderson:
My ancestors were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, and I should judge, Psalm Singing Covenanters. They came from Londonderry, place unknown.
The oldest one we have knowledge of was Aaron Torrence, who came over about 1730, landed, I suppose, in Philadelphia, and made his way west to the Cumberland Valley and settled in what is now Franklin County, Pa., in the neighborhood of Chambersburg and Mercersburg.
In the same immigration were the Paulls, Irwins, Irvines, McConnells, Findlays, Brownsons, Smiths, Van Lears, McDowells, and many others, whose names do not occur to me at the moment.
I am descended from Joseph, who married Mary Paull. Their son, George Paull Torrence, was born in 1783. He married Mary Brownson Findlay in 1810, and I think, had moved to Cincinnati in 1805. Mary Brownson Findlay came from Mercersburg, Pa. Their oldest son, James Findlay Torrence, was born in Cincinnati in 1814, where he lived until 1887. He married Rebecca Findlay, daughter of Thomas Findlay of Baltimore, Maryland (his 1st cousin, once removed). I was born in Cincinnati in 1854. Samuel Torrence, son of the original Aaron, married Jean McConnell. Some of them settled in Guernsey County, Ohio. David and John settled near Xenia, 0., Green County, after, I believe, some stay in Lexington, Ky., where, I believe, their father, Aaron, was buried.
Though Xenia in not far from Cincinnati, these branches, for some reason or other, separated and our branch kept in much closer touch with our Pennsylvania cousins.
There are some of their descendants still living in Springfield.
A tradition for which I cannot account, connects the Torrences with the Campbell Clan in Scotland. We have always spelled our name Torrence, so far as I know, but the men of the earlier generations were not very consistent in their spelling. We have no letters from the Old Country.
I shall be glad to know if what I have written suggests any clue to Kindred.Faithfully yours,
George Paull Torrence.
16 North 7th St.
July 12, 1917
Mrs. Isabel Henderson Note 34-1
My dear Mrs. Henderson:
I have never been able to trace any connection with any other branch.
We trace our descent from Aaron Torrence, who came over from Ireland about 1730 and settled with other families from the same region, in the Cumberland Valley, Pennsylvania, in what is now Franklin County.
Our family tradition is that he had a brother Samuel, but so far as I know, there are no records about him.
If this is the Samuel to which you refer, as the head of a branch, this tradition is all I ever heard of him, as I said before. If you will tell me just what you and Mr. Torrance of Los Angeles would like to know, I wilt furnish any in-formation I have.
In studying the "tree," you will observe that the male lines are in black and the females in red. I shall be grateful for any information which will trace any connection between Aaron and Robert, or give any light as to the earlier generation.
Yours very truly,
GEORGE PAULL TORRENCE.
In The Descendants of Lewis Hart and Anne Elliott, its author, Jared Sidney Torrance, has established the identity of Hugh Torrance, 1685- 1779, as of Mayoughill, County Londonderry, Ireland, who had wife Eleanor, and among his children a son Robert, born 1736, died 1816, and a daughter Jean, born 1729, died 1803.
The son, Robert Torrance, ancestor of the author, came to America in 1754, landed in Philadelphia, went to Chester, Pennsylvania for a visit; thence to Woodbury and Salisbury, Connecticut, and finally to Middlebury, Vermont, where he established himself. His history and descendants will be found in the work before alluded to.
Jean Torrance, 1729-1803, the daughter, married one of her own surname, John Torrance, and had, inter alios, sons John, Alexander and Robert. Of these, the two latter remained in Ireland, while John accompanied or preceded his uncle Robert to America, settling for a time at least in Chester.
Robert Torrance, of Mayoughill, Ireland, nephew of the last-mentioned Robert Torrance, on June 16, 1804, in a letter written to his uncle Robert, said: "My father requests that if you know anything concerning his brothers Samuel and Thomas Torrance, you will let him know in your next letter, as he has not heard any account of them since before the American War."34
Here, then, is a Torrance in Ireland in 1804, inquiring for news of his brothers Samuel and Thomas Torrance who had been in America, and from whom he had not heard since the Revolutionary War. As there has been no allusion to brothers Samuel and Thomas Torrance, other than to those known to have been in Connecticut the conclusion is reasonable that these are those of the letter. Such facts place them as brothers of John Torrance, father of Robert, the letter writer, and hence all sons of Albert Torrence. Note 35-1
The last letter was written in answer to one received from Mrs. Isabel Torrance Henderson, of Torrance, California, inquiring about one Samuel Torrence known to have been in Connecticut, and whom Mr. Jared Sidney Torrance, of Los Angeles, had been trying to place in connection with his own line.
The "Tree" referred to, was a very complete and accurate Chart of the Torrence and some of its allied families, which was started in 1859 by John Torrence, of Cincinnati, Ohio; was published in 1894 by Harriet. R. Torrence Stewart, as a memorial to her brother, the Hon. John Findlay Torrence. Copies of this chart may be seen in the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, and other places. Many copies thereof, have been given, upon request, to different members of the family. This chart is a fine work, but gives no dates, places, nor references beyond the lines connecting the names. On the chart the name of Samuel Torrence is placed with that of Aaron Torrence, in the position of brother, which would add his name to the list of sons of Albert Torrence, Sr. Note 35-2
As previously stated, Albert Torrence2 married twice. By the first marriage, in Ireland, he had five sons, order of birth uncertain. His second marriage, to Elizabeth, surname not known, likewise occurred in Ireland. The six children of this marriage are noted in the order of his will. The Connecticut branch was prone to spell its name with an a, while the Pennsylvania branches used either a or e. From this point, treated individually, surname-spellings follow family, or personal predilections.
¶ Children of Albert and (unknown) Torrence, born in Ireland:
Children of Albert and Elizabeth (. . .) Torrence, born in Ireland:
His will, dated March 2, 1804, makes bequests to sister Jean, wife of Thomas MeKean; sister Elizabeth, wife of John Ferguson and to her children, Elizabeth and Hugh Ferguson; to sister Mary, married to Hugh Wiley, and to brothers William and James. His executors were John Ferguson, Senior, Hugh Ferguson, Junior, and Thomas McKean.Note 37-1
came with his father to America between 1730 and 1740; landed in Philadelphia, and made his way to Woodbury, Connecticut, where he died January 14, 1788. The land records of Canterbury, reveal that he first bought about six acres of land there on October 16, 1747, together with dwelling houses and improvements, from James Kasson, a Scotch-Irishman of Voluntown, in the eastern part of Connecticut. The location of his purchase was at Cross Brook, north of Good Hill, in the present Roxbury part of Woodbury. Roxbury was originally called New Roxbury, said to have been named for Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Samuel Torrance's name appears as Captain in William Cothren's History of Ancient Woodbury, page 786, in connection with a list of Revolutionary soldiers. In the same list are Corporal Joseph Torrance, Private Samuel Torrence, Ezra Torrance, William Torrance and Thomas Torrance.37
He married in July, 1741,Note 38-1 Jemimah Parke, daughter of Robert Parke,Note 38-2 of Voluntown, who survived him, and was appointed administratrix of his estate. The files of the Woodbury Probate Court show, in his intestacy papers, Number 4562, that he died January 14, 1788, and that within the month the widow asked to be relieved of administration duties:
The widow Torrance declines being an administrator of the estate of the late Samuel Torrance and would wish to have Buel Hough appointed in her name.(Signed) Jemimah Torrance.
Daniel Sherman, Esq.
Following this, Buel Hough, son-in-law of Samuel Torrance, made application for administrative papers, which were granted to him February 12, 1788, as shown by photostatic copy of the Court Minutes:
The Inventory of Captain Torrance's estate consisted of a full page of items, some of which were: Ten acres of land and dwellings thereon; one acre with barn; one house with land; seven acres of land; live stock; grain stores; one great wheel, one small wheel, flax; general household furnishings; tools, farming implements, etc. The distribution to the widow as her dower in her husband's estate included the dwelling house he last lived in, also the land adjoining on the north, called about nine acres, be it more or less.
Children of Captain Samuel and Jemimah (Parke) Torrance, from family records, with additions through quoted authorities, were eleven. (The order of birth is uncertain, but they were probably born in Connecticut.)
1762, in Captain Pearce's Company.Note 40-1 He married, in Roxbury, Connecticut, March 30, 1768,Note 40-2 Lucy Castle, daughter of Isaac and Mary (Hurd) Castle, and later removed to Vermont. The following facts concerning their children are from the Torrance Family, by Frank L. Torrance, of Abington, Illinois, and Fred. A. Torrance, of Ausable Forks, New York. Issue, five:
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