Torrens and Allied FamiliesThis book by Robert McIlvane Torrens
was originally Published in 1938.
This is a reproduction of it.
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Thomas Torrance, my great, great grandfather, and his brother Aaron Torrance, came to America before 1740, from the north of Ireland. Thomas was born about 1718, in Ireland, married Anna Mitchell. They had a large family; among others were: Samuel, born 1750, Thomas, born 1751, Hugh, and Styles. Samuel Torrance was my great grandfather, born April 5, 1750, and died December 5,1843. His wife was Anna Root.
He married circa 1748, Anna Mitchell by whom he had five children, all doubtless born in Woodbury. The date of her decease has not been ascertained, nor has his.
Children of Thomas Torrance and Anna Mitchell were five:
In 1729, Franklin was a part of Lancaster County; in 1749 it was included in that of York; in 1750, it was a part of Cumberland, and became a county in 1784.
On April 2, 1756, a band of hostile Indians attacked McCord's Fort, situated on the banks of Conococheague Creek, along the North Mountain, within the present area of Franklin County. This was a private Fort, where the settlers assembled for protection and safety. The Indians set fire to the Fort and killed or carried into captivity all of the occupants. Immediately after this disaster, a large number of representative citizens of York County, which then included Adams County, signed a petition appealing to the Honorable Robert Hunter Morris, Lieutenant Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Province of Pennsylvania and Counties of New Castle, Kent and Sussex upon Delaware, for aid and assistance.'Note 43-2
Many among the two hundred signers were Scotch-Irish, or English Quakers. Among them: James Hamilton, David Watson, Alexander Brown, Anon Torens (Aaron Torrence) Note 43-1 , William Smith, the Rev. Thomas Barton, William Miles, John Gilleland, William Bard, Alexander White, George Latimer, William Lindsey, and Nicholas Bishop.
The family records of the Finleys and Torrences, show that in 1750 Aaron Torrence married Susannah Finley, daughter of Michael Finley of Sadsbury township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Michael Finley, of Scotch-Irish descent, baptized in the parish of Mullaghabrac, County Armagh, Ireland, May 7, 1683; married Ann O'Neill, daughter of Samuel O'Neill, of the same county, July 12, 1712. On September 28, 1734, he and his family landed in Philadelphia, first settling on Neshaminy Creek, Bucks County, and later locating in Sadsbury township. A detailed account of this family will be found in the Finley Chapter.43
Aaron Torrence and his wife Susannah made their home in that part of York which later became Franklin County, where their four sons were born. In or about 1768 they were living in the Redstone Settlement in Fayette County, neighbors of George Paull. This is confirmed by Miss Elizabeth Maxwell Paull, Blairsville, Pennsylvania, in her well known work, Paull-Irwin, a Family Sketch.Note 44-1 Here Susannah (Finley) Torrence died in 1772 and is believed to have been buried in the graveyard of Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church, set apart for such purposes in that year, with the Paulls, Cathcarts, Allens, McClellans and others.
In the summer of 1772, the Presbyterians of Redstone Settlement selected a church site on a hill commanding a beautiful view in all directions. The site was cleared. A square log house was built - the first Presbyterian Church west of the Alleghenies. Who were the charter members? There is no record.Note 44-2
On March 20, 1774, Aaron Torrence married, as second wife, Elizabeth (Irwin) McConnell. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. John King of the Upper West Conococheague Presbyterian Church. The entry may be seen on the original Parish Register at the Presbyterian Church of Mercersburg.Note 44-3
Elizabeth (Irwin) McConnell was a daughter of James Irwin, the pioneer 1704-1778, whose plantation, Irwinton Mills, with its old stone house, with handsome interior woodwork and panelled walls, is in Peters Township, Franklin County. Her first marriage was to Captain William McConnell, who died June 24, 1770, leaving her his widow, with eight children:
On November 5, 1775, a daughter was born to Aaron and his second wife, Elizabeth (Irwin) McConnell Torrence. She was named Susannah, probably for Aaron's first wife, and baptized by the Rev. John King who married her parents.
After the marriage of Aaron and his second wife, they and his four sons lived on the plantation where his wife and her family of eight hadNote 45-2 44 been living. It is not surprising that two of his sons married two of her daughters. This plantation, a part of the estate of James Irwin, consisted of 400 acres, with buildings, etc. On this tract in Peters township, Aaron Torrence paid taxes in 1778-79-80.Note 45-1 This is somewhat further substantiated by an extract from the will of James Irwin, dated May 26, 1776:
I will that the plantation where on my son-in-law, Aaron Torrence, and my daughter Elizabeth live, be sold at the direction of my executors, one third of the value thereof be given to my daughter Elizabeth and the remainder to be equally divided among her children born to William McConnell and to my daughter Elizabeth Irwin McConnell.
Sometime after the sale of this property, according to the terms of the testator who died in 1778, Aaron Torrence and his second wife, Elizabeth, removed to Washington County, his sons having entered the Revolutionary Army.
Here a warrant is of record to him for 50 acres at Silver Spring Run, dated June 4, 1788. This laud was situated in Strabane Township, near the present towns of Houstonville and Canonsburg. It was surveyed, September 7, 1789, under Aaron Torrence's Warranty of June 4, 1788.Note 45-2 A copy of the survey follows.
Washington County Court House, Washington, Pa.
Deed Book I-D, p 273.
KNOW ALL MEN that I, Aaron Torance, of the County of Washington, State of Pennsylvania, have remised and released and forever quit claimed, for the consideration of five shillings, paid by David Redick, of Washington County, State of Penna. ALL my right claim to that certain tract of land in Washington County, situated on the waters of Chartiers Creek, adjoining lands of Lund Washington, David Clark, Thomas Stokeley, Esquires and others, on which said land I now live.
In witness etc. my hand and seal . . this 17th. day of September 1788.
AARON TORANCE (SEAL)
Surveyed Sept 7 1789, collected from the lines of the adjoining land, in pursuance of Aaron Torrence's Warrant, dated 4 June, 1788, containing 50 acres with allowances, named SILVER SPRING RUN.
Signed David Redick
Among papers in possession of Mr. Ridgely Torrence, the poet, writer, and descendant of Aaron Torrence, through his son John, is the statement that "John Torrence son of Aaron, after the Revolutionary War, preceded, or followed his father to Lexington, Kentucky. That Aaron afterward lived there with his married daughter, Mrs. Susannah Frost, until his death."
It would appear from the foregoing that Aaron Torrence somewhat promptly after the disposal of his Washington County lands went from there to Lexington, where he died after 1795.
The oldest living member of the family, Miss Elizabeth Findlay Torrence, of Cincinnati, Ohio, born 1856, says that Aaron was buried in Lexington. A search has been made for his resting place without success.
The earliest cemetery in Lexington was abandoned years ago, due to a plague of cholera in 1833, when bodies were buried in tiers. No care was taken of it after that time and it ceased to be used. But few stones remain. It is believed that Aaron Torrence and his wife, Elizabeth, were among those buried there.
Children of Aaron and Susannah (Finley) Torrence, born within the then confines of Cumberland County,
Child of Aaron and Elizabeth (Irwin) McConnell Torrence:
Patriotism was an outstanding quality of the Pennsylvania Scotch Irish and, like them, he too served in the Revolution; was Captain of 4th Company, Third Battalion, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania Militia under Colonel James Smith in 1778, 1779.Note 47-3
In 1778 the electorate of Tyrone township, Westmoreland County, returned his name to the Supreme Executive Council of the State for Commission as a Justice of the Peace. His military activities probably delayed such action by the Council until June 16, 1780, when it was duly conferred.Note 47-3
He and several of his family were members of the Old Lebanon Church and are buried there. His will,Note 47-4 executed April 19, 1808;47 probated June 23, 1810, describes himself as "James Torrence of Mifflin Township, Allegheny County, weak in body." He appointed his wife, Janet, executrix with life interest in his estate, after which it was to be sold and the proceeds equally divided, one-tenth each to: Children of daughter, Elizabeth Kincaid; John Torrence; Albert Torrence; James Torrence; William Torrence; Matthew Torrence; David Torrence; Isabel Torrence; Agnes Torrence and Hugh Torrence.
From letters extant it would appear that he married first, on August 14, 1764, Elizabeth, whose name is believed to have been Blair, by whom he had seven children. He married, second, circa 1781, Janet, whose maiden name is thought to have been Shields, by which marriage there were six children. In all, sixteen:
Children of James and Janet (Shields?) Torrence:
Children of Samuel and Anna (Root) Torrance:
¶17. ii. Timothy Torrance5married Zervina Hitchcock.
Following the example of his father, he too served in the Revolutionary War. In this connection Cothren's History of Ancient Woodbury, page 201, says: "On April 26, 1777, there was an alarm and sudden call for troops, because the British had landed at Danbury and attacked the town. Thomas Torrance was severely wounded, brought home on a stretcher, and later lost his sight. Major General Wooster was mortally wounded. This clash at arms was called 'The Danbury Alarm.'" Other reference to his war service is of interest:
Revolutionary War Records, Washington. D. C., No.32645; County of Steuben, State of New York, 5 March 1821, personally appeared Thomas Torrance, who testified he is the same person who belonged to the company commanded by Capt. David Leavenworth, in Regiment commanded by Col. Mosley. His name was placed on the roll of the state of Vermont for pension, from whence he recently removed and now resides in state of New York.
Deposition by Jacob Bunce, of Woodbury, Litchifeld County, Conn.: That Thomas Torrance enlisted with his father in 1776, served at CrowN Point and Ticonderoga; wounded in the Danbury battle; sometime after the War, Thomas Torrance removed to Sandgate, Vermont, and many years afterward came back to Woodbury for a visit.49
Deposition by Edward Minor, of Woodbury, Conn.: That Thomas Torrance served under Capt. Leavenworth at Danbury; was severely wounded by a ball lodged in lower part of hip; he moved at close of War to Sandgate, Vermont; the only man by that name in Woodbury; had several children before he left for Vermont; I believe he had a Son named Lewis and a daughter Sarah.
State oF New York, Monroe County, 28 August 1847, appeared Richard Torrance, of Avon, N. Y., applicant for heirs of Thomas Torrance, deceased: That he is a son of Thomas Torrance who served in the Revolutionary War, said Thomas was a native of Woodbury, Conn., where he lived when he enlisted in the services of the United States; understood by said father that he served at Ticonderoga and Crown Point; does not remember the names of his officers; that he was severely wounded; that his father died at Avon, N. Y., May 14, 1842, at age 91; his wife had died prior thereto; that surviving children are: Richard, Eunice Fulkerson, Chloe Curtis, and Hiram Torrance.
Thomas Torrance married at Roxbury, Connecticut, November 4; 1772, Eunice Lacy, born November 1, 1756; died in 1831, daughter of Thaddeus Lacy who died at Castleton, Vermont, October 3, 1775, and his wife, Mary, who died May 12, 1764. He left Connecticut for Vermont, then located near Watkins, New York, and finally settled in Avon, where he died at the residence of his son, Richard Torrance.
Children of Thomas and Eunice (Lacy) Torrance, thirteen in number:
He is listed in Cothren's History of Woodbury as corporal in the Revolutionary War, and his pension papers in Washington, No. W. 26547 afford corroborative evidence as to service.
Chittenden Co., State of Vermont, 6 November, 1829
I, Jabez I. Warner, of the County of Chittenden, Vermont, - I was in the Revolutionary Army in 1777, with Joseph Torrance. He was in the Regiment commanded by Roger Enos, in the company commanded by Reuben Bostwick. He belonged to the Connecticut line and was in actual service about six months. I further state that Joseph Torrance, of Addison, in Addison County, Vermont, is the identical person mentioned above, and served as private and corporal. He joined the regiment at Fishkill, N. Y., and was discharged at Greenwich. Conn.
State of Vermont, District of Addison, 9 August, 1832, personally appeared Joseph Torrance, a resident of Addison County, aged 72, last May; who deposed that he entered the service under the following officers; served at Woodbury, Conn., about the 1st of July 1777; that he entered a company commanded by Capt. Thaddeus Lacy, in regiment commanded by Cot. Herman Swift. Then follows a page giving his marches. "I was called out for the attack on Norwalk, at Esopus and at the battle of Danbury. In this last battle, my brother (Thomas) was wounded and we were obliged to carry him home on a horse litter, which took us five days. . . . I was born 7 May, 1759, at Woodbury, Coun.; I resided there till after the war, when I removed to Cooksackie, N. Y., thence I moved to Vermont and have resided in several locations, Sandgate, Astengton,(?) in Vermont, and in Jay, N. Y., until about 18 years ago, I removed to Addison, where I still reside."
State of Conn., Litchfield County, July 30,1841 Mrs. Ruth Mitchell, of Woodbury, aged 82 years, was well acquainted with Joseph Torrance, once a resident of Woodbury, and was acquainted with Sarah Mitchell, a daughter of Abijah Mitchell. I recall that before the year 1785, Joseph Torrance was married to51 Sarah at Woodbury, about 3 or 4 years before 1785. They had children before 1785.
State of New York, Oneida County, Surrogate Court: Sarah Torrance died 25 February, 1844, widow of Joseph Torrance; her surviving children are: Catherine, wife of David Stickney, of Green, Monroe County, N.Y., Anna Trumbull, wife of Simeon Trumbull, of Richwood, Oswego County, N. Y., each 20 years and upward; and that repeated, but unsuccessful efforts have been made to ascertain the residence of one Hastings Torrance, one of the children of the said Sarah Torrance, and that he had not been heard from for more than three years.
Joseph Torrance married in November, 1782, Sarah Mitchell, born 1760; died February 25, 1844, daughter of Abijah Mitchell, of Woodbury.
Children of Joseph and Sarah (Mitchell) Torrance were three: (there were probably others deceased before 1844)
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