Friday, June 27, 2014

Holbrook family: Daniel McComas Sr.

I love a good story about my ancestors.  However, when there are three conflicting stories about the same event in the same person's life, it gets a bit confusing.  Which of the three are true, if any, or closest to the truth?  How do we decide?  Where can proof be found? 

Sources seem to agree that Daniel was born February 23, 1662 in Shettleston, Glasgow, Scotland and and died in 1699 in Harford County, Maryland, or what became Harford County . However,  I haven't seen any documentation for the birth date, and it is possible that he was a bit older than that.  The birth date would be helpful in determining which of the stories about why he came to America might be true, or partially true, or completely false. 

Here are the choices: 

1)  He was from Scotland but had been in Ireland for a few years before arriving in Maryland by 1687.  This would possibly indicate that he was a "covenanter", or Presbyterian, but that doesn't conform with his later life when he was part of the established religion in Maryland. 

2)  He was the Captain of the Guard at Edinburgh Castle and escaped from Scotland with a price on his head.  This story doesn't indicate why he needed to escape, but there were all kinds of rebellions and uprisings going on in the 1680-1685 time period, so it's possible he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.  However, I don't know of any evidence showing there was a price on his head.

3) He was involved in the Battle of Worchester and was sent to the colonies as a punishment, as a prisoner captured by the English.  For this to be so, he would have had to have been much older than the given birthdate, as the Battle of Worchester took place in 1651.  That would mean that Daniel would likely have been born in or before 1635. 

Which story do you like? 

We do know that he arrived in Maryland about 1685 and was in what became Harford County but was then Baltimore County by 1687.  In 1687 he worked out a plan to purchase 98 acres of land on the south side of the Severn River in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.  He married Elizabeth Hubbart or Elizabeth McGill in 1687, likely in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. I have so far not been able to trace either Daniel or Elizabeth back further than their appearance in Maryland. 

The couple had at least 7 children, William, Daniel, Alexander, Elinor, John, Ann, and James. When Daniel died (an early death, just 37 years old), five of the children were bound out (placed in the care of others).  Apparently Ann and James were either kept at home or they had died young. (Note: I do not have documentation for any of these births so it is possible that Ann and James were not of this family. There were a lot of McComas's in the area and children may have been attributed to the wrong parents.)  Late in life, the couple moved from Anne Arundel County to near Joppa in what became Harford County, and the McComas name was common there. 

Besides farming, Daniel was also a tailor.  His inventory showed a value of 22 pounds, 9 shillings, and four pence, which was not a lot of money but did not include his land, which was left to Elizabeth. 

That's what I know of Daniel McComas at this point.  How did a man from Scotland end up in the Holbrook line?  Here's our line of descent.

Daniel McComas-Elizabeth MacGill
Daniel McComas-Martha Scott
Martha McComas-Robert Amos
Martha Amos-Peter Black
Elizabeth Black-Isaac Hetrick
Alice Hetrick-Louis Stanard
Etta Stanard-Loren-Holbrook
Gladys/Lois/Ray/Howard Holbrook
Their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren