Moffett Genealogy and Family Roots


MOFFETT Descendants

There are lots of open questions about James MOFFETT, but one thing we know for sure is that he left a lot of descendants.

Descendants of James MOFFETT

This is very much a work in progress. Any additions or corrections you can make would be greatly appreciated.

The Diary

Much of what is known about the early MOFFETTs comes from a journal kept by Josephine (MOFFETT) ROBINSON. The journal itself is too fragile to be photocopied so I am depending on transcriptions that have been made. I have seen three different transcriptions, and they are not identical. The version shown here is, I believe, the earliest and most accurate. The differences among the three versions are all minor, with the glaring exception that the two earliest versions say Elizabeth MOFFETT married James HUNTER, while the third version says she married Samuel HUNTER. The historical evidence shows that it was Samuel HUNTER that she married.

James MOFFAT, the Immigrant

ship The first question concerns his birth. A Bible record made much later says he was born 17 July 1730. The Bible itself was printed in 1802 so obviously the entry was NOT made by his parents at the time of his birth. Who actually made the entry and when it was made is not known. Also, it is not known if the date is an "old style" date or "new style" date. The change in calendar was made in 1752. The church records of Scotland show five James MOFFATs (including alternate spellings) Christened during 1730, including one on 12 July 1730 in Berwick.

The diary (above) does not say when and where James MOFFAT and his family arrived in America, but the book
Original Lists of Protestant Immigrants to South Carolina 1763-1773
compiled by Janie Revill
Genealogical Publishing Co, Inc.
Baltimore 1974
(originally published 1939, Columbia>
shows that in 1767 a petition for a warrant of survey was read for a James MORFATT and that bounties were given for Margaret MORFFAT, Elizabeth MORFFAT, Griffen MORFFAT, Jannett MORFAT, Thomas MORFFATT, and William MORFFATT. My speculation is that "Griffen" is actually a "Grissel", a fairly common Scottish female name, equivalent to the English "Grace". Double esses (ss) were usually written in a manner that resembled double effs (ff). In either case, he/she disappears from this narrative. We don't know for sure that these are our MOFFETTs, but there are names here that show up again.

We have a separate record of a James MOFFET getting 400 acres in 1768. We know that this is our James because in 1791 the land was sold by James MOFFET "of Wilkes Co GA" and the sale was witnessed by Jacob JORDAN and Samuel HUNTER.

James did not leave a will as such, but in 1805 he gave his property to his children for which in return he and his wife were to receive maintenance for the remainder of their lives.

He died 02 Sep 1809 in Lincoln Co GA.

Thomas Moffett, Revolutionary Patriot

Rev Soldier The Bible record says Thomas MOFFETT was born 02 Feb 1761 and that he married Abigail (JORDAN) Carpenter 10 Sep 1782. The diary (above) says that he went into the Revolutionary War at age 16 or 17. The diary also says he died at age 59. What has often been given as evidence of his Revolutionary War service are the documents showing that a Thomas MOFFETT joined the horse company of Capt Matthew Singleton in St Marks parish SC in Aug 1775.

I have some problems with all this

First let me say that there is little doubt that Thomas played a part in the Revolution. He received bounty land in Georgia based on his service, which was signed off on by Elijah Clarke, a colonel in the Georgia militia. He was wounded in 1778 in an attack on Fort Nail. Fort Nail was in Wilkes Co, not too many miles from where our MOFFETTs are known to have been living as early as 1785. There can be little doubt that this was our Thomas.

What about the Thomas MOFFETT in the horse company? If he were born in 1761 then he would have been only 14 when he joined. Not impossible. But, this same Thomas MOFFETT also witnessed a deed in Feb 1775. How probable is it that a 14 year old boy would be witnessing a deed? Does this mean that this wasn't our Thomas? Not necessarily. I haven't found any record of him in South Carolina after the war. One of the other men in the horse company was a Robert Fleming. Was this the same Robert Fleming that witnessed the will of James MOFFAT in Lincoln Co GA?

I think, if we ignore the question of age, this is all consistent with the diary. Thomas could have initially been a courier, on horseback, in SC, and then later joined the militia in Georgia.

The other problem with his age is the marriage to Abigail. If he were born in 1761 then he would have been 21 years old in 1782. Abigail was a 31 year old widow with five kids. Possible, but how likely?

Finally, the Old Parish/Parochial Register in Scotland shows nobody named Thomas born anywhere close to 1761. There are, of course, many possible explanations for this.

I think Thomas was born before 1761, perhaps as early as 1751. Maybe the original Bible record was read wrong. I don't know.

Thomas wrote his last will and testament in 1819. He died 28 Mar 1820. Abigail died two years later, 04 Nov 1822.

Some Miscellaneous MOFFETT Records in Lincoln Co GA

These records show that the MOFFETTs, HUNTERs, and Jacob JORDAN all lived near each other and witnessed each other's transactions. Recalling that one of the 1767 MOFFETT immigrants was a "Jannet" and recalling that James MOFFAT referred to Jacob JORDAN as one of his children, you should note that the wife of Jacob JORDAN was named "Jennet". Was Jacob JORDAN married to Jennet MOFFETT, and was she a daughter of James? There is no mention of her in the diary, but there is also no mention of Jacob JORDAN, who was obviously related somehow.

And the other obvious question is, "how was Jacob JORDAN related to Abigail JORDAN?"

Also shown here are a couple of transactions involving Reuben and Thomas CARPENTER. These were sons of Abigail by her first marriage.

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