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THE PLIGHT of MARY "Polly" (nee MILLS) STITES-WOODRUFF

and

THE SAGA of (Capt./Maj.) BENJAMIN STITES


by
Audrey (MILLS/LEHMANN-CREAGER/SHIELDS) HANCOCK
1995
Revised March 2006

MARY "Polly" MILLS, daughter of William (I) and Amy [--?--] MILLS of Westfield Township., Essex County (now Union County), New Jersey, was probably born ca 1770 in or near Westfield Township (now [1995] possibly in Mountainside), Essex County (now Union County), New Jersey where the family resided during the Revolutionary War.

Nothing is known of her early years of life except that she had six siblings.  It appears that as Mary entered marriageable age, she was taken with Benjamin Stites II [aka Capt. and Maj. Benjamin Stites (II)] whose family was of the area and attended the same Baptist Church in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.  Mary apparently entered unknowingly into a bigamistic/illegal marriage with (Capt./Maj.) Benjamin Stites.

(Capt./Maj.) Benjamin Stites II, son of Benjamin Stites, was born ca 1750 in Scotch Plains, Essex County (now Union County), New Jersey according to some records. His gravestone reads born "1734," but his father is said to have been born in 1724, so dates are inconsistent. (Capt./Maj.) Benjamin Stites II had married 22 September 1768 in New Jersey to #1 Rachel (maiden name unknown), whose sister was an Anna Mills (probably her sister's married name). Benjamin and Rachel had children, namely: John, Benjamin III, Phebe, Richard, & Rachel. From family records of Benjamin and Rachel Stites we learn that they went to the Ten Mile Country, on Ten Mile Creek (now in Morgan Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania), but then in Washington County, Pennsylvania about 1769.  Here their five children were born. His occupation was given as a tax collector for Morgan Twp., Greene County, Pennsylvania in 1784 (then Washington County, Pennsylvania).

However, sometime in 1784 or before, Benjamin must have left his family and returned to New Jersey...and taken a second wife by 1785.  This is confimed by the following accounting and the record book of the Goshen Baptist Church, Green County, Pennsylvania. These records hint of marital problems between Benjamin and Rachel, and by 1791 Benjamin declares that a second wife had left him.   Greene County, Pennsylvania and Washington County, Pennsylvania are located in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania on the border with West Virginia.


From The Tenmile Country and Its Pioneers on pp. 459-460 we read the following:
"CAPTAIN BENJAMIN STITES - Benjamin Stites was among the first of the New Jersey immigrants to settle in what is now Morgan Township. He was a descendant of a New England Family that removed first to Hempstead, Long Island, and then to Cape May, New Jersey. He first settled at the site of the old Pollock's Mill, where he was living at the time of the Revolution, and where he served as a captain at the First Battalion, Washington County, Pennsylvania, Militia. Later he sold this land to Jacob Rush, who made an assignment to George Newland of the mill site. Then Benjamin Stites bought land on Bates Fork of Tenmile, where he was living when he served as tax collector for Morgan Township in 1784. He later went back to New Jersey and interested Judge Symmes in a land proposition and together they got many thousands of acres of land on the Miami River of Ohio. He was to become the founder of the city of Cincinnati. A hint of his marital trouble is in the Church Book of Goshen Baptist Church, of which he and his wife, Rachel, were members, for on December 29, 1792, it notes that he was cut off from the fellowship of the church for 'having married another wife, while the former wife is yet alive'. His former wife, Rachel, was living alone on Tenmile when the Census for 1790 was taken, he having already gone to Limestone, Kentucky, where he made up his Miami Party. From Ohio comes more information about his family troubles and much other information. We learn that he was born at Scotch Plains, New Jersey, about 1740, and married Rachel ______ on September 22, 1768. Within a year he removed to Tenmile, where at least four children were born, and possibly five, before he and Rachel parted in 1786. Ten years later Rachel went to Cincinnati and began suing for a divorce, with Benjamin counter suing in his answer. She accused him of ill treatment, and spending the money that came into her from her family. She also stated that he had bigamously married Mary (Mills?) and after tiring of her had again married illegally, Hannah Waring with whom he was then living. The testimony in this case reminds one of a Hollywood Trial, and continues after the death of Benjamin Stites in 1804, when Green County land, patented to John Stites, came up for distribution. From it we learn the line of descent from Benjamin and Rachel Stites. Children: John Stites, born 1770, on Tenmile Creek, died in Ohio in 1794. Benjamin Stites, Jr., born February 1772, question of his legitimacy in Ohio Court records, but established by competent witnesses. Phoebe Stites, born 1774, married James Miranda. Richard Stites, born 1776. Rachel Stites, born 1783, married ___________ Kibby."

From this above record, it appears that about 1784 or before Benjamin left Rachel and returned to New Jersey.  Here he bigamously and illegally married Mary "Polly" Mills, daughter of William I & Amy [--?--] Mills of Westfield Township, New Jersey, who then left him. [No marriage records are found.]    

In 1786 Benjamin Stites must have returned to Rachel at Redstone, Pennsylvania (now Brownsville, Washington County, Pennsylvania) on the Ten Mile River. At this time (14 April 1786) he evidently secured an agreement of separation from Rachel. 

In the summer of 1786, Stites happened to be at Washington, just back from Limestone, now Maysville, where he headed a party of Kentuckians in pursuit of some Indians who had stolen some horses. They followed for some days; the latter escaped, but Stites gained by it a view of the rich valleys of the Great and Little Miami as far up as the site of Xenia.
(Howe, Henry, Historical Collections of Ohio, Vol. I, 1888, p. 738: Hamilton County) 

It is said that it was during this time period that Benjamin found the rich, fertile soil of southwest Ohio in what was known as the Ohio Valley.  He appears so impressed with its potential that he hurried to New Jersey to spread the word, and then went to New York.  In New York, he tried to influence the Continental Congress in land speculation in Ohio. Here he drew the attention of John Cleves Symmes of Trenton, New Jersey, a Revolutionary War veteran and an influential member of Congress from New Jersey. "This result was the formation of a company of twenty-four gentlemen of the State, similar to that of the Ohio Company, as proprietors of the proposed purchase. Among these were General Jonathan Dayton, Elias Boudinot, and Dr. Witherspoon, Symmes and Stites."  (Howe, Henry, Historical Collections of Ohio, Vol. I, 1888, p. 738: Hamilton County)  Henry Howe refers to Benjamin Stites as "a trader from New Jersey" in his book.

Symmes, in August of the next year, 1787, "petitioned Congress for a grant of the land, but before the bargain was closed he made arrangements with Stites to sell him 10,000 acres of the best land." (Howe, Henry, Historical Collections of Ohio, Vol. I, 1888, p. 738: Hamilton County)  Judge Symmes bought one million acres of land between the Great and Little Miami Rivers.  In 1788 John Cleves Symmes was appointed a judge for the Northwest Territory.  He had sold about 10,000 acres near the Little Miami to Benjamin Stites. Symmes’ dreams of amassing a fortune led him to advertise these Ohio lands, but eventually died penniless in his harried chase for wealth and ambition due to sloppy surveying and record keeping.

In September of 1788, Stites, Symmes, Denman, Patterson, Filson, Ludlow that included a large party of about 60 men left Limestone for a preliminary exploration of the Miami Purchase. They decided to create a settlement and began surveying what was to be.

Benjamin Stites led a party of  18 or 20 settlers in November 1788 to a tract owned by Matthias Denman (from Springfield, New Jersey) across the mouth of Kentucky’s Licking River, thus establishing the first settlement, Columbia, in the Northwest Territory on the 18th of November 1788, which predated Cincinnati (previously Losantiville, the 2nd settlement) by one month.  Denman had purchased his tract in the winter of 1787-1788 from John Cleves Symmes.   The hamlet of Columbia was located below the mouth of the Little Miami River.


Courtesy of:
Adina Watkins Dyer
18 Oct 2000



Major Benjamin Stites, Mrs. Benjamin Stites [At this time period, Mary "Polly" Mills was the one married to Benjamin.], Benjamin Stites, Jr.; Rachel Stites, Ann W. Stites, Greenbright Bailey, Mrs. Greenbright Bailey, Jas. F. Bailey, Reasom Bailey, Abel Cook, Jacob Mills, Jonathan Stites, Ephraim Kibby, John S. Gano, Mrs. Mary S. Gano, Thos. C.Wade, Hezekiah Stites, Elijah Stites, Edmund Buxton, Daniel Shoemaker, ____ Hempstead, Evan Shelby, Allen Woodruff, Hampton Woodruff, Joseph Cox, Benjamin Cox."

These names are carved into the history of Cincinnati (aka Losantiville), Ohio (official city in 1802) and the Miami Valley when these pioneers arrived within 1788. The leader, (Capt.) Benjamin Stites, originally from Westfield Township, Essex County (now Union County), New Jersey and then Redstone (now Brownsville), Pennsylvania, had convinced John Cleves Symmes (a member of the Continental Congress) of New Jersey to invest in the the rich fertile land found in the Ohio Valley. Their settlement was known as Columbia.

11 December 2006
ohshelby-bounces@rootsweb.com
Guy Ross at guyrossjr@aol.com wrote:
"Major Benjamin Stites is credited as being the founder of the small city of Columbia. When he landed at the Falls of the Ohio River the settlement was on the very lowest land. They called it Turkey Bottom. THe spring rains came and the town was flooded and they moved to higher ground. Symmes came about ten days later and made his settlement above the Stite settlement. Symmes called his town, Losantsville. This was later renamed to Cincinnati and much later, the town of Columbia was incorporated into it. Columbia Parkway was named after the Columbia settlement." [WPA-Hamilton Co., Ohio]


Another list is presented in this accounting: "It will be appropriate here to give a complete list of the names of the first settlers of Columbia: James H. Bailey, Zephu Ball, Jonas Ball, James Bowman, Edward Baxton, W. Coleman, Benjamin Davis, David Davis, Owen Davis, Samuel Davis, Francis Dunlevy, Hugh Dunn, Isaac Ferris, John Ferris, James Flinn, Gabriel Foster, Luke Foster. John S. Gano, Wm. Newell, John Phillips, Jonathan Pitman, Benj. F. Rudolph, James Seward, William Goforth, Daniel Griffin, Joseph Grose, John Hardin, Cornelius Hurley, David Jennings, Henry Jennings, Levi Jennings, Ezekiel Larned, John McCullough, John Manning, James Matthews, Aaron Mercer, Elijah Mills, Ichabod B. Miller, Patrick Moore, Wm. Moore, John Morris, Benjamin Stites, Thomas C. Wade, John Web, Mr. Wickersham, Daniel Griffin." (Source: Venable LL.D., W. H., History of Cincinnati and Hamilton County: A Historical and Descriptive Sketch, Chapter V, p. 55)

Another list names these as early settlers: "Among those early settlers were Col. Spencer, Major Gano, Judge Goforth, Francis Dunlavy, Major Kibbey, Rev. John Smith, Judge Foster, Columbus Brown, Mr. Hubbell, Capt. Flinn, Jacob White and John Riley."
(Howe, Henry, Historical Collections of Ohio, Vol. I, 1888, p. 738: Hamilton County)



"In 1787, Major Benjamin Stites purchased the land that would become Indian Hill for 66 cents an acre. The first white settlers arrived in 1795."
(Source: Internet, Cincinnati.com: Tuesday, August 17, 2004: 'Mad' Anthony scoffs at Shawnee land claim)

"Indian Hill was part of 10,000 acres that Symmes sold to Maj. Benjamin Stites, a surveyor and Revolutionary War veteran, for 66 cents an acre. Settlements popped up in Newtown and Nelson's Station (Madisonville). Indian Hill itself was settled in 1795."
(Source: Internet, Cincinnati.com: Tuesday, August 17, 2004: 'Mad' Anthony scoffs at Shawnee land claim. See: "History" for "Indian Hill")

"According to legend, the name Indian Hill originated with the theft of horses. A group of Indians stole three from Nelson's Station in the late 1700s. Pioneers pursued them and shot one unfortunate Indian who had stolen a lame horse. When his body was found on a hill years later, the discovery inspired the name of the community." (Source: Internet, Cincinnati.com: Tuesday, August 17, 2004: 'Mad' Anthony scoffs at Shawnee land claim)

A note from our family's oral history states that William W. Mills from Westfield Twp., Union Co., NJ, settled for a time at Indian Hill in Hamilton Co., OH. William W. Mills would have been a nephew of Mary "Polly" (Mills) Stites -Woodruff.


In 1789, Ft. Washington was established at Losantiville (later Cincinnati in 1790).

Benjamin eventually returned to Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1791 to file the separation agreement with Rachel obtained in 1786, and to proclaim that Mary had left him in 1791.

August Term 1791

Wm. Goforth, Judge; Wm. Wells, Judge; Wm. McMillan, Judge

"Benjamin Stites, Esq. presented to court an agreement of separation between him & his wife, Rachel Stites, dated 14 Apr 1786, Washington County, Pennsylvania under the seal of signature of the parties fully set out on record and also an affadavit of John Corbly & Wm. Crawford to prove said Rachel Stites guilty of the act of adultery which were both by orders of court: The affadavit is dated Washington County, PA, 30th Sep 1785 and at the same time said Stites obtained leave of court to have recorded evidence that his second wife, Mary Stites, voluntarily left his bed & board. Benjamin Stites, Jr., was the witness sworn in court."
(Source: 1997, Beverly Sidenstick, 95 Casa del Sol, Winter Haven, FL 33881)

It is said in a New Jersey newspaper accounting that Benjamin Stites presented Mary Mills with forged divorce papers from Virginia. Mary (Mills) Stites apparently did not learn the divorce papers were a forgery until later. Since the Mills family was of the Baptist faith and attended the Scotch Plains Baptist Church in Scotch Plains near Westfield, New Jersey, it is believed that Mary did marry Benjamin Stites in good faith, believing her marriage to be legal. They may have been married by Rev. John Gano, whose own son, John Gano (Jr.), is said by researchers to have come to Columbia in 1788 with Benjamin Stites. John Gano is not listed among the names of those landing in 1788 at Columbia in Hamilton County, Ohio. Possibly John Gano landed with Benjamin Stites in Kentucky. This bigamistic marriage of Benjamin Stites and Mary Mills is confirmed in the story above from The Tenmile Country and Its Pioneer Families.  Mary (Mills) Stites accompanied her assumed husband, Benjamin, from New Jersey in June of 1788, arriving at Redstone, Pennsylvania in July 1788. From there they went on separate boats down the Ohio River into Kentucky arriving there during the same month (July 1788). They lived at or near Washington Township, Kentucky for a time and in November went into "the Miami" River Valley arriving at Columbia.  His landing group in November of 1788 is said to have included his wife and son, Benjamin III (s/o Benjamin & #1 Rachel).  (His wife at that time period would have been probably been a very pregnant Mary "Polly" (Mills) Stites.  It is here at Columbia that it is said Benjamin's and Mary's son, John Gano Stites, was the first white baby born in Nov or Dec 1788. (Some researchers say he was born in Dec 1789 and/or in KY., but U.S. Federal Census of 1850, Spencer Co., IN enumerates John Gano Stites as being 62 yrs. and born Ohio.) According to Family Records or Genealogies of the First Settlers of Passaic Valley (and vicinity) above Chatham by John Littell, 1852, p. 409:  "The wife of Benjamin Stites, Jun. was said to be the first white woman that ever landed in Cincinnati."

In regard to the Columbia colony, we read in the The Reporter published by the Allen Co., Ohio Historical Society, Memorial Hall, Lima, Ohio, July 1953: "The little colony was made up largely of New Jersey people; many were Essex Co. [New Jersey] born; the men, energetic and enterprising, had fought together at Monmouth, Trenton and Yorktown; and a half dozen families were Baptist. Eight bore the name of Stites, Major Benjamin, his wife and three children,- Jonathan, Hezekiah and Elijah. Thus the group had ties at birth, religion, and military service, a uniting factor which may have been responsible for the early establishment of a church. On Jan. 20th, 1790 a Baptist Church was constituted at Columbia, - The first church in the Northwest Territory, - and on that day, Elijah and Roda Stites joined with ten others in chartering the first organization for Christian workship."

Mary (Mills) Stites evidently discovered the bigamy of her believed husband, Benjamin Stites, and by 5 April 1790 had left Benjamin to return to the home of her parents in Westfield, Essex County (now Union County), New Jersey with her son, John Gano Stites. The rift and animosity between Benjamin and Mary is evidenced by the following newspaper articles.


"Benjamin Stites, at Columbia, Hamilton County, in the Northwestern Territory, adv. under date of 5 April 1790 that his wife Mary has departed his house and forewarns the public from trusting on his account."
(New Jersey Journal of Elizabethtown, NJ of 4 August 1790 and extracted in Notices from New Jersey Newspapers 1781-1790, Records of New Jersey, Vol. I by Thomas B. Wilson, p. 294)

Mary in return retaliates with her own letter sent to the newspaper.


"Mary Stites, Westfield, in a lengthy letter to the Editor tells of the baseness of her husband who has advertised that she departed his house on the Miami. Before her marriage he had seduced a young girl who he deserted leaving her to provide for his child. He was known, although improperly, as Major Stites. He was previously married and had a number of children at Redstone, but he produced a bill of divorcement from the State of Virginia. On our way to the Ohio country when we were at Fort Pitt he put me on board a boat to go down the Ohio while he took passage on another, for the sole purpose of having the company of another woman, and after difficulties and dangers innumerable, I arrived at the Miami. When on the Miami, his former wife set upon him for the injustice he had done her at which time it was found that his bill of divorce was a forgery. She, the writer, then took her child, only one year old, to return to her parents which he permitted not from a principle of obliging her, but from the great probability of her being killed by the Indians thus sparing him the necessity of forging another bill of divorce. In the event she arrived safely at Fort Pitt and came from there to her parents. Some months since Mr. Stites called to see her and among other things presented her with a nutmeg which nearly poisoned herself and her mother..."

(New Jersey Journal of Elizabethtown, NJ of 4 August 1790 and extracted in Notices from New Jersey Newspapers 1781-1790, Records of New Jersey, Vol. I by Thomas B. Wilson, p. 295-296)

Benjamin Stites [residence not stated] in a letter to the Editor writes that the piece in issue of the 8th instant signed Mary Stites may lead the public, if nothing should be said to the contrary, to entertain a very contemptible opinion of his character. He requests the Editor to print the following depositions.


Mr. Joseph Halsey jun. in a deposition taken 15 September 1790 before Jedidiah Swan, J.P., of Essex County, stated that he travelled with Mr. Benjamin Stites and his wife from New Jersey to Redstone in June 1788 and that he saw no unkind treatment of Mrs. Stites. As Mr. Stites was unavoidably detained there to procure provision, she chose to continue with the company she had travelled with from New Jersey together with Benjamin Stites' brother Hezekiah who had there prepared boats for going down the river. When Benjamin Stites' business was accomplished, he went down the river in another boat with his brother Elijah and his wife, who was the only woman on board. After they both had arrived at Kentucky, he, the deponent, was frequently at their house and saw not the least disrespect shown Mrs. Stites by her husband...

Captain Joseph Meeker of Springfield, Essex Co, NJ in a deposition taken 16 September 1790 before Jeremiah Ballard, J.P. of Essex County, stated that in the summer of 1788 that he resided in the township of Washington in Kentucky and that Mrs. Mary Stites arrived there with a party from New Jersey in July of that year and Major Benjamin Stites soon after. He lived a near neighbor to them until December following when the party moved down to Miami, and he, the deponent, in a few days joined them and lived there until the June following. He was on friendly terms with Mr. and Mrs. Stites, being at their house nearly every day, and they appeared to live happily together. The family of Mr. Stites was well and plentifully provided for and no family there appeared to live better..."

Joel Williams in a deposition taken 20 September 1790 before Isaac Woodruff Esq., one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Essex County, stated that in July 1788 he was at Redstone old fort preparing boats to go down the river in company with Hezekiah Stites at which time Mr. Benjamin Stites and his wife arrived. As Mr. Stites was busily employed in getting flour and other necessary articles, his wife chose to go with the deponent and Hezekiah Stites. He was at Limestone when Mr. Benjamin Stites arrived, and, being frequently at Mr. Stites' house, he never saw anything but friendly conduct between him and his wife, Mary..."

William Sayrs, of the Farms, Essex County, in a deposition taken 20 September 1790 before Robert Wade, J.P. of said County, stated that in July 1788 he resided in the settlement of Redstone when Benjamin and Mary Stites arrived there. Mrs. Stites went down the river in company with Hezekiah Stites while Benjamin remained to thresh his grain, in which this deponent helped him. When Benjamin had got his flour ready and his business done, this deponent went down the river with him along with Benjamin's brother Elijah Stites whose wife was the only woman on board..."

Mr. John R. Mills (residence not stated) in a deposition taken 21 September 1790 in the Borough of Elizabeth before Jeremiah Ballard one of the Justices of said Borough, stated that he travelled the greater part of the way to Redstone with Benjamin and Mary Stites and went down the Ohio River in the same boat with Mary Stites...He spent several months in the neighbourhood of the Stites' at Miami, on one occasion residing four days with them, and found that Mr. Stites treated his wife with kindness and civility..."

(New Jersey Journal of Elizabethtown, NJ of 4 August 1790 and extracted in Notices from New Jersey Newspapers 1781-1790, Records of New Jersey, Vol. I by Thomas B. Wilson, p. 295-296)

Sometime after her return home it appears that Mary "Polly" (Mills) Stites gave birth to a daughter, Mary "Polly" R. Stites in New Jersey. Her birthdate in Ohio court records is given as Oct 1791. However, if the above newpaper account of 5 Apr 1790 stating that Mary had left Benjamin is true, then it becomes apparent that Mary was possibly with child when she left Benjamin in Ohio to return to New Jersey. This would then lead to the conclusion that possibly Mary R. Stites was born in October 1790 instead of 1791, unless there was some attempt at a reconciliation after Mary (Mills) Stites returned home.

(Capt.) Benjamin Stites II then apparently also married bigamously in Hamilton County, Ohio to #3 Hannah Waring on 14 August 1792 by Robert Morris. He and Hannah had the following children: Anne Watson Stites born Oct 1792; William Stites born June 1797; and Nathaniel Warren Stites born 18 Apr 1799. Mrs. Hannah Stites was married 13 Nov 1811 Daniel C. Carter by Edward Meeks according to the Western Spy newspaper dated 23 Nov 1811 as per Marjorie Byrnside Burress, Early Rosters of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, Ohio, 1984, p. 177.

Rachel, Benjamin's first wife, left the Ten Mile Creek area in 1796 and went to Deerfield, Hamilton County, Ohio (now in Warren County, Ohio). Benjamin sued her for divorce, and she countered in March of 1796. A divorce between Benjamin Stites and his first wife, Rachel, was not legally filed until "the third Tuesday of March 1796 in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio" being registered and finalized in 1798. A notice of divorce of Benjamin Stites from Rachel Stites appeared in the Freeman's Journal on 17 Jun 1796 and 8 Oct 1796 according to Marjorie Byrnside Burress, Early Rosters of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, Ohio, 1984, p. 201.

Mary "Polly" (Mills) Stites had evidently remarried by 15 December 1797 to [--?--] Woodruff, for she was called "Polly Woodruff" in the will of her mother, Amy [--?--] Mills, widow of William Mills (I). She may have gone with her WOODRUFF husband to Warren County, Ohio where her children were later residing, but that is not known. Further information concerning Mary "Polly" (Mills) Stites Woodruff is not known at this time. The illegimate children of (Capt.) Benjamin Mills II and his bigamistic relationship to Mary "Polly" (Mills) Stites: 1. John Gano Stites and 2. Mary R. Stites.


John Gano Stites married 16 Oct 1808 in Springfield, New Jersey to #1 Martha Cory (30 Jul 1786 NJ-1 Aug 1830 OH). After Martha's death, John Gano Stites married 12 June 1831 in Ohio to #2 Lucinda Harington who was born 20 Apr 1806 in Virginia. John Gano Stites died June 1853 in either Ohio or Indiana.
John was mentioned as an alternative legatee in the will (dated 15 December 1797) of his maternal grandmother,  Amy [--?--] Mills, widow of William Mills (I), of Essex County, New Jersey in the event of the death of his sister, "Polly Stites" before age 18.
Children of John Gano & Martha (Cory) Stites: 
1. Margaret Darby Stites born 5 Oct 1812 in Ohio. She married 22 May 1832 [--?--] Woodward; and she died 13 Sep 1849 in Spencer Co., IN.
2. Joseph C. Stites born 1 Nov 1815 Ohio and married 5 Sep 1832. He died in Spencer Co., IN.
3. John Gano Stites, Jr. born 14 Apr 1818 in Ohio. He died at age 14 years on 30 June 1832.
4. Abigail Cory Stites born 17 Dec 1820 OH. She married George Washington Stites, son of Hezekiah Stites. She died 19 Sep 1902 in Spencer Co., IN.  Their children were:  a. Charles F. Stites who had a daughter, Grace (Stites) Gentry; b. Maggie Ellen Stites married [--?--] Hinds, and she had a daughter, Cora M. (Hinds) Hanna. Cora became the mother of Robert J. Hanna, who married Mary F. [--?--]  [Note: Mary F. (--?--) Hanna shared information concerning Mary R. (Mills) Price and this family.]
5. Charlotte W. Stites born 6 Jun 1823 OH and died at 3 years on 28 Apr 1826.

Children of John Gano & #2 Lucinda (Harington) Stites:
6. William Harington Stites was born 12 Apr 1832 in OH and married Ellen on 7 Feb 1853.
7. Mary C. Stites was born 15 June 1842 in OH and married 20 May 1859 William B. Jones in Spencer Co., IN, and they had a daughter, Anna Jones. a. Anna Jones married Frank Johnson in Spencer Co., IN, and they had a daughter, Margarett Johnson. Margarett Johnson married Pertle Gann in KY and they had a daughter, Helen Gann, who married [--?--] Whetstone in Indiana. [Note: Helen (Gann) Whetstone has shared much genealogical information concerning (Capt.) Benjamin Stites of Hamilton Co., OH and his families.
8. James Stites was born 10 Mar 1844 in Ohio.

***********************************
  
Mary R. Stites was born in Oct 1790/1791 in New Jersey. She was mentioned in the will (dated 15 Dec 1797) of her maternal grandmother, Amy [--?--] Mills, widow of William Mills (I), of Essex County, New Jersey, where she is called "Polly Stites."  The will reads: "granddaughter, Polly Stites (daughter of daughter Polly Woodruff), 1/3 of estate; should she die under 18 without issue, the same to her brother, John."

Mary R. Stites married 6 Oct 1824 in Lebanon, Warren Co., OH to Phillip P. Price, a clockmaker. Phillip was a captain in the War of 1812. Philip P. Price died  about 1835, because he is found in the 1830 Federal Census of Hamilton Co., OH living in Cincinnati, Ohio Ward 2 (#030), but not the 1840 Federal Census. Among the numerous "Mary Price" names listed in Cincinnati, Hamilton Co., OH 1840 Federal Census, it is believed that she is the one enumerated #181. In 1850 Federal Census, Cincinnati, Hamilton Co., OH in Ward 7, #857, is found Mary Price, female, widow, 58 yrs., born NJ and Richard Brown, a 40 yrs. male roomer born in NY. According to the Minute Book of the Pioneer Assn. of Cincinnati, Vol. 1, p. 331, Mary R. Stites Price joined the association on 25 Mar 1865 paying her dollar membership. She was 74 years old and stated her father was "Benjamin Stites"; and that her mother was "Mary Mills." She further stated she was born October 1791 in New Jersey, three weeks before the defeat of St. Clair. She said she was married 6 Oct 1824 at Lebanon, Ohio to Philip Price, a clockmaker, who died in 1825 (sic c1835). At that time of joining Mary R. (Stites) Price was living "11 miles west of Cincinnati," Hamilton Co., OH. It appears that Phillip P. & Mary R. (Stites) Price had no issue. According to litigation court records Mary R. (Stites) Price filed to obtain a part of the estate of her father, Benjamin Stites. Because the 2nd and 3rd marriages of Benjamin Stites were found to be illegal, thus the children were considered illegitimate and entitled to no part of the estate. John Gano Stites, Mary R. Stites, and the children of Hannah (Waring) Stites were not recognized as legatees in their father's estate.

This site Mary R. Stites indicates she also married Edward Woods, but a record has not been found to validate that.

Benjamin Stites died intestate 30 Aug 1804 in Columbia, Hamilton County, Ohio. Benjamin Stites, Jr. (III), James Miranda, and Ephraim Kibbey were appointed administrators of his estate. The children of his first marriage with Rachel [--?--] Stites became the only legal heirs.  The family of (Capt.) Benjamin Stites (II) and Rachel were:

(1)   John Stites
(2)  Benjamin Stites III
(3)  Phebe Stites
(4)  Richard Stites
(5)  Rachel Stites


Daughter, Rachel Stites, married Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio to Timothy Kibby b. abt 1767 in Somers, Tolland County, Connecticut. "He was the s/o of Timothy Kibby and Mary Sexton. He had married first to Lillias Davis who died. Timothy was much older than Rachel." Shortly after the marriage on 20 Nov 1798 in Cincinnat, Hamilton Coounty, Ohio they removed to St. Charles, Missouri. All their children were born in Missouri where Timothy died 24 Jan 1813 in St. Charles, Missouri. After Timothy's death, Rachel married [--?--] Weldon, but then after his death she returned to Cincinnati.
.....(a) "Sylvester Novel Kibbe b. 1800 Hamilton County, Ohio; d. 1840 Cincinnati, Ohio, married Susan."
.....(b) "Missouri A. Kibbe b. 1804 St. Charles, Missouri; m. Southwell Royse"
.....(c) Lavina Sidney Kibby b 28 December 1805 St. Charles, Missouri, married 2 April 1825 Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio to Caleb C. Spencer. Lavina and Caleb went to Owen Twp., Clark County, Indiana. Caleb was b abt 1796 Connecticut and drowned May 1850. "She married second to a John H. Howard. At death on 21 August 1890 in Clark County, Indiana, she was using her married name of Spencer."
.....(d) "Epahrus Kibbe b. 8 Oct 1810 St. Charles, Missouri; d. 15 Sep 1839 Mobile, Alabama; married Susan Henrietta Burbeck on 9 June 1825 in New London, Conn. He was a graduate of West Point."
.....(e) "Timothy Kibbe b. 1 Jun 1813 in St. Charles, Missouri; d. 8 Sep 1890 Miami Co., Ohio. He married 19 Jul 1845 in Dayton, Ohio to Susan Jones Brown.

(Source: Internet, 1997, Cincinnati, OH Query & 2006 : Roberta IIAMES at Guyrossjr@aol.com)

Rachel [--?--] Stites married 14 Apr 1805 in Lebanon, Warren County, Ohio to Joseph Ward.



There has been widespread genealogical fallacy concerning the second wife of Benjamin Stites. She was Mary "Polly" Mills, dau/o William Mills & Amy [--?--]. She later married a Mr. Woodruff.

She has in D.A.R. records been called "Mary Price." This is NOT true. Mary Price was Mary R. (Stites) Price, dau/o (Capt.) Benjamin Stites from his bigamist marriage with Mary "Polly" (Mills) Stites -Woodruff. Mary "Polly" Stites, the daughter, was the wife of Phillip P. Price. .

Some genealogists have confused the STITES records. There is some speculation that the first wife of (Capt.) Benjamin Stites II was even Rachel Mills, but this has not been proven, and other researchers call her Rachel Walden.


Some SITES of INTEREST



  • Ohio Moments: Church established before state

  • Major Benjamin Stites

  • History of Montgomery County, Ohio, Chapter 4, p. 254


    Written: 1996
    Revised: 11 December 2006






    Tiny URL: http://tinyurl.com/yh8dd4