CAROTHERS FAMILY OF SWISSVALE, PENNSYLVANIA
Written by Diane Hitchcock-Owens
Mary Emiline Allen was the daughter of Sarah Margaretta (Carothers) and Charles Allen. Charles had immigrated in the 1880’s to North Dakota from Ireland. Sarah’s family were part of the Scottish migration of the late 1770’s to Pennsylvania. The Carothers came from Scotland via Ireland. p> The Carothers were “extreme” Presbyterians who were pushed out of Scotland into Ireland before immigrating to America in the.
Four Carothers/Carruthers/Carrithers brothers came to America (Robert, John, William, and James (I) in 1771. The name was originally Carruthers. Each of these brothers settled in different states. Robert went to North Carolina; William, to Virginia; John to Pennsylvania; and James to Maryland. (This James may have been the one who had fourteen children and may have been a twin of Andrew Carruthers.)
These brothers changed the spelling of the name to differentiate the families. William used the "i;" John and Robert, the letter "o;" and James, the letter "u." These brothers were the sons of Robert and Sarah (Sproul) Carruthers of Scotland.
I suspect this line descends from James (I) who went to Maryland. Four of James' (I) children followed their uncles to Pennsylvania in 1765. A John resided in East Pennsboro, Pennsylvania, (later became Lancaster County, 1750). Cumberland County was formed from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. John's son William resided in Washington County, Pennsylvania.
William Porter Carruthers/Carothers, son of James Carothers (I) served from Maryland in the Revolutionary War. He later settled in Fayette County, Pennslvania. Fayette County is near where we pick up our a Charles Carothers. William Porter married Jane Calhoun in Fayette County. They were listed on the tax list in Plum township , Fayette Co., Pennsylvania, in 1790.
James (I) and his sons William Porter, Stephen, and Adam went to Kentucky. Charles remained on the family farm in Pennsylvania but his son William may have accompanied the group to Kentucky. T he family was Presbyterian and members of the old Cane Run Church.
Around 1800 the family continued west with the westward migration by way of the Ohio river. Adam and his family remained in Kentucky. William Porter's family went to Indiana; Stephen's family went to Illinois. William, son of Charles, also went to Indiana. Charles remained in Pennsylvania on the family farm until he moved to Allegheny Co., PA.
James and his wife died in Shelby County, Kentucky, in 1813, but was buried in the "Old Cane Run Churchyard" in Jefferson County, Kentucky.
Again the family changed the spelling of the name. Adam, changed the name to CARRITHERS. Adam remained in Kentucky. Their grandson, William, son of Charles, moved on to Indiana with his uncle, William Porter . Their son, Stephen went to Illinois. Another son, James, was killed in the War of 1812.
Charles remained on the family farm in Plum township and apparently changed the spelling of Carruthers to Carothers.
In 1836 Charles helped to organize the Presbyterian Church at Cross Roads near Monroeville. He was considered a "Pillar of the Church" having "contributed most of the money for a very substantial stone structure built as a house of worship." He also presented the congregation with its first communion service which was made of pewter, He later replaced it with a silver set which is presently in the possession of the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh.
Charles married Margaret Criswell. Their son Robert married Sarah Shaw. Sarah’s family originated in co. Down, Ireland, although it is most likely they, too, were part of the Presbyterian migration from Scotland.
Samuel Shaw left co. Antrium, Ireland, about 1773 and settled first in York Co., Pennsylvania before moving westward to Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties where he and his family were farmers. Two of Samuel’s sons’ fought in the Black Hawk War. Samuel grandson, William Rainy Shaw, was the fifth governor of Minnesota.
Samuel’s son David married Jane Ekin. Jane was the daughter of Robert Ekin and Margaret Jamison. David and Jane’s daughter was Sarah Shaw, wife of Robert Carothers.
Another son, Joseph Criswell Carothers, served as Chaplain at Western Penitentiary of Pennsylvania.
The Jamison name goes back to Francis Jamison emigrated from Belfast, Ireland in 1769. It is most likely the Ekins, Milligans, and Shaws were all part of the same group. The Jamisons belonged to the First Presbyterian Church in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Robert Carothers, son of Robert and Sarah (Shaw) Carothers married Ellen Emiline Milligan. The Milligans were among the French Huguenots who originated in Saxony and Normandy. The family of Samuel Milligan was part of an extreme brand of Presbyterians who were forced from their homelands in France to Edinburgh, Scotland in the 1630's. During this time many suffered horrendous tortures for their religious beliefs. Again, due to religious persecutions, the family left Scotland for county Down, Ireland about 1754. It is here Samuel, the earliest known progenitor of this Milligan family, resided for sixteen years before sailing for America in 1770. He settled on lands near Saville, Madison twp., Perry County, Pennsylvania. At that time Perry County was part of Cumberland County. The family records are found at Carlisle, county seat of Cumberland County.
Samuel married Sarah Jardin. Sarah's family descended from the Scottish border family, that had originated in France. Their son, David Milligan married Sarah Maragaret Wallace. David was four years of age when his with parents to America. He bought a piece of land eight miles from Pittsburg where he and his son Robert, age fourteen, went of the family to build a cabin. In the spring of 1814 Robert moved his family of the mountains in covered wagons full of their worldly belongings. His youngest child, Joseph, was only a few weeks old. This community became known as Swissvale. The family belonged to the Beulah Church were they are buried.
John Milligan, son of David, moved to Montgomery Co., Indiana in 1828 where he bought 80 acres of land. He was a school teacher in the county as well as a clerk in a store near the town of Waveland. He was also a postmaster and a member of the Presbyterian Church. Family tradition has it he" had to leave Swissvale because some girl there insisted she would marry him. John’s two brothers followed him to Indiana; Joseph in 1833; Thomas, in 1830."John graduated from Wabash College in 1839. He also served in the Indiana State legislature.
Another son of David’s, Thomas Stuart Milligan, also moved to Indiana settling in Owen County. In 1853 he was the only Presbyterian minister in Owen County. There he resided in a little log cabin in the town of Bethany, five miles from Gosport.
Robert Carothers married Mary Ann Shortess, daughter of Alexander Shortess.
Thomas Shortess married Mary Hunter. This family immigrated when Thomas Shortess sailed from England to Pennsylvania circa 1766, settling in Cumberland Co. He moved "over the mountain" in to Fishing Creek & Sherman's Creek Valleys (presently Perry Co.) where Alexander and sons Andrew and Alexander acquired acres of land. Part of the Shortess family moved to Barberton Co., Ohio the early part of 1800's. His younger sons and Thomas, eldest son of Andrew, remained in Pennsylvania.
The Shortess family belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church and were part of the circuit ministry.
Their son Alexander married Margaret Owen, daughter of Levi Owen.
Levi was the son of Griffith Owen who was the first American immigrant of this family. Griffith Owen married Margaret Kathleen Morgan.
Griffith Owen immigrated from Wales in 1721 to Pennsylvania where he built a “Mansion House” in Hilltown twp., Bucks Co., in 1727 where he owned 500 acres. Griffith served as constable Nov 1730. He also Served under Col. Alexander Graydon's regiment as Capt. of the Associators French and Indian War. Family tradition says he was among the signers of the "Oath of Allegiance." The family moved to Montgomery Co., Pennsylvania where they belonged to Methodist Church in Montgomery Co.
Levi Owen married Ann Smith.
Emiline Ellen (Milligan) and Robert Carothers. The family resided in Turtle Creek (Swissvale) Pennsylvania until they moved to Vinton, Iowa where Robert was head of the School for the blind. Upon his death and that of their eldest daughter, Emiline returned to her home in Pennsylvania with her remaining children. At the age of fifty she struck out by railroad with her young adult children for Dakota Territory where the family were among the first to establish Grand Forks, North Dakota. She lived in a “sod house” until circumstances allowed her to build a more conventional house.
Emiline Milligan Carothers’ family made important contributions to the developement of the state of North Dakota as well as the city of Grand Forks.
Her daughter, Josephine Roberta Carothers married Alexander George Burr who had come from Scotland. he was the first State Supreme Court Justice of North Dakota. Their son Alexander Jr. worked to develope the lignite industry in North Dakota.
Another daughter, Wilhelmina Carothers worked for the Library of Congress as well as oither libraries in various states. She was instrumental in getting public libraries established in North Dakota through her connection to Andrew Carnegie.
Her son Robert entered law school at the University of Michigan in 1887 and graduated in 1889. He returned to North Dakota and practiced law at Grand Forks. In 1890 he was elected Judge of the County Court of Grand Forks County. He also taught law at the University of North Dakota, served on the city council of Grand Forks. He also served as secretary of the board of turstees of the State University. He belonged to the Republican Party and represented his party at various conventions.
Her daughter, Sarah Margaretta, married Charles Allen. Their daughter, Mary Emiline married Paul Raymond Owens.
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For more on the church in Cross Roads, PA go to:
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