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Trousdale Genealogy

December 1999

Descendants of John Trousdale

Generation No. 1

1.  JOHN1 TROUSDALE was born Abt. 1704 in Ulster Province (now Northern),. Ireland, and died Abt. 1782 in Orange (now Alamance) Co., NC.  He married ELIZABETH in Ireland or PA.  She died Abt. 1784.

SOURCE:  "The Trousdale Genealogy" by Karl Truesdell, 1952; Enlarged by Theodore McKee Trousdale, Jr., 1960.
Migrated to America between 1730 and 1735 settling initially in Lancaster Co., PA and then moved to Orange Co., NC.  With variations the foregoing represents the consensus of family tradition.  Except for John's will, no records exist.
    The migration from Ireland conforms to the general exodus of the period when more than half of the Protestant population left to avoid over-population and dire famine conditions.  The period is that of George II - no political strife, little religious persecution.  By the time John arrived in Pennsylvania the good, cheap land east of the Susquehanna and south of the mountains had been occupied.  A presumed brother, William, is authentically identified in the area as a freeman, landowner, and taxpayer,  John Trousdale, however, is not officially recorded as having lived in Lancaster Co.  Elsewhere, two grandchildren state that they were born in Lancaster Co., PA.
    Attracted by the low cost speculative grants in the Carolinas John Trousdale apparently abandoned whatever living he had in Pennsylvania and moved southward following the 400 mile route via the Lower Trail or Trading Path by way of the Shenandoah and the Piedmont, a month's trip by wagon.  Moving in company, religious congregations - Quakers, Moravian, Presbyterians, or political groups - German, Scotch-Irish, Jacobite, would settle in particular localities, community of interest prevailing.  Squatting on likely home sites the families would later buy the land from the agent for the patent (Hist Alamance Co., NC, Whittaker).  John Trousdale, a Presbyterian, sought the Hawfields tract, a part of the original Granville patent, on the east bank of the Haw River between Swepsonville and Saxapahaw, Haw Creek a tributary of the Haw running along its south edge.  Insofar as known, John, the elder, did not himself acquire land in Orange Co. although his two younger sons did become extensive landowners on both banks of the Haw and his eldest son lived on the west side (Alamance Co, NC, S.W. Stockard).  Other settlers at the time, to mention a few names included in subsequent marriages, were the Freelands, Stockards, Clendennins.
    On arrival in Orange Co., John Trousdale was well along in years.  His sons who accompanied him were married and had families of their won.  John, the elder, probably did not become personally involved in the Regulator troubles which were stirring the area at the time.  The neighborhood, however, was committed to the insurrection against the Crown authorities.  In the Revolutionary War, while too old to serve as a soldier, in December 1776 John Trousdale rendered assistance to the State military authorities and was paid therefor 10.1.8 (NC Rev Accounts VIII #697).  The character of the service is not stated.  Being a tailor it might have been for uniforms, a necessity at this time in the Revolution.
    Last of authentic records pertaining to John, the elder, is his Will* signed with his mark, 3 August 1779.  Stating that he was a tailor (taylor) and "weak in body", he mentions no land or home, but only goods and chattels which he devises to his wife Elizabeth "during her natural life, and at her death to be divided as follows among my children:" in substance to:
  my son William, to receive 3 more than a child's part
  my son John, to receive certain clothing more than a child's part
  my son James, to receive a child's part
  my daughter Margaret, to receive a child's part
  my daughter Mary to receive on shilling.
    On the same day in a codicil but with different witnesses he gave "to his beloved son James" the House Bible.  William and John had been named as executors, but on the face of the Will is the notation:  "Wm refused; John qualified".  The Will was offered and accomplished at the February Court in 1784 (Original in NC Archives).
    The above Will is legally well drawn, the work of a qualified lawyer.  From it certain deductions are proper.  By naming his trade to be that of a tailor, a clue is given as to his early training in the homeland as a townsman in Ireland.  With scant opportunity to practice this skill in America he was still proud of his accomplishment.  It is also what is termed a death-bed instrument, John probably dying shortly thereafter.  Not a property owner, John and Elizabeth probably lived with one of the sons - James, according to the special consideration mentioned in the codicil.  "Child's part" is a legal term of equivalence and has nothing to do with age at the time, otherwise by primogeniture, then applicable, the eldest son was entitled to all realty and the greater part of the remainder.  The terms of the Will prevent its ultimate division until Elizabeth's demise.  Therefore, she is presumed to have died by 1784. 
    (*) Some attribute this Will to be that of John Trousdale Jr.  The son, raised in the wilds of a new country, would not be a "tailor".  While possible it is doubtful that he would have two sons of legal age to administer the estate.  The land records indicate that John Jr. was an active planter and miller dying in 1797.  This does not comport with the traditional birth of John the elder in 1704.  Consequently, the Compiler can not concur in this assumption.

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