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Linthicum/Sherwood Connections


A relationship of great interest to me that is mentioned by many and almost totally undocumented by any researcher is that of Richard Linthicum and Mary Sherwood who seem very likely to be the parents of my 4th Great Grandfather, Daniel Linthicum (ca 1770 MD- 1849 NC).  In the several years of my research, the best clues to this relationship have come from various Wilson and Sherwood family traditions.  An article by Vic Kirkman about the Sherwood family written for The Guilford Genealogist[1], the quarterly journal of the Guilford Genealogical Society, came close to defining this relationship but left some nagging doubts.  The answer to finding much better definition of this relationship rested in the sources provided by Mr. Kirkman for his work and unfortunately, I did not pursue the matter further until again called to my attention by the Sherwood “cousin” referred to below.  For brevity I'll just call them the Sherwood/Hedrick letters.


These letters should be of great interest to those who may be researching descendants of the Linthicum branch that appears in North Carolina in the late 1780’s.  I feel that this line begins with the marriage Richard Linthicum and Mary Sherwood.  I will lay the ground work for the conclusions the letters lead me to by reciting some well-defined relationships that I accept as fact as most researchers seem to agree upon themA.  This is not intended to be a comprehensive history of these families but rather just to provide the background that helps make the new puzzle pieces fit.


Daniel Sherwood III (1749 MD-1838 NC) son of Daniel Sherwood Jr. and Elizabeth Rice had a sister, Mary Sherwood (1753 MD –ca 1786); he also had a brother, Hugh.


Hezekiah Linthicum (ca 1670 MD-1721 MD), son of Thomas, the immigrant, married Milcah Francis and had sons Francis Linthicum Sr. (1709MD- 1765 MD and Thomas Francis Linthicum Sr. (1716 MD-1807 MD) .  There was also Hezekiah, who most say died without issue and a daughter, Mary who married Edmond Wayman.


Frances Linthicum (1749 MD-1806 NC) was the daughter of Francis Linthicum Sr. and Eleanor Williams.  Frances had a brother Richard Linthicum who, as far as we know, stayed in Maryland, married Mary Lee and settled in Dorchester Co.


Thomas Francis Linthicum Sr. married Elizabeth Williams and they had a son Richard Linthicum (ca 1745 MD-1819 NC).  Elizabeth and Eleanor were sisters.


Benjamin Sherwood’s (1783 MD-1866 IA) was a son of the above referenced Daniel Sherwood and Frances Linthicum who married about 1768 to 1770 in Maryland[2].  This individual is the 5th great Uncle of a Sherwood researcher and correspondent to which I am about a 6th cousin so I am going to call him "Uncle Ben."  I’ll call the current day Sherwood researcher “Cousin Ben”B who is in the process of writing a book on his Sherwood ancestors.  In his research Cousin Ben delves into the timing of the NC migration, how the Eastern Shore Sherwoods came to intermarry with the Linthicums from the Western Shore and other issues which all contribute to a better knowledge of these families during the time the connections we are investigating occurred.


“Uncle Ben” Sherwood had a daughter Elizabeth who married John Leonard Hedrick and their son Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick achieved fame or infamy, as you wish, by being very outspoken on the topic of abolition at a time when this was not a popular subject in North Carolina.  Four letters from Iowa from his grandfather Benjamin Sherwood are the part of the Sherwood/Hedrick letters that are of specific interest to us.  Uncle Ben’s letters to his grandson over a period of years along with a lot of other material from Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick were saved in collection at Duke University and the University of North Carolina as previously noted.  The letters ranged over a great deal of subject matter but the grandfather obviously espoused the same opinions as did his grandson on the topic of slavery and to our good fortune the grandson expressed an interest in family history which Uncle Ben also took great pride in relating to his grandson for future generations.  Again, fortunately for Linthicum historians, a few of these letters touched on our favorite subject.


Uncle Ben is described by Cousin Ben as follows:” Benjamin was pretty much a farmer. He bought 300 acres of land in 1804 from his father, Daniel Sherwood III that was on Sandy Creek in what was then Rowan County. He farmed that for about 28 years then headed west. Settled in Indiana for a few divorced from his "wretched wife" after a long marriage and 9 kids, and then moved on to Iowa where he had a farm. He writes like a pretty intelligent guy and he subscribed to several newspapers...even the New York Journal. So he kept current in national affairs. He expressed his political opinions in several letters. Mostly he was a Whig or Republican and voted for Lincoln. He was also very anti-slavery. I have a copy of a 44 page "anti-slavery" essay that he wrote. He sent a copy to his grandson; also his handwriting is as good as I have seen from anyone in that era - very readable. But after reading a ton of Benjamin's letters, it appears to me that he was a bit opinionated and borderline intolerant of some folks including some of his relatives and also one of his sons and a grandson.”


At this point I must add that Uncle Ben for various reasons does not recall all facts perfectly in accord with what we feel is correct as history related by other researchers tells us but for the purpose of better defining the critical relationship and pedigrees of Richard Linthicum and Mary Sherwood, the information expressed in his letters is the most definitive as to these individuals that I have seen to date.  Rather than belabor this point, I will now get to the quotes from Uncle Ben's letters that are of most interest to us and later we'll discuss some of the points where he seems to be a bit off the mark.


Cousin Ben has shared photocopies of 4 letters from his research that bear directly on our interest in Richard and Mary Sherwood Linthicum and I have extracted and transcribed the very specific passages which advance our goal.


Uncle Ben writes:

“Marion County, Iowa February 9th 1858


               Beloved grandchildren,-----


My maternal grandfather was an Englishman of a powerful mind and the resolution of a bulldog.  Before proceeding any further I will relate an anecdote confirmatory of his courage.  He was wealthy owning many slaves but was their protector not the tyrant of his Negroes.  He had a brother everything but reputable who caught on a Negro man out and in order to show authority chastised the boy.  The boy returned to his kind guardian confident that that his wrongs would be avenged-grandfather took the sufferer with him for a witness against his own brother-tried him without a judge on the evidence of the Negro, and inflicted two stripes with a rod on the culprit’s back for each one unjustly given the Negro.  Grandfather's name was Francis Lynthicum.  His descendants, generally, I believe, still remain in Maryland and are wealthy, intelligent and influential.  The name of one of them was in the convention that formed the Constitution and book of discipline of the Methodist Protestant church.  I never saw but one of mother’s brothers, Richard; he was rich, intelligent, energetic, influential and pious.  Mother's name was Frances, she was born in November of the same year that Father was in May, to wit, 1749.  They were married in their 19th year.----- “


This particular incident is related to twice subsequently and becomes the key to establishing the parentage of the Richard Linthicum who married Mary Sherwood.  It does also lead us though deduction to fix a date range of 1768-69 for the marriage of Frances Lynthicum and Daniel Sherwood III.  Pursuing this point further, we'll review a quote from a subsequent wide-ranging letter which covers topics from abolition to garden seed


“Marion County, Iowa

August 10 A.D1862

              Beloved grandson:


----I have one occurrence that transpired during the time of grandfather Francis Linthycum’s active life, handed down by tradition through the agency of my mother, that if I was in possession of the facts on paper from the pen of grandfather; money would not take that paper from me and I suspect that some of your descendants will possess a share of a like taste.  The facts alluded to were as follows: Grandfather had several colored persons in his family whom he treated more like children than like slaves: He also had a brother who was just the reverse of himself -- the brother was a coward, a tyrant, was worthless and mean: This brother got grandfather's black man within his power and whipped him -- the faithful man hastened home and related to his humane guardian the treatment received -- grandfather procured a good rod, started in pursuit of his brother, taking the black man along as a witness -- arrested the defendant -- acted in the capacity of Sheriff, jury, and judge -- found the culprit guilty and carried the sentence of the court into execution by giving his own brother a severe flogging with his rod.  If I do not misremember, the black man himself related to mother the occurrence.  Mother probably was unborn when the flogging took place: she was the youngest member of the family.  Grandmother died shortly after her birth-grandfather when she was a small girl.----“


This passage adds the context for us that the story comes from his mother, Frances Linthicum Sherwood, who he held in total adoration as revealed in many other passages, and that Uncle Ben’s telling of the tale would be at least 3rd hand.


I must digress just a bit here in noting that in the year 1862, this three letter exchange between Marion Co., IA and New York City, where Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick lived, occurred between 10 Aug and 21 Sept. with just over a month for the first exchange to transpire.  In my mind, a certain amount of admiration for the Postal Service of the day is in order and we just couldn’t be more fortunate than being able to read the following definitive statement in Uncle Ben’s own hand:


“Marion County, Iowa

September 21st A.D1862

Beloved grandson:----

Your letter dated the 14th instant reach me this morning and I hasten to comply with your request so far as practicable, as to whom our family sprang from.---


---Father had a brother, Hugh and a sister Mary.  Mary married Richard Lynthicum, the son of grandfather's brother that got flogged for abusing the black man.  I suppose that I have seen Aunt Mary but do not recall doing so.  Uncle Richard was my schoolmaster -- a poor scholar.  They raised a family possessing great moral worth.---“


Cousin Ben deduces that Uncle Ben was just a few months old when the Sherwoods moved to NC. and this passage, although being very precise in setting relationships only gives us reason to suspect that “Aunt Mary” never lived long enough in NC-if at all- to leave any lasting impression on young Benjamin.


In another letter extensively detailing family ties, Uncle Ben writes,


“Marion County, Iowa,

February 24, 1863

Beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren:


---Aunt Mary, father's sister, married Richard Lynthicum, mother's own cousin; they raised a family of good moral and considerable intellectual worth.  So far as I'm aware their descendants are generally in Guilford County N.C.---“


Given these statements, coupled with the facts that appear to be well accepted about Richard Linthicum, brother of Frances Linthicum who married Mary Lee and lived his days in Dorchester Co., MD, Uncle Ben convinces me of who Richard Lynthicum and Mary Sherwood are descended from, that they were husband and wife and that this family came to NC about the same time as his Sherwood family.  Richard Linthicum is found in Guilford Co., NC by 1789[3].  We are not sure if he came to NC with the Sherwoods as early as late 1783 or at a later time. We do not know when Richard Linthicum and Mary Sherwood married or exactly where.  We assume the Eastern Shore of Maryland and about 1770 given the birth date of the supposed oldest child.  We do not know when and where Mary Sherwood Linthicum died but we do know from Richard Linthicum’s 1819 will that he apparently remarried.


Of the family of Richard and Mary that Uncle Ben refers to, we have only the following evidence of any parent/child relationships: Richard and an assumed son, Daniel appear on the same page of the 1800 Census for Salisbury Dist., Guilford Co., NC.  Also as a neighbor is John Wilson who Wilson tradition and Rev. Daniel Wilson’s autobiography[4] tells us married Elizabeth Linthicum, thought to be the daughter of Richard and Mary.  In Feb. 1820, after Richard’s death, Daniel Linthicum appears as a “witness” on a 1799 deed deeding property from James Kirkman to Richard Linthicum.  Although I’ve been able to trace likely offspring of Richard and Mary, some cases for many generations, I’m unaware of any direct tie to either parent for any of the other four beyond the references above and some partially correct information in the Badger book previously noted.


I must at this point deal with some realities about Uncle Ben’s total grasp of Linthicum family history.  We would have to assume that he learned most from his mother who was orphaned quite young and who died just a couple of years after Uncle Ben married.  After his marriage, he lived in another county than where the Linthicums lived and states no recollections of any Linthicum cousin in his writings to my knowledge -other than saying that they turned out OK in spite of their Linthicum grandfather.


When I first read of Francis Lynthicum, the Englishman, it really didn’t trouble me too much as I thought maybe most colonists of English descent still thought of themselves as Englishmen until the relationship with King George was redefined.  Reading further in passages I purposely did not extract, Uncle Ben relates his understanding that Francis Lynthicum came to these shores from England as a young man and married Eleanor Hopkins.  This is very contradictory to the accepted history that Francis Linthicum would have been the 2nd generation born on the North American continent and confuses the Hopkins family with the Williams family.  Another troublesome item is that Uncle Ben never names Thomas Francis as the brother of his grandfather but rather calls him Richard.  It should be noted that even in the matter of Sherwood family history, Uncle Ben’s depth of knowledge is not extensive.  We just have to accept this as part of what we get with “family tradition” but I feel that his grasp and recollection of the more contemporary relationships of his day are credible.


Another instance where I did initially question Uncle Ben’s writings, I do find evidence to support his statement that Linthicums were involved with the formation of the Constitution of the Methodist Protestant Church.  Since he was a bit off in where his Grandfather Francis fits into the Linthicum USA family tree, it makes sense when we find that there were two Linthicums from Maryland who were appointed to the convention for the development of this document in 1828.  It is my estimation that these individuals are more likely relatives (cousins) than descendants of Francis.  This is another subject in itself and I will be happy to provide references for anyone wishing to put a finer point on this unrelated topic.


In order to avoid any breech in the heretofore generally cordial relationships between the Sherwoods and the Linthicums, I feel compelled to comment on the passage in the Sep 1862 letter where Uncle Ben names his Uncle by marriage, Richard Linthicum, as his schoolmaster and then adds the comment, “a poor scholar.”  I purposely have included Cousin Ben’s characterization of Uncle Ben for better insight into Uncle Ben’s perspective and in our various correspondence we specifically discussed this quote.  Given the fact that Uncle Ben is certainly well educated for his station in life in the era he lived in, Cousin Ben and I agreed that some credit for this must accrue to his schoolmaster and just perhaps the comment is judgmental of the material wealth of the “scholar” which would be totally in keeping with Uncle Ben’s tendencies.  There is no evidence of any significant wealth in Richard Linthicum’s estate proceedings.  It should be noted that it appears that the administration of the estate was never completed.


In conclusion, I would like to thank Cousin Ben for sharing this information with me.  In deference to the issuance of his Sherwood study, I have purposely avoided expanding into a great deal of information that he freely shared with me and will look forward to having his work as a reference in further investigations of our Linthicum Sherwood Connections.


Terry Linthicum

Green Valley, AZ


[1] The Guilford Genealogist, Vol 18, No. 3, Spring 1991, Issue # 53, p 145+

[2] At this stage of my research, I find many published studies using this date or an approximation thereof but cannot secure a credible source to verify it. I do believe they were married around this time somewhere in MD, likely Anne Arundel or possibly Talbot Co.

A I draw heavily on Badger’s Genealogy of the Linthicum & Allied Families, 1939 and Newman’s Anne Arundel Gentry, Lord Baltimore Press, 1933 for general knowledge of the extended Linthicum family.  Unfortunately, the information about the branch of the family that went to NC is confused and generally lacking


B Cousin Ben is Ben H Sherwood; Please direct any inquiries about his book to him :