For now, any consideration of Orphan George Hodgson’s roots coming from Cumbria and then Ireland remain conjectural, based largely on Jeremiah Mills’ undated and all-too-brief notes from the early 1800s recounting the Hodgson family’s disastrous passage to the New World from Ireland or northwest England. Even so, this is what I have.
Central to the argument are the surviving records of Lurgan Friends Meeting. Arising from the traveling ministry of William Edmondson in 1654, Lurgan Monthly Meeting in Armagh is the oldest Quaker institution in Ireland.
The Lurgan picture becomes complicated, first, by the badly faded ink on many of the minutes recording Quaker families, second, by gaps in the records themselves, and, third, by the existence of a cluster of Hodgsons as part of the Lurgan Friends community. In addition, the first surviving page of the Lurgan minutes begins in 1675, two decades after the Meeting’s founding.
Nor can all of the gaps in the Lurgan minutes be blamed on faded ink or missing pages. In 1691 the men’s meeting noted “the Booke of record of Certificates of Marriages, Birthes & Burialls belonging to this meeting having for some years past been entrusted to ye care of John Dobb, & he now being absent & not in this nation … ye said Booke hath not been duely kept as formerly.”
But, as Chris Dickinson confirmed in a e-mail, “You are absolutely right that the Hodgsons of Lurgan came from Murton in Lamplugh in Cumberland.”
Little is known of the early years of the first documented ancestor of the Hodgson, Hodgin, or Hodson family that surfaces in Colonial Guilford County, North Carolina. According to several widely circulated stories, he was the only surviving member of a Quaker family that set sail from Ireland or England and was taken captive and/or fell victim to disease en route to America.
Spousal lines include Thatcher, Dicks/Dix, Maddock, Nichols, Stevens.
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George HODGSON was born, according to currently undocumented reports, January 6, 1701/02; he died, 1774, in Guilford County, North Carolina, and is presumed buried in an unmarked plot at Centre Friends burial ground, along with his wife. He married, February 21, 1729, in Old Swedes Church in what is now Wilmington, Delaware, Mary THATCHER (1712-1764), daughter of Jonathan Thatcher and Hannah DICKS. Six known children:
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A member of the first American-born generation in my name-line, George (sometimes referred to as George Junior) provides glimpses into an emerging culture of Quakers who were not officially members of the Society of Friends, yet continued to attend Meeting for Worship and practice many of its distinctive ways. The fact that George and his wife are later readmitted into membership is, in itself, instructive. A pivotal event in his adult years was the American Revolution, which included the campaigns of General Nathanael Greene and Lord Charles Cornwallis as they fought through Guilford County.
Even with the second-cousin relationship between George and his wife, her identity presents questions: her surname is variously listed as Oldham or Christy.
Spousal lines: Oldham, Christy, Clark, Few, Dicks/Dix, Maddock, Simcock, Nichols.
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George Hodson was born in 1737 in Adams County, Pennsylvania. He died in 1813, Guilford County, North Carolina, where his will was probated in February. He is buried in the graveyard at the New Garden Friends meetinghouse, Guilford County. He married, 1764, Rachel Oldham ( – ), in a manner contrary to Friends discipline, as recorded in the minutes of New Garden Friends Meeting, Eleventh Month 27.
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According to George’s will, there were these children:
Considering the span of more than three years between their marriage and the birth of their first known child, William – and the fact that his naming reflects Midland England practice, rather than the English Borderland usage in previous Hodgson generations, I would surmise there was an earlier daughter, Sarah, who died in childhood. Continue reading
William Hodson, representing the first North Carolina-born generation of my name-line, appears to move about in what I have come to call the Shadow Meeting - individuals who attend Quaker Meeting, and in this period might even wear Plain clothing and converse in Plain speech, yet who are not official members of the Society of Friends. Without membership, though, they are not minuted in the Quaker records. Complicating the documentation of William Hodson’s life and family is the fact that he died intestate, making proof of his genealogy even more tenuous.
Likewise, detailing his wife’s place within the Saferight genealogy is at this point sketchy.
Spousal lines: Saferight/Sigfried/Sigfret/Siegfried/Seyfert.
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William Hodson was born 1768, Guilford County, the son of George and Rachel (Oldham) Hodson. He married, ca 1790, Diannah Saferight (1768-before May 17, 1852), the daughter of Henry (or Heinrich) Sigfred/Sigfried/Saferight. John K. Hodgin also lists a Nancy as the given name for Henry’s wife. William died intestate February 6, 1849, Guilford County. Four or eight reported children, possibly ten.
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Charles H. Saunders, drawing upon Glen C. Walker, names the first four children. I round out his information with data from other sources. John K. Hodgin, working from his computerized files, adds another four, though at this time I am hoping to find data on the other the other local William Hodson’s family to make sure we are not mixing two separate lines into one. (He also names a second wife, Keziah Harvey, as the mother of Ruth, but that 1825 date falls within the span of children born to Diannah Saferight, leading me to rule that out.
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