You know the old conversational question, “If you could go back in time to meet anybody in history, who would it be?”
The bold answer would be Jesus or Abraham Lincoln or some other monumental historic figure, though we’d likely be too awed to do anything but mumble and grovel in their presence.
For me, the alternative that initially springs to mind is Orphan George, to hear him tell of the ocean crossing, his early years and later movements, and more of his wife’s background and influence.
But I realize the importance of going back yet another generation, to his father, who could confirm or correct what is now the weakest link in my Hodgson genealogy. Do I have it right, for starters, that his parents were John and Elinor Hodgson? Crucially, what were his wife’s given name and surname? Where were they married? What were her parents’ names? What was his life like? How did he view his faith?
This, even before getting into the fateful ocean crossing. What would go through a father’s mind and heart once the pirate ship was sighted? Or in the ensuing travails and terrors?
Many of the descendants of George and Mary (Thatcher) Hodgson migrated to the Midwest from North Carolina. One result was the William and Phoebe Hodgson farm in Tazewell County, Groveland Township, 4 miles east of Pekin, Illinois.
Tim Sangalli, who provides the artwork, believes the property was the first of several farms Amos and William Hodgson homesteaded circa 1836.
It was purchased by Jack and Amelia Sangalli in the late 1940s.
One of the central points where I differ from standard accounts of George Hodgson’s life springs from his purchase of two large tracts in what is now Adams County, Pennsylvania, before he and his wife Mary and children relocate more than a decade later to North Carolina.
The land transactions would have made the family among the first settlers on what was then the frontier of Pennsylvania.
Adams County today.
Key to his settling there was Moses Harlan, whom I believe was somehow related to George’s mother.
Harlan family genealogies describe a similar log house in Adams County.
Moses’ parents, George and Elizabeth (Duck) Harlan, built this house in Chester County, Pennsylvania. They were among the founders of Center Friends Meeting in Newark, Delaware. Was it a coincidence that the new Center Friends Meeting in North Carolina was adjacent to George Hodgson’s home?
When the Hodgson family resided in Adams County, meeting for worship was conducted in homes and possibly barns or outdoors. About the time they moved away, there were enough Friends in the neighborhood to require meetinghouses.
The Harlans, Quakers who pioneered settlement and helped establish Menallen Meeting, were from Ireland. Menallen Township is named after an older variant spelling of Moyallen, County Down, Ireland.
Huntington Friends after worship in 1890.
Huntinton meetinghouse is one of three under the care of Menallen Friends.
I have fond memories of Quarterly Meeting sessions held in the Menallen meetinghouse.
Concord Friends Meeting was set off from Centre. I was surprised to find my great-great-grandparents were buried here, but then located their residence nearby. Apparently, the family had moved up Polecat Creek over time.