March ye 19th, 1758
About the "Letter From Ireland"
A David Lindsey of County Tyrone, Ireland wrote a letter to his Fleming Relatives in "PENNSILLVENA" in 1758. Years later the letter was found by a Fleming Ancestor, Elisha M. Fleming. It was researched later by Helen B, Lindsey of Frankfort, Kentucky. The race was on!
A Lindsay researcher Forest Wood declared that the letter writer was none other than his ancestor David Lindsay who died in 1814, Harrison County, Kentucky. (He was never able to prove it!) He was my gggGrandfather, thus my immediate interest. Charles L. Makemson, another researcher, agreed also that the Harrison County Lindsay identity was correct, but failed to provide the evidence. This was reasonable because three Makemson boys married three David Lindsay daughters, thus enhancing the Makemson's reputation! How he knew, however, was never explained!
In 2003 Kirby A. Miller and the Oxford University Press, Inc. published a book entitled "In the of Land of Canaan" and here in a short section the letter writer also was ascribed to the same David Lindsay of Harrison County, Kentucky. The research was inadequate to the knowledgeable and competent researchers have disclaimed the authors evidence because of certain known errors. Even with the errors, however, he could be right!
But I have persisted and from time to time returned to the letter as musings and new thoughts manifested itself from the depths of a sometimes genealogically tormented mind!
|Ted Lindsay renewed my interest when he correctly pointed out some geographical coincidences of Lindsay's/Fleming geography in County Tyrone, Ireland. Ted has spent considerable time with Ireland research because his gGrandfather Solomon Lucian Lindsay made reference to his Grandfather John Lindsay and his County Tyrone roots.|
I suppose that the problem will never be solved conclusively because the characters in this story has not yet or will not tell us! But it seems to me that competent if not superior research has a story to tell if we but reveal it. I have tried to do this via the route of geography and chronology, the only way to reasonably fill in blank spaces lacking documents of fact.
This is my theory:
1) The letter (and David Lindsey) is apparently real. I can see no reason for the merit of forgery.
2) The Fleming's and Lindsay's are documented residence, both in County Tyrone, Ireland and Hunterdon/Sussex Counties, New Jersey.
3) There is a factual location of place both in Ireland and New Jersey for the Fleming/Lindsay families.
4) A David Lindsay can be found in the same geographical area of the Fleming's in New Jersey and perhaps in Ireland.
5) Time/chronologies of the Fleming's and a David Lindsey are real but perhaps coincidental.
6) There is an alignment of facts in names and location irregardless if we are always comparing the correct characters!
7) Signature comparisons between The David Lindsay Sussex County, NJ court records and those found in the Harrison County court documents are very similar, if not practically identical! (There is a span of seventeen years between these court documents.)
I propose the Fleming family and David Lindsey lived close by in Ireland and were related by marriage just as the letter writer suggests. David Lindsey (with or without his spouse) followed his Fleming relatives to New Jersey. It wasn't "PENNSILLVENA" but how are we to know that some of them didn't at that early period reside in Pennsylvania? Or, how can we discredit the idea that David Lindsey thought, for whatever reason, they lived in Pennsylvania? Only Thomas and Samuel Fleming has a documented place of NJ residence in 1758. It is only a few miles from the Pennsylvania border. Further, no matter how inadequate the address of the letter was, apparently it was divinely delivered into the hands of the Fleming's! As suggested, perhaps it was hand delivered by a respected courier.
Now we find out that prior to 1775, some areas of northern Bucks County, Pennsylvania was considered part of Hunterdon County, New Jersey! Perhaps the letter was addressed correctly all along! See:
David Lindsey in 1758 is writing from somewhere in County Tyrone. The Fleming's come from Cookstown Townland, County Tyrone. A Fleming cousin lives in nearby Desertmartin Parish [See] , County Londonderry. Cookstown and Desertmartin are only 10-12 miles apart. Not a great distance even in those days! Desertcreat and Derryloran Parishes have the landed estates of the Lindesay's of Loughry, formerly of Edinburgh, Scotland.
The Fleming brothers came to the new land sometime after 1751. Samuel Fleming was licensed to keep a tavern in Flemington, Hunterdon County in 1746. A Thomas Fleming is found in Bethlehem Township, Hunterdon County in 1755. A David Lindsey arrives in the new land at least by 1769. He runs/owns? a tavern 2 1/2 miles south of Newton, NJ and just 12 or 13 miles from Bethlehem Township in 1769.(Maybe earlier!) The Fleming's and Lindsey's are together again!
From here speculation begins. The Fleming Chronicler never reports the brothers leaving New Jersey. I find a David Lindsey appearing in the Carlisle Area of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania in 1772. In 1779, this same? David Lindsey is a reported tavern keeper in Carlisle. He dies in 1781-1782, leaving children and grandchildren with the given name of David.
I thought this David Lindsey was the letter writer from Ireland. A reexamination of my records suggested otherwise! On close examination I found David Lindsey's signature on a CUMBERLAND COUNTY Mortgage he executed in 1780. His signature was marked with an "X"! See
Another David Lindsay/Lindsey contemporary appears in Westmoreland County (then Bedford county), Pennsylvania. in December of 1772.This David Lindsey/Lindsay becomes the subject of my research as well as the researchers cited above. Unproven, this David proceeds to Harrison county, KY where he purchases land from his good friend Thomas Moore, dying there in 1814.
I propose this David is the letter writer and it makes a good story for my descendants to hear!
Lets start with the "Letter from Ireland" and read an interesting story of a David Lindsey who long ago opined to come to the "new land" and begin a new life. Perhaps the story is not accurate, but surly it is representative of thousands of immigrants who Neil Diamond sang about in his wonderful song "COMING TO AMERICA".
Bob Lindsay, May 2011