Ancestor of the Month
b. c1690 d. between 25 Oct 1754-06 May 1755
For some time now, Robert Stapleton has remained one of our
most elusive ancestors. Within the past two years
I have tried to write his biography at least five or six times; yet, each time I have given up in frustration because
of the many conflicting theories about his background and life. Conflicting theories
of family history is nothing new to McCarter researchers. Many of our forefathers
have a number of theories about their lives. Robert’s, however, is beyond
belief. At one point I even tried to write an article just about the various
discrepancies, contradictions, and theories concerning his life, but that in itself was confusing.
I’ve finally decided to jump into the controversy and
choose what to me is the most logical theory or set of theories. Being wrong
hasn’t dissuaded me in the past, and if it turns out I am wrong this time, so be it.
Thus, take the following information with a grain of salt and realize that there is a plethora of other Stapleton theories
out there on the web.
Parents and Place of Birth
our purposes, I am going to say that Robert Stapleton’s parents are at this point unknown. They did, however, come to the New York colony before 1700 because Robert was born c1695 in “Yorck
Eyland” [York Island] New York or what is now Manhattan. We know this because
when he was married in 1715, he had to give his place of birth. In addition,
his marriage records at that time indicate that he was probably a widower whereas his wife was marrying for the first time.
First and Second Marriages
going to guess, speculate, and/or surmise that Robert’s first wife may have been Anna Maria Turkin. I do not have a shred of evidence on which to base this assumption other than the insistence of so many
researchers that she was indeed his wife (and perhaps his only one.) Whether
or not Robert and his first wife had children is unclear. When his first wife
died, Robert married Anna Maria Weigand, and by doing so we learned his place of birth.
The controversy over which Anna Maria was Robert’s wife can be easily solved by assuming that they both
were. (I realize that this is not in the best research “procedure,”
but it’s a “could be.”)
we do not know for certain the name of Robert’s first wife, there is a wealth of information about his second. (There is also a wealth of information about Anna Maria Turkin; we just don’t
know whether or not she was his first wife—or if she was his wife at all.)
second wife, Anna Maria Weigand, was the daughter of Michael and Anna Catherina
Weigand. (There are numerous spellings of Weigand) She was born in Hessen, Germany c1695, and in 1708 at age 13, traveled with her family to the English colonies
in America on board the ship Globe. In addition to her parents, her brothers
Tobias and George, ages 7 and 5, made the trip, too. Her family’s trip was historic for a number of reasons. They
were part of a fairly famous group of German Palatine refugees led by the Lutheran minister Rev. Joshua Kocherthal. As such, they had been befriended and partially financed in
their journey by Queen Anne of England. The Globe arrived in the New World
during a cold winter when the river was frozen. After the ship arrived, Governor
Lovelace wrote to the Queen:
sets in very hard, the Ports and Rivers are full of Ice; I am in pain for the Germans and Recruits on board the Globe they
wanting water and the Weather not permitting us to assist them. This coast is so terrible in the Winter I think no Ship ought
to be sent hither from England after August at Fartherest. . . .
Because of the severity of the
weather, Anna Maria and the rest of the Palatines had to spend the winter in New York City.
When weather made travel possible, the Weigand family moved to the Highlands of New York, where Anna Maria grew up
and met Robert Stapleton.
Family Life in New York
Jun 1715 at Trinity Lutheran Church in New York, NY. Robert and Anna Maria Weigand
were married by Rev. Justus Falckner. They set up housekeeping in the Highlands
of New York, and the births of some of their children were recorded in the Lutheran church records there by the same Rev.
- Tobias b. 15 May 1717
- Elizabeth b. 3 April 1719
- Catherine b. 7 June 1721
other children were born, but their birthplaces and dates were not recorded in New York.
They were: Hannabeth, William (b. 1720), John, Mary, and Sarah. (It is possible that some of these children might have been products of Robert’s first marriage.)
Move to Pennsylvania
time around 1724 Robert and Anna Maria sold their land in New York and moved their family to Berks County, PA. Anna Maria’s family, the Weigands, moved to Oley, PA with the Stapletons. Robert and Anna Maria purchased land in Oley, PA in 1727 that was located near the Oley Forge and
also received some land from the Penn brothers. Son Tobias received land from
the Penns as well. The Stapletons apparently did well financially since the house
they started building in Oley around 1730 was the first totally brick house in the area.
Later additions to the house included a second floor and a kitchen that was attached to the house.
County PA Robert and Anna Maria had two other children: Johannes George (Charles)
born 13 Jun 1731 and Anna Margaretha who was born 10 Aug 1734. Both babies were
baptized by Rev. Johan Casper Stoever in Oley, PA.
between the birth of Anna Margaretha (our ancestor) and 1748, Robert’s wife died.
After her death, he did two very important things. First of all he wrote
a provisional will. In it he named his children and told how he wanted his estate
settled. Secondly, on 20 Nov 1748 he remarried.
This time his wife was a widow, Catharine Bender Reichard (Richard). Mr.
Reichard’s first name is unknown, but he and Catharine had two children, Jakob and Margaret. Robert took Catharine’s children as his own. He and
Catharine were married in the Augustus Lutheran Trappe Church.
settlers in PA were farmers, and probably this was also Robert’s occupation. In
fact, he called himself a farmer in a second will which he wrote and recorded in VA.
However, at least one source insists that Stapleton first made his money in the freight hauling or drayage business. Apparently two of his sons-in-law (Simon Derrick and Ulrich Moyer—and possibly
others) worked for him in this business.
The Move to Virginia
1749 or 1750, Robert and several of his grown children and their families moved to Virginia.
This group included another of our ancestors, Simon Derrick, and his wife Catherina who was Robert’s daughter. Three of Robert’s sons—Tobias, John, and William-- remained in PA and
did not go to VA with the rest of the family. (Tobias became quite prosperous
in PA. One large farm was passed down through the Stapleton family for four generations
before finally being sold to an “outsider.” On the land was a house
build over a spring, a German custom that we learned about from another of our German ancestors, Dr. Martin Shultz. To read about German settlers, go to the top of this page and click for previously published articles. When you reach the Archives, scroll down the left navigation bar until you reach Martin
More land and a New Will
When the family moved south, Robert purchased 428 acres of
land on 3 Feb 1749 in Augusta County, VA. He transferred 200 acres of this
land to son Charles in 1750. Around 1754 he wrote a second will and recorded
it in Virginia. In this will he left the bulk of his estate to Catherine to be
used during her lifetime and then to be divided among his children. Robert wrote
the will in October and must have died shortly thereafter for his sons began court proceedings in January of 1755.
The Confusing Part
what is there about the life just described that can be called maddening or confusing? Simple. The confusion comes from the parts I have left out. If you really “get into” Robert Stapleton, you will discover that he was
many different things to many different people. Just try to make all the following
“facts” fit and come up with a reasonable story.
He was born in New York; Yorkshire, England;
Pennsylvania, and Germany
His parents were (a) Philip Stapilton
and Margaret Gage Stapilton, (b) Robert Stippledown, (c) an aristocratic English couple, and (d) a German couple (Stapleton—or Stapledon--is not a German name, but we know from our other
German ancestors that that does not matter. McInturff and deWalt started out
as the German names Meckendorfer and Theobald but were morphed into something else)
He was married in Germany, England, New
York, and Berks Co., PA
He was the child of an aristocratic English
family, but he was ostracized by them when he became a Quaker. As a result he
moved to Germany, married Anna Maria Turkin, and had two or three children. He
then moved to the colonies.
He was a Lutheran and had his children
baptized by a Lutheran minister.
His children’s names were the same
no matter which wife he married; their dates of birth vary considerably, however.
Robert was British (unless he was German
or American), but his wives were German and his children tended to marry Germans. Robert
was also named Reuben, and was born in New York.
Robert’s occupation was farmer,
sea captain (unless that was his father’s occupation), ordinary owner, and/or a freight company owner
He was married to (a) an unknown German
(b) an unknown American (c) Anna Maria Turkin (d) Anna Maria Weigland, and (e) Catherine Reichard. (d) and (e) are correct but two of the other three are incorrect.
I could go on, but ten sounds like
a good stopping place, and my head is beginning to spin again.
Whatever the details may include, Robert Stapleton managed
to live and thrive in early colonial America. He married, reared a family and
provided for them. His children prospered and contributed to society. We can be proud of him as one of our ancestors. Maybe someday
we will know his real story.
Robert Stapleton was
Mamaw McCarter’s 5 great grandfather. If you are Mary Elizabeth Hatcher
McCarter’s great great grandchild, Robert Stapleton is your 9 great grandfather
Line of Descent from
Robert Stapleton to Mary Elizabeth Hatcher McCarter
Robert Stapleton (1690-c1755) + Anna Maria Weigand (1695-1747)
Catharina Margaretha Stapleton
(1722-1796) + Simon Derrick (1718-1787)
Johannes (John) Frederick Derrick
(1740-1790) + Anna Maria Dunkelberger (1742-1796)
Elizabeth Derrick (1762-bef.1830) + Adam Fuchs (Fox) (1760-bef.1830)
Johannes Fox (1784-1852) + Nancy Patterson (1787-bef. 1860)
Christina “Ticey” Fox (1813-?) + Joseph Sutton (1812-?)
Russell Merritt Sutton (1834-1874) + Elizabeth Ann Headrick (1836-?)
Susan Sutton (1866-1903) + Israel Alexander Hatcher (1860-1950)
Mary Elizabeth Hatcher
(1889-1969) + Rev. Eli McCarter (1886-1955)
“Ancestors of James Monroe Stapleton” http://www.csbvp.com/Stapleton/stapleton.htm
Data Page 22 Notes Pages”
“George W. Lutz”
Trends are Divided into Three General Periods”
Knittle, Walter Allen, Phd. (Dept of History, College of
the City of New York) Early Eighteenth Centuy Palatine Emigration. A British Government Redemptioner Project to Manufacture Naval Stores. Philadelphia:
1937. Reprinted on line 1998, -- 2003. Berry Enterprises
Family Charts and Traditions
Publishing Company's On-Line Catalog:
Shenandoah County Virginia
Tax Lists http://www.ourfamilyhistories.com/hsdurbin/tax-lists/1767Patax1.html
S T A P L E T O N
de Stapleton, de Stapelton, Stapilton, Stapylton
“Stapleton, Robert.” http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~schweissguth/d0005/g0000193.html#I28494
Anna Maria.” http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~schweissguth/d0006/g0000193.html#I28495