52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2018 #13 – The Old Homestead

The Oldest Foreman Homestead In Our Family

In 1776, the state of Virginia created Kentucky county. In 1780 Kentucky county was divided into three counties, Fayette, Jefferson and Lincoln. Six additional counties were formed, three of them from Lincoln county which included Mercer county in 1785 prior to Kentucky joining the Union June 1, 1792.

Elizabeth Horine, born in 1763, David Foreman born in 1755,  were married in Lincoln County, Kentucky in April of 1788. Elizabeth traveled to Kentucky with her brothers, Michael, Jacob and George Horine from Philadelphia. They appear on the tax lists and census records in Mercer County.

Wilderness Path, Cumberland Mnts

Harrodsburg is the county seat of Mercer County just about where the ‘c’ in Kentucky is. Note the surrounding terrain. The Cumberland Mountains, the Valley of Virginia, the Warrior Path, the Wilderness Path. The Cumberland River, the Kentucky River, the Green River and the Ohio river. Just about where Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky meet is the Cumberland Gap, discovered in 1750. Daniel Boone along with thirty axemen opened Kentucky to white settlement by hacking the Wilderness Road from The Blockhouse in eastern Tennessee through the Cumberland Gap to Boonesborough just south of today’s Lexington, Kentucky. This served as the principal route for white settler’s bound for Kentucky until 1795 when the Indian Wars were substantially ended in the area and the Ohio River became safe for travel.

Saddle of the gap

As you can see by the date David and Elizabeth were married, 1788, they both would have traversed the 1000 foot drop of the Cumberland Gap and used the Wilderness Path to get to where they made their homestead in what became Mercer County.

Information from Tax lists in 1795 show David Foreman in Mercer County with 1 horse; 15 head of cattle and 1000 acres of 2nd rate land near the Ohio River. He acquired more land, cattle and horses and between 1789 and 1808, they had 13 children. 8 sons and 5 daughters. In 1811 David Foreman died and his will stated his ‘plantation’ and all his goods were to go to his wife.

If you like road trips this would be a very beautiful and exciting part of the country to visit.

Pinnacle Overlook

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2018 #10 – Strong Woman

Elizabeth Horine Foreman

In 1998 I first became aware of Mildred Foreman Gage from her compilation of the Foreman Family Lineage, a book she wrote in February of 1986.  Her book journals all the research she did on David Foreman and his wife Elizabeth Horine including all the resources and copies of documents such as marriage bonds, wills and land maps.

Elizabeth Horine born in 1763, came to America with her three older brothers and  probably an older sister in the early 1770’s when she was about 10 years old. They were  all German speaking. They entered the country through the Port of Baltimore. She was a teenager when they moved from Pennsylvania on foot and by horseback to Kentucky in about 1781 before Kentucky was a state at about the time of Daniel Boone. She married David Foreman in 1788 in Mercer County when she was 25 years old and they had 13 children, 8 boys and 5 girls during their 23 years of marriage. David died in Mercer County, Kentucky at about 56 years of age, and he willed his “plantation” and other worldly goods to his beloved wife Elizabeth who was 48 years old.

Kentucky county map

The journey from Pennsylvania to Mercer County (at the center of Kentucky) must have been very difficult for they would have had to pass through the Cumberland Gap and follow the Wilderness Trail.

In 1814 or 1815, the widow Elizabeth (Eli) sold the land in Mercer County, Kentucky and purchased 300 acres of land in Highland County, Ohio, about 150 miles north of Mercer County, from her brother George Horine who had purchased the land from his father-in-law. Elizabeth and seven sons, George, David Jr., Jacob (our 3x great grandfather), Samuel, John, Absalom and Michael moved to Ohio and took possession of the land. But, in 1815 when George Horine, Elizabeth’s brother died, without having legally conveyed the land to Elizabeth Foreman and her two adult sons, Elizabeth had to go to court to prove and protect her ownership. This was also at a time when women were not allowed to own property.

The Foreman family prospered in Ohio and grew. Many of the 3rd generation Foreman’s were born in Buford, Ohio, including our 2nd great grandfather Jacob Foreman. Elizabeth lived with her son David Jr., and his family and when he purchased land in Indiana both of our Jacob Foreman’s moved with them to Indiana. In 1840 the families moved from Indiana to Pike County, Illinois settling in Newburg Township.

Elizabeth spent more than 20 years in Kentucky and more than 25 years in Ohio and Indiana making a living and raising her children and grandchildren under the most primitive frontier conditions and she was 77 years old when she trekked to Pike County, Illinois, more than 600 miles. Our 3x great grandfather and our 2x great grandfather included in that trek. Robert Sidney Foreman our great grandfather was born in Time, Pike County, Illinois.

Elizabeth Horine Foreman died in 1855 at age 92 and is buried in Blue River Cemetery in Detroit, Pike County, Illinois, a strong woman.


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #11 – Lucky

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2018 #9 – Where There’s a Will


“Be it remembered heretofore (blah, blah, blah) in the name of God Amen I John Adair (blah blah blah) of the city of Cambria county of Niagara state of New York being of sound mind and seventy three years old and being mindful of my mortality do this second day of June in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eighteen Hundred and fifty six make and publish this my Last Will and Testament.”  John Adair died October 1, 1856.

The wording in Wills and Testaments has been standardized for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks, according to Plutarch, provided this tool to bequeath, at death, belongings to family members, and by name bestow certain possessions to certain family members. The Ancient Romans added more benefit to the wording and the Roman influence on English law which dominates American law brought Wills and Testaments into the document we know today, sort of a ‘fill in the blank’ to a prepared text format.

The paragraph above quotes John Adair born in County Down, Ireland who was my 5th great grandfather whose descending line is daughter Mary Adair who married James Totten born in County Tyrone, Ireland (also a Revolutionary War Veteran who died at age 44 of disease just after the Battle of Bull Run) whose son was William Totten whose daughter was Mary Phoebe ‘Birdie’ Totten who married John C. Brace whose daughter was Lulu Brace Hancock Baber whose son was Bernard Hancock – Grandpa Hancock.


In my “stuff” I have hand written copies of Wills from David Foreman our immigrant ancestor from Germany; Solomon Sprague whose daughter married Luther Brace; Levi Squires mentioned in my blog a few weeks ago; Thomas Brigham immigrant ancestor from England who settled on land now occupied by Harvard University. Some of the best preserved records of early ancestors are Wills and Testaments.

George Soule Signature

Our Mayflower ancestor’s Will  “George Soule Sr, of Duxbury dated 11 Aug 1677, codicil dated 20 Sept 1677 inventory 22 Jan 1679 gave lands in Dartmouth to sons Nathaniel and George; mentions lands in “Middleberry” formerly given to daus. Elizabeth and Patience; names daus. Susanna and Mary; eldest son John to have the remainder of his housing and lands. The codicil warned son John that if he disturbed daughter Patience, then Patience was to have the house and lands at Duxburrow.” Susanna is the head of our descending line (down to Grace Irene Squires whose daughter is Grandma Hancock)  Susanna and Mary received a very small amount of money but no land.

Sid's Steam Engine cutting sod 1898

Sid Foreman’s steam engine

From the Wills I have reviewed I can confirm that we had no rich relatives however most lived comfortably as a result of hard work. Most possessions at the time of death were cooking pots, farming tools, a rocking chair or two, horses and cattle. For those ancestors who did not own their land at the time of death a public sale would be held to raise the money to pay off the mortgage. For those who did own their land, being a farming family typically meant there were anywhere from 6 to 10 children. Often times the sons worked out the division of the inherited land or not in some cases, thus disrupting the unity of the family.

So, in honor of John Adair and James Totten, the patriarchs of our immigrant Irish ancestors, on this St. Patrick’s Day have a cold one and give them a wink and a nod for coming to America.


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks next week #10 – Strong Woman.