Henry Starr of Cecil County, Maryland
Compiled March 2009 by Linda Sparks Starr
The frustration of PA Irish- Quaker Starr researcher Rosemary Woodson is clear in an undated letter to LSS: "I cannot fit Henry Starr, the planter of Cecil Co. Maryland, whose estate was probated 12 Mar 1732, anywhere! He left his entire estate to his daughter Mary. He could have had children living elsewhere." She wasn’t exactly correct; the abstract of his will (dated 1 Feb 1732/3) reads: "To daughter Mary, executrix, entire estate, but she to deliver certain personalty to daughter Elizabeth and her husband. To George Brown, personalty." [Baldwin, vol. 7citing 21: 72] Henry’s will was probated 12 March 1733. The problem is, this was the age of primogeniture, when, by law, all real property (land), not specifically given to others by will or previous deed, went to the eldest son. Thus eldest sons were often not mentioned in wills; their inheritance was prescribed by law and tradition going back hundreds of years.
Another problem for researchers is the history of the region that is now Cecil County, Maryland. At various times it was considered part of both Pennsylvania and Delaware. Residents became adept at convincing tax collectors the colony boundary line was on the other side of their property. Thus not finding Henry’s name on a particular tax list doesn’t mean he wasn’t there. A study of the neighbors and families associated with Henry is even more important; but neither is it easy to determine who they were. This compiler has not discovered the name of Henry’s son-in-law nor determined his relationship to George Brown who received personalty per Henry’s will.
Henry, in a 1731 deposition record, said he was 65 years old. [Peden citing CE 1:208-9] This backs his estimated birth year to 1666, about eight years older than the eldest of the Irish Quaker emigrants who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1712. Only two emigrants to Maryland are found in Skordas’ work: Edward Stares arrived 1679 and Bennett Starrs in 1659. [pgs. 437-8] Turning now to what is known about Henry in Maryland records:
26 February 1721 he and Joseph Young signed the surety bond for Jane Sincho as executrix for the estate of George Sincho. [Skinner v. XVI p. 6] 10 June 1724 Henry and William Bourn signed a surety bond for Alice Munday as administratrix of the will of Catherine Munday. [Ibid p. 165] Catherine’s will was dated 10 October 1718. It directed that daughter Alice, executrix, live on the dwelling plantation until [Catherine’s] son Arthur came of age. At that time he was to receive estate and personalty. Catherine appointed William Boren (sic) and Henry Starr overseers of the will. [Baldwin vol. 5 citing 18:268] The will was entered for probate 10 June 1724. The BOURN / BOREN / BORING surname is intriguing, but perhaps not significant. Descendants of Henry Starr (1752-1821) in Georgia were closely associated with the Methodist minister Rev. Boring; however, the tie between them might be Methodism rather than family. In 1729 Henry Starr was one of the appraisers of the Cecil County estate of Edward Turner. [MD Probate Records CD] Researcher Rev. Cynthia Forde commented: "Other Turners mentioned were Stephen and Robert. A grandchild of Henry Starr of GA has a middle name "Turner." [Samuel Turner Starr 1818-1873, son of Rev. Joshua whose father was Henry (1752-1821).
Henry was nearly 65 years old when William Martin signed his Cecil County will in 7 November 1732. According to Baldwin’s abstract: "Testator directs Henry Starr and William Smith, exs. to call in and receive all bills, bonds, notes, debts, etc. except one bond due in England which he gives to young bro. John. To Bro. Ralph 20s. To 2 cousins, John and Francis, son and daughter of Betholome Grumpos, residue of estate. Money left to remain in hands of exs. until such time as children within mentioned come of age. [Baldwin vol. 7 citing 20:644] Martin’s will was entered for probate the day after Henry’s will. However, it is the same Henry Starr for Surviving Executor William Smith submitted the Martin estate accounts 25 August 1734. Sureties for the executors were Abraham Watson and Samuel Young. The Martin estate inventory noted payments received from Henry Starr and payments to Henry Starr. George Brown is among those receiving payment; is he the same George Brown who received personalty per Henry Starr’s will? [Skinner p. 69 citing 12.490] Henry’s name also shows up in the 18 August 1734 estate accounts for Joseph Young of Cecil County. [Skinner p. 69 citing 12.487] The administrator de bonis non (original administrator could no longer serve) is Samuel Young and sureties, Simon Johnson and Abraham Watson. Catherine Young was the 1st administratrix; the widow and 9 children were not individually named.
There are several intriguing tidbits here, but unless Henry had a son, this Henry (ca1666-1733) cannot be the father or even grandfather of the Georgia Henry Starr (1752-1821). A very special thanks to Lea Dowd and Rhoda Fone for "going the extra mile" in extracting entries from their Maryland sources for this one.
Baldwin, Jane. The Maryland Calendar of Wills vol. V and VII Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, 1968.
Maryland Probate Records, Calendar of Wills, abstracts of Inventories & Accounts of Prerogative Court Records from 1674-1774 CD
Peden, Henry C. Jr. More Maryland Deponents 1716-1799, Henry C. Peden, Jr.
Skinner, V. L. Jr. abstracter. Abstracts of the Testamentary Proceedings of the Prerogative Court of Maryland volume XVI: 1721-1724 Libers: 25 (pp.88-135), 26, 27 (pp. 1-140) Clearfield Publishing Co., Baltimore, Maryland 2008
Skinner, V. L. Jr. abstracter. Abstracts of the Administration Accounts of the Prerogative Court of Maryland Libers 11-15 1731-1737, Family Line Publications, Westminster, Maryland 1996
Skordas, Gust, editor. The Early Settlers of Maryland Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, reprint 2009.