WILLIAM Starr of mid-1700s Maryland
Compiled March 2009 by Linda Sparks Starr. All rights reserved.
According to an undated statement attributed to Samuel Starr of Lumpkin, Georgia (grandson of John of Beech Island, SC): "John [born about 1740 in Maryland] had five brothers and two sisters … Our informant thinks that [two of] John’s brothers [were named] William and Henry Starr." [Brinton] The out-of-context comment "Another brother of Henry (1752-1821) may be Joshua of Maryland" was shared by researcher Gwen Loveridge whose source was: Car-Del Scribe #368 March p. 22 sent in by Mrs. Fincher of El Dorado, Ark. The identity of this Joshua, if indeed Mrs. Fincher had a specific individual in mind, eludes this compiler. The first William Starr found in Maryland records was Passenger #108 on the Pretty Patsie. The list is dated 2 September 1737 and a note says it was carrying prisoners from Newgate, London to Maryland. [Kozy e-mail] Maryland records specific to this passenger have not been located; thus whether the Pretty Patsie's passenger William is also the subject of this narrative is undetermined. Maryland records specific to this individual have not been located.
This paper's William Starr is first found on a 5 November 1748 list of Prince George’s County soldiers who served under the leadership of Capt. Thomas Sappington. [Clark] The minimum age for the poll tax in colonial Maryland was 16 years. Thus William was at least 16, and probably older, in 1748. A birth much before 1732 would make him too old to be a brother of the Henry Starr of Georgia born 1752. But William COULD certainly be Henry’s father. (note: emphasis on COULD) In Georgia some of the Henry Starr descendants married Sappingtons, but how closely they were related to this Thomas Sappington isn’t known.
Frederick County was created in 1748 from Prince George’s County. Thus it’s the same William Starr who was ordered to appear before the November 1750 Frederick County Court. He was to testify in the case John Clark vs Francis Hartley. [Shaffer] Additionally, William obtained patents to two tracts of land that were then located in Frederick County but are now in Montgomery County. He named the 50-acre tract patented in 1749 Starr’s Fancy [Frederick Co. MD Card #56 Patent #3 folio 137] and the 10-acre tract granted in 1756, Blazing Starr. [(perhaps Montgomery Co. Index) Card #54]
Grantors "William Stor, planter, and his wife Susan" sold Starr’s Fancy 9 May 1755 for £41. Although the deed reads "part of Star’s Fancy on the west side of Snowden’s River," the metes and bounds given come to the full 50 acres they owned. Joshua Dorsey of Anne Arundel County was the grantee. [Liber E pp 721-723 per Anderson] Researcher Marcia Bignall commented: "It’s odd the one and only time Joshua Dorsey appears in Frederick County in a 17 year period (from 1739 through 1756) is this 1755 purchase of land from William Starr. There are other Dorseys in the deed records, but not Joshua." Dorsey is another surname closely associated with Henry Starr descendants in Georgia. One witnessed the Habersham County will of Henry’s son Elijah. Two letters written in 1848 by Elijah’s son Henry Starr and his wife to Hilliard Dorsey appear on the White Co. usgenweb site. Can it then be only coincidence that Henry’s son Benjamin named a son Hilliard Starr?
William’s marriage to Susannah (surname not known) was not a happy one. He placed an ad in the January 19, 1756 issue of the Annapolis Maryland Gazette: "William Starr will not pay debts of wife Susanna who has eloped from him for the 4th time." [Barnes] He must have soon decided another statement was needed; the Thursday, January 29, 1756, No. 560 issue reiterates: "William Starr says that his wife, Susannah Starr, has left him for the fourth time and he will not honor debts of her contracting." [Green p. 170]
On the surface this June 1745 deed appears to be a simple exchange of property involving a single woman: "I, Susannah Stare of Prince George Co. for £37 sell to James Brooke 2 cows and calves, 1 steer, 1 steer yearling, 1 cow yearling, 1 horse, 1 old mare and horse colt, 21 hogs, 1 feather bed & furniture, 1 ordinary ditto, 2 iron pots, 2 chests and all other goods and chattels. June 6, 1745 /s/ Susannah (her ~ mark) Starr." [Prince George’s Deed Bk BB 1 p. 315 per T.L.C. p. 89] And that may be all there is to it. But in light of the statement Susannah left William four times, and then ASSUMING the grantor is William’s wife, the deed takes on an entirely different meaning. Although there’s nothing in the records suggesting another STARR family was in the area, caution is urged. It would take a very brave (or foolish) man to buy these goods knowing William might return to claim them.
In 1992 this researcher paid for an hour of research by the Maryland State Archives staff. Their task was to search for a link between this Frederick County William Starr and the Henry Starr in Montgomery County in 1777. The archivist found William Starr’s name with the word Carolina after it in the Frederick Co. Debt Books of 1761-1773. She added "indicating that he had moved to the Carolinas by 1761." However, she didn’t provide the details used to conclude he left in that particular year. She admitted she couldn’t explain why, if he left the state in 1761, the Frederick County Debt Books (also known as the Lord Proprietor’s assessment records) show Blazing Starr was still in William’s possession as late as 1773.
The only other record for this William has raised as many questions as it has answered. The Montgomery County conveyance bond is dated 6 November 1779. [Montgomery Co. Deed Liber E, Folio 673-74] It refers to William as of Montgomery County, farmer. Therefore, we have to conclude that William either returned to Maryland from the Carolinas or another William Starr ended up with Blazing Starr . In days of primogeniture, land passed to eldest sons without written formalities. Thus lack of a recorded deed showing a change in title doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. However, one would think the change would appear in the assessment records. The 10-acre Blazing Starr was conveyed by bond to William Robey Owen for £500. This seems an extravagant price to pay for just 10 acres. On the other hand, it is very little collateral against £500 borrowed if this conveyance bond (as some suggest) is a trust / mortgage deed instead of a grantor record. A third possibility: it’s a simple bond promising good title against claims by other heirs. A direct family relationship between STARR and OWEN families isn’t known. Several OWEN families did live in Wilkes County, Georgia near Henry Starr. But whether they are related to the family of William Robey Owen or later Robert Owen hasn’t been determined.
According to the Assessment Indexes posted to the Maryland State Archives web site, in 1783 Blazing Starr was owned by "Robert Owen of John." More importantly for our study is the location of the tract mentioned in the full index entry: "Robert Owen, of John, Blazing Star, 10 acres, Montgomery Co., Linganore and Sugar Loaf Hundred". [p. 12. MSA S 1161-8-1 1/4/5/51] Elsewhere Henry Starr is shown on the 1777 taxable list for Sugar Loaf Hundred. [Ref: M-193; Ref: R-31 p.11 per Pedon] Thus Henry, believed to be the same person as Henry Starr (1752-1821 GA), is found in the same area where this William once lived. William and Susannah are currently the compiler’s top candidates for parents of Henry Starr (1752-1821) of Georgia. But absolute proof of that relationship has not been found.
Anderson, Patricia Abelard, Frederick County, MD Land Records, Liber E Abstracts 1752-1756, 1995
Barnes, Robert Gleanings From Maryland Newspapers 1727-1775
CD collection: Maryland Probate Records, Calendar of Wills, Abstracts of Inventories & Accounts of Prerogative Court Records from 1674-1774
Clark, Murtie June, Colonial Soldiers of the South 1732-1774, 1983
Everton Publishers Inc. The Handybook for Genealogists 9th Edition. 1999 Logan, Utah
Green, Karen Mauer The Maryland Gazette 1727-1761 Frontier Press, 1989.
Kozy, Mary. E-mail to LSS 1 Sept 1999.
Maryland State Archives http://www.msa.md.gov/
Peden, Henry C., Jr. Revolutionary Patriots of Montgomery County, Maryland, 1775-1783 Westminster: Family Line Publications.
Shaffer. Inhabitants of Frederick County, Maryland volume 1. 1750-1790
T.L.C. Genealogy, Prince George's County Land Records 1743-1746 Miami FL 1998
A special commendation goes to researcher Rosemary Woodson, now deceased. In 1991 she took time from a visit with grandchildren to spend two full days at the Maryland Archives. She was the first to suggest this William as a candidate for Henry’s (1752-1821) father. Marcia Bignall, Lea Dowd and Rev. Cynthia Forde deserve special mention for so generously sharing their knowledge of other families residing in both Maryland and Georgia.
[Conveyance Bond] – doc. File to be uploaded.
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