Statement by Joseph Rountree 1867

The following is copied from Joseph Gustave Rountree II,  Rowntree and Rountree Family History 1521 – 1953 (Privately published, 1959), pages 6-8.   (It also appears online attached to family trees.)  It was written in 1867 by Joseph Rountree, a son of the immigrant Thomas Rountree of Orange County, North Carolina.  The statement was provided by Joseph Rountree’s grandson Newton M/ Rountree.

I’ve added some comments in blue italics

A good many years ago, there was a male child in Yorkshire, England, found by a rich landlord on his estate, laid under a rowan-tree, (otherwise called the mountain-ash) and dressed in very rich clothing. He took compassion on the child and took it home and raised it as if it had been his own child, and, not knowing its origin, he called it Rowantree after the tree that he found it under.

The boy grew up and was educated by his foster-father and in process of time he married and raised a family and they became numerous, and when William III king of England, dethroned his father-in-law, James II, King James went to Ireland and raised a large army of the Irish, thinking to get himself reinstated on the throne of England. But William raised a large army in England and went over to Ireland, and there were two brothers of the Rowantrees who went over in his army.

After the battle of the Boyne Water where William’s forces conquered those of James’, William disbanded a part of his forces and the two Rowantrees were in the forces that were disbanded and they concluded to stay in Ireland.

One of them stopped in the south of Ireland and married amongst the Celtic race of people or natives of the country and but little is known of his generation.

The other settled in the north of Ireland and married amongst the Anglo-Saxons, who previous to that time had populated that part of Ireland, and there raised his family and in process of time they multiplied and became numerous and then there was a great migration from Ireland to the province of Virginia, in North America, one old man of the Rowantrees took passage for himself and family for Virginia. But before the ship was ready to sail his youngest son took the smallpox and was not admitted aboard the ship. However, as they had already paid their passage the father and six of his sons went on in the ship and settled in Nancemund (sic) County, Virginia, and from them the various families that are dispersed over the various parts of the United States sprang.

Note: The preceding is mostly, perhaps entirely, fictional.  Rountrees were settled in Nansemond County, Virginia at least five years before William III became King and well before his invasion of Ireland. 

The seventh son was left in care of his mother and recovered from the smallpox and from that son our family sprang.

This is also fictional.  Since the “father and six of his sons” were in Nansemond County before 1685, any son left behind, even if an infant,  would have been at least fifty or sixty years older than the Thomas Rountree who settled in Orange County, who was born circa 1733.  That is, the seventh son would, at best, be Thomas Rountree’s grandfather.  

He married in Ireland and raised a family and they multiplied and became numerous and when my father was nineteen years old he took his passage for America and stopped in the province of Pennsylvania and worked at the ship-carpenter’s business some two or three years and then went back to Ireland.

After staying there a few years he married Eva Sturgis, daughter of Andrew and Rachel Sturgis, and after his marriage took his passage again for America and stopped in Pennsylvania and remained there, I think, until three of their children were born. He then emigrated to the province of North Carolina and there the balance of their children were born and there they died and their earthly remains lie buried in the graveyard at Little River meetinghouse.  My father and mother raised six sons and two daughters to be grown and one son and two daughters died in infancy. The six sons names were William, John, Charles, Andrew, Thomas, and my own is Joseph, and my two sisters names were Rachel and Lydia. My father was the son of Charles and Lydia Rountree and his name was Thomas.

By some means the family has got to spelling the name R-o-u-n-t-r-e-e but that is not proper for they took their name from the rowan-tree that the infant was found under.

We all raised families but William and Thomas and these families are dispesed in different states. William died a single man and Thomas married but raised no family.

I raised a family of eight children to be grown and had two to die in infancy. My grown children are six sons and two daughters. My sons’ names are, Junius, Meredith, Zenas Marion, Lucius Amadas, Marsavan Jerome, Almus Linnaeus, and Allen Jones.  My daughters names are, Louisa Amanda and Almarinda Caroline. My children have all got families except Allen Jones. He died a young man.

I emigrated from North Carolina to Tennessee in 1819 and from Tennessee to the state of Missouri in the winter of 1830 and 1831. I got my family to where Springfield now is the 10th of January, 1831.

It is now the 18th day of December 1867. On the14th day of last April I was eighty-five years old and I am now in good health.

(Signed) Joseph Rountree.