St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Tis Madness Monday: Those Puzzling Hunnewells

Researching the past makes for great entertainment in life.  I so enjoy sharing the tidbits with my spouse on our nightly constitutional.  Of course, it is also a time for me to talk through the finds, the mysteries and the good old head scratchers.

Last week found me digging around in New Jersey in the mid to late 1700s.  With the kind assistance of a volunteer who is so much more knowledgeable about the area than I am, we found documentation for my John HUNNEWELL or HONEYWELL or HONEWELL or HUNIWELL family.  Some of the finds confirmed what I thought.  Other finds have me scratching my head as I try to solve the mystery.

Take, for instance, the mention of a John H STANSBURY in early Sussex/Warren Co, NJ.  We first stumbled across him in 1794 listed as the Ward. Son of Rebecca Hunneywell DOUD.  She asked for a guardian to be named for her son, John STANSBURY.

Hmmmm, Rebecca's first husband was John HUNNEWELL who died in May 1779.  In his will, there is no mention of any children.  Other than wife, Rebecca, he leaves some small legacy to some nieces and nephews.

After spending some time looking for this chap, a source related to STANSBURY says his mother's name was unknown.  Which leads us to the next question, could she have been a relative of Rebecca or of John?

To add to the confusion.....

The 1752 will of John HONEYWELL of Greenwich, Morris, NJ, gives the administration of the estate to son John HUNNYWELL (who marries Rebecca in the 1760s).

The deed books abstracted by Clyde W DOWNING add to the mystery. 

In 1803 a confusing deed abstract seems to tell us that STANSBURY, ROBERTSON (his court appointed guardian) and a couple more good folks in the neighborhood are all involved in selling land that was originally belonged to the John HUNIWELL who died in 1752.  The land was surveyed in 1753 for John HUNIWELL, the son, and was part of a tract in Knowlton, Sussex, NJ adjoining that of brother William HUNIWELL.  The land is sold by public auction in 1798 to HENDERSHOT and therefore John STANSBURY and his court appointed guardian.  The land is sold by executor of John HUNIWELL, the son who died in 1779, in 1804 to KERR, who sells it the next day to Rebecca.

I still can't quite follow it, although I do believe there is a strong reason for John H STANSBURY to keep being involved with the John HONEYWELL land.  So, far, I just can't put the one name in who could solve the mystery.

To make this more fun and frustrating at the same time is a comment in the Deed Abstract Book by Clyde W DOWNING who admits the deed is confusing and he thinks there is a connection between his SWAYZE line and the HUNIWELLs.

I spent some time trying to find the good Mr. Downing, but, alas, he seems to have disappeared over the last six years or so.  Is he still around?  If so, I can answer that mystery for him.  Yep, we have at least two marriages of our lady HONEYWELLs to the SWAYZE chaps in Sussex Co, NJ.

Ahhh, genealogy.  With one mystery, another one is solved.  Thanks to Jan for all her assistance as she tries to teach me about that area.  She's a gem.

©2013 AS Eldredge

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