John Perins in Maryland During and After the Indian War

Prologue: Before the Indian War, 1744 - 1754

The French and Indian War deserves some explanation before proceeding with the life of John Perins. In the process I can introduce some goegraphy that will prove useful in later sections.

west MD overview

Geography of Western Maryland. Roads shown as of 1760. Solid line: Mason Dixon Line
Red line: suggested location of Warrior's Path

Indian relations

In the last section I cited the Lancaster agreement of 1744. whereby the Six Nations agreed to

...renounce all Right to Lord Baltimore of all those Lands lying two Miles above the uppermost Fork of Potwomack or Cohongoruton River, near which Thomas Cressap has a Hunting or Trading Cabbin, by a North Line to the Bounds of Pennsylvania... And further, if any People already have or shall settle beyond the Lands described and Bounded, they shall enjoy the same free from any Disturbance of us in any manner whatsoever, and we do and shall accept those People for our Brethren, and as such always Treat them.

However, this treaty made it explicit that as conquerors the Six Nations, not their subject Indian tribes (the Delaware and remnants of the Susquehannaks), had the authority to determine treaties. The resentment of the Delaware and Shawnee to this arrangement would fuel the Indian response to the settlers a decade later. Furthermore, the last sentence quoted above was read by the European settlers as allowing further settlement west of Cresap's cabin.

Following the Lancaster agreement the Six Nations continued to pass by Oldtown on their way south to fight with the Catawba. From 1749 there is an interesting complaint by Cresap to the governor of Maryland .

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[The Governor communicates to Mr. Speaker the following Message; viz.]

Gentlemen of the Lower House of Assembly,
The inclosed Letter to me from Col. Cresap, relating to the Behaviour of the Indians, I have thought proper to lay before your House, for your Consideration.
Sam. Ogle.

To his Excellency Samuel Ogle, Esq; Maryland.

May it please your Excellency,

The Indian account of this incident was received by the Governor in 1751, brought by Christopher Gist, of whome more will be said below :

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Frederick County Maryland Septr 14th 1751.

May it Please your Excellency

It would appear that the Indians interpreted the Lancaster treaty differently from the European settlers. With the opportunity to hunt and trap disappearing, the Indians believed that they were guaranteed victuals when passing through settled areas.

The Ohio Company

In 1748 the Ohio Company was formed in order to further exploit the upper Ohio valley . The company consisted mostly of Virginia investors but also included Thomas Cresap and the trader Hugh Parker.

Initially the Company traded supplies for furs in the upper Allegheny valley. At a meeting of Pennsylvania traders in 1750 it was noted that the Company was undercutting the Pennsylvania trade :

In a conference held at George Croghan's house in Pennsboro Township by Richard Peters and the Seneca chiefs from Kuskuskies and Logstown, June 7, 1750, the Indians stated, that in the fall of 1749, one "Barny Currant, a hired man of Mr. Parker," brought them a message from Colonel Thomas Cresap, the agent of the Ohio Company of Virginia, to the effect that he and Mr. Parker, the Trader at Kuskuskies, would sell them goods at rates very much less than those charged by the Pennsylvania Traders -- a match-coat for a buckskin; a strowd for a buck and a doe; a pair of stockings for two raccoons; twelve bars of lead for a buck; and other articles at proportionately low prices.

All historical accounts of Hugh Parker call him a bad trader. His trading practices were the subject of the following incident, recorded in Pennsylvania:

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On October 20, 1748, William Trent wrote from George Croghan's house in the Cumberland Valley, to Secretary Richard Peters, giving him an account of an affair which had taken place at Kuskuskies [present day New Castle, PA].

Hugh Parker died in June, 1751 ; his estate took 5 years to probate, probably because of his debts. His estate was appraised by John Perins and neighbor James Henthorne.

After 1750 the Ohio Company focused more on settlement of the Ohio country than on the fur trade. That this was the real purpose of the company had been rumored from the start. Once again, the Pennsylvanian George Croghan had written to an unknowen recipient in July, 1749 :

Must Proceed from an alarm that Mr. Cresap & Mr. Paker Spread amongst ye Ingans Last fall that ye Virginians was goint to Setle a Branch of ohio Calld Yougagain & that then they wou’d Suply ye Indians with goods Much Cheaper than they Col’d be Suplyd from Pensilvaina, Butt to my Certain knowlidge that Report had nott its Desired affectt, for Instead of gaining an Interest Amongst ye Indians itt gave them an aversion to Mr. Parker, for the Indians Dos nott Like to here of there Lands being Setled over Allegany Mountain, & in particular bny ye Virghinians...

In the fall of 1750 Christopher Gist set out to explore and survey the region between present day Cumberland and Pittsburgh for the Ohio company. The beginning of Gist's dairy from that journey is important to our discussion, as it helps establish the exact course of the Warrior's path through Maryland :

Wed Oct 31 - Set out from Col. Thomas Cresap's at the old Town on Potomack River in Maryland and went along an old Indian Path N 39 E about 11 Miles.

Thursday Nov 1 - Then N 1 Mile N 30 E 3 M here I was taken sick and stayed all Night.

Friday 2 - N 30 E 6 M, here I was so bad that I was not able to proceed any farther that Night, but grew better in the Morning.

Saturday 3 - N 8 M to Juniatta, a large Branch of Susquehannah, where I stayed all Night.

Present day Allegany county in 1751

More of A map of the most inhabited part of Virginia containing the whole province of Maryland...,
Joshua Fry & Peter Jefferson, 1755, showing the upper Potomac to present day Cumberland.

The 1755 map of western Maryland loses all accuracy north of the Potomac River. While the total distance Gist described from Old Town to the Juniata is short about 15 miles, I would like to accept his first compass bearing. With a 2 degree west magnetic declination there in 1750, the path's initial bearing would be 37 degrees east. This direction agrees well with the bearing of the road drawn on the overview map above. That path skirts Warrior Mountain on its western side, descending towards present day Flintstone through Murley Branch. The alternative path, which would have been along the east side of Warrior Mountain, has a much more northerly direction, and has less desirable topography to my eye.

After 1750 the Ohio Company, with the help of Delaware Indian Nemacolin, blazed a road from present day Cumberland to the forks of the Ohio River. After obtaining a grant from Virginia, they employed Christopher Gist to find settlers to buy land in that region. But by 1753, when the French had started building forts in western Pennsylvania, the Indians stated they did not wish to sell this or any land to the English.

By 1754 the French had taken the forks of the Ohio by force and built Fort Duquesne. Colonists led by a young George Washington were unable to regain this land. Although not appreciated at the time, these events were the first organized battles in a general war between the British and French in America. This history is well described elsewhere .

Indian War, 1755 - 1759

Indian Hostilities , 1755 - 1756

In spring, 1755 the English sent men under General Braddock to regain Fort Duquesne. On their way in July, 1755 they were ambushed and routed by the Indians and the French. The only English officer of note to survive this battle was George Washington. Subsequently the Indians started terrorizing English settlements on the frontier in earnest. The Maryland Gazette, the Annapolis newspaper, reported on October 9, 1755 on a series of events in Maryland and contiguous Virginia :

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We learn from Fort-Cumberland, that as Col. Stevens was going thence, with a small Party of Men, to Winchester, he was fired on at two different Places by some Indians that lay-concealed by the Road's Side; Two of the Virginians were killed, but the Enemy did not choose to stay for their Scalps.

I believe that the Stoddert's Fort mentioned in the above account, also known as Fort Tonoloway, was located a mile west of present-day Hancock on Joseph Flint's land. An active attempt to find the remains of the fort is underway; a pteliminary report published in 2020 agrees that the fort was probably on the eastern portion of the Resurvey of Flint's Chance.

By the spring of 1756 the situation had worsened. Isaac Baker wrote this graphic account in late February, as published in March 11, 1756 by the Maryland Gazette :

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Extract of a letter from Conococheague, dated February 29, 1756

Later that year Indian attacks occurred further east. The Pennsylvania Gazette reported on September 2, 1756 :

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An Account of Murders committed by the Indians near the Mouth of Conegocheague, as given by one John Huston, August 23. 1756.

A Perrin story

It is with this context that I can present a portion of an article published in the Bedford (Pennsylvania) Gazette in 1907 . It was written by J. H. P. Adams who described his memories and stories of the early settlers in Southampton Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

Robert Ray, the founder of Ray's Trading Post on the Raystown branch of the Juniata river where Bedford now stands in 1750, was a first cousin to the Powell's. While attending to his trading post in September, 1756, he was taken sick. Powell, Perrin, and Huff and Vogan brought him from his trading post to Joseph Powell's where in the course of time he got much better. He went to Perrins, some six miles distant, where in a few days he died and was buried on Perrins farm, now owned by the widow of William Dicken. Your correspondent showed his grave to Doctor Enfield while he was sheriff of Bedford county.

John Perrins first wife was a sister of Robert Ray. She was captured at the same time that Mrs. Vogan, Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Tombleson. This Indian raid was made by the Shawnee Chief Wills. After traveling some three miles Mrs. Perrin was unable to keep up with the fleeing Indians. On the point of Tussey's mountain, near two white rocks, called Perrins Rocks, she was killed and scalped with her infant baby. The alarm being given, the Indians and their captives were pursued by Perrin, Davis, Vogan, Clark, George and Joseph Powell and Michael Huff. These men came up with the Indians on the top of Wills' mountain. They found that the captors of the women had been joined by about one hundred other savages. The pursuers hoped that during the night they would be able to release the captives. When morning came the Indians held a council, when about seventy-five of them with the captives started west, the others going north, except Chief Wills, who remained at the camping place till late in the evening when he also left camp and was carefully followed. At dark they discovered a small light on the very pinnacle of Wills' knob . Cautiously approaching, George Powell discovered the Indian Chief alone and in a sitting position, but he soon lay down on the ground. When morning came and the sun began to show over the western horizon the old chief raised himself to a sitting position. Powell was upon the alert and at the distance of seventy steps; when his firelock rang over the still mountain range the old chief's spirit took its flight to the Happy Hunting Ground. His "topnot" was removed, his grave dug and his body laid therein. The body was removed about the year 1825 by unknown parties. The grave is still there and will be till time is no more. Any person that is skeptical as to this fact can visit the spot and see for himself as your correspondent has done.

The surviving women were found at Montreal, Canada, and brought home some six years afterward.

This is a wonderful story and I would like some of it to be true. But much of it is later interpolation. Allow me to deconstruct it according to the principles described by Pynchon, removing the irresponsible embellishments to leave the pure truth annealed in mercilessness.

Powell. J. H. P. Adams' mother was a Powell; her family is outlined in a different section. There is no evidence for George and Joseph Powell in Bedford County before 1790. Indeed, elsewhere in this newspaper article J. H. P. Adams couldn't get his Powell genealogy right for the years before 1820.

Ray. The man named Ray in this story is a mystery. Hanna believed Robert Ray did not found a trading post where Bedford now stands .

We first come across John Wray's name in the Minutes of the Pennsylvania Provincial Council under date of September 2, 1732; when he was called upon to assist Conrad Weiser as interpreter, at a conference held by the Governor with a number of the chiefs of the Senacas, Cayugas, and Oneidas. Wray had therefore traded with the Mingoes, possibly the Conestogas, and was familiar with the Iroquois speech. After this conference, he may started immediately towards Allegheny; for he is reported in the records under date of September 30, 1732, as having come down from there with two Shawnee chiefs, who formerly had lived at Potomac, and who arrived in Philadelphia on September 28th. John Wray acted as interpreter for these Indians, with Edmund Cartlidge and Peter Chartier, at a conference held with them by the Governor and Council,September 30th. Wray was paid five pounds for his services. Ray's Town was on the direct Path from Old Shawnee Town on the Potomac to the Allegheny; and it is well within the bounds of probability to say that John Wray may have traded with the Shawnees at Opessa's Town on the Potomac while he was living at Ray's Town, and before they had emigrated to the Ohio.

1755 war chart

1755 Map detail showing Reas' Town, Ft. Cumberland and the Warrior's Path

1756 pennsylvania map showing Rays town

A 1756 map showing the location of Ray's Town

These two maps from the 1750s clearly marked that town as "Rays town", and a branch of the Juniata River was named after him. This probably reflected Ray's presence in the region earlier . In any case others had settled at Bedford by 1752, and Ray was not among those settlers.

Geography. The geography in the story makes sense only at first glance. In the nineteenth century the Powell land in Bedford County was located along Town Creek, five miles north of John Perrin, Jr.'s homestead. Powell did not settle there until 1791, however. Similarly there is no evidence that John Perrin, Jr. lived in this area until 1767.

Tussey's Mountain is just west of Perrin's homestead. But it is another two mountain ridges from there to Wills' Mountain. This mountain ridge extends from Cumberland, Maryland northeast into Pennsylvania. Ellerslie is west of Wills' Mountain along the Maryland-Pennsylvania border; To pursue the Indians from Black Valley Gap, the Perrin homestead, to Wills' Mountain near Ellerslie, a distance over fifteen miles, is far fetched at a time when that area was wilderness.

Abducted women. Finally, many stories from that era include the capture by Indians of women and children who were subsequently taken to Montreal. Its addition here is worth a look, because even simple armchair genealogy discredits portions of this part of the story.

Adams said later in his report the following information about the four surviving women :

Mrs. Davis and husband and child were all buried on the Perrin farm, known as the Shawnee graveyard. Mrs. Vogan was the great grandmother of the Elders and Boors of Cumberland Valley. She and her husband are buried at the Shawnee graveyard. Mrs. Clark was the grandmother of John H. Clark, once owner of the steam flouring mills at Man's Choice, who died near Ellerslie a few years ago in his 93rd year. Mrs. Tombleson was the great grandmother of the present Mayor of Cumberland, Md.

Three of the four surviving women lived in or near Ellerslie. One clearly was abducted by Indians, but in a different time and place. I can speculate more about Tomlinson below.

What remains in the story are the date and the names of the persons involved. The story implies that the incident with the Indians must have taken place in September, 1756 or shortly thereafter. The history quoted above makes it clear that by then Indian raids were taking place as far east as South Mountain, east of Antietam Creek. If this date is correct, then the incident described may have actually taken place at the John Perins land along Marsh Run.

Placing this incident in Marsh Run makes sense to me. The Tombleson and Vogan mentioned by Adams could be Tomlinson and Volgamot; Tomlison was a longstanding neighbor to Perins, with a portion of his tract Watersink sold to Samuel Volgamott in 1762 . The Powell family at that time lived on Antietam Creek less than three miles away from the Perins homestead. This could easily morph later into five miles in Bedford County when the story is retold in Pennsylvania.

I believe that some sort of Indian raid involved the Perins in Frederick County, Maryland in 1756. Whether women were abducted I cannot say. The death of the wife of John Perrin seems likely, although it is unclear if she were the wife of John Perins (John Perrin, Sr.) or his son John. Jr. As deeds from 1761 on imply that John Perins did not have a wife, the former possibility is tenable.

Chaplin's militia, 1757

In August, 1756 the Governor of Maryland called up the militia under Col. Thomas Prather, commander for Frederick County . They and a company from Baltimore County were to man Fort Frederick. At that point the fort was in name only, to be built along the Potomac between Conocoheague and Tonoloway.

In April 1757, more militia groups were formed in Frederick County, with one company under the authority of Capt. Joseph Chaplin. To him Governor Sharpe wrote :

Whereas I have been informed, that a considerable Number of Indians have lately killed several Persons in Frederick County, at no great Distance from your Habitations, and that they are still Lurking in that Part of the Province with an Intention, as might be reasonably supposed, to do more Mischief; I have thought fit, and do hereby impower and direct you to muster the Company of Militia under your Command, and with the said Company or any other Men capable of bearing Arms (that shall be willing to join you) to Range on the Frontiers for the Protection of the Inhabitants, till a greater Body of Troops can be Raised for their Defence. You are to act agreeable to the Militia Laws of this Province, while you are on this Service, and to keep a Journal of your Proceedings in Consequence of these Orders, to be returned to me at the End of one Month, before which Time you may expect to be relieved.

Militia units were typically mustered for one month. To the Governor's consternation Chapilin's first muster lasted nearly two months. Chaplin would call up the militia four more times by October. On May 10 Chaplin wrote Sharpe :

I and my Brother are now at Conococheague with about Sixty Men, and ever since I reached that Place, notwithstanding several small Parties of Indians were seen, yet the People were encouraged to provide, to sow and plant Corn, till the unhappy News came of the Indians defeating our Forces at Fort Cumberland,... What most affects us to see the People so much Dispirited at the late Alarm; but as our Company consists mostly of good Woodsmen, shall use our utmost Endeavours to defend the Place against any Number that don't much exceed ours.

In the letters of the next two months Chaplin recorded some skirmishes, but attacks around Fort Frederick continued. On July 18 he seemed desperate; In his letter to Sharpe, who had favored disbanding the militia and relying on the regular troops at Fort Frederick, he pleaded :

At the Request of, and in Behalf of, our Settlement, I beg Leave to acquaint your Excellency, that from the several Murders committed amongst us, and other Mischief by the Indians, within these Ten Days past, is like to break us up, and certainly will, except some Assistance can be had speedily. Frequent Applications has been made to the Officers of Fort Frederick for Help, but none can be had; for their Answer is, that they have scarce Men enough to escort their Provisions and other Necessaries to and from the Forts, which causes the People not to know what to do. There is above Two Thirds of the Inhabitants, between Conococheague and South-Mountain, have slew into Heaps; many of which are removing quite away, and the rest will I expect soon, if there is no Notice taken of them by your Excellency. It is with Concern that I repeat it again, but I am very sure that if we have no Relief at the Return of this Messenger, the greater Part of the People will leave the Settlement, which if they do, what few of us that would willingly stay, will not be able.

In 1767 the Maryland legislature authorized payment for the service rendered by the militias. In Joseph Chaplin's first muster of sixty days, John Perren was ensign, which is to say he was third in command after Joseph and Moses Chaplin. John Perren, Jr. also served in this muster. In Joseph Chaplin's second and third musters Edward Perren was the ensign. John Perren, Jr. also served in musters two, three and five .

Selected members of these musters included:

This episode confirms that John Perins and son Edward were respected regarding their knowledge of the frontier. It clearly establishes that sons Edward and John, Jr. were born before 1741, as one needed to be sixteen years of age to serve in the militia. It is further possible to assume that his third son, Joseph, was born after that year.

Later War Activities

The last correspondence between Chaplin and Sharpe demonstrated how differently Annapolis and the back country people viewed the Indian War. The Governor put his faith in the Provincial Army at Fort Frederick, while the people there found it ineffective and a burden. The matter boiled over into the Maryland Assembly. A letter from it to the Governor on October 14 :

We are greatly concerned to find, by your Message of the [7]th Instant, that while there have been a Number of Troops kept up under your Command, in the Pay of this Province, on the Frontiers thereof, more than sufficient for the immediate Defence and Security of the back Inhabitants, there should be Applications made to you by Capt. Joseph Chapline, and a Number of those People, for Protection against their Savage Enemies; and we cannot but be of Opinion, that if even a Part of those Troops had been put upon, and punctually performed, the Duty clearly enjoined them by the Law, by which they were raised and supported, there would not have been any Room for those Applications, or the least Pretence for ordering out any Part of the Militia in Consequence thereof; and this Opinion we are confirmed in by the Sentiments of Capt. Joseph Chapline, now a Member of our House, and several other back Inhabitants : And therefore, as the ordering out the Militia is a Measure we cannot approve of as to what has past, so we think it would be wrong for the present.

This letter preceeded more controversy regarding the frontier. In that month the Assembly received reports that many people in Frederick County were hiding their wagons and horses so that the government would not conscript them . When this information was passed on to the Governor, his reply noted depositions from twenty eight people, including John Perrin .

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Gentlemen of the Lower House of Assembly,

In your Third Address of the 5th Instant, you are pleased to tell me, That your Concern for the Distresses of the Frontier People, induced you to lay before me a Report from a Committee appointed to enquire into the Conduct and Behaviour of the Troops, which have been raised and supported for their Protection, with Copies of Depositions thereto annexed; but on looking over the Bundle of Papers that was delivered to me with that Address, I do not find any Report from a Committee, but only Copies of sundry Depositions, to wit, The Deposition of Thomas Mayns, one Sheet; of Jonathan Plummer, ditto; of Casper Thiphart, ditto; of John Perrin, ditto;

In December, 1757 the Assembly voted to withhold funding for further military activity on the frontier. Fortuitously this action occurred at the same time British forces captured Fort Duquesne. The Indian raids in Maryland ceased thereafter. During Pontiac's rebellion in 1763 more Indian action occurred in Pennsylvania, but no conflict affected Maryland.

John Perins after the war, 1760 - 1769

Once the Indian raids had ended attention to the frontier resumed. The difficulties in provisioning Fort Cumberland led the Maryland Assembly in 1758 to authorize Cresap to build a wagon road from Fort Frederick to Cumberland . Then in 1760 son Edward Perrin was appointed constable of Linton Hundred . As that portion of Frederick County lay west of Tonoloway Creek, Edward must have moved to the frontier at that point.

John Perins through the 1760s continued to conduct estate inventories. He patented over one thousand acres of land in the Maryland frontier, presumably as an investment. Finally, he served on several commissions for Frederick County, assessing roads,giving testimony regarding property lines and, incidentally, revealing his age.

Later Estate Inventories

Perins' estate appriasals continued the pattern seen before the Indian war; the estates were from both neighbors as well as people of prominence.


Public Service

Perins continued to serve Frederick County in various capacities in the 1760s:

Land Sale Summary

In the last eight years of his life John Perins patented over one thousand acres of land in the Maryland frontier. Here I can locate them and try to guess the reasons for their purchase. In a later section I will summarize their sale.

I. Little Tonoloway Valley

Perryn's Fancy
April 18, 1761
along Little Tonoloway Creek
Perryn's Venture
April 18, 1761
near Potomac River upstream from Hancock
Rosburgh's Delight
April 20, 1761
along Little Tonoloway Creek
Kellam's Advantage
April 23, 1763
along Little Tonoloway Creek
Little Tonoloway tracts

Land tracts on the Little Tonoloway west of present Hancock, Maryland. Resurveys are colored, original surveys are black. The path to Oldtown is shown in light grey

John Perryn took out a new warrant for 200 acres in 1760 . He used it in April, 1761 to survey three tracts, Perryn's Fancy , Rosburgh's Delight  and Perryn's Venture . The first two tracts lie in the Little Tonoloway Creek valley and are on the map above; the third is ten miles further up the Potomac. The name of this third tract implies a business venture. But as the location of the land is far from road or river, I do not imagine it was a trading post.

In April, 1763 Perrins surveyed one more Little Tonoloway property, Kellam's Advantage , using a new warrant for 500 acres . This tract occupied the western portion of the Little Tonoloway valley as it enters Pennsylvania. The northern line for this tract is amazingly close to the Mason-Dixon line, which had not yet been established at this location. This tract is discussed further in a section concerning John Powell.

II. Murley's Branch

Tract Name Acres Date of Survey Location Reference
Sink Hole Bottom
September 1, 1761
Murley's Branch
Woster (Worcester)
April 23, 1763
Murley's Branch
Mountain Tract
April 28, 1763
Murley's Branch
Boiling Spring
April 28, 1763
Murley's Branch
Two Springs Addition
April 29, 1763
Murley's Branch
Three Springs Head
June 9, 1763
Murley's Branch
Two Springs
April 29, 1764
Murley's Branch
Mountain Tract Addition
October 30, 1765
Murley's Branch
Second Addition to Two Springs
November 8, 1766
Murley's Branch
Robnett's Lot
November 11, 1766
Murley's Branch
Murley Branch tracts

Murley Branch Tracts. The Warrrior's Path extends from Southwest to Northeast

After 1760 Perins began patenting land north of Oldtown. Using the last of his original warrant from 1752  he surveyed Sink Hole Bottom in November, 1761 . While the surveyor considered the land to be part of the Murley's Branch watershed, the land actually lies just outside it in a relatively flat upland valley. At the time of this survey settlers were only living in the Town Creek valley or along the Potomac, both locations being 5 miles or more distant. The only surveyed land nearby was Devils Hole, a tract directly to the east of Sink Hole Bottom patented to Thomas Cresap in 1752 .

Sink Hole Bottom was located just west of the junction of Warrior's Path and a road to Cumberland. Like Long Looked For the placement of this tract may have allowed for a trading operation for people travelling or settling north along the road the road along Murley's Branch.

Sink Hole Bottom was "Partially Cultivated", according to the patent application for Mountain Tract in 1763 . When Sink Hole Bottom sold in 1768 the deed stated the grantor was John Perrin, Jr.; however John Perrins signed the actual deed . I believe it likely that John Perrin, Jr. lived at Sink Hole Bottom between 1762 and 1767, and in the original deed of sale was mistakenly acknowledged as the owner.

In 1763 Perins used the rest of his new 500 acre warrant to survey Woster , Mountain Tract , Boiling Spring , Two Springs Addition  and Three Springs Head . The surveys for all but one of these tracts show they lie near Murley's Branch. Woster doesn't actually mention Murley Branch by name; its survey began "at a bounded white oak standing at the head of a little spring on the east side of said creek about thirty perches from the creek". However, the tract fits well with Two Springs .

Two Springs was surveyed  under its own 300 acre warrant in 1764 . Perrins obtained a final warrant for 350 acres in 1765 ; Second Addition to Two Springs , Robinett's Lot  and Mountain Tract Addition  were surveyed with that warrant in 1766.

Unlike Sink Hole Bottom, these nine other Murley's Branch tracts seemed designed for sale to other settlers. But there may have been Perrin settlement on the tract named Woster, for its survey stated there were already improvments to the land, namely

About 3 acres of Cleared Land, 300 old Rails, 20 Peach Trees

III. Later Land Purchases

Tract Name Acres Date of Survey Location Reference
Carr's Vineyard
November 7, 1766
North of Flintstone, on Black Valley Road
Hyetts Hunting Ground
November 11, 1766
West of Flintstone, near Evitt's Creek
Lim's Request
September 29, 1766
near Grassey Bottom, Town Creek

Two other tracts were surveyed on the basis of the 1765 warrant. These included Carr's Vineyard , located north of Flintstone and Hyett's Hunting Ground , located west of Martin Mountain on Evitt's Creek. These two tracts are shown on a later overview map. Hyett's Hunting Ground can be seen more closely on a detailed map here, and Carr's Vineyard here.

A final tract, Lim's Request, was surveyed but never patented. It was situated on lower Town Creek, adjacent to Grassey Bottom (seen also on a later map) .

Will and estate

In October 1769, six months after his land commission testimony, John Perrins wrote his will :

In the Name of God Amen. I John Perrins of Frederick County in the Provance of Maryland Farmer Being in health & of sound mind & memory and Understanding, but considering the uncertainty of this transitory life Do make publish & declare this my Last Will in Manner and Form following. First of all I give and bequeath unto my three sons Edward Perrins, John Perrins & Joseph Perrins all my real Estate to be equally divided amongst them in Manner and Form following, (Vez) that all my Lands shall be sold, and the money arising therefrom to be equally divided amongst them my said three Sons to each an equal third part there of their Heirs or Assigns. Also I give and Bequeath unto my Daughter Susannah fifty pounds Current Money to be paid unto her, her Heirs or assigns out of my Estate in one year after my Demase. Also I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Mary Fifty pounds Current Money to be paid unto her, her Heirs or Assigns in one year after my Demase. Also I give and bequeath unto each of my Grand-Children (Vez) to each of my Sons-Children and Duaghters-Children five pounds Current Money to be paid unto them in one year after my Demase. Also all of the Remainder of my personal Estate after paying my just & Lawful Debts above Legalies, I give and bequeath unto Edward Perrins, John Perrins & Joseph Perrins my three Sons equally between them and do hereby nominate and appoint the said Edward Perrins, John Perrins & Joseph Perrins Executors of this my Last Will and Testamint hereby revoking all former Will or Wills by me heretofor made in Witness whereof I have hereunto sit my hand & Seal this eighth Day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & sixty nine.

Signed and sealed John Perins

Witnessed by Jos. Smith, John J Reynolds, Robert Smith

Joseph Smith and Robert Smith proved will 7th January 1770.

The will is straightforward. John Perins referred to himself as "farmer". He mentioned three sons named Edward, John and Joseph, and two daughters Susannah and Mary. Each daughter received fifty pounds and each unnamed grandchild received five pounds. Edward, John and Joseph were all named executors, and each were to receive one third of the estate, and any income from "Lands to be sold".

The following inventory of the estate is also available . This shows a fairly prosperous farm.

February the 26th 1770, An Inventory of the Goods & Chattles of John Peryn, late
of Frederick County appraised by us the Subscribers

Item Value
To his Riding horse & waring app'l
12, 7, 2
One Bay horse £9,,15 / two mares £16,,8 / Two Horses £19
45, 3, 0
One Mare £4,,15 Two stears £4 & 4 Cows £13,,5
18, 0, 0
Two heifers one steer one cow & 4 calves £9 Hay £5,,3,,6
14, 3, 6
Nine sheep £3,,10 seventeen hogs £9,,4 a quantity of corn £4
11,10, 0
a Quantity of Rye £4,,8 Ditto of wheat £1,,4 Oats....C/
5,18, 0
Gees 18/ a Quantity of Pork & beef £9...Salt...../4
10, 2, 0
Peutear £1/15 Pails & Earth'nware £8 Hogs fatt & honey 13/
2,16, 0
Toungs fier shovel & pottauk Iron pots pan & skilletts
1,14, 0
Bees wax a peper mill Tallow a chest & Trunk
1, 3, 0
Old Casks 7/16 Iron Traces 1/4 Two grind stones.....8/
1,19, 6
Three bees hives 18/ Carpenters tools 15/
1,13, 0
Old axes mattocks Rings and wedges a belt a pr of shoemakers Pinchers Two plows & Irons £4,,0 a harrow & wagontier 1/12
5,12, 0
One pistel &scisers 4/6 knives & forks 3/ Caggs 1/ [?kegs]
1, 7, 6
Books & a pair of spectacles 10/ bed & furniture £11/
11,10, 0
Bedstead & a gun £2/10 one horse £7
9,10, 0
The whole am't
154, 8, 8

We the Subscribers hereunder Written Do hereby Certyfie that we do approve of the above Inventory being the Two next of Kinn to the above mentioned Decased --- signed Thomas Lazear &Joseph Lazear
The two greatest Creditors Edmund Rutter Sarah Joans

I think the distribution of assets helps understand Perins' daily life, at least at the time of his death. The farm was prosperous. Two thirds of the value of the estate was in livestock, with most of it due to horses. The presence of bees suggests fruit trees. There were books and a pair of spectacles.

The estate appraisal was conducted by "the Two next of Kinn" Thomas and Joseph Lazear. That phrase is enough to warrant an entire section for the Lazear family. There I will argue that John Perins married a member of the Lazear family at some point.

The list of accounts  showed that most of Perins' significant debtors owed him bonds. Most of those bond holders are known to have bought property from Perins. There are exceptions, notably Joseph Jr. and John Lazear. These I will discuss later.

Wives and Children

The next four sections of this narrative concern the three sons and one of the daughters of John Perins. In the section regarding the Powell family I posit a third daughter. Here I want to briefly summarize the conclusions from those sections, as they may prove useful in constructing John Perins' origin.


Judging from the order of the names in John Perrins' will, Edward would be the oldest son. Edward's service in the 1757 militia requires that his birth year was before 1741. A story quoted later stated Edward was fifty years old in 1780, yielding a birth date of 1730.

John, Jr.

John's son John, Jr. also served in the 1757 militia. A story recorded later stated John, Jr. was eighty years old at the time of his death. There I reckon he died in 1815, so his birth date was 1735.


Joseph did not serve in the 1757 militia. He probably married around 1765. I believe this puts his birth date between 1741 and 1746.


The Cherry family stated that Mary Perrin married Thomas Cherry, Jr., with her first child Thomas Perrin Cherry born June 19, 1759 . That this Mary Perrin is John Perrin, Sr.'s daughter will be clear from the subsequent migration west of this family. I can assume Mary was born before 1741.

You may recall Thomas Cherry, Sr. on the 1734 petition quoted earlier. Thomas Cherry was listed as taxed in 1733 and 1734 in the Monocacy Hundred, Prince Georges County, Maryland . By 1736 he had moved to Virginia, living along the Potomac at the site of present day Cherry Run, Morgan County, West Virginia, as shown by both deed records and on some old maps . Thomas Sr.'s will, written in 1759, mentioned sons William, Aaron, Moses, John, Thomas, Jr. and Ralph, and daughters Honour and Rachel. Deed records then showed that following Thomas Cherry, Sr.'s death around 1760, Thomas Jr. was still in Virginia for a while. He then took a Virginia patent on land in present day Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1774 , and according to the deed language in Virginia he and his wife Mary were living there as of 1779 .

More will be said about Thomas and Mary (Perrin) Cherry in the section about her and her brother Edward in Washington County, Pennsylvania.


A 1904 biography of Hubert Paxton Wiggins of Indiana County, Pennsylvania stated :

Mr. Wiggins is descended, on his mother's side, from the Craigens of Scotland, one of whom, Robert Craigen, fought in the battle of Culloden, March 16, 1746, and the ancestral line is as follows: Robert Craigen, born in Scotland, emigrated to Maryland and finally located in Winchester county, Va.; ... Susanna Perrin, native of Maryland, married Robert Craigen;

The biography citation above iagrees with the other available historical data on the Craigen family. Robert Craigen was in Virginia contiguous to Frederick County, Maryland after 1753. His first son, John Craigen, was possibly born in 1769 and died in 1827; his will mentioned a daughter named Susan Perrin . While the name was actually spelled either Paron or Parran in this will , I suspect that the change in spelling reflected its oral transmission in mountain Virginia. On the basis of John Craigen's birth date Susannah Perrin may have been born as late as 1750.


John Perins must have married no later than 1738 to account for three children born before 1742. The other two known children may have been born later. I can suppose that the later children, Joseph and Susannah, were named after putative grandparents Joseph Lazear and Susannah Webb as clarified in the Lazear section. I propose that John Perins married twice; his first wife may have died as early as 1742, his second wife was a Lazear.

Whence John Perins?

At this point I want to spend some time trying to put together a plausible picture of where John Perins came from. In the process I will refer to almost any information I have, plus rely on some of my own uncertain conclusions. I hope that someday there will be more information available to make these speculations unnecessary.

The historical record provides a picture of John Perins as a successful pioneer settler of central Maryland. Born between March 1709/10 and March 1710/11, he settled in Marsh Run some time after 1734 and by 1737. He later associated with many of the important people of the region, most of whom were also pioneers. I cannot say whether his social network reflected an early arrival to the region, his later commercial ventures or his public service. Aside from the sale of land I do not have evidence that John directly plied a trade outside of the farm. However, the pattern of his real estate ventures, particularly in the tracts Long Looked For and Sink Hole Bottom suggests that he through sons Edward and John may have done basic trading with early settlers on the frontier. Perins' estate at the time of his death was certainly larger than many in the region, but paled in comparison to say Joseph Chaplin, whose personal property was valued at £3000 at his death in 1768.

Any explanation of John Perins' origin must conform to a few hard facts:

  1. A birth date between March 1709/10 and March 1710/11.
  2. Arrival in frontier Maryland by 1737, at the age of twenty six.
  3. Two of his sons were born before 1741, according to the militia roles discussed above section.

There is some soft data about his older children as well:

  1. His first son Edward was reportedly born around 1730, according to his granddaughter. This is consistent with Edward serving as an ensign in the 1757 militia.
  2. His second son John was born between 1734 and 1736, according to later family accounts.
  3. Mary Perrin, by virtue of her marriage to Thomas Cherry, Jr. by 1758, was probably born by 1740.

Unlikely possibilities

Previous Indenture

John Perins could have arrived in Maryland as an indentured servant. A typical indenture would have been five years. It was not unusual for the release from indenture to be accompanied by a warrant to survey 50 acres.

There was a John Perrin who left from London for Maryland in December, 1732 under indenture . However, the timing is wrong as this person would not have had the opportunity for marriage or children before 1737.

Transplant from another Colony

John Perins may have come from another colony. However a review of the known Perrin families in New England and Virginia, along with the Perrine family of New Jersey, does not reveal a possible John Perins who was born around 1710.

A better argument against a relationship between John Perins and other Colonial Perrin families examines the spelling of his last name. In the colonial period spellings were not standardized, but the person himself could reasonably be expected to spell his name consistently. On the other hand, another person may spell a persons's surname phonetically, or even spell it the way he/she thought it should be spelled. If one takes all the primary sources I have available I have the following spread for surname spellings:

While I will return to this list again below, for now please note that there is a large number of entries which use the final "s". In the eighteenth century this "patronymic s" was equivalent to the suffix "-son". This variant of the name Perrin does not occur within the Perrin families from Virginia or New England.

Huguenot ancestry

In the historical biography of grandson John Perrin from Springfield, Ohio it was writen:

The Perrin family is doubtless of French origin, although the immediate ancestors of John Perrin, the first of the name in Ohio, came from England. It is supposed that those who lived in France were driven out of that country at the time of the Catholic persecution: that they came to America and eventually returned to the old world, but did not again go to their native land, locating, instead, in England, whence at an early day representatives of the name sailed for the new world and the family was then established in Maryland, where they purchased land in 1740.

I believe the "doubtless" assertion of the first sentence came from the writer of this biography, not from family tradition. Then the writer stated that:

This hardly is a typical migration pattern for the French Huguenots. But a more effective argument concerns the signature for John Perins. 64 of the 99 citations for John Perins' name included a final "s". The patronymic "-s" is used only in English and other Germanic languages, not in French.


There is only other historical biography of that has an origin story, that of Joshua Perrin, a great-great grandson of John Perins living in Nebraska :

The history of Mr. Perrin is one of more than ordinary interest, he being the offspring of an excellent old family who have been represented in the Keystone State for three generations, and who trace their ancestry to Germany. Amos and Elizabeth (Bennett) Perrin, the parents of our subject, were natives respectively of Alleghany County, Md., and Bedford County, Pa. The paternal great-grand-father was Thomas Perrin, who, upon emigrating from the Fatherland, settled near Oldtown, Md., and subsequently served in the French and Indian Wars, being in the Federal service under Gen. Washington and witnessing Braddock's defeat. Later, his son Thomas, the grandfather of our subject, carried a musket in the Revolutionary War

This narrative does not have enough generations to get back to John Perins, The use of the phrase "Fatherland" is interesting, and I think came from the writer. It is enough to make me think that the writer may have also editorialized the Germany idea. I want to keep open the idea that 1)Thomas Perrin was the first of the family in North America, and 2) when the bioographer writes "German", they may have heard the interviewee say "Dutch".

The Holland Hypothesis

More signature analysis

In the simple listing of the rendering of John Perins' name there was a high number of spellings with either a single "r" and/or with a final "s" . The "Perins" spelling, which combines both variants, was used 22% of the time. In comparison, the instance of "Perins" spelling in English records from 1700 to 1730 is around 3% . Is this spelling the result of random error, or does it signify something?

It is useful to distinguish those times Perins' signature was recorded by someone else from those times when John Perins himself signed a document. When looking at all the documents using "Perrin", the name is part of a government list or pronouncement 75% of the time. It is as though "Perrin" was John's "official" name. In contrast, the "Perins" spelling is the only one found on petitions, most of his estate inventories and several other signed documents, including his will. I would call this Perins' "personal" spelling of his name, the one which he considered correct.

A wonderful example of the differences among phonetic, official and personal spellings of Perins' name comes from Roseburghs Delight.

John Perins signature from 1763

John Perins signature from orignal Roseburghs Delight deed of sale

While Perins used used the "Perins" spelling throughout his life and apparently even on his will, after his death I know of no example of its use. The "Perrins" spelling would persist intermittently, specifically with his sons and with one grandson Thomas.

I can conlude that John Perins was certain of the spelling of his name, but the world around him preferred to spell his name more like they expected his name should be, specifically "Perrin". This tells me more than just excluding the Huguenot possibility. It implies to me that the world identified John Perins with someone with the real Perrin name.


I would like to place some significance on what I believe is the initial Maryland record involving John Perins. This was the mention of "John Pedons" in the Prince George County tax levy book from 1737 . The portion of the final 1737 list, referring to those persons deficient in the crow and squirrel tax from 1736 included this sequence:

This particular list seemed to group the names geographically. As William Clark and John Upton were both residents of the Great Marsh at that time I can assume the odd spelling of "Pedons" should refer to "Perins". The scribe in this list clearly had other names spelled oddly. For example, Daniel "Macgloling" I would assume to be "McLaughlin", who incidentally appears again in a later section.

Some knowledge of Dutch phonology is necessary to resolve the connection between "Pedons" and "Perins". In that language the consonant "r" does not typically appear in the middle of a word. When it does, it may be pronounced one of two ways; either as an aveolar trill (and sound similar to English) or as an aveolar tap. This second sound does occur in some forms of English, but not for the letter "r"; an example would be the sound in the middle of the word "better". The alveolar tap "r" does not occur in German.

I believe the person who recorded this list based his spelling on what he heard. The spelling of Pedons for Perins suggests to me that John Perins spoke with a Dutch accent.

Holland Perrins

What evidence supports the notion that John Perins was Dutch? First, the German ancestry claimed in Joshua Perrin's biography is consistent with that notion. The confusion between Dutch and Deutsch persist up to the present among Americans.

The name Perrin or Perin was recorded in Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the early eighteenth century; other spellings included Perijn and Perijn. The use of the patronymic "s" is seeen but not common. In Germany the names "Perrin" and "Perin" are recorded in the early eighteenth century, but the families were found in areas of French influence, and the patronymic "s" did not occur.

Linking to Thomas Perrin, Merchant

While finding a person named John Perin in Holland would be an unlikely occurrence, there is one natural candidate for his father; Thomas Perrin. Thomas had travelled to Holland as early as 1709, according to the testimony given by Thomas Askew. His escape from Fleet Prison to Holland in 1717 and his probable residence there until 1729 is discussed in a previous section. There I also described Thomas' probable move to frontier York County, Pennsylvania around 1729, with his return to England in 1738. This migration pattern agrees with what the biographer of John Perrin was trying to describe above.

I would propose that Thomas Perrin fathered a child in Holland, born in 1710 or 1711. He named the child John, a name not previously used for a son in his English family. The son used a more Dutch spelling for his surname, Perin, and the patronymic "s" was added. For not only was such suffix more commonly used in general in Holland, it provided an explicit reference in his name to his father, as his mother's surname did not include that name.

As an older child and young adult John would have had ample exposure to his father. I think John Perins' emigration to America occurred by 1730. He would have lived in Pennsylvania clearing and cultivating the land Thomas Perrin had claimed; that would explain the acreage attributed to Thomas in his estate inventory. He certainly would have made friends with the Hendricks clan, given their Dutch ancestry; I can even imagine that he married one of the Hendricks women. Through Thomas Perrin John Perins would have known Edmund Cartlidge; through the Hendricks clan he would have know other Dutch and Swedish families from Chester County, such as the Friend and Enochs families.

By 1737 it was clear that Thomas Perrin was living on land we would never own. I can understand his desire to retun home to England at that juncture. John Perins, on the other hand, was already supporting a family. He joined with the Enochs clan and moved to Maryland.