The Gordy Family
The Gordy Family
The Stories

Introduction to The Gordy Story
Excerpted from the new book, The Gordy Story by M.G. Corporon & B.G. Fox .

Anytime historical research is seriously attempted there are always questions left unanswered (and riddles left to solve).  Most of us do not have the good fortune of an aristocratic lineage where meticulous family/birth/death records were kept.  There are many church records which have survived through the ages despite wars, fires and floods, but there again, many of us are not lucky enough to have ancestors whose family/birth/death records were ever transcribed.   Extant records would make our research so much easier.  Instead, for those of us who lack complete family records, we must rely on a vast amount of library, court house, and state archive searching.   Hours and hours spent bent over manuscript after manuscript, peering through a magnifying glass, reading and rereading, trying to decipher both the old English script and, very often,  nearly illegible penmanship of the author. As anyone who does this for any amount of time understands, along with factual research comes some speculation, deductive reasoning, dumb luck, and never taking anyone else’s word for granted.

Thus said, I will begin with the “Story of Peter and Moses”.  Sounds Biblical, doesn’t it? And this is precisely why we started questioning the “known facts” about the Gordy family and from whom we are descended.  We will use the spelling “Gordy” most of the time throughout our story but to be as accurate as we can, we will spell the name as we find it in the many land records, wills, and legal documents.  In this way we are being true to the story while sharing with our readers the difficulty of historical research.

One of the most important lessons we have learned in our research is that for each item of information, wherever possible, you must personally search for and read each document, or a microfilm of that document.  There are many excellent historians and researchers who have compiled reams of information in book after book.  These materials are the first place to start looking, but no matter how careful these authors were to transcribe accurately, there are mistakes.  Mistakes in transcription are not the only reason to do the reading yourself.  We found that because we became familiar with our family names, names of their neighbors, names of their land (in the 1600’s tracts of land were named, as we will describe later) etc, we read documents with a different understanding.  For us the research is personal.

Most important, as we have been reminded by many veteran researchers, is to not overlook the history of the time you are researching.   You have to know how land was bought and sold, how it was passed from generation to generation.  You need to have an understanding of the legal system, including judicial court records, orphan’s court records, the system of indentured servitude, age of maturity, taxation practices, and how their monetary system worked.  It is important to our understanding to also have knowledge of how the family unit functioned,  what were the relationships to relatives and friends, how were names chosen for children,  how religion may have played a role in their lives.  In no small part, referencing the geography of the land is vital.  Where was the water?  Where was land inhabited?  What was the distance between point A and point B and how did they travel?  So, an understanding of History is one of the most important aspects of genealogical research.  An understanding and appreciation of the day to day lives of our ancestors helps us to create the big picture and ultimately to “fill in the holes” left when historical documentation is not available.  We, your authors, enjoy researching the history, reading through document after document, searching for that one tiny clue that will lead us to a big discovery!  We are excited to share with you what we have discovered.

In 1671 Robert Crouch immigrated into Maryland from Virginia with his wife Mary and two children, son John and daughter Rosamond.  He purchased land patents in Maryland on the south side of the Wicomico River, just to the south of what is today Salisbury, MD.  His first land was called “White Chappell”.  Robert and Mary had five more children over the next few years. Their first child born in Maryland was daughter Mary in 1672.  Later in the book we will detail the births of their other children.  By dating the births of these children, especially Mary’s birth in 1672, we have concluded that Rosamond was probably around three years old at the time of their immigration.  That would put her date-of-birth at about 1669.

Many people were moving into Maryland at that time both for free land and to escape religious persecution.  Virginia had been settled for awhile and was not very tolerant of Quakers, Catholics, French Huguenots, and other religious sects.  Maryland was very tolerant and accepted everyone.

In 1675, a William Brereton transported several people into Maryland; that is, he brought them into Maryland and he received an allotment of land for each.  One of the people he transported was Adrian Gardey.  We have no record of how old Adrian was as the time he was transported to Maryland but there are land records indicating that seven years later, 1682, Adrian purchased a 50 acre tract of land from William Brereton called “White Chappell Green”. Adrian could have been as young as 16 when he made this purchase. This land bordered lands owned by Brereton and also the land called “White Chappell” owned by Robert Crouch.  Because the time between his transportation into Maryland and the purchase of his land was seven years, we deduce that Adrian was an indentured servant of William Brereton.  Seven years was the usual and customary time of servitude.  Later in the book we will describe in more detail the relationship between Adrian Gardey and William Brereton.

By 1685, Rosamond Crouch was married to a John Taylor, planter (in several documents this John Taylor is referred to as “planter” to differentiate him from another John Taylor who was living in the area at the same time).   In November of 1685 the birth of a son John to John Taylor, planter, and Rozanna his wife is documented.  In June of 1688 another son, Jacob, is born to John Taylor, planter, and Rozanna his wife.  One might question whether Rosamond Crouch and Rozanna Taylor are one in the same?  In 1711 in the will of Rosamond’s father, Robert Crouch, he bequeaths land to his grandsons John and Jacob Taylor, thus confirming the connection.

In 1684, John Taylor, planter, purchased a 100 acre tract of land called “Sand Ridge” (translated some places as “Land Ridge”).  In 1694, “Sand Ridge” is sold by John Taylor and Rose his wife.  In our research of John and Rose (Rosamond, Rozanna) Crouch Taylor we have found that John and Rose have two other children; a daughter Mary, born before 1694, and a son Thomas, whose birth date we believe to be after Mary.  There is no record we have found of these two births but there is documentation and there are many family connections which explain our assumptions.  We have also found several court documents dated between the years 1684 and 1694 where John Taylor has “trouble with the law”.  We have gone into detail later in the book.  For our purposes here, suffice to say that we believe John Taylor was neither a particularly moral person nor a good provider.  In or around 1694, after the sale of his land, John and Rose Taylor leave the Somerset County area, perhaps forced to flee, and we find Rose again in 1699 in the Lewes, Delaware area.

Let us now go back to Adrian Gardey.  His name is found in a couple of land transactions in the 1680’s and he is named with several other men in one court summons.  There is one glaring fact during this time frame.  In 1689, Adrian Gardey does NOT sign the “Oath of Loyalty” to England.  Practically without exception, we find listed the names every man living in the area.  We also routinely find the names of these men in land transactions and court records; among these are Robert Crouch, William Brereton, and Michael Disharoon.  There could be several reasons why Adrian did not sign the oath.  He could have been a devout Quaker or Catholic and refused to sign (even though other Quakers and Catholics did the politically correct thing and signed).  Our educated guess is that Adrian had left Somerset County by this time. 

We base the idea that Adrian had left the area on three facts;
First, there are no land transactions after the original purchase of “White Chappell Green” in 1682 and there is only the one court record mentioning Adrian Gardey.  As we said above, other men in the area are routinely buying and selling land and have judicial records of one sort or another.  There is nothing to be found on Adrian (nor any of the many and various spellings of his name, which we will discuss later).

Second, in the will of one Michael Disharoon in 1691, we find that Adrian “Gordon” is the husband of Michael’s eldest child Mary.  Michael bequeaths to Mary a cow and calf but only if she takes possession of it within one year.  If she does not take possession, or if she does not have any “lawful heirs” to take possession, this cow and calf will revert back to Michael’s other heirs.  Our interpretation of this bequest is that Mary is not living in the area. From our interpretation of the meaning of the words in his will, we have the impression that Michael is not pleased with his daughter’s marriage or with her husband.

Third, in 1695, Robert Crouch “takes up” the tract of land called “White Chappell Green” from one Samson Powers.  In our research we know that Sampson Powers works for the Crown, the local government, and we feel that the Crown has repossessed the land because no one is working it or paying taxes on it.  Remember, “White Chappell Green” is adjacent to Robert Crouch’s land “White Chappell”.  Robert Crouch works the land, pays taxes on it, and in his will in 1711, he bequeaths it to his son Jacob Crouch, calling it land “formerly belonging to Adrian Gorden and sold to me by Sampson Powers . . . “.  It is not until 1712, more than twenty years after his disappearance, that we find any other documented reference to Adrian.

In March of 1699 we find reference to Rose Taylor in the Judicial Court Records for Lewes, Sussex County, Delaware.  It has been five years since she and husband John Taylor have left Somerset County, Maryland.  Apparently John Taylor is either deceased or has run off and Rose does not have a husband to take care of her and her children.  The story becomes a little convoluted here so bear with us. Rose’s sisters, Mary and Rachel Crouch, both, in succession, married a man named Thomas Cary (Carey) of Somerset County, Maryland.   Mary Crouch, the sister just younger than Rose, marries Thomas Cary first.  We find a court record stating, “On June 25, 1697, Robert Crouch, Somerset County, gave a gray mare and a gift of (cattle) mark to his daughter Mary Cary, wife of Thomas Cary.”  In the will of Robert Crouch, father of Rose, Mary and Rachel, Mary is not listed with his other children.  The assumption is that she is deceased.  However, in the finalization of Robert Crouch’s estate, daughter Rachel (Rachole) is listed as Rachole Cary.  Rachel Crouch Cary is found in many documents including lists of taxables, and in the will of Thomas Cary in 1717. Rachel Crouch, alias dictus Carey, inherits ½ of his estate. The other ½ is bequeathed to Thomas Crouch Junior, alias dictus Carey, his son.

Let us continue with a little more information before we complete the circle back to Rose Crouch Taylor.  Thomas Cary had two brothers, Edward and John.  They and their parents and other siblings, lived in Somerset County with lands to the south of the Crouch and Gardey lands.  The Cary Family had arrived in Maryland a few years earlier from England.  They appear to be wealthy and were educated.  Son John Cary was a rather wild young man often in trouble.  We have found many court records in the early 1690’s where he is a defendant in charges of public intoxication, cursing in public, and on at two occasions charged with lewd behavior with another man’s wife.  He is accused of running away with one James Ingram’s wife.  (It is interesting that the husband filing these charges is the owner of a tract of land called “Moresfield” which, later in our story, becomes an important piece of information.)  Suffice to say, John Cary was quite a bounder and probably a source of expense and worry to his parents. We think perhaps this is a contributing reason why John, Edward and Thomas Cary leave Somerset County, Maryland, and relocate to Lewes, Delaware.  The Cary family owned lands in the present day Assateague Island area and in and around Lewes and Rehobeth, Delaware.

Once in Lewes, the brothers buy and sell land and become prosperous.  John Cary becomes a jurist on the Sussex County Court which was held in Lewes, Delaware.  The qualifications for jurists at that time were that they be men, own land and were literate.  We believe that Mary Crouch was the wife of Thomas Cary at this time and accompanied her husband to Delaware.

We don’t know if John and Rose Taylor went to Lewes, DE, because her sister lived there but we do know that after 1694 both the Taylors and the Carys were living in Lewes. At this point we make several assumptions, corroborated by land and court records.  It appears that by 1698 or 1699 Rose Taylor has two children of whom she believes John Cary, her sister’s brother-in-law, to be the father.  We don’t know the details of their relationship, just that one apparently existed.  Court records confirm that “two bastard children” were born to Rose Taylor prior to March of 1699.   We have reached the conclusion that these two children were our Peter and Moses!

Before you start screaming or swearing and saying “it can’t be so,” you have to read all the documents, wills, land grants, court records, and study the history of the times as we have for the past six years.  You have to put all of the little pieces together and see them form the “big picture”.  Our picture is that Rose Crouch Taylor had a relationship with, John Cary, probably after her husband John Taylor left or died (the references to him disappear from all records).  Apparently due in part to John Cary’s ties with the court Rose “plea bargained” for a fine and a reprimand.  John remained in Lewes, continued on the court, later married Bridgett Aleef, had children and died there in 1723.  Rose apparently took her children, John 15, Jacob 13, Mary around 5 or 6, Thomas, whom we believe to be around 3 and her two infants, and returned to Somerset County, Maryland, to the home of her father.  We further believe, because of later land transactions, that she lived on the homestead called “White Chappell Green” formerly patented by Adrian Gardey, but now in the possession of her father Robert Crouch.

We are getting close to the connection between Adrian and Rose. In Robert Crouch’s will, which we have mentioned several times previously, he lists bequests to his children, naming them all.  He also leaves land to his grandsons John and Jacob Taylor.  This is where we started six years ago.  Who were these boys? Which of Robert Crouch’s daughters married a Taylor?  Why was he in possession of land “formerly belonging to Adrian Gorden”?  Our research led us through to the inventory of Robert’s Crouch’s estate where the married names of Robert’s daughters are listed.  Rose is listed as Rose Gording.  We found a will for a John Taylor in 1714 in which he bequeaths to his brother Jacob his entire estate including his portion of the land given to him by his grandfather Robert Crouch.  Rose Gordin and Jacob Taylor sign the inventory of the estate.  Robert’s daughter Rose is indeed the mother of his Taylor grandsons.  Because of our Taylor research we have found what other researcher’s have not: that Adrian Gardey was not the biological father of Moses and Peter Gordy.  They were the sons of Rosamond Crouch Taylor Gordy and, we presume, John Cary.

Rose and her children are prevalent in the court, land and tax records after her father’s will in 1711.  Adrian Gardey arrives back on the scene in 1712, after Robert Crouch’s death and before the inventory of his estate.   Adrian’s wife, the former Mary Disharoon, is not with him. We therefore assume she is deceased.  There may have been a daughter of that union, named Mary, after her mother, who married a John Holloway in 1707, but we have found no verification of this theory.  For some reason Adrian returns to Somerset County, Maryland.  When he returns he and Rose marry.  We assume their marriage is one of convenience.  Adrian has no wife and Rose’s father is now deceased so she has no one to take care of her and the children who are still at home, probably Thomas, age 15,  and the twins, Moses and Peter, age 12.   After their mother’s marriage to Adrian, the twins take his last name. Their first names were typical of bastard children of the time, Biblical.  Rose, for her own reasons, would not give them the Taylor name and couldn’t give them the Cary name.  Adrian is deceased by 1715, so the relationship between him and the boys was a short one.  Even though the boys took Adrian’s last name, they were raised by their Crouch grandparents, aunts and uncles, and by their Taylor half-siblings.

Why do we know that Adrian did not return to Somerset County before Robert Crouch’s death in 1711?  Jacob Crouch, Roses’ brother, inherited “White Chappell Green formerly belonging to Adrian Gorden” from his father.  In 1712 there is a very long, confusing and difficult to read, land transaction between Jacob Crouch and Adrian Gorden and Rose his wife.  We will detail this transaction later in the book.  In short, it appears that Jacob purchases clear title to White Chappell Green from Adrian, even though it has been in the Crouch family for years, and in addition he, Jacob, states that Adrian and Rose can remain on the land for the next seven years.   If Adrian had returned to Somerset County before Robert’s Crouch’s death, this transaction would have been between Adrian and Robert, NOT between Adrian and Jacob.  Adrian only lived about two years after this land deed.  He died in December of 1714.  Rose, Moses and Peter and possibly Mary and Thomas Taylor continued to live on the land until 1719, the end of the seven years stipulated in the land deed.  At that time Jacob Crouch sold the land to John Christopher Junior, who has become the husband of Mary Taylor, daughter of Rose.  We believe that Rose continued to live on this land until her death.

Beginning in 1723, the land and tax records tell our story. We have no record of Rose’s death.  No will has been found.  No inventory of her estate has been found.  We do know that Rose and Peter “Gordon” are living together in 1723 next door to Thomas Taylor. Also in the immediate area are John Christopher Junior, Anne Crouch, widow of Rose’s brother John, and her children, and other family members.  In 1724, Rose and Peter “Gordy” (spelled this way for the first time) are still in the same household.  Thomas Taylor is still nearby.   For these two years, 1723 and 1724, Moses is working land and paying taxes in a different area.  In 1725 Peter “Godie” is living with another male. We assume this to be Moses though the spelling is incorrect.  Rose is not listed.  She could have been missed.  The 1726 tax lists have disappeared or were never taken.  Rose is not listed again in 1727 but Peter and Moses “Gordy” are living together.  We assume she died sometime after 1725. 

Rosamond Crouch Taylor Gordy was about 56 years old when we lose track of her.  Moses and Peter continue to live together for several more years with their brother Thomas next door and the Christophers and other relatives all close by.

We have written our book in three chapters; The Story of Adrian Gardey, The Story of Rosamond Crouch, and the Story of Moses and Peter Gordy. We have included footnotes to prove documentation and we have included pages of our family genealogy.  This last information is compiled from many sources, some from our research, but most from Gordy relatives who have painstakingly compiled list after list of their family trees.  We do not vouch for the accuracy of the family lines.  In fact, many are incomplete and some are definitely inaccurate. We welcome and encourage anyone to contact us with corrections and/or additions.

© Melinda Gordy Corporon and Barbara Gordy Fox, 2007.
  

 

 

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