Information About Gilpin Ancestry

Much of the information on this website comes from the great collection of materials provided to me by cousin Theckla Ledyard.  Among these items were two family trees of the Gilpin family, one of which takes that line of ancestry back farther than any other I have yet seen.

Here’s a brief introduction: Jane Strawbridge Ledyard was the son of John Strawbridge and Hannah Evans.  Hannah was the daughter of George Evans and Rachel Gilpin.  Jane, in her family-history letter to her daughter, told how the Gilpins emigrated from England in 1696 and lived for a while in a cave near Chad’s Ford, Pennsylvania, on the Brandywine.  The Gilpin family trees appear to be quite complete, and filled with a bewildering array of Gilpins and others.  Without going into much detail, it is interesting to note the facts presented about the earliest name on the family tree:  Richard De Guylpyn, for whom the only year given is 1206 (birth?).  The notes say:

“Richard De Guylpyn (1206). In the reign of King John the Baron of Kendal gave the Manor of Kentmere to Richard De Guylpyn for his achievement in slaying a wild boar, which annoyed the forest of Westmoreland & Cumberland.”

Two generations later, another Richard came along.  The notes say:

“Richard De Guylpyn (1268). In the Reign of King Henry, Peter de Bruys, who maried a Coheiress of William de Lancaster gave the Manor of Ulwithwaite to Richard De Guylpyn.î  Many years later, in the Sixteenth Century, George Gilpin was Minister at the Hague from Queen Elizabeth.”

Here is some more information about the Gilpins:

To provide a brief review of how the Gilpins fit into my Strawbridge family tree, Rachel Gilpin, whose married name was Evans, was the mother of Hannah Evans. Hannah married John Strawbridge, who was born in Ireland about 1749 and died in 1793. That John Strawbridge was my great-great-great-great grandfather. A good deal of interesting Gilpin history is included in the family history letter of Jane Strawbridge Ledyard.

There is a wealth of other information about the Gilpins, and I will set down some of it in this article. One of Rachel’s brothers was George Gilpin, born in 1740. According to a book called The Kentucky Gilpins, by George Gilpin Perkins (1927), George settled in Alexandria, Virginia, was a friend of George Washington, and was made a colonel of the Fairfax Militia at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. George Gilpin reportedly was with the army at the Battle of Dorchester Heights. He also was said to be interested, along with George Washington, in certain navigation experiments on the Potomac River. George Gilpin also was said to have been a pall-bearer at Washington’s funeral. George Gilpin died in Alexandria in 1813.

If you search for the term “Gilpin” in the papers of George Washington at the website of the Library of Congress, you can find a good deal of information involving the Gilpins, particularly George Gilpin. I will set forth a couple of examples below. Many of the documents on the web site appear to exist only in the form of images of the handwritten documents, but some of them, such as the ones I am including here, also exist as transcribed text.

First, here is a letter from Washington to George Gilpin. I have included all of the headings and notes from the Library of Congress web site:

The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.–vol. 30 New York, September 14, 1789.

Dear Sir: I am favored with the receipt of your letter of the 2 instant, and thank you for the information you have been so good as to communicate. Every circumstance which serves to shew the utility, and which explains the progress of an undertaking so advantageous to the Community as the navigation of the Potomack, is at once grateful and interesting. When your leisure allows an opportunity of making out the draft you mention, I shall be glad to receive it, with such observations as may consist with your convenience. I am etc… [Note: Gilpin had written: “As soon as I can make out a proper draft I will send one to you with the Courses, distance and perpendicular fall of Potomack and of the Allegany Mountain where several of the great waters begin.” Gilpin’s letter is in the Washington Papers.]

The second item is a letter from Washington to a military commander that makes mention of an incident that was reported to him by Joseph Gilpin. I believe that this Joseph was another brother of Rachel Gilpin. He lived from 1725 to 1790. Here is the text, with annotations, as taken from the Library of Congress web site:

The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.–vol. 23 Philadelphia, December 30, 1781.

Sir: I am informed by Joseph Gilpin Esqr. a Justice of the Peace at the Head of Elk, that an inhabitant has been killed by a Soldier, and that the Coroner’s Inquest has returned it Murther. You will therefore immediately deliver the Offender up to the Civil Authority; and I shall depend upon your taking all possible pains to prevent any accident of the like kind in future. I am &c. [Note: The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman.] There are many other letters on the web site; my recent search for “Gilpin” turned up 70 items in the papers of George Washington. It’s worth a look for those who are interested in further historical connections to the Strawbridge family tree.