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Weston Wagons West - Ep. J13 - John and Mary Kinnick grew their family in Maryland near Cyrus and Karl Weston

Updated on July 22, 2014
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

The White House Burned

The President's House was burned by the British invaders in August of 1814.
The President's House was burned by the British invaders in August of 1814. | Source

John and Mary Kinnick struggled to raise their family after John and Ann moved to North Carolina

John and Mary began their family with two sons, William and John, born in 1795 and 1797, respectively. John did not live to adulthood. Four girls followed in rapid fire order over the following seven years: Percilla in early 1800, Dorcas late in 1800, Sarah in 1801 and Mary in August 1804. Their only other son, Walter W. was born in February of 1810. Their last two daughters followed, Ann in May of 1812 and Catherine on the 31st of August of 1814.

What we know now was that the War of 1812 had been located elsewhere until the summer of 1814. Although the British Royal Navy controlled nearby Chesapeake Bay from early 1813 onwards, a lack of troops limited ground based attacks to small-scale raids. Although Americans in the area feared what might happen, there seemed little immediate danger. With the end of the Napoleonic wars in Europe, in the spring of 1814, however, this changed.

Under Major General Robert Ross veteran troops of the European Wars soon became available.
They landed at nearby Benedict on the Patuxent River, just east of Bryantown, on August 19, 1814. Benedict was located only a little over 10 miles to the east of Bryantown where the Kinnicks, and the Westons, lived. The British army marched north and then west where, on August 23-24, Ross decided to launch a surprise attack on Washington City, the new capital of the United States.

The United States Capital Burned

The United States Capital was burned during the War of 1812
The United States Capital was burned during the War of 1812 | Source

The United States Army attempted to defend their capital city - unsuccessfully

Brigadier General William H. Winder was the commander of the Tenth Military District for the United States Army designated to protect the area around Washington and Baltimore. In theory, he had 15,000 militia in his command. However, the reality was that he had only 120 Dragoons and 200 other Regulars, augmented by perhaps 1,500 poorly trained and equipped militia at his immediate disposal. Around noon on August 24, Ross's army reached Bladenburg, where American defenses had been set - very poorly, as it turned out. Tactical errors were a part of the defense in addition to being under-manned.

To break through the defenses, British forces were required to attack, and counter-attack, but eventually the superior force of the British army sent the Americans into retreat back into Washington City. The British suffered heavier casualities in the Battle of Bladensburg than the Americans, but the British ended up marching into Washington City and eventually burned the Capital and the President's House, what we now call the White House.

Having demonstrated their superiority, and wreaking some havoc in return for some American actions earlier in Canada, Ross withdrew his troops to the Chesapeake, to move on towards Baltimore, by land and sea, from the southeast. He was subsequently killed in that action at the Battle of North Point on September 12, 1814. The outcome of that British operation is best remember in Francis Scott Key's Star Spangled Banner… the "flag still waves."

The Flag Still Waves

Bombardment over Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor in 1814
Bombardment over Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor in 1814 | Source

Life went on near Bryantown in spite of the war getting so close

Baby Catherine Kinnick was born about a week after the British attack on Washington City. What must it have been like in that environment to have had a baby ready to deliver? She survived, however, and lived to be more than 80 years old.

Meanwhile, at the Cyrus Weston home, young Karl had been going through the farrier, blacksmithing and wagon building training of his parental heritage. He was 12 in 1799, 14 in 1801. By 1814, Karl was prepared, along with his now 60 year old father, to defend their Weston Wagon Works operations, if needed. Fortunately, it was not necessary.

The Battle of New Orleans early in January 1815 was considered the end of the War of 1812 even though the Treaty of Ghent officially ended the conflict on Christmas eve in December, 1814. Peace had come to Maryland as well, and thoughts began to turn, again, to westward movement. Ohio had become a state in 1803, and there was talk of using what was being called the National Road (or the Cumberland Road) from Cumberland, Maryland, to Wheeling, Virginia, across the Ohio River into Ohio. The road reached Wheeling in 1818.

Learn more about the War of 1812

Signing of the Treaty of Ghent

Painting of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, on Christmas Eve, 1814, ending the War of 1812.
Painting of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, on Christmas Eve, 1814, ending the War of 1812. | Source

Karl Weston and John Kinnick began planning to seek opportunities along the National Road in Ohio

John and Mary Kinnick, in about 1818, along with their six daughters and one son, Walter, decided to make the move to Belmont County, Ohio, to seek a new life. Along with others, 29 year-old Karl Weston decided it was time for him to make the move to a new location as well. John and Mary's oldest son, William, agreed to help them move, to go over with them, and stay awhile, as needed, but that he would return to Maryland after that. He was 23 years old in 1818. [In December of 1833, he married Mary Jenkins at Trinity Parish, Charles Co, Maryland.]

Eighteen-year-old Percilla Kinnick soon also decided to stay in Maryland with her brother. In December of 1820, she married Alexander Carrico. The children actually making the trip in 1818 were Dorcas, 18, Sarah, 17, Mary 14, Walter, 8, Ann, 6, and Catherine, 4. The trip turned out to be much more difficult than they had expected. The young people tried hard to contribute, but they were young, and even though accustomed to work, were hardly up to the travails of the journey with only John, William and Mary as the adults. They got little help from other in the group they traveled with; most were sufficiently challenged with their own affairs.

Tragedy also befell the group as John, the father, died as the result of an accident while crossing the Ohio River. William stayed on with the group and helped them get settled near Morristown, in Union Township, near the center of Belmont County - several miles to the west of Wheeling on the Ohio River. Karl Weston set up a blacksmith shop in Morristown, as well, in anticipation that the National Road would be extended west past there, as planned.

Learn more about the Early US Kinnick Family

War of 1812

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Historical note by the author

All members of the Weston family are fictional, of course. All the Kinnicks and military persons mentioned regarding the war were historical figures, but were used here fictitiously. The relationship between the Kinnick and Weston families therefore were created fictionally for this story. John and Mary Kinnick and their children are historical, but the details of their birth dates and early lives are filled in fictionally. They each played key roles in the life of John Kinnick, a 4th great-grandfather of the author. His son, Walter W., was a 3rd great-grandfather of the author. Each of the relationships within which these historical figures appear in these episodes is totally consistent with known historical facts for each such person in the official records of Maryland.

The author's historical perspective in this hub relied extensively on his published article in the Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin, "Analysis of 18th Century Kinnick Surname References in Maryland," Winter 2002, Vol. 43, No. 1, Compiled by William L. (Bill) Smith For the KINNICK Project, pp. 77-90. Also relied on was continuing family history research as this is a direct line ancestry of the author, of course.

War of 1812 activities are based on information found in Wikipedia and related readings.


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