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Weston Wagons West - Ep. J10 - Weston and Kinnick children grew as unrest built across the colonies

Updated on May 19, 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.

Colonial Mill

Colonial Mill
Colonial Mill | Source

Cyrus Weston followed in his father's footsteps, and more

Young Cyrus, at age 12, in 1766, chose to apprentice with his father, Theo, in the farrier trade, following family tradition. However, he had also shown a special aptitude, and interest, in reading and writing. Following discussions between his mother, Margaret, Sarah Kinnick, and some other neighbors, arrangements were made for Cyrus, John and Ann Kinnick, and two other neighborhood youngsters to be tutored for three hours each Saturday, on the English language, by Sarah's father, Professor Ferguson, from nearby Boarman Manor. They were able to conduct these lessons and experiences in twelve week segments four times over the following two years. It was a unique set of experiences and allowed each of the students to learn, and get to know one another, as well as contribute a distinctive set of skills to this group of young people in the community.

By the time Cyrus reached 14, at his birthday in 1768, he and his father, Theo, had arrived at the decision that Cyrus would also learn the wagon building trade rather than pure blacksmithing to go along with his farrier apprenticeship for the following two years. They also involved the younger brother, David, to the extent they could, as he was growing from eight to ten years old and greatly admired his big brother as well as his father. He wanted to be involved.

Wagons were becoming a larger part of planter and plantation life in colonial Maryland, and there was every reason to believe the demand for wagons of various sizes and uses would continue to grow. The Kinnick brothers saw potential in this venture as well, and in exchange for a minority partnership in the business, provided an acre of land and offered to make lumber available from their forest to be first processed by the Askin Mill across the road to the north of their land. This became a profitable project for everyone involved and became beneficial to the community at large. Demand for their wagons did continue to increase as their products became available.

Battle of Lexington

A stylized engraving that inaccurately depicts the Battle of Lexington, 19 April 1775.
A stylized engraving that inaccurately depicts the Battle of Lexington, 19 April 1775. | Source

Scale of Head plantation land purchased outright by Kinnick family members

Colonial tobacco prices benefited from the political and economic uncertainty in the colonies in the early 1770s, even as the First Continental Congress met in Sep-Oct of 1774. By the end of 1774, the Kinnick family members were in a position to complete the purchase of the plantation land where they had been working and living. The final contract was signed buy John, son of Jasper, on 16 Jan 1775, with the support of the entire family.

First cousins, John Kinnick, son of Jasper, and Ann Kinnick, daughter of William Kinnick, developed a romantic relationship, with the support of their respective families, and were married at the home of the bride in late June of 1775. They had each reached 21 years of age earlier in the year.

During this same period of time, between January and June of 1775, the American colonies moved closer to "all-out" war with Britain, with the Battle of Lexington and Concord in April, and the February declaration by Britain that Massachusetts was in a state of rebellion. The Battle of Bunker Hill near Boston took place on June 17, 1775. The Second Continental Congress convened in May 1775.

Colonial Era Wagon

Colonial Era Wagon
Colonial Era Wagon | Source

The Weston Wagon Works at Scale of Head grew with the need for wagons for the war effort

The Westons continued to grow their business, in 1775. Theo was 56 years old at this time, with Cyrus now 21 and David 15. David had finished his initial farrier apprenticeship and was now totally committed to helping his father and brother in the wagon-building business.

Each and every family in the Bryantown area, as well as others throughout the colonies, were faced with critical life decisions as the war with Britain became real and personal to them. Some felt the need to reject the patriot cause and cling to the hope that a reconciliation with Britain was still possible. Those who supported the patriot cause, the Westons and the Kinnicks among them, needed to make decisions of what role or roles to play. Each qualified male supporter was expected to sign an oath of allegiance to the cause. Others, especially those who had been active in the militia training sessions, were expected to volunteer for military services.

Each family initially attempted to make at least one male available for military service while continuing to support the family with those remaining at home. The Westons felt they were serving the war effort by building their wagons as needed to move colonial supplies and military equipment.

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Colonial Military Uniform

Alexander Hamilton in Colonial military uniform
Alexander Hamilton in Colonial military uniform | Source

William Kinnick joined Captain Truman's Company

Following the 1776 Declaration of Independence at mid-year, recruiting for additional men for military duty intensified. As the year passed by, it became clear to William Kinnick that it was appropriate for him to be the one to volunteer, if they would take him, even though he was approaching his 58th birthday. During the holiday season of 1776, William met with Captain Alexander Truman who was recruiting for what would become the 6th Regiment of Maryland Troops. Truman offered William Kinnick the rank of Sergeant in his company if he could be available to serve beginning on February 12 of 1777.

William agreed to this service commitment in order to avoid seeing his new son-in-law, and nephew, John, go off to war. John was needed on the plantation and to be with his new wife, Ann, daughter of William. William prepared to join Captain Truman's company as he helped prepare the rest of his family for his absence.

Kinnick Early US History

Historical note by author

All members of the Weston family are fictional, of course. All the Kinnicks and the Boarman Manor were historical figures, used here fictitiously. The relationships among members of the Kinnick and Weston families therefore were created fictitiously for this story. John is the actual son of Jasper, but the relationship of the historical Joseph to the other Kinnicks is unknown and treated here fictionally. Similarly, Sarah, Ann and the other Wiliam Kinnick 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 William Kinnick, the 5th great-grandfather of the author. Each of the relationships within which these historical figures appear in these episodes are 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 additional research conducted for the proposed non-fiction book, "The World of Sergeant Major William Kinnick," currently under development.


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