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Weston Wagons West - Ep. J12 - William Kinnick returned from the the war to warm welcome from extended family and friend

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.

Northern Appalachian Mountains

Mountainous ridges and valleys of the northern park of the trip to North Carolina from Mayland
Mountainous ridges and valleys of the northern park of the trip to North Carolina from Mayland | Source

Life at the Scale of Head plantation had changed as well

As reported here by Cyrus Weston, Sergeant Major William Kinnick returned to his home plantation near Bryantown, Maryland, after three years of military service in February of 1780. On the 19th day of April, he celebrated his 61st birthday with his extended family and friends. For the first time in many years, his family and friends realized he looked more his age, and maybe a little older. While he was uninjured, the conditions of living the military life in the Revolutionary War were not conducive to good health. William was happy to be home to the garden and homegrown food.

About the same time, the war with Britain moved to the Southern Campaign in the former colonies. Although fugal living and other limitations still persisted, home life was what William needed most. In addition to his wife, Sarah, he still had four children at home: Milly, 17, Richard, 13, John, 11, and Elizabeth, 9. His oldest daughter, Ann, 26, of course was married to her first cousin, John Kinnick, 26, and they now had a two-year old son, John Adam, and another on the way. William could not get enough time with his first grandson. He was so happy that they lived close by.

Good friend, Theo Weston, was also now 61 and his sons, Cyrus, 26, and David, 20, made William feel right at home from the community as well. As the Westons welcomed William home, they shared some of their own experience on the home front including the ups and downs of the wagon making business. When William went off to the military, the business was booming. As he returned, the business was in a state of flux. There was less demand for military wagons, but a rising need for simple farm wagons as the primary war effort in their area faded away.

Shenandoah Valley along the Great Wagon Road

 "Shenandoah Valley," oil on canvas, by the artist William Louis Sonntag. Courtesy of the Virginia Historical Society
"Shenandoah Valley," oil on canvas, by the artist William Louis Sonntag. Courtesy of the Virginia Historical Society | Source

More children arrived in each family as the next five years passed by; but William Kinnick died

John and Ann Kinnick welcomed a second son, David, later in 1780. He was followed by their first daughter, Elizabeth, in 1782. A third son, born in February 1784, was named George Washington, in honor of the man that people all across America revered as having successfully pursued Independence from Great Britain, and then returning to his plantation as a gentleman farmer, rather than hanging on to political power.

William reveled in the additional grandchildren, but, he did not regain the vitality everyone expected of him. Instead, it seemed, his military service under severe conditions, at an advanced age, had taken it's toll. By the summer of 1785, he was constantly sickly, and he passed away before the end of the year, at age 66, surrounded by his extended family. Of his children, Ann was 31, Milly 22, Richard, quite sickly himself (he died later in the year, as well), 18, John was 16, and Elizabeth now 14.

Sarah was initially named executor of William's estate, but with his passing (as well as losing a son), her desire to live seemed to have passed, as well. She died early in the following year and was buried beside her husband in the family plot. Since none of the male heirs were yet of age, oldest daughter, Ann Kinnick was named executor of the estate and carried out these duties well, though by this time she was pregnant again. A girl, Susannah, was born in November of 1786.

Early in 1787, Cyrus Weston, and his wife, finally had a baby boy that they named Karl. They felt very blessed to finally have a child, and a boy baby, especially. Theo Weston enjoyed having a grandson, as had William. He had turned management of his company over to Cyrus as his health deteriorated, as well. Theo died in 1789, at age 70.

Learn more about the Great Wagon Road

Blue Ridge Mountains

Clouds breaking up after a rainy morning in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Clouds breaking up after a rainy morning in the Blue Ridge Mountains. | Source

As the new United States Constitution was adopted, more and more American families were on the move

John and Ann Kinnick added two daughters, Mary in late 1787 and Milly in 1789. As they turned the page into 1790, John began to realize that their forests had been used up and there were few new plots available for tobacco on the Scale of Head plantation. New approaches were being tried to improve agricultural output, but didn't seem to be working too well for him.

John had been working a lot more, lately, with David Weston at the Weston Wagon Works. Some of their friends had already packed up and left for the west and the south where new, cheap land was said to be available, now that peace had generally settled over the new nation. While some were making the trek across the Appalachian mountains, John and David were focusing their attentions on some of the lands left behind by those adventurers, Daniel Boone, in particular. The Yadkin River Valley, in North Carolina, they heard, offered many opportunities for folks willing to make the trek south through the Shenandoah Valley on the Great Wagon Road, west of the Blue Ridge mountains.

So it was, in 1792, that when John and Ann KInnick found a buyer for the Scale of Head plantation, they gathered up their seven children and joined a train of Weston Wagons headed west and south, headed by David Weston and others, to seek a new home in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina.

Meanwhile, Ann's sister, Milly had married and moved away. In January of 1790, her brother, John, had married Mary Isaac in Trinity Parish, Charles County, and moved onto a small piece of land owned by her family as a tenant farmer. John also continued to work at Weston Wagon Works as needed. Earlier, Ann's youngest sister, Elizabeth, had joined a group she had been working with that was going to Kentucky. Just before John and Ann left for North Carolina, Ann received word that Elizabeth had married Basil Speake in January of 1792, in Nelson County, Kentucky.

Modern Blue Ridge Parkway

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Learn more about the early Kinnick Family

Historical note by the author

All members of the Weston family are fictional, of course. All the Kinnicks were historical figures, used here fictitiously. The relationship between the Kinnick and Weston families therefore were created fictionally for this story. 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. His son, John, of course, was a 4th great-grandfather. 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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    • vwriter profile image

      vwriter 3 years ago from US

      I've never been to the Blue Ridge Mountains. They look absolutely beautiful.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      One of my favorite places... but too far away to visit often. Thanks, so much, for the visit and positive comments, Graham! ;-)

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Well done Dr Bill. The story goes on and the blue ridge mountains are wonderful.