Tuesday, 20 July 2010

More about Enoch Fitzhenry (c. 1752-1835)

Mrs Josephine Hodge (nee Fitzhenry) sent me the cumulative results of her sixty years of research about Enoch Fitzhenry and his immediate family, and that research which she has received from others (acknowledged in the text). We are very honoured to have been given permission to publish it here on the blog.

Previous postings about Enoch are here, here and here.

Mrs Hodge is a direct descendant of Enoch via his youngest son James Calder Fitzhenry (1814-1856) who migrated from Pennsylvania and settled in Texas.

Her brother, Mr Oscar C Fitzhenry, is the fifth participant in the Fitzhenry DNA study and we are eagerly awaiting his results. Mrs Hodge says that back in the 1970s, she and other researchers of her branch were seriously considering whether Fitzhenry was Enoch's assumed surname after he arrived in America. The DNA connection to the Oulartwick (Wexford) Fitzhenrys shows that Enoch was indeed a Fitzhenry.

Here is the first part of the document which she has sent to me.
It covers the journey that Enoch made to America and how they spelt the Fitzhenry family name.
The text of the research is in purple and my comments are in italics.
A grandson of Enochs' son, Edward, wrote "....Enoch was about 13 when caught by a press gang on his way to school and was put on an English merchant ship sailing to the West Indies. Many of the crew died of yellow fever there. (Since Enoch had had some schooling he was appointed to fill in) as acting clerk. The ship sailed on to other ports. When the ship dropped anchor in New York harbor, crew members were allowed ashore. He did not return to the ship."
Edward Fitzhenry (1809-1894) was the thirteenth of Enoch's sixteen children by his wife Abigail Hartt. Given that Enoch was said to have been born in 1752, he was already in his mid thirties when he married the 16 year old Abigail and his last child was born when he was in his early sixties.
In 1968 another descendant of Edward wrote: "My father told me that he (Enoch) had left the ship at New York having been given shore leave and struck out up the country to Vermont. Although he had been shanghaied and our story was that he was on his way to Dublin to school from Armagh, he was a felon in the eyes of the British Law and could have been punished if caught....... "An elderly relative was said to say that Enoch had changed his name due to the felony charge. We understood the name was FitzHenry but the first name was something else. He must have lived there, Armagh, because he even wrote a poem to Armagh."
There will be more about this poem in the final posting of this series.
A researcher of the Abigail FitzHenry Lane line wrote: "Enoch is said to have been kidnapped by the British in Ireland, forced aboard ship and made to fight in the Revolutionary War....."The following is from a brief history of the Enoch and his son, Edward's family, by a Mrs. Cherry, with the assistance of Watts Davis FitzHenry for Judge Louis FitzHenry, 1870-1935 of Bloomington, IL:

"Enoch was born in the city of Armagh, County Armagh, Ireland. While he was walking to school with classmates he was caught by an English press gang and carried aboard an English merchant vessel sailing to the West Indies. Yellow fever raged (through) the ship killing many of the crew. Enoch survived and was appointed ship's clerk. The crew was allowed leave; he did not return to the ship. He had arrived in the colony in 1765. He was fourteen years old when stolen from Ireland, and had obtained a fine education and no doubt his family were people of wealth and education, or he would not have received such advantages at so early an age...."

"The only relative Enoch ever saw or heard of after he was stolen from Ireland was a cousin named William Fortune who was a Colonel in the English Army and was stationed in Canada....... There is every evidence that Enoch was a fine scholar. He taught school for forty years and in every place he lived he filled some place of trust that none but educated of that time could fill."
Abigail Fitzhenry (1796-1892) married Wright Lane.

Watts Davis Fitzhenry
(1853-1936) was a grandson of Enoch by his son Edward.

Louis Fitzhenry (1870-1935) was a judge and US congressman who commissioned research on the Fitzhenrys. He was also descended from Enoch via his son Edward.

We have already written about
William Fortune here and here.
Enoch FitzHenry signed his name "Enoch F. Henry" on nearly all of the various records searched in Vermont, Essex County, New York, and Ohio, as well on the forms and letter of his Application for a Revolution War Pension. On the Bible's Fly page he wrote ".... Enoch & Abygail F. Henry".... and only 3 entries on the Bible's family Record page, are spelled "FitzHenry".

Katheryn Cameron wrote this in her letter: "I did ask the Judge about that (spelling of the surname) for in our town Gibson City, IL there was another family, 2 married brothers, who spelled their name with a small 'h'.
The Judge said there were 2 (FitzHenry) families in Ireland, one capital 'H' & one small 'h'. No relation at all.
The small 'h' lived in the southern most part while the capital 'H' lived near Dublin where Enoch was taken captive. I have a map..... about 20 or 30 years old with the names of the Irish families of note. It does show the families as the Judge told me years ago. (The map I have has both of the 2 FitzHenry names written "Fitzhenry")

".......The Judge said because Enoch had to go into hiding to escape the British, he could not keep in contact (with his family in Ireland?) but that he made a trip to Canada to see his cousin William Fortune Fitz Henry."

Because he "jumped ship" when he was given shore leave in New York it is believe that he altered his name for fear of being imprisoned if he were caught. If so, that would account for the lack of success descendants have had in trying to find his family in County Armagh, Ireland.
His son, William of Jefferson County, Indiana and his known descendants dropped the "Fitz". Hart seems to have dropped it after he married, and eldest son Sawtell did not use the prefix apparently.
As far as the British War Office records show, Colonel William Fortune did not use the name Fitzhenry, although one of Enoch's children was named William Fortune Fitzhenry (1801-1866).

As I have found in my research, the spelling of Fitz(-)henry is variable, and the hyphen may come and go even in the same person over the course of their lifetime. Generally the trend has been to drop the hyphen over the years, and as in the cases of Hart and Sawtell, to lose the Fitz altogether.

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  1. I have been going through my family tree and Enoch FitzHenry is a member of my family. I am the fourth great-grandson of Enoch. I am very interested in this information.

  2. Please you can contact me anytime. My e-mail is johnjf_98@yahoo.com

  3. Enoch is my 5th Great Grandfather. I too am interested in any more information I can get on him , we share the same birth month & day - which I think is awesome


  4. Dear Rebekah
    Thanks for your comment. Which Enoch line do you descend from? Jo

  5. Well Enochs daughter Mary, married David Morrison. Who had Robert Morrison, & he had Ruben Morrison, who had my grandfather William Morrison then my father Donald Morrison. David who married Mary came from Scottland. As far as I've gotten. We are all located in NE Ohio. David if I'm correct met Mary in Vermont.

    1. I am also descended from Enoch's dau Mary who married David Morrison. David & Mary's son Henry b 1810 is my 2nd great-grandfather. I was always told he was born in Vermont. Henry, Amanda Abigail, Mary Luke, Mary Burnett, me (Carol Boumiea).