William Polk, II
|Also Known As:||"Billy Polk", "Ezekiel Robert"|
|Death:||Died in North Carolina, United States|
|Place of Burial:||Pineville, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States|
Son of William Bruce Polk; Robert Bruce Polk; William Bruce Polk, Sr; Ann "Nancy" Owens Polk; Grace Catherine Polk
|Managed by:||Private User|
About William Polk, II
He was from Maryland. He and his wife lived in Cumberland County, PA, and later moved to Mecklenburg County, NC, around 1750. Four of his sons were officers in the Revolution.
James Knox Polk, 11th President of the United States, and Leonidas Polk, Bishop and Confederate General, belong to his descendants.
Documentation indicates that William Polk Sr 1672-1739 is NOT his father. William Polk Jr. (1695/1705-1757) is the earliest proven anscestor of the "Mecklenburg" Polks.
An argument against the "accepted" genealogies. http://ftm.genealogy.com/users/p/o/l/Billy-F-Polk/FILE/0019text.txt
From: "Robin Whitney" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: William Polk & Margaret Taylor, PART I [and PART II] Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2006
29 Aug 2006
Hi, Polk Folk
Last year I submitted the below article to the "Old Mecklenburg Genealogical Society" in Mecklenburg Co., NC. The article was too long to print, so they did a review of it and that review was posted in the Olde Meck quarterly late in 2005. It has been somewhat of a quest for me to straighten out the kinks in the ancestry of William Polk who married Margaret Taylor. I continue to see many, many Internet postings where the lineage is indicated as proven from the said William Polk back through William Polk/Nancy Knox Owens, and on to Robert Polk/Magdalen (Tasker) Porter, the ancestry as given in the major Polk genealogies. I have strong doubts about that published ancestry. The article below explains how I came to the conclusion I did. It is long, stay with it. Any comments or questions can be addressed to me at email@example.com.
12 July 2005
A DISCUSSION OF THE ANCESTRY OF WILLIAM POLK WHO MARRIED MARGARET TAYLOR, GREATGRANDPARENTS OF PRESIDENT JAMES KNOX POLK ....... MY QUEST FOR THE TRUTH
By Bill Polk Kansas City, MO.
Who are the parents of William Polk who married Margaret Taylor, the said William Polk the progenitor of the Mecklenburg Polks and the greatgrandfather of President James K. Polk?
All Polk genealogies state the basic same lineage: William Polk who m. Margaret Taylor, was the son of William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens, and William Polk (Sr.) was the son of Robert (often shown as Robert Bruce Polk)/Magdalen Tasker Porter.
William Polk and Margaret (Taylor) Polk were my 5th great grandparents, so I had a deep interest in this Polk line. This is the line of President James K. Polk and I was (and am) proud to be related to a president of the United States. My Polk family ancestral line is: William and Margaret's son John Polk; his son Benjamin Polk (Sr.); his son Benjamin Polk (Jr.); his son James Franklin Polk; his son Benjamin Franklin Polk; his son Bill Polk (the writer of this article). I have driven thousands of miles to many states and spent countless hours over the last 19 years researching in court houses, archives, libraries, and on the Internet trying to find an answer to the above question. Sadly, I have not found an answer. I still do not know the ancestry of William Polk. I cannot accept as correct what has been published as my Polk ancestral line before William Polk . The reasons for my non-acceptance of published information are detailed in this writing. I will begin at the beginning.
I started my genealogical research the summer of 1986. I knew extremely little about my Polk family; about all I knew was that my paternal grandfather's name was James "Jim" Polk and that he, in the words of some family members, was from "down around Dallas" and that he lived and died in Foard Co., TX. Within a couple of years after beginning my Polk ancestry quest, and after having traced my Polks back to Arkansas in the 1830s, I ran into the brick wall all family researchers hit eventually. I could not find anything indicating who the parents of Taylor Polk, my third greatgrandfather, were. Not finding anything on my own line, and being very interested in all Polks by this time, I decided that I would work on Polks all over the United States, with my goal being to document all Polk lines in America through the current census (whatever that census might be at the time I finished my work), and I also hoped I might run across something on my own Polk family line. I was beginning this broad work on the Polks when my wife and I went on a trip to Tennessee in the late 1980s and visited the Samuel Polk House in Columbia, TN. In the gift shop there I found a little red book, the 1984 reprint of "The Polks of North Carolina and Tennessee," 1923-1924, by Emma Angellotti. I thought I had died and gone to genealogical heaven! I must have startled the lady standing next to me in the gift shop with my loud exclamation when I saw the name Taylor Polk in Angellotti's book. There, in print, was not only Taylor Polk, but his father and all my ancestors back to a Robert Polk/Magdalen Tasker Porter in Somerset Co., MD. I thought I was done with my own line (since it was there in black and white) and did not work all that much on it for quite some time. Over the next several years, we travelled a lot to various states, doing research; I accumulated much Polk information, including various Polk genealogies, secondary type information, and many documents on various Polk lines. These genealogies included William Harrison Polk's 1912, "Polk Family and Kinsmen," and Mary Winder Garrett's series of articles published in the late 1890s. Basically, these genealogies stated the same lineage for William Polk (who m. Margaret Taylor, hereinafter shown as William Polk/MT), all starting with Robert Polk/Magdalen Tasker Porter of Somerset Co., MD. Ms. Garrett had the lineage to William Polk/MT going through Robert and Magdalen's son John rather than through their son William Polk, as the other two works did, and she took the family back to Ireland and to Scotland, as did William Harrison Polk. WHP used Ms. Garrett's work on the Irish and Scottish Polloks/Pollocks with few additions or changes (that I could see). Every source I found pointed in the same direction, to Robert and Magdalen Tasker Porter of Somerset Co., MD., so I felt comfortable with not proving the lineage that I had found in "The Polks of North Carolina and Tennessee" so many years before in Columbia, TN. After all, I thought, all these old genealogies basically stated the same thing..... how could all of them be wrong? But, by this time, I had years of research experience under my belt; I knew the basic rule of genealogy, that one must prove the lineage with proper evidence and not accept as fact, undocumented genealogies. So, I started down the laborious path to finding evidence to support my Polk line back from Taylor Polk to William and Margaret Taylor and beyond. Eventually, I was satisfied for the most part that my Polk family ancestry was fairly well documented/proven back to William Polk/MT. Then I started working on the ancestry of William Polk/MT. I had already accumulated much evidence over the years on the Maryland Polks, but was unable to find anything to substantiate the father/son relationship between William Polk/MT and William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens, his parents as provided in virtually everything I had ever found on this Polk family. After some years of work, and finding nothing to substantiate the Polk lineage going back to Robert Polk/Magdalen Tasker Porter, and wishing to take a break from the Polks in America, I decided to try my hand at proving the Polk line in Ireland and in Scotland, thinking I could, perhaps, come in the back door, so to speak, and find something which might connect William Polk/MT to the Somerset/Dorchester Polks. I worked on this and let all other research go (for the most part) for a couple of years. I was able to fairly well substantiate the Pollock lines in Scotland, but found no linkage to these Scottish Pollocks to our supposed Pollocks in Ireland. The data for Ireland is very scarce, but a few items surfaced, enough to cause me to think that the part of the Polk genealogy/history about Robert Polk/Magdalen Tasker Porter being in Northern Ireland and eventually coming to America probably had some merit, thus giving me renewed hope that my line back to Robert Polk/Magdalen Tasker Porter still might be the correct lineage. But in all this research of the Irish and Scottish Polloks/Pollocks, I found nothing to document the supposed connection of William Polk/MT to the Polks of Somerset/Dorchester counties, MD. I once again turned my efforts to work specifically on the Maryland Polks, finding even more information to add to my accumulation on the various family lines stemming from Robert Polk/Magdalen Tasker Porter. I found evidence to prove that Robert Polk/Magdalen Tasker Porter did have a son named William Polk and this son did marry one Nancy (Knox) Owens. Not one bit of evidence surfaced, however, to indicate that William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens had sons William Polk and/or Charles Polke (the Indian Trader). Several years passed and to this day, I continue to work on all Polk lines, accumulating data, and I am still trying to find the parents of William Polk/MT.
After all the years of research had yielded no fruit and all the hope I had that the genealogies and secondary evidence were correct had slowly faded, I finally decided that I had enough information/evidence to make a case that the genealogies might be incorrect as to who the ancestors of William Polk/MT were. The genealogies "The Polks of North Carolina and Tennessee," 1923-1924, Emma Angellotti; "Polk Family and Kinsmen" 1912, William Harrison Polk; and virtually every other writing one can find on the Polks of Mecklenburg Co., NC. all state the same lineage, but I have doubts. Why do I have the doubts I do? Mainly because the lineage is not proven with documents and evidence has surfaced which points to a possibly different scenario than the one from the Polk genealogies. While this evidence does not conclusively rule out that William Polk/MT and Charles Polke are not the sons of William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens, it certainly is strong enough to cause one to give much thought to the idea that the genealogies are wrong. Here are several points that I think anyone should consider before accepting the currently published ancestry of William Polk/MT as fact.
1. None of the Polk genealogies is sourced (with footnotes and/or endnotes) as to how the father/son relationship between William Polk/MT and William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens was established and/or proven. Any source information is given in only broad, general terms.
2. Angellott's work "The Polks of North Carolina and Tennessee" has errors in the first generation or two, some of these errors strong enough to cause one to doubt the veracity of the early Polk ancestry. See discussion of some of these errors below.
3. The passage of time has ensured that the two above-mentioned undocumented genealogies have become "bibles" of the Polks. Family researchers and professionals alike have used these works as the gospel of the Polk genealogy, often citing one or both of these works as the source for the early generations of William Polk/MT. Rule to follow: Just because a work is old does not make it accurate; if it was not correct when it was written, time does not change that. 4. There is evidence pointing away from what previous works show as the ancestry of William Polk/MT. See below. Below (under DETAILED ANALYSIS), I show the reasons I doubt the father/son relationship between William Polk/MT and William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens. But first, let's examine some of the information available in the way of genealogies and other printed material/secondary evidence for the ancestry of William Polk/MT.
(1) A Genealogical Tree of The Polk Family, 1849, Genealogical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT. The wrong William is shown in this tree as the progenitor of the Southern Polk Family. This source has the lineage as Robert Bruce Polk, his son John Polk, John's son William Polk. Subsequent research by Mr. Earle B. Polk of Princess Anne, Somerset Co., MD., in the early 1900s, revealed that William Polk, son of John Polk, son of Robert Bruce Polk was not the William Polk who m. Margaret Taylor, but a different William Polk, said William Polk marrying Priscilla Roberts. The correction of which William Polk was the husband of Margaret Taylor was shown in "Polk Family and Kinsmen," 1912, William Harrison Polk (see details below). However, in making the correction, William H. Polk inserted a William Polk, son of William Polk, son of Robert Bruce? Polk, and no such William Polk has been found to exist (by me, at least). No sources were provided for the information in the tree, but that is not unusual for tree type genealogy information.
(2) "Pedigree of the Pollok or Polk Family From Fulbert the Saxon (A. D. 1075) to the Present Time," The American Historical Magazine,The University Press, 208 N. College St., Nashville, TN. April 1896 issue begins the series and concludes with Vol. 4, 1899: Vol. II, No. 4, Oct. 1897, pg. 382, by Miss Mary Winder Garrett of Williamsburg, VA., shows the following: "John Polk or Pollok, eldest son of Robert Bruce Polk or Pollok, and Magdaline his wife, was the progenitor of the North Carolina and Tennessee branch of the Polk family. He was twice married, first wife Joanna Knox; second Jugga Hugg. By his first marriage with Joanna Knox, he had two children, William, the elder, and Nancy, the younger......... William Polk, only son of John Polk, married twice -- first wife Priscilla Roberts; second wife Margaret Taylor." Ms. Garrett, using the information in the 1849 tree as a base (assumption on my part) managed to thoroughly mix up the lines of the two William Polks, even going so far as to show a second marriage for the William Polk (who was the incorrect one, that is, the one used in the 1849 tree) to Margaret Taylor, with several children being issue of the marriage. Where Ms. Garrett got the wife (of John Polk) Jugga Hugg is unknown to me, but this name appears to be a misunderstanding of Joanna coupled with the surname of Hugg, whom Joanna Polk married after John Polk (son of Robert/Magdalen) died. I note that Ms. Garrett does not mention a brother of William Polk (Charles Polke, the Indian Trader) anywhere in her information. Of course, this may be because she had the William Polks scrambled. But she did have the information that William Polk married Margaret Taylor, and if that William Polk were the brother of Charles Polk, the Indian Trader, as indicated by the later genealogy ("Polk Family and Kinsmen") of William Harrison Polk, one would think that Ms. Garrett would have known about this brother (again, she was dealing with the wrong William Polk, that is, son of John Polk, not the William Polk who m. Margaret Taylor, so this omission may mean little as far as determining if William Polk (who m. Margaret Taylor) were really the brother of Charles Polke, the Indian Trader ). No sources are given in this publication except in general terms and even those general sources were rarely used in Ms. Garrett's work.
(3) "Polk Family and Kinsmen," 1912, by William Harrison Polk, offers no proof of the relationship between William Polk (I) and William Polk (II). W. H. Polk points out that the William Polk, son of John Polk, son of Robert Polk the immigrant, who was originally thought to be the ancestor of the Polks of Mecklenburg Co., NC., was subsequently proven not to be that ancestor (PF&K, pg. 207). W. H. Polk states on pg. 207: "The long held traditionary statement that the William Polk who moved from Carlisle to North Carolina was a son of John Polk and Priscilla Roberts, has been irrefutably proven to be incorrect by exhaustive examinations of the official records of Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina. John Polk, eldest son of Robert and Magdalen, reputed progenitor of the Southern Polks, married Jane
as shown by the old Monie church records in Somerset County, and she was the mother of his two surviving children, William and Nancy...... William, son of John and Jan, grew to manhood, married Priscilla Roberts, his cousin, and died in Maryland in 1726, his widow later marrying Robert Clarkson. These statements are supported by official records, and they entirely dissipate the long held tradition that the William who married priscilla Roberts was the progenitor of the Southern Polks, as stated on the Polk 'Tree' published in 1849." After detailing how the wrong William Polk was used in the tree, William Polk then creates a scenario where there must be a William Polk (II) (who married Margaret Taylor), said William (II) the son of William Polk (I) and brother of Charles Polke, the Indian Trader, without citing any proof or any mention whatsoever of documentation for such a relationship (I have reviewed "Polk Family and Kinsmen" thoroughly and cannot find the basis for W. H. Polk's lineage of William Polk (II), back to William Polk (I), then Robert Bruce Polk). Wm. H. Polk may may have looked at the genealogy and information of Mary Winder Garrett, and seeing that the William Polk she thought was the one who married Margaret Taylor (as a second wife) was not the correct William Polk (now proven to be the wrong William Polk), decided (on what basis I have no idea) that there had to be a William Polk who married Margaret Taylor and that such a William Polk must be connected to William Polk (I) of Maryland, and to Charles Polke, the Indian Trader. It appears William H. Polk gave little thought to the idea that the William Polk who married Margaret Taylor may have come from Ireland with the mass of Irish who came to America in the 1720s-1730s. The only mention of proof about the father/son relationship between William Polk and William Polk/MT is on page 34 of "Polk Family and Kinsmen." WHP states: "The weight of evidence indicates that the William Polk who married Margaret Taylor, was a son of Wm. Polk, Sr., second son of the immigrants, Capt. Robert Bruce and Magdalen Polk [BILL POLK ADDITION: This evidence that Wm. Harrison Polk refers to escapes me. WHP carefully explains on pp. 33-34 the error of the wrong William Polk being used in the 1849 Polk tree, but then simply fills in another William Polk (the William Polk who married Margaret Taylor) without providing any basis for this insertion]. It is said that Wm. Polk Sr., was twice married first to Nancy (Knox) Owens, and second to a widow Grey, who had a son Allen Grey. Both wives died before Wm. Sr. executed his will in Jan. 1739-40, as in that he mentions the 'decease of my wife,' and makes a bequest to Allen Grey, a member of his family, who was inferentially, his stepson." No sources were specifically cited in "Polk Family and Kinsmen" other than what is shown in the actual text information throughout the work.
(4) "The Polks of North Carolina and Tennessee," Emma Angellotti, originally published by the New England Historical and Genealogical Soc., 1923-1924; republished for the James K. Polk Memorial Association, Columbia, TN., 1984, by Southern Historical Press, Easley, SC., pg. 4: "William3Polk (William2, Robert1), born in Maryland, probably at "White Hall," his father's home, about 1700, died in North Carolina, "west of the Yadkin," about 1753. He married Margaret Taylor, who survived him. Apparently he and his brother Charles left home after his father married for the second time, and William settled in the vicinity of what is now Carlisle, Pa., a region then a part of the frontier. Later he and his family moved to Mecklenburg Co., N. C." Emma Angellotti made no effort to provide the ancient Polk ancestry in her genealogy. She appears to have followed the lead of previous writers and accepted the Robert Polk, William Polk, William Polk lineage. She explains away the lack of documentation for a father/son relationship between William Polk (I) and his son Charles Polke and Charles' brother William Polk (II), by the following: "His [referring to William I, son of Robert Polk] older sons are not mentioned in his will, but they probably received their shares in his property and left home after their father's second marriage." It was not all that unusual for children who had previously received their shares to not be mentioned in a will; however, it is somewhat convenient in this case, since no other evidence has been found to support a father-son connection between William I and William II and William I and Charles Polke, the Indian Trader. No sources were provided in this work except in the broadest, general terms. See below for discussion of some of the errors in Angellott's work.
The above three genealogies and the 1849 Polk Tree might be thought of as the base or framework of the Polk family genealogy. Most family (and professional, too) researchers of the Polk families eventually find these sources and cite one or more of them in their own work. Ms. Garrett's work is very difficult to find. The 1849 Tree has been copied by various entities over the years and is available through LDS. The other two genealogies are around in various libraries, but I know "The Polks of North Carolina and Tennessee," is out of print. The original "Polk Family and Kinsmen," of 1912, is obviously out of print, and can be difficult to locate, also. A reprint of PF&K was done in 1993 by Ed and Willa Voyles, and this reprint contains an index, making this very large and cumbersome work much easier to use.
There are other important secondary works which provide abundant information on the Polk family:
(5) Charles A. Hanna, "The Scotch-Irish" Vol. II, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1902 (original printing), reprints 1968, 1985, 1995, ISBN 0-8063-1134-7, Appendix N, Notes on the Genealogies of the Presidents, pg. 187, re President James Knox Polk, shows the following: "James Knox Polk, born in Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, November 2, 1795, was the son of Samuel (1771-1827) and Jane-Knox (1773-1848); daughter of James Knox, of Iredell county, N. C.] Polk; grandson of Ezekiel (b. about 1737) and Mary - Wilson [daughter of Samuel Wilson] Polk; and great-grandson of William (1701-1769) and Nancy Knox Pollock. William Pollock (the original form of the name 'Polk') was the son of Robert Pollock, (d. 1727) and Margaret Pollock; and grandson of Robert (d. 1703) and Magdalene Tasker Pollock, who emigrated with their family from County Londonderry, Ireland, to Somerset county, Md., about 1690. William Pollock removed from Dorchester county, Md., to Hopewell township, Cumberland county, Pa., about 1738, and thence, a few years later, to Mecklenburg county, N. C." Charles Hanna appears to have mingled some of the ancestors of President Polk, in that he states the greatgrandparents of the President were William and Nancy Knox Pollock. This is not so, the greatgrandparents of the President were William Polk and Margaret Taylor. Hanna then seems to be saying that the same William Pollock (who was the greatgrandfather of President Polk) was the son of Robert Pollock who d. 1727, and Margaret Pollock, and that Robert Pollock was the son of Robert and Magdalen Tasker Pollock. Where Hanna got this latter information is unknown to me. Robert Polk, Jr., of Dorchester Co., MD., did die about 1727, but his wife's name was Grace Gullette, not Margaret. William Polk/MT may have been the son of a Robert Pollock and wife Margaret, and perhaps that is the missing piece of the puzzle of who the parents of William Polk/MT were. However, given the convoluted ancestry shown above, I tend to view this information with scepticism. If Robert Pollock and wife Margaret were the parents of William Polk/MT, any connection of said Robert Pollock to the Polks of Somerset Co., MD., and to Robert Polk/Magdalen Tasker Porter Polk is unknown to me. I tend to think that if Robert and Margaret Pollock were William Polk's parents, then this couple came from Ireland directly with their son William Polk/MT (and other children ?), perhaps landing in New Castle, DE. This scenario may tie them into the other Polks who were in Cecil Co., MD., in the early 1700s. I find it interesting that Hanna shows William Pollock arriving in 1738 in Hopewell Township, PA., as that is where there were some Pollocks/Poalks in the mid to later 1700s, specifically one James Pollock and wife Margaret (her surname perhaps Lawry) who were the parents of Capt. Robert Polk (who married Elizabeth Digby Peale), and Capt. William Polk of Accomac Co., VA., said William Polk who Wm. Harrison Polk, in his "Polk Family and Kinsmen" was unable to place with his (William Polk of Accomac Co.) ancestral line. W. H. Polk, in his PF&K, also had the lineage of the aforementioned Capt. Robert Polk as (father) Robert Polk III, then (grandfather) Robert Polk, Jr., then (greatgrandparents) Robert Polk/Magdalen Tasker, which is an incorrect lineage. William Harrison Polk thoroughly mixed up some of the Robert Polk lines in Maryland, but that is another situation for another time.
(6) "The Surnames of Scotland, Their Origin, Meaning and History," by George F. Black, Ph.D., 1946, shows on page 669 (under heading of "POLLOCK, POLLOK), (my IRN P-26) the following: "The name has become Polk in the United States, the eleventh president of which was James Knox Polk, a great-great-grandson of Robert Polk or Pollok who emigrated from Ayrshire to the American colonies. The place name on Pont's map of Renfrewhire is spelled Pook, and that is the pronunciation in common speech." As I interpret this information, it is stating that Robert Polk came directly from Ayrshire, Scotland, to America. Also, this source does not use the lineage of James K. Polk as provided in various publications, that lineage being Robert Polk of Maryland, William I, William II, Ezekiel, Samuel, James K. Polk. The lineage presented by Black would have skipped one of the generations as given in the above mentioned genealogies, thus, the Black lineage would be Robert, William, Ezekiel, Samuel, James K. Polk. Black's lineage is not without merit if one considers that the lineage as shown in various Polk genealogies, that is, William Polk/MT, then William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens, then Robert Polk/Magdalen Tasker Porter, is not supported by any documentary evidence. Also, Black's lineage supports Hanna's, if my interpretation of what Hanna (above) states is correct, that is, that the parents of William Polk/MT are Robert Pollock(Polk)/Margaret. But again, Hanna seems to be mingling lines, so I do not give much weight to what he states above, making a comparison of Hanna's info with Black's info somewhat moot
(7) Burke's Peerage, Burke's Presidential Families of the United States, (Burke's Peerage Limited, 1975, London; distributed in America by Arco Publishing Co., Inc., NY, NY.), pg. 243, shows the following:
"The first three generations of this lineage are in fact unproven, but appear highly probable."
"SIR JOHN POLLOK, of Renfrewshire, Scotland, m Janet Mure, and was k at the Battle of Lecherbie 1593, leaving issue, [BILL POLK ADDITION: Actually, this source has the wrong Sir John Pollok. It was the son of this Sir John Pollok who was killed in 1593 at Lecherbie, and it was the son who married Janet Mure, and was the father of a Robert Pollok. But I have found no evidence that the son Robert Pollok went to Ireland or was the Sir Robert Pollock I that Mary Winder Garrett stated had estates in Ireland] ROBERT POLLOK, who received a grant of lands in Coleraine, co Derry, Ireland 1605/8, m, and had issue, ROBERT P0LLOK, of Coleraine, a Covenanter, b. ca 1595/8, m, and d ca 1640, leaving issue, ROBERT POLLOK (or POLKE), served as a Capt in Col Porter's Regt against King Charles I, later emigrated to Maryland and was granted land knowns as 'Polke's Lott' and "Polke's Folly' by Lord Baltimore 7 March 1687, m Magdalen (will dated 7 April 1726), widow of
Porter, and dau of
Tasker, of Moneen, nr Strabane, co Tyrone, Ireland, and d in Somerset County, Maryland (will pr 5 June 1704), leaving, with other issue, WILLIAM POLK, of White Hall, Maryland, b probably in co Donegal ca 1664, m 1st, Nancy, widow of
Owen, and dau of
Knox; and 2nd,
Gray, widow, and d (will pr 24 Feb 1739), leaving issue, WILLIAM POLK, Jr, settled first in Hopewell Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, then 'west of the Yadkin River' in N Carolina, b at White Hall ca 1700, m ca 1730, Margaret Taylor (who survived him), and d in N Carolina ca 1753, leaving with other issue, COLONEL EZEKIEL POLK, served in the Revolutionary War, later acquired large tracts of land in Tennessee Territory, N Carolina, b in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania 7 Dec 1747, m 1st ca 1769, Mary (d 1791), bur Polk Cemetery, nr Pineville, N Carolina), dau of Samuel Wilson, of Mecklenburg County, N Carolina, by his wife Mary Winslow, and had issue. He m 2ndly in N Carolina ca 1791, Bessie Davis; and 3rdly in Maury County, Tennessee ca 1812, Sophia, widow of
Leonard, and dau of
Neely, and d at Bolivar, Tennessee 31 Aug 1824. His son by his 1st marriage, SAMUEL POLK, settled in Maury County, Tennessee 1806, served as a Major in the War of 1812, b. probably in Tryon county, N Carolina 5 July 1772, m at Hopewell Church, Mecklenburg County, N Carolina 25 Dec 1794, Jane (b probably in Iredell County, N Carolina 13 Nov 1776; d at Columbia, Maury County, Tennessee 11 Jan 1852, bur Greenwood Cemetery, Columbia), dau of Capt. James Knox, of Iredell County, N Carolina (who served in the Revolutionary War), by his wife Lydia Gillispie, and d at Columbia, Maury County, Tennessee 5 Nov 1827 (bur Greenwood Cemetery), leaving, with other issue (see Brothers and Sisters orf President Polk, p 244), an eldest son, JAMES KNOX POLK, 11th President of the United States of America"
(8) "Papers of Archibald DeBow Murphy," 1914, Vol. 2, has, beginning on pg. 400 and ending on page 410, an "Autobiography of Colonel William Polk," which is from William Polk's manuscript in the Library of Congress. This writing begins with the following: "William Polk is a descendant of a family who emigrated from Ireland about the year 1722 and settled on the Eastern Shore of Maryland [BILL POLK ADDITION: Note that this is basically the same information as given in the Ewing letter; see below. Also note that this information contradicts the information that the Mecklenburg Polks were from the Somerset Polks. This William Polk was the son of Thomas Polk and grandson of William Polk/Margaret Taylor. I consider what he said quite reliable]; where they resided untill about the year 1740 when they removed into the State of Pennsylvania and in the neighbourhood of Carlisle. Thomas the third son of William and Margaret, a young man of great athletickness, of much energy of both mind and body; could not bear the dull persuit of a Pennsylvania farmer, especially in a section where nothing was presented which promised to better his situation; left his parents about the year 1753 to seek his fortune in a country that furnished greater scope to his active mind. In company with several young men, he traversed the country bordering on the East of the Blue ridge crossing the Dan and Yadkin untill he fell in upon Sugau or Sugar creek a branch of the Catawba River; in the neighbourhood of which there were a few settlements. Here he made a permanent location of himself." According to the above, the Polk family arrived in Maryland about 1722 from Ireland. This resonates with the Ewing letter of 1844 (see below), and also, somewhat with Black in that Black states (above) that the ancestor of William Polk, that is, Robert Polk, came directly to this country from Scotland (not Ireland; difference noted). Since Black shows the father of William Polk (that is, Robert Polk) came directly from Scotland, it can be assumed that William Polk did not have a line of descent in this country from Polks already established here (as the Somerset Co., MD., Polks were). In other words, these three sources basically state the same thing, that there is not a connection of the Polks of the line of President Polk to an established Polk line in America. I wonder if the information about his ancestors was provided to William Polk by his father Thomas Polk (William Polk states no source of his information; I assume it was from first-hand knowledge or what his father told him about the family). This autobiography of William Polk is the oldest published family information of which I am aware about the ancestry of the Polks of Mecklenburg. This autobiography had to have been written before January 14, 1834, when Colonel William Polk died in Raleigh, NC. As such, it perhaps has more credibility than other versions. Obviously, credibility is added to the account by the fact that this William Polk was the grandson of William Polk/Margaret Taylor, and apparently (frrm PF&K information) was quite interested in the Polk family ancestry. Note that the writing does not mention Somerset Co., MD., at all; it states that the family arrived on the eastern shore of Maryland. Could this mean the port of Baltimore or New Castle, DE., and/or the area around Cecil Co., MD. (see the Ewing Letter information below)? In other genealogies such as "Polk Family and Kinsmen" and Mary Winder Garrett's articles, "Eastern Shore" appears to have referred to the area around Somerset Co., MD. The "Autobiography of Colonel William Polk" referred to above is said by Charles Grier Sellers, Jr., Professor of History at Princeton, and author of a 1953 article in the William and Mary College Quarterly (3rd Series, Vol. I, No. 1, January 1953) to be "The most reliable account of the early years of the Polk family in America....."
There are a couple of more recent major genealogies on the Polk family that I must mention here:
(9) "Pogue/Pollock/Polk Genealogy as Mirrored In History" by Lloyd Welch Pogue, Gateway Press Inc., 1990. In this very lengthy work, Mr. Pogue endeavors to prove his Pollock ancestry from ancient Scotland via Ireland and on to America. There is much, much good information in this genealogy, but nothing new on the Mecklenburg Polks. Basically what is included on the Mecklenburg Polks is the same information as given in the old Polk genealogies.
(10) The latest major book on the Polks (as of January 2000), "Polk's Folly," by William Roe Polk, Doubleday, 2000, provides the same basic ancestry of the family as given in the previous Polk genealogies, with one notable exception. This exception (or change to the ancient Polk genealogy) is reflected in the chart at the beginning of the book, showing descendancy of the Polks from the Maxwells, rather than from the de Polloks. This chart changes the ancient ancestry of the Polks, which has been accepted, more or less, since the early 1700s, and no documentation is given for this major difference in ancestry. While the Polloks and Maxwells did intermarry in ancient times, and Maxwell is a direct line female (female Maxwell married direct line Pollock) lineage of the Polloks/Pollocks of Scotland, there is no evidence in the peerage books and other reliable sources about ancient Scottish families (that I have found), which reflects a descendancy of the Polks from the Maxwells rather than the Pollok/Pollock family. Specifically, regarding the ancestry of the William Polk who married Margaret Taylor, on pg. 78 of "Polk's Folly," there is shown what would be good evidence of a relationship between William Polk, son of Robert Bruce? Polk, and William Polk (who married Margaret Taylor). On that page, information is given about a conveyance of approximately 500 acres in 1723 from William Polk I to his son William. The problem is that no such land transaction has been found in the Maryland records (which are quite complete and have been searched thoroughly). No source citation is provided for this information, which is unfortunate, because such a record might be the only evidence of a father/son relationship between the two William Polks (no such record of any type for this land conveyance has been found in Maryland records).
There are many other works which include information on the Polk family/families. The many I have read and studied offer nothing more on the central question and Polk history than those publications I list above. And not one of the genealogies I have studied nor any secondary source I have found cites any or refers to any documentary proof or any citation of a record of the father/son relationship that supposedly existed between the William Polk who m. Margaret Taylor and William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens.
DETAILED ANALYSIS (1) As I mentioned earlier in this writing, "The Polks of North Carolina and Tennessee" has some basic errors in the early ancestry of the Polks. I firmly believe that Ms. Angellotti did little research on these earlier generations and copied much of what she included in her work (on the early generations of Polks) from "Polk Family and Kinsmen." Since Angellotti's work is most often cited as the basis for the father/son relationship between William Polk/MT and William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens, this genealogy deserves special scrutiny. I wish to state at this point that for the most part, I have found Emma Angellotti's genealogy to be accurate; it is the ancestry of William Polk/MT that I believe is doubtful and which is of my most concern.
Angellotti shows that William Polk, son of Robert Polk/Magdalen Tasker Porter, first married Nancy (Knox) Owens and secondly,
Gray. Angellotti then states that the family lived at the old family home "White Hall." She goes on to state that the two "older sons" probably received their shares in his property and left home after their father's second marriage. She shows the children of the first marriage as: Elizabeth, b. about 1695; William b. c1700; Charles, b. probably in 1703. The children of the second marriage are shown: James, b. 17 May 1719; David, b. in 1721; Jane, b. in 1723.
First, one must understand that Nancy (Knox) Owens was a widow of John Owens, who d. in May 1697/98 (double dating), this proven by his will. So, William Polk, son of Robert Polk.Magdalen Tasker Porter did not marry her until after this date, so none of the children of William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens could have been born until at least sometime in 1699/1700 (double dating). This fact destroys Angellotti's contention about Elizabeth being b. in 1695. Nancy (Knox) Owens could not have been her mother if Elizabeth Polk were b. in 1695. Elizabeth m. John Williams on 10 April 1733, and I believe this marriage (I have found no evidence of any other marriage for Elizabeth Polk other than the marriage to John Williams) shows she was likely a younger child, rather than the oldest child, of William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens. My belief is that she was a child of this couple and not as old as Angellotti shows. William Polk's birth, c1700, creates somewhat of a problem (in the acceptance of Angellott's information being correct) when compared with the birth of James Polk, supposedly the first child of the second marriage to
Gray. I have never found any documentary evidence of when William Polk/MT was born. James Polk, son of William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens was defininitely not born on 17 May 1719. Where Angellotti got this birthdate for James Polk (and for the dates she shows for siblings David (b. 1721) and Jane Polk (b. 1723), is unknown to me). James Polk was b. 6 Jan 1699/00 (double dating) according to Somerset Parish Records, by R. Barnes, MD Historical Magazine, Vol. 69, p.196. I cannot attest to the accuracy of this secondary source. However, there is primary evidence of a range date of birth for James of 1701- 1702. This range of birth for James can be established by a deposition in Somerset [MD.] Judicial Records, 1757-1760, Accession: 9190, MSA C 1774-44, Loc. 1/48/3/18, 6, March Court, 1757, such deposition involving land called "Bare Ridge" and such deposition where David Polk, age 51 or therabouts, provides information about his (David Polk's) survey of property lines. This age of 51 in 1757, establishes that David Polk was born c1705-1706. Later on in the deposition, James Polk, age 55, is mentioned. This age of 55 in 1757, established that James Polk was b. c1701-1702. Another primary source for James and David Polk's age is the Somerset Co., MD., tax records. Both David and James Polk first show up in these records in 1723 in the HH of William Polk (1723 being the earliest tax records extant for Somerset Co., Md.). Since young males became tithables at age 16, one can assume that both James Polk and David Polk were born at least by 1706-1707, probably earlier (considering the depositions). The tax records support the depositions, and since the tax records are less exact at a point in time than the depositions, I think the depositions have more weight of evidence, therefore I conclude that James Polk was likely born 1701-1702 and his brother David was b. 1705-1706. I am not sure when sister Jane was b., but I strongly believe her birth must have occurred somewhere near to the births of James and David. Her marriage to James (or possibly William, I am not sure of given name) Strawbridge appears to have occurred around 1719, so assuming she was at least 16 at marriage, her birth would have occurred c1702-1703. Since James Polk appears from evidence to claim the eldest child spot, Jane would fit between James and David Polk in the birth order. Elizabeth Polk, I believe, was the youngest child, not the oldest as Angellotti states, and was probably b. c1710. She married 20 April 1733, Somerset Co., MD., to John Williams. Assuming at least age 16 at marriage, she was b. at last by 1716-1717, and given the birthdates of James and David, probably earlier.
So, where do William Polk and Charles Polke fit into the family of William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens? If they were older sons as Angellotti states, then they had to have been born before 1699-1700. The only way that these two supposed sons of William Polk could have been sons of William Polk would be if William Polk had an earlier marriage than his marriage to Nancy (Knox) Owens. This very scenario is suggested by William Harrison Polk and other Polk researchers in correspondence (see below). However, there is absolutely no evidence, secondary or primary, that I have seen, which even indicates that William Polk had a marriage before his marriage to Nancy (Knox) Owens. William Polk was b. 1672-1673 (Deposition of William Polk, Somerset Co., MD., 1739, Maryland Hall of Records, Somerset County Judicial Records, 1738-1740, folio 202, Accession #9181, "November Court ........ 1739, pg. 203........"The deposition of William polk aged about sixty six years being sworn upon the hold evangelist of almight God....."). This birth range makes it entirely possible that William Polk could have had a first marriage (but less likely so than had he been older, as suggested by William Harrison Polk and other researchers working with him) before the marriage to Nancy (Knox) Owens, but, as I stated previously, there is no evidence of such a marriage. Could William Polk and Charles Polke fit in between births of the other children of William and Nancy? No, not possible, if the tax records are to be believed. If these two were younger sons (younger than James, or possibly even younger than David) , then they should both show up in the tax records as do James and David; they do not show in these records.
The above items show that Angellotti had some accuracy problems. Here are a few other "facts" she had wrong. She mentions that William Polk raised his family at "the old family home, 'White Hall." This is absolutely false. "White Hall did not come into existence until the later 1790s (8 Nov 1795, to be specific) and was a consolidation of several properties by William Polk, son of David Polk, son of William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens. Angellotti and other writers have badly mixed up the generations of the Polk family history concerning the estate called "White Hall." The William Polk who owned "White Hall" was William Polk, b. 11 Dec 1752, d. cDec 1812, and who m. Esther Winder Handy. There was no such estate in the time of Robert Polk and Magdalen Tasker Porter Polk. This couple lived in what is now the Deal Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Somerset Co., MD., and they did not have a fancy home/estate like "White Hall."
The second marriage of William Polk to a
Gray. Inferring that Allen Gray (from William Polk's 1739/1740 will where Allen Grey was left some livestock) was a member of William's family, and a stepson, and from that to William's having a second wife named Gray stretches the genealogical evidence rules to the breaking point. Such stretching might be excused if such second marrriage were inserted into the work as a theory and if children were not attached to this second wife (James, David, Jane)
- Gray, as if such a marriage and children of such marriage were fact. It is just this sort of genealogical carelessness which has led later researchers to believe that Angellotti's work was correct (because she provided no sources and did not explain how she came to the conclusions she did, later researchers appear to have not closely examined her "facts"). It may be that this second marriage to a
Gray is true, but I firmly believe there would be more evidence needed to support William's having a second wife after Nancy (Knox) Owens died. Allen Gray could have been a valued friend or even an apprentice instead of a stepson. I know of no evidence to show that William Polk married a widow Gray after the death of his wife Nancy (Knox) Owens Polk. I have no information as to when Nancy (Knox) Owens Polk died. It is certain that William Polk was married as of 1708, since court records show he was applying in that year to become guardian of the children of his brother John. But who that wife mentioned in the record is not known to me. This possible marriage to a
Gray is one of the many items I think Angellotti borrowed from William Harrison Polk, as he stated basically the same scenario in his "Polk Family and Kinsmen," also without evidence other than the will of William Polk.
One other item in which Angellotti was wrong has nothing to do with the father/son question of William Polk/MT and William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens, but I offer it here simply to illustrate how she had some major "facts" wrong about the Polks. In her work on Capt. John Polk, son of William Polk/Margaret Taylor (who, by the way, is my own direct line ancestor), Angellotti shows much military service for Capt. John Polk and states he died ".... probably early in 1785, as on 9 Sept. of that year the Assembly of North Carolina issued Land Warrant No. 2149 'to the heirs of John Polk'...." This death in "early in 1785" was totally wrong for Capt. John Polk, and considering that this John Polk was Emma Angellotti's direct line ancestor, really caused me to question some of her work (to question earlier generations, not so much the later generations). John Polk did not die in 1785, he lived until 1803, dying in York Dist. (county) in 1803 (proven by his will, York Co., SC.). The John Polk who died in 1785 is an unknown Polk. I have researched him for as long as I have researched Polks and still am not able to place him with any known Polk line. The heir of this John Polk who d. in 1785 was one Peter Polk, who sold the land (which was located on the north side of the Cumberland River in Tennessee). Some of the military service that Angellotti attributes to Capt. John Polk is not his service, I strongly believe, but the service of another John Polk who resided in Burke Co., NC. I have ample evidence for all this, but since it is beyond the scope of this writing, I will not get into such evidence here. (2) Another reason I question the William Polk/MT to William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens genealogical path is naming patterns of the supposed descendants. The name Robert is rarely used in the descendants of William Polk/Margaret Taylor; this name is used more in the Charles Polke descendant lines. I know of not one instance of the name Magdalen being used in the descendants of William Polk/Margaret Taylor. I know of a few instances of usage of the given name Magdalen in the descendants of Charles Polke, the Indian Trader. If William Polk and Charles Polke were descendants of William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens and the line went back to Robert Polk/Magdalen Tasker Porter, then one would think that there would be more usage of the names Robert and Magdalen in the descendant lines. I have a database of almost 40,000 Polks, probably a third of these folks being descendants of William Polk/Margaret Taylor, and a fifth or so being descendants of Charles Polke, and I have extremely few Magdalens in any of this data; the rest of my database is comprised of Polks from all over the U. S. Most Polk researchers know that the Polks who descended from William Polk/Margaret Taylor repeated given names over and over to the point of making some Polk research nightmarish. They loved the given names William, John, Charles and Thomas. Has anyone ever wondered where Ezekiel came from (as in Ezekiel Polk, grandfather of President James K. Polk)? I suppose Ezekiel may have come from Margaret Taylor's side of the family, or perhaps William and Margaret just liked the name (but this goes against the naming trends of the times and of the Polks), but I wonder if there might be an Ezekiel Polk in the Polk ancestry of William Polk/MT.
(3) One important fact that points to the Polks of North Carolina not being descendants of the Somerset Polks is found in a letter dated 5 Oct 1848, from Josiah Polk, to William H. Winder, William H. Polk Collection, University of Kentucky. That fact being that the Maryland Polks (who were researching the Polk ancestry) knew of no connection to the North Carolina Polks. In his letter to William Winder, Josiah Polk (a leading researcher of the Polk family history), referring to John Polk, son of Robert Bruce? Polk, states "John settled in what is now Dorchester County, but then I believe forming a part of Somerset. His son, William, soon after his father's death, sold in 1723, the land he inherited lying near Salisbury and removed with his family to Carlisle in Pennsylvania. We were unable to trace this family any further till we met with the late Col. William Polk of Raleigh NC in 1828." This statement shows that the Maryland Polks knew of no connections to the North Carolina Polks until the meeting with Col. William Polk (son of Gen. Thomas Polk of Mecklenburg Co., NC.) The Polks of NC did know their ancestor, William Polk, had come from Maryland before settling in Pennsylvania, around Carlisle. This was evident from another part of Josiah Polk's letter to William Winder, viz.: "At the inauguration of President Jackson we saw Col. William Polk of Raleigh who stated that all he could say of his family was that they went from Maryland to Carlisle, in Pennsylvania, and thence to Mecklenburg County N. C.; that his grandfather's name was William and that he had understood they came to this country about the year 1722, which is about the time we have ascertained that they went from Maryland to Carlisle." This statement of Col. William Polk, per Josiah Polk's letter, is consistent with other evidence, namely the "Autobiography of Colonel William Polk." (see above), and the Nathaniel Ewing letter in the correspondence of President James K. Polk (Volume 8) (see below), the difference being one of dates of arrival in America, 1722 vs. 1727. Cecil County land records do show that a William Pollock purchased land there in 1727 and, with wife Margaret, sold it 1736 (see deed below). Note that in the introduction of "Polk Family and Kinsmen," 1912, William Harrison Polk gives a lengthy explanation of this first meeting of the Polks of North Carolina and the Maryland Polks and how the research for the Polk genealogy was accomplished over many years.
This group of Polk family members/researchers evidently concluded that the William Polk who sold his land in 1723 was the same William Polk who settled in Pennsylvania, near Carlisle, and then moved on to North Carolina. At this point in time, Josiah Polk and the others were laboring under the impression that William Polk, son of John Polk, was the progenitor of the Polk line in NC. Years later, this connection was proven to be incorrect, and the William Polk who sold his land in 1723 actually was the son of John Polk (son of Robert Polk/Magdalen Tasker Porter), said William Polk living and dying in Dorchester Co., Maryland (for an explanation of how this connection was broken, see "Polk Family and Kinsmen," pg. 207). The connection between the North Carolina Polks and the Maryland Polks via this William Polk, son of John Polk, was thought to be valid at the time, and made sense to all, since the Somerset/Dorchester Co., MD., Polks were the only Polks known to the North Carolina Polks. This conclusion led to the 1849 Polk tree with the wrong William Polk being the base of said tree. When William Harrison Polk was working on his genealogy, "Polk Family and Kinsmen," it was found that the wrong William Polk was used in that 1849 Polk family tree. This finding broke the connection of William Polk of Pennsylvania and Anson/Mecklenburg Co., NC., back to the Somerset/Dorchester county, Maryland Polks. Apparently the possibility of a connection of the Polks of North Carolina to Polks in other parts of Maryland was not given much thought, nor does it appear WHP considered that William Polk may have come directly from Ireland with the mass of Irish who came to America in the 1720s-1730s. WHP then came up with the connection between William Polk/Nancy Knox and William Polk of Carlisle, PA., and later NC. He never explained how he came up with this connection or what evidence he used to validate such a connection. From William Harrison Polk's papers at the University of Kentucky and from those papers what appears to be a working copy of a Polk tree (with notation in the corner referencing Earle B. Polk's letter of Oct 19, 1910 - Earle B. Polk being the Deputy Circuit Clerk of Somerset Co., MD., and the man who found the Monie Church records proving that the William Polk, son of John Polk, of the 1849 Polk Tree, could not possibly be the William Polk who was the one who m. Margaret Taylor), I definitly get the impression as of at least Oct 19, 1910, William Harrison Polk did not think that the William Polk who m. Margaret Taylor was the son of William Polk/Nancy Knox Owens. The large drawing of a tree does not show either William Polk or Charles Polke (the Indian Trader) as sons of the William Polk who m. Nancy Knox Owens. So, sometime between October 1910 and 1912, when WHP published "Polk Family and Kinsmen," he decided to make the William Polk who m. Margaret Taylor the son of William Polk/Nancy Knox Owens, apparently without any proof (or if he had any proof, he did not mention it at all in his genealogy).
In still another part of the Josiah Polk letter of 1848, Josiah Polk gives the children of William Polk, the second son of Robert and Magdalen, viz.: "The children of William Polk, the second son of Robert and Magdalen, and of Nancy Knox, his wife, who was the widow Owens when he married her re - James, David, Jane and Betsy. William died probably somewhere about 1730......." Note there is no mention at all of sons William Polk (William Polk, who m. Margaret Taylor) and Charles Polk (Charles Polke, the Indian Trader of the north bend of the Potomac).
(4) There is some evidence that William Polk had a brother Charles (Charles Polke the Indian Trader, is possibly this brother). Old Polk genealogies state that this Charles Polke IS the brother of the William Polk who m. Margaret Taylor. The inventory of Charles Polke, the Indian Trader, said inventory of estate dated 5 Oct 1753, Frederick Co., MD., shows next of kin shown as William Polk and John Polk. By process of elimination, the William Polk of the inventory appears to be Charles Polke's brother William Polk/MT (however, it is quite possible that this William Polk of the inventory is William Polk, oldest son/child of William Polk/Margaret Taylor, who would be Charles Polke's nephew. ) The John Polk of the inventory appears to be John Polk who m. Eleanor Shelby, nephew of Charles Polke, who happens to be my own direct line Polk ancestor. It is known that William Polk and his son William Polk were in Anson Co., NC., by Jan 1757 (evidenced by the Jan 1757 will of Thomas Spratt, Anson Co., NC., the father of Susannah Spratt, who married Thomas Polk, son of William Polk/Margaret Taylor.) Thus, there is a window between 5 Oct 1753 and Jan 1757, where the Polks (or some of them; I believe Capt. John Polk arrived later in NC., with members of the Shelby family - John married Eleanor Shelby) are likely to have travelled to NC., this window allowing either William Polk/MT or their son William Polk to be the next of kin in Charles Polke's estate inventory.
(5) William Polk (who married Margaret Taylor) may have come to America in 1727 with the Ewings, Porters, and other families (see Ewing Letter below) and possibly had (at least) a brother John Polk, said John living and dying in Cecil Co., MD.), and possibly another brother, Charles Polke, the Indian Trader (see above reference to the inventory of the estate of Charles Polke).
(6) That William Polk who m. Margaret Taylor was in Cecil Co., MD., as of early 1727 can be established (with some question; see below) by the following deed: Following is description of a deed from Cecil Co., MD., which appears to be for William Polk (who married Margaret Taylor): 20 April 1727, land called Moyn, 80 acres, Cecil Co., MD., Deed, on Christiana Creek, Pollock, William, cordwinder, and wife Margaret, purchased from David Alexander, Cecil SK#5, f.81; Cecil Vol. 5, f.203; Cecil WK11 (Vol.6), f.283; Moyn was a sub-tract of New Munster; 1727/4/20 purchase by William Pollock was recorded in Cecil SK#5, f.81-2; that volume is lost but is later cited in Cecil WK11, f. 283 when Walter Bettey (Beatty) sold Moyn to Robert Mitchell; Beg. mrked maple tree on W bank of Christiana Creek, upon N side of small rivulet running down S side of land of James and Moses Alexander; W, 142p; S, 50p; S21E, 48p; S41E, 52p; E, 10p; return; 1736/4/2 sold to Walter Betty (Beatty), blacksmith, late of Kingdom of Ireland, for £37-10; Bettey, with wife Martha, sold Moyn to Robert Mitchel in 1744 for £47; Beatty moved to now Adams (then Cumberland) County PA; 1736/4/2 Cecil County Land Records, WK11 (Vol.6), f.283.
If the above deed(s) is/are accepted as that of the William Polk who m. Margaret Taylor (one cannot be absolutely sure that this William Pollock and wife Margaret are William Polk/Margaret Taylor, but I definitely believe that they are one and the same couple. I have found no records of any persons of these names who better fit this deed), then we know William Polk and Margaret Taylor were married by 20 April 1727. If we accept the Ewing letter (see below) in that William Polk arrived in America in 1727, then he had to have arrived before 20 April 1727. Since it appears (to me) that at least one child (William Polk, the eldest) was born c1725 (birth, at best, educated guess), then that means William and Margaret Taylor were married in Ireland (perhaps this is why no marriage record has been found in America for this couple), and William Polk (the eldest child) (at least) was born in Ireland. Any such marriage in Ireland goes much against the grain of the limited information I have found on Margaret Taylor, hardly any of which I have been able to substantiate. This secondary information shows Margaret Taylor was from the Taylors of Virginia and that she had a brother James Taylor (who m. Hannah Williams) and that at one time, this Taylor family owned much property in what is now the city of Philadelphia. See the Ewing Letter information later on in this writing. I don't think it very probable that William Polk and Margaret Taylor married in Ireland and had children there before coming to America, but this could be the case. I just do not know.
Using the 1727 arrival in America date, I have put together the possible birth order for the children of William and Margaret (Taylor) Polk. The earlier births in Ireland are entirely speculation based on the 1727 deed and the Ewing Letter.
William Polk b. c1725 (possibly in Ireland) John Polk b. c1727 (on ship or soon after arrival; this circa birth date for Capt. John Polk is in disagreement with his published birth of 1739; see more below on John Polk's birthdate) Margaret Polk, b. c1729 (probably in Cecil Co., MD.) Thomas Polk, b. c1730-31 (probably in Cecil Co., MD.) Charles Polk, b. 1732 (probably in Cecil Co., MD.) Deborah Polk, b. c1733 (probably in Cecil Co., MD.) Susan Polk, b. 1734 (probably in Cecil Co., Md.) Ezekiel Polk, b. 1747, PA., probably in Chester Co., Little Cove area, possibly, in the area which became Cumberland Co., in 1850, and is now in southern Franklin Co., PA., near the Pennsylvania/Maryland border
Unfortunately, we have only the "proven" (proven to some degree; these dates as probably as "proven" as they ever will be) birth years of Charles (1732), Deborah (c1733), and Ezekiel (1747) to work with, so the others have to be slipped into the cracks between the other children. Thomas Polk was supposedly b.1730-1734 , but I have nothing concrete on his birthdate (there are several secondary sources giving various birthdates in this 1730-1734 range). Thomas was supposedly the third son (per autobiography of William Polk, papers of Archibald D. Murphy). If William were the oldest (child and son), followed by other sons John, then Charles, then Thomas, that makes Thomas order of birth inconsistent with the best evidence (best I have, A. D. Murphy papers). Putting Thomas as the third son results in the above birth order. There is a major gap above between Susan b. 1734 and Ezekiel Polk, b. 1747, but there may have been children who died during this period. But this large gap does give me pause about this birth order I have devised. The above birth order/birth date for John Polk very much goes against the grain of published information, as the birth date of c1739 was given for him in all the old Polk genealogies. However, there are many questions about this c1739 birth date, and I think John may have been one of the older children, rather than a younger child. I have much information on John Polk/Eleanor Shelby in my database and I would be happy to discuss John Polk, his birthdate, and anything else about him (or Eleanor Shelby, his wife, with anyone who sends me an email). See the reference above, Charles A. Hanna, "The Scotch-Irish" Vol. II, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1902, which shows Ezekiel Polk, the youngest child of William Polk/Margaret Taylor, was b. c1737. This year of birth, 1737,actually fits in better with the other children than the year 1747, but since 1747 has some evidence to back it up (mainly Ezekiel Polk's tombstone epitaph, which he wrote himself) I hesitate to use any date that is not supported with better proof than Ezekiel's own information). I do wonder about the long period of time between 1739 (birth year of John Polk per Polk genealogies: John being shown as the next to last child of William Polk/Margaret Taylor in the Polk genealogies) and 1747 (birth year of Ezekiel Polk). I think there may be information about the children of William Polk/Margaret Taylor and their birth dates that we simply do not know and may never know.
There are some Polk family connections to the Alexander family of Cecil Co., MD., and later, to the Pennsylvania, and NC., Alexanders. Note that David Alexander in the deed above was the grantor to grantee William Polk. Some Alexander family material I have seen states that the Alexanders and the Polks arrived in America together in the mid-1600s, but I have found nothing to substantiate this. It does appear that the Polks and Alexanders of Somerset Co., MD., were living in that area at the same time in the later 1600s and early 1700s, and certainly the Alexanders of Cecil Co., MD. (some of them, at least), appear to have arrived there from Somerset and other counties in lower Maryland. Some of the Cecil Co., MD., Alexanders moved on to Pennsylvania, and then on Anson Co., NC., and the area which became Mecklenburg Co., NC., in Feb. 1763.
(7) That William Harrison Polk (or at least one or more of the researchers with whom WHP had corresponded) had some doubts about who was the father of the William Polk who married Margaret Taylor, is illustrated by letters found in the W. H. Polk Papers, Special Collections, Margaret I. King Library, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. It appears that at the end of many years discussion, the thinking was that William Polk (who m. Margaret Taylor) and Charles Polke, the Indian Trader, were sons of William Polk by an unknown first wife (wife before Nancy (Knox) Owens). Some excerpts from various letters:
(A) Letter, 15 Nov 1909, Wm. H. Polk to R. C. Ballard Thruston: "......... William Polk, whom our records state was the second son of Robert and Magdalene, married Nancy Knox, who was the widow of Wm. Owens, of will dated March 27, 1698. You will also recall the fact that there was an impression that she married another before marrying Wm. Polk, but of that we have no proof. This Wm. Polk was born about 1660 and was therefore approximately forty years of age when he married the widow. I think it highly probable that he had been previously married. That he had children by that first marriage whom he provided for and did not mention in his will, such omissions were frequently made then and are to-day. Therefore, I see no reason for assuming that those Polks, probably born about or before 1700, not otherwise located in the Polk tree, were not sons of this William, who was the son of Robert and Magdalene. [BILL POLK ADDITION: One of the problems with WHP's argument here is that William Polk, son of Robert and Magdalen, was b. c1673 (by deposition), not 1660, therefore lessening (but not eliminating the possibility) the likelihood that said William Polk had a first marriage, and William Polk and Charles Polke, the Indian Trader, being children of that first marriage] .......... I think the record proof is conclusive that the Wm. Polk who married Priscilla Roberts was the son of Jon. And not the Wm. Polk who married Margaret Taylor and became the ancestor of the southern Polks. I am inclined to think that the latter Wm. was born before 1700 and therefore too old to be the son of either David or Joseph [Polk]. I do not see any other place for him in the family tree unless he was the son of Wm. by a marriage of which we have no proof. [BILL POLK ADDITION: Here is where WHP failed to recognize the possiblity that the William Polk who m. Margaret Taylor could have been from another Polk line other than Robert Polk/Magdalen Tasker; however, R. C. Ballard Thruston certainly thought about this possibility in his letter of 6 Dec 1909 to WHP: ".... But this I think we must take into our calculations, viz: - that of all the Polks and Pollocks then liveing, we have no right to assume that Robert Bruce Polk and his wife are the only ones who came to American and even to Maryland]."
(B) Letter, 7 Oct 1910, R. C. Ballard Thruston to William Harrison Polk: "I have just returned from a trip to Alaska and the Pacific coast and in my mail I find two letters from you dated Aug. 8th and Sept. 17th respectively. You can realize that I have done nothing in the line of Polk genealogy since my last to you but I have neither seen nor heard of anything to change my views. I believe that the William Polk, who married Margaret Taylor and was ancestor of the southern Polks, was too old a man to have been the son of either David or Joseph and I do not see any place in the tree for him other than son of William Polk by a marriage of which our records do not speak. I believe it would be well in your book to suggest that as a solution of the problem rather than assume it. Of course the southern Polks will kick but the Maryland records are against them......... Now with reference to yours of the 17th. I think that your reasoning is excellent. My recollection is, however, that I considered the William Polk, who married Margaret Taylor was born not later than 1700, more likely earlier but my notes were all taken down to the safety vault and locked up when I left home and I haven't them here now for reference. Another point I want to call your attention to - William Polk married Nancy Knox Owens presumably soon after 1698 as her husband, William Owens, left a will dated March 27 of that year. The eldest son of William Polk, of whom we have record, was born about 1712 or 1715. Is it probable that she was the mother of that son? [BILL POLK ADDITION: This 1712-1715 date of birth of the "eldest son" James Polk is incorrect as indicated by the discussion above about his birth and that of his brother David Polk. Both of these two sons of William Polk were born much earlier than these two correspondents believed] .......... On the whole, I believe if I were in your place, I would bring in the facts and suggest that the William Polk, who married Margaret Taylor, was a son of William, provided for during lifetime of his father therefore omitted in the will. The more I think over it the more satisfied I am that it is the only place in the Polk tree for him, unless he happened to be the son of David of whom we know so little. I am also inclined to believe that the Charles Polk of Frederick, who was my ancestor was a brother of the William who married Margaret Taylor. The earlier generations seemed to know definitely what their relationship was to President Polk and that relationship could have existed if this William and this Charles were brothers. If I were in your place, I would also make thatas a suggestion. I believe that putting such matters in the form of a suggestion, it will have the tendence of giving greater weight to your statements of facts as such...."
(C) Letter, 17 Oct 1910, R. C. Thruston Ballard to William Harrison Polk: [referring to a John Pelkey will dated 20 Dec 1702, proved 24 May, 1703; this is the will in which property "Locust Hammock" was, in a roundabout way, put into the hands of a William Kent and subsequently put into the hands of William Polk, son of John Polk (son of Robert/Magdalen), but this will was misread by William Harrison Polk [this situation perhaps illustrating that WHPe could be mistaken at times in his thinking about what certain documents might mean], viz. "That does not look as if it could have been the will of our John Polk and therefore think you have misunderstood the deed from Wm. Kent to William Polk........ ]..... I believe if we can ever arrive at the facts, and the probabilities are that church records are the best source we have, we will find that William Polk [referring here to William Polk, supposed father of William Polk who m. Margaret Taylor] also married twice and that by 1st marriage he had sons, William and Charles [the Indian Trader]. I am furthermore thoroughly satisfied that there is a vast deal more information in Maryland regarding these early Polks, which has not as yet been unearthed. I believe, moreover, after your book is published, you will receive many letters giving you information, which now you have no possible means of locating. I would not be at all surprised if the records from the old family bible had been copied and the copy preserved among the archives of some branch, which you have not as yet located. It will take the publication of the book to bring that sort of information to light and after a couple of years or so, you will then be in a position to bring out a second edition more full and complete than the first." (D) Letter, 14 April 1911, R. C. Ballard Thruston to William Harrison Polk: "I was indeed glad to receive yours of the 13th. Whilst the proof is still lacking, it is confirming the views which I have expressed on several occasions in the past; namely, that William Polk son of Robert and Madeline [sic] was twice married and that his second set of children are the ones of whom we have the record as his descendants; that his first set of children were probably married and provided for earlier in life, and therefore not mentioned in his will; furthermore that I believed that William Polk, who married Margaret Taylor, and Charles Polk of Frederick County would turn up to be the children of the first marriage." --------------------------------------------------------------- NATHANIEL EWING 1844 LETTER
[Source: Correspondence of James K Polk, Volume 8, pp. 9-12. Thanks to John F. Polk, Harve de Grace, Maryland, a Polk family researcher, for sending me a copy of this letter. This article is a quote from the published letter including all of the footnotes.]
FROM NATHANIEL EWING
Dear Sir Vincennes Indiana Sept. 3d 1844
A scetch of your biography happening to fall into my hands, I find that I am better acquainted with the early history of your family than perhaps any of your immediate relatives now alive.
Your forefathers and mine emigrated together in the same ship from the North of Ireland in the year seventeen hundred an twenty seven, landed at Newcastel & settled together in the upper part of Cecil County adjoining the Pennsylvania line and Lancaster County.' There was a large colony composed principally of Ewings Porters Gillespies & Polks. Your great grandfather and two Grand Uncles were of the number. Of your great grandfather and one of his brothers I have no recollection. They with some of my relatives of the names of Gillespie & Porter had removed to Cumberland County near
[EXPLANATION OF ABOVE] 'Born in Cumberland County, Penn. in 1772, Ewing moved to Vincennes in 1807 to take up his duties as receiver of the public land office. He was the president of the first bank established in Vincennes and served in the Indiana territorial legislature.
'According to the most widely accepted genealogical study, the Polks first came to America from Northern Ireland in the 1680's and settled in Somerset County, Md.; one branch of the family then moved to Cumberland County, Penn., in the 1730's and subsequently to Mecklenberg County, N.C. in the 1750's. This study does not display, however, such documentation as might verify the movement of Polks from Somerset County, Md., to Cumberland County, Penn. See Mrs. Frank M. Angellotti, The Polks of North Carolina and Tennessee (Columbia, Tenn.: James K. Polk Memorial Association, 1984), pp, 2-5; reprinted from The New England Historic Genealogical Register, LXXVII (April, 1923), pp. 134-36.
Journal of Clan Ewing November 1999 9
[CONTINUATION OF LETTER] Carlisle before my time.' One of the brothers John Polk remained where he first settled until he died which was about the year seventeen hundred eighty three.' Him I well recollect as his Land & that of both my Grandfathers joined, and a constant friendly intercourse alway subsisted between the families, during their lives. On his land was the place selected by the emigrants on their first arival for a burying ground and in it is inter'd both my Grand fathers & grandmothers my Father & Mother with Uncles Aunts & cousins without number. John Polk & his family also lie there.
In the year seventeen hundred & eighty eight I found living on Cripple Creek one of the head branches of New River a numerous band of my relatives desendants of those who had removed from Cumberland County Pa. and from the old settlement in Cecil Co. Md. I understood the Polks had settled further south in Carolina. In this tour I found my relatives scattered from Prince Edward Co. Va. through Bortitort Wythe Washington and down to Knoxville,' all the descendants of the emigrants of seventeen hundred & twenty seven. I have this date from record. One of my aunts was born on sea on their passage to America & this is the recorded year of hir birth. Here ends my knowledge of the family of the Polks except the grandsons of John Polk by his daughter Isabella who maried Thomas Grubb.' With those I was raised and schooled three of whome are still alive all living in Pennsylvania one in Franklin Co. & ten [this should be two] in Erie Co near the Town of that name. One of the latter Judge Grubb' is a man of six feet four & half inches high of good proportions. About ten years ago I visited the anciant site of
[EXPLANATION OF ABOVE] 3 Angellotti's sources indicate that Polk's paternal great grandfather,William Polk, was the father of eight children, all born in Cumberland County, Penn. According to Angellotti, William Polk's brothers remained in Maryland.
'Ewing's meaning is that John Polk, one of the three brothers who settled in Cumberland County, Penn., remained there and did not move to North Carolina.
'References are to the Virginia counties of Prince Edward, Botetourt, Wythe, and Washington.
'Not Identified fin-ther.
'Reference probably is to John Grubb, a resident of Mill Creek township and an associate judge of the Erie Court from 1820 until 1841.
10 Journal of Clan Ewing November 1999
[CONTINUATION OF LETTER] the Emigants' after an absense of more than forty years. I was much surprised to find so little alteration in the superficial appearance of the country. The lands were unaltered the woodland but little deminished the only and great change was in the improvement of the soil. The fields which I had left in the most decay state of poverty I found covered with luxurient crops of clover & wheat. The tracts of land which were originally large I found divided into small ones not much exceeding one hundred acres on each of which were fine brick houses & barns and every conveniance necessary for a neat farm.
In the year seventeen hundred & seventy nine there was one of your family living at Natches, placed there by the State of Virginia as their agent to accept & pay the bills of Genl. Clark when carrying on his expedition against the british forts at Kaskaskia & Vincennes.' Thus I have given you my recollections & traditions of your family from their first landing in America. Your family like mine were originally from Scodant emigrated from that Country during the Protectorship of Cromwell.
As to our politicks in this State the parties are verry warm, I never saw the democrats so active & determined. The whigs obtained a majority in the house or representatives but that was measurably owing to the manner the districts are laid off. The democrats have the popular vote. There are also a great many who voted for whig representatives who will not vote the Clay ticket. The most of the Presbiterians arc whigs but the moral charater of Clay is rather more than they can digest. The Texas question altho but little understood is a new thing and as the mass is always delighted with novelty it takes well with them, and I have no doubt of the democrats taking this State. I have always though and still think that the Globe & Thos. Benton" has done the
[EXPLANATION OF ABOVE] 'Reference is to Ewing's former home, which was located near Carlisle in Cumberland County, Penn.
'Reference is to George Rogers Clark's conquest of the Illinois country. He captured Fort Kaskaskia on July 4, 1778, and followed in August with the capture of the British fort at Vincennes, Ind. The fort at Vincennes was retaken by the British, but Clark recaptured it in February 1779.
The Washington Globe of April 29, 1844, published a letter from Thomas H. Benton addressed to members of the Texas Congress in which he objected to the immediate annexation of that republic. Benton's letter was followed by a "postscript" in the Globe on May 2, 1844.
Journal of Clan Ewing November 1999 11
[CONTINUATION OF LETTER] democratic cause more injury than the partizens of Clay-their violence against Mr. Tyler disgusted many for say what place against him." The thinking & honest democrats will always feel greatfull for the servises he tendered the party by his firmness in placing his veto on the bill creating a U.S. Bank with such powers to render a representation of the people a perfect farse. " Instead of representing those who sent them they would become the panders of the moneyed power.
This judging harshly of my fellow citizens but in justifycation of my opinion we have only to recur to the conduct of congress at the time. The Bank obtained a recharter as far as they had power to give it and to the legislature or Pennsylvania when that same Bank obtained its charter as a bank of that State. As to this last I have some personal knowledge, I was in Pennsylvania during the canvass for Governor when Ritner was elected. " He lived in Washington Co. which had always before then been a democratic county untill the Bank of the U.S. under the cloak of subscribing to a turnpike Road between Washington & Pittsburgh (a road which mill never yeald toll to keep itself in repair) gave them fifty thousand dollars which compleatly changed the political complextion of the county & gave it to the Whigs. I am sorry some of my relatives had a hand in this business. John Sergeant of Philadelphia" as the head he acted as agent for
[EXPLANATION OF ABOVE] "Syntax garbled. After the publication of Martin Van Buren's April 27, 1844, letter on the annexation of Texas, the Globe defended the former president and attacked his rivals for the Democratic nomination, including John Tyler.
"On August 16, 1841, John Tyler returned the bill entitled "An act to incorporate the subscribers to the Fiscal Bank of the united States," to the U.S. Senate with his veto.
"Joseph Ritner. Elected to the Pennsylvania House from Washington County, Ritner served seven years in that body, including two years as its Speaker from 1826-28. He won election as governor on the Anti-masons' ticket of 1835; renominated for a second term in 1838, he lost the election to the Democratic candidate, David R. Porter.
"An accomplished attorney, Sergeant served seven terms in the U.S. House, 1815-23, 1827-29, and 1837-41; his political affiliation changed from Federalist to National Republican to Whig, successively. He served as chief legal and political adviser to Nicholas Biddle, president of the second Bank of the United States and its successor corporation, the United States Bank of Pennsylvania, which was chartered by the Pennsylvania legislature in 1837. Biddle claimed that the Pennsylvania charter cost
12 Journal of Clan Ewing November 1999
[CONTINUATION OF LETTER] the Bank in negotiating the business. The papers from all quarters give cheering news as it regards the Presidental election. For my part I have never doubted our success. Twenty years ago I made a bet with a friend who is now dead that Henry Clay never would be president of the U.S. This Election will determine it.
P.S. You will excuse my writing you on so immeterial a subject but it may perhaps tend to relieve your mind from too intense an application to politicks.
Editor's note: This letter identifies the port where the Ewing family landed in America as New Castle, Delaware. When we attended the reunion in 1990, we visited New Castle and it was pointed out that was possibly the port of entry. Also, the year of birth of the third children of Nathaniel & Rachel Porter Ewing is identified as being the year 1727. Since the third child of Nathaniel & Rachel was born at sea and that is fact that is generally accepted by all researchers, lends support to 1727 being the year that Rachel & Nathaniel came to America
[BILL POLK ADDITION to the information from the Ewing Letter] The above letter certainly indicates that there were other Polks in Maryland, in Cecil County (I can attest that there were such Polks in Cecil Co., MD. in the early 1700s). The presence of other Polks in Maryland lends credibility to the idea that the Polks of Mecklenburg Co., NC., may not have come from the Polks of Somerset/Dorchester counties, MD., but rather from the Cecil Co., MD. Polks. This idea is advanced by the proximity of Cecil County to Pennsylvania and the fact there there were Alexander families in Cecil Co., MD., many of whom moved on to Mecklenburg Co., NC., or had descendants who made that move, and some of these Alexanders married Polks. Nathaniel Ewing was a descendant of the Ewings who supposedly came with the Polks in 1727. A short time before Nathaniel3 Ewing (1772-1846) (George2, Nathaniel1, William A), of Mount Clair (near Vincennes), Indiana, died he wrote an account of his family. That information along with additional information added by Col. Wm. A. Ewing was published in The Courier-Journal (February 28, 1897). Nathaniel moved from Maryland to Indiana in 1801. The article was published just over fifty years after the death of Nathaniel3. I have the entire article that Nathaniel Ewing wrote in 1846, and he makes no mention of his Ewings coming from Ireland with the Polks. This omission causes me to wonder why he wrote the letter to President Polk in 1844 stating the families came from Northern Ireland on the same ship. I wonder if he (like others of the surname Polk and Pollock, who also wrote letters to President Polk claiming kinship) was currying some sort of favor; or perhaps he was simply mistaken about his Ewings arriving in America with the Polk family ancestors of President Polk. This omission of anything about the Polks in the Ewing family history causes me to pause and ponder about the credibility of the whole Ewing/Polk connection. However, there were Ewings and Polks in Cecil Co., MD., so I cannot just dismiss this Ewing Letter out of hand and will keep it in the forefront of the whole of the Polk information I have accumulated. These Polks in Cecil Co., MD., in the early 1700s may or may not be related to William Polk/MT; I just do not know. The possibilites are intriguing, however; a relationship being established between William Polk/MT and these Cecil Co., MD., Polks, would probably help answer some of the questions I have about the ancestry of William Polk/MT.
I have not proven beyond a doubt that the William Polk who m. Margaret Taylor was not the son of William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens, but I believe that I have poked some gigantic holes in the published ancestry of William Polk/MT as given in the Polk genealogies and various other works. When one considers the totality of the evidence, including what I have presented in this writing, and my statements following, I think most Polk researchers would come to the same conclusion that I have, that is, the ancestry of William Polk that we have believed to be accurate for so long is likely incorrect. At the very least, the ancestry as published is unproven and needs to be proven before we perpetuate it further.
1. There is no documentary proof that William Polk/MT was the son of William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens. Not one document has been located to even hint at a father/son relationship between the two William Polks (or between William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens and Charles Polke, the Indian Trader). 2. The published ancestry of William Polk/MT back to William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens in "Polk Family and Kinsmen" 1912, came about out of some desperation on the part of William Harrison Polk to complete his work of 30 plus years, and to have an ancestry for the Mecklenburg Polks. When the original lineage of Robert Polk to John Polk to William Polk to William Polk/MT was found to be incorrect (per the 1849 Polk Tree), WHP found himself in a pickle...... he had William Polk/MT, who had been previously attached to the wrong William Polk, stuck out there without an ancestry. WHP and fellow researchers searched for and did not find any proof that William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens had sons William and Charles. So, without evidence, and based on guesswork and theory, William Harrison Polk inserted William Polk/MT as a son of William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens into his "Polk Family and Kinsmen" as a fact, when, in fact, it was not fact. Emma Angellotti simply followed his lead in her "The Polks of North Carolina and Tennessee." The rest is genealogical history in that researchers for over 90 years have accepted as fact what was not proven and was a theory of what the ancestry of William Polk/MT was. 3. There is ample evidence (see discussions above) pointing to other paths, other possibilities, as to the ancestry of William Polk/MT and his (probable) sibling Charles Polke, the Indian Trader.
I have great respect for the work expended by William Harrison Polk and Emma Angellotti in compiling and publishing their genealogies of the Polks. Where would Polk descendants be today without these family histories/genealogies? In any large genealogical undertaking, errors are almost certain to creep into some of the family lines. I do not fault these two writers/researchers for errors. I do, however, fault each of them for failing to show sources of information (footnotes and endnotes); for not giving details of their reasonings for certain family couplings and associations when such couplings/associations are unclear; and for inserting into the record as fact, information which was not proven. Actually, it is those of who who have followed Mary Winder Garret, William Harrison Polk and Emma Angellotti, who are more at fault than these writers. We should never have accepted the Polk genealogies as fact in the first place; we should have accepted them as means to further our own research. But, it is so very easy to fall into the trap of accepting a genealogy that is old and that so many other writers/researchers (even professional writers/researchers) have accepted as fact (and used in their own research/publications) for so many years. Many, many family researchers today are using the Internet, and they should; it is probably the greatest boon to genealogy than anything else ever invented. However, many of these same researchers are finding unproven/undocumented information out there in Internet land, using it as fact, and perpetuating it as fact, contributing mightily to the misinformation problem, and not just for Polks, but for all families. My hope, in presenting this discussion of the ancestry of William Polk/MT, is that researchers, novice and experienced, will think a bit more about finding the truth of the matter in their quest for their family ancestry. I also hope to inspire more research on the ancestry of William Polk/MT by those folks who, to this point, may have been satisfied with the status quo. Let's find the truth about the ancestry of William Polk/MT and not keep perpetuating a theory.
I invite anyone interested in anything I have presented here to contact me with your questions and/or discussion of all or any part of it. If you have documentary evidence of the William Polk/MT connection back to William Polk/Nancy (Knox) Owens, I sure would like to hear from you.
Bill Polk, Kansas City, MO. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
William Polk, II's Timeline
June 8, 1719
Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, Colonial America
Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States
Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, Colonial America
July 29, 1732
Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States
Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States
Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, Colonial America