William C. Hudson

The Detroit Society for Genealogical Research
Magazine - Volume XIII; June; Number 5, pages 123-128

Used with permission - For non-profit use only. No links from for-profit sites!

     Among the frontier rangers stationed at Ft. Augusta on the banks of the Susquehanna in the early days of the French and Indian War, was a young man named Cornelius Atkinson who thus introduced himself upon the American scene. In time he became the progenitor of many strong and sturdy pioneers. His descendants have generally shown a rather unusual sense of family loyalty and quite a number of them have paid honor to their ancestor by affiliating with patriotic societies. However so far as I can learn, the only published account of this man and his family is the one set forth in Hardesty's Historical Hand Atlas of Monroe County, Ohio, published in 1882 and now a very rare book, accessible to but few readers. Hence the writer deems it worth while to briefly recount the claim of this colonial and revolutionary ancestor to the memory of posterity.

     Ft. Augusta in what is now Northumberland County was one of the forts authorized and established after Braddock's defeat for the protection of the western settlements of Pennsylvania from attacks by the Indians. Cornelius Atkinson was listed as a private in Captain Joseph Shippen's company of the First Pennsylvania Regiment April 3, 1756 and on April 20th was issued clothing consisting of one coat, two pairs of leather breeches, one white shirt and two pairs of shoes(l). How long he had been in America at that time we do not know. He is said to have been born in Ireland in 1732, son of Robert Atkinson and wife both natives of that country. He settled in a region colonized by fellow-Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. He was in active service more than a year and later received a land warrant, presumably because of it.

     In 1758 he married Mary Cross in Northumberland (then part of Lancaster) County and within the next three or four years exercised his land warrant by settling on the south side of the Juniata River just west of its junction with the Susquehanna where his immediate neighbors were the Baskins, Kerl and Ellis families. This locality was then in Cumberland, but it is now a part of Perry County. On May 7, 1762, Marcus Huling, recently returning from Pittsburg, filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania authorities that the above-named families during his absence had occupied lands previously granted to him and that Cornelius Atkinson was encroaching upon his Onion Bottom lands south of the Juniata. The Pennsylvania Board of Property, at a meeting held October 27, 1766, decided that Huling held the prior warrant and appointed arbitrators to first set off Huling's land and then Atkinson's, giving due regard to the improvements each had made. (2) Huling was not satisfied with the award but his appeal from the decision of the arbitrators was denied.

     In 1774 Cornelius Atkinson was granted two tracts of land under warrant in Northumberland County and probably moved his family there as they were residents of that county at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Soon after the Committees of safety had become organized in Pennsylvania he enlisted, Jan. 14, 1776, as first lieutenant in the first company of the Second Battalion of the Northumberland county Associators (3). This battalion was in the command of Colonel James Potter, one of the original members of the Committe of safety. James and Charles Atkinson enlisted with their father, Charles being then hardly sixteen years of age. These boys started a career as frontiersmen patterned after that of their father, and for the next twenty years or more were frequently engaged in military service against the Indians or otherwise in defense of their country. Later in the Revolution the 3rd son, William Atkinson, enlisted in the Pennsylvania militia as a member of Robinson's Rangers. (4)

     Long afterwards in 1832, when Charles Atkinson applied for a pension for his Revolutionary services, he mentioned some of the duties performed by him and his fellow-rangers in 1779. (5) They guarded provision boats going up the Susquehanna with supplies for General Sullivan's army, and were also engaged in destroying an Indian Company which was boating green corn up the Susquehanna River from the Indian cornfields to their stockade at Tioga Point. The year following he was in the expedition against the Indians up the west branch of the Susquehanna.

     In the last years of the Revolution, Cornelius and his older sons were enrolled in the Cumberland County Militia and presumably returned to that county to live about 1781. Cornelius and some of his children, including William, continued to reside there until about 1800.

     After the Revolution the older children of Cornelius Atkinson married and founded homes of their own. Charles married Sarah McKnight but she died in childbirth leaving a child who was reared in the home of his uncle, Cornelius Atkinson Jr. This son was later to become noted as Brig. Gen. Henry S. Atkinson, U.S.A., Commander of an Expedition in the so-called Black Hawk War. (*SEE "Setting the Record Straight" below.) Charles Atkinson later married Elizabeth Stephens, Dec. 4, 1787. William Atkinson married, perhaps earlier in the same year, Mary McCoy, the eighteen-year old daughter of Lieutenant Thomas McCoy who had served in the 6th Pa. Battalion and been taken prisoner at Quebec. Mary's mother, Elizabeth Baskins, was daughter of James Baskins who operated the first ferry across the Susquehanna where it is now crossed by U.S. Route 22. James Atkinson married Mary Brown. In the early 1790's Charles Atkinson went to live on Ten Mile Creek in Green County, Pa. He, and probably his brother James also, engaged in defense of the frontier against the Indians and lived in a stockade fort near the present city of Waynesburgh. They both served in the campaign against the so-called Whiskey Rebellion. James was sergeant in Capt. James Seal's Company for 265 days and Charles was private in the same company. (6) Charles later served at Ft. Henry on the present site of Wheeling, W. Va. About the end of the 18th Century they moved to Northwest Territory on Sunfish Creek in what is now Monroe County, Ohio, where they were soon joined by their brothers William, Isaac and Mitchell and their sister Mary (Jones-Ingraham).

     These early Ohio Atkinsons took a leading part in the development of their new place of settlement. James was the founder of the village of Jamestown, now known as Cameron. When Monroe County was organized in 1813 William was chosen as one of the first County Commissioners and was later one of the founders of the Village of Clarington - named after Clarinda, one of the daughters of the clan. Isaac was first an associate judge and later represented his county in the state legislature, first as representative and afterward as state senator. Mitchell, the youngest brother and only nineteen years of age when he came to Ohio was the first school-teacher in Salem Township, the schoolhouse being on the farm of his brother Charles. He later became county surveyor.

     The sons and daughters of the pioneers were adventurous spirits and their lives were far from prosaic. Ruth, the youngest daughter of Charles, rode horseback to Illinois with her husband on their wedding journey. The men of the family took pride in their physical prowess. The oldest son of Charles, known as "Blue-head Jim," won many a bout at fisticuffs and claimed to be champion of the county in that rough pioneer sport. Their impetuosity and hardihood sometimes led to tragic endings: one engaged in some venture (the nature of which is now forgotten) on the Ohio River, and was never thereafter heard from; William Jr., (ancestor of the writer) met sudden and accidental death from a falling roof-log which he was vainly trying to lift in place at a "house-raising" after it had baffled the strength of others. (At a much later period one member of the family who inherited to a marked degree the size and strength of his forbears, and measured six feet seven inches in height, was facetiously nicknamed "Shorty Atkinson."

     While many of his descendants were pioneering in Ohio, Cornelius Atkinson was spending his declining years among those who remained on the Susquehanna. Cornelius Jr. had served in the militia, and later against the Whiskey Rebellion, but returned to the region of his upbringing. Having no children of their own, he and his wife reared Henry Sebastian Atkinson, the motherless son of his brother Charles. Keziah and her husband, James Martin, lived near the original homesite and had a number of descendants who lived in that part of Pennsylvania. The other two daughters of Cornelius Sr., Jane Robinson and Rebecca Clark, lived in Pennsylvania after their marriage, but we have no further information about them. Sometime after 1800 it appears that Cornelius, the Ranger, and his wife moved across the river into Halifax Township, Dauphin County, where the latter died in 1807. Cornelius died in 1815 and his son-in-law, James Martin, was appointed Administrator of his Estate. The following year his heirs sold Sheep Island at the mouth of the Juniata, which he had owned from 1767 till the date of his death.


Early Descendants of Cornelius (1732-1815) and Mary Atkinson (1736-1807)

1. James Atkinson, b. Pa. 1759; mar. (perhaps 1790) in Fa. Mary Brown, dau. of Mathew and Elenore (Lytle) Brown; served in Northumberland Co., Pa. Rangers, Pa. 1776-1780 and then in Cumberland Co. Militia. Later served against Whiskey Insurrection 1794; lived in Monroe Co. Ohio from about 1799 until his death, 1845.

     Children: (order of birth not known)
     11. First child died in infancy
     12. Margaret
     13. Rebecca
     14. Nancy m. William Ross; had several children
     15. Cornelius B. Atkinson
     16. Mollie m. Joshua Davis; 3 children.
     17. Kins Atkinson
     18. Jennie - m. Henry Ross; died 1888; had several children.
     19. Keziah, b. 1812; d. 1872; m. 1st William Lippincott (1811-1833), 2nd, William McCoy
          191-William Lippincott Jr. b. 1833, d. 1878, m. Nancy Shinn
          192-Amanda (McCoy) Mallory
          193-Mary Ann (McCoy) Timmons.

2. Charles Atkinson, b. Pa. 1760; m. 1st Pa. Sarah McKnight who d. in childbirth: m. 2nd. Dec. 4, 1787, Elizabeth Stephens (1769-1841), thought to be dau. of James Stephens who was a son of Andrew Stephens of Cumberland Co. Pa. Charles served in Northumberland Co. Rangers during Revolution, 1776-1780, and later in Cumberland Co. Militia, moved to Greene Co. Pa. where he served at Stockade Fort near present City of Waynesburgh and against Whiskey Rebellion; lived in Monroe Co. Ohio from about 1799 till his death Apr. 23, 1834.

     Children by Sarah McKnight:
     21. Henry Sebastian Atkinson, 3rig. Gen. U.S. Army

     Children by Elizabeth Stephens:
     22. Keziah, b. Cumberland Co. Pa. 1788, m. Mitchell McCoy, son of Lieut. Thos. McCoy and Elizabeth (Baskins) McCoy
     23. Mary, b. Pa. 1789; d. Monroe Co. Ohio, 1849; m. Gilbert McCoy, b. 1775, d. 1857, son of Lieut. Thomas and Elizabeth (Baskins) McCoy; lived in Monroe Co. Ohio and both buried in old pioneer cemetery, Cameron, Ohio. Had issue including Rebecca (1818-1875) who married Elial Headley.
     24. James Atkinson, b. about 1791 in Penna.; grew up and married in Monroe Co, O.; was known as "Blue-head Jum" and achieved local prominence as an amateur champion fist-fighter; later went to Indiana and died there; had issue.
     25. Stephen Atkinson, b. June 17, 1793 at stockade fort on Ten-Mile creek near Waynesburgh, Pa.; went to Monroe Co., O. with his parents about 1799; died near Cameron, O. Mar. 24, 1874 and is buried in old pioneer cemetery there; was locally prominent as a minister of the Disciples of Christ. He m. 1st Margaret Jones, b. Wood Co., West Va., 1796, dau. of John and Lillie (Benjamin) Jones, d. at Cameron, 0., Mar. 24, l824, by whom he had issue:
          251- Charles Atkinson, b. uar. 21, 1817; d. Jan. 9, 1849, m. Elizabeth Farrell.
          252- Isaac Atkinson, b. Oct. 29, 1819; d. Oct. 17, 1906; m. 1st Hannah Lippincott, b. 1819 dau. of Elisha & Mary Ann (Duvall) Lippincott, d. 1883. By her he had issue, Benjamin Franklin, William Monroe, Mary Emeline, Amanda Jane, Margaret Ann (d. inf.) Lauretta (d. in childhood), Elizabeth Ellen, Lillie, Mattie, Lenora, Rebecca Duvall and Isaac Deming. He m. 2nd. Mary Tebetts.
          253- Lilly Atkinson, b. ---; d. 1909 at Bradner, Ohio; m. Richard Angus; had five children including the late Richard F. Angus of Detroit, Mich.; family now extinct.
          254- Rebecca, b. ---: d. Apr. 12, 1892; unmarried.
     Stephen m. 2nd Elizabeth Ross, b. 1809, dau of Robinson and Mary (Davis) Ross, d. 1864, by whom he had issue:
          255- Benjamin Atkinson, b. Feb. 13, 1830; d. Dec. 28, 1851; unmarried.
          256- Samuel S. Atkinson, b. Jan. 18, 1832; d. Mar. 1892; m. Emma Delia Hartline, b. Jan. 15, 1836, half sister of Hannah Lippincott above, and dau. of Christian Hartline and Mary Ann, widow of Elisha Lippincott, d. May 16, 1856; had issue.
          257- Margaret Atkinson, b. Dec. 20, 1833, d. May 16, 1856; unmarried.
          258- Lovisa Atkinson, b. Feb. 10, 1836; d. Mar. 4, 1913; m. Dr. William Webb.
          259- Martha Atkinson, b. Feb. 26, 1838; d. Aug. 3, 1924; m. Stephen Beard.
          25(10)- Stephen Atkinson, Jr. b. Feb. 13, 1840; d. Feb. 17, 1903; m. Melissa Ward.
          25(11)- John J. Atkinson, b. Feb. 10, 1842; d. Oct. 9, 1917; m. his cousin Ella J. Clark, gr. dau. of Jane (Atkinson) Clark; issue three children.
          25(12)- Abel M. Atkinson, b. Apr. 19, 1844, d. Feb. 29, 1872; unmarried.
          25(13)- Mary Elizabeth, b. Aug. 7, 1846; d. in childhood.
          25(14)- Maria Jane, b. May 29, 1849; d. in childhood.
          25(15)- Julia Ann Atkinson, b. July 30, 1850; d. Dec. 12, 1879; m. Michael Schafer.
     26. Margaret Atkinson (twin with Stephen, 25) b. in stockade fort near Waynesburgh, Pa. June 17, 1793; d. June 20, 1873; bur. Cameron Ohio; m. Elias Conger (1789-1869); lived in Monroe Co., 0.; had issue including 261- David A. Conger.
     27. Julia Ann Atkinson, b. 1796; d. --- at Calais, O.; m. Samuel Stephens.
     28. Rebecca Atkinson, b. Jan. 25, 1798; d. Jan. 3, 1886; m. John Watson (1802-1885); lived in W. Va.; issue, ten children.
     29. Jane Atkinson, b. Dec. 4, 1800; d. Oct. 4, 1881. m. June 4, 1820 Sarsfield Clark (1800-1885); lived in Monroe Co., O. until 1860, then at Ridgefarm, Ill.; children (surname Clark):
          291- Ruth, b. Sept 20, 1821; d. Sept- 13, 1908; m. 1st Isaac Neff, issue two children; m. 2nd. Dr. John D. O'Conner, issue six children.
          292- Henry, b. ---; d. --- in Tenn.; had two sons, both d. s. p.
          293- Daniel, b. Apr. 26, 1827; d. Dec. 14, 1852; m. Harriet Thompson; issue one son.
          294- Elizabeth, b. July, 1829; d. at Ridgefarm, Ill. Jan. 6, 1916; m. near Clarington, O., Feb. 19, 1860 Israel N. Archbold. Issue, two children. Ollom lived in Monroe Co., Ohio; issue three children.
          295- Emma, b. ---; d. June 9, 1897; m. --- Harding; issue, three children.
          296- Dr. John J., b. Oct. 25, 1832; d. Aug. 19, 1858; m. Nancy (Henthorne) Ollom; lived in Monroe Co., Ohio; issue three children.
          297- William, b. Apr. 6, 1834; d. young (kicked by a horse).
          298- Capt. Charles, b. ---; d. ---; m. in Illinois; served in Civil War and was killed; two children, both d. s. p.
          299- Dr. Elijah, b ; d. ---; m. & lived in St. Louis, Mo. Had a son George.
          29(10)- Terrance, b. ---; d. Dec. 18, 1909; m. in Illinois; served in Civil War; was in Libby prison; issue, two children.
          29(11)- Julia, b. Feb. 4, 1842; d --; m. Caleb Woodyard; issue three children.
     2(10)- Cornelius S. Atkinson, b. 1801; d. in Kansas, Dec. 14, 1875; m. Nancy Henthorne; lived in Monroe Co., O. until after 1840, then moved to Kansas.
     2(11)- Elijah Atkinson, b. ---; d. in Mo., ---; m. his cousin Sarah Atkinson.
     2(12)- Abel Atkinson, b. ---; d. in Mo.; m. Mary Archer.
     2(13)- Elizabeth, b. Apr. 16, 1807; d. at Seymour, Iowa, 1895; m. John Conger.
     2(14)- Ruth, b. ---; d, 1894; m. Ebenezer Henthorne; went to Illinois on their wedding journey and afterwards lived there.

Note: above genealogical data furnished by Miss Ethel R. Atkinson of Barnesville, Ohio, descendant of both James and Charles Atkinson.

3. William Atkinson (ancestor of the compiler), b. in Pa. in 1762 (according to Hardesty's Atlas); d. in Monroe Co. after 1840; served in Robinson's Rangers during latter part of Revolution; m. about 1787, Mary, dau. of Lieutenant Thomas and Elizabeth (Baskins) McCoy b. 1769, settled in Monroe Co., Ohio after 1800; County Commissioner in 1813; dedicated family cemetery in west end of Clarington.
     31. Cornelius Atkinson, b. Pa. 1788; d. 1847; m. Mary Johnson (1801-1864); lived in Clarington, Ohio; had issue, Randolph, Elijah, Susanna, Hannah (d. inf.), Naomi (d. inf.) Oliver.
     32. Elizabeth Atkinson, b. about 1790 in Pa. d. 1849; m. Reuben Sturgeon; lived in Clarington, 0., and bur. in old Atkinson Cemetery. Known to have had a dau. Margaret Sturgeon who m. Dr. Jeremiah Walton and left many descendants.
     33. James Atkinson, b~ ---; d. --- m. his cousin Sarah Atkinson.
     34. Jane, b. ---; d. ---; m. James Skipton.
     35. Charles, b. Cumberland Co., Pa. 1796; d. Marietta, O., July 1880; m. 1st Jane Templeton; m. 2nd Theda Patterson; 3rd --- Henthorn. (*SEE "Setting the Record Straight" below)
     36. Maria, b. ---; d. ---; m. John Smith.
     37. Rebecca, b. ---; d. ---; m. Eli Anderson
     38. William Jr., b. Mar. 13, 1806; d. Mar. 31, 1832 (gravestone inscription); m. abt. 1828, Maria Baldwin, b. Pa. Nov. 24, 1808, d. Dec. 8, 1904 (gravestone inscription). They lived near Clarington, Ohio and he was accidentally killed by a falling roof log at a pioneer "house-raising"; his widow afterward m. Andres Henthorne. Issue:
          381- Abigail Atkinson, b. July 31, 1829; d. Oct. 12/13, 1869; m. Aug. 11, 1849 Samuel B. Hudson; lived most of their married life in Vinston Co., O. (The writer, William C. Hudson is their grandson).
          382- Mary Atkinson, b. Feb. 18, 1831; d. Oct. 1903; m. 1850, Wesley Brague (1827-1903); lived at Clarington, O; left descendants including Miss Grace Brague of Warren, Ohio who furnished some of the data contained in this article.
          383- Julia Atkinson, b. ---; d ; m. Thornton Terry who engaged in Ohio River navigation; further information lacking.
     39. Thomas Atkinson, b. --- 1809; d. --- 1840; buried in old Atkinson Cemetery; m. Elizabeth Brown; had issue (order and dates of birth not known) including:
          391- Mathew Atkinson m. Amanda Clark, dau. of Daniel and Mary (Henthorne) Clark.
          392- Harriet m. Adam Ollom
          393- John Atkinson (known as "Little John") m. Ann Zimerly.
          394- Penelope m. ---Boughner 395- Marion m. Pauline McCoy

Note: The writer has but little information regarding the later children of Cornelius Atkinson.

     4. Mary Atkinson, b. 1765; d. ---; m. 1st Thomas Martin; m. 2nd Oliver Ingrum or Ingraham; lived in Monroe Co., O. and left descendants there.
     5. Cornelius Atkinson Jr., b. ; d. ---; m. Margaret Martin; lived in Dauphin Co. Pa.
     6. Isaac Atkinson, b. (according to gravestone) 1771; d. 1853; m. Margaret Holmes; lived near Calais, Ohio and served Monroe Co. as Associate Judge, as representative, and state senator. Has descendants.
     7. Keziah Atkinson, b. 1774; d. 1838; m. James Martin; lived in Dauphin Co., Pa.; issue.
     8. Jane Atkinson, b ; d. ---; m. ---Robinson.
     9. Rebecca Atkinson, b. ---; d. ---; m. John Clarke.
     10. Mitchell Atkinson, b. ; d. ; m. ---Young; came to Ohio when about nineteen years of age, taught the first school in Monroe County in the winter of 1804-5 on his brother Charles' farm above Clarington; was first surveyor of Monroe county; lived in Seneca Twp. till after 1840, then moved to a farm above Parkersburg, W. Va., where he died and is buried. He left descendants.

     (1) Pa. Archives, 5th Series, Vol. 1 pp. 59, 66, 74, 80, 84.
     (2) Pa. Archives, 3rd Series, Vol. 1, p. 152.
     (3) Pa. Archives, 3rd Series, Vol. 23, pp. 245, 338, 343, 711, 797.
     (4) Pa. Archives, 3rd Series, Vol. 23, p. 196.
     (5) U. S. Archives, Pension File of Charles Atkinson.
     (6) Pa. Archives, 6th Series, Vol. 5, pp. 618, 630.
Also Cumberland Co. Pa. Deed and Orphans Court Records; Dauphin Co. Orphans Court Records; U.S. Census Cumberland Co. Pa. 1790; Hains' History Perry Co. Pa.; DAR Lin. Bk. 140, p. 235; Monroe Co. Ohio Records.


An error commonly found in Atkinson Family genealogies, is that Charles H. was married to Jane Templeton and Theda Patterson. The error is probably due to a misinterpretation of the above paragraph from the History of Washington County.

However, it was Charles' son, William, who was married to Jane Templeton (8 Mar 1838, Washington Co. Ohio) and Theda Patterson (4 Oct 1849, Washington Co. Ohio). The writer's reference to Charles stops with his death and the further account pertains to William.

Based on the publication, "General Henry Atkinson, A Western Military Career" by Roger L. Nichols, pub. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK., this is NOT the General Henry Atkinson of the Black Hawk War.

Web page by Linda Cunningham Fluharty.