The William Earp Mistake – The Final Truth

In 2017, I wrote a post about my 4x great-grandfather, William Earp (1790-1844) called “The William Earp Mistake“. Although I was able to bring to light evidence that contradicted the William Earp genealogy by noted Earp researcher, Charles A. Earp, Jr., I felt as though I needed more evidence. A final truth as it were. I now have the evidence that finally proves once and for all that my 4x great-grandfather was the son of James Earp (1768-1857) and Susannah Jones (1775-1835). The other William Earp (1793-1878), as stated in my previous post was the son of Joshua Earp (1760-1811) and Eleanor McKinsey (1765-1812). From this point forward, to make things easier, in referencing my 4x great-grandfather, William Earp, I shall put the word “my” in front of his name and the word other in front of the William Earp who was the actual son of Joshua Earp and Eleanor McKinsey.

Records for my William Earp have been sketchy at best. I decided to concentrate on the other William Earp (1793-1878). I began by looking for the will of Joshua Earp who died in Baltimore County, MD in 1811. I found it in the FamilySearch Maryland Wills…that portion is not searchable by a keyword search. You have to browse the Will index in a particular county and then hunt down your intended ancestor by the year of their death and their surname. Then find the volume where their will is recorded.

I then found what I was looking for.  I wanted to absolutely verify the children of Joshua and Eleanor Earp.

The Will of Joshua Earp

The section I was most interested in was the listing of the children:

The children are listed as Honour, Eleanor, Elizabeth, Mary, William, Joshua, Ananias, Nancy, Joseph and Daniel.

Now there is no doubt about the children of Joshua and Eleanor Earp.

My next step was to revisit the pension file for the other William Earp, where he claimed his service in the War of 1812 was in the same company and regiment of his brother, Annanias Earp. The regiment was Jessop’s Maryland Militia. In the previous post, I made mention of a letter the other William Earp sent to the Pension Commission, where he mentions “I had a Brother”:

The only Earp that served in Jessop’s Maryland Militia was Annanias Earp, in the 36th Regiment. My William Earp did not have a brother named Annanias:

In another letter, I must have missed the first time, as seen below, the other William Earp actually mentions the commanding officers of the regiment he claims he was in (transcription follows):

Transcribed letter:
Whartonsburg Mar 8th 1876

W.H. Carlisle Dear Sir or to the Pension Commission. I belonged to [the] Maryland militia, enlisted in Baltimore County 10 miles from Baltimore City. In Capt. Coates Co. 51st Reg. commanded by Col. Jessop, Lieutenant Col. Renolds and Major Timanus. I was in the company at least 13 months. I think I enlisted in Aug. 1813 and was called into camp at general call immediately after the Capital was burnt. I stated in my affidavit that I was discharged in Sept. but I was not discharged until after the Oct. election as known – I went from the [?] to camp. I think I was discharged about 30 days after the Battle of Blandensberg. I think was discharged about Oct. 19, 1814.
Yours, William Earp

Written by William Earp from Whartonsburg, Wyandot County, Ohio 8 Mar 1876

The other William Earp clearly claims in his letter to the Pension Commission that he served in the 51st Regiment commanded by Col. Jessop, Lt. Col. Renolds (probably Reynolds) and Major Timanus (Major George Timanus was in charge of the 1st Battalion, 36th Reg. of Jessop’s Maryland Militia, and was in command at Chinquepin Hill during the Battle for Baltimore and the bombardment of Ft. McHenry…I should know because George Timanus is my 5x great-uncle).

The 51st Regiment was actually under the command of Henry Amey, and there was a Timanus in that regiment, except it was my other 5x great-uncle Ensign Henry Timanus.

The Captain Coates’s Company that the other William Earp claims he was in, as seen in the letter, was actually attached to the 36th Regiment.

In my original post, I had referenced a book called “Earp Genealogy” and credited it to Charles A. Earp, Jr.

That was not entirely correct. The book was actually published by William Mackey Sanner in 1962, but the source references for the Earp information was supplied by Charles A. Earp, Jr.

As a reminder, here is the documentation that was compiled and published in this book, stating that my William Earp that married Ann Read, was the son of Joshua Earp and Eleanor McKinsey. His actual parents were James Earp (Joshua’s youngest brother) and Susanna Jones:

Here is the source reference for my William Earp’s War of 1812 service record compiled by Charles Earp, Jr.:

It states that my William Earp was a Sgt. in the 2nd Regiment of (Schucht’s) Maryland Militia.

So, we now have a contradiction on our hands, but it doesn’t end there.

I found another book called “The Genealogy of Amos Earp, Sr. of Howard County, Maryland” that was published by Charles A. Earp, Jr. laying out the genealogy of Amos Earp, Sr. (1798-1893). Here it states the children of James Earp and Susannah Jones:

Notice anything peculiar? There is no William Earp listed as a child of James and Susannah Earp. Was this just an item that was missed by Charles? Did he not know that there was a 2nd William Earp or was William left out intentionally because it would have severely contradicted the published research he had already completed, thus causing an embarrassment to himself?

I decided to dig even deeper, but this time I went looking for anything regarding my William Earp.

I found something rather exciting. I went back to the wills and probate records on FamilySearch and found the Inventory for my William Earp in 1844, being administered by his widow Ann.

Here is an accounting of all the financial worth of my William Earp:

Images courtesy of FamilySearch©

It may not look like much, but to me it spoke volumes!

The item listed for $68 came from the Estate of Asher Earp. Who was Asher Earp? He just happened to be the son of James Earp and Susannah Jones. So why would the estate of Asher Earp be sending money to my William Earp if this William was the son of Joshua Earp and Eleanor McKinsey? Could it be that my William Earp and Asher Earp were actually brothers? I would give that question a big resounding YES! Is it possible that the $68 came from a cousin and not a brother? Yes, it’s possible, but unlikely.

The facts are now simple. The other William Earp had a brother in the 36th Reg. of Jessop’s Maryland Militia and the only Earp recorded in that regiment was Annanias Earp, the son of Joshua Earp and Eleanor McKinsey, thus making the other William Earp Joshua and Eleanor’s son. That leaves my William Earp in only one position…he was the son of James Earp and Susannah Jones.

There are a lot of my Earp cousins out there that still have my William Earp as Joshua and Eleanor’s son, outweighing the ones that don’t. Unfortunately for them, I believe it is because of the popular Revolutionary War DAR/SAR applications on Ancestry that use my William Earp as a gateway back to Eleanor McKinsey whose father Daniel was a Revolutionary War Patriot. It is also easy to believe the research by Charles A. Earp Jr. because it is so readily available and no legwork is required. Just because something looks official or is nicely referenced doesn’t mean it is right. DAR/SAR applications should not be treated as “primary source” records or even be considered “secondary source” records. “Primary source” records are records that have been substantiated. “Secondary source” records are those records that are generally in the form of scholarly books and articles that interpret and analyzes primary source records.

When you eliminate all other possibilities, all you are left with is the truth. It is not surprising that some people are more easily swayed by a popular notion rather than the records that are left behind.

I will provide these findings to the Historical Society of Baltimore County and the Howard County Historical Society, if they so wish and desire, to keep on file for future generations to come, so that the truth about these two William Earps may be known.

Always be persistent in finding the truth about your ancestors. Don’t believe the very first thing you find or read. Don’t give in to popular notions about your ancestors, as that will only get you into trouble.

Dedicated to the memory of my great-grandfather William Joseph Earp (1888-1974), who shared his name with his great-grandfather:

William J. Earp (1888-1974) – Early 1930’s

Brian S. Miller
4x great-grandson of William Earp and Ann Read

Google© eBooks

Special Acknowledgments:
Jim Long – Historical Society of Baltimore County
Shawn Gladden – Howard County Historical Society
Cheryl, my wife whose constant support and love I could never do without

6 thoughts on “The William Earp Mistake – The Final Truth

  1. You are like a dog with a bone, Brian. That is meant as a compliment! Yes, you should share the information with the societies and anyone who will listen. It may take a while but from experience, I know the trees will slowly be corrected to reflect your research proof. Great work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brian,
    Wow, such dedication, focus and determination…I find that your desire to follow instincts and personal inspiration is wonderful!!!
    The way you explained the information is amazingly clear and with all the records, letters and proofs validated your inspiration that something was amiss.
    I will check my family tree and see if mine is correct, I am excited to rectify and misleading information.
    I’m so inspired by your work , this gives me a desire to write about my findings of mistaken family stories and identity of ancestors.
    Thank you for your fine example.


    • Thank you Linda. I always want to pay it forward as I was inspired by those that came before me. Schuyler Brossman, a distant relative and a Pennsylvania genealogy legend, and James M. Beidler (look him up…he’s very good at what he does) and Cathy Meder-Dempsey. These are my mentors and inspirations. Thanks again! Brian


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s