Pioneers to United States
The American Trevethan’s are said to be descendants from the very old Trevethan family in Cornwall, descended from Sir John Trevethan ca. 1450, brother-in-law to “ye great Arundell of Lanhorne.” I am however not sure that all the Trevethan families from Cornwall are one and the same family and certainly a number of the families mentioned below would appear to be unrelated, at least within the past three hundred years. The first member of the Trevethan family was in what is now known as the United States of America two hundred years before they appeared in New Zealand.
Many years ago I tried to research our family name in the United States of America as my check of the American telephone book had revealed a number of Trevethans and Trevathans listed. Like here in New Zealand many of the people spell their name as “Trevathan”. I sent letters to all those listed of either spelling.
The first reply I received was from a Mrs. Josephine A Trevathan who is an Attorney at Law in Washington D C. You can imagine my surprise when in part, her letter said:-
“My husband and I are black. According to him, his grandfather was a slave in Indiana or Illinios and, presumably, the name Trevathan was given to him by his owner. Interestingly, my husband’s father was named Thomas Trevathan. It is quite possible that he was given the first name of the owner (as well as the last) which was a common practice.”
All I know of this family is shown on the family tree (to be added soon). Only two other replies were received and neither were of much help.
Since this early research back in the 1970’s I have made many attempts to further my research of our family name in America and Canada but until recently have made very little progress. However now thanks to Mrs. Donna Betts, Mrs. Ruth Delvige and Mr. Bill Utley, all of the United States of America, a great deal of progress has been made.
Henry Trevethan , who was a shipwright was
living in New Castle, New Hampshire on the east coast of America as
early as 1678 and is the first of that name on the records in the
During the period from 1678 to 1699 his name appears on records as an appraiser and witness of wills and he also served on the Grand Jury.
Henry was married to Joanna, whose family name is not known, and they had two children named Henry and Foster. Henry junior later married Mary Robinson and they lived in Rye, New Hampshire while Foster, who perhaps was given his mothers family name, married Martha Paine, the daughter of James and Martha Paine. Foster and Martha lived around the New Castle area and later at Monhegan Island, House Island and Peaks Island. Foster was a ship’s carpenter.
Interestingly the spelling of the name of this family changed at some time to Trefethen a spelling I have not seen before and on one document concerning this family the name was even spelt as Triferinge surely the strangest spelling on record.
The interesting history of this family can be read in a small book written by Jessie Trefethen ca. 1959 called “Trefethen The Family and The Landing” which I am lucky enough to have a copy of.
Moving forward some two hundred years we read of Eugeme Trefethen who no doubt is a descendant of Henry. From the American Encyclopedia of Biography.....
Trefethen, Eugene Edgar, Attorney-Down through a career in the law that spanned a period of four decades, the late Eugene Edgar Trefethen won high reputation among colleagues and clients throughout northern California. Oakland in that State was his home and professional headquarters. He was born in the city, January 11, 1875, and remained an increasingly important citizen to his passing in 1940.
The parents of Mr. Trefethen were Eugene Augustus and Ada Stella (Van Syckle) Trefethen, his father being a native of Portland, Maine, who long ago came to California and was associated with the Southern Pacific Company. He was a descendant of the famous Van Rensselaer family, the American progenitors of which came from The Netherlands to New York when it was New Amsterdam, and became especially prominent in the development of the Dutch settlement, from Staten Island up the whole Hudson River region. Mr. Trefethen’s maternal grandfather, Rensselaer Waford Van Syckle, came to California prior to 1849, and was a contemporary of Messrs. Huntington, Stanford & Crocker, the railroad and State builders of their generation. He was a partner of these men in many enterprises.
Eugene Edgar Trefethen acquired his preparatory education in the schools of his birthplace, and then entered the University of California, from which he was graduated with the class of 1899. Athletic and sociable, he participated in many campus activities, was exceptionally popular and made a name for himself on the track teams of the university. He chose the law for a career and became one of the outstanding leaders before the bar, enjoying an extensive practice and success. Mr. Trefethen was a member and a former president of the California State Bar Association, and a several times official of the Alameda County Bar Association. He had been a delegate to the State Bar Association convention, and long served as a member of the board of trustees of the Alameda County Law Library. He was a past president of the Athens Athletic Club, also of the Athenian-Nile Club; and played numerous constructive roles in local life and civic affairs.
In San Francisco, California, on August 31, 1907, Eugene Edgar Trefethen married Georgie Carrolli of Sacramento, California, and they were the parents of two daughters and two sons: 1. Carol. 2. Dorothy, who married Edward Dodds. 3. Eugene Edgar, Jr. 4. Van Syckle. There are two grandchildren. Mrs. Georgie (Carroll) Trefethen died in 1930, and since that time Mr. Trefetben has made his home with his mother, Mrs. Ada Van Syckle Trefethen, in Oakland.
Mr. Trefethen was in the prime of a busy life when he died in Oakland after an appendectomy on July 10, 1940. None knew him but mourned his passing, and felt deeply their personal loss and that of the city and State. The title “leader of the bar” rested upon no. formal count of the ballot, but upon the common consent and recognition of the profession. Apart from the distinction of his legal activities, his rare intellect, fine character and interesting personality won the friendship and enduring regard of an ever-widening circle of those who valued him for these essential qualities of the spirit.
And so almost a hundred years after the start of the settlement the first of the Trevethan family left Cornwall for the New World in Virginia.
The Trevethans, the Bolithoe and Cocke families are all intermarried and originated from Cornwall. In 1601 Katherine Trevethen married Walter Bolithoe at St. Anthonys, Cornwall while in 1630 William Trevethan married Emlena Cocke at Helston. In the late 1600’s all three families are represented in the new settlement of Virginia, America.
Sampson Trevethan was still single and aged around 36 years of age when he emigrated to Virginia, America, in circa 1699 almost two hundred years before the Trevethans came to New Zealand. Official records indicate that his arrival may have been in 1703/4.
In 1700 Captain Christopher Cocke was the clerk of Princess Anne county, Virginia and served in that capacity until his death in 1716. Found in his will at that time is mention of his affectionate friend, Sampson Trevethan whom he left his mourning ring to. Sampson Trevethan was Surveyor of Lynnhaven Bay in 1714, one of the navel officers on the “Lower James” in 1716, and lived in Norfolk County, Virginia where he was a large land owner. There is a place name of Trevethans in Princess Anne County, Virginia. which is presumable named after him and a street named Trevathan in Rocky Mount, North Caroline. Also in Christopher’s will is that three of his daughters are to be bought up by his “uncle and Aunt Bolithoe” while daughter Elizabeth he committed to the care of his uncle, William Cocke. Both families are mentioned above.
Sampson Trevethan’s wife was Anne, the daughter of Richard Church, from Lower Norfolk County, a Burgess 1675 and 1702. Their first daughter Mary Trevethan, married Thomas Thorowgood on the 10th of February 1724 and after his death remarried Stephen Wright (his second wife) on the 4th of August 1728/9. From the first marriage was born Mary Ann Thorogood who later married Thomas Walke. Sampson and Ann’s second daughter was Ann Trevethan who died in her thirties, in 1735. See the family tree (to be added soon).
Sampson left his wife Ann and returned to Cornwall in 1714 to live at Lariggan, Penzance. Later Sampson Trevethan, of Penzance, Cornwall, gent made a will on the 17th of May 1726 which was proved on the 1st of October 1729. He asked to be buried in the parish church grounds of Madderne but it seems according to the register that he was instead buried at Penzance on the 30th of June 1726. To his wife Katherine (his second marriage) he left legatees (including 400 pounds due to him on a mortgage by James Keigwin, of Mousehole) and after her death to his two daughters he had left behind in Virginia, Mary and Ann Trevethan. To his wife a messuage in Madderne called Shoals House. To William Gwavas and Gregory Trigwitha, tanner, both of Pensance, all the rest of his estate, in trust to pay his debts and to pay his daughters Mary and Ann 200 pounds each. All his land, messuages, tenements and plantations he had left behind in the parish of Lynhavern, Princess Ann County, Virginia, America he left to his two daughters. When Sampson’s second wife Katherine remarried after his death his first wife, Ann, who was still in America went to court to as his widow and relict to claim the daughters inheritance.
Sampson wanted his funeral to be a grand affair as he ordered that from his estate that his eight coffin bearers be given silk scarves and gloves. Also William Gwavas, a prominent solicitor, and Gregory Tregurtha, a tanner, both of Penzance were named as his executors and bequeathed silk scarves, gloves and a guinea mourning ring. For some reason William Gwavas after the death of Sampson declined to act as executor of the will.
Six years later Sampson Trevethan’s daughter Ann died at Lynhavern on the 5th of May 1736. Her mother Ann (Sampsons first wife) was still alive and aged 60 years in 1738 when she swore a deposition in which she said she was intimately acquainted with a Mr Jonas Cawson, late of Norfolk County, deceased, and was at the celebration of a marriage between him and a certain Abigail Church. Seems there was some legal battle to be decided regarding an inheritance between the Church’s and the Cawson’s.
William Trevethan I feel sure was Sampsons brother but may have been a cousin. Born in Cornwall in 1662 and went to America as a young man. A William Trevythuan left London for Virginia on the “Recovery” on the 25th of October 1677, arrived in America two and a half months later on the 26th of October. Seems that William arranged this trip at the last minute as he booked onto the vessel either the day it sailed or the day before as he was not on the passenger list made out ten days before. William took with him “3 quarter hundred weight pewter, 3 doz fells (1)”. Was this our William? I don’t believe so. There is also record of a William Trevethan arriving in Virginia in 1714 and also another on the 25th of February 1684. I feel that this last one may be the William we are looking for.
William was granted a commission by his Majesty Customs in London dated the 2nd of December 1684 (this was in the 25th year of King Charles II’s rule) to be surveyor of his majesties dues on the Enumerated Commodities(2) in the Elizabeth river area and took the oath according to law for the due execution and performance of his duties. I wonder if he returned to England to accept this office.
William may have been married before he left Cornwall. He lived for some years (around 1699) in Lower Norfolk County (which Elizabeth River flows through), Virginia and married for a second time to Abiah Marchant a widow. They had no children.
William’s son, William junior was born about 1690 in England and to date his birth record has not been found. He immigrated to the Virginia Colony in 1711 on the “Oliver” where he married Dinah Wilson (her third husband) at Princess Anne County. Their marriage was to be a short one for in William absence in September of 1713 Dinah died leaving no Trevethan children. As a result of Dinah having four children from her first two marriages William appeared before the Princess Anne County Court on a number of occasions over the next two years to sort out Dinah’s estate.
Firstly to recover several gold rings, earrings of gold and other possessions which had been given to Argall Thorowgood, Dinah’s mother-in-law from her first marriage. Left in William’s custody were two children each from Dinah’s first two marriages to Captain Robert Thorowgood (Thomas and Robert) and Samuel Wilson who were both deceased. Four men including Christopher Cocke were ordered by the court to meet at the family home and value the property so that the next court sitting could decide the issue. They reported back in December of 1713 that the estate consisted of Negros, cattle, horses, mares, steers and other goods and chattels amounting to 200 gold money and the court ordered that they were to meet again at the family home and divide the state between William and the orphan children.
In 1713 William was granted 50 acres of dismal swampy land near Linhavern, Virginia County which was recorded in the County Patent Book on the 14th of June in 1714. He remarried to Mary Lassiter and when his new father-in-law died in 1736 they inherited 150 acres of land in Chowan County along side Bennetts Creek. They raised four children, the eldest son being Robert, before he died sometime before 1743.
In 1743 Mary acting for their son Robert sold the property at Bennetts Creek for five pounds and fourteen shillings to Thomas Houll.
Their second son, young William, joined Captain Wood’s Horse Company which was part of Colnel Malmedy’s Regiment from 1780 to 1781 serving as a shoemaker for the regiment. He agreed to furnish the regiment with 200 pairs of shoes at his own expense.
You will notice a lot of problems with the dates of the movements of the two Williams and something is just not right.
Among the first generation of Trevathans to be born in the United States was Robert the son of the William above who was born in Chowan around about 1730. Later in 1791 when Robert Trevathan died he left to his wife, Prudence, a feather bed and bed spreads along with a rug and two sheets. His fifth son, Robert, must have been the farmer in the family because he was left the parcel of land in Gates County on Bennetts Creek together with two head of hog. Along with his brother Henry and sister Elizabeth, they also were left each a feather bed. Elizabeth also received a dark Bay Mare, bridle and woman's saddle. The other brothers each received ten or twenty shillings.
Dempsey Trevathan married Mary Elizabeth Sory, who lived near Rocky Mount in the Unite States, which was on the north side of Tar river at that time. In 1827 he and his wife went to live on her farm that is now known as “The Bennett Lawrence Piace” near the Bob Ricks Estate. There Mary Ann Trevathan was born on the 25th of November 1828 and also William Carter was born on the 23rd of January 1830. They then moved to where Rocky Mount now stands. The surrounding country was mostly swamp lands, and turpentine still stood where the Estein building is located.
He bought a farm where the Carolina Training School now stands and moved to it where he lived the remainder of his days. He died in 1875 and was remembered as a man highly esteemed for his integrity. He was very stern and matter of fact, a good farmer who did not believe in slavery, freeing his slaves before the war.
In a book called “Biographical Sketches” we read of the life of James Trevathan the grandson of Henry and Elizabeth Trevathan.
“James L Trevathan of Hickman County, was born in North Carolina, December 13, 1829, and is the second of thirteen children born to Eli and Mary E (Robinson) Trevathan, natives of Edgecombe County, North Carolina.,, and of English descent. Eli Trevathan received an excellent education in youth, especially in mathematics, at which he excelled, and in early life taught school for several years. In 1833 he removed with his family to Robinson County, Tenn., where he was engaged in farming and in the distilling business for some three years, when he removed to Paris, Henry Co., Tenn, where he was engaged in agricultural pursuits and at teaching until 1852, when he came to Columbous, Hickman Co., Ky., where he was principally engaged in teaching until his death, which occurred December 1878, in his seventy-seventh year. Mr Trevathan belonged to no Church but held to the Universalist faith. Mrs Trevathan was a devoted member of the Primitive Baptist Church. James L Trevathan was employed on his father’s farm until he was fifteen years old, after which he was employed at brick-making and brick-laying for some five years. In 1853 and 1854 he was employed in the steam saw-mill at Columbus. In 1855 he went to Memphis Tenn., where he was overseer of the chain gang for one year. He then returned to Columbus, and thence to New Madrid, Mo., where he taught dancing school for one year. He then went to Rolla. Tenn., where he taught a dancing school for another year. In 1859 he returned to Columbus, Ky., and in 1862 enlisted in Company L, Eighth Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry, United States service, and served eight months, when he was discharged on account of disability. He then returned to Columbus, where he has since been employed as a carpenter and brick mason, when able to work at all. He was married March 23, 1848, to Miss Sarah E. Howell, a native of Sumner County, Tenn. Ten children, three sons and seven daughters, have blessed their union, all of whom are yet living.”
If you happen to be passing 1817 South Culberhouse some Saturday soon and think you see a bevy of brick-layers literally throwing up a residence there, that’s no construction gang - it’s strictly a family affair.
To be even more specific, it’s a Trevathan family project, busily engaged in building a five-room domicile for one of their clan, Max Trevathan.
Maybe we’d better explain things a bit more. You see, the Trevathans are a bricklaying family, from top bottom and inside out. There’s J. E. Trevathan, 74, of Route 1, Jonesboro, and he’s been at it for 48 years now. He’s the daddy.
$156 A Day.
Yes, that’s right. Everyone is a bricklayer and they have been since about 1937, too. They don’t regularly work on Max’s future home, however. Only on Saturdays can the biggest bevy of Trevathans be found on South Culberbouse. For on that day, they come from their regular jobs to work on Max’s home.
In case you would like to break down the actual dollars and cents amount bricklaying talent involved in this bizarre affair, the average daily wage is $26 per day. That works out to $156 per day for the family.
For good measure, toss in a pair of grandchildren of the elder Trevathan, Lynn Hammon and Fale Fuqua, who spend their off-time handing bricks, to the bricklaying crew - the first step toward taking up the same vocation.
There were two other Trevathan boys - one died in infancy and the other was killed in an accident. The latter was a bricklayer, too. Besides that, there are eight girls in the 15 member Trevathan family. Mr. Trevathan came to Jonesboro in 1903 and took up the sand-cement-brick trade a year later. And, apparently it’s been that way ever since.
All the five bricklaying sons were in service during World War II. J. E. Jr., Lucian and Charles are married.
Bricklaying is a common thing with the Trevathan family and they have combined their talents in building a home for one of them, Max Trevathan. The home is at 1817 South Culberhouse, with masonry being handled by the father, J. E. Trevathan Sr., 74, of Route 1, Jonesboro. Pictured above, left to right, are: Max Trevathan; Dewitt Allen, a helper; J. E. Trevathan Sr.; W. S. Trevathan of Route 1; J. E. Trevathan JR., of Memphis; Lucian Trevathan of 1209 West Oak, and Charles Trevathan of Memphis. At the right on the ground are two grandsons of Mr. Trevathan Sr., Gale Fuqua and Lynn Hammon.
Men in Service.
From the Jonesboro Evening Sun of Monday the 22nd of October 1945 we read of Jacob Trevathans experiances during World War II.
“Those Japs threw everything at us but the kitchen sink”, writes S-Sgt. Jacob E. Trevathan, in a recent letter to his mother, describing his experiences during the battle for Okinawa. The Sgt. who is a native son of Jonesboro entered the Armed Forces in October of 1942. He sailed for overseas duty and combat in July of 1944 and it was not long after that he took part in the invasion of the Philippines and also the greatest battle in the Pacific, “Okinawa.”
The sergeant received his Basic Training at Camp Adair, Oregon with the now famous 96th Infantry Division. He was assigned to Battery B of the 921st Field Artillery Battalion where he was promoted to Staff Sgt. in charge of four 105 Howitzer Gun Sections. His was the job of many duties among which were to keep the guns firing at all times and under any circumstances. In his letter he writes, “My worst scare came at a most inappropriate time. It was while we were firing an extremely heavy and important barrage to, cover the advance of our ground troops, that the Japs decided also to do
In the course of his travels he has acquired a considerable number of souvenirs some of which he has sent to his mother and father Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Trevathan, Rt. 1 Box 149, Jonesboro, Ark. He plans after his discharge to continue his trade as a Brick Mason.
AND SO that is why there is four Blue Stars hanging proudly in the living room of the Trevathan Family. One for the Sgt. and other three for his brothers who are also doing their bit in the war; Pfc. Lucian Trevathan with the courageous Medics in Italy. Pfc. Max Trevathan just returned from overseas duty in Germany: and Flight Officer W. S. Trevathan.
It is no wonder that we look forward with pride to the return of Mr. Trevathan’s boys who have certainly done their job superbly.
Jacob’s wife Anna (nee Toy) went on to live
to 100 years of age celebrating this important event on January the 10th
1987. The Sun newspaper carried the following story on her one hundreth
Her family remember her as never being without her hair fixed and with a warm cheerful smile, something she did not loose until age 99. At the age of ninety eight and a half, when a visitor said “What a pretty red dress - and how pretty you look.” She poofed her hair and said “This old thing, do you think so, but Thank You.”
Anna’s son Charles was a caller for square dancing and from a newspaper dated the 22nd of September 1986 we learn of the life of Charles Trevathan:-
For years and years, Charles G. “Bud” Trevathan says, his schedule was Trumann on Monday, Paragould on Tuesday, Piggott on Thursday and Jonesboro on Friday, and that was after a full work day. But, he says, leaning back in his easy chair in the comfortable den of his home on North Culberhouse, “I finally stopped that business. I haven’t done it in years. Nowadays, Bud confines himself to Friday evenings in Jonesboro, where for the past 30 years without interruption, he has served as caller for the Jonesboro Promenaders, a square dance group he helped organise back in the 1950s. Necessity got him the job, and he’s been at it ever since. It all started, Bud says, when a group out at Arkansas State University got together to begin a square dance club. That was the easy part. After they organised, they discovered that they didn’t have a caller. Bud and his wife Jean had gone to see what the group was like. You guessed it. As Jean says, “Bud was blessed with a good voice, so he was it.” Bud didn’t know anything about calling those days, but he. learned. “I taught myself by listening to tapes, records, reading material I had ordered and anything I could get my hands on,” is the way he describes it.
They went to Memphis and observed several sessions of calling, and as time went on, Bud got better and better, an began calling for clubs all over the area. In addition to all his calling for other clubs, Bud and Jean travelled around - and still do - to dances in Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee.
“We’ve been everywhere within a radius of 500 miles,” he says. “Those dances are scheduled as much as a year ahead of time.”
The square dance is uniquely American, and filled with dance movements that belong to no other dance form. There’s the grand square, the daisy chain, the colonial spin, the grand parade, and many others. “There used to be no more than 10 to 15 calls,” Bud says. “Now there are 75. There are two types of calls the patter call, in which the caller keeps up a “patter” of conversation in time to the music, and the singing call, where he follows the melody. “In patter you just use rhythm and beat,” Bud says, “and in the singing call you sing to the music.”
‘The increase in calls has resulted in a caller lab setup, which offers a wide variety of material from which a caller selects particular pieces. Bud has a bunch of favourite calls, but enjoys doing both styles. Once in a while, Bud says, the dancers get out of sync, but it isn’t too much of a problem, if they’ll listen. “If a dancer will listen I can work him out of a mixup,” he says, “but if he gets excited I can’t get him back home to his partner. He has to listen.”
The dancers may vary, but the dance is the same, from one end of the country to the other. And that is one reason for its popularity. There is a special camaraderie among square dancers, which is another reason for the popularity of the hobby’ “We’ve met people from all over the United States and made friends with hundreds of people from all over,” Bud says. “That’s why I’ve been calling for 30 years. We’ve met literally thousands of people through the years, and our best friends are square dancers. “If I can give people what they want when they come out to dance, that’s good enough for me. Square dancing to me is fun, friendship and fellowship. That’s what the square dancers are looking for. That’s what square dancing is, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Bud will be honoured with a special square dance and reception Saturday evening at the Craighead County Fairgrounds. There’ll be several guest callers performing that evening, and a separate room will be open for guests to visit. All friends of Bud Trevathan and his wife Jean are invited to attend, including as many of the dancers and former dancers who have performed while he called for them. The festivities will start at eight.
James William Trevathan was born in Memphis, Tenn. on Feb. 3, 1854, the first son and second child of James Trevathan. His sisters and brothers were: Augustus, Polkahuntas, Kate, Maude, Annie, Carrie, Sally, Ed, and Bill. His family moved to Hickman County, Ky. when he was an infant.
James married Isa Dora Scott (b Apr. 9, 1868) on Nov. 16, 1890. She was the daughter of Samuel J. Scott and Jane Jackson Scott, who had two brothers, Frederick and Arthur Scott. James and Dora had five children. Van Ira, b Nov 27, 1891, married Margaret Wilson, Dec. 16, 1928; Trucy Lyle b Apr. 3, 1894; Sara Jane b March 17, 1896-d Nov. 15,1898; Bertha May b Sept. 11, 1899-d Nov. 20,1917; Era Lee b Nov. 25, 1906, married Jim Oliphant on June 29, 1929.
Era Lee and Jim had two daughters: Geneva and Ruth. Geneva had four children: Carolyn, James Cyrus, Rebecca, Ruth and Jo Ann. Ruth had eight children: Marilyn, Patricia, Debra, Janet, Homer, Darryl, Lisa and David. James and Dora had nine great-great-grandchildren: Michelle, Stephen, Micah, Natalie, Amy, Dana, Billy, Michael and Charlie.
James was the grandson of Eli Trevathan who was born in 1801 in Edgecomb Co., N. Car. He died in 1878 at Columbus, Ky. The last few years of their lives they resided in East Prairie, Mississippi Co., Mo.
James died Aug 20, 1944 and Dora died Feb. 14, 1956. Both are buried in the Clinton Cemetery, Clinton, Ky.
The Trevethans from Perranzabuloe, Cornwall.
This is the story of the young couple, Captain Thomas Trevethan and Rachel Williams from the parish of Perranzabuloe on the north coast of Cornwall. They were married at their local church on the first day of November 1830 and went on to raise a family of four sons and three daughters. From his youthful days until 1841 Thomas was engaged in mining in Cornwall.
After eleven years of marriage and the birth of four children, William, Jane, Martha and Thomas, they set off with their young family to the new world of America. It took them six weeks and three days by sailing vessel to reach their first port of call, Quebec in Canada. From there they made there way up the St. Lawrence river and followed the Great Lakes route through the straits of Sault St. Marie to Chicago which at that time was just a small trading post.
Thomas then moved his family overland with a team to Galena, Illinios a distance of one hundred and sixty miles, where they stayed for a time before finally settling down at Shulsberg, Wisconsin, a thriving city in the southern part of the state. It was then one of the boom towns of what was called the Galena lead mine region. No doubt Thomas Trevethan was attracted to this area because of his mining knowledge from Cornwall.
In 1844 he paid his first visit to the “copper country” as a representative of the Gratiots, who were interested in mine prospects on Keweenaw Point. The entire upper peninsular was then a pathless wilderness, explorations for metals being very new. He remained here until 1850, exploring different mones, after which he spent two years in Wesconsin. Returning to northern Michigan in 1852 he was employed in different capacities at the Isle Royale and other mines until 1868, when he went back to his old home in Shullsburg, where he lived until his death in 1876.
Thomas’s wife Rachel Williams was born in Padstow, on the north coast of Cornwall and it therefore seems likely that she knew members of our New Zealand family of Trevethans. She died in 1852 leaving the four children mentioned above plus Sarah and John who were born in America.
It was here that their young daughter Martha, who had only been seven years of age when they left Cornwall, was to meet American born young Thomas D Trusty. Their friendship soon ripened into a great affection and an early marriage. Martha was just fifteen in 1848 when their marriage took place two days before Christmas that year. Little did they know then that their marriage would last for sixty eight years. The Fort Dodge Messenger & Chronicle of 10 March 1920 describes their early life as one of:-
“pioneer hardship, of sacrificial service, of-long years of fidelity to the home life and of happy motherhood and wifehood seldom if ever equalled in the sphere of our knowledge. For over sixty eight years this wonderful pioneer couple met the issues of their lives together. Hardship in early mining villages, cross-country travel by ox team, pioneer adventure and peril, all these were met and shared with courage and unfailing faith and vigour.”
Thomas had been born in White County in 1825, his family being one of the earliest settlers of that community, and he was one of the very first white children born in that county. When 18 years of age, he struck out for still a newer county, and settled in Shullsberg. Shullsberg was so much of a frontier community that the few who lived there had to go to Galena to get their supplies. It was there for a number of years before their marriage Thomas was engaged in lead mining along with his brothers and their father who was accidentally killed while at work at Stump Grove. After marrying he turned to copper mining at Michigan. In total Thomas spent about eighteen years of his life in mining.
In 1858 Thomas and Martha moved to Clayton county in Iowa for three years where Thomas worked in a sawmill before moving east again to settling at Fort Dodge. They rented eighty acres of land from E D Albee, which they worked for five years before buying their own place in Badger township. Theirs was the first house to be erected on Humboldt road and many a traveller found shelter there from the storms and blizzards in those lonely days. This farm of eighty three acres was to be their home for forty years but in 1901 with their seventieth birthdays fast approaching they moved into the city having sold their farm to their youngest son, Charles.
Years later at the time of Thomas’s death Martha was to tell the local newspaper of some of their early life together which the paper published on the 8th of January 1917:-
Her husband, she said, helped William Connelly build the shanties for the railroad construction crew of the Illinots Central. While doing teaming between here and Iowa Falls, he hauled dressed meats from this city and brought back lumber from Iowa Falls. “One unusually severe winter,” she says, “he was on the road fourteen days and returned with only $1.50 cash in his pockets. The remainder he had spent in living expenses resulting from the long period on the road. At one place he stopped for the night, he woke up the next morning to find his bed covered with two inches of snow that had drifted through the cracks in the shingles. The first work that he did when he came to Fort Dodge was to haul the stone that was used in the construction of the famous Duncombe residence.”
Martha was to be the mother to nine children, five boys and four girls all of whom survived into adulthood. Tragedy was to strike the family in 1882 when Oscar aged just 21 years was killed in a hunting accident. He was standing on a stump on the river bank to shoot at fish, when in drawing the gun, muzzle first, towards him the trigger caught, and the load was discharged into the lower part of the abdomen.
Four years later saw more sadness when their second youngest son John, was also killed, at the age of 26 years. The Fort Dodge Messenger recorded the event on the 12th of September 1888:-
The sad and startling news was received by relatives and friends in this city yesterday of a wreck on the Nothwestern railway Saturday night, in which John Trusty, a former well-known Webster county boy whose parents reside in Badger township, was killed. Later reports only too truly confirmed the unwelcome intelligence and from these reports it was learned that about twelve o’clock Saturday night the freight train on which Trusty was acting as fireman collided with the rear end of another freight train at Aubure, a station twelve miles west of Lake City, on the Northwestern, instantly killing Fireman Trusty and his engineer, Kinney, and injuring the conductor of the other train so seriously that he died at 11 o’clock yesterday morning.
About 11 o’clock Saturday night the first freight train, heavily loaded, pulled out of Lake City for the west and the train dispatcher was instructed to hold the train following at Lake City to prevent the possibility of a collision. But either falling asleep or carelessly forgetting the instruction, Engineer Kinney and Fireman Trusty were allowed to pull out without receiving any orders. And it was their last run. They made a rapid run over the twelve miles to Auburn without knowing that there was a train just ahead until they crashed into it.
Thomas Trusty was to be blessed with a lengthy retirement going on to live to the ripe old age of 90 before dying at his home on the 7th of January 1917. Three years later Martha then aged 88 also died. Her life was summed up by the Fort Dodge Messenger & Chronicle saying:-
She was a great neighbour. You may know what that means, going back into pioneer days. ‘The doctors had gone to the war back in `61 - `65. Here was a woman who could respond to the call by night or day and be nurse and doctor alike to the young mothers in need. This slight pioneer woman never failed to befriend those in need of her great service. There are those still in this community who recall what it meant to have such a woman at hand to meet so great a need.
In 1877 Thomas purchased a block of heavily timbered land adjoining the present site of Chassell and took up residence there devoting his time and attention clearing the land and tilling the soil. He owned four hundred acres of good land, one-half of which was under a high state of cultivation and was well improved, had a substantial. set of buildings, his estate was one of the most attractive and desirable in the neighborhood.
Thomas Trevethan was married in 1855 to Ellen S. Pryor, who was born in Devonshire, England, a daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Pryor. Thomas was a staunch Republican all his life and cast his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln, and always took an active part in politics. He was for many years a member of the Houghton County Republican committee, also a member of the Portage township board, and alderman of the village of Houghton. Upon the organization of the township of Chassell in 1888, he was one of the organisers and was its first supervisor and was reelected for a second term.
Thomas and Rachel’s eldest son William was born in Cornwall in 1830 and came to the United States of America with the rest of the family in 1841. He settled in Wisconsin, where he became interested in lead mining. In 1851 he went to the mines on the shore of Lake Superior, Michigan, and mined there until 1854, when he returned to Shullsburg and was married there to Sarah A Howsley that same year.
When gold was discovered in Pike’s Peak in 1862, William Trevethan moved his family across the plains to Colorado and remaining mining there until the spring of 1884, when he continued on across the plains to Virginia City, Kev., where he also mined until 1865. That year he went to Sutter County., California., and bought a half section of land at Pleasant Grove, known then as the W E Lee Ranch. However on the 16th of December 1871 he returned to Virginia City and took charge of Shaft No 3 of the Sutro Tunnel. William was in charge there until 1874, when he moved on Gold Hill and continuing in mining operations until July 1875 when he returned to his ranch at Pleasant Grove, having spent all told thirty-five years in mining operations.
His wife Sarah Trevethan had been a native of Manchester, England and came to America when a young girl with her parents, who had settled at Shullsburg, Wisconsin. She became the mother of eight children including Thomas William and George Howsley Trevethan. Sarah lived to the good age of eighty three, while her husband passed away at the age of eighty five. He had been a Republican and served a term as Supervisor of District No 5, Sutter County. Mr Trevethan died on the 6th of April 1915, in his fifty eight year.
William and Sarah’s son Thomas William Trevethan was born at Shullsburg, Wisconsin, on the 27th of July 1857. His brother George Howsley Trevethan was also born at Shullsburg. Thomas spent his early life working in various mining camps.
Thomas W Trevethan married Florence
Browning, who was born at Canton, Lewis County and the daughter of F G
Browning, who was born in Washington County, Ky in 1832. He moved to
Lewis County, Mo, and married Susan Bayns from Missouri. He drove an
ox-team across the plains on a six months journey to California in 1849,
and settled in Eldorsdo County where he was engaged in mining. In 1852
he returned to Missouri and married, remaining there until 1876, when he
came back to California and ran the Teamsters Hotel at Pleasant Grove,
Sutter County. From 1860 to 1872 he conducted a marble business in
Missouri. In 1882 he sold his business at Pleasant Grove and moved to
Lincoln, remaining there for two years and then moving to Roseville,
where he passed away in 1915, aged over eighty three years. His wife
died at Rocklin in September 1910 at seventy three years of age. They
were the parents of six children of who Florence Browning Trevethan was
third in order of birth. Mr and Mrs Trevethan had one daughter, Mable A;
the wife of John T Glenn Jr.
Gold in North Carolinna
Gold has been an important part of North Carolina’s history since 1799, the date of the first authenticated discovery of gold in the United States. See opossite the drawing of Nicholas Trevethan from Cornwall. North Carolina was the nation’s only gold-producing state from 1803 until 1828, and continued as a leading producer until 1848 when gold was discovered in California.
By about 1830, the leading mines in North Carolina were hard-rock mines rather than surface placer operations. Output probably peaked in the early 1830s and again in the late 1840s. The most famous mines in the South were at Gold Hill, where one shaft eventually reached a depth of 800 feet. Writer and illustrator Porte Crayon visited Gold Hill in 1857 for Harper’s New Monthly Magazine and created the best surviving images of antebellum Carolina mining. The federal government built a branch mint at Charlotte which coined southern gold from 1838 until the start of the Civil War in 1861.
Other American Families.
Sarah Clara Melissa Mary Ann Dye called “Annie” was born the 24th of February 1866 most likely in Franklin, PA as her parents lived there early in marriage. Annie was the daughter of James Turner Dye and Charlotte Mason both from England. Annie married William Trevethan on 1 September 1883. Their first son, James Henry, was born in Neshannock, PA so they must have lived there at some time. Annie and William had 14 children. After her husband died in 1916, Annie sold their store and moved to Grove City where she had roomers and lived on Lincoln Ave. She got flu and pneumonia and died on the 27th Oct 1918. She is buried beside her husband in Jackson Center, Pa. A newspaper cutting at the time tells of her life.
Mrs. William Trevethan, aged 52 years, widow of the late William Trevethan, of this place, died at the Grove City hospital last Sunday evening after an illness of a week from influenza and pneumonia. She was taken ill upon her return home from a visit in Sandy Lake and the news of her death cast a pall of gloom over this place, where she had resided for a number of years. Mrs Trevethan was born February 24, 1866, and was the mother of a large family, her husband having died over two years ago. She was a woman whose devotion to her home and children was exemplary. She was highly respected not only in this community but in other parts of the county where she had resided and her death is recognised not, only as a great loss to the bereaved family but to legion of friends as well. She is survived by one son, eight daughters, seven brothers and four sisters as follows: Mrs James Free and Mrs Harry Adams, Sandy Lake; Mrs J J Coril, near Meadville; Mrs Lawrence Dixon and Mrs William Briggs, Grove City; Mrs Thos Adams, Pittsburgh; Miss Elizabeth, John, Jessie and Laura, at home. The surviving brothers and sisters are John E, Jackson Center; Robert J; W. Harry, C Peter, Sandy Lake; Benjamin A, Jackson Center; Mrs D M McMillan, Titusville; Mrs Minnie Black, Jackson Center; Mrs Lottie M Robson, James R Alfred and Mrs George McConnell, Sandy Lake. Her aged parents, Mr and Mrs J T Dye, are residents of this place.. The remains were taken to Jackson Center Tuesday afternoon and a private burial service was held at that place, conducted by Rev Weaver, of Grove City. The interment was made in the family lot in Jackson Centre cemetery.
Related in some way to the New Zealand Trevarthen family is family of the same name who live still today in Vineland, New Jersey. Richard Trevarthen went to America in 1873 from possible Camborne, Cornwall were a good number of generations of his family had lived. Early records show the family originating fro Newlyn East, a parish in the middle of Cornwall almost on the north coast, and quite close to the parishes where our family originated.
In 1873 when he first came to America he settled in Canada but found the Dominion not to his liking so moved on to Caluamet in 1874, entering the employment of Calumet and Aecla. He went to the Atlantic in 1879 and was shortly promoted to mining captain being one of the old mining men from the copper country in Cornwall.
He continued in that capacity for twenty two years and left there only to advance himself, becoming head captain at the Champion mine of the Copper Range Conclidated. In this position he remained for six years and then became the mining captain for the Ojibway mine at the commencement of operations where he remained until operations ceased. He retired from work at the age of fifty eight and died after a short illness only four years later in December of 1914.
Also to die in the same month was his brother William and an article in the local newspaper of the day reported:-
In the death of Captain Richard Trevarthen and William Trevarthen the copper country loses two of the finest type of sturdy pioneers that helped to build this district and make it what it is today. Captain Trevarthen’s activities were in the opening of mines and Mr. Trevarthen in the commercial activities of the district Both came here when the district was young and its future was an open question for discussion. Both were men of the highest probity and strict honesty of character. Both made successes in their lives through earnest effort and strict attention to their duties. The copper country is better for their having lived and worked among us.
I know nothing of Richard’s wife but together they had six of a family, three boys and three girls, The eldest was Bessie and then came Richard, William born 1879, Annie and the twins Albert and Laura. William is of interest to me has he was the father of Mrs. Margaret Rudd with whom I correspond with from time to time an she sent me this interesting newspaper article from the Vineland Times Journal of November 20, 1958:-
Noticing the handsome watch, one of the men asked to see it, and upon investigating further, he opened the back of it. But unable to put it back together after many tries, handed back to its owner, smiling and saying sheepishly, “Sorry, Ned.”
The men howled and laughed at young Billy Trevarthen, then a stationary engineer, whose life since the age of fifteen had been with the mines.
By now instantly he felt that urge or desire that drives men, and from that moment on, William Trevarthen, had to know everything about watches.
This is the same man that was to be known in
Vineland since 1912, as a doctor of watches. A kind gentle jovial man,
who looks back now, and smiles when he thinks of those days in the
Then Trevarthan opened his own shop. “You
know,” he says. “I guess all my life I really wanted to be a watchmaker
but that day in the compression shack I don’t know it. “Every watch is
different, just as every face is different. Every watch is a challenge,
a new problem, and I love it. To me its fun.”
“I’m only working four hours a day now, during the morning. I guess you’d call it semi-retirement, if there’s such a thing. When asked if he ever found a watch he couldn’t fix. His face breaks into that familiar grin, his eyes twinkle again, and his bubbling personality bursts through. “Ever know a doctor who cured all his patients?”
We walked outside the little shop around the corner on Sixth and Landis, across from City Hall. He turns to lock the shop and looks again into the window. “You know something,” he says. “If I had to do it all over again, right from the time I was born in Calumet, Mich, in 1879... I would. Yes Sir, I certainly would,” and he smiled as he walked away.
I hope that you found that an interesting account of the life of one of the many Trevarthens in the United States of America.
The way we think it happened one Trevathan and wagon train went to Kentucky and my John’s folks went to South Carolina. Probably starting out at North Carolina. My John was actually born in Richland County, South Carolina. He married Rhoda and had about 10 kids, and moved to Pike County, Alabama. Then to Sumter, Alabama, where he was killed Also his son Eli was killed. His wife came to Texas with Thomas Leaner, and they settled in East Texas at Trevat named after Trevathan).
Click the links below to view the family trees in PDF format. If you need a PDF reader then click the link below to go to the Adobe site.
This site was last updated 02-Jun-2007