Early Harneys in America

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Harney Family Research


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by Linda Harney MacDonald,   harneyfamilyresearch@yahoo.com

Also see the HARNEY HOME PAGE.

Welcome Harney Descendants -  I have been researching the Harney families for over 25 years, and would like to SHARE this information with other Harney descendants.  Below are some of the earliest Harneys in America - those that came in the 1600s and 1700s.   For additional info, e-mail mePlease put the name "Harney" in the Subject line - so I know your inquiry is not "junk mail".  Thanks.

BRIDGET HARNEY married Charles COLLINS, 17 August 1745, First Presbyterian Church, at Philadelphia, PA.

EDWARD HARNEY, along with Mr. Emanuell Downing, Jeffery Estie and William Lord were discharged from training (likely military training), the latter being aged. - From Quarterly Court Records & Files, 30 Oct 1645, Salem, Massachusetts.

Another EDWARD HARNEY arrived in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1725. - From "English Convicts in Colonial America."

JAMES HARNY is included on a Virginia land patent issued to Richard Normansell, 2550 acres, (in Stafford County), 5 June 1666. The land was situated "on the N.W. side of Potamack Riv. [sic] on the maine run of Pohick Cr." Mr. Normansell transported 51 persons to this land, including the said James Harny. - From Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants 1623-1666, Vol.1, p.403. Ref: p.323 (443).

JENETHAN HARNEY, also spelled Ginnethan, was born between 1736 and 1745 in Delaware (records vary), the son of Thomas Harney and Hannah Mills (and descendant of Timothy Harney, below). Jenethan enlisted in the Revolutionary War, in Captain Hall's Company, of Colonel Haslet's 1st Delaware Regiment, on 15 January 1776, with the rank of first lieutenant. Haslet's Regiment was also called the Blue Hen's Chickens. Jenethan was wounded in the battle of Long Island on 27 August 1776, and captured by the British. He returned from imprisonment on 25 Nov 1777, and was granted a leave of absence (by General George Washington) due to poor health. He resigned his commission on 7 Sept 1778. Jenethan died due to poor health as a result of his wounds and confinement. His will, written 7 Feb 1784, was probated on 30 March 1784, eight years after the battle. He was married to his first cousin, Isabella Mills, the daughter of Jonathan Mills. Isabella, after his death, emigrated to Nicholas County, Kentucky, with their children. Jenethan and Isabella are thought to have the following children: William; Selby; Eli; George Washington; Samuel Adams; Nancy (Mrs. Samuel) HOPKINS; and Olivia. (One source mentioned a daughter, Almy but it appears this may have been a misspelled nickname, perhaps 'Olivy'. An Almy was not mentioned in Jenethan's will). Chart MDTEG3A.SOU. - Ref: Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army; Will of Jenethan Harney.

JOHN HARNEY/HARVEY listed in "The Early Settlers of Maryland" by Gust Skordas as being transported in 1654.

JOHN HARNEY was sentenced to death in Philadelphia for piracy, in October 1731, along with Captain John MacFerson of Dublin; Paul Green; John Thompson; and John Cole. - From American Weekly Mercury, 1719-1746, in "General Abstracts" by Kenneth Scott.

JOHN HARNEY, Mariner, arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on board the ship "London" in June 1749.  Notes, by George T. Bates, in the "Great Exodus of 1749" say he  "Disappeared from Halifax - likely slipped way to New England."

JOHN HARNEY served with the North Carolina Volunteers under Capt. D. Manson. He was taken prisoner and held in Canada from 24 Feb 1781 to 24 Jun 1783. - From Revolutionary War Records (Ward Chipman Papers) New Brunswick & Nova Scotia, at the National Archives of Canada.

JOSEPH HARNEY is found in an article titled "Servants at Northampton Forge, Baltimore County, MD 1772-74" by Richard J. Cox. Joseph was described as an Irishman, 20 years of age, 5 ft 1 inch tall, long visage and a fair complexion, roman nose pitted with the small pox, dark brown hair, squot made. He is a breeches maker by trade, who can read and write. Northampton Forge was a large plantation that once employed many indentured servants. It is now covered by a reservoir. - From The Harney Newsletter, No.2 02/09/82, p.1, by Brian D. Harney of Kentucky.

JOSHUA HARNEY, is the son of Thomas Harney and Hannah Mills (and a descendant of Timothy Harney, below). Joshua enlisted in the Revolutionary War as a private in Hall's Company of the Delaware Regiment on 18 January 1776. After the war, he spent some time in Camden County, North Carolina. He had at least four children: Jenethan; Samuel; Comfort; and Susannah. Neither of his sons have been reported to leave any descendants. His daughters descendants reside in eastern Virginia and North Carolina. Joshua Harney is mentioned as witness to the will of William Dingle, made in 1793 and probated 1794, in Sussex Co. Delaware. He is listed as a subscriber to the Blackwater Presbyterian Church, near Frankford, Delaware in 1778-80. Chart MDTEG1A.SOU.

MARTIN HARNEY, a sailing master, was born about 1763, the son of Ballard Harney II, a ship owner of Waterford, Ireland. According to an article published in the Lynn Historical Society publication, Martin studied navigation when he was quite young, and at an early age became sailing master of a ship. While on a voyage to Calcutta, during the embargo, his ship was taken for English service and brought to St. Johns, Newfoundland. In Newfoundland, Martin went into hiding to escape his English captors. When it was safe to do so, he took passage for Salem, Massachusetts. Martin then became sailing master for the Boston merchant, William Gray, better known as "Billy Gray", trading between Salem and the Indies. On 9 June 1793, in Salem, Martin married Elizabeth Rhodes, the youngest daughter of Ephraim Rhodes, of Lynn. They build a home on Market Street in Lynn. Martin died in 1842 and Elizabeth died in 1848. Martin and Elizabeth had seven children: (Female) spouse unknown; Ephraim Rhodes, who moved to Baltimore; Thomas Cantey; young Martin, who died in infancy; Martin Derby, who married Martha Rhodes; George Ballard, who married Mary Johnson; and William Henry Harney, who remained single. Sons Martin Derby and George Ballard Harney began a shoe company in Lynn in 1841. George Ballard then joined his brother William Henry Harney in the clothing business. They began a clothing store on the corner of Market and Liberty Streets. Chart ESBII.MAS. - From Lynn Historical Society.

MICHAEL HARNEY married Jael (Gail) Rogers, 14 January 1739(40), in Marshfield, Plymouth, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Samuel Rogers and Jael Huet (b.1708). They had three children: 1) Rebecca Harney, chr. 30 May 1742, married Elder Thomas Ames (aka Eames) of West Bridgewater, MA: 2) Susannah (aka Susan) Harney, chr. 24 June 1744 in Marshfield, MA, married Valentine Sherman; and 3) Sarah Harney, chr. 4 Dec 1748, also in Marshfield. The Rogers line has been traced to the 1640s in Scituate, MA, but the Harney line remains a mystery.

MILLS HARNEY was born circa 1754, the son of Thomas Harney and Hannah Mills (and descendant of Timothy Harney, below). Like each of his brothers, he is said to have served in the Revolutionary War. He married Nancy Richey, and had 14 children: Roland (1773-1829); Hiram (1775-1826); Rhoda (Mrs. John) SHIELDS; Thomas (1779-?); Hannah (Mrs. John) MAZE; Samuel (1782-?); Selby (1783?-?); Mills Jr (1785-?); Catherine (Mrs. William) STEWART; Joshua T (c.1788?->1850); Riley (1789-1851); Jane (1790-?); Sarah (Mrs. William) KIRKWOOD; and Fanny (Mrs. Hugh) JOHNSON. Mills Harney died in 1814, in Nicholas County, Kentucky, leaving a will. In his will he mentions all the older children by name, and "my four youngest children" (which are mentioned in other records). Mills has many descendants in Kentucky today. Chart: MDTEG5.SOU.

MOSES HARNEY (also spelled Harvey) is listed as a member of Col. Jona. Brewer's regiment during the Revolutionary War. He took part in the battle of Bunker's Hill, (which was actually fought on Breed's Hill by mistake), on 17 June 1775. The Americans defended the hill from two British attacks, but were displaced at the third attempt. Short of gunpowder, the colonists didn't shoot back at the British until they saw "the whites of their eyes."

NICHOLAS HARNEY was issued a special warrant from Lord Baltimore for 1000 acres, conditions on his immigrating with his wife and five others (dated 8 September 1641, London). Nicholas is first mentioned transported in 1634 (probably as an indentured servant). He is included on the list of those who arrived in America on the "Ark" and the "Dove" on 25 March 1634. Although on this record his name is spelled (or misspelled) Harvey. Nicholas returned to Europe for his family, and immigrated with his wife in 1641.   RICHARD HARNEY also immigrated at that time and is thought to be related (possibly one of the five people transported with Nicholas). While some records show Nicholas' name spelled Harvey and Hervey, in his Will he gives it as Harney. His will, dated August 1644, and proved 28 June 1647, mentions a daughter, Frances. The will was written at his home in Patuxant River (located in what is now St. Mary's County), Maryland. Frances Harney married George Beckwith, 1658.  After Nicholas's death, his widow, Jane Harney, married Thomas Green (between 1647 and 1653).   (They are listed in "The Early Settlers of Maryland" by Gust Skordas, under Harvey and Hervey.)

PHILIP HARNEY died in the year 1718(19), St. Mary's County, Maryland. -From MD Death Index.

RICHARD HARNEY  immigrated in 1641, possibly one of the 5 people transported with Nicholas Harney (refer to Nicholas Harney, above.)

RICHARD HARNEY is listed as a member of the first grand jury in the Kent County Court, Delaware, in May 1687.

RICHARD HARNEY is one of "several merchants, planters and manufacturers of tobacco," who sent a petition to the Queen, dated 25 February 1706. From a book entitled "English Duplicates of Lost Virginia Records", compiled by Louis des Cognets, Jr. (p.272).

SELBY HARNEY (c.1733-1801)  was born about 1733 in Sussex County, Delaware, the eldest son of Thomas Harney and Hannah (Mills). About 1765 he established himself in the vicinity of Arenuse Creek, Camden County, North Carolina. He was a sea trader whose commercial ventures prospered. He married 23 July 1774 to Luranah Paddrick/Pederick, the daughter of the master of another trading schooner, and Camden became their home. During the Revolutionary War, in 1776, trading with foreign ports came to a standstill. The Provincial Congress met at Halifax in the spring of 1776, and authorized the formation of two independent companies on the seacoast. Selby Harney was appointed to command one of them. The companies were disbanded in the fall session of the Congress and Harney was raised to the rank of major and assigned to the 8th Regiment of the Continental forces (26 Nov 1776). He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 6 Nov 1777, and assigned to duty with the 2nd Regiment under the command of Colonel John Patton. For the next two years he seems to have been continuously in combat action. Lieutenant Colonel Selby Harney, from North Carolina, is listed as taking the Oath of Allegiance in May 1778 (Records of the War Department, Vol.167-152. Oaths of Allegiance by Waldenmaier, 1944). He transferred to 2d North Carolina regiment 1 June 1778.

Having participated in various battles in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, Harney's command was transferred to the South when British strategy shifted to that region. In Georgia the American troops were defeated in several battles, among them Stono Point and the attempt to capture Savannah, two battles in which Selby Harney took part. His brigade, under General Sumner, was moved to Charleston to assist General Lincoln in defense of the city. On May 12th 1780, he became prisoner of war, after having been severely wounded at Hadral's Point. Because of his injury he was one of the first prisoners to be exchanged. In 1782, two years after the battle, he was still incapacitated. He received the full rank of colonel 30 September 1783 and held this rank until his discharge from service by act of Congress. In 1786, with 18 other officers, he was publicly thanked by the Legislature for his assistance in detecting and bringing to trial those officers who had been guilty of frauds in settling public accounts. Brigadier General Sumner certified Harney as being eligible to membership in the Order of the Cincinnati when that organization held its first annual meeting in Philadelphia.

Many admirable traits were exemplified in Harney's career. Harney was reportedly a "good soldier". He endured the rigors of the campaigns with gusto and found satisfaction in any hazardous adventure. The esteem in which he was held by fellow officers resulted not from his gallantry in action, but from confidence in his integrity. He found zest in the open sea, the battlefield, and the companionship of his fellow man. He received land for his service in the war, and had the necessities, but never accumulated great wealth. Two of his sons were lost at sea.

Selby and Luranah had the following children: Thomas; Luranah MERCER; Benjamin; Lemuel; Mills; Selby; William Harney; and Nancy TAMPLIN. Benjamin died in 1800, and Thomas and William were lost at sea in 1806. Selby Harney in Sumner County, Tennessee, and his will was probated in 1801.

It is recorded that Selby Harney owned 150 acres of land in Camden County, and kept four slaves. Some of the black families with the surname Harney today, are descendants of Selby Harney's slaves. Selby also had 7200 acres in Davidson county, TN, which later became Sumner co. Other land transactions total an additional 3108 acres in Sumner county. - A Biographical History of Camden County, NC; Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army. Will of Selby Harney, 1801, and land records. Chart reference: MDTEG2A.SOU.

THOMAS HARNEY was a jury member at a special court held in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 23 March 1679(80). In September 1680, New Hampshire was separated from Massachusetts by royal commission. -From Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1878.

THOMAS HARNEY I (1686-c.1771)
Thomas is the son of Timothy Harney and Elizabeth Green of Somerset County, Maryland. He was born 25 August 1686. He married Miss Selby, who was likely one of the daughters of Daniel or Richard Selby, neighbors in the Baltimore 100 district. There is a family story about Thomas marrying in England, but the facts don't support this theory. Thomas and Miss Selby had two children born in Baltimore 100: Thomas Harney II, born circa 1710; and Ann Harney, born circa 1712. This part of Somerset county later became part of Worcester county (in 1742).

Records indicate Thomas Harney I was a lawyer. He represented John Wharton in a Quit Claim deed passing land over to Frances Wharton, who married Thomas' daughter, Ann. Thomas Harney and Frances Wharton shared pew number 23, at St. Martin's Protestant Episcopal Church. Dates of Thomas Harney’s death vary from 1757 to 1775. Family researcher George Harney in his history mentions an old letter from a gentleman who recalled attending the funeral of Thomas Harney when he was a boy. If he was 10 years old, that would put Thomas’ death at about 1771. In any event, it appears Thomas had died before the Revolutionary War. Chart reference: MDTEG1A.SOU

THOMAS HARNEY II (c.1710-c.1794) Maryland and Delaware
Born in Somerset County, Maryland, the son of Thomas Harney, a lawyer, and Miss Selby. He inherited the land "Timothy's Choice" in the Baltimore Hundred, from his grandfather, Timothy Harney. He married Hannah Mills, daughter of William Mills and Hannah (Noble) [per LaVonne Heighway] and they had nine children: Selby; Mary WISE; Jenethan; Joshua; Hannah TAYLOR; Nancy WEST; Thomas Jr.; Mills Harney; and Sarah SHANKLIN. All of their sons fought in the Revolutionary War. Thomas was a member of St. Martin's Church, and was elected Inspector for the Baltimore warehouse on the Indian River from 1756 through 1761. Thomas made a will 29 Feb 1790, and it was probated 26 April 1796. Thomas (or his son, Thomas) was witness to the will of John Massey Jr, which was written on 5 Mar 1791, and probated on 8 Feb 1792.  References: Calendar of Sussex County Delaware Probate Records; Copy of Will; Land Records of Worcester Co. Maryland 1666-1810; St. Martin's P.E. Church Records.

There is an old story that the family was of Welsh origin. This likely refers to the Mills family, not the Harney family, as the Mills were Welsh, and the Harneys were Irish. Chart reference: MDTEG1A.SOU

THOMAS HARNEY III of Sussex County, Delaware. Born 18 April 1752/62, in Dover, Delaware, the son of Thomas Harney and Hannah Mills (and descendant of Timothy Harney, below). Like his brothers, he took part in the Revolutionary War and attained the rank of Major at its close. In 1784 he received a land grant of 640 acres in recognition of his service in the war. The tract is located a few miles from what is now Nashville, Tennessee, on the Cumberland River. There he settled with his family, and engaged in business as a merchant, and later in land surveying. He married Margaret Hudson (1769-1833) "from Irish family of distinction and merit", and had eight children (including William Selby Harney, who became the famous general).

Thomas is listed as an officer in the Freemasons at the Harmony Lodge No.1 (formerly St. Tammany Lodge No.1) in 1805. He made his own Masonic apron, which he passed on to his son James. Thomas Harney died 16 July 1813, as a result of a bite from a mad dog (per article in The Clarton & Tennessee Gazette). Family tradition states that at the end he had to be tied to a bed in the yard due to the rabies he contacted from the dog. Chart MDTEG4.SOU.

TIMOTHY HARNEY was born circa 1655, Somerset County, Maryland, of Irish descent. On 26 December 1682, he was married by Col. William Coleborne, J.P., to Elizabeth Green(e), possibly the daughter of his neighbor, William Green (the court record shows 1 Dec 1682). Timothy patented a parcel of land which he called "Timothy's Choice" on 16 July 1696. This land consisted of 240 acres in Baltimore Hundred. Deed records show that after Timothy's death, the land remained in the possession of his widow. It was passed along to their son Thomas Harney Sr., and in turn, to their grandson, Thomas Harney, Jr., who was born c.1710 (he married Hannah Mills). Timothy and Elizabeth had at least four children: Elizabeth, b.10 Jan 1683; Thomas, b.25 Aug 1686; Eleanor b.2 Jan 1688; and Timothy b.2 June 1691. Chart MDTEG1A.SOU.

QUESTION:  Who are the parents of Timothy Harney?
ANSWER:   There were several Harney families living in the area when Timothy was born.  Records have not yet been found that would prove his parentage.

Another TIMOTHY HARNEY is found in the Boston, Massachusetts records, 24 June 1738, applying to be a porter. On 9 May 1739 he is again listed, this time as a ticket porter. Ref: Town records 15:117(17QQU) & 15:178.

WILLIAM HARNEY (1700s, Virginia)
One of the earliest Harneys in America was William Harney and his wife Sarah (maiden not known), who lived in Virginia. They had a daughter, Mary Harney who was born circa 1700 when Prince George County was formed.  Mary married circa 1720 to Richard SCOGGIN, son of George.  She is said to have been born in Washington, VA (not confirmed), and died in 1780 in Antrim Parish, Halifax, VA. This information is from the Scoggin family website, submitted to me by Kim Barry in January 2009.  His connection to other early Harney families is not known at this time.

HARNIE. Generally this spelling is another surname altogether, it may also be a spelling variation, or a misspelling of Harney. A few early records have been found spelled this way that were definitely Harney descendants (according to other records pertaining to the individual). In the book "Virginia Settlers and English Adventures: Abstracts of Wills, 1484-1798, and Legal Proceedings, 1560-1700, Relating to Early Virginia Families" by Noel Currer-Briggs, 1970, there is an entry pertaining to the Harnie family. The will of John Kirby, written in 1577, and proved in 1578, includes the following provisions: Mary HARNIE, Margaret HARNIE, Richard HARNIE and John HARNIE, my godson, 10 pounds apiece from the 40 pounds which my brother Clarke owes me. Richard and John HARNIE shall have their money at 20 years and Mary and Margaret on marriage. John HARNIE, their father, shall have all their portions if they die." It appears the Harnies lived in Virginia. The will was written while the author was in Newmarker, Suffolk, in the diocese of Norwich.

HARVEY. The Harney name is often spelled Harvey on some records and Harney on others.  Therefore each name must be researched in the early records to determine which is correct.  In addition to the early HARNEY families, listed above, there are additional HARVEY families who are not listed on these pages.

[Charts MDTEG.SOU and ESBII.MAS refer to family charts in the author's possession. HU refers to an article in the "Harney Update" family newsletter]

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Last updated  20 Mar 2009 by Linda Harney MacDonald