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My Connection to America’s First Spies

I love a good spy story. And if you put it  in a historically accurate context, all the better. So I’m looking forward to the new AMC series Turn, which starts tonight. It’s tagged The story of America’s first spies.

When I saw the first promos a few months ago I had to find out if it was based on real events or if it was historical fiction. Turns out it’s based on real events, and The Culper Ring, as the group was called, had a part in winning the American Revolution. The spy ring was organized by Benjamin Tallmadge, who became George Washington’s chief intelligence officer.

The name Tallmadge sounded familiar so I did some exploring through my very rudimentary family history and turned up Thomas Talmadge Sr., possibly my 12th great-grandfather. He was born in England in 1595, and died in New Netherland (later renamed New York) in 1653.

My “research” was more like a quick glance, but it seems Benjamin Tallmadge, the revolutionary war spy, also descended from Thomas Talmadge Sr. Note the name Talmadge is spelled differently in different places at different times. Pretty tricky when looking for records about these guys.

Thomas Talmadge, Sr. brought his family from England to New Netherland maybe about 1633. Among his family members were sons Thomas Talmadge Jr., 1617-1691—possibly my 11th great-grandfather—and Robert Talmadge, 1622-1662, Benjamin Tallmadge’s 3rd great grandfather.

Cool, huh?

So it could be the story of America’s first spies is also the story of a long-lost cousin. Makes watching it all the more interesting.

As for my Talmadge immigrant line, it goes like this:

  • Thomas Talmadge Jr., 1617–1691 >
  • Nathaniel Talmadge, 1643–1716 >
  • John Talmadge, 1678–1764 >
  • Elizabeth Talmadge, 1703–1772 >
  • Elizabeth Hedges, 1731–1778 >
  • Robert T Crockett, 1755–1835 >
  • Jemima Crockett, 1763–1853 >
  • Elizabeth Bivens, 1803–1873 >
  • Maggie Cochran, 1838–1915 >
  • Mittie Bryant, 1864–1931 >
  • Will Rose—my great grandpa—1885–1972 >
  • Ed Rose, my grandpa, 1909–1985 >
  • my mom,
  • then me.

Here are links to previous posts with more about my Rose line, and about the Crockett connection.

Coincidentally, Turn, is based on Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring a book written by Alexander Rose. I wonder if he’s another long-lost cousin.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2014 in Rose

 

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Peggy, 12, Stowaway to America

In 1743 Margaret, who was called Peggy, was born. She would marry Nathaniel Bivens and become my 6x great-grandmother.

I don’t know much about her yet, not even her last name for sure. Could be Tyler, could be Taylor, but I found several accounts that say she stowed away to America at age 12. What a brave little girl.

By all accounts it seems her mother died and her father was getting married again. One report said she had family in America, another said she had family “going” to America. Maybe she was able to stowaway with the relatives who were going to America so she wasn’t entirely on her own.

Several reports say she was born in Holland and she sailed from London, likely landing in Philadelphia or another nearby port because a few years later, about 1759, she married Nathaniel Bivens of Pennsylvania.

Family legend says they moved from Franklin County, Pennsylvania to Anson County, North Carolina sometime during or just after the Revolutionary War years. Nathaniel and Peggy had ten children. Their son John, born in 1760, was my 5x great-grandfather. He grew up and married Jemima Crockett, Davy’s cousin. I have that John Bivens was born in North Carolina, but if that was the case the family would have moved to North Carolina many years before the revolution which started in 1776. Another report says the family moved to North Carolina in 1773, which means John was born in Pennsylvania. Many strings to untangle when teasing out the family history.

But in my book the hero of this story is Peggy, the little girl who stowed away to America. I hope I can find out more about her. Was she running away from something, or, like so many other folks seeking adventure in a new place? I’ll keep looking and if I find anything else I’ll let you know.

Here’s the direct line from me to Peggy.

Jan Miller Stratton
Darlene Rose James W. Miller
Thomas Edwin Rose Lela Scott
William Thomas Rose Bessie Belew
Mittie Bryant John Henry Rose
Elizabeth Bivens Levi Thomas Cochran
John Bivens Jemima Crockett
Peggy Tyler
Nathaniel Bivens
 
8 Comments

Posted by on February 8, 2014 in Rose

 

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