John Meek

(1754-1803)


By Christopher A. Meek

A25. John Meek was born about 1754 based on a abstracts of cemetery records compliled by C. Price Meek. His actual date of birth is not proven. See note on cemetery marker. It is believed that he was born in Maryland based on the pension record of his brother, Jacob Meek, who was born in 1755 at Elkridge, MD. Note: Facts supporting the relationship between John and Jacob are: (1) 1837 remembrances of Jeremiah Lee Meek where he says his father (Jacob) moved to Kentucky "..where his brother, John Meek, had built a station.", (2) Jacob was named administrator of John's will, (3) a 1920 letter written by Basil Meek, grandson of John Meek, where he said of his grandfather “He had a brother Jacob Meek, who was named in the will of John Meek as executer,...” and (4) DNA testing which confirms that they shared a common ancestor. He also had a brother Basil Meek born 1740 in Maryland according to Jacob's obituary. DNA testing also confirms that the Basil shared a common ancestor with John and Jacob. See the Group_A title page.

Jacob's pension records provides details of his migration from Maryland to Allegheny Co., PA to Henry Co., KY to Wayne Co., IN. Jacob testified that he enlisted in the Army in 1775 or 1776 in Westmoreland Co., PA. From this we can trace John Meek back to Moon TWP, Allegheny County. (Washington Co., PA was formed from Westmoreland County in 1881. Allegheny County was formed from Washington County in 1788. Moon Township was formed from Robinson TWP, Washington County. The area was also claimed by Yohogania Co., VA.)

Allegheney Co., PA

John Meek settled in Moon Township in 1773 along with Jacob Meek in near by Findley Township. Joshua came to Moon Township in 1774.

The book History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 1876, by Samuel Durant, in the section on Moon Township, records the arrival of Joshua in South West Pennsylvania on page 149.

MOON TOWNSHIP

In 1769 (April 3), in pursuance of an application made by Henry Montour, order was granted for the survey of a tract of land now occupied by Middletown and some of the descendants of Robert Vance. ...

Joshua, John, and Jacob Meek were early residents on the property now owned by their descendants. …

The Meek patent was dated April 7, 1788, and the warrant for survey September15, 1784. The "Tomahawk Claim" was no doubt taken up several years before, and it is not improbable that they were in the township previous to 1776.

Jacob Meek settled in Findley Township, adjoining.

A more recent history, specific to Moon Township, Forgotten Past, A History of Moon Township, Pennsylvania, 2006, by Dr. Robert A. Jockers, examined early Virginia land grants and indicated that John was one of the first six permanent settlers who came to Moon TWP in 1773. This is supported by his Virginia certificate used to obtain his patent.

In the 1770s and 1780s Moon Township was a remote, heavily wooded, area with only a handful of cabins. There were no roads, churches, schools or other signs of civilization. The first village was not established until 1797. The inhabitants cleared only enough land to raise food for the family. Travel was difficult and social life was restricted to the family. These were highly independent and resourceful people who established a new life in a new land.

According to Dr. Jockers, in 1777 the settlers began to leave the area due to hostility with the Indians. A stockade was built on Robert Vance’s property and John joined the local Militia. In the winter of 1781 the hostilities had increased and the remaining settlers in the township departed for Ft. Redstone. In the summer of 1783 John and 10 other original settlers returned. John was listed in the 1781 and 1783 tax lists of Robinson Township, Washington Co., PA.

Heinz History Warrantee Atlas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 1914 describes John land grant in Moon TWP which adjoined the land of Joshua Meek. Jacob's land was near by.

John Meeks
423 Ms Strict measure
Surveyed Mar. 13, 1785 on Vir. Cert.
Patented Sept. 24 1787 to same
On warrant to accept
Dated Sep. 14, 1787
p. 12.22
"Coal"

It should be noted that these grants (patents) were processed during the 1780's after the territorial dispute between Pennsylvania and Virginia was settled. The survey, which is based on Virginia certificates, states “…do hereby certify that John Meeks is entitled to four hundred acres in the county of Yohogania on Montouirs Run to include his actual settlement made in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy three also a right to preemption to one thousand acres adjoining thereto.”

Various genealogies, including the DAR, have reported that John Meek who died in Henry Co., KY in 1803 served in the War while in the Maryland Army. There were several people named John Meek(s) listed in various muster rolls. Available records do not clearly identify many of them. Cemetery abstracts say that John served as a private in the 6th Co., 4th BN, MD Troop. The cemetery marker was placed on the grave 150 years after John’s death and may not be true. It is now known that John was in S. W. Pennsylvania by 1773. The area was controlled by Virginia and two of John’s brothers served in the Virginia military. It was reported in local histories that he joined the local militia to address serious and ongoing Indian hostilities. It seems unlikely that John returned to Maryland to join the army.

John was listed in the 1788 tax list of Robinson Township., Washington Co., PA. He was not listed in the first tax list (1789) of Moon TWP Allegheny Township., PA.

John sells his property on 9 Nov 1789 to James Mitchell. The deed is recorded in Alleghany Co. Courthouse, Deed Book 2, p. 113. His wife's name is given as Margaret. Joshua Meek witnessed the deed and John's land adjoined that of Joshua's.

John left Moon TWP in 1789. Jacob was listed in the 1790 census and then leaves himself. Joshua remained until he died in 1818.

Henry Co., KY

John left Pennsylvania about 1789 and settled on 400 acres in an area known as Drennon Lick Creek in Kentucky Co., VA. Kentucky became a state in 1792 and the area became Shelby County. He started a trading post known as "Meek Station" near what later became the town of New Castle. In 1799 the area became Henry County. He first appears in the Shelby County tax records in 1794 and both John and his brother, Jacob, were in the 1795 census/tax record. Henry County was part of Shelby County at that time. He was listed in the 1800 census of Henry County.

A deed record dated 15 Nov 1800 transfers his farm of 400 acres to his four sons. The name of his wife, Margaret, appears in the deed records. Six months later John writes his will. (Note: Basil Meek born 20 Apr 1829, a son of John Meek born 1772 wrote a letter in 1920 verifying that his father John Meek was a son of John Meek who died in 1803 Henry Co., KY. He also mentions his father’s brothers Jeremiah and Joshua as well as his sister Rachel who married Hugh Cull. He identifies them as moving from Henry Co., KY to Wayne Co., IN in the first decade if the 19th century.)

John writes his will on 2 May 1801 which was probated in December 1803. The will names his wife, Margaret, as executor along with Jacob Meek as well as naming John’s children.

Note 1
The cemetery abstracts are likely taken from a DAR marker that was placed on the grave in the 1940s by Carleton Meek. Thus the source for the date of birth would be Carleton Meek who did not document his work. John's date of birth has been reported at various times as 1751, 1752 and 1754. Carleton Meek also provided and account of finding John's grave including a map. View an early narrative on John Meek by Carleton L. Meek.

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