Thursday, December 22, 2011

EmigranThursday - George Wandless

Wandless Family Party aboard The Elizabeth
Welcome to a brief return of EmigranThursday which features George Wandless of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Biographical information about him appeared on a wee slip of paper tucked into the register of the First United Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh which I viewed on microfilm at my local Family History Center. Additional research was completed on Ancestry, FamilySearch and Historic Pittsburgh.

  • George Wandless, born within two miles of Cheviot Hills, Scotland March 1, 1798 – was a shepherd till he grew to manhood, and married – came by ship to Halifax, then by ship to Philadelphia – on his way, there was a great storm, during which he got a cold and was very sick, - Physicians at Philadelphia said there was no use in his trying to go to Pittsburgh, but he proposed to die in the ??, then he left behind – lea? Ohio? Pittsburgh, Oct 18, 1818 – staid over night in Eagle Hotel, Sabuby? St – lived for a few months, corner of Leth Ave and Smithfield, where Bank is – then to 11th ward near Catholic Church and ? in same neighborhood ever since.
  • His wife and 3 sisters and husbands of two came at same time, Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Rutherfort.

Additional entries from the Church Register include:

Church Member list 
(Member #, Names, Date Admitted, How they left the Church)
#144      William Wandless, April 1859  left 1862 w/o certificate
#145      George Wandless, April 1859 left 1862 w/o certificate
#146      Agnes Wandless, January 1859    died September 1901
#340      Sarah Wandless, April 1866    died 10 May 1884
#142      George Wandless, January 1857  died 22 October 1883
#143      Esther Wandless, w/o George, January 1857,   died 16 October 1865

Sarah Wandless d. 10 May 1884 @35 consumption; Center Avenue (#340)
George Wandless d. 2 October 1883 @85 old age; Wylie & Kirkpatrick St.

There is a record of a George Wandless being born on 1 March 1798 in Morebattle Parish in Roxburghshire, which is near the Cheviot Hills. His father was William Wandless. There were two William Wandlesses in this parish having children between 1790 and 1815. One was married to Mary Cowans, the other to Margaret Grey, one of whom is George's mother. 

George, his wife, siblings and in-laws appear on the passenger list of the brig Elizabeth which departed Halifax, Nova Scotia and arrived in Philadelphia on 18 September 1818. There appears to be no sign of George or his family in Pittsburgh during the 1820s. though I did find George in the 1830 and 1840 censuses. He, his wife Esther and their several children, Agnes, John, Eliza, George, James and Robert (all American-born) were enumerated in Ward 5 of Pittsburgh in the 1850 census.

I would imagine the departure of George, his siblings and their spouses was related to the depression that occurred at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. I do not have any idea what led them to Pittsburgh, but apparently George was determined to get there.

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