Guthrie Genealogy




The Story of Samuel Guthrie, Mystery Man, and his Equally Long-Lost Wife Rebecca.

Branch C has been pieced together by relationships inferred from a number of documents and the genetic ties that link them to a common ancestor. That includes the family ties between siblings Robert Guthrie (m. Castilla Simpson), Edmund Guthrie (m. Elizabeth Sapp), James Guthrie (m. Louisa Rebecca Naylor), and Sarah Guthrie (m. Benjamin Franklin Sapp). We currently have DNA results for descendants of Robert & Edmund linking them to GFG2A.

When Laurence Rawlins Guthrie was writing 'American Guthrie and Allied Families' he received letters and documents from Guthrie family historians throughout the United States. According to the Clan Guthrie Newsletter Jun02, one of them was Ira Ellsworth Guthrie (b.1881) whose great-grandparents were James Guthrie Jr & Louisa Rebecca Naylor of PA, VA/WV and OH. {See LRG p.456-7

The information published by LRG on this family listed James Jr's parents as James Guthrie & Elizabeth Eilor, and grandparents Samuel Guthrie & Rebecca. Both James & Samuel were reportedly born in Scotland.

Samuel & Rebecca's children were reported by Ira as being: Robert, Samuel Guthrie Jr, William, James, and Rebecca.

A search for information on Samuel & Rebecca Guthrie in the records of Scotland, Pennsylvania and Virginia/West Virginia proved fruitless. Nothing was found. After deciding to gather further details about James Guthrie & Louisa Rebecca Naylor who had moved from Monongalia, Virginia to Woodsfield, Monroe, Ohio, I discovered within the records of Woodsfield a Samuel Guthrie whose wife was named Rebecca.

Could this be the Samuel & Rebecca Guthrie we were looking for? As it turns out . . . no. 

Samuel H. Guthrie (b.1797) was far too young to be the father of James Sr (born <1765). He was a prominent lawyer in Woodsfield and had married Rebecca Driggs, the daughter of Joseph Driggs & Dollie Ball. Rebecca's brother, Nelson Driggs was the leader of the Driggs Gang of Counterfeiters and he was at that time considered to be the most notorious counterfeiter in the United States. Newspaper accounts suggest that one or two of the Guthrie sons may have also been involved in the gang.

Was this notoriety the reason the names 'Samuel & Rebecca' got stuck in Ira's head, or were they really also the names of his 3rd great-grandparents?

Although it could be completely coincidental that Samuel Guthrie (b.1797) was living in Woodsfield at the same time as James Guthrie Jr, it is also possible that they were part of an extended family group that moved into the area. They might share an ancestor. By tracking down info on Samuel's family line we might find out whether or not James Guthrie (m. Elizabeth Eilor) could potentially belong to the same lineage. 

An examination of Monroe County, Ohio records indicates that Samuel Guthrie was born in Delaware. There are very few Guthrie families in Colonial Delaware, so it was actually fairly easy to track down Samuel's ancestral line, which is as follows:

Samuel Guthrie (d.1746) & Mary LNU (Sons: Adam, Robert, Samuel; Daughters: Elizabeth, Jane, Mary, Rachel)

Samuel Guthrie & Margaret Knox (Sons: James, Robert, Samuel & William)
Samuel Guthrie (d.1826) & Susanna Edwards (Sons: John, Samuel & William; Daughters: Jane, Mary, Sarah)
Samuel H. Guthrie (b.1797) & Rebecca Driggs (Sons: William, John N., Henry H., George V. & Samuel ; Daughters: Dorothy & Clara L.)

Knowing Samuel's ancestry answered only one part of the question. Next, there had to be a James Guthrie of an appropriate age to be the James who m. Elizabeth Eilor. And there was!

James Guthrie, the son of Samuel Guthrie & Margaret Knox, was under 21 years of age in 1778 when his father died and he asked the New Castle, Delaware court to grant his guardianship to his brother William. This would make his age range 1758-1778, probably closer to the earlier part of the range as he made the plea himself as would an older minor rather than an automatic appointment of a guardian in the case of a younger minor. James Guthrie (m. Elizabeth Eilor) was born "before 1765" according to the census records, so would fit that scenario perfectly.

Also note something else of importance. Ira had named the children of his 3rd great-grandparents as being: James, Robert, Samuel Jr, William & Rebecca. The names of the sons exactly match the children listed for Samuel Guthrie & Margaret Knox, both by name and number.

With so many Samuels in the family line it is perhaps unsurprising that Ira made an error naming his 3rd great-grandmother as Rebecca instead of Margaret. 

This theory is still in its early stages. It needs traditional research on the Delaware line and some DNA to prove an ancestral connection to the rest of the MD/PA Group. 


A direct male Guthrie descendant of James Guthrie & Louisa Rebecca Naylor.

A direct male Guthrie descendant of any of the following Samuel Guthrie lines.  

Samuel Guthrie (d.1746DE) & Mary LNU (Sons: Adam, Robert, Samuel; Daughters: Elizabeth, Jane, Mary, Rachel)

Samuel Guthrie & Margaret Knox (Sons: James, Robert, Samuel & William) - Any son except James

Samuel Guthrie (d.1826) & Susanna Edwards (Sons: John, Samuel & William; Daughters: Jane, Mary, Sarah)

UPDATE 8/2012: Although we don't yet have a proven descendant of Samuel Guthrie in the DNA project, we do have our Branch H participant. The progenitor of that line, John Guthrie, is "undoubtedly related to, was most likely a brother of, Samuel Guthrie" according to LRG. If he is right and the documentation he used to link John and Samuel together as family is accurate, then we could infer the DNA results for Branch H to claim Samuel Guthrie as a GFG2A relative. Nice, but we'll reserve final judgment for Samuel's descendant's DNA.