Hatchett Documents - Joseph Hatchett letter

Joseph Hatchett letter, 
Joseph Hatchett, 
"Hatchett Documents - Joseph Hatchett letter" (online hatchetts.com)

The following is a letter written by Joseph Hatchett (son of Abraham Hatchett, grandson of William Hatchett and Margaret Remay). The letter was sent to E.B. Hatchett, a nephew of Joseph, and copied by hand by him. The text below is from a transcript of that copy kindly provided me by Mary Grace, and reprinted with her permission. Her sister made the transcription from the handwritten copy. I also want to thank Paul Barnard who first made me aware of this document. Bass looks like Bop in old handwriting
Bass script
Mary's sister may not have been familiar with old handwritten script. I've included in parenthesis probable transcription corrections, but without the original, I'm making these only on the assumption of common modern misinterpretations of old handwriting. For example, the picture at left of the name Bass from an early census shows how it could easily be confused with Bop or Bap. I have also checked it against a different transcription from another source.

E.B. Hatchett being of an inquisitive disposition and wishing for information
regarding his ancestry wrote a letter of inquiry on that subject to his uncle
John A. Hatchett of Henderson, Ky., who sent him a letter on that subject written
by uncle Joseph Hatchett to cousin James G. Hatchett the letter bears this date
March 24th 1845 written from Greenplains Indiana. The following is an exact copy
of the said letter which I have written and intend on keeping for my own benefit.
                         March 24th, 1846

Being desirous that my prosperity should know (after my deceased) from whence sprang
and not remain in ignorance respecting their ancestry, I have penned this short 
genealogy account, as I have received it from my parents and from history sometime
prior to the year of our Lord 1700.

Perhaps about the year 1685, a youth by the name of John Hatchett came from England
to Virginia and lived three years with a Mr. Edward Bop (Bass - s.h.), a wealthy farmer
xxx of Chesterfield County to pay his prefrage (passage? -s.h.) across the Atlantic. 
Although the said John Hatchett had by accident lost the sight of one of his eyes he 
was said to be a handsome young man, and at the end of his apprenticeship married a 
daughter of the said Mr. Bap (Bass - s.h). Contrary to his will, for which he forgave
them. This John Hatchett was my Great Grandfather. He had four sons VIZ: John, Thomas,
William and Edward and several daughters.

John (first son - s.h) was a man of diminutive size, but of great physical strength and
activity, which he displayed in fighting fist cuff battles, wrestling, jumping, and 
running. Being a gambler, he was often involved in quarrels and fights. T'is said, that
at the age of fifty, he was known to whip a young man of larger size. An industrious 
carpenter by the name of Forgueron (pronounced Furkron) married a daughter of his and 
brought his (John's) sons up to the business. The said Forguerson and his two sons built
the Manchester, as it formerly stood. The posterity of the said fighting John remains at
present in Chesterfield County, Virginia, where they still follow their old occupation,
and in politics are Whigs. The old fighting John for ten years before his death could
not sleep in a bed, being affected by asthma or the thisic, supported to be occasioned by
fighting, he lived to old age and died an idiot having lost his mind sometime previous 
to his death.

Thomas the second son of Englishman John married and moved into North Carolina where
some of his descendants remain at the present time. He had a son by the name of Thomas
who was killed in the Revolutionary War in a very singular manner. Thomas, Jr., as a
soldier was with the American Army and had a successful battle with the Tories and had
taken about one hundred Tories whom they guarded in a barn. In the night the Tories
began to shout aloud for Thomas George (junior? - s.h.). The guard was heard to threaten
to fire upon them if they did not cease. Thomas rushed into the barn apprise the 
prisoners of their danger when one of the guard's fired sure enough and shot Thomas
through the head. This Thomas Jr., was said to be a very strong active man, very 
peaceful, but when provoked would fight and has been known to whip two stout men
together. Thomas Jr., lost a grandson in the same war by the name of Jossahman. He was
a very fighting man and although small commonly came off conqueror, on one occasion he
gave a Tory a thrashing who afterwards waylaid him and shot him through the body, he 
lived eighteen months afterwards and fell dead in his own yard.

Thomas Hatchett Sr has a grandson living near the Crab Orchard Ky, his neighbors say
he is a fine friendly man, but has been a warrior from his youth up, he is now
somewhat over sixty, not in the least quarrelsome, but if he ever sees a man acting
the rascal he always whipped him and never was whipped until he was more than fifty
years old. In the last British War he thrashed a recruiting officer for trying to
enlist a man while the man was drunk.

William Hatchett the third son of the Englishman was my grandfather, he was born about
the year 1702 (1707? - s.h.) and at an early age married a widow, Neal, whose maiden 
name was Margaret Renney (Remey - s.h.), of whom these two persons have sprung a 
numerous race of people, their sons John, William, Archard and Abraham. William my
grandfather to about 78 years.

His son John was a blacksmith made a good fortune by honest industry, he was peaceable,
good natured and harmful, he took those amiable quarters from his mother, he also
lived to be 78 years old, he lived and died in the county Charlotte, we have been in
the house that was his. He was a pious man, he had four sons, VIZ: Abner, Barlette,
John, William. Abner at the age of eighteen shouldered his musket and marched to
Gilford Courthouse and with bravery fought in the Battle of Gilford Courthouse. He was
a most amiable young man and from early youth conducted himself like a Christian. He
never married and died quite young.

Barlette was the opposite of Abner, he was an industrious Blacksmith, but sure to
quarrel or get angry on a settlement he was often drunk and often fighting commonly
got worst, and was known to have but one sober fight in his life. When he was
victorious he had a son (his name forgotten) who was educated, studied law and
commenced the practice in West Tennessee under most favorable auspicious, but his
premature death blighted all his fair prospects.

John was an amiable man, he had one son named William, we were in his house in 18?7.
William is nearly deaf and has a numerous family of sons and daughters. (note: this
is the John who wrote "A Short Narrative of the Life of John Hatchett - s.h.)

William Hatchett, my uncle settled himself in Lunenburg County, was a blacksmith and
by his trade and agriculture became immensely rich, ... he was a fine man, kind, 
benevolent but when displeased was not afraid to tell a man what he thought of his 
conduct. The mother of his children, his first wife was by the name of Elizabeth 
Hanie, his sons were William, Hanie, Archibald (the doctor) and George. His daughters 
were Elizabeth, Tolly and Nancy. This old man lived to be 80 years old and died by 
accident in the following manner: Riding to a meeting with his third wife his horse 
broke through a pole bridge with his fore feet and threw him over his head with such 
violence as to slip (in a measure) a joint of his neck, he lived about 22 days, 
could still talk but could be only understood by his wife. Had the old man ever 
had heard the ancient gospel proclaimed he would have been in my opinion, a burning 
and shining light for he was always religiously inclined after my acquaintance with 
him. His wife had a hope for him in his death. His daughter Elizabeth died in early 
life, never married and was called exemplary pious for one so young, ...was a married 
man, but died childless. William married and has been long since dead. Archibald has 
been dead for some years. Left several sons.

Dr. Richard and George C Hanie had several sons and daughters, yea a house full,
whether Hanie is alive or not I cannot say. George married and died without issue.
Old uncles daughter Polly married Mr. Blackwell of your vicinity and is also dead,
leaving a daughter, Nancy, Married a Mr. Croll and is likewise dead leaving two sons,
Grief and George.

Archard Hatchett, my uncle lived to the age of 84 years, never married, was wealthy,
but of weak intellect and followed the plough as long as he had strength to do, and
lived in continual apprehension of dying and starvation. Abraham Hatchett my father
was born in the year 1783, married Mary Farley. They raised 18 children VIZ: Margaret,
Craddock, Joseph, William, Mary F Darby, Rebecca Jackson, Abraham, Martha Dupree,
Ann Ellington, Phebe Gallien, Jan High, John A., Sophia Farley, Isaac, Daniel and
Amelia Carter.

Abraham Hatchett Sr lived to the age of 88 years. If further particulars are wanting
you can get the same from the fathers 

Edward IV, son of Englishman John, married and settled in Linenburg County, he had
four sons and several daughters, his sons names were Thomas, Edward, William and

He lived to be about 75 years old and acquired some property. Thomas his oldest son
married and settled in Charlotte, he married in a respectable family had many children
and lived to the age of his father, respected by all who knew him, he was called a
good old man and like my Uncle John William was a great part of his life a seeker of
religion all he lacked was the hearing of the ancient Gospel to make him a burning and
shining light, he was William who is a Baptist preacher, some of his sons were living
a few years ago in the State of Tennessee.

Edward the second son of Edward, Sr. was said to be handsome in youth, he married in
a respectable family and raised a large family of sons and daughters, he was a man of
rough, uncouth manners and was never popular among his neighbors and acquaintances,
he lived to the advanced age of 87 years, dying only a few years ago, he accumulated
some property, the possession of which was a great torment to him. His oldest son was
by the name of Berryman. The last I heard from him he was living in Washington County,
KY. He was said to be dissipated. The second was named Banister a worthy man, he was
living somewhere in KY and followed the carpentry business.

His third was by the name of Archer,, the fourth Harrison living in Langamon County,
Ill., he was a Methodist Preacher, a fifth by the name of William and the sixth
Edward, these tow last still live in Pittsylvania County, Va. William the son of the
old Edward was a living a few years ago in the State of Georgia, like his brother
Edward he was not respected. Robert has been long dead, never married and was only
one removed an idiot.

Before I conclude my account, I must pay some compliments to my old French grandmother,
Margaret Reney, we read in history that a certain French Prince called Henry of Aragon,
who was the lawful heir to the crown of France, but being a Huegnot or Protestant the
nation declared against his claims and civil war ensued. Henry obtained many victories,
but to no purpose he became convinced at length that he could not ascent the Throne
without a change in his religion, he therefore obeyed the Protestant faith and
subscribed to the supremacy of the Pope, shortly after ascending the throne under the
title of Henry the 4th, he issued and edict from the city of Nantes, granting to his
old friends the Protestants the free exercise of their religion. Henry, was decidedly
the best King that ever governed France. He was not only a good King but was a good
man desiring the happiness of his subjects, among his virtues was his love and
friendship to his old brethren the Protestants this edict remained in full force and
virtue during the reign of several kings at length. It was repealed by Louis the 14th,
the greatest tyrant then living. This was the signal for the Hugenots to fly for their
lives, some fled to England, Ireland and America. My great Grand parents fled first to
the Island of Jersey from thence to England these events transpired about the year
1685. The wealthier French refugees (as they were called) were many of them
manufactures were retained by the English government by which event England has ever
since exceeded the French in the manufacturing business, France being the greatest
manufacturing nation previously. Thus has France nationally punished herself. My
French progentos came to America about the year 1700 in company with about one hundred
families and settled on St. James River about 18 miles above the city of Richmond,
calling their settlement the Manekin Town, land was denoted them by the King o
England. My grandmother Margaret Reney was either born on the passage to America or
immediately on the arrival of the imigrants, she had a brother they died in early life
when quite young she married a man by the name of Lewiston by whom she had a daughter,
Lewiston dying, she afterwards married an Irishman by the name of Neal by whom she
also had a daughter, Neal dying she then married my grandfather, William Hatchett.
Third son of old Englishman John they had many children. She lived to bury her third
husband and died at the advanced age of 90 years. Her oldest daughter called Betty
Thompson lived also to the age of 90. Her daughter Jane Truly at the age of 60, her
daughter Martha Roberts died at the age of 81, her son John at the age of 78, her son
William at 80, Archard at 84 and Abraham at the age of 88. Thus this old lady and
eight of her children when united years are added together make the sum of 736 years.

This old grandmother of mine was a pattern of piety and as kind a creature as ever
lived, good natured in the extreme, such is my partiality for the old lady and her
memory that whatever of goodness and piety I find in our family I attribute the same
under God to this old woman and to the unparallel sufferings and firmness of the
French refugees the late Bishop of the Methodist Church.

Francis Ashbury in his journal says xxx something like this, "This day I preached in
a village in New Jersey to a large congregation of descendants of French refugees,
they appeared deeply pious God having remembered them to the third and fourth
generations." I have never seen a Hatchett but upon inquiry we were related shortly
after the Revolutionary War a young Englishman of the name came to South Carolina,
near Charleston and followed school teaching some Virginians who were acquainted with
the Hatchetts, saw him and said there was a great family likeness. I am told the name
is common in the state of New Jersey. One of the name living in the state of New York
owned land in this country a few years ago. I have also heard of the name in
Pennsylvania. I could write more but this must suffice. 
Respectfully Joseph Hatchett

March 10th 1847 
   The following is a true copy of the said letter written by my uncle Joseph
Hatchett to Cousin James G. Hatchett, and which uncle John A. Hatchett sent to me
for my own benefit and I have written it out exactly and intended to send the
original letter back to uncle John soon.
                            Dardanelle, Arkansas August 12 1856
                                  E.B. Hatchett