The surname Whitney – Name Origin, My Whitney Ancestors, Direct Descendants of Benjamin Whitney.
By Don Taylor
Forebears indicates Whitney is derived from a location, “of Whitey,” a parish in Herefordshire. Ancestry suggests that it probably comes from hwit, meaning “white.” However, Genealogy Bank indicates the name probably refers to the River Wye, which runs through the rea of Whitney in Herefordshire. In any event, they all agree that the surname derives from a location in Herefordshire, England. Herefordshire is in the West Midlands of England, bordering Wales.
The surname Whitney is predominately in the United States, with 83% of the people in the world with the surname living in the US. It is most common in the Falkland Islands, where one in 224 people have the surname.
In the United States, New York, Massachusetts, and Texas have the largest number of Whitney’s, and Maine had the greatest frequency where one in 1,322 people have the surname.
8th Great-grandfather: Benjamin Whitney (___-___)*[i]
* – Individuals marked with “*” have not been independently researched and confirmed by me. The names and dates are tentative and unverified.
Sarah Whitney was born on 11 July 1773 in Dedham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts Colony. I have not yet determined who my immigrant ancestor was nor when he arrived in the Colonies. However, Dedham was settled in 1635; my Whitney ancestors could reach back then.
Direct Whitney Descendants
I have 297 known descendants of Benjamin Whitney, including 27 Barnes, 23 Taft, 21 Roberts, and 17 Ransford. Two hundred eighty-nine of them are direct descendants of Sarah Whitney. I have previously written about four of those descendants.
Probably the most famous Whitney is Eli Whitney, Jr., known for inventing the cotton gin. Daniel Lawrence Whitney, known professionally as Larry the Cable guy, is a well-known comedian. And the little-known Josiah Whitney, the state geologist of California, you may not have heard of; however, Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the 48 contiguous United States, was named for him.
Tamise[i] Sutherland[ii] was born on 3 April 1796 in New York, USA as the last child of Reuben Sutherland and Mary Lewis. She had seven siblings: Phineas, David, Lot, Candice, Eliza, Josiah, and Elizabeth. She may have had two additional siblings Justus, and Lewis; however, I have been unable to confirm their relationship. When she was 22, she married Joel Cruff Taft, son of Asa Taft and Sarah Whitney, about 1819 in Triangle, Broome, New York, USA. Joel died in 1849. After his death, when she was 60, she married Manoah Sullivan on 31 August 1856 in Sullivan County, Indiana, USA (Married by Benjamin Gray, Justice of the Peace.). She died on 24 March 1864 in Fairbanks, Sullivan County, Indiana, USA.
5th Great-grandfather: William J Sutherland (1741-1815)
6th Great-grandfather: William Sutherland (1715-1768)
Tamise Sutherland (1796-1864)
Tamise Sutherland was born on 3 April 1796 in New York[iii]. Lisle, Tioga County, New York, was first settled around 1791[iv]; it is unclear to me if Tamise was born there or elsewhere in New York. In 1799, Tamise’s father, Reuben Sutherland, died. Indeed, by 1800 her family was well established in Lisle.[v]
In 1806, Broome county was split off from Tioga County, so most records of her and her family are typically stated as occurring in Broome county. Tamise’s mother died in 1809, and I have been unsuccessful in finding the remaining Sutherland family in the 1810 Census. The children were likely spread among other families.
In 1819, Tamise married Joel Cruff Taft in Broome County[vi]. They had 11 children:
Children of Joel Cruff and Tamise (Sutherland) Taft
28 April 1820
27 March 1822
4 August 1884
17 May 1824
Henry William Monk
26 November 1904
14 February 1826
Albert C. Thompson
27 January 1847
25 August 1828
21 August 1851
25 August 1830
Jesse C. Redmond
7 March 1832
23 April 1888
11 November 1834
21 February 1879
19 March 1835
25 May 1841
30 April 1842
17 October 1908
The 1820 Census found Joel and Tamise living near Joel’s brother, Silas, and his father, Asa, in Lisle, Broome County, New York[vii]. In his household are his wife and his oldest son, Silas.
The 1830 household (See Joel Cruff Taft & the 1830 Census) of Joel Taft suggests tragedy. Silas, who would have been ten years old, isn’t enumerated in the household. However, some researchers indicated that Silas married Lydia Monk in 1843. I haven’t confirmed this. The 1830 Census does show four females in the household that fit the profile for the four youngest daughters of Joel and Tamera. There was another male child in the household, under the age of 5, who I haven’t been able to name.
1831 – Township created.
In 1831, Lisle was divided into four parts creating Baker, Nanticoke, Triangle, and Lisle[viii].
The 1840 Census also indicates there were two males in the household besides Joel. One was 10 to 14, and one was 20 to 30. Certainly, the one from 10 to 14 is the same unknown male child enumerated in the 1830 Census. But the other, 20 to 30 year old, could be Silas. If so, was he just missed in the 1830 Census? Could this be evidence he lived to marry Lydia Monk? Possibly.
Sometime during the 1840s, the Taft family moved to Sullivan County, Indiana. Tamies’s daughter, Platina, died on 25 May 1841 at the age of 6. Daughters Sarah and Amanda were married in 1845 and 1846, respectively. Sadly, Amanda died in 1847. Candance married in January 1849. Later that year, Tamise’s husband Joel Cruff Taft died on 19 April 1849 in Fairbanks, Sullivan County, Indiana[ix].
The 1850 Census[x] reports Tamise living in Fairbanks Township, Indiana. The widow is living with her children, Joann (17), Laransa (14), Catherine (21), and William (8).
During the 1850s, Tamise and Joel’s other daughters married – Catherine (1850), Joanna (1851), and Lurancy (1852). Sadly, Catherine died in 1851, about ten months after her marriage.
On 31 August 1856, the 60-year-old Tamera married 73-year-old Manoah Sullivan.
The 1860 Census reports Manoah and Tamera living in Turman Township, Sullivan County, Indiana. Living with them are three of Manoah’s children, John (15), Simon (12), and Alvera (10)[xi].
The Civil War broke out in 1861, and Indiana contributed about 210,000 military forces to the war effort[xii]. I haven’t determined if any of Tamera’s children participated in the war or if there were any civilian causalities in Fairbanks during 1864.
Tamera (Sutherland) (Taft) Sullivan died on 24 March 1864 in Fairbanks, Sullivan County, Indiana[xiii].
Events by Location
Indiana, Sullivan, Fairbanks – 1850, Marriage #2 (1856), 1860, Death (1864)
Following families in the early census records is always tricky, and when a census’s locations change and a family’s status changes, finding families can make things even more difficult. Such is the case concerning Tamise (aka Tammy & Fanny[i]) Sutherland (also Southerland) and the 1800 and 1810 Census.
Tamise married Joel Cruff Taft in 1819[ii], and I’ve followed her in all of the census records until her death in 1864. Tammy’s father, Reuben, died in 1799 and her mother, Mary (Lewis), died in 1809. I searched at length for the Sutherlands in the 1810 census and could not find any candidates in Broome county.
I know I should have done it first, but I checked Wikipedia for the history of Broome county. It was there I learned that Broome County was split off from Tioga County in 1806.[iii] So, I would expect the family to show in the Tioga county census in 1800 and Broome County in 1810.
I also learned that the area that is now Lisle was first settled by whites around 1791; and that, in 1831, Lisle was divided into four, creating three new towns, Barker, Nanticoke, and Triangle[iv]. So seeing that Joel and Tamise (Sutherland) Taft lived in Lisle in 1830 and in Barker in 1840 doesn’t mean they moved.
With the 1800 boundaries in mind, searching for Fanny’s mother Mary was much easier. As the head of a household in Lisle, Tioga County, I found Mary Southerland, the second from the bottom on page 3 of 5 (Pages 244-245). These are difficult sheets to read as there is an unnatural split of pages between the column for males under 26 and males over 45. The column, which should be “males under 45”, is virtually unreadable.
After carefully reviewing the entry, I read:
1800 Census – Tioga County, New York, Pages 244 & 245
Head Mary Southerland
Males <10 2 Probably Phineas and Lot, ages 9 & 8.
Males 10-16 1 Probably Josiah, Age 11.
Males 16-26 1 Possibly David, age 15/16.
Males > 45
Females <10 1 Tamise should be 4 years old.
Females 10-16 2 Must be sisters Candice and Eliza ages 13
Females 16-26 1 Must be Mary but she should be 29.
Females > 45
So, the children of Reuben and Mary (Lewis) Sutherland that I know about are accounted for. However, there are two children, Justus and Lewis, born in 1799 and 1800 respectively, who some researchers indicate are also the children of Reuben and Mary. They are not mentioned in the 1800 Census; however, I have not confirmed those two children in my research.
The 1810 Census is much more problematic. A review of that Census indicates that only Berkshire, Chenango, and Union townships appear to be enumerated in the 1810 Census for Broome County. The town of Lisle was formed from Union in 1801, so it should be listed in the 1810 Census; however, it is not. As such, I do not anticipate finding Tamise in the 1810 Census.
[i] In various records Tamise was reported as Tammy and Fanny. Likewise, her surname was reported sometimes as Sutherland and sometimes Southerland.
[ii] Family Group Record, Family Search, Joel Cruff Taft (K8BN-FDM) – See File: 20170512 Family K8BN-FDM.pdf. Marriage Place: Triangle, Broome, New York, United States.
[iii] Tioga county split off of Montgomery in 1791, Montgomery county was the rename of Tryon county after the Revolutionary War and that Tryon county was split from Albany county in 1772.
Ancestry indicates that Sutherland surname is a Scottish regional name from the Old Norse suðr ‘south’ + land ‘land.’ Sutherland lays south of Scandinavia and the Norse colonies in the Orkney and Shetland Islands. Forebears add that it comes from the province of Moray.
Today, the most significant number of people with the Sutherland surname live in the United States with over 40,000. As you might expect, it has the highest frequency in Scotland, where one in 462 people have the surname.
In the United States, the most significant number of people with the Sutherland surname live in California, with over 4,000 people. The highest frequency for the surname is Wyoming, where one in 3,823 have the surname.
Direct Sutherland Ancestors
I have not had a chance to do in-depth research of my Sutherland ancestors, so all of my estimated ancestors are notional. However, it appears that I have seven known Sutherland ancestors in two separate paths.
3rd Great-Grandmother: Tamise (Possibly Tammy or Fanny) Sutherland (1796-1864)
6th Great-Grandfather: Col. David Sutherland (1711-1794)
7th Great-Grandfather: William Sutherland (1690-1772)
(* Note: William J Sutherland and Hannah Sutherland married. It is unclear what their relationship may have been before their marriage.)
Interestingly enough, Tamise Sutherland, wife of Joel Cruff Taft, is my next planned research subject in my Roberts Research.
1840 – Tamise (Sutherland) Taft is my only known Sutherland ancestor that was living in 1840. She had already married Joel Cruff Taft. They lived in Broome County, New York, at the time. In 1840, 29% of the Sutherlands (or 96 households) in the United States lived in New York; however, none of the Sutherlands appear to have lived in Broome County.
Direct Sutherland Descendants
My records have identified 287 direct descendants of William Sutherland (1715-1768) and 289 for William Sutherland (1690-1772), most of whom are duplicated. These include 27 Barnes, 21 Roberts, 17 Ransford, 15 Taft, and many more surnames. I only have eight descendants of the Sutherlands with the Sutherland surname, indicating I have much more research to do on my Sutherland cousins.
Of course, there are many famous Sutherlands. Donald Sutherland and his son Kiefer are probably the most famous. However, Elizabeth Sutherland, 24th Countess of Sutherland, also comes to mind. Again, I have much more research to do on my Sutherland cousins. I would love to learn that Donald, one of my favorite actors, is related.
Researching Joel Cruff Taft had its challenges. The most obvious one is tracing an individual through the early (before 1850) censuses. The second problem in researching Joel was regularly running into his grandfather, Silas Taft, who was a “minuteman” in the Revolution. I’m looking forward to writing about him
Christmas, 1800, was doubly blessed when Asa and Sarah (Whitney) Taft had their fourth child, Joel Cruff Taft, on Christmas Day. I’m not sure where the name “Joel” came from, but Asa’s mother’s maiden name was Cruff, which is the likely source of Joel’s middle name.
Joel had three older siblings:
Asa Perry, six years older.
Lurancy, four years older.
Amanda, two years older.
Joel was the first of their children born in Broome County, New York. The Taft’s had moved there from Peru, Berkshire County, Massachusetts in either 1799 or 1800. Joel’s mother had two more children, Seth (in 1803) and John (in 1805), before she died in 1813, while Joel was only 12 years old. Asa remarried and had eleven children altogether.
In 1819, Joel married Tamise Sutherland in Triangle, Broome County, New York.
They had ten children.
The Children of Joel Cruff Taft & Tamise (Sutherland) Taft
28 Apr 1820
27 Mar 1822
27 May 1824
14 Feb 1826
25 Aug 1828
25 Aug 1830
7 Mar 1832
11 Nov 1834
19 Mar 1835
30 Apr 1842
The 1820 Census found Joel living near his brother, Silas, and his father, Asa, in Lisle, Broome County, New York. In his household are his wife and his oldest son, Silas.
In 1822 property that had been his mother’s was sold to Justus B. Sutherland; Joel and several of his siblings benefited from the sale.
The 1830 household (See Joel Cruff Taft & the 1830 Census) of Joel Taft suggests tragedy. Silas, who would have been ten years old, isn’t enumerated in the household, suggesting he died before 1 June 1830. The 1830 Census does indicate four females in the household that fit the profile for his four youngest daughters. There was another male child in the household, under the age of 5, who I haven’t been able to name.
The 1840 Census also indicates there were two males in the household besides Joel. One was 10 to 14 and one was 20 to 30. Certainly, the one from 10 to 14 is the same unknown male child enumerated in the 1830 Census. But could the 20 to 30 year old be Silas? Possibly.
In 1841, his daughter Platina died at six years of age.
In 1847, his daughter Amanda died at the age of 20.
Joel died on 19 April 1849 in Fairbanks, Sullivan County, Indiana. He was survived by his wife Tamise and at least seven of his children, Mercy, Sarah, Catherine, Candance, Jeanne, Lurancy, and William. I haven’t determined death dates for his sons Silas and “unknown.”
Events by Location
New York, Broome
New York, Broome, Barker
New York, Broome, Lisle
New York, Broome, Lisle
Indiana, Sullivan, Fairbanks
Note: Barker, Lisle, and Triangle are all within six miles of each other. It is possible that the Census takers recorded the locations differently during each enumeration.
Research Joel’s other children, particularly Seth’s death and the heretofore unknown name son.
Follow property records to determine if Joel lived in several places or if the various places’ names changed during the census recordings.
1820 Census (A), Ancestry.Com, Asa Taft, Asa Taft Jr., Joel C Taft – Lisle, Broome, New York.
1830 Census (A) (NARA), Ancestry.Com, 1830 Census – Joel Taft – Lisle, Broome, New York. Year: 1830; Census Place: Lisle, Broome, New York; Series: M19; Roll: 85; Page: 109; Family History Library Film: 0017145
1840 Census (NARA), 1840 Census – J C Jogt (J C Taft) – Barker, Broome, New York. Year: 1840; Census Place: Barker, Broome, New York; Roll: 266; Page: 400; Family History Library Film: 0017179
Daughters of the American Revolution, “Descendants Search”, DAR, Name Restricted – Nat’l # 887132 – Ancestor #A112392 https://services.dar.org/public/dar_research/search_descendants/?action=list&MyPrimary_Seqn=1001593&MyLineageCount=1.
Family Group Record, Family Search, Joel Cruff Taft (K8BN-FDM) – See File: 20170512 Family K8BN-FDM.pdf. Marriage Place: Triangle, Broome, New York, United States
Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007, Family Search, William Taft & Elizabeth Scott – Marriage 23 June 1883. “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XXN4-KFX : 10 December 2017), William Taft and Elizabeth Scott, 23 Jun 1883; citing Sullivan, Indiana, United States, Marriage Registration, Indiana Commission on Public Records, Indianapolis; FHL microfilm 004171419. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XXN4-KFX.
S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970, Ancestry.Com, Joel C Taft – Volume: 265. National Number 52981 – State Number 1007 (Indiana). http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&db=SARMemberApps&h=1149463.
United States, New York Land Records, 1630-1975, Family Search, Broome County Deeds 1819-1824 – Vol 8 – Pages 108&109. Joel C Taft to Justus B Sutherland – 25 Jun 1822. “United States, New York Land Records, 1630-1975”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:D5L9-RBMM: 29 January 2021), Joel C Taft, 1822.