Thursday, July 24, 2014

Our Colonial Ancestor, David Miller, and Cattle Brands

Colonial Williamsburg
 In rural colonial America, settlers allowed their, cattle, horses and pigs, to roam free, hence the need arose for identifying livestock. This was done by making slits or cuts in the ears and also by the use of “cattle marks” or brandings. 

Some counties registered these brands and the original records often times described the brand and even added a drawing of such. Here are two examples from South Carolina:

November 21 [cattle brand mark of spade]: This Day Came Jeremiah Varreen & Recorded his Marke for Cattle, Hoggs & being a Spade in both Ears. 
The very common spade shape used for
colonial cattle marks

March 14: This Day Came Mr. Stephen Fox & Recorded his Ear Markes for Cattle & hogs, viz. one Crop in ye Left Ear and a Halfpenny under ye Right Ear and has under lasches under both Ears & Burn’d Markes with an [drawing of a cattle brand mark resembling a C].

The following is a transcription of a similar record for our Miller’s and their Emmett (aka Emmott)  in-laws, and while the detail is missing, these records do place our ancestors in Somerset County, Maryland in 1689.

Remember, David Miller (below) is Abraham Miller’s father and our William Miller’s grandfather.  Abraham Emmett was married to David’s sisters:

Cattle Marks (1685-1723); Somerset Co., MD 
Contributed to the USGenWeb Archives by Osiris Johnson  
Copyright.  All Rights Reserved.
Transcribed by Osiris Johnson  
 from CR 50,078 of the Maryland Archives
---------- Page 14 ----------
William Law - 28 June 1689
James Smith - 17 December 1688
Lawrence Connor - 18 July 1689
Abraham Emmett - 30 July 1689
John Emmett Junr  - 30 July 1689
Josias Emmett - 30 July 1689
John Steel - 30 July 1689
David Miller - 30 July 1689
William Owens - 7 August 1689
William Carey - 12 October 1689
Thomas Davis of Church???k of Nansumum county but formerly of Somerset county in the province of Maryland give to Lewis Knight - 13 April 1686
Lewis Knight gives to William Porter - 12 December 1689
William White - 18 December 1689
William White - 18 December 1689
William White - 18 December 1689
Stevens White 18 December 1689
Read more about cattle marks at:                                                  

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