Descendants of William Rea


2. Samuel Rea

Samuel was the first of William Rea's sons to emmigrate to America, prior to 1755. He lived in Greene Township in Franklin County. According to "Samuel Rea, 1725-1811, Heritage and Descendants," by Henry Oliver Rea (1960), Samuel lived most ofhis aduolt life in the East Conococheague Valley (Amberson Valley), in present day Greene Township. Locally, the area was called Dunlap's Meadow. Samuel was living here as early as May 24, 1753 and probably emmigrated to Pennsylvania between 1752 and 1754. The first actual notice of Samuel in the area is May 24, 1753, when his name appeared in a survey made for him by William Anderson. The land surveyed was on the east side of the Conococheague Creek. The description of this land sounds very similar to that of land purchased June 25,1767 by a Thomas Rea and William Watson, who later sold the land to Robert and Nancy Breckenridge Culbertson. Who this Thomas Rea was is still a mystery to me.

According to Henry Oliver Rea, there are "variant traditions" within the family that Samuel may have first lived in Chester, Lancaster and Cumberland Counties in Pennsylvania before coming to Franklin County.

According to a will dated 1807 and probated in 1811, Samuel's wife at the time was Martha (Martha Greer Wallace), and his children were Ann (Rea) Wright, William, Sarah (Rea) Renfrew, Hannah (Rea) Thompson, James, John, Samuel, Polly (Rea) Edgar and his grandchildren were Hannah (Rea) Potts (daughter of Ann Rea Wright) and Rosanna (daughter of Andrew and Hannah Rea Thompson). At the time of his death, Samuel held patents to over 600 acres of land.

According to a letter from Samuel's son John to Samuel, Jr., written after their father's death, Samuel was buried in his wife Eleanor's grave along with her bones, which John remarks were remarkably well preserved, given that she had been buried for 28 years. From John's very detailed description of the illness that lead to Samuel's death, it reads as if Samuel may have died of a stroke, and not the first one he'd had. He mentions that Samuel was suffering attacks in which he had severe pains in his head and that one attack had rendered him incapable of speech and also impaired his reason, as well. He says this attack occurred just days before the final stroke that took his life.

Henry Oliver Rea mentions that "there is much circumstantial evidence which supports the belief that two brothers [of Samuel's] came [to the Amberson Valley] at a later date. Isaac Rhea (Wray, Rea) who died in 1798 lived in Montgomery Township near Greene [Township]; James Rea (Ray), in Metal Township. Isaac and Samuel married sisters, Jane and Rosanna English. There are several other references which may imply relationship of the above three 'Reas.'" Census data bears out the presence of these two.

Rosanna English Edgar

Had previously been the widow of William Edgar.

Martha Lindsay Greer

Daughter of Fulton Lindsay and widow of Thomas Greer, who died in 1798. Henry Oliver Rea says that Samuel was 75 or older when he married Martha.