Descendants of William Rea


9. Gen./Rep. John Rea

John Rea spent 50 years of his life in the service of his country. He was on active duty throughout the American Revolutionary War and he later played a major role in the organization and activation of the Pennsylvania Militia, rising to the rank of Major-General. He held appointed and elected offices in Franklin County, he represented the county in the Commonwealth's General Assembly and senate, and he served as a U.S. congressman from Pennsylvania for the Franklin-Bedford congressional district.

John was 51 and a high ranking officer in the Pennsylvania Militia when, in November 1806, he married Elizabeth Culbertson, who was 26 years his junior, a daughter of Col. Samuel Culbertson of Culbertson's Row. John and Elizabeth's first home was called "Font HIll" and was built on land that John had purchased from Joseph Culbertson in 1803. Font Hill was a single-story structure that was enlarged later. It was still standing in 1960 and may, presumably, remain today. John and Elizabeth's second home was "Allendale," built on the Rea's farm tract. To this property, John added houses, barns and sawmills. When his father died in 1811, John was the executor to his estate and when his father-in-law died in 1817, he was also the administrator of that estate. For some reason, John suffered a reversal of fortune, beginning shortly before 1818 and culminating in his complete financial ruin by 1826. It is believed that he secured a promissory note of a friend who defaulted on its payment, and so John was obligated to retire the note. As a result, he was unable to meet his obligation as administrator of his father's estate and, in 1818, when his brother James, who was living in Ohio, demanded his inheritance, John was forced to sell the property he had acquired in 1803 in order to meet the obligation. Soon after the death of his brother William, in 1819, the heirs pressed their claim to the "Williamsburg" tract which John had bought from his brother. When the judgements against him were executed, John was ruined financially. His real estate, as well as most of his personal property, was sold at sheriff's sale, bringing $10,187.61, yet this was not enough to cover the claims. After John's death, his children paid the outstanding balance owing.

At the age of 72, John decided to start a new life. He took advantage of the Homestead Act, which entitled veterans to free land in the Indiana Territory and made the trip west via covered wagon with his wife and young children and all the family's wordly possessions, with the older sons walking alongside. The land he chose was along the Ohio River, at Hanover, about 30 miles from Lexington, Kentucky, on the Indiana side of the river. This whole arrangement proved unsatisfactory and the family returned to Greene Township in Franklin County in early September of the following year. John died of food poisoning the following February, at the Robert Peebles Hotel in Chambersburg, where he had gone to meet with high ranking political leaders. He was buried with full military honors in the Rocky Spring Presbyterian Churchyard. A memorial marks his grave.

A friend of John's described his appearance: "...a portly, fine looking man, tall and dignified and very much a gentleman in his manner." John's financial distress never affected the esteem in which he was held, as is evident in this excerpt from his obituary:

"He was uniformly temperate, sober and honest in his transactions; his reduced circumstnces were his misfortunes and not the effect of crime...In the career of his life, he was early found among those who were engaged in the defense of liberty and their country...That he was highly esteemed and respected by all who knew him appears from the various offices of trust and honor to which he was advanced...He was not only an upright citizen, but a kind, affectionate husband and a tender parent."

Elizabeth Culbertson

Elizabeth was a daughter of Col. Samel Culbertson and was 26 years younger than her husband, John Rea, whom she married when he was 51 and she was 25. Dr. Herron, who performed the ceremony, described Elizabeth as the most beautiful bride he had ever seen, fair complexioned, curly brown hair worn in ringlets on her neck (the fashion of the day). He also stated that she was fond of reading and acquainted with much of the good reading of the day. Elizabeth's character is revealed in an observation written to her son in 1834:

"[fame] seeks the applause of mankind and floats on the breath of the multitude, but the other that is honor, is a more silent and internal homage, which rests on the judgement of the thinking. It discovers itself by a mind superior to selfish interest, and by a uniform rectitude. Religion only forms the true honor and happiness of man."

After John's death, Elizabeth was left alone to care for three children under the age of 12. Her two oldest sons, who were teaching school, helped as much as they could. After three more years, the family home was broken up and Elizabeth went to Maria Forges, to live with her son Samuel. She died at his home and was buried in the Martinsburg Methodist Cemetery. According to Henry Oliver Rea, her grave cannot be located.

25. William Rea

Died young. This information is from page 141 of the 1923 Culbertson genealogy by Dr. Lewis Rogers Culbertson, M.D., of Zanesville, Ohio. According to "Samuel Rea, 1725-1811, Heritage and Descendants," by Henry Oliver Rea (1960, Tyrone Printing Co., Ltd., Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland), William drowned in the mill race on his father's farm, at the age of five.

29. Hannah Ann Rea

Died young. This information is from page 141 of the 1923 Culbertson genealogy by Dr. Lewis Rogers Culbertson, M.D., of Zanesville, Ohio. Hannah was a twin of Charles, according to "Samuel Rea, 1725-1811, Heritage and Descendants," by Henry Oliver Rea (1960, Tyrone Printing Co., Ltd., Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland).

30. David Rea

Died young. This information is from page 141 of the 1923 Culbertson genealogy by Dr. Lewis Rogers Culbertson, M.D., of Zanesville, Ohio.

10. William Rea

According to "Descendants of William Rea," by Marcella Ann Rea Lee (Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1998), William left land in Greene Township to his wife Sarah and eight children. Their children and descendants lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, and other areas throughout the United States. Other surnames in the manuscript are: Ackerman, McGrath, Lee, Boyce, Modine, and other related families.

William served in several Pennsylvania Militia companies during the Revolutionary War. He enlisted in the Cumberland County Associators on October 2, 1777 and served under Capt. John Reis in the First Battalion and with Capt. James Young's Marching Company in 1778.

William was a farmer and a surveyor. He died intestate, survived by his wife and six children all over the age of 21. His sons William and John were appointed as executors to his estate. During his lifetime, William had acquired a tract of land he named "Williamsburg," comprised of 305 acres in Letterkenny Township (later Greene Township). On August 23, 1784, warrantee for the tract had been issued to Alexander Lowry who conveyed the title to William's father, Samuel Rea on October 11, 1793. Samuel gave or sold this to William. In a petition to the Orphans Court of Franklin County, August 20, 1821, the executors of William's estate stated that their father owned "Williamsburg," and that their uncle Gen. John Rea had utilized it by building a two-story log house, a single-story log house, two frame barns, a sawmill and other outhouses on premises. The petition stated that "they wish to settle to accomodate all this." The fact of the matter was that William did not own "Williamsburg," as he had sold it to his brother John, but John had paid only an intial payment of $250. The executors entered into a lawsuit which resulted in a judgement in their favor, January 11, 1824. JOhn Rea then sold part of his real estate and personal property to satisfy this judgement of $5,790.25.

Sarah Snodgrass

Sarah may have been a neice of Eleanor Snodgrass.

35. Jane Rea

Married her cousin. Which John Rea this is, I'm not certain. He could have been the John born to John Rea and Emily Dilworth.

37. Andrew Rea

Andrew and Elizabeth may have been twins who died at birth.

38. Elizabeth Rea

Elizabeth and Andrew may have been twins who died at birth.

11. Ann Rea

according to Henry Oliver Rea's "Samuel Rea, 1725-1811, Heritage and Descendants," Ann's will, dated April 24, 1817, mentions three of her children as being "Ruhammak, Rebeckah and Matthew." I believe the "Ruhammak" must be Henry Oliver Rea's misreading of Richard's name.

It is interesting, and possibly more circumstantial evidence of Matthew Sutherland Rea's relationship to Samuel Rea, that Ann named one of her sons Matthew, probably after her uncle.

43. Matthew Wright

Matthew was the administrator of his mother's estate. A deposition on file in the Butler County Courthouse reveals that he was living on Butler County in 1838 and was in the employ of Cunningham & Co. It is believed that he never married.

12. Hannah Rea

On December 10, 1812, Hannah and her husband John bought two tracts of land from her father's estate, called "Pine Grove" and "Rea's Farm," for the sum of $4,401.60. A year later they sold 28 acres, 39 perches of Rea's Farm to Hannah's brother, Gen. John Rea, who developed it as "Allendale." Hannah's legacy, which amounted to $4,221.92, was approximately one sixth of her father's estate, which she received November 24, 1823.

13. Sarah Rea

Sarah lived at the old Renfrew homestead in Duffiled after her marriage to John Renfrew. Elizabeth Culbertson Rea, John Rea's widow, lived with Sarah for a short time following her husband's death.

14. James Rea

James migrated to Ohio about 1802 and settled in what is now Clark County, a short distance from Springfield. There, he held minor county offices.

On September 24, 1818, he gave his son John power of attorney "to demand and receive from John Rea and Andrew Thomson, executors of my [his] father Samuel Rea deceased the balance of a certain legacy bequeathed to me [him]..." John Rea paid $200 on this demand, December 7, 1818 and February 15, 1819, respectively. To settle the account in full, John and his wife Elizabeth executed a deed in favor of James to the 121 acres, 128 perches which John had purchased from Joseph Culbertson in 1803. James accepted the property as "the full claim," valued at $3,784.06, against the executors. After his death, James' children sold the land for $1,000. The family remained in Ohio and James was buried in the Sinking Creek Baptist Society Cemetery, a community burial ground. His grave is marked in section 5.

15. Samuel Rea, Jr.

Served in the Revolutionary War under Capt. John Rea, 1780-1781. He enlisted in the Pennsylvania Militia at the age of 19 and is believed to have served until the end of the war. His first tour of duty was with Col. James Johnston's First Battalion, in which he served alongside his brother, then Captain John Rea, who was his company's commander.

Samuel migrated to Erie County, probably in the 1790s, after the opening of the "Erie Triangle," which comprised 202,187 acres in the extreme northwest of Pennsylvania. This had been sold to the federal government by the Six Nations Indians after the American Revolution. In 1792, the federal government sold the land to Pennsylvania. The area was opened for settlement by two great land companies and many warrants were issued in favor of partnerships. Such a partnership warrant, dated April 10, 1793, included the name Samuel Rea, Jr.

Samuel's sons Samuel and John were executors to his estate.