A “Chance” Encounter with “Gaither’s Chance”

Imagine my recent excitement when, while ‘playing’ on Google maps, a Coldwell Banker pop-up screen revealed a home sale listing for “Gaither’s Chance,” Clarksville, Maryland! Kismet! Needless to say, by the next morning my ever-helpful, very supportive hubby Mike was driving us there.

GaitherChanceFrontThis Gaither homestead was unknown to me. It is not the “Gaither’s Chance” of Prince George’s, now Montgomery County, Maryland, which was home of early Gaithers in the Benjamin line. Rather, the original 1747 patentee was billed as Samuel Gaither of Anne Arundel County, now Howard County, Maryland. WOW!!! Could it be that a Gaither home from 1747, unknown to me and in my home state was still standing? It was. It is. But, unfortunately, maybe not for long - - but, more on that later. Continue reading

Independence Day Greetings from The Society of John Gaither Descendants

As we celebrate this Fourth of July with picnics and fireworks, the Society would like to pay homage to our forefathers and mothers whose love of, and commitment to, America were so great, and their personal sacrifices so significant, that they are almost unimaginable today.

In 1776, 240 years ago, Gaithers from different Colonies joined the Revolution for Independence. In Maryland alone, no fewer than 50 were on the rosters. Gaithers joined militias, were Continental soldiers, were contributing food, goods and more - - sacrificing in so many ways. Some made the ultimate sacrifice.

Gaithers responded to the Revolutionary cause as a family that had called America home for 156 years. At least 5 generations of Gaithers had been born on American soil prior to the War for Independence. Our roots run as deep as any American family - - as do our family’s collective contributions to our Great Nation - - something of which to be so proud this Independence Day!

Colonel Henry Chew Gaither, Revolutionary War Hero

Until recently, I did not appreciate fully the extent of the service in the Revolutionary War of our patriotic ancestor, Colonel Henry Chew Gaither. By happenstance, I had the pleasure of encountering Colonel Gaither in two Revolutionary War settings this past summer that “book-end” his illustrious service. First, when paying a family visit to Greensboro, North Carolina, I learned that he was an officer in the battle of Guilford Courthouse in which the Patriots weakened and delayed a superior British force, directly leading to their final defeat at Yorktown.

My second surprise encounter was at a Maryland State Archives seminar about their research into the Battle of Brooklyn (also known as the Battle of Long Island). This British-won battle was the first major engagement of the Revolutionary War. The Archives’ project is to identify and formally recognize the Marylanders who fought in that horrific battle, holding their line and earning the appellation adopted by Maryland as the “Old Line State”. The project has identified Henry Chew Gaither as one of the heroic “Maryland 400” soldiers in that battle.

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Did you know . . . you can get lots of Gaither documents on the Maryland State Archives website?

The Maryland State Archives in Annapolis, Maryland has a treasure trove of historical documents on the Gaither family. Fortunately for genealogists, Maryland claims to have digitized more documents than any other state, and many gems on the Gaither family can be found on line.

Maryland’s State Archives’ Internet address is www.msa.maryland.gov, and the homepage provides an overview of its contents. Two particular sites that are especially helpful for conducting research are: 1) Archives of Maryland Online www.aomol.msa.maryland.gov, which contains a variety of records, including probate, judicial, and military records; and, 2) www.mdlandrec.net, which contains digitized land deeds back to the 1600s.

You won’t be disappointed in what you’ll find on these sites.  To whet your appetite check out Volume 10, pages 194-195 (beginning at the bottom of p. 194). It is the record, often referenced, in which: “Letters of administration were issued to widow Mary on John Geather’s estate, 24 November 1652.” As a researcher, it’s exciting to have the source of that oft-quoted synopsis, and to read the entire court entry, which is as follows:

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2015 Reunion Major Success

Chattanooga, Tennessee was the site of our 32nd Annual Reunion, and what a wonderful time we had! Our three days together were packed with plenty of socializing, sightseeing, dining, meeting, and learning. President Mack Gaither, our local member/hostess Deb Cates, Reunion Committee members Rebecca Gaither, Linda Beardslee, and Arleen McGinn, and Rita Allison really know how to have a Reunion! Continue reading

Did you know . . . about the huge discovery at John Gater’s first American home, Jamestown?

If you haven’t heard, there’s been a huge discovery at the ongoing archaeological dig at Jamestown Fort! The Jamestown Rediscovery Team, in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution, has identified the names of the four men buried within the Chancel of the 1608-1617 original Church. All four were leaders in the earliest years of the Colony: Reverend Robert Hunt, Captain Gabriel Archer, Sir Ferdinando Wainman, and Captain William West. Continue reading

Did you know . . . a Gaither once owned the home of a signer of the Declaration of Independence . . .

Did you know that a Gaither once owned the home of a signer of the Declaration of Independence? According to accounts prepared by the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties, "Thomas H. and Sophia B. Gaither of Howard County, Maryland, purchased the house at 207 Hanover Street , Annapolis, Maryland in 1896, which was once owned by Maryland Signer of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Stone. A veteran of the Civil War, Thomas, and wife Sophia, purchased the house as a wedding gift for their daughter, Georgiana, who married 'Collector of the Port" James Lawrence Bailliere. The 1900 Census lists Mr. & Mrs. Bailliere and two sons as living there. With the death of Bailliere in 1917, Georgiana moved to Baltimore to be near her family."

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Did you know . . . two Gaither homesteads are listed on the National Register of Historic Places . . .

Did you know that at least two Maryland homesteads settled by Gaithers are on the National Register of Historic places? “Abington” was patented 365 years ago, in 1649, by John Gaither and Robert Proctor after arriving in Maryland, from Virginia. It is located in Anne Arundel County and was listed on the National Register in 1984.

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Did you know . . . two Gaither homesteads are listed on the National Register of Historic Places . . .

Did you know that at least two Maryland homesteads settled by Gaithers are on the National Register of Historic places? “Abington” was patented 365 years ago, in 1649, by John Gaither and Robert Proctor after arriving in Maryland, from Virginia. It is located in Anne Arundel County and was listed on the National Register in 1984.

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Did you know . . . that 294 years ago at All Hallows Church . . .

Did you know that 294 years ago, on July 10, 1720, three Gaither families gathered at All Hallows Church in Anne Arundel County, Maryland and together, baptized their newest born? The All Hallows Church Records reveal the following:

10 July 1720 were baptized: Amos son of John Gaither and wife Elizabeth; Rachel, daughter of Samuel White and wife Rachel (Gaither); and, Ruth, daughter of Richard Stimson and wife Rebekah (Gaither).

Just imagine our ancestors gathering around that baptistery almost 300 years ago! It’s a thrilling vision and wonderful to discover that “the ties that bind” were strong among those family members of so very long ago.

All Hallows was the Gaither’s first church in Maryland, with informative records of births, deaths and marriages. In recognition of its significance in our ancestors’ lives, our Society donated a lamppost in memory of John Gaither, who died in 1702. Today, that lamppost still greets churchgoers on the front walk of All Hallows Church.

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