The old baseball phrase is especially true if your name is Henry Chew Gaither! There are more mix-ups about the Gaither men in the family who carry this name than most other names.
We’ve recently read about the first Henry Chew Gaither (1751-1811) in articles by Nancy Jones. This Henry Chew Gaither was the son of Henry Gaither (1724-1783) & Martha Ridgely Gaither. Right away there are historical mix-ups between father Henry and son Henry Chew Gaither. Henry Chew Gaither (HCG) was the first to carry the maiden name of Henry, Sr.’s grandmother Sarah Chew, spouse of Benjamin Gaither. The Chews were an influential family in Maryland history.
The first Henry Chew Gaither served throughout the Revolutionary War and remained in the new U.S. Army retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel in 1801. He was an important figure serving as fort commandant at two forts in the south where he manned the frontier with Spain, Native Americans, and American settlers that were trying to take lands from Spain and Native Americans. His papers are at the War Department, the University of Texas, Austin – Briscoe Center, and the University of Georgia library. He never married and had no legitimate children.
Henry Chew’s brothers and sisters so admired him they started naming sons after him. Brother William was the first in 1778, brother Daniel (my 3rd great grandfather) did so in 1792. When HCG passed away in 1811 he left most of his estates to these nephews that carried his name. Five of them were listed in his will. Some of his namesakes became legislators and other high officials. They are also often mixed up. Some of them named their sons Henry Chew Gaither. Tracing the families of each of these men is a puzzle that is interesting to follow, but it’s easy to lose your way.
20th and 21st century researchers apparently skim the surface of history hence placing Lt. Colonel HCG as the owner of Pleasant Fields and doing things that his father actually did in Montgomery county, being married, the father of several Gaither children at Pleasant Fields, etc., none of which is true. The puzzle continues for many, many years and takes time to follow each one of the HCGs.
We wonder how many of you have a Henry Chew Gaither in your lineage and if you would share that relationship by commenting below for a future article to be published here and in the Gaither Connection?
Online, in some manner, 84 living Henry Gaithers can be found. Some may be Henry Chew Gaithers. Are you one or is a member of your family one of them? Inquiring people would like to know.