Genealogy Rabbit Hole #1- McComas Family

The following is a genealogical post explaining connections I make for the ancestors of Jackson and Larkin McComas of the Hampstead and Manchester area of Carroll County Maryland.  The connections are speculative but appear to me to have the greatest probability. The evidence is geographical proximity and some land records. The structure of this post is first a synopsis of evidence in italics followed by brief annotations of sources and finally any counter-arguments or qualifications are mentioned in a bullet-point. This post would not be possible without the work of Mike Pierce and his “Map Maker” site.

First Connection:

Geographical proximity and name repetition- Larkin died in Manchester in 1843, Jackson lived in the 6th district Baltimore and died in Hampstead 1895. Both Larkin and Jackson would have a first born son named James.

Jackson is brother to Larkin and son to James McComas who was enumerated in the 1820 Census as being in 5th District Baltimore: 1 male under 10 (1810-1820); 1 male between 16-18 (1812-1814); 2 males 16-26 (1814-1794); 1 male 45 and up (at least 1775); 2 females 16-26 (1794-1814); 3 people in agriculture

This James is likely the same James listed in the debts of Shadrack Hurst for 3.75 dollars. Dated Dec. 14 1825. Also mentioned are David Kidd, Moses Kidd, Jacob Hurst, James B. Davis, Thomas Kell, and Phillip Keller. BALTIMORE COUNTY PROBATES. (Inventory) Shadrack Hurst. vol. 38. pg. 171. 7 November 1829. James B Davis is likely the same that lived in Hampstead in 1850. The Hurst family owned property in the 6th District.

Also of note is that Phillip KELLER, according to online trees and I believe a family bible record, was married to Elizabeth MCCOMBET (born c. 1800). In my quick searching I have not found others of this last name, McCombet, leading me to believe this is a phonetic spelling maybe of McComas. If so, Elizabeth may be one of James’s daughters.

  • As far as I am aware, only one other McComas family was active in the same area, that of Amos McComas (who intermarried with the Hurst family). He is likely the son of Aquila (3rd Generation), who was the son of Alexander (2nd Generation). There does not appear to be any likely candidates in this line – (James Preston McComas stayed in Harford County).

Second Connection:

Geographical proximity and corroborating census data- the ages, genders, and number match between the James of the 5th district in the 1820 census, and that of James McComas in the Mine Run Hundred of the 1810 census.

James McComas enumerated in the Mine Run Hundred District, likely on the Harford border near Joshua Kidd’s property “Timber Ridge”, 1 male under 10 (1800-1810), 1 male 10-16 (1794-1800), 1 male 16-26 (1784-1794), 1 male 26-45 (1765-1784), 1 female 10-16 (1794-1800), 1 female 16-26 (1784-1794), 1 female 26-45 (1765-1784), 1 female at least 45 (before 1765) – (James’s wife died before 1820 maybe; Jackson was born around 1815)

James McComas witnessed the will of Joshua Kidd on 13 January 1812, BALTIMORE COUNTY PROBATES. (Wills) Joshua Kidd. vol. 9. pg. 6 November 1813. This Joshua lived in the 2nd District south of My Lady’s Manor.

Larkin owed 7.25 to William Orrick from an open account dated 1828 to 1830. William Orrick was a physician in the 2nd District. BALTIMORE COUNTY PROBATES (Inventory) William Orrick. vol. 48 pg 306. 28 December 1838.

James owed 11 shillings and 2 pence to William Slade of Baltimore County (likely 2nd District) BALTIMORE COUNTY PROBATES (Inventory) William Slade. vol 17 pg 512. 27 June 1795.

  • A John Marche McComas would reside near My Lady’s Manor, but this was later in the 19th century. Online source give his father as Nicholas Day McComas who resided in the 4th District Harford County.

Third Connection:

Geographical proximity, Court Record, and seems to be the likeliest candidate. To further trace this James McComas I rely on the probability that he migrated from Harford County and that it was likely from the North part of the county where several McComas families had property in the Deer Creek area, specifically Federal Hill. The strongest evidence for this is the court record. Also, if you consider other families followed a similar migration path (see John Marche McComas and Amos McComas above for example) without stronger evidence this seems the likeliest option.

HARFORD COUNTY COURT. James McComas of Daniel. case number 76.06(18). 12 April 1808. Historical Society of Harford County. Bel Air, Maryland. This document establishes James McComas of Daniel’s residence in Baltimore county. The Court case involved Samuel Bradford’s lessee William McComas vs. Nicholas D. McComas, Frederick Amoss, and Alexander McComas. In the summons’s letterhead Harford County is crossed out and “Baltimore County” written in, meaning James McComas of Daniel resides in Baltimore County at least by 1808. This document also supports the “fourth connection,” that his father is Daniel.

  • There is a James Jr born to Colonel James whose birth and approximate death match the best dates I have for the 5th District James. However, it appears this James stayed in the Abingdon area of Harford and became a Justice of the Peace. There are online trees listing a marriage to Sarah Howard with children whose number and age do not match the 5th District family.

Fourth Connection:

Likeliest Candidate, above Court Record and Land Records. In this area I have found one James who may be the same of the 5th district. In several land records he is listed as James Junior, or James the Younger. His father was, however, a Daniel as a comparison of the land records shows. The James Junior who purchases 85 acres of “Hills and Valleys” is the same James of Daniel who later mortgages the 85 acres of “Hills and Valleys.” (This is confused by the alternating references to “Hills and Valleys” or “Hills and Dales” – “Hills and Valleys” is on the Federal Hill road. There is a “Hills and Dales” tract further West but James and Daniel never owned that tract. This is corroborated by the subsequent sale, after the land is seized, to Thomas Kell.)

HARFORD COUNTY COURT (Land Records) JLG E, p. 0319, MSA_CE113_5. 21 February     1783.  On 21 February 1783, Daniel sold to his son, James, “Hills and Valleys” for 250 pounds. On the same day Daniel sold to James “two negro boys viz. Negro Samuel, aged fourteen years Negro William aged ten years also two horse hine, one Sorrel mare, the other a Brown horse, one feather bed, bed stead, two sheets, one boulster, two pillows, one blanket, and coverlid.” In exchange James gave Daniel the 160 acres of “Addition to Hills and Valleys.”

On 22 September 1785, purchased the lease for 247 acres of Reserve lands for 59 pounds 2 shillings and 4 pence. The greater portion of this land would become “Double Purchase.”

HARFORD COUNTY COURT (Land Records) JLG K, pg 408. MSA CE 113-10. 22 August     1789. On 22 August 1789, “James McComass the Younger of Harford County planter” mortgaged the 85 acres of “Hills and Valleys” to Robert Smith for 35 pounds. James needed to pay the interest from 5 May 1786 before 22 August 1791.

HARFORD COUNTY (Land Records) James McComas of Daniel. “Federal Hill,” Unpatented Certificate 152. 6 June 1792. Witnesses: Jacob Bradenbaugh and James Tyrrell.  In 1792, James attempted to patent the 53.5 acres of “Federal Hill.” This tract stood on the road leading from “John Coxes Mill to Baltimore Town.” On 10 December 1805 James signed over his title and interest to Thomas Ayers.

HARFORD COUNTY (Land Records) John Cox. “Timonium,” Patented Certificate 817; Certificate IC L 495; Patent IC O 542. 6 June 1794.  Perhaps since John McComas of Daniel needed to transfer title to 4 acres this may have been their father Daniel’s dwelling plantation if not in “Ward’s Purchase.” The activity regarding the land may indicate Daniel died around 1794.

On 6 October 1794, James had 30 acres of “Timonium” surveyed for a patent application. On this same day a John McComas assigned his title of 4 acres, bearing the date of 26 March 1794, to James. The property line began on the “North East of a Run descending into Deer Creek called Daniel McComas’s Spring Branch.” “Timonium” also bordered “the Waggon Road leading past John Coxes Mill on Little Creek.” The title was transferred on 2 October 1795 to John Cox.

HARFORD COUNTY COURT (Land Records) JLG L, p. 0448, MSA_CE113_11. 22 June 1795. Witnesses: George Gallion and John Cox Jr.  On 22 June 1795, James mortgaged to John Cox for 16 pounds 15 shillings “one waggon and the Gears thereto belonging, one Roan or Grey Mare seven years old, one Horse Colt a bright Bay, one year old (the two colts came of the aforesaid two Mares.” James had till September to pay it off with interest.

HARFORD COUNTY (Land Records) John Cox. “Double Purchase,” Patented Certificate 236; Certificate IC N pg 346;Patent IC L pg 529. 21 February 1799.  On 4 December 1795 James had 187 acres of “Double Purchase” surveyed. “Hills and Valleys” was incorporated into this patent. Before the land was patented on 21 February 1799, the deed was transferred to John Cox.

HARFORD COUNTY COURT (Land Records) HD T, p. 209. MSA CE 113-19. 19 October 1807. Witnesses: Nicholas D. McComas and Thomas W. Ayres. On 19 October 1807:

whereas at a county court begun and held for Harford County on the fourth tuesday of November in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven a certain Daniel McComas by a judgment of the same court recovered against James McComas of Daniel late of Harford County yeoman the debt and costs in the said writ named whereof the said James is convict and that whereas the said Daniel McComas is since dead and James Madden is appointed administrator of the said Daniel McComas and that whereas since to wit at August term seventeen hundred and ninety-nine it was considered that the said James Madden administrator as aforesaid should have execution against the said James McComas for the debt.

On 11 February 1800, the sheriff Robert Amos was commanded to seize James McComas’s property including “one tract of leased land called Hill and Dales.” James Madden later placed a bid of 83 pounds 19 shillings and 80 pence.

After losing his property, James either worked on farms for wages or tenant-farmed. I think this because there does not appear to be any subsequent deeds in Harford or Baltimore for James or his descendants. It would make sense, too, in that neither Jackson or Larkin owned land. Between October 1807 and April 1808 James moved his family into Baltimore County.

Fifth Connection

Geographical proximity, land records and likeliest candidate- James McComas’s father, Daniel McComas of the Federal Hill area is the same who received “Ward’s Purchase” from the 2nd Generation Daniel McComas, who resided in Gresham’s College near Bush River.

BALTIMORE COUNTY COURT (Land Records) TB E, p. 0414, MSA_CE66_22. 15 April 1747. On 15 April 1747, Daniel McComas’s father first leased 190 acres of “Ward’s Purchase” for 15 pounds. In his will he would give Daniel the lease.

HARFORD COUNTY (Land Records) “Davises Lott” Patented Certificate 215. 11 August 1789; Richard Hope “Friendship Enlarged” Patented Certificate 285. 17 January 1787. On 9 March 1761, Daniel leased the 68.5 acres of “Daniel’s Lookout.” Daniel no longer leased it by January 1787.

BALTIMORE COUNTY PROBATES (Wills) Daniel McComas. Book 3 pg 19. 1765 : son James receives Greshams College; son Daniel “The land whereon my son Daniel McComas now Dwells called Wards purchase being in his Lordships reserve my will is that the land be equally divided between my two sons Daniel and John”

HARFORD COUNTY COURT (Land Records) JLG E, p. 0319, MSA_CE113_5. 21 February 1783.  In 1765, Daniel leased 85 acres of “Hills and Valleys” from John Long.

HARFORD COUNTY COURT (Land Records) AL 1, p. 0454, MSA_CE113_1. 10 April 1769.  In 1769 Daniel transferred 95 acres of “Ward’s Purchase” to his brother William for 100 pounds.

HARFORD COUNTY COURT (Land Records) AL 1, p. 0456, MSA_CE113_1. 1 December 1774.  On 1 December 1774 it appears that Daniel Jr.’s brother John transferred his 95 acres to William as well for 100 pounds.

After Daniel sold to James “Hills and Valleys” it appears that Daniel and James had a falling out. In 1787, Daniel won a court case against James.

  • One other possibility that I am looking at is that William and James had different fathers named Daniel. A William (of 2nd Generation John) purchased “Collings First Shift” which is very close to “Federal Hill.” He also Proprietary leased “McComas Desire” which also borders “Federal Hill.” This William had a son Daniel born c. 1752 which could be the father of James although the birth dates are getting a little tight- James was born c. 1765-1775, and “Hills and Valleys” was first leased in 1765 by Daniel McComas. “Collings First Shift” was transferred to Samuel Jenkins by at least May of 1787 when he had it surveyed as part of a new tract “Spittle Craft.” Same with “McComas Desire” which became “Orrs Survey” in 1787.


Daniel then had one son: James.  John of Daniel I believe is the brother and not a son. Daniel likely died around 1794, but at least between 1785 and 1800. James then lost his land in Harford County and migrated first to Baltimore County near My Lady’s Manor and county border with Harford, and then to 5th District Baltimore near the area that would become the Carroll County border. James may have had 6 children (1820 census).  I believe Larkin, Jackson, and Elizabeth were 3 of his children.


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