These sketches were written primarily to trace the paternal ancestry of Mary Wainwright who was born in Somerset County, Maryland, May 11, 1818. She married, November 15, 1837, William Underwood Roberts. They became the parents of a family of six sons and five daughters, all of whom were born at Jesterville and lived to mature years. Mary Wainwright Roberts had, at the time of her death, October 11, 1904, at the age of eighty-six years, more than eighty living descendants. She is buried beside her husband, in the old Roberts grounds, and on her stone is the inscription Mary “U” Roberts, the middle initial having been added by her husband as a mark of his affection.
Her ancestry involves, besides her Wainwright forebearers, the Cannons, the Bloyces, the Evanses, the Streets, the Rices, and others about whom something is said in this sketch, as well as several other ancient Somerset families.
The earliest known thread of the descent of Mary Wainwright is from Edward Cannon who was born in Yorkshire, England, and was an immigrant to Virginia. Two, and possibly three of the children of this Edward Cannon crossed the Chesapeake Bay to the western end of Somerset County, as came most of the earliest settlers of that region. The Cannons and the Wainwrights were united by the marriage of the granddaughter of Edward Cannon with William Wainwright, the first of the name of this line in Maryland. From the sons of this union the family splits into three, if not four branches. All of these are followed in this sketch, some, however, in more detail than others. Especial attention however, is turned to the family of Stephen, whose sons, Evans and Cannon Wainwright, left their native Somerset, removing across the Nanticoke River to Dorchester County. Later Cannon and several of his sons returned to Somerset, and one of these was Joshua, the father of that Mary with whom we began.
In preparing this paper, every effort has been made to discover all the Wainwright records that there are on the lower Eastern Shore, and to account systematically for all Wainwrights found there, especially before the time of the American Revolution. This the author has done except for a family of the name who resided in Worcester. He is not able to identify them with those of Somerset and Dorchester. This Worcester family is traced to James Wainwright who is said to have come from Scotland to Worcester County. The elder of the sons was George who married Elizabeth Perdue, and, dying in 1790, left issue sons, George, Hanna, and John with daughters Betsy Sarah and Nellie Patty. James, the other son of the first George, was cast off in his father’s will, but apparently continued to reside in Worcester till the time of the Census of 1790, after which ho seems to disappear. May he have been that James Wainwright who shows up in Talbot County at just that timo? If so, he was or became a Quaker, and is the progenitor of the Wainwright family of Delaware and New Jersey, a family that has given several distinguished officers to the American Navy. The daughters of the immigrant George married into the Gale, Stanton, Cramer, Anderson, and Havin families of Worcester County. Further information will be useful.
To this sketch in its present form very many members of the family have contributed. At a number of points throughout the paper such aid is cited. In addition considerable aid was rendered by an aged black man, if by name, who had been a Wainwright slave. He died in 1937 at the age of 95 years, and had lived all his days in the vicinity, had served several branches of the family and participated in the work of the removal of the Cannon Wainwright group from Dorchester back to Somerset.
Wainwright descendants whose names are Roberts are to be shown in the parallel Roberts history. In this volume generally they are not shown beyond the first generation of the name.
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“July 22, 1935 ; revised … March 1942.”