The earliest known ancestor of the Cash family of Fancy Farm, Kentucky is Thomas Cash of London, England, according to research begun by Brother Leo Willett, compiler and editor of The History of St. Jerome Fancy Farm, Kentucky 1836-1986. Notes that he collected over the years have been generously shared by Beverly Cash Gourley.
Thomas Cash’s birth record is unknown. However, we do know that Thomas married Martha Johnson on August 4, 1652 at St. John Anglican Church in London, in the borough of Hackney.
Thomas and Martha Cash Lived in London’s East End.
On February 28, 1660, their son, John Cash, was christened at the church St. Botolph Without Aldgate in London. The church record reads, “John Cash son to Thomas Cash, Carpenter, & Martha his wife born 20 baptized 28”. St. Boltolp still exists. Though this is an Anglican church, non Anglicans, including Roman Catholics were often baptized there. Therefore, the religious affiliation of the Cash family at this time is uncertain.
Other children born to the family include an earlier son also named John who lived from 1657 to 1660. Samuel Cash lived from 1663 to 1666. William Cash was born in 1664 and died in 1667. Elizabeth Cash was born in 1667, but her death date is unknown. This information is from English parish records. The family lived for a time on Rosemary Lane in east London, a street later now named Royal Mint Street, a short distance from the Tower of London.
When he was 24 years of age, John Cash was indentured to Richard Heath for seven years and transported to the English colony of Maryland. This is according to City of London records transcribed by Michael Ghirelli, B.A. and published in A List of Emigrants From England to America 1682-1692 . The extracted record reads: “John Cash, son of Thomas Cash, of Jamaica Place was bound to Richard Heath for 7 years in Maryland on July 11, 1684”. Some sources for this record have it as “John Cash, son of Thomas Cash, Jamaica Planter…” Since it seems unlikely that a London carpenter would somehow have become a planter in Jamaica, I tend to believe that Thomas Cash of Jamaica Place is the correct reading.
Jamaica Place is a minor street on London’s East End. There is no known record of Thomas Cash in the English Caribbean colony of Jamaica.
The colony of Maryland had been founded by the Calvert Family in 1634 from a grant of land along Chesapeake Bay by English King Charles I. It was the personal property of the Calvert’s and was established as a business and to provide a haven for English Roman Catholics who were subject to persecution and wanted to practice their religion more freely. However, most of the settlers outside of southern Maryland were Protestant and conflicts over religion continued sporadically in early Maryland.
Though economically successful, the Calvert Family had to fight at times to keep control of Maryland. This mirrored conflicts in England over religion and the king’s authority. The English Civil War (1642-1651) resulted in the execution of King Charles I and the triumph of the Puritans and Oliver Cromwell. Monarchy was restored under Charles II (1661). But when James II assumed the throne (1685), his Catholic religion and lack of political skills caused him to be deposed in the “Glorious Revolution” (1688).
John Cash was sent to Maryland as an indentured servant in 1684.
It is not know why John Cash immigrated to America. There is evidence that Richard Heath, the man who owned his indenture, was an agent for contracting indentures and sending servants to Maryland in 1684. Between April and August 1684, Heath signed indenture papers with seven others: Nathaniel Briscoe and William Smith was indentured for four years. William Overdell was indentured for seven years, like John Cash, and William Whitehead, who was only 13, was bound for eight years.
Three women were also indentured to Richard Heath about the same time. Elizabeth Core is listed as a London spinster. Mary Read and Mary Pond both accepted indenture to escape imprisonment for minor thefts. Read was committed to Bridewell Prison for stealing two chickens and Pond for taking a pair of “Stayes”. Possibly they all crossed the Atlantic on the same ship since arranging multiple crossings would have been more complicated.
John Cash was older than most indentured servants who were usually teenagers and his term of service was longer than the average of four or five years. After completing the indenture, the servants were given 50 acres of unsettled land by the colony where they might start their own farm. In time if they were lucky and hard working, they could marry and acquire servants themselves. It is estimated that 70 percent of Europeans arriving in the Cheasapeake region at this time were indentured to pay for their passage across the Atlantic.
It is difficult to conceive of the amount of work required to take virgin forest land and turn it into a farm. Without money and only a minimum of tools, John Cash would have to trade his labor to obtain use of a horse and plow. He would have to hire himself to neighbors to acquire the livestock necessary for survival — a milk cow, hogs for meat, sheep for their wool, and a few chickens.
Above feeding himself and his livestock, he would have needed to start a tobacco crop. Tobacco
was the currency needed to pay land taxes and purchase any imported items such as an ax, a musket for hunting, or a iron hoe. Most former indentured servants were unable to hold onto their land and became tenant farmers.
Tobacco was the most valuable commodity produced in North America and exported to Europe. Towns were small, and many plantations had their own shipping docks along the many estuaries of the Chesapeake region. Slaves imported from Africa gradually replaced indentured servants as a legally bound labor force, especially after 1700.
Land records from Prince George’s County show that John Cash purchased a 100 acre tract from Mary Yates, a widow, on June 29, 1698, seven years after his indenture ended. The price of the land was 4000 pounds of tobacco and adjoined the land of Charles Williams. Mary Yates sold an adjoining tract known as the “Vale of Benjamin” to Thomas James on the same day and at the same price. The land was “on the west side of Patuxent River in the freshes”. Maryland plantations usually had distinctive names.
All did not go smoothly at times for John Cash. He was sued in court on several occasions. Joseph Jackson and Company sued for payment of debts amounting to 820 pounds of tobacco. Items that John Cash owed for were furniture, a sadle, cloth, hat and coat and yarn hose. Other legal actions against him invloved payment for several pairs of shoes and a third involved payment for cider bought at various times.
John Cash married Mary Dawson, probably about 1711. She was born September 22, 1693 in Charles County, Maryland and was the daughter of John and Elizabeth Dawson.
Six children are recorded for John and Mary Cash at St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Dawson Cash was born August 11, 1712. John, Jr. was born August 22, 1714. Ruth Cash was born October 5, 1717. The birth of Rachel Cash was recorded for July 1, 1720. Ann’s was listed as April 28, 1722.
Caleb Cash was born on July 10, 1723 as recorded by the church records. St. Barnabas Episcopal Church still exsists.
The will of John Cash of Prince George’s County, Maryland was written on August 28, 1726 and probated September 26, 1726. He left his plantation house to his wife, Mary, during her lifetime and afterward to Caleb Cash who was then three years old. John also left use of his personal estate to Mary during her widowhood. In the event Mary remarried, one third of the personal estate and the residue would go to the children equally. To the older sons, Doren (Dawson?) and John, Jr., he left “Huckillberry Hill” plantation on the east branch of the Potomac River.
The Maryland Calendar of Wills, the legal registry, also records the will of Edward Dawson, father of Mary Cash, probated June 28, 1732. In the will he leaves 50 acres of land to his grandson John Cash, Jr. as well as some of his personal property.
From notes collected by genealogist Brother Leo Willett, editor and compiler of the History of St. Jerome
Listing for London street, Jamaica Place, http://www.londonancestor.com/boyle/str-j.htm
Michael Ghirelli, B.A., A List of Emigrants From England to America 1682-1692