Immigrant to Frontier Bear Hunter


Pictured is the Cadiz, Ohio Courthouse. We were in the pursuit of George Laporte’s Last Will and Testament in the Spring of 2011. The record’s office was quiet as our visit preceded the current frenzy over the shale oil deposits which underlay this part of Ohio. We found the original papers and made copies. The smallest denomination that I had with was a $5 bill for which there was no change. A well dressed gentleman at the counter asked who we were looking for and I told him that we had found the will of George Laporte. He corrected me in my pronunciation with a “In these parts the family is known as the Layports”. He kindly offered to pay the 85 cents on my behalf and then left. The clerk then explained that the gentleman was the local judge. Having been corrected by the judge, I left the office much wiser.

I am still not sure about George’s actual birthplace having “narrowed” it down to Alsace-Lorraine or Normandy in 1747. Still working on this. In 1769 he marries Nancy McCaslin in Washington County, Maryland. Mary was born in Harrison,  New Jersey in 1750. George’s Huguenot beliefs would not of been a hindrance to a Presbyterian like Nancy, but her father did not seem to have been too excited by the match. Father Patrick dies shortly after the wedding and leaves his daughter, Nancy Leport, 5 shillings. Less than 1 percent of his 80 pound estate.

George enlists in Captain Daniel Cresap’s Maryland 3rd Militia Battalion and is awarded 50 acres in Allegheny County in Western Maryland for his three years of service. By 1800, George and Nancy move their family to Beech Flats near Steubenville, Ohio on the Ohio River. By 1806, George had moved to Cadiz on the frontier. Image These cabins were typical of George’s Ohio frontier. Since there were no roads at this time, settlers would have carried their earthly goods on pack horses following Indian trails. Settlers depended on venison, wild turkey and bear meat while waiting for a crop of potatoes, pumpkins and corn. Community feasts were common and roasted green corn was cause for celebration.

During the 1793 Indian border wars (probably Delaware or Wyandots), the family cabin was burned and his 18 year old son, Thomas was killed. After a truce had been reached, one of the Indians who had taken part in the attack on the family cabin boasted of his killing Tom in the presence of his brother John during a general muster being held in New Philadelphia, Ohio. John attempted to kill the Indian on the spot but was restrained temporarily. John followed the Indian to Salt Run in Jefferson County and “despatched” the Indian when the Indian stooped to get a drink of water.

George was recognized as one of the famous hunters and trappers of Harrison County. George and his sons managed to catch many things besides bears in their traps. An itinerant Methodist minister managed to have his horse tangled in one of the traps and remained there until rescued by George. In a story that is widely reported, George and his two sons captured a sheep eating wolf and skinned it alive before releasing it. This had to happen before the SPCA an PETA were formed.

George and Nancy raise their surviving five children of whom Abraham is our next ancestor to follow. In George’s will, he bequeaths to Nancy Leeport “all my Beds and Bedding and all my Household Goods with my Bay Mare and Colt with two cows, a Heifer and six heads of sheep and if she stands in needs of any more she shall have the rest of the property.” The eldest son, John received the family farm in the Stock Township and married Verlinda Harrison, second cousin of President William H. Harrison, the hero of Tippecanoe.

Abraham decided to head west.

We did locate the family farm to the west of Cadiz but the land was being strip mined for coal and there were blasting warning signs everywhere. We did not explore too much The picture is the family farm where no blasting is taking place.Family History Trip Spring 2011 1577

22 thoughts on “Immigrant to Frontier Bear Hunter

  1. wow, thank you Mark & Peggy – this is cool stuff – being “technologically challenged” – I will still try to forward it to Coral…

  2. I’m quite impressed with the depth of your research into your family. The wolf skinned alive really shocked me. Savage times, those!

  3. Thanks Dad – this is really great. Thanks for including the pictures as well. Looking forward to reading more.

    • Marilyn,

      According to my information, George was born in France around 1747. My genetics and our research in France gives the family origins in the Cevenne region near Nimes in Provence. We are planning a trip to Salt Lake City this fall to see if we can locate the appropriate birth records. I will post the results when we have some specifics.


      • Not really. We found the original land owned by George near Cadiz, Ohio. The Layports are still numerous in the area. The big mystery is tracing George back to France. We believe that the family originated in the Cevennes region in the south. I posted a blog about our visit there in the spring of 2013.
        I need to go to the Mormon records in Salt Lake and spend a few days looking at French records. I will post the results on and in a blog.

      • We found out that we can qualify for membership in the DAR through George. He fought under Daniel Cresap. I can give you more info if you like. Also, Here is another tidbit:
        In a message dated Feb 26, 2014, Daniel Heavilin,, descended from Jarret M. Heavilin, Jacob Briggs Heavilin’s brother, writes:
        Here’s the family folk-lore that was passed down to me: During the American Revolution, William and his family, and all the other Quakers in Monmouth County, were forced to flee elsewhere in the months leading up to the Battle of Monmouth. Undeclared civil war was being raged by folks loyal to the crown, and those favoring independence. William and his family, went across the water, to Maryland, where they and many others were sheltered by a Catholic diocese; of which, a French immigrant named George Laporte was a member…. When Samuel and Stephen married “catholic girls” the Heavilin father did not approve, and they were essentially “shunned.” …Their parents. and brother and sister, buried in The Old Quaker Burial Grounds, in Monmouth County, had their names spelled Haviland, on their stones, and burial records.

  4. Instead of “Mary was born in Harrison, New Jersey in 1750.”, did you mean Nancy was born in Hardiston, New Jersey? also, I heard she was born in 1745. Who was Patrick McCaslin, and was he an acquaintance of Stephen Haviland, who was father of Samuel and Stephen Hevlin of NJ, who married the Layport sisters, Margaret and Mary?

  5. Thank you for the info you have provided. I am also a descendent of George and Abraham Layport. I see here that George was possibly a Huguenot. But, later in the comment section. Marilyn comments that George was a member of the catholic church in Maryland???

    • Jeff, you are right. Our family said that George was a Huguenot, also. Someone from another branch of our family brought up the Catholic possibility. However, I believe the way to reconcile that is, George’s wife was Nancy McCaslin, born in Hardiston, Morris Co, NJ. to Patrick and Mary MacCausland. Patrick was Irish Catholic. I found a family of LePortes living in that same general area at the time. They haven’t retained a record of a son named George. But, if he married a Catholic, the Huguuenot family would most certainly have disinherited him, which might account for George and Nancy’s move to Maryland. That would fit a story our Heavilin family attributed to their Haviland roots, when, in fact, it may more aptly apply to the Layport side of the family. (The story was they changed the spelling of the family name because of the parents being upset about the Catholic marriage. I don’t see where that happened in the Haviland family, but it does seem to have happened with the Layports. Can give you more info, if you email me at

  6. Dear Contributors,

    I apologize for the insertion of “Mary” where Nancy should have been. Yes, George La Porte (Leport, Layport) married Nancy Haviland Mc Casland (or McCausland) daughter of Patrick and Mary Mac Causland from Hardiston, New Jersey in 1769. Evidently, father Patrick was not overly pleased with the match as he leaves only 5 shillings of his 70 pound estate to Nancy Leport.

    As for religion, the Mc Caslin name originates in the Outer Hebrides in the Highlands of Scotland. This would be a heavily Catholic region. I have no idea when they actually immigrated to the colonies. Many Scots-Irish of whom the McCaslands may have been immigrated in the mid-1600s but most were Presbyterians. Those Protestants usually ended up in Pennsylvania not New Jersey. Catholic or Protestant. We need church records. Right now I am betting on Catholic for the Mc Caslands. Marilyn, you say rather strongly that Patrick was Catholic. Are these family records or what?

    Poor George lacks records also to demonstrate his origins. Ancestry leaves me with Normandy to Alsace as origins with no documentation. The place of his birth is possibly 1729 in Maryland, the Catholic refuge. He would have been a ripe old 40 year old at the time of his marriage. That might be the cause of family friction. We know he joins Cresap’s unit during the Revolution for which he receives a land bounty in Maryland. Whether he was Protestant or Catholiic is still a question that needs to be resolved. Anyone have Parish records? Not sure where in Maryland the parish would have been.

    The Ohio book of early families definitely states that George Layport (or Leporth) was of French Huguenot descent. I still believe that he emigrated sometime around 1745 before the French and Indian War (1756-1763) when it would have been tough. Also most French Catholics headed north to the more welcoming political environment of French Canada. I would really like some help on this issue.

    • This is Marilyn (Heavilin) Current again. More comments concerning Patrick McCaslin/McCausland:

      Sorry to be a pain – but there is another typo in the correction! Nancy did not have the name Haviland connected to her name. She was Nancy McCausland/McCaslin Leport/Layport.It was Nancy’s two daughters, Margaret and Mary, who introduced the Haviland (Hevlin/Heavilin) name into the family. You meant that, right? 🙂

      I probably should not have been so definite about the family Catholic connection being through the McCaslins. I have no proof, but it is still my inclination at this point. We don’t know Patrick’s wife’s background, so possibly from her? We do know that George was of Huguenot background. The Huguenots were driven from France by the established Catholic church, so those two religions were historically at enmity, which would explain the family rift if a Huguenot married a Catholic.

      Does anyone have a copy of Patrick McCaslin’s will? I would love to have a copy to transcribe, or even an annotated version of it.

      I have some miscellaneous notes relating to Patrick McCaslin that some of you might find significant. Let me know if you glean anything useful from these:
      Name: Patrick McCaslin, Birth: 1725 in Sussex Co, New Jersey, Death: 13 MAY 1769 in Hardiston, Sussex Co, New Jersey, Marriage 1 Mary _ b: ABT 1729 in Sussex Co, New Jersey, Married: ABT 1749 in Harrison Co, Ohio, [NO- that isn’t possible. More likely Hardiston, Morris Co, NJ – MRC]
      Nancy McCaslin b: 1750 in Harrison, Sussex Co, New Jersey [Other sources give Hardyston/Hardiston, rather than Harrison, which is more probable, as there is no Harrison in Morris/Sussex Co.]… Death: 1820 in Harrison Co, Ohio
      Mary McCaslin b: 1752 in Sussex Co, New Jersey
      MRC NOTE: Sussex Co. was separated off of Morris Co. in 1753.
      French Huguenots, Dutch, German, Scotch and Irish intermingled early on in the area now known as Sussex County:
      Early Records in Sussex County, New Jersey
      [O]n the New Jersey side of the upper Delaware River…a substantial frontier settlement known as the Minisink or Walpack community had developed…in the century prior to the Revolution. Around 1650 the New Netherlands Holland Dutch had built the Old Mine Road, the first significant inland road in America, from Kingston, New York on the Hudson, through the mountains where New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey now meet and then along the New Jersey side of the Delaware to the Delaware Water Gap. The New Netherlands Dutch and some Huguenots settled along that stretch of the Delaware at the end of the 1600’s and during the early 1700’s. At the same time, Deutschers [Palatines, who were German] were leaving the Rhineland in great numbers, embarking from Rotterdam, arriving in southeastern Pennsylvania and gradually spreading up the Delaware. These two movements of people met and intermingled in the general vicinity of the Delaware Water Gap. As a result a rustic Dutch speaking community, largely isolated from the British colonial governments to the east and south, was well established along the upper Delaware by the time the English and Scotch-Irish began to arrive .
      The Historical Directory of Sussex County, N.J., compiled and edited by Edward A. Webb, 1871
      In the year 1735, three brothers…settled in that part of Greenwich now known as Oxford townwhip [in Morris/Sussex Co.] They were soon followed by…others, most of whom were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. Here, as a consequence, the first Presbyterian Church of the county was erected in the year 1744. Rev. James Campbell was the first minister.
      There is documentation of Patrick McCaslin living in Morris County during this time period:
      Abstract of Early Wills (1730-1750) – Morris County
      The following information is from “Archives of the State of New Jersey; First Series Vol. XXX; Vol. II of Calendar of Wills”; Edited by A. Van Doren Honeyman.
      1748, Oct. 17. BOYLESTONE, Benjamin, of Morris Co. Int. Admr., Richard Gardner, Junior, of Morris Co., yeoman….. payments to PATRICK M. CASHLIN, Burklos Co.
      1749, May 23. GARDNER (Gardiner), Richard, Sr., of Morris Co.; Int. Adm’r, Richard Gardner, Jr., yeoman. … 1750, April 25. Account. Paid to PATRICK MaCASLIN , …(Morris Wills, 19 N)

      MRC NOTE: “Burklos Co.” is probably a mis-transcription of “Barclays’ Company”, with Patrick McCaslin apparently being their local representative in Morris Co., New Jersey. Barclays bank was begun by London Quakers in 1685, and operated both on the continent and in the New World. It became known as “Barclays” in 1736. See the following:
      Barclays PLC (LSE: BARC, NYSE: BCS, TYO: 8642 ) is a global financial services provider operating in the UK, Europe, United States, Middle East, Latin America, Australia, Asia and Africa. It is a holding company that is listed in London and New York. It consists almost solely of Barclays Bank PLC…..This bank traces its roots back to 1685 in London. The name “Barclays” became associated with the business in 1736.
      Origins of the Clan
      The Norman family de Berchelai arrived in England with William the Conqueror. This same family built Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire in 1153. Roger de Berchelai is mentioned in the Domesday Book as is his son, John, listing them as owning twenty hamlets. In 1069 John left Gloucestershire for Scotland in the retinue of Margaret, sister of Edgar the Aetheling, later St Margaret. Margaret married King Malcolm III of Scotland who granted John de Berchelai the lands of Towie in Aberdeenshire and the title of Barclay of the ilk. Other members of the family settled in Mathers, Gartley and Pierston as well as places such as Brechin, Banff, Collairnie and Stonehaven. The clan forged strong alliances and took influential positions in national affairs. Between the years 1165 and 1189, Sir Walter de Berkeley, Gartley III, Lord Redcastle and Inverkeillor, was Great Chamberlain of Scotland under William I of Scotland.

      Medieval Period
      In 1351 Alexander de Berkeley, Gartley IX, became Mathers I through marriage to Katherine Keith, sister to the Earl of Marischal. Alexander, their son, was the first to adopt the name Barclay as a family name. Sir George Barclay, Gartley XIX, was Steward to the household of Mary I of Scotland .

      17th Century
      During the seventeenth century another Sir George Barclay was second in command of King James of Scotland’s Highland forces and a major branch of the family was established at Urie, near Stonehaven in Kincardineshire.

      The Thirty Years War and The Civil War
      During the Thirty Years’ War the First Laird of Urie, David Barclay, was a major in the service of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. He returned home when civil war broke out, attaining the rank of colonel in a regiment of horse, serving the king. Following his retirement in 1647 he purchased the Urie estate. He was charged with hostility to the government following the Restoration but was released after pressure from his friends. During his time in detention he was converted to the Religious Society of Friends by Laird Swinton, who was also imprisoned.

      The Second Laird of Urie, Robert Barclay, also a Quaker, published an “Apologia“ in 1675 described as “Explanation and Vindication of the Principles and Doctrines of the People called Quakers“. It was originally written in Latin but was translated into English, Dutch, German, French and Spanish. Barclay’s Apologia was widely influential, although Quakers were persecuted at the time, and he even attained favour at the royal court. He was friends with well-known Quakers, George Fox and William Penn and together created the idea of a city of brotherly love in America, which became Philadelphia. In 1682 Robert was granted 5,000 acres (20 km²) of land in East New Jersey by the proprietors of that state (then province) and bestowed upon him the title of governor, a title which he never took up. (Religious Society of Friends)
      After the Revolution of 1688, Friends repudiated their social radicalism and became respectable dissenters. No longer openly challenging church or state, Friends enjoyed toleration, accepted distraints for tithes, and sought to ensure their survival by concentrating upon family nurture and preserving distinctive customs of dress, speech, and endogamous marriage (that is, marriage with other Friends). Their primary impact on England came through innovations in technology, industry, and finance, for example the Darbys and Lloyds in iron and Barclays and Lloyds in banking.
      Sussex County, New Jersey Will Index
      192S – McCASLIN, Patrick. b. 14, p. 155. W. & Inv. 1769

      In a message dated 8/25/2007, writes to
      Nancy, How can I get a copy of Patrick McCaslin’s will?

      In a message dated 8/26/2007, writes:
      I think Cathy knows. I recall she replied to another researcher looking for a copy of a will. I abstracted them from the originals on microfilm at the LDS Church. There is a series of films with all the probate records. The films are listed by Will numbers. Maybe I need to get that information from Cathy myself and list it at the web site. I also got copies of Wills while in Newton several year ago, at the Hall of Records on the corner pf Park St. and High St.

      In a message dated 8/26/2007, writes:
      They moved the wills and deeds for the county to a refurbished building across the green from the old Hall of Records. I’m going there next week and will check out the setup. Apparently, all researchers are told to go to the new building but the older files are still in the Hall of Records. I hope that doesn’t mean they’ve restricted access to the originals.

  7. The eldest son of George and Nancy Layport was, indeed, John Layport. However, he is not the same John Layport who married Verlinda Harrison. John, the son of George and Nancy, was born abt 1771/72, probably in Maryland. John the son of George and Nancy married Mary McCain, and he was the one who inherited his father’s Stock Twp, family farm. John L. Layport was born 1804, in Jefferson Co., OH, and was the one who married Verlinda Harrison. He was a grandson of George and Nancy through their son Abraham, and his wife Margaret Blakey. Here are census records that prove that John L. Layport was a different person than John son of George and Nancy, and was considerably younger than John s/o George and Nancy:

    Same location – who are these?:
    Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880
    Name: A W Layport
    Location: Rushcreek, Logan, Ohio, USA
    Enumeration Date: 29 Aug 1850
    Schedule Type: Agriculture
    Line Number: 22

    Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880
    Name: Abraham Layport
    Location: Rushcreek, Logan, Ohio, USA
    Enumeration Date: 29 Aug 1850
    Schedule Type: Agriculture
    Line Number: 24
    John L. Layport, s/o Abraham Layport and Margaret Blakely
    1830 United States Federal Census
    Cadiz, Harrison, Ohio
    Name: John L Layport
    Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (Charles)
    Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (John L)
    Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 2 (Margaret & unk)
    Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (unk)
    Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Verlinda)
    Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
    Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
    Total Free White Persons: 6
    Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 6

    1840 United States Federal Census
    Franklin, Franklin, Harrison, Ohio
    Name: John L Layport
    Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Frank)
    Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (Charles)
    Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (John L)
    Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 3 (Jane, Eliza, Susan)
    Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Eleanor)
    Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 2 (Margaret & unk)
    Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Verlinda)
    Persons Employed in Manufacture and Trade: 1
    Free White Persons – Under 20: 8
    Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
    Total Free White Persons: 10
    Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 1

    Next door to Abraham Layport:
    1850 United States Federal Census
    Rushcreek, Logan, Ohio, USA
    John L Layport (mistranscribed as John S. Layport)
    Family Number: 137
    John L Layport 45 OH
    Verluida Layport 43 PA
    Charles Layport 20 OH
    Franklin Layport 18 OH
    Eleanor Layport 17 OH
    Eliza Layport 15 OH
    Jane Layport 15 OH
    Emily Layport 12 OH
    Miller Layport 10 OH
    Susan Layport 7 OH
    John L. Layport
    Birth: Mar., 1804
    Jefferson County
    Ohio, USA
    Death: Oct. 20, 1855
    Logan County
    Ohio, USA

    Family links:
    Verlinda Emily Harrison Layport (1806 – 1857)*

    Margaret Layport Keesey (1826 – 1894)*
    Charles Dossey LaPorte (1830 – 1899)*
    Frank H. Laporte (1832 – 1873)*
    Eleanor Wallace Laporte Roberts (1833 – 1920)*
    Jane Ann Laport Harrod (1835 – 1905)*
    Eliza B. Layporte Mansfield (1835 – 1918)*
    Susan Ragan Laporte Walker (1843 – 1922)*
    Emily H La Porte Roberts (1857 – 1911)*

    *Calculated relationship

    51y 5m

    Glen Cove Cemetery
    Henry County
    Indiana, USA
    Plot: Sec. 1

  8. Hi, Thank you so much for posting this information! It’s been a fun read, and I am still processing it all! My husband is descended from Bazaleel La Porte (and countless other spelling variations). Thank you again so much for the great information provided here. Wish I had something to add, though! 🙂

  9. Thank you! I too am a descendant of George and Nancy (McCaslin) Layport. I can still remember the time that my mother sat me down in the Tuscarawas County Genealogy Society when I was only about 12 years old and had me read the stories about the skinning the wolf and the one about catching the traveling preacher’s horse in a bear trap. I’m wondering how your trip to France went and if you found any earth shattering news on our ancestors.

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