Hannah Sypes Jr. (1775-1856) was the daughter of Hannah (Schauer) Sypes Sr. UE (Mrs. Edward Stooks)(1737-1800) and Jacob Sypes (1738-1777).
Convention: In this chapter, the wife of Gilman Willson will be designated Hannah Sypes Jr., and her mother Hannah Sypes Sr., for the sake of clarity. No contemporaneous documents use the suffixes "Jr." or "Sr." for either Hannah Sypes.
Thomas Willson's book on the descendants of Benjamin Willson UE gives extensive history about Gilman Willson and Hannah Sypes Jr., and Hannah's mother Hannah Sypes Sr.1:
- Hannah Jr. was born in 1773, the daughter of Hannah Sypes Sr. and Jacob Sypes;
- The widow Hannah Sypes Sr. "joined the Royal Standard" in 1778 by moving her family to Niagara;
- Hannah Sr. petitioned for land 8 Jul 1796 (the correct date is 21 Oct 1796, see below), and was granted 650 acres on 31 Mar 1797 for herself and her family; and
- Hannah Sr. had remarried to Edward Stooks by 1796.
Hannah Sypes Sr. is cited on the UEL Association of Canada Loyalist list2 as "Mrs. Hannah Stooks, formerly Widow Sypes (Sipes)".
The following 3 documents prove and expand on the history given by Willson.
1) Hannah Sypes Sr.'s land petition of 21 Oct 17963 opens with "The Petition of Hannah Sypes" and continues:
"That your Petitioner in the Year 1778, Joined the Royal Standard, by coming to Niagara with Nine Children. That being the widow of a Soldier she was anxious her Children should serve his Majesty as the Father had done in the French War. That Two of her Sons consequently served in Butlers Rangers, that Six of Your Petitioners Daughters are now in this settlement and married…"
The date of the petition was 21 Oct 1796, and it is signed "Hannah Sypes, now Hannah Stooks".
A testimonial from Marshall Terry J.P. was included with the petition (testimonial dated 9 Jul 1796, which likely accounts for the incorrect petition date cited by Willson). The testimonial confirms the name of Hannah Sr.'s deceased husband: "A widow to Jacob Sipes who Served his Majesty in the Last French War…"
Hannah Sypes Sr. was granted 200 acres for herself and 450 acres for "family lands if not granted before" on 31 Mar 1797.
2) Hannah Sypes Jr.'s land grant in Fort Erie Township dated 12 Mar 1792
At least 5 of the children of Hannah Sypes Sr. petitioned for, and received, land in Fort Erie. Each of her 3 sons Jacob Jr., Andrew and Jonas petitioned for land based on the service of Jacob Jr. and Andrew in Butler's Rangers. At least two of her daughters, Elizabeth Sypes Johnson and Hannah Sypes Willson, petitioned for land nominally on the basis of their father, Jacob Sypes, a Loyalist. It may be that their land was part of the 450 acres granted to Hannah Sr. as "family lands".
The 1792 land grant4 for Hannah Jr. establishes the following:
- The document states twice that Hannah's father was Jacob Sypes, a Loyalist;
- Hannah was granted land in Fort Erie Township, lots 15 and 16 in the 11th concession;
- The grant is dated 12 Mar 1792.
This document proves that Hannah Jr.'s father was Jacob Sypes, a Loyalist. Hannah Sr.'s land petition cited above proves that her husband was Jacob Sypes, and therefore that she is the mother of Hannah Jr. The fact that the Hannah Sypes of the 12 Mar 1792 land grant was the wife of Gilman Willson is proven by the third document.
3) Land Registration Records, Township of Bertie, Concession 11, Lot 15.
The first entry on the Bertie Township land registry5 for concession 11, lot 15 shows the registration of the Crown grant of lots 15 and 16 to Hannah Sypes. Although the grant was issued in 1792, it was not recorded until 1796. In fact Hannah Sypes had probably taken possession of the land before 1792. Land records were kept more informally until the division of Upper and Lower Canada in 1791; after that date, land patents were gradually formalized and recorded.
In 1799, Gilman and Hannah Willson sold lots 15 and 16 to Christian Hershey. The second entry on the page confirms their relationship under "Grantor": "Gilman Willson and Hannah (Sypes) his wife".
The 3 documents cited above confirm that Hannah Sypes Jr., wife of Gilman Willson, was the daughter of Hannah Sypes Sr. UE, listed on the UELAC site as "Mrs. Hannah Stooks, formerly Widow Sypes (Sipes)".
Documentation of birth, marriage, and death places and dates.
There is considerable circumstantial evidence that Hannah Sypes Sr. was born Annatje Margerithe Schauer (Showers) in Mar 1737. Many books and websites discuss parts of her story: one of the best is the entry for her brother, Michael Schauer (Showers) UE on the website "Find A Grave"6. This entry states that Michael's family and the family of Jacob and Hannah Sypes moved from New York to Bedford County, Pennsylvania in 1772, based on Pennsylvania land records. The entry continues, noting several dates: Hannah was born in Mar 1737, Jacob in ca. 1738, and the couple was married in 1755 in Rhinebeck, New York. The entry notes that Jacob Sypes appeared on a roster of Dutchess County Militia in New York in 1767, consistent with Hannah Sypes Sr.'s statement on her land petition that her husband fought with the British. Hannah's birth month of Mar 1737 is confirmed by her baptism record7 of 17 Jun 1737.
1 Willson, Thomas B. Descendants in Canada and the United States of Benjamin and Sarah Willson, New Jersey Loyalists of Ft. Erie, Ont. Madison, N.J.: St. Thomas Public Library, 1967, pp. 12-14
2 Mrs. Hannah Stooks, formerly Widow Sypes (Sipes), from UEL list of Loyalists. Web site: http://www.uelac.org/Loyalist-Info/detail.php?letter=s&line=898
3 Land petition of Hannah Sypes (Mrs. Edward Stooks), 21 Oct 1796. Upper Canada Land Petitions "S" Bundle 2, 179601797 (RG1, L 3, Vol. 449): Public Archives, Canada
4 Land grant to Hannah Sypes, daughter of Jacob Sypes a Loyalist, 12 Mar 1792. Council Chamber at Quebec document, 12 Mar 1792: Fort Erie Historical Museum files, 2013. Copy obtained by genealogist William Everett, Bertie, Canada.
5 Land Registry Document, Bertie Township, Concession 11, Lot 15. Obtained by researcher Jill Johns, April 2013, at the Land Registry Office, St. Catherines, Ontario
6 Michael Showers, d. Apr., 1796, Dundas, Ontario, Canada. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr. Accessed 16 Sep 2013
7 Welch, Gloria E. Schauer, Shower, Showers Families. Three Hundred Years from Wuttenburg to Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Madison: G.M. Welch, The University of Wisconsin, 1990, p. 5