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THE COVINGTON U.S.A. LINEAGE

 

There are many places named Covington in the United States of America, all are said to have derived from the personal name. Many of which seem to be named after Leonard Covington (1768-1820), an U.S. Army General who served under George Washington. A detailed personal history of this major influence on the popularity of the Covington name can be viewed by clicking on his link. Places named Covington in U.S.A. are located throughout the country. Please visit my “Covington Places” page for more info.

 

The Covington family name is much more popular in the U.S. so it is not too surprising that the American people seem to have no trouble in pronouncing it properly. An American Covington will probably have attained his name in one of three ways, these being;

1.    He is a direct descendant of a British Covington, who emigrated from the UK, or was transported as a convict to the U.S. during the 18th century. From my research, I believe that all white U.S. Covingtons first arrived in the U.S having come from an emigrate member of just 5 different strands of the U.K. Covington trees (see yellow highlighted trees in our Family Tree chart).

2.    He could have taken the name from the Covington town, or county, in which he lived. In a similar way to that as the British Covingtons originally took their name.

3.    He could have taken his name from the personal name of the estate or plantation owner on which he worked, probably as a slave in such places as Alabama and Mississippi.

 

Many Afro-American Covingtons can be found in the U.S. and points 2 and 3 were the usual way for them to be named following the abolition of slavery. These former slaves would have previously been known by their given name, in the same way that British names originated. At the end of slavery, each would have had to register their newly found freedom with the authorities, who would require a surname. some chose their father's name, but many were given the name of their former slave owner or the place they were born or currently lived at.

The following extract from a website called “Facing History” provides a fascinating insight as to how complex it can be for a genealogist to trace the family tree for an Afro American

 

“After Emancipation, many former slaves adopted new names and surnames. They did so either to take on a surname for the first time, or to replace a name or surname given to them by a former master. Here, three different former slaves discuss their names and the changes they underwent after Emancipation. This is Handout 1.6 (p. 13) from ”The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy”.

 

In the 1930s, ex-slave Martin Jackson explained why he chose his last name after Emancipation:

The master's name was usually adopted by a slave after he was set free. This was done more because it was the logical thing to do and the easiest way to be identified than it was through affection for the master. Also, the government seemed to be in a almighty hurry to have us get names. We had to register as someone, so we could be citizens. Well, I got to thinking about all us slaves that was going to take the name Fitzpatrick. I made up my mind I'd find me a different one. One of my grandfathers in Africa was called Jeaceo, and so I decided to be Jackson.

Dick Lewis Barnett and Phillip Fry were African American veterans of the Union Army during the Civil War. In 1911, Barnett and Fry’s widow, Mollie, both applied for pensions from the government. This financial assistance was available to all Civil War veterans and their families. However, many African Americans faced a problem when they applied for their pensions. After the war ended and slavery was abolished, they exercised their freedom by changing their names. This meant that army records documented their service with their old names instead of their new ones. In order to receive their pensions decades later, these former soldiers and their family members had to demonstrate to the government that they were who they claimed to be. The following documents are excerpts from government records in which Dick Barnett and Mollie (Smith) Russell explain when and why they changed their names.

Testimony of Dick Lewis Barnett, May 17, 1911:

“I am 65 years of age; my post office address is Okmulgee Okla. I am a farmer.

My full name is Dick Lewis Barnett. I am the applicant for pension on account of having served in Co. B. 77th U.S. Col Inf and Co. D. U.S. Col H Art under the name Lewis Smith which was the name I wore before the days of slavery were over. I am the identical person who served in the said companies under the name of Lewis Smith. I am the identical person who was named called and known as Dick Lewis Smith before the Civil War and during the Civil War and until I returned home after my military service.

I was born in Montgomery County, Ala. the child of Phillis Houston, slave of Sol Smith. When I was born my mother was known as Phillis Smith and I took the name of Smith too. I was called mostly Lewis Smith till after the war, although I was named Dick Lewis Smith—Dick was the brother of John Barnett whom I learned was my father.

When I got home after the war, I was wearing the name of Lewis Smith, but I found that the negroes after freedom, were taking the names of their father like the white folks. So I asked my mother and she told me my father John Barnett, a white man, and I took up the name of Barnett.”

Testimony of Mollie Russell (widow of Phillip Fry), September 19, 1911:

Q. Tell me the name you were called before you met Phillip Fry?

A. Lottie Smith was my name and what they called me before I met Phillip and was married to him.

Q. Who called you by that name and where was it done?

A. I was first called by that name in the family of Col. Morrow in whose service I was in Louisville, Ky., just after the war. I worked for him as nurse for his children, and my full and correct name was Octavia, but the family could not "catch on" to that long name and called me "Lottie" for short. Lottie had been the name of the nurse before me and so they just continued that same name. I was called by that name all the time I was with the Morrows.

Q. Besides the Morrows, whom else did you live with in Louisville?

A. Mr. Thomas Jefferson of Louisville, bought me when I was three years of age from Mr. Dearing. I belonged to him until emancipation. They called me "Ock". They cut it off from Octavia. It was after emancipation on that I went back to work for Col. Morrow and where I got the name "Lottie," as already explained. I liked the name better than Octavia, and so I took it with me to Danville, and was never called anything else there than that name.

Q. How did you ever come by the name of "Mollie"?

A. After I had returned to Louisville from Danville, my sister, Lizzie White, got to calling me Mollie, and it was with her that the name started.

Q. Where did you get the maiden name of Smith from?

A. My mother's name was Octavia Smith and it was from her that I got it but where the name came from to her, I never knew. I was only three years old when she died. No, I don't know to whom she belonged before she was brought from Virginia to Kentucky.”

 

Americans have a similar naming approach to the Welsh, in that they like to utilise their wife's maiden name in their children's names. This naturally creates some unusual christian names, which are often passed on to future generations by becoming a family name. This style of naming helps genealogists greatly, as does another U.S. practice, multiple naming after one's father. For example, if you find that one of your descendants was Benjamin Disraeli Covington the third, you know that the next 2 back in the family line were also called Benjamin Disraeli. It all helps speed up the search process!

From my personal experience, of contacting fellow Covingtons from America, it is noticeable that the study of genealogy has many more followers in the U.S. than found in the UK. They are generally very keen on tracing their birth-right particularly if they can trace a branch in the UK. Of course, any link with British royalty would be the ultimate find!!

(Surnames of the United Kingdom) (Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names) (Penguin Dictionary of Surnames) (Scottish Place Names by W.F.H. Niclaisen) (The Surnames of Scotland) (American Place Names by George R. Stewart)

 

SPREAD OF THE COVINGTON NAME IN THE U.S.A. (2014)

Place

Incidence

Rank in Area

North Carolina

4,401

346

Texas

3,378

1,265

Georgia

2,510

681

California

2,180

2,324

Tennessee

1,930

571

Maryland

1,828

677

Virginia

1,642

745

South Carolina

1,616

479

Florida

1,392

1,862

New York

1,053

2,748

Missouri

1,051

1,342

Mississippi

1,006

514

Alabama

955

932

Illinois

909

1,958

Nevada

883

857

Louisiana

797

968

Michigan

788

1,703

Kentucky

753

985

Pennsylvania

680

2,830

Arkansas

625

715

Utah

567

906

Indiana

536

1,809

Oklahoma

529

1,182

New Jersey

488

2,157

Washington

466

2,186

Ohio

462

3,539

Colorado

368

2,248

Arizona

363

2,404

District of Columbia

323

710

Iowa

246

1,920

Oregon

175

3,327

Wisconsin

154

6,220

Minnesota

131

7,498

Kansas

122

3,770

Connecticut

120

4,205

Idaho

93

2,719

Massachusetts

83

11,267

Delaware

76

1,697

New Mexico

76

3,393

Hawaii

74

3,188

West Virginia

74

3,461

Nebraska

67

5,362

Alaska

53

1,907

Wyoming

41

2,253

Rhode Island

33

5,218

Montana

32

5,420

Maine

12

10,715

North Dakota

12

10,731

New Hampshire

8

20,242

Vermont

5

14,751

South Dakota

4

24,681

 

The Origins of the Covington name in the U.S.

 

Many Covington genealogists believe that their initial U.S. Covington forefather was Nehemiah (ref 5675), who is, I believe, part of the THOMAS COVINGTON (6477), born at Huntingdonshire 1605 tree

Supposedly the first Covington to reach America. Various sources suggest he first arrived in U.S. in 1652 before returning to England shortly after having had a brush with the U.S. law for being a "single man" and was fined a quantity of tobacco (??). He then returned 10 years later with his pregnant wife and 6 children in 1662. However, many of these sources are contradictory with regards to dates. Certainly, the biggest myth expressed by researchers into Nehemiah is that he came from Coventry, Huntingdonshire, England. This is untrue as the only Coventry in England is in Warwickshire, now West Midlands (co-incidentally where I was born & spent the first 24 years of my life). The village of Covington can be found in Huntingdonshire so this may be the cause of the confusion.

Another source suggests the following: "Immigrated into Virginia in 1647, a colourful individual whose life has been well documented in many Delmarva (Delaware) genealogies. From being accused of 'thieving cheese' and 'defaming a woman' on the eastern shore of Virginia, as an indentured servant to High Sherriff in the new county of Somerset, in ye new province of Maryland."

Listed under patent of Nicholas Waddilow and Stephen Harsey in 1647, and under patent of Nicholas Waddilow in 1649. Signed the Oath to the Commonwealth Mar, 25, 1651 at Northhampton Co. Va.  In 1666 and 1674 was sworn in as Constable in Somerset Co.

1st wife born c.1626, died Apr 1667 at Great Monie. 2nd wife was a widow, she died 1678 in Maryland. He was a Stone Mason, Grist Mill Builder & Tobacco Planter. First report of his name appears in Cavaliers & Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents & Grants, 1623-1666 by Nell Marion. Said to have been transported to Northampton County by Stephen Horsey and Nicholas Waddelow 13 July 1647. He signed engagement of loyalty to Commonwealth of England, March 1651/2. Was before court and fined, March 1652/3 for "incontinency before marriage" and in April 1653, appeared before court on account of trouble he was having with a person to whom he was evidently an indentured servant. Nehemiah went to Monie section (later Somerset County, Maryland) in 1662, bought cattle from Thomas Leister on 4 June 1666, settled 300 acres called Covington's Vineyard on north side of Great Monie Creek in November 1674, stating his age as about 46 years. He married his 2nd wife Anne Ingram July 1667 who was the widow of Robert Ingram, they had been transported together to Maryland in 1664. Robert had died before July 1666 and they had had 3 sons, John, James & Robert. Nehemiah and Anne were married by William Thorne Justice of the Peace, Somerset County.

 

According to “Covington Cousins” (a Facebook site described as being set up to establish a means of sharing information regarding the family of Thomas Samuell Covington (1643 - 1704). To reach out to current family members and the members of allied families throughout the United States and the United Kingdom to increase our knowledge and appreciation of our common heritage).:-

Widely considered to be the first Covington to settle in the British colonies of North America, Nehemiah Thomas Covington, Sr. (nb. first reference ever seen of him having a middle name, which, if true would have been fairly rare at this time) was born in Covington, Huntingtonshire, England in 1628. His parents are believed to have been John Thomas Covington and Catherine Ann Tapp Covington. (other research suggests father was named Thomas & mother, Ann, both of whom were transported by Arthur Allen to Surry County 20 Aug 1665 (Cavaliers & Pioneers by Neil Marion Nugent 1963) – which may link to this suggestion)

Shipboard records show that Nehemiah came to America as a headright indentured servant to Stephen Horsey and Nicholas Waddlowe. The exact nature and terms of his indenture are not known. He arrived in Accomack, Virginia in 1647. In 1651 he signed the Oath to the Commonwealth at Northampton Virginia. He moved to Somerset, Maryland in 1652 but returned to England within a few years having been tried and convicted for "incontinence before marriage" for "defaming a woman." Additionally, he was involved in a dispute over cheese with one of the men to whom he was indentured.

Nehemiah married Mary Vaughan on July 10, 1648 in Eastville, Northampton, Virginia. Together they had six children: Joan (1650), John (1654), Margaret (1655), Nehemiah, Jr. (1658), Sarah (1661), and Kathrine (1661).

In 1661 Nehemiah returned to Somerset with his family. In 1662 he purchased cattle and established Covington's Vineyard on the north shore of Great Monie Creek. Nehemiah was a stone mason, grist mill builder and tobacco planter. Additionally, in 1666 and 1674 he was sworn to serve as Constable. He was a prominent Quaker and worked to establish the religion in Maryland. One source shows that Nehemiah was hauled into court on one occasion and convicted of failing to support the Church of England.

Mary died in 1667 and in July 1667 Nehemiah remarried. His new wife, Anne Ingram, was the widow of Robert Ingram. She brought three children to her new marriage. They were John, James and Robert. Together, Nehemiah and Anne had four children: Elizabeth (1668), Thomas (1670), Anne (1672) and Jeremiah (1675/6). (other records suggest they also had Samuel in 1676).

By 1680, Nehemiah's health began to fail and on May 8, 1681, he died at Great Monie, Somerset, Maryland. (Note: There is some inconsistency in dates shown. I have chosen dates most frequently quoted or taken from sources that appear most reliable.)

 

A follow up cites: “Nehemiah Covington, Sr. came to British America under the headright system. But what was the headright system? The headright system was established in Jamestown, Virginia in 1618 as a means of encouraging settlers to come to America. Under the headright system each newcomer received approximately 50 acres of land. Award was made for each family member over 15 and each servant brought over. The system was used to address labor shortages primarily in the colonies of Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas and Georgia. Poor persons often came to America under the indenture system. In exchange for paid passage to America, they agreed to perform labor for their sponsors for a period of five to seven years. Additionally, sponsors received 50 acres for each indentured servant brought over.

Thomas Samuell Covington and his future wife, Susannah Brayfield Cooper, were also indentured servants. The headright system was ended around 1779”

 

U.S, Family Tree History via Internet searches

1. Nehemiah Covington b. cir 1628, Covington, Huntingdonshire, England, m. (1) Mary _____, d. circa 1667, buried: Great Monie Hundred, Somerset Co, MD, m. (2) ?? Jul 1667, Anne Ingram.  Nehemiah died ?? ___ 1680/1.  He's listed under the patent of Nicholas Waddilow and Stephen Harsey in 1647 and under the patent of Nicholas Waddilow in 1649.  Nehemiah signed the Oath to the Commonwealth 25 Mar 1651 in Northampton Co, VA.  In 1662, with his wife and children, he immigrated to Somerset Co, MD, where he acquired a patent to 300 acres of land on the north side of Monie Creek in 1663/4.  He called his land "Covington's Vineyard."  In 1666 and 1674, he was sworn in as Constable in Somerset Co.  Nehemiah was a prominent Quaker.

 

According to information provided to me by Martha Beth Wells she has seen a copy of the deposition with his signature, the double owl mark (two big O's with a horizontal line above) in the original records of the Northampton County VA Courthouse in Eastville VA.

 

Extract from: Florida Edition, Makers of America - an historical and biographical work by an able corps of writers, vol III. Published under the patronage of The Florida Historical Society, Jacksonville, Florida.

“The family history in America is rather obscure. A Thomas Coventon (who later spelled his name Covington) came from England and settled at Plymouth, about 1740. He was a master mariner, and retiring from the sea purchased large property in Old Plymouth. A younger brother, Jacob Covington, inherited his property. This family appears to have died out entirely in New England. Another branch settled in Franklin county, New York State, and changed the name of old Fort Springs Mills to Fort Covington. The Maryland family appears to be the oldest in this country, and is beyond all reasonable doubt the parent stock of all the southern Covingtons.

These Maryland Covingtons came over at the first settling of that colony by Lord Baltimore. The family tradition has it that there were three brothers. The North Carolina and Virginia families are both believed to have been descended from these, and it is a tradition in the North Carolina family that two brothers, descended from one of the original Maryland settlers, came to Rockingham prior to 1776. These two brothers were John and William. A third brother settled in Covington, Ky., and gave his name to the town. Terrell Covington, father of the three brothers in Florida, was a descendant of John.

A favorite name in the Maryland family was Leonard. Rebecca Covington, daughter of Leonard, married in 1750 Lieutenant Benjamin Mack-all, who was one of the earliest Maryland patriots and suffered much from Tory persecutions. John R. Covington, a member of the Maryland family, became a gunner in the navy, and died in 1840. Erasmus F., of the Kentucky family, was a lieutenant in the regular United States Army, and died in 1833. General Leonard Covington, of Maryland, born the thirtieth of October, 1768, entered the regular army as a Lieutenant under Anthony Wayne in 1792, was a captain in 1795, resigned late in that year, served in the Maryland Legislature in 1805-1807, re-entered the army in 1809 as a Lieutenant-Colonel, was a Brigadier-General in the War of 1812, and fell mortally wounded at the battle of Chrysler's Field, on November n, 1813, leaving behind a record which entitled him to be classed not only as a gallant, but as a most capable soldier.

Another prominent member, Judge Alexander Covington, of Mississippi, who died October 16, 1848, aged seventy-one, went from Virginia to Mississippi where he lived for forty years, was a Christian gentleman, charitable, hospitable, and of rare colloquial powers. It will thus be seen that the family is of ancient origin, has been long settled in our country, and has made an honorable record."

 

The Latter Day Saints FamilySearch files favour an alternate descent

(1) John Covington (AFN:19ZX-S4G)

(2) Nehemiah Covington (AFN:L8V8-60), born 1628 at Coventry, Huntingdonshire, England (error, Coventry at this time was in Warwickshire, now West Midlands). Died 1681 at Great Monie Creek, Somerset, MD, buried at Covington's Vineyard, Somerset, MD. Married Jul 1667 at Covington's Vineyard, Great Monie Creek, Somerset, MD to Anne Ingram (AFN:L8V8-75)., born 1628 at Covington's Vineyard, Somerset, MD. Died 1678 at Covington's Vineyard, Somerset, MD

(3) Thomas Covington (AFN:L8V8-9H), born:  10 May at Great Monie Creek, Somerset, MD. Died 30 May 1670 at Kent, MD, buried 1715 at St Paul's Church, Kent, MD. Married about 1690 at Kent, MD to Rachel Ingram (AFN:L8V8-3G), born 1672 at Kent, Maryland. Buried at St. Pauls Church, Kent, MD

(4)  Henry Covington (AFN:L8V7-ZS), born 1693 at Kent, MD. Died: 31 Jul 1744 at Providence, Queen Annes, MD, buried 31 Jul 1744 at Queen Annes, MD. Married 1712 at Queen Annes, MD to Mary Blackistone (AFN:8R0T-6B), born 1700 at Church Hill, Queen Annes, MD, died: Aft 31 1744 Jul at Queen Ann, MD, buried at St. Pauls Church, Queen Annes, MD

 

Source (http://home.swbell.net/jwjean/covington.htm) gives the emigrant ancestors as: (1) William Covington b. abt 1585 in England, and d. 22-May-1674 in Essex Co., VA. This source states that William came to America with Lord Baltimore in 1634.  This source gives a further descent as (2) John, Sr., then (3) John, Jr., with John, Jr., being the father of (4) Henry Covington (abt 1674-1744) of Queen Anne’s County, MD.

 

Researcher Mildred Covington Sossaman in her memoir traces her William Covington (ca 1753-1816) line back to Henry Covington (1744 will, Queen Anne’s Co, MD), through his son William born ca 1720 (Queen Anne’s Co, MD), and died after 1789 (will, Richmond Co., NC). She notes that there were multiple Covington lines, which had often intermarried.  Sorting out the early generations of Covington is probably impossible, and often is based more on “legends and lore.”

 

"Our Kin" by W.H.Manning Jr & Edna Anderson Manning - Published in 1958, this book contains a significantly detailed section on the Covington tree. Some of it is definitely inaccurate but nevertheless worthy of a read. This pdf format copy was sent to me by Duncan Covington Cvngtn@aol.com in May 2012 and can be accessed by clicking on this link OurKin.pdf. That said it is not the easiest document to read!

 

Reference: J.E. & I.C. Huneycutt (1976), “A History of Richmond County”

p.56: Early families of Richmond County: “The Covington, Everett, Cole, Dockery, Webb and McDonald families were among the earliest settlers; and the Covington’s probably have the best claim to aristocracy, having been members of Lord Baltimore’s settlement in Maryland.”

p. 63ff: The Covington families (by Elizabeth Williams Covington) - Records indicate a William Covington who may have come to the Richmond County area in 1743. “They are directly descended from Henry Covington who came to Queen Anne’s Co., Maryland, in 1760.  Two of his children came to Richmond County with their families – William, who married Sarah Newman and then after her death Rachel Thomas, and a daughter Sarah who married a Richardson.

“Another son of Henry was John who married Mary Airy in Maryland.  While they did not come to Richmond County, their ten children did.  From these ten came many other family names in Richmond County.

“From these fine families came many substantial citizens in the Ellerbe-Norman Section, the Zion community where Uncle Billy or William Wall Covington was the leader, .. (etc.).  The Covington descendants are the Walls, Everetts, Hunters, Capels, Baldwins, Gibsons, Terrys, Throwers, Ingrams, Ledbetters, Coles, Littles, Dunns, Thomases, Masons, Usserys, Ropers, Crawfords, Kellys, Leaks, Thompsons, Steeles, Entwistles, Baltons, Smiths, Ellerbes, Nichols, Haywoods, Webbs, Watsons, Bosticks, Parsons, and Hudsons and probably others

 

Most compiled genealogies for the Covington’s of Anson and Richmond County, NC, are based upon the biographical sketches of Captain William Everett, which were published in the Rockingham Post Dispatch, Richmond Co., Volume 10, No. 35, July 21, 1927.  Some other Covington researchers have criticized some of the speculative assignments in these sketches, and some errors have been found (as would be true for all extensive compiled genealogies).  Capt. Everett begins with the traditional “three brothers” fable: “Tradition has it that there were three brothers bearing the above name (Covington) who came to Maryland from England with Lord Baltimore in 1632.”

 

Correspondence from Vaden Irwin Covington (ref 8288) provides us with his version of the evolution for his family line as follows:

“Nehemiah de Covington, my ancestor was born 1628 A.D. in Covington, Huntingdonshire, England. Left Covington, and arrived in Northampton, Virginia, in 1646. He was a grist mill stone cutter, blacksmith and tobacco planter. He registered this Owl's Head Trade Mark in 1663.

 

Thomas Covington, son of Nehemiah registered the "Quarter Circle above the C" brand shown here in 1691. He was a stone cutter as were many Covington's in our line. He was the Great Grandfather of General Leonard Covington shown later.

Many Covingtons were prominent in United States History: here are a few that we have in our Bicentennial display at the County Museum here in Redlands:

Benjamin Covington, General under General George Washington in the Continental Army. Elected to Continental Convention in 1788. Later he was granted "Plantation Acreage" and a pension by Congress.

William Covington, served as Captain in the Virginia Colonial Army under General George Washington. He served as Adjutant General to George Washington in the Continental Army and wrote the terms of surrender at Yorktown. Congress granted him 2500 acres of land for his outstanding service.

Matthew Poythress Covington, was the Colonial Surveyor for King George III. He joined the Continental Army and was captured by the British. He made his escape and was later appointed to set up the North Carolina Military Academy.

Captain Henry Covington, served under General George Washington and married Winifred Stone, whose father was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was District Judge for many years and had a large farm on the side.

General Leonard Covington, entered the Army in 1792, was commissioned lieutenant of Dragons in 1793. Joined Wayne's Legion in 1794, and greatly distinguished himself in the battles of the Maumee, Fort Recovery and the battle of Miami. Subsequently, returning to Maryland, he was elected to Congress. He later moved to Natchez, Mississippi, where he took command of Fort Dearborn. He later, with 600 soldiers, took possession of West Florida, (which consisted of the now pan-handle of Florida, part of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi) for the United States from the English and French who claimed it. He then retired and built a mansion at Washington, Mississippi, 6 miles from Natches, which still stands in good repair.

At the outbreak of the 1812 War with England, General Covington re-enlisted, built and took command of Fort Covington across the St. Laurence River from Montreal, Canada. He was killed in the Battle of Chrysler's Field in Canada, November 11, 1813. He was buried at Fort Covington and in 1820, was removed to Mount Covington, Sackets Harbor, New York. Most of the places, counties and forts named Covington in the Untied States were named in the General's honor.

James Wall Covington (ref 11748), my grandfather, moved from North Carolina in 1840 to Mississippi, where he started our present business of making grinding equipment. He made hand and foot grinders for grinding farm tools, gem coral and sea shells for trinkets in the Indian Fur trade. In 1848, he registered the Covington Trade Mark as shown on the front of our catalog. During the Civil War, at the end he was broke because the Confederate money was worthless. Things were so bad in the south that he decided to move to California by ox teams. The Indians were on the warpath, along the Santa Fe Trail, so he decided to take the long Mormon Trail by way of Salt Lake City.

He loaded the bottom of the wagons with Covington Grinders for trading stock and started out on this two year journey (which can be made in 2 hours by air now). My father, William Vaden Covington (ref 13459), was one year old when they left and three years old when they arrived where Redlands is now.

Part of each day was used to herd the oxen for feed and hunting for food, so travel was very slow. My grandfather had a brother in Salt Lake. He helped to make trades of Covington Grinders for supplies and get a guide to take them through the desert to Redlands, California. Feed for the oxen would be poor and very little hunting. Mormon guides always insisted on feeding the Indians along the way to keep on good terms with them, so it took extra food. My folks arrived where Redlands is now in 1868.

In 1873 James Wall Covington registered the "M T" mark in San Bernardino County which he used on his grinding arbors and livestock. We (Covington Corporation, Redlands CA) still use this trademark and brand.

You will notice in our catalog that we are members of the Exclusive California State 100 Year Club. That we have been making grinding equipment in the Redlands area for over 100 years, to serve you.

Covington's and Dr. Gerald Smith, Director of our San Bernardino County Museum here in Redlands invite you to visit our display, "The Covington Story 831 A.D. to 1976" (There are currently no references to this display on the internet)”

 

Correspondence from Zella Hansen Nesbitt, during 1984 (note Zella Hansen was born 23 Jun 1910 in American Fork UT & died aged 103 on 25 Jul 2013 in Salt Lake City UT. Throughout her life she was a keen genealogist and penned a number of family history research works)

“The exciting find was our No.1 Simon (Coventon) who married Mary Menard (Maynard) 12 Oct 1671.

Simon and Mary had four children born in St Pauls: Mary, Simon II, Elizabeth, and William, and little William died a year later. Then we have nothing more on this family in St Pauls. They moved to St Peters and we find the reason for this in the will of a George Maynard of St Peter Martyn dated 2 Nov 1680 in which he says: I bequeath to my daughter Mary Coventen the house and lands whereon John Kemp now lives in St Peters, … along with bequests to his other children. So then we go to St Peters Register where we find three more children born to Simon and Mary, namely, another William, Jane and George. For nearly one hundred years we find our Covingtons living in St Peters. It was here that Simon II married his wife Elizabeth Upton.

Elizabeth brought an interesting line into the family and we were able to trace her mother's ancestors back into the l400s through wills on the Tillye ancestors.  It is not my purpose to give all dates and information on these families which are contained on the Family Group sheets and also only those allied families which had some direct bearing on the history of our Covington Family and so I will not elaborate on these lines.

Simon and Elizabeth had eight children all born in St Peters. The second of which was Simon III; who was born January l704. Simon III married a girl named Sarah, but we have never been able to find the marriage, and so we are unable to find her maiden name or anything about her. But we know they had nine children, and again it was the second son who was named Simon, our Simon IV. Simon III lived to be nearly 80 years of age and he took on the job of raising Simon IV’s three small children as we shall talk of later.

At this point we need to go back in time to pick up another ancestor out at the mists of the unknown. This was a John Dove born about 1634 who lived and had something to do with food or drinks in St Pauls. In his will dated l680 he leaves to his son William some leather and shoemaking materials along with the bench and etc. This is important because we believe that he was then living in, if he did not own it, the little shop known as the Robin Hoode Inn.

This little bit or history concerning the Robin Hoode Inn was important to me because in our Family Traditions we had the story of some property which was left in England and which the family was unable to sell before they left and which was probably worth quite a sum of money at this time. My great Uncle Edward Covington was always going back to England to claim the said property and he had deeds with which to do it. Unfortunately he never ever was able to make the trip.

So I was eager to find more on this Robin Hoode Inn. On the 25 November 1718 a John Cooch married Dorothy Hensman in Kempston, Bedfordshire and at this time a marriage settlement mentioned two cottages and the Robin Hoode Inn, now in the occupation of William Dove. Next we find the Will of William Dove who was the son of John Dove and who is called a cordwinder (shoemaker) at this time, and in this will he leaves to his daughter Elizabeth Berriel the "house she now liveth in, known by the name of the Robin Hoode, to her and her heirs forever."  He also leaves to his son William Dove jr my house in Mill Lane the house I now live in. This Mill Lane is in St Cuthberts and this is important also and may be one of the two cottages mentioned in the marriage settlement.

Now, to go back to our Simon IV. He was born 21 Sep l735 and married in St Cuthberts to Jane Berrill who was the daughter of William Berrill and Elizabeth Dove (she is the one in William Dove's will who was given the Robin Hoode Inn). We have so far been unable to prove the parentage of William Berrill, but believe he may have came from Northamptonshire which records we have not as yet obtained for our library. Although much research has been done there already.

This Simon IV was a thatcher which means he applied the straw to the roofs of the houses. Simon and Jane seem to be living in St Cuthberts at this time and their four children are listed in that Parish register and yet the Robin Hoode seems to have been on the main street in the center of Bedford which would have been in St Pauls.  Perhaps they were living in one of the two cottages given in the marriage settlement.  Simons brother William had by this time married a sister to Jane Berrill by the name of Elizabeth. We find later that they are living in the Robin Hoode and it may be because our Simon did not become a shoemaker but chose to become a thatcher instead.

At any rate tragedy seems to stalk this little family; They had two sons: Edward born 1760 and again the second son was our Simon V born 1763, John the third son born l765 only lived one day. Then in 1766 and I believe that it may have been at the birth of another son whom they named John, the young mother died on the 4th Sep and one month later on 2 Oct the father also passed away, at the age of thirty-one years leaving three small children under six.

This Simon, the thatcher left a will and in it he bequeaths his share or one half of the house in which my brother William now liveth and which is commonly called or known as the Robin Hoode in the said town of Bedford and also all his monies and whatever he has in trust to his Father Simon Covington and his brother William to be used to care for his three young children. The will was signed the 30 September which was shortly after his wife's death.

One more will throws light onto the property deeds which Uncle Edward said he had in his possession. Our Simon V who became an orphan at his parent's death had the older brother Edward (brother to his father Simon IV) who seems to be looking out for him. We have the will of Edward Covington of St Peters dated 1812, in which he leaves to his nephew Simon, son of Simon, of Wells St. the cottage with all rights belonging thereto which is situate in the Parish of St Peters which I lately purchased of Martha Butter and now in the occupation of John Belden, shoemaker.  This was the Simon V who married Elizabeth Brown and we know he was a shoemaker and the father of your Simon VI and my Berrill.

I had a researcher in England who knew I was interested to find out more of The Robin Hoode. He made inquiries and came up with the opinion that it had now become known as the "Crossed Keys". In those days they had the shop on the ground floor and lived upstairs. And so one can imagine that back in 1650 John Dove had an eating and drinking place in the downstairs part and it may have continued or it may have been partly used as a shoemaking shop by those who were shoemakers like William Dove and our Simon Covington.

I know Mother always wondered if the story was true and if the property was all that was described and I can't help wishing that we could have found these facts and stories for her to enjoy. About 1794, Simon V, the shoemaker moved his family to Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.  I believe it had something to do with the fact that it was here that the first effort was made to put shoemaking into a factory. Up until this time you went to your nearest shoemaker who might have a small shop or even a room in his home and ordered your shoes and he made them to fit that particular feet according to your specifications. Wellingborough became famous for the first large scale attempt at assembly line shoemaking. At any rate we know they were there in 1797 when one of their daughters was buried there.  My grandfather claimed to have been born there in 1794, but when we found a record of the family it listed St Pauls as the birthplace for all of the children.

We find also at this time that Simon and Elizabeth’s children are not listed in any of the five Parish registers in Bedford.  We finally found out that they had separated themselves from the Church of England and joined a congregation which called themselves Independents and here we found the record of the births of some of Simon's children and also of Berrill's family. They met in what was called the Old Meeting House on Mill Lane or sometimes referred to as Independents Mill Street Chapel.

I feel that this story would not be complete without a little history and description of Bedford since it is near and dear to the hearts of all of us who had our beginnings in that famous City. Bedford is one of the largest cities of Bedfordshire. It is the county seat and is situated about forty-eight miles from London. The great river Ouse winds its way from the northeast border through all the north central portion and exits into Buckinghamshire on the west. It cuts right through the City of Bedford and from the pictures its banks are beautified and it forms a large part of the recreation of the city such as boating picnicking etc.

Bedfordshire is an inland county and contains about 1:63 square miles. It is generally level with its highest hills not more than five hundred feet high. It's fertile soil make it suitable for farming which along with stock-raising arid dairying are its main industries. Years ago hat making and lacemaking were important, but now on a limited scale.

One description I found said that much of it is not so different or so much changed from the days when our ancestors walked its streets, attended its churches and struggled for their existence within it's boundaries. It was here in Bedford City Jail that John Bunyan the great puritan preacher and writer was a prisoner from 1660-72.  He was imprisoned because he refused to give up his beliefs after the restoration of the Catholic Church, and it was while he was a prisoner that he began to write and in 1675 while serving another six months term that he wrote most of his greatest book "Pilgrims Progress"

It was through him and others like him that religious intolerance was finally broken down and by the time our Covington Family  carne along they were free to join any one of half a dozen churches, but even so they were still labelled as dissenters it they had their children baptized in one of the Parish churches of that time. The city of Bedford is divided into five areas each taking the name of the church within its boundaries and known as Parishes. The five are: St Pauls, which is the largest and situated in the center of the city near the river: St Peters: St Cuthberts: St Marys and St Johns.

The Berrill Covington family moved from Bedford to Liverpool some few years before 1852 where they got work making shoes for the army to get money to go to America. This followed their conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or Mormons. But their family was large so three of them came first. The oldest daughter Mary Ann and Berrill Jr emigrated in 1842. Later the brother Simon (Simeon) came out but got as far as California and never did re-join his family in Utah. Josiah another brother never made it to America but his wife and family along with Berrill’s family sailed from Liverpool in 1852. They joined a wagon train and crossed the plains to Utah with most of them walking most of the distance.

I did not know too many of my Covington relatives personally as most of the older ones were long gone before I was old enough to care much about those things. Also because my Grandfather Berrill and most of his family moved to Ogden, Utah which was about sixty-five miles from where we lived and where he had first settled. In those early days we had no car and those kind of trips were always just a dream away. And so my memories are mainly from the stories which came to me through my mother from her mother Priscilla Covington who was the youngest child in the family of Berrill Covington.  I do remember my grandmother Priscilla even though I was only about seven years old when she died. My Mother always seemed to have a particular fondness for her Covington relatives and I always thought the stories were romantic and fascinating.

Of course, there was the one of the valuable property left behind which we could dream of selling and making us all rich. Then there was the stories of Priscilla as a little girl of eight years who was brave enough to be baptized in January in the frozen over river Ouse in the middle of the night. This had to be done after a hole was made in the ice and at night because of the bad feelings against the Mormon church at this time.  And then the stories she told of their long walk to Utah which I thought sounded so romantic at the time.

I remember one of our Covington cousins who had a trained animal act which included horses that could count and a dog that walked a tight rope. I was young at the time and don't remember his first name or how he fits into the family but I have thought that he was maybe a son of Alonzo Covington who ran a livery stable in Salt Lake City for many years.

Simeon Covington, one of Berril's sons who remained in California drove one of the big mule teams which were used to haul Borax out or the desert and I having seen these things portrayed in movies always thought this must have taken a lot of practice and know-how to handle three or four of these teams at once with their heavy loads.

I have always thought they must have had their share of the spirit of adventure to leave their homes, friends, and families, and a lot of courage to brave the perils of a new country.  And this brings to mind another of our ancestors who was among the passengers of the Mayflower which brought to the American shores the brave men and women who were to establish the first permanent colony in the New World.

This was on the Tillie Line which I mentioned before. Mary Tillie was the grandmother of Elizabeth Upton who married Simon II. Mary's grandfather was a John Tillie who with his wife Joan and his youngest daughter, along with his brother Edward Tillie and Edward’s wife made up five of the passengers who sailed on that famous ship in 1620.  We know that due to the fact that the Captain set them ashore in Massachussetts instead of Virginia and in December which in Mass. is bitterly cold. And due to the fact that the Mayflower was overcrowded and that they had to remain on board for the rest of that cold winter that about a third of the little colony died of malnutrition and disease that first year. John and Edward and both of their wives were among that number.  They were about fifty years of age at the time and had left the rest of their family in England among which was Robert Tillie the father of Mary. The daughter Elizabeth survived and married one of the men of the colony and they have a large family of eleven children many descendants in New England.

 

DaCosta E. Covington in a note to this author (Oct-2000) then favored the following lineage: George Covington in Bedfordshire England, through (2) George, (3) William, (4) Peter (of Bedfordshire), (5) Henry (died MD 1744), then (6) John who came to North Carolina. The following brief details are taken from D.E. Covington’s book “Covingtons Remembered” (1991):

(1) George Covington was christened 10-May-1568. This may be the George Covington that married Elizabeth Wilbrow 13-Mar-1576. His will, dated 1613 in the Bedfordshire parish of Turvey in England, lists 7 children, including William;

(2) William Covington (d. about 1662), a blacksmith, married Ann, and had 8 children, including Peter;

(3) Peter Covington married Elizabeth, and had 5 children, including Henry;

(4) Henry Covington (chr. 14-Nov-1681 in Turvey, Eng.), came to Maryland and died 1744 in Queen Anne’s County.  George Calvert (Lord Baltimore) had established the Maryland colony.  Henry Covington was living there by 1712 on his land called “Providence.” He died in Jul-1744, having collected a large estate. He had seven children, including John;

(5) John Covington, Sr., was born about 1710, married Mary Airey at St. Luke Church, Church Hill, MD on 31-Jul-1731.  He died about May-1767 (Will 36ff 2-3 Queen Anne’s Co., MD).

 

Some further contribution from Jean LaCoss <jclacoss@earthlink.net> in 2006 suggests the following:  "Nehemiah  (b 1628) was a Quaker and refused to contribute to the Church of England.  Therefore, he was brought into court many times and fined, once specifically for fornication before marriage, once for stealing for which he was fined and received "12 lashes on his naked shoulder."  He then moved to Maryland in 1662.  One report said he married a Quaker and the Church wouldn't recognize his marriage and he was thus lashed for 'fornication'."

 

 

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