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John Fredrick Ewing's Family History (So Far)

John Fredrick Ewing (WestCoBoy49 at sbcglobal dot net)

This is a summary of information on my ancestors gathered primarily from Internet sources. Especially useful were data from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church), the Ewing Family Association (previously Clan Ewing in America), and web sites of the Carlsen, Raymond, Olney and Sam (Susanne) Behling families. The lines investigated were those of my paternal grandparents, Samuel Preston Ewing and Lana Marie Hansen, and my maternal grandparents, Moroni Mac Olney and Eliza Beatrice Smith. My personal recollections and photographs, correspondence with a few relatives, and a handful of documents and photographs handed down from my parents are my only original contributions to this history. I am not a professional genealogist; all information on ancestors prior to my grandparents is the work of others. For easy reading, this history is told in narrative form. Sources are listed at the end of the narrative.


I never met my grandmother, Lana (Hansen) Ewing, because she died seven years before I was born. I knew from my parents that she was born in Denmark, but could not locate the town from information provided by my cousin, Gordon J. 'Buck' Ewing. From the Raymond family tree, I learned that she was known as Lana or Lena, but her given name was Abelone Marie Hansen and she was born March 7, 1864, in Hatting, Vejle, Denmark. Her mother was Bertha Marie Jorgensen and her father was Lars Hansen. Among my parents' papers I found four yellowed pages from the Smithfield (Utah) Sentinel datelined January 9, 1931, containing a front-page article: Lana Ewing Laid to Rest. From it I learned that she suffered a stroke on New Year's Day 1931 and died the next day. According to this news story, she was born in Brakenborg, Denmark, and came to America with her mother, sister and younger brother in 1872. An older brother, Hans Hansen, had come to America a year or two earlier. Her father remained in Denmark. The family settled in Hyde Park, Utah, and later moved to Smithfield, Utah. Beginning at age fifteen, she worked as a clerk and then a bookkeeper for seventeen years. She married Samuel Preston Ewing in November 1897, at the age of thirty-three. Sam Ewing was thirty-one at the time.

Grandmother Lana was a devout Mormon, as verified by testimony of my late uncle Scott Preston Ewing. He said she would spend the entire summer preaching Mormonism to him, and, as a consequence, he acquired a lifelong disinterest in the Church.


Lana Hansen about the time of her marriage to Samuel Preston Ewing in 1897



The farthest back I could get with our Ewing line is a possible succession of three William Ewings who lived in the vicinity of Stirling Castle, Scotland, in the period 1580-1700. It is difficult to go further back because of variant surname spellings (MacEwen, Ewen, Eweine, Yoeman, Young etc.) and the choice of given names seems to have been very narrow. There are simply too many Ewings named Robert, William, Alexander, Thomas, James and John to be certain to any degree of accuracy.

At the end of the 17th century many Scots could not write, and even if they could, most records about them were made by clerks and other professionals. Spelling, in any case, was not fixed. The plague struck Stirling in the summer of 1606, wiping out 20-30% of the population. Disease, war and famine took their toll on the continuity of life. Many written records have been lost. So, in many respects, these earliest family connections are very speculative.

A likely progenitor is 'William Ewing in Raploch' as discussed in John Harrison's Scotland research for Clan Ewing in America (1992). On November 14, 1612, this William (who I subsequently refer to as William1) and his wife Jonet Henderson (or Henryson) were given formal legal title to some land in the Castlehill area of Stirling. From this and other records, I speculate that William1 was probably born around 1570-80. Other records indicate William1 had a son Thomas, a son William2 and a daughter Jane who married Andrew Jaffray in 1622. In 1629, William2, the "eldest lawful son of William Ewing in Raploch," is heir to the lands which his late father acquired in 1612. On October 9, 1629, William2 signed this property over to Thomas. Nothing more is known of William2 from the local records. After signing over the Castlehill property to his brother, did he move out of the area? Is he the father of the William3 Ewing who married about 1648 and subsequently emigrated to Coleraine, Northern Ireland? William3 was among the multitude of Protestant Scots, including other Ewings, who went to Ireland to escape religious persecution. Some records show he had three sons: Robert, Francis and William4. The latter may have been born May 27, 1655, or later, in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. William3 died there in 1717. He had two wives, one of whom, Agnes Anderson, he married in 1683. There were eight children total. One son, Nathaniel, born 1692/93 of William3's first wife, married Rachel Porter, a cousin born about 1706 in Ulster, Ireland. They were married in Templemore, Londonderry, on March 2, 1721. Sometime between 1723 and 1727, Nathaniel and Rachel, and their children then born, emigrated to America accompanied by Nathaniel's half-brother Joshua and Joshua's wife Jane Gillespie (born about 1700), members of the Porter family, and William's half-sister Anne. Anne may have been born on shipboard.

The Scots-Irish descent of many Ewings did not involve intermarriage with the Irish. Rather, in the period 1608-1618 perhaps thirty to forty thousand Scottish protestants (mainly Covenanter Presbyterians) were induced by the English crown to emigrate to the Ulster area in a bold social-engineering plan designed to supplant (diffuse) the native Catholic Irish. The leases granted by the crown were subject to renewal. During the reign of James II, who joined the Roman Church about 1670 and whose second wife Mary of Modena was a devout Catholic, sentiments turned against the Presbyterian Scots in Northern Ireland. The costs of renewing leases became exorbitant, and many began emigrating to the colonies in the New World. In England, James made enemies of the Anglican hierarchy, and in 1688 a group of leading Englishmen invited William of Orange to bring an army and assert the rights of his wife to succession. Within weeks, the army and the public deserted James, and he fled to France. In 1688, he joined with the Irish Catholics, but was soundly defeated in the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Many Scottish Protestants joined with William in this battle, including a number of Ewings. Captain Findley Ewing, born about 1650, was a decorated veteran and father of Thomas Ewing Sr., who became the first American immigrant of a prominent Ewing line in New Jersey. Some list Findley as the son of William Ewing and Elizabeth Milford; others maintain he was the son of James Ewing of Glasgow, Scotland, who was born about 1630, placing him outside the direct line of my family.



 The northern part of Little Britain Township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is shown in the second figure

(from an atlas dated 1863). The residences of numerous Ewings and Pattersons are highlighted.

The Nathaniel Ewing and his family mentioned above settled first in northern Maryland, on the east side of the Susquehanna River in Cecil County, East Nottingham Township, near the Pennsylvania border. They were pioneer farmers. The area was afterward called Ewingville. The name is now only historical; there is another community named Ewingville in Maryland, on the east side of Chesapeake Bay.

Nathaniel and Rachel Ewing had been married in Templemore (an Anglican parish) in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on March 2, 1721. They had a total of nine children, including another William born about 1723 in Cecil County, Maryland, or Little Britain, Pennsylvania. Nathaniel died in Cecil County on September 6, 1748, but at least two children were born in Little Britain Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which is about sixteen miles northwest of the historic Ewingville. Rachel died December 30, 1771.

Joshua Ewing and his wife Jane had six children, the first of which was Catherine 'Kitty' Ewing, born about 1723 or 1725 in Cecil County, Maryland, or Little Britain, Pennsylvania. Joshua died on August 16, 1753. About 1741, Kitty married her half-brother William. There is evidence that Nathaniel and Joshua had purchased 600 acres in 1728, and that 300 acres came down to William and Kitty. This land was on the north side of Octoraro Creek, which puts it in Little Britain Township. The date is not unreasonable since the area had been first surveyed in 1704.

The Ewings were now firmly established in southeastern Pennsylvania. The line traced here was present in Little Britain Township for four generations. Historically, there were two public churches in the township, one Quaker and one Presbyterian, the latter founded in 1732. The Ewings were of course Presbyterians. William served as an officer in the Revolutionary War and died intestate in 1785. William and Kitty produced a child named – you guessed it – William Jr. on April 17, 1749. In 1777, he married Margaret Patterson, who was born on July 18, 1746, in Little Britain. They had eight children, all but one born in Little Britain.

The Patterson line is also Scots-Irish and fits nicely into the historical outline of Scottish emigration to Ireland in the 1600s and subsequently to the colonies in the 1700s due to the persecutions by the Church of England. The father of Margaret Patterson was James Patterson, born in February 1720 in Chester County, Pennsylvania. His father was Arthur Patterson who died in 1763 or 1765 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and was born in 1640 in Hillsborough, County Down, Ulster, Ireland. Arthur's mother, Ann Knox, was born about 1640 in Scotland. Arthur married Ann Scott in 1706 in County Antrim, Ireland.

William Ewing Jr. died May 3, 1814, in Little Britain. His seventh child, Samuel Ewing (born August 12, 1789) was a farmer and a blacksmith. On April 17, 1828, Samuel married Esther Shaffer who was born on September 8, 1804, also in Little Britain. Esther's ancestors can be traced back to at least 1385 in Switzerland via the Bowman (or Buman) line.

Samuel and Esther had ten children, all born in Little Britain. The last was James Clark Ewing, born March 2, 1845. The seventh was my great-grandfather, John Jackson Ewing, born on May 12, 1835.

The LDS Church had been officially organized in New York state and the Book of Mormon published in 1830. In the same year, missionaries were sent to other states and to Indian reservations, and a movement to Kirtland, Ohio, was planned. By 1833, members who had settled in Jackson County, Missouri (a slave state), came into conflict with earlier settlers because of their abolitionist views and were run out of the county. About 1,200 died of exposure. Membership continued to grow in spite of the opposition and the financial panic of 1837. Missions spread to Canada and England. Missouri members were able to form their own county in 1836, but there were further clashes and bloodshed. The Mormons were forced out in 1838, and a new settlement was created in Hancock County, Illinois. In 1840, the first of many groups of converts began to arrive from Great Britain and Europe. Leaders Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered in June 1844. The church did not disintegrate, but additional mob violence led to a wintry exodus from Illinois in 1846, and the trek to Utah began under the leadership of Brigham Young.

John Jackson Ewing


Rebecca Florence Smith


It is not clear when word reached the Presbyterians of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but Ewings from this region were among the very earliest to cross the plains and arrive in Utah. In his personal history, my great-grandfather John Jackson Ewing states that his parents joined the LDS Church in 1844. The family left Little Britain in 1846. His mother died sixteen miles south of Ft. Laramie, Wyoming, on the Platte River on August 2, 1847. John Jackson was twelve years old at the time. Brigham Young's Company had entered the Valley of the Great Salt Lake on July 24, 1847. The Ewings arrived in Salt Lake on October 2, 1847, with the Jededia M. Grant Company and were among the first to settle in Provo and Lehi. John Jackson's father, Samuel, married Ann Whitfield in 1852 and Susanna Behunin Smith in 1853, but neither apparently produced children of their own. Samuel died on December 1, 1882, and is buried in the Old Provo City Cemetery.

John Jackson Ewing married Rebecca Florence Smith on November 30, 1861, at Salt Lake City. Rebecca was born in Selma, Alabama, on February 25, 1842. Her ancestors on the side of her father, John Mitchell Smith, can be traced to North Carolina, Texas and Tennessee; those of her mother, Maria Amanda Foscue, to Florida, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and England. The John Mitchell Smith family had moved to San Antonio, Texas, and in 1849 joined the LDS Church. They set out for Utah in 1850, but father John died en route at the Platte River Camp in Nebraska.

In 1861, John and Rebecca (Smith) Ewing came to Smithfield, Utah. Samuel Preston Ewing, my grandfather, was born in Smithfield on November 4, 1866, the fourth of fourteen children (the first three died at birth).

John and Rebecca had each lost a parent on the trek west. John made two return trips part way across the Plains to rescue stranded Companies and had some harrowing encounters with hostile Indians. After settling down in Smithfield, he helped build irrigation canals and canyon roads and improved streets. He also served as City Marshal. As a farmer, he was adept at caring for livestock and horses. During the 1880s and 1890s, he developed a community salt enterprise. He died on August 22, 1914, and Rebecca died on March 17, 1920.

My middle name, 'Fredrick,' does not appear in the Ewing line until the third child of John and Rebecca: Frederick Miles Ewing, born August 15, 1865. The name probably comes from the Smith side: Rebecca's brother was Frederick Wickliff Smith, born March 11, 1846, in Guadaloupe, Texas. He died on May 13, 1881, and may be buried in Blackfoot, Idaho.

I remember my grandfather Samuel Preston Ewing from my parents' annual summer trips from California to Utah. I remember attending his funeral in 1950. I have no memory of his character, but I do remember that he was quite rotund in old age and wore his khaki trousers with suspenders and the top button undone. This image was preserved in a group photo (shown below) I found in the family album. Sam was a farmer and dog breeder. After their marriage in 1897, Sam and Lana had three children, all boys:

Scott Preston Ewing, born May 26, 1898, and died January 20, 1973

Gordon Jackson Ewing, born May 4, 1902, and died April 23, 1941

Matt Elmo Ewing (my father), born September 25, 1905, and died April 4, 1980


Samuel Preston Ewing, 1888


The three sons of Samuel Preston and Lana Ewing – (L to R) Scott Preston, Gordon Jackson and Matt Elmo – in front of the family home in Smithfield, Utah.