The family story is that there were three Driver brothers who came from Wales - one went south and the other two north - a fourth brother stayed in Wales and was hung as a horse thief. [Everyone has to have a horse thief somewhere!] As with so many others, another family tale says the southern Driver held slaves while the Drivers in Ohio participated in the Underground Railroad. This family stuck together. On the 1900 Census in Vermillion Twp, Erie County, Ohio is Elizabeth Driver Lee. The next household belonged to Fred Driver (son of Wilson Lee Driver, Elizabeth's cousin, and grandson of Wesley Driver). Sherman Shoop (son of George and Sarah (Driver) Shoop and Elizabeth's second cousin) lived with his family "two doors" down. Also on the same census page are Alvin and Nancy (Driver) Minkler (another cousin), their son Elmer and his family, the John Lee family (a son of Henry and Polly Driver Lee and another of Elizabeth's cousins), and Almond and Rosella (John's son and family). More connections are on the page - the Crum and Jump families all have representatives here, though they could be considered more as "shirt-tail relatives."
James Driver, who died in Summerset Twp Washington Co, PA April 14, 1810, is the first known member of the family in America. His first wife, Margaret, must have died prior to 1790 as James married Lydia McDonough in 1790. It is thought that Margaret was a first cousin of Patrick Henry. James and Margaret had nine children. None of their girls were adventuresome enough to move to Ohio, but the boys, most of whom took up farming, did.
John Driver, born about 1757; died about 1827 in Randolph County, Indiana. He married Sarah before 1781. In the 1810 Ohio Tax List, John Driver is listed with 24 acres in Butler County (survey 4 2 16).
Rebecca Driver, born about 1758; died June 16, 1817. She married Joseph Peeden August 5, 1782; born June 30, 1758 and died August 5, 1850. They married, lived and died in Lancaster, Washington County, Pennsylvania. Joseph Peden served in the Revolutionary War as an artificer, 1776-81, under Capt. Peregrine Jones, Colonel Smyser's regiment.
Isaiah Driver, born 1760. He married Sarah before 1803. In the 1810 Tax List for Ohio, Isaiah Driver is listed having 180 acres in Fairfield County, Ohio (survey is 17 1618) and there is a will for an Isaiah Driver there dated 1843 (w63 p167: c1943).
Ezekial Driver, born about 1762. He is mentioned in his father's will (1810): he was residing in either York Co, Pennsylvania or Pickaway Co, Ohio at the time.
Ann Driver, born about 1767. She married Thomas Carroll; who died before April 14, 1810.
Susanna Driver, born about 1770. She married Abraham Batchford; born about 1770.
Ruth Driver, born about 1772. She married David Wherry about 1806 in Washington Co, Pennsylvania or thereabouts.
Priscilla Driver, born about 1774. She married John Aller; born about 1770. James Driver and his second wife, Lydia McDonough, had three children, one of whom moved on to Ohio from Pennsylvania:
Margaret Driver, born October 28, 1794 in York Co, Pennsylvania; died October 26, 1864 in Fayette Co, Pennsylvania. She married Joseph Springer April 8, 1813 in Fayette Co, Pennsylvania; born about 1792 in Fayette Co, Pennsylvania; died 1850 in East Finley, Pennsylvania.
William Driver, born about 1795. He married Mary Bishop; born about 1800.
Gideon Driver, born July 20, 1799 in Maryland; died August 9, 1876 in Spragg, Greene Co, Pennsylvania. He married Leah Duvall before 1822; born August 12, 1796 in Pennsylvania; died May 18, 1872 in Spragg. Most of his children were born in Richland Twp (?), Belmont Co, Ohio. He moved his family back to Pennsylvania from Ohio some time before 1838, according to the 1850 census birth information for his son Daniel.
Margaret Driver's fifth child was named after his father and is the primary subject of this biography. James Driver was born about 1765, and died September 6, 1849 in Vermilion, Erie, Ohio. He married Lucretia Hobbs, with Rev. Dorsey officiating, May 3, 1792 in Baltimore, Baltimore Co, Maryland. Lucy was possibly a daughter of Nicholas Hobbs and Elizabeth Cumming. She was born 1776 in Maryland, and died in Vermilion, Erie, Ohio.
James is found on the Ann Arundel Co, MD census for 1800 and the Baltimore Co, MD census for 1820. He was a Methodist minister and also a shoemaker by trade, and came to Ohio as a pioneer preacher. A record from the Baltimore archives shows the family retained ties in Maryland after moving west: Chancery Court December 1, 1842 case #11804 was called: John T. Worthington vs. William Baer, James Driver, Lucy Driver, and Frederick A. Schley, CR. Mortgage foreclosure was the reason for attending court. Life was getting just too complicated in Maryland.
James died of old age in Berlin Twp., Erie County, Ohio. His cemetery's official name is Oak Bluff Cemetery but Cranberry Creek is the name given to the area and the cemetery by locals. James' grave at the cemetery is at the end of a row with space for his wife's grave to his left. Though no headstone exists now for Lucretia, an oak tree was planted over the plot - only a stump remains but it is at least 6 feet in circumference.
The children of James Driver and Lucretia Hobbs are fairly well documented: Four children died young. One of them may have been named Nancy Phelps Driver.
Isah Driver was born February 25, 1796 in Maryland, and died October 5, 1871 in Allen Co, Indiana. He married Cassandra Barnes August 22, 1821 in Baltimore Co, Maryland, a daughter of Adam Barnes and Ruth Shipley. She was born March 29, 1804 in Anne Arundel Co, Maryland, and died Aft. May 1848. Isah lived in Howard Co, Maryland (maybe Long Corner); Rush Creek Twp, Fairfield, Ohio; Vermillion, Erie, Ohio; and Milan Twp, Allen, Indiana.
Polly Driver was born 1803 in Maryland, and died February 1, 1885 in on the Joppa Road, Vermilion Twp, Erie, Ohio. She married Henry A. Lee before 1840 in Baltimore City, Maryland. He was born 1806 in Baltimore City and died before 1885 on the Joppa Road, Vermilion Twp. Henry A. Lee's family is included in A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio.
Willson Driver, born March 11, 1804 in Maryland; died November 27, 1876 in Vermilion, Erie, Ohio. He may have married three times, though dates present problems. (1) Kittura; born 1839; died October 7, 1847. (2) Mary about 1837 probably in Ohio; died before July 28, 1845. (3) Polly Low May 1, 1845 by Phineas B. Barber, M.G. in Vermillion; born 1813 in Ohio; died before 1870 since she is not on the census with Willson. When Willson died of cancer at the age of 72y 8m 10d, he was a widowed farmer residing in Vermillion. John Driver, born between 1804 - 1810 (possibly March 2, 1809) in Maryland; died November 3, 1849. He may have wed Caty Ann Stapleton in Ohio September 21 1838. If so, she probably remarried rather quickly after John's death, unless she had already died, as there are no records for a Caty Driver found.
Elizabeth Driver, born 1806 in Maryland; died after June 1870. She married Mordecai Lee August 7, 1832 in Baltimore, Maryland; born December 28, 1808 in Maryland; died March 19, 1861 in Erie Co, Ohio. In the 1870 census, living in a row are Betsey Lee, Polly Lee, and Matilda Pickett, with Giles Jump (who was married to a Pickett daughter) and James Lee just a hop, skip and a jump away. Of course Betsey Lee is Elizabeth Driver and they are all related. Vermilion township records state 'Mordica Lee was "liable to be envoled in the Militia" February 21, 1845'. He died at the age of 52y 11m 19d and was buried in the Cranberry Creek Cemetery, Vermilion Twp.
Denton Driver, born April 7, 1813 in Maryland; died June 19, 1894 in Woodbine, Maryland. He married Nancy Ann Lansdale December 23, 1835 in Baltimore Co; born March 17, 1814 in Maryland; died October 11, 1880 in Woodbine, Maryland. Denton was the only son of James and Lucy (Hobbs) Driver to stay in Maryland; probably because of his mother-in-law. She owned land in Baltimore County (later Carroll Co) and Ann Arundel (later Howard Co). After Nancy's father died, her mother sold this land and moved to another tract near Poplar Springs that had also previously been owned by the Warfields (the same land Denton later owned). The Warfield and Lansdale families were heavily involved in Maryland's Industrial Revolution. Denton owned a 100 acre farm on the Howard County side of the Patapsco River between Watersville and Woodbine. Denton was a farmer and Assistant Pastor of the Watersville Methodist Church, which church his sons, John and George, helped build. In the 1860 census Denton was listed with real estate valued at $1,400 and a personal estate of $700. According to the 1880 census, Denton was living with his son John while his wife was with their other son, George, next door. One of his grandchildren was born in Ohio, perhaps while on a visit. There is still a road near Woodbine named Driver Road or Lane. He and his wife are buried in the Morgan Chapel, United Methodist Church Cemetery, Woodbine.
Matilda Driver, born April 8, 1816 in Carroll Co, Maryland; died October 10, 1902 in Joppa, Erie, Ohio. She married (1) Thomas Pickett after 1826; born in Carroll Co, Maryland; died before 1850 in Carroll County. She married (2) Mr. Slocum before 1850 in Erie County, Ohio. By 1880 Matilda had reverted to the last name Pickett for the census. She joined the Church of Latter Day Saints late in life and is buried in Peake Cemetery, Joppa, Berlin Twp. where her headstone says "Matilda (Driver) Crawford". Mr. Crawford has not been found. Matilda and Thomas' son William T. Pickett has a biography in A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio. Mr. Slocum must have died in 1858 or 1859, as Matilda, as a widow, had a one year old child with the name Eliza Slocum on the 1860 census. Further, they must have married sometime around 1850, as Matilda had a daughter named Mary Slocum, age 10, and a son, J (or I) W Slocum, age 7, on the 1860 census.
There is no actual town named Joppa. There is a Joppa Road, which runs from Florence up to what is now known as Beulah Beach. This beach is not far from the Cranberry Creek Cemetery. According to one knowledgeable local, there is a Venice Road which has been treated like a town. My assumption then is that the inhabitants of Joppa Road tended to use Joppa as we would use a town name.
James Driver, born September 22, 1819 in Maryland; died February 20, 1897 in Berlin Heights, Erie, Ohio. He married (1) Elizabeth Hobbs before 1850; born 1824 in Maryland; died September 9, 1887 in Berlin, Erie, Ohio. He married (2) Susan Hannah Daniels August 12, 1891 in Erie Co (D.T. Call, Minister of the Gospel performed the ceremony); died September 5, 1908 in Berlin Heights. This James is fairly well documented in Erie County records. He was worth $1200 per the 1850 census (Ohio) and was a farmer.
From The Firelands Pioneer Old Series, Book 2, page 45: About 1828 to 1835, Vermilion received a large accession from Maryland John and James Black and their families, Perry Darby, Horatio and Elias Lowe, Isaiah, Wesley and James Driver, and others, most of whom were thrifty and industrious families.
From Vermilion Township Records:
James Driver 2nd is "liable to be envoled in the Militia" February 21, 1845.
April 6, 1846
The Annual meeting was held at the Black Meeting House near the Furnace in Vermillion Township April 6th, 1846. Levi Parsons, Joseph Elson and Francis Champney sat as Judges. Benjamin Summers and Eli hale Clerks of said Election. One hundred and ninety two votes polled and the following persons elected to office to wit; J. Driver District 1
April 9, 1846
The following officers appeared previous to the 16th and were sevenly sworn to their respective offices by Parker Lewis Justice of the Peace, namely T.L. Poyer. James Driver Jr. (five other names omitted) Certificate on file O.H.P. Marsh T.C. From Gateway to the West, Vol. 1, p. 401 (I am not certain this is the correct James, but none other fits): Stray Notice. July 20, 1887. James E. Driver declares rightful owner may claim animal by "calling and paying all charges thereon." Charles H. Becker Twp. Clerk; Eugene Peak, and Gus Wetzle, Appraisers. (38b)
James' will, dated July 26, 1894, was probated March 10, 1897. It states that James Driver of Berlin Twp. died February 20, 1897, mentions his wife Susan and sons George, Alpheus, Henry, Adelbert and J.D., daughter Savilla Fox, and grandson Courtland Cromwell and granddaughter Mary Sarr. (the will can be found at the Sandusky Courthouse, Case #1485.)
The Baptist Cemetery in the town of Berlin is right behind a storage barn belonging to the township. The Driver graves are grouped at the back of the cemetery. James' headstone proclaims him to be "husband of Elizabeth Hobbs and Susan Hannah Daniels and son of James".
Elizabeth Hobbs' headstone differs from the death record at the Erie County Courthouse: the headstone says she died September 1, 1887 at the age of 63y 4m 2d. She was born in Maryland, per her children's 1900 census statements, but may have emigrated from England. It's scary to think she died from rheumatism, as her death certificate claims.
Susan Hannah (Daniels) Driver's will was dated April 21, 1897 and probated September 15, 1908. She was living in Berlin Heights at her death. (Erie County Courthouse Case # 2222). It is written on a standard form. She directs "that a headstone shall be erected to mark my last resting place." Susan's estate is given "to Adell Anna Cook great granddaughter of my late husband James Driver without restriction, excepting that neither she nor the executor shall dispose of any of the real estate or any part therof consigned by this instrument during the period of two years from the date of my decease." Charles Cook of Berlin Heights was nominated executor.
Wesley Driver (third child of James Driver, Jr. and Lucretia Hobbs) was born 1794 on the Joppa Road, Baltimore Co, Maryland, and died November 30, 1857, age 63y 6m 3d in Vermillion, Erie, Ohio. He was married to Ruth Barnes November 7, 1817 in Baltimore Co by Minister Garrison. Ruth was a daughter of Adam Barnes and Ruth Shipley, both old Maryland families that have been well documented. She was born 1800 in Anne Arundel Co, Maryland, and died February 4, 1859 in Vermilion, Erie, Ohio. Her headstone at Cranberry Creek Cemetery is becoming unreadable. The cemetery is not abandoned, though most of the graves are from the 1800's. There is a huge oak tree (about as big around as the one that was over James' and Lucy's graves) planted over Wesley and Ruth's graves. From Vermilion Twp Records
Westly (sic.) Driver was elected supervisor of the 7th District April 5, 1841. He was sworn in April 10 by C.P. Judson.
April 24, 1844 Wesley Driver was appointed to the position of Supervisor to fill a vacancy in the Township offices.
Children of Wesley Driver and Ruth Barnes are:
Mary E. Driver, born April 6, 1828 in Baltimore Co, Maryland; died June 4, 1890 in Fort Wayne, Springfield Twp, Allen Co, Indiana. She married Wales Higgins November 1, 1846 in Vermillion, Erie, Ohio; born January 18, 1823 in New York; died March 26, 1897 in Fort Wayne.
Adam Driver, born May 2, 1819 in Maryland; died October 8, 1908 in Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana. He married Almena Abigale Bartholomew April 9, 1854 in Halls Corners, Fort Wayne; born March 1, 1834 probably in Greene Co, New York; died August 29, 1919 in Defiance Co, Ohio. Adam Driver moved to Erie County, Ohio in 1835 with his parents. In 1847 he moved to Allen County, Indiana where he purchased 80 acres of wild land. He sold this and returned to Ohio. Two years later he and his brother William purchased 200 acres of woodland in Allen County and he really became a pioneer. He is listed twice on the 1850 census - in both Ohio and Indiana.
James A. Driver, born 1823 in Maryland; died April 8, 1888 in Fresno, Fresno, California. He married Mary Jane Smith October 14, 1852 in Milan, Erie, Ohio; born April 1827 in Ohio. For the 1880 Census the family was in Greeley, Weld, Colorado p. 461a. James was a farmer. This grave is in Maple Grove Cemetery, Vermilion Twp:
James A. Driver, died December 2, 1856 age 1 month, son of J.A. & M.J. William Washington Driver, born April 22, 1826 in Baltimore Co, Maryland; died January 10, 1896 in Springfield Twp, Allen County, Indiana. He married Abigail C. Ransom November 15, 1852 in Berlin, Erie County, Ohio; born September 1825 in New York; died December 11, 1916 in Springfield Twp. In 1849 William and his brother Adam purchased 200 acres of woodland in Allen County, Indiana (Fort Wayne).
Nancy Driver, born January 1, 1830 in Maryland; died July 1, 1904 in Joppa, Erie, Ohio. She married (1) Mr. Phelps after 1840 in Ohio; died before December 24, 1848. She married (2) Alvin Minkler (a farmer and fruit grower) December 24, 1848 in Joppa; born December 10, 1824 in Geauga Co, Ohio; died May 15, 1904 in Joppa. Methodists, Nancy and Alvin are buried in Peake Cemetery, north of Joppa. The Minklers are written up in A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio, p. 755
Sarah A. Driver, born February 26, 1832 in Maryland; died June 6, 1920 in Axtel, Erie, Ohio. She married George W. Shoop, a farmer, May 14, 1857 at her father's house "Westley Driver's" by Daniel Minkler in Vermilion, Erie, Ohio; born March 14, 1835 in Vermilion Twp; drowned March 21, 1882 in Berlin, Erie, Ohio, buried in Maple Grove Cemetery. The town of Axtel is between Vermilion and Birmingham, Ohio where Mason Road crosses Savannah Road (Route 60). The Shoop family appears in A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio.
Lucy Ann Driver, born 1833; died September 14, 1840. The only information on this child comes from her headstone in Cranberry Creek Cemetery that reads "daughter of Wesley and Ruth Driver".
John Wesley Driver, born November 25, 1835 in Sanduskey, Erie, Ohio; died December 23, 1918 in Alaeidon Twp, Ingham, Michigan. He married Angeline Elvira Bradley, another Erie County inhabitant. The family moved to Ingham County, Michigan.
Wilson Lee Driver, born April 11, 1839 in Townwood, Putnam, Ohio; died of pneumonia March 18, 1906 in Florence, Erie, Ohio, buried in Peake Cemetery. He married Eliza Asenath Minkler November 12, 1859 in Ohio; born June 23, 1839 in Erie Co; died 1925 in Ohio. Her parents were Daniel and Lucy (Smith) Minkler who resided in Joppa, Ohio. An Erie county marriage record shows her name as Sutton. Her maiden name may have been Minkler and possibly she had a previous marriage to a Sutton. Eliza had 4 children, 3 survived. Wilson L. Driver enlisted 20 July 1863 Priv 20. He served in the Ohio En H Co. 88th Infantry Reg. of Ohio, inducted in as a sergeant July 31, 1863, he mustered out at Camp Chase, OH on July 3, 1865 at the same rank.
Contributed by Ann Marr