1. James1 ROSS, birth date and place unknown, married Ruth ROBINSON, daughter of William ROBINSON and probably (although not confirmed) Rachael PARKE, 10 December 1767 in St. James Episcopal Church, Lancaster, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They may not have been married in the church in Lancaster, but rather by a circuit riding minister who was of that church and who then recorded the event in church records
In 1768 Ruth inherited 45 acres of land and five pounds from her father William. The land was in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, and was laid off adjacent to property of Jacob Morgan, Esq., the founder of Morgantown.
Between 1770 and 1778 James ROSS is found on tax duplicates for Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. By at least 1777 he saw service in the military in the Revolutionary War as one of two Court Martial men in the 8th Company, 5th Battalion, under command of Captain David Morgan. Serving as 1st Lieutenant in that company was John Robinson, his brother-in-law. James may have died of injuries suffered in the war. He is deceased by 14 November 1798, the date Ruth, his widow, and John Robinson, his brother-in-law – co-administrators of his estate – filed the second announcement of administration of his estate in the Office of the Register for the Probate of Wills, County of Berks. His burial place is not known and he may have died in battle some distance from Berks County. In 1779 Ruth Ross replaces James on tax duplicates for Caernarvon Towship, and her name continues to appear until 1794 when her son William comes of age and takes her place on the tax rolls.
Children of James1 ROSS and Ruth ROBINSON were as follows:
+ 2 i. Rebecca2 ROSS; born 22 December 1769 in Lancaster, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; married Benjamin BAREFOOT.
+ 3 ii. Margaret ROSS; born circa 1770 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania; married Edward WELLS.
4 iii. William ROSS was born 14 October 1772 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. In 1794 William first appeared on the tax list for Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, replacing his mother Ruth as head of household for tax and census purposes. (A male needed to be aged 21 to be listed.) He is on the censuses of 1800 and 1810 in Caernervon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvnaia.
William was a prominent merchant in Morgantown, Berks County, Pennsylvania. He was on the list of tavern petitioners in Uwchlan Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania from 1813-1817, first listing his tavern as 'The Compass' and then as 'The Sign of the Compass.' William bought the tavern from Abraham Wells, the brother of his sister Margaret's husband Edward.
William married Mary, last name unknown, between 1805 and 1809. In 1810 William and Mary Ross purchased a property from John Mengle on Main Street in Morgantown (where the Odd Fellows Hall now stands). In 1813 they sold it to Margaret Morgan and her daughter Elizabeth Rees.
William died childless and intestate 9 Feb 1818 in Caernervon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, at age 45. Administrators of his estate were Mary Ross, his wife, James Graham, Jr., and David Stisteler. William was buried in St. Thomas Episcopal Church Cemetery, Morgantown, Berks County, Pennsylvania.
Mary, William’s widow, remarried David McKnight. He died and sometime after the 1830 census Mary moved to Coles County, Illinois; for what reason it is not known. She died circa 1840/41.
+ 5 iv. Mary Ann ROSS; born 11 Jun 1776 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania; married John W. BRINLEY.
2. Rebecca2 ROSS (James1ROSS) was born 22 December 1769 in Lancaster, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She married Benjamin BAREFOOT, son of Samuel BAREFOOT and Jean\Jenny PALMER, 28 April 1787 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Rebecca died 22 January 1853 in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, at age 83 and was buried in Quaker Cemetery, East St. Clair Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania.
It is likely, based on the sex and ages of those in the household, that Rebecca and her children were living with her brother William in the 1800 federal census, in Caernarvon Township, Berks County. Rebecca’s husband Benjamin was in Fayette County in western Pennsylvania for this census. It is not known why he was away from the family, nor if he returned. What is known is that in 1809 Rebecca is working to support her family at Joanna Furnace, an iron works close to Morgantown in Berks County. The nature of this work was not included on the payroll ledger where Rebecca’s name appears. Further, it is Rebecca, not Benjamin, who was recorded as head of household on the census of 1810 in Caernervon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. Listed were one male 10-16, one male 16-26, one female 10-16, one female 26-45 and one female over 45. All the children (minus James who it is known had gone to Bedford County) are accounted for except one male 16-26. It’s unknown if this is Samuel or William. The female over 45 is very likely Rebecca's mother Ruth.
The descendants of James Barefoot (eldest son of Benjamin and Rebecca) have asserted for the past 80 years that Rebecca Ross was the daughter of Maria Sabina Kuhn and James Ross, son of George Ross, Signer of the Declaration of Independence. In fact, the Barefoot Reunion Association placed a marker on Rebecca’s grave in Bedford County to this effect, and DAR membership has been granted based on this line of descent. It must be said, however, that DAR standards were once very lax and procedures for checking out claims were not rigorously followed, so DAR membership should never, under any circumstance, be taken as proof of lineage. Indeed, evidence gathered by this researcher and Sharon Sheldon, a descendant of Rebecca’s son James, clearly and unequivocally refutes the undocumented claim that Rebecca Ross is the granddaughter of a Signer.
According to St. James Episcopal Church, Lancaster, Pennsylvania records, a James Ross (NOT the son of George Ross, Signer) and a Ruth Robinson were married 10 December 1767. Later in Caernervon Township, Berks County census and tax records, a Ruth Ross is listed as a property owner, beginning in 1779 and continuing until at least 1806, where she is listed as a widow living with William Ross, who first appears in these records in 1794. William is her son.
Rebecca Ross' personal bible (once in the possession of Carl Barefoot of Muncie, Indiana; its whereabouts now is unknown) has a handwritten notation for 'William Ross, Decest February the 9, 1818, aged 45 years, 3 months, 25 days.' (I have a photocopy of the page with this information.) In a Petition for the Partition of the Estate of William Ross, deceased, dated 3 August 1818, made to the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas for the County of Chester it states that'...Edward Wells in right of his wife Margaret, one of the sisters and heirs at law of William Ross late of the township of Uwchlan in the County aforesaid, deceased, Humbly Sheweth That your petitioner's said brother-in-law lately died intestate leaving a widow to wit Mary Ross but no lawful issue, but leaving three sisters to wit your petitioner's said wife Margaret, Rebecca now Rebecca Barefoot and Mary now Mary Brindley...'
Also, among the names listed in administrative accounts for the estate of William Ross, Uwchlan Township, Chester County, filed 27 December 1820 are Job Barefoot, Rebecca’s son (Job Palmer); William Barefoot, Rebecca’s son, and John Brinley, Mary Ann’s husband. Reconfirming the relationship of Rebecca to William Ross and consequently to this Berks County Ross family, in an excerpt from 'The Brinleys of Pennsylvania' by Robert M. Brinley, CLU ( 1967), Library of Congress #SC71.B8594, page 10 it states: 'vi. John Brinley, the sixth child and third son of James and Mary, was born on Wednesday, January 31, 1781 at the family homestead in Robeson Township. On May 29, 1806, John married Mary Ann Ross, born June 11, 1776, and died on June 9, 1834. She was the sister of William Ross, born November 14, 1772 and died February 9, 1818, a prominent merchant of Morgantown, Pennsylvania, a small town in Caernervon Township, founded by Col. Jacob Morgan, her father-in-law's commandant in the Revolutionary War. Mary's sister, Rebecca Ross, married into the Bearfoot family, a prominent Caernervon family of Irish origin.'
Perhaps the most convincing proof, only recently uncovered, is the death certificate for Rebecca Barefoot, returned by her grandson William Barefoot of St. Clair Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, in which she is listed as a spinster, daughter of (-blank-) and Ruth Ross; born 1769 in Berks County; died 22 Jan 1853 in St. Clair Township, aged 84 years and one month. Buried in Quaker Graveyard, St. Clair Township. Spouse: Benjamin Barefoot.
The proofs cited above leave no doubt that Rebecca was not the granddaughter of George Ross, SDI. The Berks County Ross family may tie into the Signer’s Lancaster County Ross family at some point further back in time, but certainly not in a direct line from George, to James to Rebecca. Sadly, for whatever reason the Barefoot Family Association and organizers of the annual Barefoot Family Reunion in western Pennsylvania continue to endorse this claim in the face of the above-mentioned proofs, brought to their attention over the course of the past four years.
Children of Rebecca2 ROSS and Benjamin BAREFOOT were as follows:
+ 6 i. James3 BAREFOOT; born 20 May 1788 in Chester County, Pennsylvania; married Mary SLEEK/SLICK
+ 7 ii. William BAREFOOT; born 10 December 1791 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; married Mary SHEAFFER.
8 iii. Samuel BAREFOOT was born 2 August 1793 in Pennsylvania; baptized 2 Jul 1797 in St. Gabriel's Church, Amity Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. He died 15 March 1814 in Pennsylvania at age 20 and was buried in Leacock Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
+ 9 iv. Isabella BAREFOOT; born 11 Nov 1795 in Lancaster or Berks County, Pennsylvania; married Daniel RUTTER.
+ 10 v. Job Palmer BAREFOOT; born 29 May 1798 in Berks County, Pennsylvania; married Agness MCCASKEY.
3. Margaret2 ROSS (James1) was born circa 1770 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. She married Edward WELLS 24 May 1797 in Berks County, Pennsylvania;. Margaret died 18 December 1831 in York County, Pennsylvania and was buried in Crone's Cemetery, Fairview Township, York County, Pennsylvania.
Edward WELLS, Margaret’s husband, was born 21 Jan 1771, likely in Berks County, Pennsylvania. He was a farmer and a carpenter and for years was successfully engaged in building and taking contracts for construction of bridges, including the long bridge across the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. After marrying, he and Margaret lived for several years in Martintown, Berks County, Pennsylvania. By 1814 they had purchased a farm and relocated to Warrington Township, York County, Pennsylvania, where they attended Warrington Friends’ Meeting. Six years after Margaret’s passing, in 1837, Edward and his youngest son George visited Tippecanoe County, Indiana where Edward purchased 217 acres of land in Sheffield Township. By 1838, he and his children had settled in Indiana. Edward did not remarry. He died 30 August 1843 and is buried in Greenbush Cemetery, Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Indiana.
Children of Margaret2 ROSS and Edward WELLS were as follows:
11 i. James3 WELLS was born circa 1798 in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
12 ii. Henry WELLS was born circa 1807 in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
13 iii. Jesse WELLS.
14 iv. Ross WELLS.
15 v. Mary Ann WELLS was born circa 1810 in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
16 vi. Levi B. WELLS was born circa 1812 in Pennsylvania.
He may have had sons Alfred and Albert.
17 vii. Edward WELLS.
18 viii. George Ross WELLS was born 16 September 1814 in York County, Pennsylvania;. He married Tamson WESTLAKE.
19 ix. Margaret A. WELLS was born circa 1815 in York County, Pennsylvania.
5. Mary Ann2 ROSS (James1) was born 11 June 1776 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. She married John W. BRINLEY 29 May 1806 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Mary Ann was enrolled in the 1822 Sunday School class of Harmony Methodist Episcopal Church, but a short time later both she and her husband John became active members of the St. Thomas Episcopal Church of Morgantown, one of the oldest parishes in the American Episcopal Church, founded in 1740. In 1823 an epidemic claimed the lives of three of Mary's children within a two-week period. The 1830 census shows all the surviving children still at home.
Mary Ann died 9 June 1834 in Berks County, Pennsylvania, at age 57. She was buried in St. Thomas Episcopal Church Cemetery, Morgantown, alongside her husband John in an impressive plat next to the tomb of Jacob Morgan, founder of Morgantown, and the grave of William Ross, Mary's brother.
John BRINLEY was born 31 January 1781 in Robeson Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, the sixth child of James and Mary Brinley. He was a carpenter by trade. In 1815 John purchased a tract of land in Northern Liberties Township, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and moved his family there. Five years later the family returned to Caernarvon Township, Berks County, and settled on a farm one mile north of Morgantown. John died 8 Mar 1855, at age 74, and was buried next to his wife in St. Thomas Episcopal Church Cemetery.
Children of Mary Ann2 ROSS and John W. BRINLEY were as follows:
20 i. Ann Ross3 BRINLEY was born 20 March 1807 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. She died 16 February 1842 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, at age 34, and was buried in St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Morgantown, Berks County. She never married.
21 ii. Mary Maria BRINLEY was born 2 December 1808 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. She died 7 September 1870 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, at age 61, and was buried in St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Morgantown.
Mary was also known as Maria. She never married and stayed with her parents in the family homestead north of Morgantown. She cared for her father until his death.
22 iii. William Ross BRINLEY was born 24 September 1810 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. He died 14 February 1853 in Salisbury Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, at age 42.
William married Margaret, last name unknown, in 1838 and moved to Salisbury Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where he is found in the 1850 census as an assessor. He had a son named George Harrison, born circa 1840, a son John, born circa 1842, and a daughter Elizabeth A., born circa 1838. Margaret is found in the 1870 Pennsylvania census in Lancaster County, Salisbury Township. Also, in this census is John Brinley, age 28, carpenter, born Pennsylvania, his wife Mary, age 24, son Harry or Henry L., age 2, and son Charles E., age 1. This John Brinley is William's son.
23 iv. John Castleberry BRINLEY was born 25 July 1812 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. He died 6 January 1839 in Berks County, at age 26, and was buried in St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Morgantown, Berks County.
John Castleberry was named for his paternal grandmother Casselberry, but his name was misspelled. There is no record of a marriage.
24 v. James BRINLEY was born 1 April 1814 in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and died 24 September 1823 in Berks County, at age nine, in an epidemic that claimed two siblings. He was buried in St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Morgantown, Berks County.
25 vi. George Ross BRINLEY was born 19 March 1816, probably in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. He died 12 June 1882 in Berks County, at age 66, and was buried in St. Paul's Cemetery, Geigertown, Berks County, Pennsylvania.
George married Mary Ann LIGGETT of Union Township, Berks County, in 1837. She was born 30 September 1816 and died 7 October 1876. After marrying, George and Mary Ann first lived in Union Township, then moved to Geigertown, Robeson Township, Berks County. They settled in Reading, Berks Township in 1853. In 1865 the family moved to Birdsboro, Berks County, where George built a dry goods store. In 1871 he made his only surviving son a full partner and conducted business under the name of George R. Brinley & Son. George Ross was the administrator of his aunt Rebecca Ross Barefoot's estate.
26 vii. Elizabeth BRINLEY was born 7 June 1818 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. She died 23 February 1843 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, at age 24, and was buried in St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Morgantown, Berks County. Elizabeth did not marry.
27 viii. Isaac BRINLEY was born 11 Aug 1820 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania and died 4 October 1823 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, at age three, in an epidemic that claimed two of his siblings. Isaac was buried in St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Morgantown, Berks County.
28 ix. Rebecca BRINLEY was born 1 April 1822 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. She died 17 September 1823 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, at age one, in an epidemic that claimed two of her siblings. Rebecca was buried in St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Morgantown, Berks County.
29 x. Ross BRINLEY was born 30 July 1824 in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, and baptized 14 Jan 1854 in Elverson Methodist Episcopal Church, Berks County. He died 25 January 1854 in Berks County, Pennsylvania, at age 29, and was buried in St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Morgantown, Berks County, Pennsylvania. It is not known if he married.