For the purposes of this website, the “first generation” refers to the first generation of Males in America. Many important events occurred during this generation that would shape the migration patterns and trajectory for the offspring of each of these individuals. Unfortunately, this is a period of limited record-keeping, especially when the family arrived in America. Because of this, not all information is known. There are areas where information is assumed or implied, and there is inherent risk of incorrect information occurring within those assumptions. Nevertheless, enough information can be gleaned to determine the general pattern of activity, and that is most important. As such, it is important to first step back and examine the patriarch of this generation, Wilmore Male.
Wilmore Male, I - 1714 - abt. 1793
It can be said with reasonable certainty that the progenitor of the Male family in America was born William Mayle in May 1714 in Bottisham, Cambridgeshire, England. There are other William Males who married a spouse with the name of Mary in the Eastern England area during this time period, but timelines hold best with this individual. In addition, this individual is consistent with various family histories that have been published over the years.
He was christened on May 26th. It appears that he was the son of Thomas Mayle and Anna Graves, who were married in nearby Cottenham in 1705. At some point, the family appears to have moved from landlocked Cambridgeshire to the town of Dover, a port in Kent county on the east coast of England. In 1748, William married a Mary Cocket at St. James the Apostle Church in Dover. Family history often gives Mary a date of birth of February 11, 1716; however, I don’t believe this to be the correct Mary Cocket. First, this Mary was born in Surrey, a neighboring county nearly 70 miles away. Second, and more importantly, the age is quite problematic. We know that the last child born in England was born in 1760, and that at least three more births occurred in America. That would put the last birth sometime around 1763 at the earliest. While childbirth at later ages certainly occurred successfully during this time period, this would mean that Mary successfully gave birth around the ages of 45, 46 and 47, which does not seem possible. Furthermore, if the additional two possible births (John and Sarah) are factored in, this would result in children born at ages 48 and 49. Rather, the Mary Cocket in question is much more likely to be a Mary Cocket that was born in August 1725. Records show her christening to have occurred on August 29, 1725 in Canterbury, which is much closer to their eventual place of marriage. This would place the birth of the latest child at age 38 for Mary (40 if the additional two births are considered), which is much more realistic.
Life did not appear to be easy for this family early on. Parish records indicate that the family may have moved across the town of Dover between 1748 and 1750; the first two birth records occurred in a different parish than that of their marriage. Family history holds that William was a bricklayer or a stonemason, and he may have had to move to find work during this time period. The family certainly knew hardship, as two of their children born during their time in England died quite young (Susanna, at just six months old in 1752 and William, at three years old in 1756). Outside of parish records relating to births and deaths, little is known about the family’s time in England.
Sometime around 1761, the family came to America. The exact time is unknown; we know that the last birth in England occurred in 1760, so it was after that date. The first known record in the United States comes in the form of a 1768 petition in Baltimore to move the county seat to Joppa. As such, we can place the time of arrival between 1761 and 1768. This is the first time we see the name Wilmore Male used; in fact, after this, he is never again referred to as William. The reason for the change is unknown. Due to Mary’s age and the fact that she had at least three children in America, it is much more likely that this arrival came closer to 1761 than it did to 1768.
Unfortunately, no “smoking gun” exists in the form of a ship manifest or immigration record to prove that this England family was the one to arrive in Baltimore, but context clues can be used to prove it. Specifically, the names of the children can be used as evidence. Census records and property tax lists show the family’s migration from Maryland into Virginia (an area which now, of course, makes up West Virginia). As early as 1786, Hampshire County tax lists show a Wilmore Mail, Jr. 1793 records show brothers Richard, William and Wilmore living next to each other in Hampshire County. This proves that a family consisting of a Wilmore Sr., Wilmore Jr. and William lived in Hampshire County in the 1780’s and 1790’s. While no factual evidence exists to prove that the English family described is the same family living in Virginia, the odds of another family having these three same names is extremely unlikely.
Family history holds that the marriage between Wilmore and Mary yielded nine children; six boys and three girls. The activities of five (William, Wilmore, James, Richard and George) are well known. Two more (Mary and Elizabeth) are less known, but documentation does exist. The last two (John and Sarah) are far less known; their birth is attributed to have occurred in America, but no records of any offspring have ever been located. This could be easily explained for Sarah, as a marriage would have of course changed her last name; however, no records exist for any of John’s children, though records can be traced for all the other male siblings. Family history indicate that John “migrated west for parts unknown”, and this could very well be true - there is an 1805 marriage record for a John Male and Anne Odle in Kanawha County, which would indeed indicate a movement westward. However, no records have been found to trace this individual any further or to definitively place him in this family. The 1782 lists Wilmore Male having 11 individuals in his household, which lends credence to the idea of more children existing. Even so, with Elizabeth having passed away in 1774 back in England, at least one individual in that census number remains unidentified.
It is important to note that Wilmore and Mary had two other children that existing family histories often do not identify. Both of these children (Susanna and William) died young before the family’s arrival to America, which makes the omission quite understandable. Therefore, the finally tally of children born to Wilmore and Mary may be 11 - seven boys and four girls.
Wilmore Male and Mary Cocket had the following children:
1.Mary Male - Born April 1750. Christened April 29, 1750 at St. Mary the Virgin in Dover, Kent, England. Nothing known is more about Mary. Perhaps she married in Virginia, or, based on what we know about Elizabeth, she may have remained in England with her sister.
2.Susanna Male - Born December 1751. Christened December 8, 1751 at St. Mary the Virgin in Dover, Kent, England. Died in June 1752 and was buried on June 2, 1752 at St. James the Apostle, Dover, Kent, England.
3.William Male - Born in May 1753. Christened on May 20, 1753 at St. James the Apostle, Dover, Kent, England. Died in June 1756 and was buried on June 2, 1756 at St. James the Apostle, Dover, Kent, England.
Note: Family histories often list this William Male as the husband of Nancy Jones and the father of a line of children in America. In actuality, there were two Williams born to Wilmore and Mary; the second was born in 1760 and survived. He is the correct father to that line of descendants.
4.Wilmore Male, Jr. - Born in June 1755. Christened on June 22, 1755 at St. James the Apostle, Dover, Kent, England. Died sometime after 1840 in Hampshire County, Virginia.
5.Elizabeth Male - Born in June 1757. Baptized on June 19, 1757 at St. James the Apostle, Dover, Kent, England. Elizabeth does not appear to have traveled with the family to America; she died in June 1774 and was buried on June 26, 1774 at the age of 17 at St. James the Apostle, Dover, Kent, England.
6.William Male - Born February 1760. Baptized on February 3rd, 1760 at St. James the Apostle, Dover, Kent, England. Died in March 1848 in Barbour County, Virginia.
7.James Male - Born sometime around 1761 in Virginia. Died sometime after 1830 in Virginia.
8.Richard Male - Born sometime around 1762 in Virginia. Died in July 1845 in Barbour County, Virginia.
9.George Male - Born sometime around 1763 in Virginia. Died in 1847 in Taylor County, Virginia.
10.John Male - Unconfirmed. May be the John Male that married Anne Odle.
11.Sarah Male - Unconfirmed.
As previously mentioned, the family can be first located in Baltimore, Maryland in the late 1760’s. The period from 1770 to 1785 is quite unknown. We know that Wilmore Male, Jr. fought in the Revolutionary War and returned home. During this timeframe, the family was in Berkeley County, Virginia, though they would slowly move west to Randolph. Though the children would have reached marrying age during the 1770’s, no records of children born during this timeframe exist. It is likely that the family was migrating West during this time period and had not yet joined up with the other families making similar migrations.
By the 1780’s, much more is known, and we can begin to see the destinations of each of the children. By now, Wilmore, William, James and Richard all lived near each other in Hampshire County. As late as 1800, all four appear next to each other on personal property tax lists. In the 1810 Virginia census, Wilmore Male still appears in Hampshire County. By 1820, William, George and Richard are living near each other in Randolph County, which represents a significant westward movement; also included on this census is a Wilmore Male. Interestingly, Wilmore Male, Jr. shows up in Hampshire County in 1830 and 1840 enumerations; either this is a different Wilmore Male (perhaps the Wilmer Male that is the son of Richard), or Wilmore Jr. began the migration with the family and for some reason turned back.
By 1840, the picture is clearer. Wilmore Jr. remains in Hampshire County, while George appears in Harrison County (in present day Taylor County). By this time, George had settled on land along Pleasant Creek on the west side of the Tygart River. Many of George’s descendants would remain on and near this land for generations, and some remains in the family to this day. Richard and William took up land on the east side of the Tygart River, and many of their descendants did exactly the same. It is not exactly known when Richard and William moved from Randolph to Barbour County; however, both of their wills (William in 1848 and Richard in 1845) were filed and probated in Barbour. Some of the children of these men (for example, Richard’s Elizabeth and Richard, Jr. and William’s William, Jr.) did not make the trip to Harrison and Barbour Counties and remained in Randolph.
James Male took a far different approach. James appears to be a rover and was not content to stay put on this father’s land like his brothers. Family history holds that James was a hunter and trapper who was peaceable with the Native Americans in the area. Much of what we know of James comes from Bernard Mayhle, told by his great-great-grandfather George Washington “Wash” Male to his father, Lawton Boyd Mayhle. From this family history, eight children are recorded. James appears to have traveled often, keeping with the family history told of him. He is last seen on the 1830 census in Frederick County, Virginia. Many of his children moved to Ohio.