Historical Association of Tobyhanna Township

HATT | PO Box 2084 | Pocono Pines, PA 18350-2084

The Kerrick Family

Contributed by Gene Kerrick | January 2012

The beginning of the Kerrick family is shrouded in mystery with the first known person of that name in modern times in England, and the circumstances of her life. There have been various spellings of the name in different locations. It is possible that it might have been spelled Krywick, while one document talked of an Englishman named Currick and another about Mary Gerrick.

It is obvious that the Kerrick name is not a common one. Most of the people of that name in older times seem to have lived in County Suffolk on the eastern coast of England. In 1326 that area suffered a severe storm that swept a huge section of land out to sea. A local legend states that the bells of Dunwich’s 15 submerged churches can still be heard ringing before a storm. One speculation is that that storm caused many inhabitants, including the Kerricks, to move away from that coast.


There is only one Kerrick referenced in the marriage census of the mid 1330s. The name does not then reappear until the name of Mary Kerrick, when she birthed her illegitimate baby in 1784. However, a letter from the Archivist in Gloucestershire County Council did note finding a reference to the baptism of John, son of Mary Krywick of Halmore Green of Berkeley, in that county on August 16, 1774. Both the archivist and an experienced local historian feel that this woman was Mary Kerrick.

Very little is known about the origins of Mary Kerrick. It is possible that she came from Monmouthshire across the Severn River from Chipping Sodbury, but there is no record of anyone by that surname in that county, according to a letter from the Archivist in the Gwent County Record Office.

It is certain, though, that Mary Kerrick gave birth to a son, George on February 29, 1784. When Susan Alves and Melinda Brubaker talked to the very proper librarian about the entry in the church records in Chipping Sodbury which did not list a father as all the other entries about births did, she replied, “I’m terribly sorry, but I’m afraid it means the child was a bastard.”

The young women thought it hilarious while the woman was appalled at their reaction. The entry read, “George, son of Mary Kerrick, born 29 February 1784.”

Within a year after George Kerrick’s birth, on August 1,1784, Mary married John Pulling. Both were listed to be from Chipping Sodbury.

Subsequently they had several children, but George retained the name Kerrick so he must not have been the child of Pulling. Because Mary’s name was not listed on the dole list of the town, as it was responsible for supporting its hometown indigents, it probably meant that she moved and supported herself until she married. She signed her marriage certificate with an X as she was not educated. Pulling signed his.

Mary Kerrick Pulling died May 3, 1797 and John on March 2, 1800. Some unanswered questions are: Why did she move? Who was George’s father? Where was her family?

Chipping Sodbury is a quaint little village in what was Gloucestershire. It lies in the Cotswalds, an area of rolling hills famous for its sheep and golden stone. "Chipping" denotes a marketplace in old English, and a town with Chipping in its name has an unusually wide street so that the vendors had space to display their wares. Chipping Sodbury is no exception, in that the main street is almost as wide as two lanes of a turnpike. Its church, St. John the Baptist, is about 700 old. George Kerrick’s birth was entered in its parish register.

George was a tailor and seemed to move between Milkwall in Monmouthshire and Chipping Sodbury. He was married twice. His first wife, Mary Park, was born October 6, 1775. They were married April 1, 1804, and had two children: Hester and James. Mary Gerick (sic) died January 6, 1811, in Wickwar.


George’s second marriage occurred on May 4, 1812. He was listed as living in Yates and his wife as Ann Davis, in Wickwar. Ann was born in 1788 and died of dropsy June 19,1865, aged 77, at Chipping Sodbury. George died November 23, 1856, of asthma. Their first child was George F. who was our ancestor. George and Ann had eight other children.

George F. was married February 15, 1815, (or perhaps May 13). He also married twice. His first wife was Elizabeth Thomas who was born in March 1809. They were married April 9, 1842 at the parish church in Dicton in Monmouthshire and had three sons, all born in England:
  1. Henry Dukes (also known as Harry). He was born September 24,1843 and died July 4, 1879. He married Emmalette Woolever who was born October 14,1852 in Swartwood, New York, and died August 20, 1947. They were married September 4, 1871, and had one son, Archie Clayton.
  2. Alfred was born January 23, 1846, and died April 4,1923. He was the founder of the Kerrick family in Monroe County.
  3. George T. was born September 22, 1848, and died in June, 1884. He married Emily Lomison who was born in White Deer Valley, Pa. They were parents of one son, George Lomison.

George F. was a tailor who brought his family to the United States on the ship Sir H. Douglasson with William Snell as its master. It arrived in New York on August 15, 1849, from Bristol, England. The Kerrick family was listed as follows:

PassengerAgeBornLast legal residence/country of allegiance
George Kerrick36EnglandBristol England
Elizabeth40EnglandBristol England
Henry6EnglandBristol England
Alfred3EnglandBristol England

(Note that George T. is not listed. Perhaps because he was an infant. Family lore says that he learned to walk aboard ship.)

Here we must take note of some family traditions. One says that George F. was a tailor in the Queen’s Guards, but he ran into some difficulty in that position. Another says that he settled with his family in Stoddartsville where he found other English people friendly to him, so that he settled there.

George F. remained in the area until the 1860s. He was listed in the 1860 census living in Buck Township in Luzerne County (where part of Stoddartsville is located). He owned real estate with a value of $200 and personal property of $100. His wife’s age was 50 while he was 47. Harry was a laborer while the other two boys were in school.

George’s first wife died on April 13,1862, and is buried in Stoddartsville. He moved to the Williamsport area where he married for the second time in 1865.

His second wife, also named Elizabeth, probably had the surname of Peach or Peachy. Melinda Alves found a Peachy family from Chipping Sodbury who owned a woolen mill. Perhaps she was from this family, as it would make sense that a tailor would have contact with someone in textiles, but there might well have been a difference in social status. However, they were married In Williamsport. Family tradition says that she was a music teacher.

In 1870 George and his second wife lived in Mifflin Township with Jersey Mills as their post office. George’s personal property had doubled in value to $200, but now he did not own any real estate. This second wife was born in England and was 46 when she died. Her death occurred on November 6, 1872. By 1880, George was by himself, unemployed, and still in the same township. He died May 15, 1881.

The centennial “Souvenir History” of Salladasburg, published in 1937, states there were three tailor shops, one “by an Englishman named Currick.” The assumption is that this was George F. He became a citizen, but Elizabeth did not.

Both Harry and George T. followed their father to the Williamsport area, but Alfred remained in the Poconos where he worked at various tasks in the lumber industry, grew some crops for himself and helped local farmers.


In 1872 Alfred married Miles Cox’s daughter, presumably Clara. Two months before they were to be married, she went out to kill chickens at her Stoddartsville home. A dog seized one of the chickens so she picked up a stick to punish him. The dog bit her, “fearfully lacerating her arm” as the newspaper account reads. Her mother and brother were also bitten. Nothing occurred during the intervening time, but upon arising on her wedding day, the sight of water made her sick and she spilled coffee on the breakfast table. Her family and friends urged her to stay home, but she said that she did not want to disappoint Al.

She and her sister went to Gouldsboro (now Thornhurst) where she and Alfred were married on February 6, 1872. After the ceremony she lapsed into spasms, but was conscious long enough to warn others to stay away from her as she might bite them, but said to Al, “Of course, I won’t bite you.” She did bite the wife of a stage driver who was trying to comfort her. Then she died on her wedding day.

Alfred kept a time book that is a valuable resource for learning of his activities, observations and thoughts over the years, especially in the 1870s and 1880s. He worked in various jobs in the lumber industry and on farms. Some of the jobs he did in the former were rolling, trimming, calling off, scaling and settling as well as helping put logs into the river and breaking piles of them. He kept books for various people and firms. Regarding his farming activities, he hoed and dug potatoes, including his own, cut corn and tended cows.

Samples of some of the wages he earned are noted in his time book, mostly dealing with the period 1876 to 1882. These wages ranged from 58 cents to one dollar per day. Various people he worked for included Harmon Herd (his future father-in-law), Jacob Blakeslee, Lewis Stull, S.R. Porter (a future relative), and Miles Cox (his former father-in-law). He also worked for a well-known firm in the lumber industry, Keck and Child.

An idea of how much board cost comes from the same time book. He boarded with some of the same people for whom he worked, as well as with Leon Stoddart. The cost of meals ranged from 13 to 2 cents. The fact that he was employed to keep books shows that he had some education.

Various sporadic notes show Alfred interested in many things. He visited his father in the Williamsport area by rail, which meant several transfers. While there he went sleighing. He walked 11 miles “right through the woods.” He noted flocks of robins and bluebirds. He suffered a bad back for a week at a time on two occasions. In 1878 he made some interesting expenditures: 25 cents to the church for coal; an equal amount to Sunday school, 35 cents to a missionary; dimes to church at various times; two dollars to his father, and several payments to “Mag” Herd, including the purchase of a Bible. He bought turnip seed papers and a stamp for a letter to Williamsport for 5 cents each.

Alfred’s name does not appear in the 1880 census, but in 1880 he was boarding with Elias Eschenbach in the north district of Kidder Township in Carbon County. He is listed as a laborer. He became a citizen on October 5, 1868, in Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe), Pa.

On October 18, 1880, eight years after his first marriage, Alfred married Margaret Herd. She was born on May 14, 1860, in Stoddartsville and died October 13,1948. Her father was Harmon Herd, born on April 28, 1835, in the state of Saxony in the German Empire. It is likely he emigrated to the United States via England. There is a listing for Wilhelm Harmon Herd arriving in New York on July 5, 1855, on the ship Defiance from Liverpool. He was a saddler. He died on February 17,1892.

Margaret’s mother was Ruth Wildrick, born on January 28, 1835, the same year as her husband’s birth. She died on August 29,1892 again in the same year as her husband. The Wildrick family can be traced back to the early 18th century when John Wildrick, born in Bavaria, came to the New World to settle in New Jersey. He had a son Michael who begat Samuel Wildrick, his eldest son. In turn, Samuel became the father of Samuel Wildrick Jr. who became the father of Ruth, his 10th child by his first marriage to Mary Saxe. Coincidentally, Samuel, Ruth and Harmon all died the same year of 1892 and are buried in the Stoddartsville cemetery. Samuel lived to be 100 years old.

In the year of Margaret’s birth, 1860, Harmon is listed in the census as living in Kidder Township, Carbon County, with his wife and three children. His occupation is laborer, owning real estate with the value of $80. Ten years later he is living in Buck Township in Luzerne County with a total value of $500 of both real estate and personal property. This time he is listed as a farmer.

By 1880 he is again listed as a laborer with Margaret living at home with her parents before she wed Alfred Kerrick later in the year. One of the locations of the Herds was at the confluence of the Tobyhanna Creek and the Lehigh River.


At first the newlyweds apparently lived with the Herds, but then they set up housekeeping in May 1882. Alfred took very little time off from work after the wedding. Then during the early years of their marriage Margaret and Alfred were in charge of boarding houses for the logging camps at Stoddartsville, Buena Vista (“eastside” of the Lehigh River) at White Haven, and Springbrook in Lackawanna County.

One family tradition says that Margaret grew tired of not having her own home. She persuaded her husband to buy a farm that has now been owned by the family for more than a century. That tradition includes the agreement by Alfred to his wife’s wish, that the farm would be purchased only if she did most of the work.

On May 18,1894 the Kerricks purchased 30 acres along the Wilkes-Barre and Easton Turnpike from Joseph M. Stoddart and his wife for the sum of $1,000. The land included a house and barn which still exist. George (a grandson of Alfred) and his wife, Mary Lou, now own that farm. They received a certificate from the state of Pennsylvania attesting to that fact the farm has been in the family for more than a century. Alfred and Margaret’s youngest son Claude was 1 year old when they moved onto their newly bought home.

Their new purchase was basically a subsistence farm. Alfred drove oxen to White Haven to trade products such as butter and eggs for things needed on the farm. He would also pick up goods from the neighbors to do the same for them.

Alfred was rushed to the hospital in Wilkes-Barre on March 31, 1923, for an appendectomy that he came through well, but then died of a strangulation of the femoral artery on April 4,1923. Services were held at Blakeslee United Methodist Episcopal Church and he was interred at the Stoddartsville Cemetery.

Margaret contracted a severe case of arthritis which badly crippled her at a relatively early age. The affliction caused gnarled hands and feet. She would entwine a hoe in those hands and even walked on the sides of her feet, but she worked in her garden and hoed raspberries. In the house she would likewise take a paring knife and peel vegetables and fruit. She had to sleep on a plank.

She was always thoughtful of other people. If she had two bouquets of flowers, she would share one with a neighbor. She wrote letters to her grandchildren and occasionally, though very poor herself, would slip them a dollar to use for some purpose.


Alfred and Margaret Ruth had six children:
  1. Ruth Ann (who Alfred listed as Ruth Agnes in his workbook) was born on Sunday, July 17, 1881, in Stoddartsville and died on February 27, 1968 at age 86 at Brookmont Health Care Center in Effort, Pa. She married a musician, Burton Daniell, September 12, 1906, in Blakeslee. They separated, but never divorced.
  2. Alfred Allan was born October 24, 1882 and died March 4, 1963, at age 80. He was born and died in Stoddartsville. He never married and always lived at home.
  3. Eugene Edgar was born April 30, 1885, and died April 17, 1949, (Easter Sunday) at age 63 in Half Moon Bay, California. He was born at Stoddartsville. He married twice: (1) Esther May Frazer on July 14, 1921, in Mountain View, Calif., but they were divorced January 20, 1928; (2) Anna L. Hoopes on November 26, 1944, in San Carlos, Calif. She died in 1947. He had one son by his first wife.
  4. Howard Herd was born in Springbrook, Lackawanna County on July 8,1888 and died November 11,1971, at age 83 in Half Moon Bay. He married Sarah Mariah Hamill November 28, 1921. They had eight children.
  5. Sallie Luella was born on September 17, 1890, in Springbrook in Lackawanna County. She died October 29,1970 at the age of 80, also at Brookmont Health Care Center. She never married.
  6. Claude Ellis was born on March 20, 1893, at Yostville in Lackawanna County and died September 2, 1968, (Labor Day) in Stoddartsville. He married Lidie Zimmerman March 27, 1918. They had no children.
Of these six children, only two had children of their own. Howard built a house on the family farm and he and Sarah had eight children, two girls and then six boys. He never took a cent from government relief during the Great Depression. With hard work, a little help from his siblings, and use of a garden and wildlife, Sarah and he raised a very successful family.

Gene had a wanderlust and rode the rails west to California where he settled in the small town of Half Moon Bay. He went there to help build a hotel, but later bought a saloon which he turned into a restaurant. By his first marriage he had a son who amazingly settled in Tobyhanna Township.

Ruth had various jobs away from home, but returned to take care of her mother. She and Alf lived on the family homestead. Later they were joined by Sallie who retired after a nursing career. Eventually, Claude bought a house adjoining the farm and retired there after a career in farming and carpentry.

Several of the Kerrick descendants live in the township. One is a township government supervisor

In conclusion, here is a poem Alfred included in his time book to his future wife:

“I think of thee sweet Maggie,
And I long to hear from you,
Please send me a letter,
Oh, come now, Maggie, do.”

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