Joshua North of Perry County

Joshua North was born in 1745 in Providence Twp, Montgomery County, the third son of Roger North and Ann Rambo. Roger was a tanner and miller and Joshua would also become a tanner. In 1776 Joshua married Rebecca Cloyd, daughter of James Cloyd and Margaret Wilson of Charlestown, Chester County.1 Joshua and Rebecca settled on Wildcat Creek in Greenwood Township. The creek starts in Raccoon Valley, meanders through Wild Cat Valley and empties into the Juniata opposite Millerstown.2 Joshua’s land appears on an atlas of 1863 in Greenwood Township, on Wildcat Creek right where it flows into the Juniata.3 There Joshua and his brother Caleb built a tannery, in Millerstown, just north of the creek.4  Joshua operated it for sixteen years, then in 1816 sold it to Isaac McCord. Several owners later, it was bought by Charles Ripmann. The secret oak-bark recipe for tanning leather won several prizes for the Ripmann family.5 Joshua and Caleb also bought the island known as North Island, at the Rope Ferry Dam.6 There was a dam there, powered by a waterwheel and a rope ferry.7 The road there is still called Old Ferry Road.

From 1780 to 1782 Joshua served in Capt. David Boal’s second battalion, Col. James Purdy’s regiment of Cumberland County militia. Joshua came from a patriotic family with a tradition of military service; he would not have shirked this responsibility. This does not necessarily mean that he saw active duty in the Revolution, as several of his brothers did. Membership in the militia was compulsory for all able-bodied men of the right age, but only a few militia men were called for active duty.8

Joshua and Rebecca had four children together, born between 1777 and 1785. Rebecca died some time after 1785, and in February of 1796 Joshua married Mary Murray or Murphy in Mifflintown. Her family background is unknown.9 She was still having children in 1812, so she was considerably younger than Joshua. He was 67 when the youngest was born in 1812. Joshua and Mary had six children together before his death.

In his will, written in 1813 and proved in 1822, Joshua named his wife Mary and nine children, and referred to his first wife Rebecca. He directed that the farm and other property should be sold and the proceeds be divided into three equal parts: one part for Mary and two parts to pay for the other legacies. The three oldest sons—James, Caleb, and Joshua—were to inherit her third after her death. He left $70 to James, $210 to Caleb, and $10 to Joshua, $20 to his daughter Rebecca Doty, one dollar to Frederick, $100 to Hannah, $100 to John, $100 to Hiel, and $50 to Rodger. The uneven amounts probably show that they had already received part of their inheritance. The money for John and Hiel was to be held in trust until they turned twenty-one. The money for Rodger was to be used for “the most benefit of the said infant”. Roger and his wives were probably buried in the family burial ground off present-day Rt. 322-22. The old stones are gone now.10

Children of Joshua and Rebecca:11

James, b. 1777, d. 1828, m. 1) in 1800, Euphemia Davis, m. 2) in 1808, Rachel Jordan, dau. of Francis Jordan.12 Operated the tannery with Caleb and Joshua at Millerstown, Perry County13.  Children with Euphemia: Thomas, Lewis. Children with Rachel: Caleb, Sarah, Euphemia, Hannah, James, Amos, Rebecca, Elizabeth.

Caleb, b. 1779, d. 1825 in Millerstown, m. Abigail Lewis. In 1820 he was the Justice of the Peace for Perry  County.14 Children: William, Rebecca.

Joshua, b. 1782, m. — Van Camp; served in the War of 181215

Rebecca, b. 27 Mar 1785, d. 2 Feb 1855, m. 1) Daniel Lewis, 2) in 1811 Ezra Doty. All of her children were with Doty: Ann, Edmund, James, Horace. It is said that Ezra Doty, a young doctor from Connecticut, visited the area around 1790, was called upon to attend a patient, and decided to settle in the area.16 Rebecca is buried at Westminster Presbyterian cemetery with Ezra, who died in 1828.

Children of Joshua and Mary:

Frederick, alive in 1813 when Joshua wrote his will. No further record.

Hannah, b. 1796, d. 1887, m. 1819 John Howe, son of William & Susannah. In 1840 they moved from Perry County to Milford Township, Juniata County. John was a farmer and a plasterer. He died in 1847 and Hannah went to live with one of her children. She outlived John by 40 years. They are buried together at Westminster Cemetery in Mifflintown.17 Children: Elizabeth, Lydia, John, Jesse, Levi, Caroline.

John, b. ab. 1799, d. 1872, m. Jane Houston McAllister, r. McAllisterville; taxed in Fayette Township from 1842 to 1850 as a landowner and storekeeper; in the census in 1870 as an inn keeper. He kept the “brick house on the upper side of the square” as a hotel.18 Jane was the daughter of Hugh McAlister and granddaughter of another Hugh McAlister, a major in the Revolution.19 John and Jane are buried at Lost Creek Presbyterian.20 Children: C.B., Hugh, Thomas, Amelia, Samuel, Adolphus, Edmund, Eliza, Jenny, John, Alice.21

Hiel, b. ab. 1801, moved to Illinois, married Sarah Hutchinson or Hutchman in 1843 and had daughters Ann, Mary, Hannah.22 A farmer in the 1850 census in Northern District, Jackson County, Illinois, age 49.  He is said to have died in 1864, possibly in California.23

Ann, b. 1803, probably died young, not in Joshua’s will.

Oliver Rodger, b. 1812, moved to Illinois, d. unmarried in 1907 in St. Clair County.

  1. James Cloyd died in Chester County in 1771, naming Rebecca in his will. Her brother James died in 1807 and left £10 to each of her four children. Rebecca’s sister Elizabeth died in 1818 and left $50 to Rebecca’s daughter Rebecca. John Cloyd of Tredyffrin Township, Chester County, died childless in 1782 and left money to many of his nieces and nephews including Rebecca North. Abstracts of these wills are on the USGenWeb site for Chester County.
  2. Rupp, History & Topography of Dauphin, Cumberland… Perry Counties, 1846
  3. Atlas of Perry, Juniata and Mifflin Counties, 1863. It was later owned by James Patterson. Joshua’s brother William owned land later belonging to Jacob Leas; this is probably the land about halfway up the Juniata from Joshua’s land toward Millerstown. (Wright, History of Perry County, 1873).
  4. Jones, History of the Early Settlements of the Juniata Valley, p. 1138. Joshua, William and Caleb were not the only members of the family to end up in central Pennsylvania. Joshua’s older sister Sophia was living in nearby Mifflin County with her second husband George McElhaney.
  5. The history of the Ripmann tannery was formerly online at There is a profile of Charles Rippman in A History of the Juniata Valley, p. 564.
  6. Rambo Family Tree, online. In 1788 Joshua signed a road petition that refers to North’s Island (file at Lenig Library, Perry County).
  7. Information from Mr. Harry Focht, Perry Historians. He showed me a spike that was part of the dam, now at the Lenig Library, Perry County.
  8. The official page of the Pennsylvania Archives, online at
  9. According to some web sources she was born in 1770. If she was a Murray, the census records of 1790 for central Pennsylvania include Alexander Murray, Cumberland County, Barnabas Murray, James Murray, and William Murray, all of Northumberland County, and others further away. Alexander Murray lived in Toboyne Township, Cumberland County, with a large family.  His will is on USGenweb for Cumberland, along with Andrew Murphy of Lurgan Township who died in 1780 with a daughter Mary and William Murphy of Rye Township, who died in 1817 leaving a daughter Mary Flemming.
  10. Personal communication from Harry Focht, dean of the Perry County historians, Lenig Library.
  11. Dexter North, Caleb North Genealogy, 1930. The Comm. Biog. Encyclopedia of the Juniata Valley, p. 795, claimed that William North had children James, Caleb, Joshua and Rebecca. These were surely children of Joshua’s. His will makes that clear. It is interesting that none of Joshua’s numerous grandsons seem to have been named for him.
  12. A. D. Cloyd, Genealogy of the Cloyd, Basye, Tapp Families in America, 1912, p. 22.
  13. Biographical Encyclopedia of the Juniata Valley, p. 795
  14. Card file, Lenig Library, Perry County.
  15. The Rambo Family Tree, online, suggests that her first name may have been Margaret.
  16. Franklin Ellis and Austin Hungerford, History of the Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys, 1886, chapter on Mifflintown.
  17. Federal census records for 1850, 1860, 1870; obituary of their son John in the Howe family file at Juniata County Historical Society.
  18. Mary J. Hunt, Old Landmarks in Juniata County, Juniata County Historical Society, p. 5.
  19. Biography of  the attorney Hugh McAlister North, b. 1826, son of John and Jane. In the Historical Catalogue of the Saint Andrews Society, vol. 2, 1913.
  20. Cemetery list, Juniata County Historical Society.
  21. From census records, where there are numerous age discrepancies.
  22. One web tree gives his wife’s name as Sarah Hutchinson. Another has her as Hutchman.
  23. I have seen no evidence to support this statement.

2 thoughts on “Joshua North of Perry County”

    1. How interesting. In spite of the coincidence, I don’t see how it could be the same Joshua.
      The dates are wrong and the place is wrong.
      Joshua’s wife Rebecca died before him and he married again, to a woman named Mary.

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