I have always been curious about the name of my 2nd great-grandfather, Francis Marion Minor. Neither Francis nor Marion makes an appearance among family tree leaves until his birth in 1828, a strange happenstance in an era that often confounds modern genealogists with its generation-lapping of names. So what’s up with John Pierson and Isabella McClelland Minor in 1828?
An area newspaper, the Washington Reporter (Washington, PA) carried the musings of a Mr. Sample on its front page in January 1825 about Brigadier General Francis Marion. The South Carolinian was known among American Revolution veterans as the Swamp Fox for his daring guerrilla tactics against the British forces occupying the southern coast. His movements against a superior force were credited with forcing the redcoats’ evacuation. And during the 1820s General Marion was still being remembered as a prominent revolutionary hero, comparable in intelligence, benevolence, and bravery to the illustrious General George Washington.
John and Isabella were raising their children where they had been raised, in Greene Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania, just outside the village of Garards Fort–an area developed by the revolutionary generation. As those community members aged, and began to die out, there was a heightened sense of that generation’s role in the country’s freedom and enfranchisement. To honor and commemorate the grit and determination of their predecessors, parents named their children for people they had never known but would always admire. And that is how I think my great-great-grandfather got his name–Francis Marion Minor (1828-1918).