James Ewing and Mary Shelleberger

This post goes from 1720 to 1776, in Pennsylvania.

Here are the generations like links in a chain, at a glance:

JAMES → JohnCatherine m. William RylandWilliam Jr. → Floyd (Frank) Rucker Ryland

The reason there are not more generations between the first and our grandfather is that William Jr. married a second time late in his life, after his first wife had died.

We’re not Ewing researchers. We got this information mainly from Ewing researchers, but we also wrote for some original documents.


James Ewing was born about 1720-1725. He married Mary Shelleberger between 1759 and 1761, probably in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He died before May 1, 1776, when his will was proved.

More about him:

It is possible that he was born on November 20, 1721, in Lawhill, Scotland. Eleanor (Ewing) Swineford, a thorough researcher on the Ewings, writes: “We still are doing research in Scotland.” So no one knows for sure when and where James was born. “He had to have been born between 1720 and 1725 to be old enough to apply for land warrantees. We are not sure if he married three times; however, he received land as if he were married.”

Mary Shelleberger, widow, was born at a time and location that are unknown to us so far. Her maiden name is also unknown to us. Her time of death was before November 16, 1774, because her husband James, married to Sabina, draws up his will on that date, and he is already married to Sabina.

More about her:

On June 5, 1759, she is said to be a widow in a warrant of land. Her son William was born in 1762 (or late 1761), so the best date of James’ and her marriage is anytime between June 5, 1759 and 1761-1762. Mary probably had been married to George Shelleberger (various spellings). When George was 9 years old, he had come over on the ship Samuel with his parents, in 1732, setting sail from Rotterdam, Holland, though he was German. It is not now known whether Mary bore George any children.

Source: http://www.clanewing.org/books/EwingInEarlyAmerica/Fife_Ch37.pdf


  1. William

He was born May 16, 1762, in Lebanon Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He married (1) Anna Margaret Lens on May 16, 1786; and (2) Jane A. Wolfard. He died May 9, 1853, in Hancock County, Ohio, and was buried in McComb Union Cemetery. Anna was born December 8, 1755 and died February 28, 1797, Lebanon Township and was buried in Lutheran Cemetery, Lebanon Township. Jane was born about 1755, in Lower Paxton Township, Pennsylvania.

More about him:

This is a summary of his pension application, for his military service in the Revolutionary War:

On 8 Feb 1834 personally appeared the subscriber William Ewing an Applicant for a Pension states he entered the Service under Captain Caspar Stiver in the County of Lancaster and state of Pennsylvania in the Militia for six months and the “Fifer” was named Mellinger. Said Applicant was drafted on 1 July 1777 and discharged 1 December 1777. He was a guard over British Soldiers and one of the soldiers fell asleep while guarding and two Prisoners escaped. William Ewing and others went after them to Poughkeepsie in New York. They found the prisoners and brought them back to Lancaster where they were sent to ‘Little York’ put in the stockade which was located on the left of the road from Wright’s Ferry to Little York.

William Ewing stated he “volunteered 10 June 1778 to 10th or 12 of December 1778 as a Musician under Capt Stattleman and was a “Drummer” and was sent to New York along the North of the Hudson River (mentions several towns) to Sussex Court House ‘he thinks it was in New Jersey’ to a PLACE called Easton then through a small Moravian town called Bethlehem to Allentown to Reading then to Old Lancaster where he was discharged in the season after the surrender of Burgoyne.

In answer to the question 1: What year were you born? He answered ‘I was born in Lebanon twp. in Lancaster Co., PA , in the year 1762.’” and 2nd: answer to the question, “Have you a record of your age and if so where is it? He answered ‘I have an old memorandum wrote in German Language which I received of my mother, and I have the same in my possession and from that I know my age to be 70 years … at the time I entered the Service I resided at East Line in Lebanon twp. and since the Revolution I have lived in Dauphin Co., PA six miles from Harrisburg, PA from whence I removed to Wayne Co., Ohio where I now reside and have since six years past.’ Sworn and subscribed to me this 8 Feb 1834 /signed/ William (X) Ewing

William did not go to Wayne County, Ohio until 1826, whereas his brother John had moved in 181___.

Source: http://www.clanewing.org/books/Document_Fife.html


For more about William, go to the last link, which covers his father and brother John and William’s children.

  1. John is our direct line.

He was born July 25, 1764, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He died November 18, 1835, in Jeromesville, Ohio, and was buried in Meng Cemetery.

More about him: see the John Ewing post and this link:

John Ewing and Anna Marie Heichold



James owned a lot of land, as did many early Americans. Agriculture was their source of income and livelihood.

November 23, 1752

James Ewing received a Warrantee of Land containing 100 acres in Lebanon Township Lancaster Co., PA

Source: Pennsylvania Archives Series 3, Vol. 26, p. 402.

September 18, 1754

George Glassbrenner enters a Caveat against the acceptance of a survey made for James Ewing in Lebanon Township, Lancaster Co., PA by warrant the 23 November, 1752, said Glassbrenner having a prior Warrant. /s/ Richard Peters. To: Nicholas Scull, surveyor General. [James Ewing is either married or a Soldier.]

Source: Pennsylvania Archives series 3 Vol. 2, caveat Book -No.1 page 206

May 27, 1757

James Ewing was granted a Warrantee of land for 80 acres to be surveyed. [We have not obtained either Warrantee nor survey to this land. James Ewing is either married or a Soldier.]

Source: Pennsylvania Archives, series 3, Vol. 26, page 24

June 5, 1759

Mary Shelleberger, widow, obtained a Warrant of land from the proprietaries above date for 200 acres of land located in Heidelberg Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

February 19, 1767

James Hughen (Ewing) of Heidelberg Township gave mortgage to Valentine Tinnis of Lebanon Township for 130 acres for £54 in Lebanon twp. adjoining Adam Brant, George Stine, Jacob Tinnis, and George Householder. /signed/ James Ewing; Recorded 19 May 1767.

Source: Lancaster Co., PA Deed Book M page 152

November 26, 1770

James Ewing and Mary, his wife, [yeoman], for the sum of £360 paid by John Voght both of Lebanon Township, sell 200 acres of land lying in Heidelberg Township joining lands of Jacob Tinnis, Phillip Tinnis, Adam Brandt, and Michael Tyse, it being the same Warrant dated 6 June 1759 granted to the said Mary Ewing (by the name of Mary Shelleberger) having since she obtained the Warrant intermarried with the said James Ewing., etc. /signed/ James Ewing [Seal]; /witnessed/ Maria Ewing [Seal]; John Thome, Phillip Greenwalt; And on 14 February 1771 came Maria and James Ewing and acknowledged this to be their indenture and allowed it to be recorded.”  /signed/ Edward Shippin; Recorder Recorded 15 May 1774

Source: Lancaster Co., Deed Book N pages 523-524

December 12, 1775

George Glassbrenner enters a Caveat against the acceptance of a Survey of 82 acres and 54 perches of land situate in Lebanon Township, Lancaster County, made for James Ewing by Warrant dated 23 November 1752 the said George alleging that he claims the same land by a prior Right VIZ: by Warrant Granted to him for 100 acres as on the 22 August 1751. TO: JOHN LUKENS /signed/ David Kennedy for Surveyor General James Tilghmann, Secy We never found the decision on this Caveat.

Source: Pennsylvania Archives Series 3, Volume 2, Caveat Book No 2, page 614

Source of this Land section in this post:




Features of the will:

Signed: November 16, 1774

Proved: May 1, 1776

Source: Lancaster County Book of Wills, C, vol. 1, pages 335-337.

Location: Lebanon Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Wife: Sabina

Children: William and John (our direct line) who are not yet come of age, and unnamed stepchildren; it is clear that William takes the lead. The will implies that he will come of age first, which goes against the belief that William and John were twins.

Before James wrote this will and married Sabina (named in his will), he had been married to Mary Shelleberger (our direct line), who had died some years before. His two sons by Mary Shelleberger are William and John (our direct line). James directs that only his natural sons (William and John), not his stepchildren, should receive his benefits, but he ensures his new wife Sabina is well taken care of. Presumably, Sabina would then ensure that her children by a first marriage would also be taken care of out of her share. William and John are ordered to obey their mother.

The English currency of pounds was still in use in Lancaster County, in 1774.

The will reads:

James Ewing, dece’d

In The Name of God Amen; I James Ewing of the Township of Lebanon in the County of Lancaster and Province of Pennsylvania, yeoman, being sickly and weak in body but of Sound and disposing mind, memory and understanding do make and publish this my last will and testament as follows: viz.,


It is my will and I do order that my beloved wife Sabina shall live in my dwelling house on my plantation situate in Lebanon aforesaid during the term of her natural life and she shall have the whole authority to govern and manage my children until my son William attains his full age and that in as full and ample a manner as I myself, were I still living.


I give and bequeath unto my said wife all and singular my household goods of what kind soever; I further give to my wife one cow to take her choice of the cows that shall be on the premises when my son William comes of age; and also fifty pounds to be paid her at the same time, to wit, twenty-five pounds lawful money of Pennsylvania by my said son William and twenty-five pounds like money by my son John Ewing.


I give and devise all that my plantation and tract of land aforesaid adjoining to the several lands of George Glassbrenner, George Strome, Henry Rudy, Baltzer Lawler, Abraham Krall and William Tinnis, containing about one hundred and forty acres, more or less, unto my said son William, to hold; to him my said son William his heirs and assigns forever, he paying for the same unto my said son John the sum of three hundred pounds, lawful money of Pennsylvania, viz., one hundred pounds when my said son John comes of age and from thenceforth yearly the sum of thirty pounds till the whole sum of three hundred pounds shall be paid.

And whereas, I have valued my plantation aforesaid to the sum of six hundred pounds and my son William being allowed three hundred pounds in the land, I therefore will and order that my said son William (on receiving his title or conveyance from my executors herein after named) shall give sufficient security to his brother John for his three hundred pounds aforesaid of such security shall be demanded; and as I have not valued my plantation to its full price or value and my son William being allowed to retain his share in his own hand as aforesaid, it is therefore my will and I do hereby order that after my said son William comes of age that he my said son William shall as a further consideration for the premises give and deliver unto my said wife yearly and every year during her life the following articles and particulars, to wit:

Twelve bushels of good wheat, three bushels of good rye, six bushels of good buckweat [sic], two bushels of Indian corn, forty pounds of good beef, ten pounds of hatcheled [sic] flax, four pounds of good wool, a hog or swine to weigh at least one hundred pounds, and keep her cow in a proper manner in summer and winter and find and haul [to] her home sufficient quantities of firewood yearly as aforesaid and shall take her grain to the mill and bring her meal home again as she shall want it; and if the said son William shall build a new house on the premises, to allow her a room therein for herself during her life as aforesaid.


I give and bequeath unto my son William my gray mare, and I give and bequeath unto my said son John my light bay stallion colt. Nevertheless they shall keep them the said horse creatures for to work on the place; and my said two sons shall work together on the plantation and be obedient to their mother; and her & them to live together and maintain themselves out of the same till my said son William comes of age as aforesaid; and the overplus [sic] of the profits arising out of my plantation by their industry shall go to & be applied towards paying my debts;

I further will and order that they my wife & two sons shall keep two of my best cows for their use in company till my son William comes of age; and I do order that all the rest and residue of my personal estate not herein before disposed of shall be sold by publick [sic] vendue as soon as conveniently may be after my decease; and ye money arising therefrom [sic] to be applied towards discharging my debts;

It is further my will and I do order that if my said wife shall happen to die shortly after my son William comes of age or at any time before she has expended or made use of the aforesaid sum of fifty pounds that such remainder and household goods shall descend and come to my said two sons and not to my stepchildren or strangers;

And I do hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my beloved wife Sabina executrix and my good freind [sic] John Ressly executor of this my last will and testament, hereby authorizing them my said executors or the survivors of them to give and execute a good deed of conveyance to my son William for the premises to him devised as aforesaid;

And in case my said son William shall happen to die under age, unmarried and without issue lawful issue, then my said executors or the survivors of them to convey my plantation aforesaid unto my son John in fee chargeable with all and singular the articles and particulars herein before mentioned to be delivered to my said wife;

And I do hereby declare this to be and contain my last will & testament;

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this sixteenth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four

James Ewing

Signed, sealed and published, pronounced, and declared by the above named James Ewing the testator as and for his last will & testament in the presence of us Ludwig Eby,

John Thome

Lancaster County, ss

On the first day of May Anno Domini 1776, before me the subscriber personally appeared the within named Henry Eby [sic] one of the witness subscribing witnesses to the within will and on his solemn affirmation according to law did declare and say that he was present and saw and heard James Ewing the testator within named sign, seal, publish, pronounce and declare the within writing as and for his last will and testament and that at the doing thereof he was of sound and well disposing mind, memory, and understanding to the best of his Knowledge, observation, and belief [?]

(signed) Edw’d Shippen Dy R’d [Deputy Recorder]

Be it remembered that on the first day of May anno Domini 1776—the last will and testament of James Ewing late of Lebanon Township in the County of Lancaster, yeoman, deceased, was proved in due form of law, and letters testamentary thereon were granted to Sabine Ewing and John Ressly, the executors therein named, they being first duly qualified well and truly to administer the estate of the decedent and to exhibit a true and perfect inventory thereof into the Registers Office at Lancaster on or before the first day of June next and to render a true and just account of their administration on the said estate when thereto lawfully required;

Given under the seal of the said office;

[Coram?] me

(signed) Edward Shippen, Dy R’d [Deputy Recorder]

Transcription ends.

For another transcription of the will, please click on this page:


Found in this book:


The transcription here in this post is the same in substance as the online version, but different in the little things.


May 1, 1776

Lebanon Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Source: Archives Estate Inventory, 1776 b. 29 f. 2, James Ewing did not own much. The left side was cut off in copying.

The Inventory and Appraisement reads:

1776 James [smudged]ng, Dec’ed



Inventory of all and singular the Goods and Chattles, Rights and Credits of James Ewing, late of Lebanon Township in the County of Lancaster, deceased, appraised by us the subscribers this 26 Day of April A Dom [Anno Domini] 1776
To 50 Bushels of wheat @ 3/0 £7 10 ?
2 Heifers 2 0 ?
3 Irons Potts and a Pan 0 10 ?
Pewter ware 0 7 6
2 Pails and a Stander 0 2 6
7 Hoggs 1 12 0?
1 grubbing Hoe a ax 2 forks 0 4 0
1 Bagg 0 2 0
1 Reel 0 1 0
A Bed and bedstead 0 10 0
A Coat, wool [?] Coat 2 Shirts 0 15 0
A Hatt 0 1 6
Illegible 0 7? 6
3 Barrels and dough trough 0 7 6
A Spinning Wheel 0 3 6
£14 14 6?

Signed: Peter Wolfberger

Signed: Henry Eby

Exhibited into the Register’s Office at Lancaster the first day of May Anno dom. 1776

Sworn before me the same day and year, by the Exors & Peter Wolfersberger, one of the appraisers, & Henry Eby, the other appraiser, affirmed

Illegible signatures

Edw. Shippen

D[eputy] Register

Transcription ends.

Please click on the post about his son John Ewing:

John Ewing and Anna Marie Heichold

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