Tuesday, April 21, 2009


When John Hart signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, he and the other signers committed an Act of Treason against the Crown. John risked his life by returning to his home in Trenton, New Jersey, to be with his dying wife. Hessian soldiers rode after him and he escaped in the woods.

While his wife lay on her deathbed, the soldiers ruined his farm and wrecked his homestead. Hart, 65, slept in caves and woods as he was hunted across the countryside. When at long last, emaciated by hardship, he was able to sneak home, he found his wife had already been buried and his 13 children taken away. He never saw them again. He died in 1779 without ever finding his family.

When former McMinn County Sheriff James Franklin Hart retired to private life in the 1920’s, an article about him appeared in the local paper. In the article the former sheriff mentions the fact that the Hart family is of Scotch origin and came from South Carolina and settled in Roane County about 1812 or 1813.

Is there a link between John Hart of New Jersey and the Hart’s of South Carolina? With the data that is now accessible over the Internet, it might be possible to find out. Many of the persons listed in the Wade Family Data Base are directly descended from the Harts and all are related through Richard Spradling Sr., whose daughter Elizabeth married John Hart (1813-1902). This might be an interesting search for someone to pursue.

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