Simon's Family History


New Jersey to Kentucky

John Stites moved from Elizabethtown, N.J., to Georgetown, Kentucky, where he spent the rest of his life. There are various dates given for the move, with anecdotal writings giving dates that vary by up to 21 years. I have collected many references and numerous court and deed references have him in New Jersey in the late 1700's and into the first two years of 1800's. His move from New Jersey to Kentucky can be pinned down to circa 1802/3. Deeds dated 1802 still record John as being of Elizabeth Town, NJ, however in deeds dated 1803 he is described as "late of Elizabeth Town" and of "Franklin Co., Kentucky" (See Property dealings). He would appear to have moved to neighboring Scott County in about 1803/4, being mentioned in Georgetown, Scott Co., Kentucky in 1804 (see below), ending his days there.

'History of the Ohio Falls Cities and their Counties'

In 1808 (incorrect, see notes above) a large family connection, consisting of the Ganos and Stiteses, then living in Elizabeth City, New Jersey, and all of the Baptist persuasion, determined to move West, and to locate a colony in the Ohio valley. As at that period there were no turnpikes, not even wagon roads, across the mountains, they were compelled to pack their household goods over the Alleghanies on horses to Pittsburg, then a small town at the head of the Ohio. There they bougt and equiped a flat-boat, and on it embarked for Cincinnati, also then a small town, opposite the mouth of the Licking river, which, after many hardships and dangers, they reached in safety. At this point a number of the colonists determined to settle, being averse to going into Kentucky, because of the existence in that State of slavery. Others, however captivated by the glowing accounts of the region about Lexington, resolved to locate in the blue Grass section, and made their way to Georgetown, in Scott County. Among these was Dr. John Stites, an accomplished physician, a graduate of the Edinburgh Medical School, and a middle aged widower."
['History of the Ohio Falls Cities and their Counties V.1' published 1882 by L.A. Williams & Co. pg. 487] 

Note - Whilst this seems to give a good account of the move the date is clearly wrong from evidence in the deed registers. Also the Rev. John gano was already in Kentucky from as early as 1792 when his wife died in Frankfort, KY and was buried near the Baptist Meeting House at the Forks of Elkhorn. [Kentucky obituaries KG 4/28]. And John Gano lived there until his death on 10 Aug 1804 in Frankfort. 

"History of First Baptist Church of Piscataway."

"John STITES, Esq., Mayor of Elizabethtown, and a ruling elder of the Scotch Plains Church...later pastor of New York City church for 25 years, retired to KY in 1787 (incorrect, see notes)."

Note : The writer here has confused the two Johns, father & son. The details above (apart from the "retired to KY in 1787") are those of his father, who died in 1782. And as explained above, son John did not move to KY until ca. 1803.

"History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison & Nicholas Counties, Kentucky" Edited by William Henry Perrin 1882

CHAPTER VI - Scott County Precinct of Georgetown

[Extracts relating to John Stites]

".....One of the first physicians who settled in Georgetown was Dr. John Stites, born in New Jersey and educated in New York. He emigrated to Kentucky and settled in Georgetown about 1795 (incorrect, see notes above). He was an educated man and eminent in his profession. He was the grandfather of Judge Stites, now of Louisville. He died in Georgetown in 1811.......

Chapter VIII.

Georgetown now became a real, live place and assumed the dignity of an incorporated town, by virtue of an act of the Legislature.......................

The said Judge having previously advertised the citizens of Georgetown that an election for their Trustees would be held at the court house on this day, to wit, the 10th day of March, 1804, met agreeable thereto and received the votes, as follows in the poll below: ..............Persons voted for - ............... John Stites,......... R.M. Gano,.............

In 1807, a Masonic Lodge of A.Y. Masons was chartered and established in Georgetown. The following were among the earliest members: ......... R.M. Gano,   Dr. John Stites, ......  and others, many of whom were initiated previous to the war of 1812. ...................

Dr. William B. Keen has moved to Georgetown, to the house lately occupied by Dr. John Stites, deceased."

"County of Christian, Kentucky, Historical and Biographical" Edited by William Henry Perrin, 1884

"Abraham Stites...... was a son of Dr. John Stites, and was born in Elizabeth, N. J.,  .......He, with a large family connection of the Ganos and Stites, removed from New Jersey to the Ohio Valley in 1808, carrying their goods on horseback across the mountains to Pittsburgh, and thence by flat-boats to Cincinnati; his father's family settled near Georgetown, Ky."

Note - the 1808 date here conflicts with evidence first cited above, and the date in the previous article which have John being elected a Trustee of Georgetown in 1804.

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