Family History


Dr. John STITES  was born on 25 Apr 1743 in Elizabeth Town, New Jersey [Bible of Johannes Stites see page.]
He and his ancestors name is often mistakenly transcribed as Stiles or Stits. See Stites or Stiles? page.

Other researchers in the US have John's birthplace as Springfield. I am not aware of the evidence used for this, however in his claim for losses made in London in 1786, John said that he was born in Elizabeth Town. 
[application re. claim for losses in the Revolutionary war. See page.]

Dr. John

  • John seems to have been both a Merchant and a Doctor. He appears in a number of records as a Merchant (see The Merchant page), but he was clearly also practicing as a doctor as can be seen in other references & links on this page.
  • "He was educated in New York and was eminent in his profession" ["History of First Baptist Church of Piscataway."].  According to the book 'Early History of Brown University' by Reuben Aldridge Guild, John Stites snr's three sons were all educated at the Hopewell Academy, a baptist institution from 1756 to 1767 whence it closed upon the establishment of Rhode Island College (Brown University).
  • Another reference states - "Dr. John Stites, an accomplished physician, a graduate of the Edinburgh Medical School"
    ['History of the Ohio Falls Cities and their Counties V.1' published 1882 by L.A. Williams & Co. pg. 487]

    However he is not recorded in the records at Edinburgh :-
    "I have searched our indexes to matriculations in Arts (1628-1858) and Medicine (1762-1858), our printed lists of Medical Graduates (1705-1866) but was unable to find anyone of that name there unfortunately. Of course, he may have attended classes at the University without ever formally matriculating or graduating, which was not uncommon at this period.
    [Clare Button, Archivist, Special Collections, Edinburgh University Library]
  • The minutes of the New York Court of General Sessions of the Peace, record a John Stiles or Stites being admitted on 8 Feb 1769 as a Freeman, as a Practitioner in Physick. 
    [Minutes of the New York Court of General Sessions of the Peace LDS Film # 497583. Note - this entry is transcribed in "New York City Court Records 1760-1797" by Kenneth Scott, pg.22, as Stiles. However the name in the actual Court minutes is ambiguously written.]

He resided at Elizabeth Town in New Jersey until 1763, after  which he resided in New York until 1775. He then moved back to Elizabeth Town to a farm of 271/2 acres, but returned to New York in 1777 or 1778, after his farm was confiscated on account of his being a British Loyalist. It would appear he was caught out trading behind British lines. He traveled to London, England in 1786 to make a claim for losses suffered in the Revolutionary War (see pages Revolutionary War).

John merchant business activities were varied [see newspapers]. He was involved in various land deals [see property dealings page and court cases]. He also had property confiscated by the British during the Revolutionary War. He went to London in 1786 in attempt to receive compensation for the losses. These applications also show John to have been a money lender. Also of interest were the merchant goods he had confiscated, such as silks & rum. [see his claim for losses.] Interestingly he claimed to have a share in 3 privateers, including at least one with a Thomas Shaw(e) of London.

In a 1772 account of Solomon Drown jnr's voyage from Providence, Rhode Island to New York City, he noted that Dr. John Stites inoculated him. At one time the N.Y. Historical Society manuscript collection held the facsimile, the original document is in a privately held collection [New York Historical Society - letter 9 Mar 2002, Eric Robinson, Reference Assistant, to Noreen Oliver]
According to Drown, Dr. John Stites inoculated more than 500 patients (with no fatality as of 1772). Drown seemed to have great respect for Dr Stites, following his instructions carefully, often dining and visiting him, and asking for his recommendations regarding medical textbooks. It took Drown nearly a month to recuperate from his inoculation (which gives the patient a milder form of smallpox, in order to create immunity); at the end of this period, Dr Stites' fee was $4. ['1772, Smallpox Journal, New York, Sept 10-Oct 12' by  Solomon Drown - Brown University, R.I.]

Sept 1775 - Draft of a Charter for the Baptist Church in New York. Proposed trustees ..... John Stiles ....(one of 13 named)....... Vol. CI, pg.110.
Note :- This is quite likely a mis-transcription of the name Stites. John's father was a leading member of the Baptist Church at Scotch Plains, N.J. John was living in NY in 1775. John was a brother-in-law of Rev. John Gano, another of the proposed trustees. Unfortunately the said documents were destroyed in the 1911 fire. However similar transcribing mistakes have been found when checking other original documents.
['Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the Office of the Secretary of State, Albany, New York'. - O’Callaghan pg.834]

ca. 1775 - "At the age of thirteen he (Dr. Stephen Gano, born 1762, the third son of The Rev. John Gano) was placed under the care of his maternal uncle, Dr. Stites, to be educated for the medical profession.
['The life, times, and correspondence of James Manning..' by Reuben Aldridge Guild, pg.364]

17 Jan 1783 - John Stites is recorded in a List of Bills drawn on Harley and Drummond  for £113 Sterling - British Headquarters Papers in New York City , list number 141. [Carleton's Loyalty Index - Canada Library & Archives, Ottawa- IDcode - S1875, page 6839 (6) Reel M-360]

New York Bank Stockholders 1784 or 1785*
John Stites
This list is undated, but internal evidence indicates that it was the original stockholders list. It is in the vaults of the Bank of New York and Trust Co.
['Business Enterprise in the American Revolutionary Era' by Robert Abraham East 1938 - page 329]

21 July 1785 - Letter of Rev James Manning to Rev. Dr. Evans :-
"We shall gladly receive the books........shall wish you to send them via New York, to the care of my brother-in-law, John Stites, merchant, at the corner of Queen and Chapel Streets in that city, with a line advising him where to send them"
['The life, times, and correspondence of James Manning..' by Reuben Aldridge Guild]

He is mentioned in the said Court Minutes as a Grand Juror in 1785.
[Minutes of the New York Court of General Sessions of the Peace LDS Film # 497583. Note - this entry is transcribed in "New York City Court Records 1760-1797" by Kenneth Scott, pg.148, as Stiles. However the name in the original Court minutes, Vol #5, pg 274,  is clearly Stites.]

It would appear that in 1788/89 John relocated from New York back to Elizabeth Town, New Jersey. He sold his N.Y. house in Feb 1789, in which deed he was described as resident in New Jersey (see Property & deeds).

He was mentioned as a beneficiary in the will of his uncle Dr. Hezekiah Stites (1796) who left John his plain land on Long Island.

In 1796, John is mentioned in correspondence from Jonathan Dayton, to President Adams, re. dealing in military land warrants (which John Stites and his son-in-law David Galbreath also speculated in) :-
Philadelphia, Feb, 10, 1796
"..... You will please to employ the money as you propose for me, if to be done safely and to great advantage. I have fifty more which I would sell at fifty-five dollars for sixty days to Mr. M., if he can give you a good endorser -- perhaps John Stites. Inform me the day I must send them, and what can be had in cash on credit, when you write me. ...."
[The Suppressed History of the Administration of John Adams (1797-1801) by John Wood  (1846)]

By 1800 John Stites was in financial trouble, as seen by his Court appearances and related newspaper items. He seems to have over extended himself with his land dealings. Whether he was also practicing as a Doctor during his merchant days is unclear, or why he preferred to be a merchant. He is only sometimes referred to as Doctor in the records. There is no doubt that the John involved in land deals being the same person as the Doctor, as in two of the Ohio sale deeds he is referred to as such. It seems his financial problems in New Jersey may have prompted his move to the fresh pastures of Kentucky, where he could perhaps again have some status.

It would appear that he moved to Kentucky in 1802/3. Deeds dated 1802 still record John as being of Elizabeth Town, NJ, however in deeds dated 1803 he is described as of "Franklin Co., Kentucky" and "late of Elizabeth Town" (see Property dealings). Various dates for his move to Kentucky have been given in other references, however the deed dates seem to conclusively give the time of his move as circa 1802/3. The newspaper article of 22 May 1804, makes it clear that he had left the state and was not appearing at his court cases, allowing his mortgaged properties to be sold by order of the court. See more on the issue of the date on my page - NJ to Kentucky.  The following article gives the date as 1808 but on the documentary evidence this is clearly wrong. However it is of interest on how & why the Stites & Gano families moved westwards.

From the book 'History of the Ohio Falls Cities and their Counties' is the following :-
In 1808 (incorrect, see notes above) a large family connection, consisting of the Ganos and Stiteses (see notes below), 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 bought and equipped 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]

For a description of these western migration routes including the use of flat-boats see Bill Dollarthide's article at :-

Ohio River migration route from Pittsburg.

Ohio River Flatboat. [Drawing 1796 'Voyage dans l’Amerique Septentrionale' by Victor Collot,  Paris, 1826.]

His initial choice of Franklin Co., KY, may have have come about because of family connections. John's sister Sarah was married to the Rev. John Gano. Sarah died on the 17 Apr 1792 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. As such the above account would appear to be incorrect in stating that the Sties & Ganos came together, as the Ganos were already in Kentucky from as early as 1792 unless there were other members of the Gano family that accompanied the Stites.

Elkhorn featured in the first record I have found of John Stites in Kentucky, in a deed of 1803 which places him in Franklin County, Kentucky. It would appear that this was where he first intended to live, near his Gano in-laws. A notice in the Kentucky Gazette on the 23 Sep 1803 also places him in Franklin. He would appear to have moved to neighboring Scott County by 1804, being mentioned as follows (see next para), ending his days there. 

John Stites is named amongst the voters for an election for Trustees for the town of Georgetown (Scott Co. Kentucky) for the present year, held at the Court House on the 10th March 1804. ['History of Scott County']

On 29 Sep 1804 he was the witness to the will of Elizabeth Benners of Franklin Co., KY.

A letter from John's daughter Mary / Maria Bowering, to her aunt Margaret Manning, dated 28th Nov 1804 mentions her father :-
"We have lately heard from my dear Father he is doing well in an extensive practice."
[The James Manning Papers 1761-1827 - Brown University Manuscript collection]

A letter in Jun 1806 by John's daughter Maria Bowering to her aunt Margaret Manning, reveals that a portrait of John Stites was done :-
"I sent the pictures wich we consider'd while with ous the most valuable ornaments in our house, with that of my dear father, wich I have sent to be scoward and framed in the same manner - Mr Bowering took every Papist that came to the house up in the Drawing room to show the likeness of Dr Maning & Lady, they were much admired. I hope they where done as you would like to have had them. I had them scoward and varnished not only to preserve the paintings but that they might be washed when durty, a soft clouth and a little soap suds will not hurt them now."
[The James Manning Papers 1761-1827 - Brown University Manuscript collection]

"New Castel Library Company
Incorporated February 1, 1809, by William Butler, Rowland Thomas, Isham Henderson, John Stites jr., Robert Tester, Samuel McKinley, William Neal, Thomas S. Wingate, and Joel Jackson."
['The Statute Law of Kentucky' by William Littell. pg. 135]
It is possible that this refers to either John or his son. It is not known where his son was residing at this time.

1810 Census - Georgetown, Kentucky :-
Head - John Stites
1 male over 45yrs
1 male 26-44yrs
1 male under 10 yrs
1 female 26-44yrs
2 females 16-25yrs
2 female 10-15yrs
7 slaves

As John's son John was only 30 in 1810 it can't be him so presumably it is John Stites snr. If so his wife is not with him as there are no females over 45yrs. She had either died or was away from home. Of interest is that the next entry in the census is Richard Gano, the son of John Stites brother-in-law the Rev. John Gano who was married to John's sister Sarah.

John died in Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky on the 10 December 1811.

  • Letter from his son Abraham to his sister Margaret re. death of their father & brother.
  • "Elizabeth-Town, January 12, 1812.
    Died : In Kentucky, Dr. John Stites, a gentleman of high respectability, and formerly of this town - also his son, Mr. John Stites." 
    ['New Jersey Journal' of 21 Jan 1812]

His estate was subject to an administration of probate.

He was first married to Susannah BRASIER [Brasher] on 16 Jan 1764 in the Dutch Reformed Church, New York1.
Marriage License - N.Y. 16 Jan 1764 [M.B. VIII - 19.]

1st Marriage

Susannah BRASHER was born on the 8th of July 1739. (see bible entry below).

It is commonly assumed that Susannah was born in 1731, the daughter of Luke Brasher, but this is definitely not the case as :-
    - Luke's daughter Susannah died as a baby aged 6 mths. See my paper with the evidence.  
    - The bible entry below has Susannah as being 8 years younger than Luke's daughter who was born in 1731.

If the above is a contemporary writing then Susannah is positively identified as the daughter of Abraham Brasher & Elisabeth Dally / Daly, as she was baptised on the 8 Jul 1739 in the Dutch Reformed Church of NY. However if it is a latter entry, say late 1800's and by someone doing some genealogical research using the records available at the time then it could be flawed, just as was the previously published century old research that had general acceptance that this Susannah was born in 1731 and was the daughter of Luke Brasher, something I have disproved as above.

The evidence now supports the fact that Susannah is the daughter of Abraham Brasher & Elisabeth Dally / Daly. See my paper on this.

This new genealogy for Susannah has now been accepted by the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society who have published my findings in the Jan 2018 issue of it's journal "The Record". As such you should amend your tree and remove Luke as the father and replace him with Abraham Brasher & Elizabeth Dally.

Susannah died on the 5 June 1799 and is buried in the churchyard at St. John's, Elizabeth, New Jersey, together with her mother Elizabeth Bogert, formerly Brasier, nee Dally.

The stone has been incorrectly transcribed as Stiles (a common problem with the Stites surname), however the information on the stone confirms that it is Susanah Stites (nee Brasher), wife of Dr. John Stites of Elizabeth NJ & New York, and her mother Elizabeth Bogert (widow of John Bogert, former wife of Abraham Brasher/Brasier, nee Dally).
['Inscriptions on Tombstones & Monuments in the Burying Grounds of The First Presbyterian Church & St. John's Church at Elizabeth, New Jersey, 1664-1892' by William Ogden Wheeler & Edmund D. Halsey. 1892]

This new genealogy for Susannah has now been accepted by the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society who have published my findings in the Jan 2018 issue of it's journal "The Record". As such you should amend your tree and remove Luke as Susannah's father and replace him with Abraham Brasher & Elizabeth Dally. Follow the links above to my paper on this.

Children were:

child i.  Elizabeth STITES was born in 1764. Married the Rev. Peter Bryant on the 2 Jul 1795 at Scotch Plains Baptist Church, New Jersey. Buried in Ithaca City Cemetery, Tomkins Co. New York. Tombstone inscription (photo) :- Mrs. Eliz Bryant, widow of Rev. Peter Bryant late of Elizabeth Town, New Jersey, and eldest daughter of Doct. John Stiles (Stites) of New York, died May 10, 1841 in the 79 year of her age.
child ii. Margaret STITES was born in 1766. Married Andrew MITCHELL - N.Y. Marriage License 18 Jul 1781.
          [Note - corrected from the 18 Mar 1718 by Robert H. Kelby in his book of correction & addendum also titled 'New York Marriage Licences'.
                          The July date corresponds to the newspaper notice which was published on the 24th July in the Royal American Gazette]

child iii.  Cornelia STITES was born on 6 Jan 1768 in America. She was buried on 26 Jun 1800 in Bunhill Fields, London.
child iv.  Sarah STITES was born in 1770.
child v.  Mary / Maria STITES was born in 1772. Married Archibald M'Lean in June 1793 (see newspaper adverts)
                She married 2nd Caleb Bowering. She married 3rd Capt. James Noyes Brown.
child vi.  John STITES was born in 1773. He died in 1773.
child vii.  Susannah STITES was born in 1775.
child viii.  Son of John Jnr STITES was born in 1777. He died in 1777.
child ix.  Rebecca STITES was born in 1779.
child x.  John STITES was born in 1780. He died about 1812.
child xi. Abraham STITES was born on 10 Oct 1782. He died on 24 Feb 1864. Married Ann Johnson (see below).

2nd Marriage - Ann Johnson

The administration of John Stites estate suggests that he married for a 2nd time to a wife Ann, as the examination of his estate mentions "..Ann Stites the widow by her consent one third of the rents and profits of the estate as her dower.." The letter by Abraham (see above) mentions John's widow but not by name.

From the book 'History of the Ohio Falls Cities and their Counties' is the following :-
"Not long after his location in Scott County, the Doctor intermarried with Mrs. Ann Johnson, the widow of Captain Henry Johnson, a Revolutionary soldier, who had emigrated with his family from Louis County, Virginia to Kentucky.
In a little while after the marriage of Doctor Stites, his son Abram Stites, who had remained in New Jersey to complete his studies as a lawyer, also came to Kentucky, and soon after his arrival married Miss Ann Johnson, the daughter of his stepmother."
['History of the Ohio Falls Cities and their Counties V.1' published 1882 by L.A. Williams & Co. pg. 487]

Stites pages

Stites or Stiles?

Stites Bible - 1

Stites Bible - 2

Other pages re.
John Stites jnr.

Court cases

The Merchant


Property & Deeds

Revolutionary War


Losses claims as a British Loyalist.

N.J. to Kentucky


Stites v. Galbreath.

Tax Rateables




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