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Amongst the family names emerging through the mists of time from Holland and Belgium was the ancient posterity of Pittman and the distinguished history of this surname is closely entwined within the colorful tapestry of the ancient chronicles of Britain.  They spoke in an old French dialect and were known as 'Walloons'.

The Flemish presence in Britain commenced about the year  1150 A.D., and contributed more to British industrial development than any other race.  The Flemmings were the artisan industrialists of the low countries.

The Flemmings were recruited firstly in Scotland to develop Scottish industry.  They became ardent Scottish patriots, so much so that at the storming of Berwick by the English in 1296, the Flemmings barricaded themselves in the Red Hall with such stuborn resistance they were buried to a man.

They later migrated south to Wales and the west of England where they spawned the weaving and the woollen industry.  In Norfolk, Suffolk, and Hertfordshire they were particularly involved in paper making and erected several fine paper mills.

Professional researchers have carefully scrutinized such ancient manuscripts as the Ragman Rolls (1291-1296) a record of homage rendered to King Edward 1st of England, the Curia Regis Rolls, The Pipe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, parish registers, baptismals, tax records and other ancient documents and found the first record of the name Pittman, in Devonshire where they were seated from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

During the early and middle development of the name many different spellings were found in the archives researched.  Although the name Pittman occurred in many manuscripts, from time to time the surname was spelt Pitman, Pittman, and these variations in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son.  It was not uncommon for a person to be born with one spelling, married with another and yet another to appear on his or her headstone.  Scribes and church officials spelt the name as it was told to them.

The family name Pittman emerged as a notable English family in Devon where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated with manor and estates in that shire.  They were of Flemish origin by the name of Pitschman, this industrial family settled in Devonshire at Dunchideock and were associated with the mining activities of the Cornwall Tin Mines.  In the 15th Century being successful they branched to Oulton Hall in Norfolk, and Woodbridge in Suffolk.  Their present family seats are at Eastcourt House and Dunchideock Hall.  Notable in the family at this time was Ben Pitman of Trowbridge in Wiltshire, the U.S. immigrant who taught shorthand.  Sir Isaac Pitman of the same family was the inventor of Shorthand.

In England the Flemmings started the trades of paper making, book publishiing, glass blowing, clothiers, glove making, and many more.  Many Flemmings rose to high office and became members of the Peerage, including the Earls of Radnor, and the Earls of Clancarty.

During the 16th, 17th and 18th centruies England was ravaged by religious conflict.  Puritanism, the newly found polictical fervour of Cromwellianism, and the remnants of the Roman Church rejected all non believers and fought for supremacy.  During these turbulent times, the conflict between Church groups, the Crown and political groups all claimed their allegiances and their assessments, tithes, and demands on rich and poor alike broke the spirit of the people and many either turned away from religion, or alternatively, desperately renewed their faith, pursuing with vigour and ferocity, the letter of the ecclesiastical law.

The Flemmings were responsible in Ireland for the development of the fine linen trade, for the deelopment of Irish pottery, and gave their name to such streets in Dublin as Combe, Pimlico, and Spitalfield.  The leader of the Flemish contingent in Ireland was General, the Marquis de Ruvigny of Port Arlington.  There is no evidence that the family name migrated to Ireland, but this does not preclude the possibility of their scattered migration to that country.

In the midst of this religious turmoil of the middle ages, the New World beckoned the adventurous.  They migrated, some voluntarily from Ireland, but mostly directly from England, their home territories.  Some also moved to the European continent.  They settled in Australia, New Zealand, the Carolinas, Virginia, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland aand the West Indies.

Members of the family name Pittman sailed aboard the armada of small sailing ships known as the 'White Sails' which plied the stormy Atlantic.  These overcrowded ships were pestilence ridden, sometimes 30 to 40 percent of the passenger list never reaching their destination, their numbers decimated by illness and the elements.

In North America, included amongst the first migrants which could be considered a knisman of the surname Pittman, or a variable spelling of that family name was a Henry Pitman settled in the Barbados in 1685;  John Pitman settled in New England in 1663;  Walter and William Pitman were banished to Jamaica in 1685;  Christopher Pittman settled in Virginia in 1623;  Elizabeth Pittman settled in Virginia in 1663; Samuel and Sarah Pittman settled in New England in 1635.

From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagon trains to the prairies or to the west coast.  During the American War of Independence, many loyalists made their way north to Canada about 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.

Contemporary notables of this surname, Pittman, include many distinguished contributors Edwin Pitman, Australian Mathematics Professor;  Sir Hubert Pitman, Company Chairman.

The most ancient grant of a Coat of Arms found was :  Quarterly silver and gold with a red eagle.
 The Crest is a bird on a seashell.


The Leatherwood name is rare, both in America and in England. Census searches for the entire US reveal no early Leatherwood except descendands of one English couple: John and Martha Leatherwood, who arrived in Maryland in 1680.

The American Leatherwoods repeated the names John and Edward from 1680 to modern times, and from the importance of the named Edward to the early family, it was probably the name of the John's father or grandfather in England.

Therefore, the most promising English record: and Edward Leatherwood, who in 1575 had 60 acres, Frome, Somerset, southwest England, a beautiful but wild, densely forested area, with a warmer and more pleasant climate than most of England.

Records for our English Leatherwoods may be in the parish church of St. John the Baptist in the market town of Frome or nearby. The chief industries in Somersetshire are making fine woolens and excellent cheese. Frome being near the famous town of Cheddar.

The emigrant John Leatherwood was born about 1668 and married in the summer or fall of 1689. When they sailed from Plymouth in the spring of 1680 (this must be a misprint), Martha was expecting their first child, daughter Mary was born August 12, 1680 at Annapolis and baptized Church of England.

The young Leatherwoods were given 50 acres per person, under Maryland statutes to encourage emigration, so received 100 to 150 acres in Middle Neck Hundred on the outskirts of Annapolis, then a pretty village with brick houses and sidewalks. Eldest son, Samuel born Feb 13, 1680, by English law was destined to inherit his father's entire holdings. He later married Joanna ____, remained in Maryland, and became ancestor of Leatherwood of Maryland and South Carolina.

The second son, Edward, born Jan 19, 1685, was baptized at St. Anne's Episcopal church, Annapolis, but, like all English second sons, was fated from birth to go out and seek his own fortune, being barred from inheritance. Therefore, John & Martha Leatherwood had 6 daughters: Joanna, b 6/8/1689, Jane b 3/8/1691, Ruth b 1699 and three girls, names not recorded, a total of two sons and seven daughters. Edwards was probably educated, because St. Anne's Parish school, the first and only school in Maryland, opened when he was school age.

Martha Leatherwood died about 1/20/1795 from burial records at St. Anne's, Annapolis, being buridx in its church yard, in an old cemetery now lost. After he death John sold his Annapolis property and moved northwest to the Maryland frontier, buying a trace on Stoney Run called "Old Man's Folly." He died about 1716, when son Samuel sold this property. He is buried on this property or a nearby church.

Maryland records do not mentioned young Edward Leatherwood after his baptism. He either left Maryland after his mother died in 1705 or went to Stoney Run with his father., leaving there in 1716, but the family tale is that he adventured very early into Virginia's Indian frontier. No Virginia records have been located for him or his son John, probably due to poor record keeping on the frontier or to Virginia's "lost records" counties.

(The only Virginia record: Zachariah Leatherwood b. 1754, Samuel of Maryland's grandson, who lived in Nov 1796 near Bull Run, Prince William Co., before moving to Spartanburg, SC

The clues exist for the missing 50 years. The first, a take related by Haywood County Historian WC Allen, from which the names of the missing generation were taken. Allen's tale mixes inforamtion about an early John Leatherwood who married Sally Hunt in Virginia and their grandson, John Leatherwood and wife Sally Burns, of NC. Fortunately, Bible records show grandson John's wife, Sarah Burns, and thanks to Allen's somewhat garbled account, once his tale is untangled, we have the names of the early Virginia John and Sally Hunt.

Edward Leatherwood, b 1685 MD had a son, John Leatherwood, b ca 1725 who married Sally Hunt in Virginia. From Bible records, grandson John's wife was Sally Burns.

John and Sally Hunt Leatherwood of Virginia probably had many daughters, but apparently only one son (unless a son who moved ca 1755-80 into east TN) because all the NC Leatherwoods descend form one man: Edward Leatherwood, b. ca 1753 VA.

John & Sally Hunt Leatherwood's known children were (1) Edward, c 1753 and (2) Sarah Leatherwood c 1754 who married c 1774 Thomas Birchfield. The young Leatherwoods and Birchfields appear next as neighborns on the Upper Catawba River on the NC frontier what became Burke county.

In western NC the name Leatherwood first appeared in Haywood County records. These records showed that John Leatherwood (b 1/2/1779) and his wife, Sarah Burns, b 2/7/1781 bought land on Jonathans Creek in 1800. They had moved from Leatherwood Creek located in Henry County, VA. Sarah Burns was the daughter of John Burns and Ann Walker. Ann Walker was a Cherokee INdian. John and Sarah became self-sufficient farmers and citizens of much influence and wealth who excelled in making apple brandy. They reared 10 children, 6 son and 4 daughters.

(Note, Edward and Sarah are buried at Fire's creek Baptist Church outside Hayesville, NC. Have been to the grave and to the church they attended. It is located several miles outside Hayesville going west. Watch for the signs for Fire's Creek Rd. andfollow for several miles. Cemetery across street from church, turn in and go to the right, drive about 50-75 feet and walk up the hill. About the 10 and 11 graves.)

The second son of John & Sarah, Abel Jackson, became the ancestor of the Leatherwoods that now live in Swain County. Jackson (4/24/1815- 3/17-1904) at age 23 joined the NC Mountain Militia under Capt Nat Kelsey and served as a private and corporal from 3/2/1838 to 7/11/1838 and was paid on the roll for 4 months and 23 days, which included 220 miles of travel pay. His assignment was to accompany the Cherokee indians on a leg of the march along the "Trail of Tears" to a station in GA. The enticement for the assisnment was a land warrant but since his mother was part Cherokee, he found the assignment distasteful and served only one enlistment period. He received his land warrant for 160 acres near Andrews in Cherokee Co. This event had a profound influence on his life, as well as on the lives of his descendants.