Arthur Keith's Correspondence

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Once Keith had traced his Harned lineage to Jonathan Harned (15), he had considerable difficulty determining how he related to the Harneds at Woodbridge, NJ. In addition, he did not know the origins of the three Harned brothers at Woodbridge.

As early as 1917 Keith was communicating with A. Van Doren Honeyman of the New Jersey Historical Society. On 20 Feb 1917, he wrote seeking New Jersey Harned marriage records.

On 23 Feb 1917 Honeyman wrote back, stating in part:

Volume 22 of the "New Jersey Archives", First Series, gives John Harned of Middlesex Co as obtaining a marriage license Sept. 20, 1768 to marry Rachel Allward". There is no other male Harned marriage record in these "Archives" from the earliest period to 1800.

Honeyman did give Keith a number of recommendations of sources to check, with one suggestion standing out. He stated in part:

I am inclined to think that you will need to look on Long Island for the father of Jonathan Harned, but this on the supposition that the name was originally Harnett.

This idea would later become the link Keith needed to make the leap from the three Harned brothers at Woodbridge, NJ to Jonathan (2) at Huntington, LI, and on to Edward, Jr. at Salem, MA.


On 29 April 1917 Keith wrote again to Honeyman, stating in part:

I am still looking for my Harned forbears with rather indifferent results. I made a trip to Woodbridge last Friday, have gone to Trenton twice, and to New York once to look up records. At Woodbridge I found a deed to Edward Harned dated 1730 which is apparently not at Trenton, at least it does not appear in their card catalogue index. I found no further mention of him, nor did I find any clue to the parentage of my ancestor Jonathan Harned who was born about 1725-30, died in KY in 1813.

However yesterday when looking through The Jerseyman here at Princeton (I did not know before of this journal) I found in Vol 3, on page 2, mention of Edward Hornet (sic) living in Hunterdon Co, N.J. in 1735. Now I believe this Hornet is the same as Harned. The name is often written Harnet and it would be easy to mistake an a for an o in the old records.


On the same date, 29 Apr 1917, Keith wrote to Hiram Deats, Secretary of the Hunterdon Co Historical Society asking for assistance with connecting Jonathan Harned of Washington Co, PA and later of Kentucky to the three Harned brothers he had identified at Woodbridge, NJ. He writes, in part:

In about 1730 three brothers named Nathaniel, Jonathan, and Edward Harned were living at or near Woodbridge, N.J. The Jonathan Harned of Ky does not seem to be the son of either Nathaniel or Jonathan so I am assuming because many coincidences that he was the son of Edward Harned...

Yesterday while looking over copies of The Jerseyman in the Princeton University Library, I found in Vol 3 page 2 mention of one Edward Hornet (sic) in Hunterdon County in 1735. I think he may be identical with the Edward Harned of Woodbridge 1730. I want to find this Edward's family...


Keith and Deats continued to exchange letters throughout 1917, followed by letters in years 1918, 1920, 1924, 1926, 1928, and 1932. Certain comments stand out as indicating the basis for certain connections Keith identified in his two published articles.

On 2 Jul 1918, Keith writes to Deats, in part:

Edward Hornet in 1735 was a tenant of the West Jersey Society's Tract in Hunterdon County. I am informed that this tract was in present Holland and Alexandria townships. You informed me that one William Rittenhouse married a Rebecca Harnet and lived near present Locktown, N.J. And you also said that part of this Rittenhouse moved to the Redstone country in western Penna. It was there that my ancestor Jonathan Harned moved in about 1773 and there his daughter Margaret Harned in about 1774 married Alexander Keith. I am trying to prove that this Jonathan Harned came from Hunterdon County, N.J. and was the son of Edward Harned. I still lack positive proof. But aside from the Rittenhouse association which you sent me I have discovered some others in going over my notes which I had not observed before.

Another association is really more significant. Alexander Keith who in about 1774 married Margaret Harned, was a prominent member of Ten Mile Baptist Church on the North Fork of Ten Mile Creek in present Washington County, Penna. From 1773 to 1781 this church was served by the Rev. James Sutton and Rev. Isaac Sutton (the latter for only a short time). These Suttons were brothers and came from New Jersey. Now in Snell's History above referred on same page it is stated that Rev. David Sutton was pastor of the Baptist Church at Kingwood from 1764 to 1783. In 1783 the Rev. David Sutten became pastor of the Baptist Church at Ten Mile in present Washington Co., Penna. My ancestor Jonathan Harned and Alexander Keith had already moved on to Kentucky. But I regard this Sutton association binding together the two places, that is, Locktown, N.J., and Ten Mile, Penna as very significant. I regard it as an indication that my ancestor Jonathan Harned came from the same place.... Now I may be too quick to jump to conclusions. If you think so, please tell me so. But if I can find my Jonathan Harned at Locktown or Kingwood or near there I think I have just about connected him up with Edward Harned. That is the thing I am trying to prove.


On 27 Jun 1920, Keith writes to Deats, in part:

If you know of any recent publication or discovery bearing on the name Harned for the period 1730-1780, I should be glad to know of it.


By 1925 Keith had put together the first four generations in America. He was able to provide Emily Lewin, a descendant of Jonathan (54 ), with a descendancy from Edward, Sr. and Edward, Jr. of Salem, MA to Jonathan of Huntington, LI to Edward, Jonathan, and Nathaniel at Woodbridge, NJ.

In 1926 he was still actively pursuing additional Long Island data (probably to confirm the connection between Jonathan and his three sons), because he wrote to Deats seeking information about William A. Eardeley, a well known Long Island genealogist who had done extensive work in Huntington, and had developed an outline of first few generations of the Harnet/Harned family (of which we have a copy).

On 24 Oct 1926, Keith writes Deats:

Do you know anything about the ability and reliableness of one Wm A. D. Eardeley, P.O. Box 91, Brooklyn, N.Y. as a genealogist? If you do not know of him personally, can you suggest some means by which I may find out? Would the Public Library in New York be apt to know about the man?

He claims to have knowledge of the Harned family and he may have such knowledge and I am willing to pay the price he asks, but I must know about the man first.


It is likely that Keith contacted Eardeley and obtained what data Eardeley had developed, because by 1928 Keith had some news for Hiram Deats.

On 6 Sep 1928, Keith wrote Deats, in part:

I thought you might be interested to learn that I have only very recently written up what I call a Harned History. It makes a manuscript of 89 typewritten pages. I give the first few pages to the history of the family in England, as well as can be made out, then I cover the period 1636-1658 in Salem, Massachusetts, then follow them to Huntington, long Island, where I make use of the published records and some which are not published, which I obtained by a personal visit to Huntington, then I trace the New Jersey connections both in Middlesex and in Hunterdon Counties, and lastly follow their ramifications into Pennsylvania, Kentucky and elsewhere. I am now figuring on finding a publisher. I have asked the Kentucky Register if they care to handle so formidable a manuscript. If they reply unfavorably I shall try a New York genealogical magazine. I realize that it is asking a great deal to ask for so much space.

The Kentucky Register must not have been willing to dedicate that much space, because in 1930 a pared down manuscript was published in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Register.


It doesn't appear that Keith ever quite proved that his Jonathan Harned was the same as Jonathan Harned of Hunterdon Co, NJ.

On 27 Mar 1932 Keith wrote Deats, in part:

The reason for my writing a month ago was that Mr. Kephart reported to me that he found in the Kingwood Baptist church minutes a record of Jonathan Harnet receiving a letter of dismissal on October 19, 1769. As this is just about the time my ancestor of that name appeared in southwestern Penna I have no doubt that this Jonathan Harnet was my ancestor.

On 29 Mar 1932, Deats responded, in part:

I did not reply sooner, for the reason that the Kingwood book was out of my hands for three months, and just came back today. I brought it home, and have gone over it again. I find nothing new. The entries are: Baptised & Received Into the Church since the year 1749 - Jonathan Hornet - October the 14 1764 (not sixty nine as you have it) A Letter of Dismission Given to Jonathan Harnet.... Looking at it again, I can see that Kephart read 4 as 9 in that date. It might be either, but the rest of that page is all 1764.


It's apparent that after Keith's second article was published in 1931 in the Kentucky Register, he was either tiring of the research grind or had turned his attention to other family surnames.

On 2 Aug 1932 Keith writes to Nellie Harned Weaver, in part:

I am much interested in your letter of July 30. I am not actively pursuing the Harned genealogy further than I have already done but I would be glad to have the history of the descendants of Asher Harned to whom you refer. I have no intention at present of publishing any further account of the Harned family. I wish someone would take the trouble to go further than I have and make a suitable book. I would be willing to assist but can not take the lead in any such enterprise.

In the Kentucky State Historical Register for 1931 (or was it 1930?) I published a lengthy account of Jonathan Harned, 15, found on page 25 in the New York magazine, and his descendants. This is the Kentucky branch. In that article I included some information recently gained from England, which was not included in the article of the New York magazine. I think you might care to see this, if you have not already.

Arthur Keith had hung up his Harned research cap, and to our knowledge did little additional research on the family until his death at age 68 in 1942.

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