Genealogy: Vinson and Slough Families

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Research on the genealogy was done by Weston W Vinson (1902 to 1984) and Ernest Brooks of Minneapolis.

Organization and writing by: J Putnam O’Grady, husband of Barbara Vinson O’Grady.

Heritage is, at best, a tangled web; the results of its search can be either rewarding or disappointing.

What really went on before us? What lives were led? How came we to this point in time? With regret, the documentation frequently follows only the namesake, the male line, and the masterful contributions of the women in the legends they left are lost forever. Little record ever remains of the joys and the tribulations, successes and heartbreaks of those bygone years. A simple recitation of lineage would interest few; however, in the extensive presentation that will follow, an attempt is made to further the reader’s insight by the inclusion of excerpts from letters found in the source material.

As for proceeding, let it be said that the effort at presentation is far overshadowed by the many years assembling the basic research by the late Ernest Brooks of Minneapolis, a retired diesel engineer, who in exploring the Brooks family, found a link to the Vinson name. It was over thirty years ago, that through the writer, Brooks was referred to the late Weston W Vinson, a retired California manufacturing executive, and the collaboration began which proved so fruitful and rewarding. Here then, were two men, linked only by a bygone age, who became fast personal friends, sharing a mutual interest and a common purpose, with faith and trust left to the writer vast correspondence and reference material to share with the generations to follow.

This, then, is dedicated to two “uncommon” men, Ernest Brooks and Weston Vinson, with both humility and gratitude for their masterful efforts.


No record is found prior to the birth of Curthbert Vinson in 1779. Born on the Eastern shore of Maryland, in 1802 he Deborah Sewers [sic], a neighbor five years his junior in Dorchester County. Moving to Ross County, Ohio, three children were born: Malachi, 7 April, 1803; James sewers Vinson, 21 February, 1808; and Lily Ann (Vinson) Roebuck, 7 October, 1810 who married the founder of Sears. In Mercer County, Ohio were born: Deborah 1813, Curthbert Junior, 1815; Green Barry, 1817; William Asbury, 1818; Wester; Nancy (Vinson) Brooks, 1826; Clarissa (Vinson) Weaver, 1832; and to others per posted. After moving to St. Mary’s Ohio in 1826, Deborah died in 1855 and Curthbert followed in 1913, both buried at St. Mary’s, Ohio.

It is the Malachi line to be followed henceforth. Malachi Mary Catherine Brown, born 1807, who fathered twelve, among them was Curthbert, the third born 11 January, 1851 who in turn married Ellen Wiley, born 1830. This union bore three children: William Wesley Vinson, 25 November, 1863; Samuel Malachi Vinson, 25 December, 1865 (later lost); and Rev. Worth Walter Vinson, 7 June, 1868-1936. Worth Walter Vinson married Emma B Slough who bore three children: Mabel Nelle, 1891; Ernest, 1899; and Weston right, 1902.

There was a Thomas Vinson who embarked from England 27 July, 1635 aboard the ship Primrose, captained by Mr. Douglas, bound for the Virginia colony, but no link was established. The original Curthbert does not appear in Maryland Census of 1776. There is a net how my Vinson in the first federal census in Dorchester County, taken in 1790, again no link can be established. Cambridge courthouse built prior to 1697 was replaced around 1770 and burned in 1852, presume records burned. Gloucester, Massachusetts records a William Vinson, born 1610, and died 17 September, 1690.

Inasmuch as Deborah sewer (1784 1835) married our original Curthbert, her background is explored. Her mother, Mary Beckwith (19 November, 1750) died 12 December, 1831 after two marriages and six children. A three page supplement of the Beckwith family, dating back to 1066 and William the Conqueror, is attached. It was Deborah’s daughter, Mary C Vinson, born 1826 who married a Brooks, linking the two families for the first time. It was researching this link the first introduced Ernest Brooks.

The Vinson-Beckwith family

The study of the Vinson family has determined that we have no hope of following the Vinson family further back than Curthbert Vinson (1779 to 1843). We made some studies of Curthbert’s wife. They were married 7 July, 1802. Deborah sewers Vinson’s family was traced back to early days. We are sure that a great deal more information is available from British and French sources.

We will go back to Sir Hugh de Malebisse, a French nobleman. We will meet him as he reaches England in 1066, with William the Conqueror.

The Normans, including Sir Hugh, one England at the Battle of Hastings. The history of the ways the Normans established order among the various leaders of various areas, and brought peace to most areas was such a relief to most Britons, that William was able to give fair government, and was able to establish England as a nation.

The Army was primarily made up of mercenary soldiers, and there were few nobleman with William. He was able to be generous with his people, but there were so few to reward that the English were able to keep their possessions. This permitted the Normans to get along well with the natives.

Sir Hugh de Malebisse was given land in Yorkshire. There is no indication who his wife was, but Sir Hugh had a son, Hugo de Malebisse, who married Emma Percy. She was a descendent of Baldwin, Count of Flanders, and Hugh Capet. They had a son, Sir Simon de Malebisse, who married Saxon. They had a son Sir Hercules de Malebisse.

Sir Hercules de Malebisse married Lady Bruce. Lady Bruce was a Saxon princess, heiress to several estates of Robert Bruce. There was apparently some friction between the Saxons in the Normans. The marriage contract required that Sir Hercules changes name to the name of one of her estates; Beckwith. Thus, he became Sir Hercules Beckwith, which is the beginning of the Beckwith lineage.

Sir Hercules Beckwith as first-generation

  1. Sir Hercules Beckwith
  2. Sir Hercules Beckwith II
  3. Nicholas Beckwith
  4. Namon Beckwith
  5. William Beckwith
  6. Thomas Beckwith
  7. Adam Beckwith
  8. Sir William Beckwith
  9. Thomas Beckwith-was married twice, each time to an heiress
  10. John Beckwith
  11. Robert Beckwith—living in the eighth year of King Edward IV
  12. John Beckwith
  13. Robert Beckwith—will probated 1536
  14. Marmaduke Beckwith—sold his land and bought Featherstone Castle and Acton
  15. Thomas Beckwith—died 1612. This concludes our listing the first sons. Thomas had several sons.
  16. William Beckwith—our direct ancestor. He was first of at least three sons who migrated to America. He was baptized in Featherstone Castle in 1571. He moved to London was a merchant.Capt. Christopher Newport and Capt. John Smith lead three ships to America caring 104 settlers (all-male). They settled the first permanent colony in North America Jamestown, 13 May, 1607. Capt. Newport returned England for supplies. He returned with another ship, the Phoenix, with supplies and more settlers. The settlers were women and skilled men, among which was William Beckwith. He was listed as a tailor. They landed at Jamestown on 20 April, 1608.William Beckwith was thirty-seven years old when he came to America. We have no information of his wife, but he had a son, Henry Beckwith, born in 1619.
  17. Henry Beckwith—there was no record of Henry until 5 October, 1669, when he received the land grant in Maryland, and he settled in Dorchester County. He married Elizabeth Skinner about 1672 1675. Elizabeth was a widow, and it appears her husband was a neighbor of Henry, and after whose death she married Henry. They had two sons, Henry and Nehemiah. His will was probated in 1717.
  18. Henry Beckwith II–children: Nehemiah, Charles, Samuel, Mary, Elizabeth and Margaret. His will was probated 1758.
  19. Nehemiah Beckwith— born about 1721. Children: Jeremiah, Henry, and Nehemiah.
  20. Jeremiah Beckwith—born about 1755. Mary Catherine Wheatley. Children: Jeremiah, Mary, and Wheatley.
  21. Mary Beckwith married James Sewer about 1779. He was born in England. Children: Betsy, Polly, Deborah, Ross and Esther. James died about 1789. The 1790 census shows Mary and her five children living with her brother Jeremiah Beckwith. Mary married Joseph Cantwell about 1795. One child was born of this marriage; Nancy Vinson Cantwell.
  22. Deborah Sewers married Curthbert Vinson in 1802.

The Sloughs

Worth Vinson married Emma Slough. Heinrich Schlaugh of Neurenberg, Germany came to America in 1740 with a son, Mathias, who changed the family name to Slough. Together, they established the first mill on the Conestoga River where now stands the Power and Light Company. Heinrich built the hotel in 1754 and son Mathias, the White Swan Inn in 1761 which was family operated until 1824; the White Swan saw visitors such as Washington, Jefferson, John Adams, Franklin, and Lafayette. As one of the Lancaster Volunteers, Mathias fought with Washington at White Plains, Trenton; returned with his troops and mercenaries as prisoners to raise food for the Army for the duration. Buried after death in Harrisburg, the Lancaster Masonic Blue Lodge which he had founded return the body to Lancaster in 1937.
Jacob Slough, a son, had six children, among them was William, born 1810 in Cumberland City, Pennsylvania. A barn builder, he married in 1835 in Ohio and eight children followed. Following the death of his wife, he remarried in 1854 Ann Cross who bore another eight children, among them was Emma Bell on 28 July, 1868 in Ray City, Missouri. In 1888, William died and was buried in Dawson, Nebraska. His wife followed ten years later. It was in 1889 that Emma Bell Slough met and married worth Vinson in page County, Iowa. Worth, educated at Amity College in college Springs, became a leading Free Methodist preacher in Iowa and continued after moving to California in 1914. Belle preached prior to her death in 1934 and Worth died less than two years later in March 1936.

2014 Addendum to the Slough Genealogy by Michael O’Neill

Mathias Slough is almost certainly not an ancestor of William Slough. While Mathias did have a son named Jacob, he married a woman named Polly Graef in 1805. Mathias’ Jacob also spent nearly his entire life in Lancaster County, Penna., while William and his siblings are thought to have been born further west in what is today Perry County, Penna.
The estate settlement of William Slough’s maternal grandfather, William Morey, shows that William’s mother was Elizabeth Morey, not Polly Graef. The 1810 US Census shown a Jacob Slough living adjacent to William Morey along with a young woman (Elizabeth, his wife), and a young son (William). Jacob Slough’s ancestry is not known.

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