James Pettit (1725) and Martha McCune Family Record Book

By Brandon

This old record book has ten pages of handwritten records covering the descendants of James Pettit and Martha McCune.  Though this record is silent on the matter, others who have researched this family believe this James Pettit married Martha in 1757 at the Newtown Presbyterian Church in Queens County, New York.  This family book indicates James and Martha Pettit’s family spread out into Pennsylvania and eventually into Ohio.

This original record book is now privately held by The Pettit Research Project in Oklahoma.  Please contact me if you need more information for a proper manuscript citation. Otherwise, for genealogy purposes you can cite this source as a web page on Ancestry.com, wikitree.com or elsewhere as follows:

B.W. Pettit, “James Pettit (1725) and Martha McCune Family Record Book,” The Pettit Research Project, January 11, 2024, https://pettitresearch.com/familyhistory/2024/01/11/james-pettit-1725-and-martha-mccune-family-record-book

History and Origin of the James Pettit Family Book

This small artifact was purchased on January 11, 2024, from a reputable printed memorabilia dealer who had several other old unrelated items for sale. When asked about the book he stated:

This book was in a large lot of ephemera I bought online.  It included hundreds and hundreds of postcards, letters and miscellaneous other documents.

The seller also stated this was the only Pettit family item he had in his collection.  Since it was indiscriminately collected alongside a mass of other paper items the precise history of the book is obscure.  He believed it came from Ohio or Pennsylvania.  Who penned the record and when they did it is a mystery.  There are some clues, however, that can aid in formulating a reasonable theory.  Identifying the date of the record helps judge the accuracy to some degree.  Generally the closer the events are recorded to the time they happened the less likely they are to be inaccurate.

First, the earliest date recorded is 1757 and the latest is 1841.  Second, other visually similar books with the same covers, binding and internal factory print can be dated to the mid to late 1800 and early 1900s.  Suffice to say, this record does not appear to be from the 1700s.  If the author of the record could be determined, this could also narrow down the chronological range.  There are indeed clues that point to the identity of one of the authors.

Judging by the handwriting, the records were written by at least two different people.  The older records, consisting of names a vital statistics, appear to be written on the odd numbered pages.  What looks to be more recent trivia about certain family members is found on opposing pages labeled as pages 6 and 12.  One crucial clue is found on page 6 which states:

Mrs. Oliver Ryall of Pittsburg is granddaughter of James B. Lafferty.  Martin Lafferty was senator from Pittsburg

Here the author uses the term “is” instead of “was” in reference to Mrs. Oliver Ryall.  Though it could be just loose grammar, it might also mean Mrs. Ryall was still living at the time the note was made.  This Mrs. Oliver Ryall, as it turns out, is easy to identify.  Her death certificate from Allegheny County, PA identifies Mrs. Ryall as Margaret Lafferty, the daughter of a man named John P. Lafferty.  (The “P” in John P. Lafferty stands for Pettit.)  He was the son of Robert Lafferty who married Priscilla Pettit who is found in this old record book on pages 1 and 7.

Death certificate of Margaret Lafferty Ryall.

Death certificate of Margaret Lafferty Ryall showing her father as John P Lafferty.

Whoever wrote the more recent notes in this book knew Margaret Lafferty.  Margaret’s life covered a span of 85 years from May 26, 1846, to December 12, 1931. The extra handwritten note on page 6 and 12 may have, therefore, been penciled down sometime in that date range.  As noted, the other records appear to be older and include very specific dates.  Due the specificity it is quite possible this information was copied from a family bible or another record that belonged to one of the children of James and Martha Pettit.

Ultimately, at this time there is no way to know for sure who wrote the record or when it was taken down.  Researchers are therefore cautioned to use this information carefully.  There is no reason to doubt the authenticity or legitimacy of this old family book, but it could also be subject to copiest errors or other minor defects.

Images of the Pettit/McCune Pettit Family Record


James Pettit and Martha McCune Family Record Book CoverJames Pettit and Martha McCune Family Record Book p1James Pettit and Martha McCune Family Record Book p7James Pettit and Martha McCune Family Record Book p8James Pettit and Martha McCune Family Record Book p9James Pettit and Martha McCune Family Record Book p10James Pettit and Martha McCune Family Record Book p2James Pettit and Martha McCune Family Record Book p3James Pettit and Martha McCune Family Record Book p4James Pettit and Martha McCune Family Record Book p5James Pettit and Martha McCune Family Record Book p6


Transcription of the James Pettit and Martha McCune Family Record

[Page 1]

1. James Pettit married Martha McCune

was a planter and had land near Fredrick [this line in different handwriting]

2. Thomas Darling Pettit, md

born March 25 -1757

3. Sarah, Sept 26 -1760 d. Aug 26 -1777

4. James, Feb 28 – 1762

5. Priscilla, Aug 30- 1765

6. Alexander, March 1 -1767

7. Samuel, Feb 4 -1770  d. July 5 -1791

8. William, May 9 1772 d. July 1 – 1836

9. Mary, March 11 -1775

10. Elizabeth, Dec 11 -1777


[Page 2 blank] [Page 3]

2. Thomas Darling Pettit

March 25 0 1757

Married March 8 -1787

to Margaret —

Moved to Kentucky – had

two children


[Page 4 blank] [Page 5]

4. James Pettit Feb 28 -1762

Married Catherine Jeans  Feb 1794

11. William


[Page 6] [writing on this is different than other writing and in pencil]

Mrs Oliver Ryall of

Pittsburg is

granddaughter of

James B Lafferty

Martin Lafferty was

senator from

Pittsburg –


[Page 7] [handwriting the same as at the beginning]

5. Priscilla Pettit Aug 30 -1765

married Robert Lafferty

May 12 -1789

Lived and died in

Indiana Co. Penna.

12. Sarah

13. Mary

{William} live in

13a. James B {Martin} East Liberty

{Robert}  Penna

13b. William

13c. Samuel

13d. John married McCurdy

13E. Jonathan


[Page 8 blank] [Page 9]

6. Alexander Pettit March 1 – 1767

married Rosanna Nixon

Feb 19 -1789

14. Absalom tenth child

and first to live

15. Alexander Hamilton

physician -all descend-

ants dead.

16. William, Married and

lived in Natches was

lawyer and was

assassinated in his

office by some on unknown.

17. Rebecca

18. Rosanna


[Page 10 blank] [Page 11]

8. William Pettit born in

Fredrick Co., Md. May 9 -1836

Married to Anna McEven

of Wittney Valley, who was

born Feb 9 -1772 died

March 3 -1841

19. Elizabeth, Sept 24 -1795

20. Samuel, Oct 5 -1797

21. Henry McEven, Aug 9 -1800

22. Anna March 27 – 1802

23. Isabella Oct 8 -1804 died

unmarried Nov 23 -1879

24. Martha May 9 -1808

died May 17 – 1808


[Page 12] [writing on this is different than other writing and in pencil]

Mr & Mrs Dixon

were the grandparents

of Dr A G Ebert

we do not have their

family complete


[Page 13] [handwriting the same as at the beginning]

9. Mary Pettit Mar 11 – 1775

married Feb 23 – 1790 to

William Nixon who

died in 1832

moved to Marietta Ohio

and hand eight children.

26. Samuel

27. Mary

28. Martha


[Page 14 blank] [Page 15]

10. Elizabeth Pettit Dec 11 -1777

married Jonathan Smyth

son of Capt James Smyth

lived and died in mercer PA.


Download a Copy

Researchers may freely download and distribute this record.  (Please be sure to cite this website as the source.)  A copy in PDF format can be download by clicking the following link: James Pettit and Martha McCune Family Record Book (PDF)

For inquires about its current location and owner, please use this contact form.

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