The Crossing

A Typical Ship of 1768

The First Hinshaws

In 1741, Jacob Hinshaw, with his wife Rebecca Mackey and children, emigrated from Ireland to Pennsylvania.

In 1755, Jacob's brother William emigrated from Ireland to North Carolina, eventually settling near the Cane Creek Monthly Meeting in 1763.

In 1765, Jacob moved to Cane Creek, North Carolina, and in the same year his sons Thomas and Joseph also moved to North Carolina to join their family.

Several more Hinshaws emigrated together from Ireland to North Carolina in 1768:

The Ship

We can determine some detail about the ship the Hinshaws sailed on during the voyage of 1768. William Hinshaw, in a letter written just after his arrival in North Carolina, stated that the voyage took "ten weeks and three days". His son, Ezra Hinshaw, once noted that they landed on the 12th day of 9th month, 1768. From these, the departure time can be computed to have been about the beginning of July, 1768.

Only one ship was advertised in the Belfast Newletter to go from the north of Ireland to Cape Fear in North Carolina that year, and that was the ship Wilmington. Its departure date coincides almost exactly with the computed timeframe. In addition, James Greer of Dungannon, brother of the leading Quaker Thomas Greer with whom William Hinshaw kept in touch, actually advertised for a vessel for his clients traveling to Cape Fear that year. The Belfast Newsletter on April 19, 1768 contained the following advertisement:

For America
Several Families containing upwards of thirty Persons now ready to take their Passage in any good Ship that may offer for Cape Fear in North Carolina. This is to acquaint any Owner or Captain of a vessel who may incline to set up their Ship for said shore, that they may immediately advise James Greer of Dungannon by Letter or otherwise, who will acquaint said Passengers who will be ready in twelve days after Notice. NB. It is believed many more Passengers will offer when they hear of this Opportunity. Best Oil of Vitriol for Bleachers to be sold by said Greer at his Pottery near Dungannon. Dated 9th April, 1768.
There seems no doubt that the Hinshaw party of 1768 travelled on the ship Wilmington. The Belfast Newsletter on June 3, 1768 contained an advertisement for the ship Wilmington, bound for Cape Fear, North Carolina. Again on June 28, 1768, the Belfast Newsletter carried the following notice of the Wilmington's departure:
Those intending to go Passengers in the Brig WILMINGTON to North Carolina, are desired to be in Newry on Monday the fourth of July, otherwise they may be disappointed as she will positively sail about that Time, Wind and Weather permitting.

The Voyage

We can only guess what an ocean voyage must have been like in the mid-1700s. We know it took several weeks and they may have encountered at least one mid-Atlantic storm on the way.

Legend has it that when these early Hinshaws were crossing the Atlantic, one storm became so severe that the passengers thought the ship would sink immediately. Believing that they would be arriving at the heavenly gates in a matter of minutes, they broke forth into wails, prayers and some shouts of Christian faith. All of this greatly angered the ship's captain, and he yelled "If ye don't quieten down, I'll drown ivry divil of ye."

Food storage facilities were minimal, so much of what they ate would have been either heavily salted (as a preservative) or partially spoiled when served. People lived in very close conditions on these small ships and sanitation was a serious problem. Diseases spread easily and often.

Because of the dangers of the north Atlantic, a great many Quakers came to America by way of the Barbados Islands and Jamaica, sailing from there northward toward Chesapeake Bay. At one time Barbados was in effect a "port of entry." We can't be certain that this was the route taken by these early Hinshaws, but it is likely.

Since they could not bring horses and cows with them on the ship, they had to purchase animals and supplies upon arriving in the colonies, usually in Pennsylvania. Many poorer Friends had to remain in Pennsylvania and work for a rather long time in order to be able to buy horses, wagons, carts and other necessities. Jacob Hinshaw, with his wife Rebecca Mackey and children, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1741, but it wasn't until 1755 that he was able to migrate south toward North Carolina. Later Hinshaws arriving seemed to be luckier as they often went directly to North Carolina (perhaps Jacob provided some help).

Most of the Friends travelled down the "Great Wagon Road from Philadelphia," by way of the Fairfax and Hopewell Meetings in the Shennandoah Valley. They left the Great Wagon Road somewhere south of the Virginia line, then made their way as best they could through the wilderness toward Cane Creek. The southward migration of the Quakers in the mid-1700s was determined in part by the fact that France still held possession of the fertile Ohio valley, making westward migration impossible. During the French and Indian War, the only open road toward available land was southward.

The Historical Record

There are records of these Hinshaws in Ireland, showing their preparations for departure. There are also Quaker records of their first attendance at meetings in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, shortly after their arrival.


An entry referencing Jacob's preparations to emigrate is found in the minutes of the Preparative Meeting of Grange, near Charlemount, Northern Ireland, for the meeting of 2 Mo. 3, 1741:
"Patrick Holm & his wife, also Hugh Kennedy & his family, having Laid before our meeting their Intention of Removing to America, they being poor friends & in want of help, therefore this meeting agrees that William Delap doe Lay out ye Sum of fifteen pounds Ster: to help to pay their fraughts and other necessaries for ye Jurnay untill he be paid ye Same out of ye Interest Left to poor friends of this meeting; also John Whitsit, James Pillar, William delap, Thos Greer & Benjn Marshill are Desired to Draw Suitable Certificates for ye Sd Hugh Kennedy and for Jacob Hinshaw & his wife who Intends ye Same Journy".
Jacob and Rebecca were received at the New Garden Monthly Meeting, Chester County, Pennsylvania, on 11 Mo. 30, 1741:
"Jacob Hinshaw and Rebecca, his wife, produced a certificate from ye Men's and Women's Meeting (Grange) near Charlemont in ye North of Ireland, bearing date ye 3d day of ye 2d month, 1741, recommending him and his wife members in unity."


The records of Pasquotank MM, North Carolina, show that on 6 Mo. 4, 1761, Jacob's brother William produced a certificate from Charlemont, North Ireland, dated 8 Mo. 10, 1755. On 4 Mo. 7, 1763, William requested a certificate to Cane Creek MM, N.C. At Cane Creek on 6 Mo. 4, 1763, William was received on a certificate from Pasquotank MM.


The Cane Creek MM records show that on 1 Mo. 5, 1765, Jacob's sons Thomas & Joseph were received on a certificate (not mentioning from where, but presumably directly from Ireland).


In 1765, Jacob & Rebecca left Pennsylvania to join their sons, Thomas & Joseph (as well as Jacob's brother William), and arrived early in 1766 in North Carolina. The Cane Creek MM men's records shows an entry for 1 Mo. 4, 1766:
"Jacob Hinshaw received on a certificate from Pennsylvania".
The women's record shows an entry for the same date:
"Rebekah Hinshaw & daughters Mary, Rebekah, Elizabeth, & Jane received on a certificate from Warrington MM".


Back in Ireland, Jacob's and William's brother Absolem, and their first cousins William and Jesse, were all preparing to leave. An entry in the minutes of 2 Mo. 5, 1768 of the Grange Monthly Meeting, County Tyrone, shows:
"William Henshaw signified to this meeting that he and his brother Jess, with their families intend to remove from this to America and desire our certificate. Thomas Dawson and Jas Pillar are desired to make the needful enquiry concerning them and return acct. how thay find things to next preparative meeting which is appointed to be held the 26th of 2nd mo."
On 2 Mo. 26, 1768, a similar entry for Absolem was recorded:
"Absolem Hinshaw acquainted this meeting that he intends removing with his wife and family to America and desires our certificate of removal, and this meeting being informed that Alice Hinshaw also intends removing to America and desires our certificate, this meeting therefore desires Thomas Dawson and Jas Pillar together with Jas Morton and Jonas Shaw to make enquiries concerning the above mentioned Friends and bring the same to the next meeting for approbation."
An entry on 3 Mo. 11, 1768 shows:
"Certificates being drawn for Jess Hinshaw, Absolem Hinshaw and William Hinshaw with their families, also for Alice Hinshaw, the same was signed in this meeting. Jonah Shaw is desired to record copies of said certificates and deliver the originals to said Friends."
The Grange Monthly Meeting has a later entry showing:
"It Appears that Jesse Hindshaw, Absolem Hindshaw & Willm Hindshaw with their respective families and also Alice Hindshaw removed to America in the year 1768".


On 2 Mo. 4, 1769, Jesse, Abigail, and 2 small children were received at the Cane Creek MM on a certificate from Six Weeks Meeting, Grange, Ireland dated 3 Mo. 20, 1768.

On 5 Mo. 6, 1769, an entry was made in the Cane Creek MM men's records:

"Absolem Hinshaw received on a certificate".
The women's record shows an entry for the same date:
"Rebekah Hinshaw, wife of Absolem, & daughter Elizabeth, received on a certificate from Six Weeks Meeting, Grange, near Charlemount, Ireland, dated 3 Mo. 13, 1768".
On 11 Mo. 4, 1769, William and family (sans poor Sarah) presented their certificate to the Cane Creek MM. An entry was made in the men's records as follows:
"William Hinshaw received on a certificate".
The women's record shows an entry for the same date:
"Alice Hinshaw received on a certificate from Six Weeks Meeting, Grange, near Charlemount, Ireland, dated 3 Mo. 13, 1768".

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