Who are the Sterretts who came to America in the early 1700’s? T. Woods Sterrett in his work titled “The Sterrett Genealogy” cites information from Prof. J. R. S. Sterrett, formerly of Cornell University, whose believes that the family originated in Scotland. In a book of surnames by the Utah Genealogical Society it is stated "that the name Sterrett is derived from STERRE and is of Dutch origin." The ordinary spelling of this family name in America is now generally found under the form STERRETT, with some branches commonly using the "a," as STARRETT.

Douglas W. Sterrett, Sterrett Sept Commissioner for the Clan Douglas Society of North America, Ltd. (note a sept is a clan or tribe) writes in his “A Short History of the Sterretts” the following “According to Black's "Surnames of Scotland" the name Sterrett is derived from the name of a farmstead in the parish of Dalry, Ayrshire, near the present town of Mauchline. This land was known in medieval times as "Stairaird" and allegedly means "path over a bog" in Gaelic. . . . . .In the period following the war for Scottish independence (1295 - 1314) large landholdings in Ayrshire, including Stairaird, were awarded to Sir James Douglas, "the Black Douglas", for his tireless service and loyalty to the king, most likely about 1315, but certainly before King Robert Bruce's death in 1329. About this time surnames began to be adopted and the progenitors of the Sterrett family were called "Stairaird" after the farmstead which they inhabited, a common custom at the time and origination of many present-day surnames. As the land they farmed was part of the holdings of the Douglases (which they held in fief from the lord), they were vassals of this great family and consequently constitute a sept of the House of Douglas. . . . . In the late 1500's or early 1600's a branch of the Sterrett family emigrated to North Ireland . . . . After a period of time in Ireland some members of the family left for America, probably shortly before 1700, and settled in Pennsylvania.”

The Sterrett family of our interest first appears of record in the early 1700’s in Pennsylvania. According to the Sterrett Genealogy by T Woods Sterrett, Benjamin Sterrett died intestate in Lancaster County, Pa, 1739. Letters of administration were granted 3/17/1739 to his wife Isabelle, John Sterrett and Andrew Mayes. Further cited is a deed from Cairns and Maria Sterrett (his children) to Abraham and Henry Stricklas dated 3/26/1759 found in Book K, page 32, Lancaster County records. This offers proof of the existence of children of and of Benjamin Sterrett.

Of Benjamin Sterrett’s six children (Cairns, James, Mary, Samuel, Robert and John) Robert is the one of interest to our lineage. The Sterrett Genealogy states that Robert was born in Scotland, thus Benjamin was no doubt also from Scotland. Said to have been born in Scotland, died in what was then Lancaster, now Dauphin County, Pa., in April 1777. He is said to have been a son of Benjamin Sterrett, but up to the time of going to press (1930) no actual proof of this was found by the author T. Woods Sterrett. The traditional story of his early life is that as a young boy, he fled with his parents and brothers and sisters from Scotland to the north of Ireland, to evade those opposed to their religious beliefs. In Donegal County, Ireland, he married Mary Ramsey, born about 1707. Mary Sterrett, listed as 80 years of age, is given among the members of the Big Spring Church, in Cumberland Valley, in 1789. They immigrated to America about 1730, settling in what was then Chester, later Lancaster, and now Dauphin County, on Swatara Creek.

Also according to T. Woods Sterrett on the 4th day of Feb. 1755, the Proprietors of Pennsylvania granted him a warrant for one hundred and fifty acres of land in Lower Paxtang Township, now Dauphin County, upon which he resided until his death, April 1777. He left a will that is of record in Lancaster County, Book C, page 46 naming his wife and children.

James Sterrett, son of Robert, was born in 1723 in Lancaster County, PA. He was a farmer, living on and working 250 acres received from his father in 1767, and patented on 11/3/1761, the farm being north of Lancaster/Harrisburg turnpike, 2 mi northeast Mt. Joy. James was a Revolutionary War soldier, serving as a private in Col. Hugh Peden’s Company, Lancaster County, PA. He left a will dated 8/19/1808, registered 5/2/1809.

He married Sarah Montgomery, who is buried in a Presbyterian churchyard near Reedsville, Pa., where she died while visiting relatives in Mifflin County.

They had nine children, seven boys and two girls. The fourth eldest, Robert, was born 8/2/1763 in Lewistown, PA. Some records show Robert as born on 7/23/1763. Robert, a farmer in the Lewistown area, was also a Revolutionary War soldier serving as a private in Capt. Patrick Hayes’ Company, 4th Battalion, Lancaster County, PA militia.

On December 30, 1790 Robert married Rosannah Green. Rosannah, born 7/2/1772, was daughter of Timothy Green, who served as Coronel of the 11th Rifle Battalion, PA troops. See also DAR#147030. This Timothy Green was also Justice Of The Peace, Dauphin County, PA until 1790. Rosannah died 10/21/1845.

Robert and Rosannah had thirteen children, seven boys and six girls. Their eldest son James, born 12/31/1791 in Lewistown, PA moved to Clarion County and was a farmer. Family legend says he married three times. His known wife is Sarah Jane Glass, born 8/16/1791. They were married 10/27/1814 in Clarion County. Sarah died 11/19/1830, being just 39 years old whereas James lived until 7/15/1860. James and Sarah had nine children, five boys and four girls.

Their middle child, Timothy Green Sterrett, was born 11/16/1823 in Lewistown. Timothy first married Elizabeth Culbertson on 4/23/1853, but she died in August of the same year. He then married Margaret Foutz on 1/24/1856. Not much is known of Margaret: she was born 11/19/1833 and bore ten children, six boys and four girls, with Timothy. We are fortunate to have a picture of Margaret. Timothy died on 11/14/1896 in Strattonville, Clarion County, PA. Timothy Green Sterrett had an uncle, son of Robert Sterrett and Rosannah Green, also named Timothy Green Sterrett.

The oldest son of Timothy and Margaret was Franklin R. Sterret. Franklin was born 1/4/1858 in Clarion County, PA. The Sterrett Genealogy shows his birthdate as 1860, but family information says 1858. Franklin was a lumberman and famer in Clarion County. On 4/10/1899, he married Lydia Matilda Henry (see also information on the
Henry family in this website). Lydia was born 12/11/1862 to Levi Hays Henry and Sarah Males. Pictures of Franklin and Lydia and some of their eight children, five boys and three girls, are also shown on this website.

The second youngest son of Franklin and Lydia was Clair Franklin Sterrett, born 11/25/1895 in Forest County, PA. Clair Franklin first married Esther Emily Guthrie on 12/12/1915 in Clarion, PA. Esther, born 3/18/1895 was the sixth child (of ten) of Herbert Bruce Guthrie and Mary Philistina Frampton (see also information on the
Guthrie and Frampton families and pictures of Herbert and Mary in other parts of this website).

Esther died 9/3/1923 when Hazel Lucille, born 10/31/1916 in Strattanville, PA and the only child of Clair and Esther, was less than eight years old. In 1924 Clair married Lottie Pettigrew, who was from Sykesville, PA. They moved to New York where Clair died on 4/5/1965 in Niagara, N. Tonowanda, New York. They had two children, Dorothy and Jeneath.

Hazel Lucille, also known as Lucy, later a school teacher in Detroit, was raised by her paternal aunt Sara Sterrett McCleary beginning one year after her mother Esther died. During the first year after her mother’s death she was raised by members of the Guthrie family (her mother’s side).

On 4/23/1949, in Bowling Green, Ohio Lucy married Eugene Sanker. Gene was born 7/16/1918 in Detroit, MI. Gene’s family was originally from and founded Sankertown (near Loretto), PA. There is more information about the
Sanker family on this website. Gene entered service in the Army in June 1941 as a warehouse foreman, grade TEC3 and served in the East Indies and Papuan New Guinea from May 1942 to August 1944. He was awarded a Good Conduct Medal, a Distinguished Unit Badge, the American Defense Service Ribbon, the Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon with three Bronze Battle Stars. He had 4 Overseas Service Bars and 1 Service Stripe. After the service and until his retirement he was a carpenter for the City of Detroit.

Copyright 2002-2012 by Bob Serventi