Sunday, October 07, 2012

William Taptico, Last King of the Wicocomico

When John Smith explored Virginia in 1608, he encountered a village with 130 men on the South side of the mouth of the Patawomeke (Potomac) River. These were the Wicocomico people.

English settlers arrived later, and began interacting with the local tribes. Sometime between 1652 and 1655, the Northumberland County Court directed the Wicocomico and Chicacoan tribes to merge, and the new tribe was given 50 acres per fighting man, for a total of 4,400 acres near Dividing Creek.

The Lower Cuttatawomen later merged with the tribe, which was called the Wicocomico since most of the tribe members were originally from that group. Machywap, formerly the king of the Chicacoan, was appointed by the court to be the leader of the tribe, because he was considered a friend of the English and easy to manage. By 1659, Machywap had been deposed, possibly by force, and replaced with a man named Pekwem.

The Wicocomico and the English settlers fought often in court for control of the local lands. Although most of the disputes were settled in favor of the Wicocomico, by 1719 the tribe held only 1,700 acres of their original reservation. In 1705, Robert Beverley, Jr. wrote "In Northumberland, Wiccocomico, has but three men living, which yet keep up their Kingdom, and retain their Fashion; they live by themselves, separate from all other Indians, and from the English."

The last king of the Wicocomico was named William Taptico II.  When he died in 1719, the English took over the lands of the Wicocomico and left the tribe dispersed. William Taptico's wife, Elizabeth, settled his substantial estate and began by signing the documents as Elizabeth Taptico, but by the end shortened the name to Elizabeth Tapp. (It is not clear whether Elizabeth was of European or Native American descent.)

William Taptico II was my 8th great grandfather. Some believe that William's grandfather was Machywap.

Alexander Kesterson Mark

Alexander K. Mark, a widely known and highly esteemed Oregon pioneer of 1847, and one of the most prosperous farmers in the State, comes of a family who, from the time of the grandparents, were born in the state of Kentucky: it is believed that they were of Irish descent, whose ancestors settled in the colonies at an early day. Grandfather Samuel Mark was one of Kentucky’s earliest settlers while his son, John Mark, father of the subject of our sketch, was born and reared and afterward married there, to Miss Fanny Forester, also a native of the State. They had six children, five of whom survive.

The subject of our sketch was born in Kentucky, December 28, 1822, and resided in his native State, until his sixteenth year. He then removed to Missouri, where he remained until he attained the age of twenty-five years, when, following the example of other adventurous spirits, he crossed the plains for Oregon. Making the long journey with oxen, he arrived in Oregon City on October 12, 1847. He at once took a donation claim of 820 acres, situated thirteen miles south of the latter city, in Clackamas county. On this, he built a cheap, frame, house, and for four years lived and worked alone.

At the end of this time, he married Miss Sarah Jordan, an estimable lady, and also a native of Kentucky. She came to Oregon in 1853, when he became acquainted with her, and married her in January, 1854.

He continued to reside on his farm, where he had lived since 1848, until 1870, doing all the hard work and enduring the hardships incident to pioneer life, but by hardy industry, surmounted all obstacles, and became one of the most successful farmers of his county.

He and his wife had three children, two daughters and one son: Marinda, the oldest, is now the wife of Richard Caldwell, and resides in Dayton, Washington; Martha Jane, is the wife of Sena Chapman, residing in Washington; while William, who is also married, resides in California and attends a Methodist Episcopal Theological school. The devoted wife and mother, died in 1859, but six years after her marriage, having many friends, to mourn her loss. She was a woman of superior intelligence, and a charming character, and was esteemed by all who knew her. On December 27, 1871, Mr. Mark married Mrs. Mary S. F. Sparks, the widow of Nathan Mitchell Spars, and daughter of Dr. Hill, of Albany, who came to Oregon in 1853.

She had five children by her first marriage: Emily Lenore, now the wife of William M. Gregory, resides in Portland; Martha R., died, aged three years; Elijah H. resides in Princeville; Margaret Ellen, is the wife of J.F. Hill, of Portland; Nathan B., is the youngest.

Mr. and Mrs. Mark have three children: Addie Mable G., Jewell Ester, and John Coleman.

In 1888 Mr. Mark removed to McMinnville, to secure for his children, the benefit of a superior education at the college in that city. He purchased property in a desirable locality, and built a pleasant home, which was afterward consumed by fire. He has however, replaced it with even a better structure, which is suggestive of comfort and taste, and which is surrounded by attractive grounds. One of the children have graduated from the Academic department of the college, while the other two are still pursuing their studies, in that institution. 

He has owned and sold different property, but retains his donation claim, on which there is now a good district school, for which he gave the site.

Originally a Democrat, at the time of the war, he became a strong Union man, and has since affiliated with the Republican party. He is much interested in the cause of temperance, having always abhorred the liquor traffic.

Mr. Mark has been a Methodist for fifty years, and has often been a Steward of the Church.

His life would be a good example for any young man, to follow. Sober and industrious, persevering always in the direction which his better judgment dictated, he has, by his own efforts, carved out a competency from the new but intrinsically great commonwealth of Oregon, and no one of her citizens, of whom she boasts the proudest on the face of the earth, can excel him in all goodness and worth.

Source: "An Illustrated History of the State of Oregon - Pen Pictures From the Garden of the World", published by The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1893