The Rest of the Story


Lemuel Offutt of Baltimore County, the subject of my recently-published article is not our direct ancestor.[1]  But he is the uncle of “our” Dr. Lemuel Offutt (pictured here with his oldest grandchildren), of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, who is likely named for him.

Dr. Lemuel with grandchldren James H Offutt Jr and Betty Offutt sm.jpg

Uncle Lemuel of Baltimore County was the son of James Offutt of William and Rebecca Offutt, second cousins; James and Rebecca are our 3rd great grandparents. We are descended from Lemuel’s brother, James, whose financial difficulties are detailed on p. 277 of the article.

One section of the draft that did not make it to print will be of interest to those descended from Dr. Lemuel Offutt. The article reveals that Uncle Lemuel Offutt of Baltimore County  (who had married into money) paid off the mortgage of his dying brother, James of Montgomery County, so the family could hold onto the Darnestown farm. After Lemuel of Baltimore died in 1865, his executors filed suit to recover the money from our still-broke family in Darnestown.[2] For a long time, our forebears got away with ignoring the suit. But when James’s widow, Mary, died in 1879, the plaintiffs’ compassion reached its limit.


In 1880, our long-bearded Uncle Jim Offutt was forced to buy the family farm at a public auction.


He paid $2,108.[3] On the same day, Uncle Jim sold an undivided one-half interest in the property to Sadie Offutt, wife of his brother, Dr. Lemuel Offutt, for $1,054.[4]

The bottom line is that for two generations in a row, a younger brother named Lemuel helped an older brother named James hold onto family property.sarah-dukes-greensburg





When Sadie Offutt died in 1905, her share of the Darnestown farm was inherited by her husband, son, and four daughters. Dr. Lemuel died in 1918, his share passing to his children. And, in 1919, they and their spouses sold their share of the farm back to Uncle Jim for $5,000[5]:

    • James H. Offutt and Bess Conrow Offutt, of Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
    • Mary Offutt Ruffner and James A. C. Ruffner, of Beaver County, Pennsylvania
    • Sarah Offutt Gates and J. Edward Gates, of Fairchance, Bedford County, Pennsylvania
    • Susan R. Offutt, unmarried, and Rose E. Offutt, unmarried, of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

It’s no wonder our grandparents and great-aunts felt a strong connection to that beautiful farm.img_1802

For a longer virtual visit to the Darnestown farm, click here.

[1] Malissa Ruffner, “Indirect Evidence Corrects the Parentage of Lemuel Offutt of Baltimore County, Maryland,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 104 (December 2016): 267–82.

[2] Montgomery Co., Md., Circuit Court, Equity Papers, Case #128, Offutt et al. v. Offutt et al., Bill of Revivor, 23 June 1865.

[3] Montgomery Co., Md., Land Records, EBP 23:256, James B. Henderson, Trustee, of estate of Lemuel Offutt, to James H. Offutt, 30 November 1880.

[4] Montgomery Co., Md., Land Records, EBP 23:253, James H. Offutt to Sarah E. Offutt, 30 November 1880.

[5] Montgomery Co., Md., Land Records, PBR 278:247, James H. Offutt, et al., to James H. Offutt, 25 March 1919.