William and Hannah (Taylor?) Frost

Hannah Taylor?

William Frost


Parents: Unknown and William? Frost

Born: ~1720-25? Unknown locale

Born: ~1710s PA?

Married: ~1742 William Frost

Married: ~1742 Hannah (Taylor?/Dawson?)

Died: after 1774 Winchester, VA

Died: 1776 Winchester, VA (1774 will)

Interred: Winchester, VA?

Interred: Winchester, VA

Occupation: farmer

One family story, and probably the basis for the assumption of a Taylor surname, is that Hannah was related to President Zachary Taylor, apparently a story handed down about Martha Frost Howsmon's maternal heriage. With the lack of documentation, particularly about daughters, verification may be impossible, and none was found in the 1930s or today (see more below). Other genealogists believe her surname was Dawson, also unproven. A second story passed down is that Hannah had triplet daughters who all survived to maturity, with our ancestor Martha one of them. This story is deemed to be false, and probably a mis-interpretation of the syntax of William's will (see more below). No information on Hannah herself has been passed down, although her daughter Martha was remembered for her black hair and sparkling eyes. This may have been a feature of the Frost side, however, for the same thing was said of Mary Frost ("she was remarkable for her beauty, her heavy suite of raven black hair which came to the calves of her legs, her very white complexion and wondrous dark eyes."*) who may have been a sister to William.

The Frost family was one of 36 original settlers of Frederick,VA in 1735 and one of the founders of the Hopewell Quaker Meeting there. The Frost line is thought to be Welsh, and to have migrated to Virginia from Pennsylvania, perhaps having lived for some time near Frederick,MD immediately prior to the move to Frederick,VA. Curiously, although at least William's (assumed) brother/half-brother John was a Quaker, William and his sons were not pacifists -- the oldest three of William's sons fought in Lord Dunmore's Expedition; in fact, neither William nor Hannah are found in the Quaker records, so it is assumed that at least one was not Quaker and the other maybe disowned for marrying outside the faith or for military service. No heritage prior to William's father is known, and there is absolutely nothing known about his mother, although if the family emigrated in the 1680s/1690s, she may have been born in Wales or America. William's descendants are verfified through his 1774 will; William Frost owned 1666 acres which he bequeathed to his seven sons.

Census data: perhaps none**

Census data: none



Date of Birth, Place

Date of Death, Place

Married - date and to whom

# children

1. William Jr.

1743 Frederick, VA

4/7/1801 Frederick, VA

(affair with widow Elizabeth Hickman)


2. Isaac


Fall 1774 OH/WV

(never married)


3. Thomas

1745 Frederick, VA

9/22/1822 Hamilton, OH

~1782 Elizabeth Mullins


4. Frances

~1746 Frederick, VA

5/17/1785 Frederick, VA

~1777 Francis McCormick


5. Mary

8/15/1747 Frederick, VA

~1804 Hardin, KY

1765 Jacob LaRue


6. John

~1748 Frederick, VA

1777 Frederick, VA

Elizabeth Mitchell


7. Abraham

~1749 Frederick, VA

<5/2/1815 Frederick, VA

(never married)


8. Hannah

12/23/1751 Berkeley, VA (now WVA)

~1805 Fairfield, OH

6/8/1773 John Mason/Meason


9. Ellen

~1756 Frederick, VA




10. Martha

1/25/1759 Frederick, VA

6/19/1832 Madison, OH

3/15/1782 John Howsmon


11. Jacob

~1760 Frederick, VA

10/11/1804 Newberry, SC

~1788 Sarah (Lindsey/Wells?)


12. Ann

8/18/1763 Frederick, VA

3/26/1815 Frederick, VA

~1783 Thomas McCormick


13. Elizabeth

11/6/1764 Frederick, VA

4/20/1822 Butler, KY

6/20/1783 Abraham Lindsey


14. Amos

6/23/1766 Frederick, VA

12/9/1819 Frederick, VA

5/29/1788 Betsy Taylor



Note that several of these birthdates are estimated based on assumed birth order.
* source: Brown, Ferrell A., The Lindseys: A Genealogy of Thomas and Mary Lindsey and Their Descendants, Point Lookout, MO: School of Ozarks Press, 1970
** Without a death date it is not certain that Hannah lived to the time of the first census in 1790. Without individual enumeration it would be impossible to identify her on the census with any degree of accuracy. The 1790 and 1800 census are largely missing in Virginia, although genealogist William Perry Hay (1871-1947) did find a reprint of at least some counties for 1790 at the Library of Congress. (WPH notes)

Genealogist William Perry Hay's (1871-1947) Howsmon book and pages for William and William's wife Hannah and their children: William, Isaac, Thomas, Frances, Mary, John, Abraham, Hannah, Ellen, Martha p.1 and p.2, Jacob, Ann, (no page for Elizabeth as WPH thought the will implied her name was Elizabeth Martha), and Amos,

Although the record-keeping at Quaker meetings was apparently meticulous, the first record books for the Hopewell meetings were destroyed in a 1759 fire. Records in MD and PA prior to the 1734 immigration are not digitized, and largely not microfilmed or summarized, so no records to date have been found. As Hannah and William were married ~1742 it would have been in Frederick,VA and so no records are expected to still be extant. Although Hannah and William may have been Quakers before and/or after their marriage, they were not by the extant record books of 1759; perhaps disowned for military support or taking an oath of allegiance, or even marrying outside the faith.

1998 picture of the Frost Farm by Vic Frost
(click on picture for larger view)
This is the last farm owned by William Frost, the 455-acres near Webbtown and bequeathed to sons Jacob and Amos in his 1774 will. This land was purchased on 7/9/1756 and surveyed by future first president and father of the country "Mr. George Washington"!
another 1998 picture of the Frost Farm by Vic Frost
1998 picture of the Frost Mill by Vic Frost -- the mill was torn down in the 1960s(?), and is mentioned in the 1943 book "Clarke County, a daughter of Frederick" and in documents of historic places Clarke County (source page and full document)
It should be noted that it is not certain that Hannah is William's only wife, although this is not a possibility that has been mentioned by other genealogists. Clearly, as she is the one mentioned in the will, she is the last wife. It is a possibility that the she was a second wife and not the mother of all of these children. There is a lot of confusion over especially dates -- many disagree on the approximate birthdates, and whether the order of the names in the will reflect necessarily the birth order. Without more census data (it starts with limited information in 1790, and the 1790 and 1800 census data is largely missing in VA), it will probably be impossible to verify more. Furthermore, it is unknown in even which decade Hannah dies; there may be court records to verify her estate settlement.
--- Orange County court records for 1735-1743 should be researched for the early records for the Frost family, and particularly an estate settlement for William Frost Sr ~1740s. (Although a county in 1738, Frederick County's Court was proclaimed and organized only in November 1743.)
--- Frederick County court records should be researched for records starting on November 11, 1743; court order book #1 covers 11/11/1743-12/6/1744 and was transcribed in 2007. I would expect to find estate records for William and Hannah in the later court records.

Hannah's last name of Taylor has not been verified, and it is assumed it was mostly assumed from the President Zachary Taylor connection, but there is also a grandchild named "Samuel Taylor Howsmon" which perhaps supports the story. In fact, the name of this child is probably what spurred genealogist William Perry Hay (1871-1947) to inquire as to its source. In those days, with only 5 million people in the country, and less than 1 million in Virginia (1800), and with very large families, it was not as rare to be related to a President as it is today. Whig Zachary Taylor (1784-1850), a stong nationalist despite being a slave owner, would be the son of a first/second cousin to Hannah, if indeed related; he was born in Orange County, VA. While the story is deemed unlikely, it has not been possible to refute it to date; verification may be impossible. (WPH notes)
--- It should be emphasized that Zachary Taylor was not President (1849-1850) during Hannah's lifetime -- in fact, he was not President during the lifetimes of any of her children (who all died 1774-1832), including the last survivor, Martha Frost Howsmon who died in 1832 in Ohio. It is possible that Taylor's fame as "Old Rough and Ready" Indian fighter was during Martha's lifetime, and it was known that this Zachary Taylor was a relation. Otherwise, it is unknown how the family would have been aware of the familial connection in the 1840s in Ohio to a Taylor from Kentucky; this is discussed further in the summary of Zachary Taylor and his genealogy.
--- DNA testing suggests that Hannah's surname may indeed have been Taylor and may be related to President Zachary Taylor (see President Taylor page -- more needs to be confirmed.
--- A second proposed surname by other genealogists is that of Dawson, perhaps also based on the name of a grandson, in this case Dawson McCormick. (source)
--- It should be noted that there were both Dawson and Taylor families among the early settlers of Frederick,VA and founders of Hopewell. While there appears to be only one Dawson family, there are several Taylor families, from VA, PA and NY, complicating research which is always more difficult for female ancestors with their dearth of records, especially those referencing a maiden name.
--- Although William's (assumed) brother/half-brother John also married a Taylor (Mary Taylor ~1710s NY?-~1770s SC), Hannah is not thought to be any relation to Mary. In fact, this does support the relationship to President Zachary Taylor in a roundabout way, in that the ancestry of each woman may have been detailed in the 1740s to make sure they were no relation. Similarly, the ancestry of Amos' wife Betsy Taylor may have been discussed at the time of their marriage in 1788. This would serve to make all the Frosts very aware of the ancestry of all three Taylor women, which would make a relationship to the Kentucky Taylors more memorable. If one of the women were related to the Orange Taylors, and knew they were moving to Kentucky in the 1780s just before the time of Amos Frost's marriage to Betsy Taylor, it would not be unreasonable for descendants to remember this relationship.

The second story passed down of triplet daughters who all survived to maturity, with our ancestor Martha one of them is deemed incorrect. At least one version specifies the other two as Hannah McCormack and Nancy Lindsey, clearly incorrect since Hannah married Mason and there is no Nancy. While triplets surviving in those days was extremey rare, especially without neonatal care, the story is still possible -- with Ellen or Elizabeth, and Ann. Birthdates from other genealogists, however, do not support the triplet story, and it all may be a result of the punctuation of their father's will, or even from the fact that Martha, Ann and Elizabeth all married about the same time, and may have been as "close as triplets." Both this triplet story and the Taylor stories were mentioned by William Perry Hay (WPH notes)(and also by Harriett Martin who apparently got her information from William Perry Hay) who said these stories were handed down by "older members of the Howsmon-Frost line."

The first certain records for William Frost are land records in the 1750s. There are earlier records for a William; I think these records are for his father -- I (DLH) propose in 2013 that there was an older William Frost in Frederick,VA in the 1730s and 1740s, and that this is more likely to be the father of William (and John) -- refer to William Frost Sr page.
--- Frost land records
--- William Frost voting records in the 1750s
--- William's mill in the part of Frederick that is now Clarke County existed until the 1960s (source - p.11) -- see picture above right. John (his father/brother/half-brother) also had a mill.

There are some curious SC records that seem to belong to William as well:
• 1752 4/2/1752 land grant -- Jantz, Virginia Copeland, Copeland, Bostick, Patton, and Allied Families, Waco, TX: 1981, p. 12-14: "By 1756 John and Mary Frost had moved to South Carolina with other Quaker families. They may have moved there at an earlier date, but John Frost's first grant was surveyed on 8 December, 1756, and was located on the Wateree River. It contained 65 acres. A William Frost, who may have been a brother to John Frost, also obtained a grant in this area on 2 April, 1752."
• 1759: 1/22/1759 land grant for 200 acres on Wateree River for William Frost
The records for John Frost are:
• 1757: 1/5/1757 plat for 65 acres on Wateree River for John Frost
• 1759: 1/22/1759 land grant for 65 acres on Wateree River for John Frost (same date as William above)
• 1759: 10/2/1759 memorial for 65 acres on Wateree River for John Frost
--- Note that none of their children would be old enough (21) for these records.
--- While William never moves to SC, and he is on the voting lists in Frederick for 1755, 1759 and 1761, and he dies in Frederick in 1776, his son Jacob does move to this part of SC, as do John's wife Mary and his children Mary, Grace, and Jonathan.
--- It is curious that there is no mention of this land in William's 1774 will; perhaps there is a missing record in SC where he sold the land to John or John's children? Then how did Jacob get land there?

Return to Hay Tree