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John Piatt Family of Missouri

John Pyeatt who was born c1765-1770 came to Missouri prior to 1790. He was said to be accompanied by his father, Jacob Pyeatt. When John's estate was sold by his children in 1845, it said the "land claimed by John Pyeatt and his father", but, does not name the father. I find some clue as to his name in that in 1807 and 1810 Jacob Piatt and John Piatt sign Petitions together. Also, This Jacob Piatt (who signed the petitions) would be too young to be John's son Jacob. However, the possibility exists that it was a brother or some other relative and not his father. The name of John's wife(s) has not come down to us. We are told that John came to Missouri by way of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, but, have no proof. One other clue is that some of John's oldest sons claim that their father was born in Pennsylvania. Indicating to me that there must have been some connection to Pennsylvania for Jacob's oldest children to think he was born there (the younger children generally answer 'Missouri' to his place of birth). This is not unusual in my experience that the older children know much more about their parents and grandparents than do much younger siblings.

When John sold property in St. Louis County, Missouri, to James Richardson in 1805 he is not listed with a wife and no wife signed away her dower right. If my understanding of the law is correct, this indicates that he did not have a wife at that time. However, he did have children after that date, indicating the existance of a second wife. Who was his wife or wives? If the youngest (or so I think) daughter, Jane, was born c1816-1819 it would appear that John's wife died between that time and the time of John's death c1827 when he had no wife. Therefore, his wife (whether first or not) must have died between 1816 and 1827. Knowing that a widower with children was not likely to stay single long in those days, we can possibly even deduct that his wife died closer to 1827. I find it interesting that in the estate vouchers there is a bill for building two coffins. Did John and his wife die at the same time? This is all that can be deducted about John's wife/wives at this point. However, there is a strong possibility that she belonged to one of the families living near John when he came to Missouri. We have been able to locate marriages for only two of the youngest Piatt children. It would seem to indicate that John and his children traveled to another area to marry before the 1830's. Or, that they were married by someone who then traveled elsewhere (back home?) to record the marriages. Some have speculated that perhaps these early marriages were lost. I can't imagine the odds that would have to exist if every early marriage of this family was destroyed/unrecorded when there are so many other that survived. I would like to check St Charles County, Missouri, as John's neighbor, Philip Shoultz, who also moved to (Jefferson County area) Missouri in 1790 and who lived with John Pyeatt for a time was married in that county. In fact, it is very likely that John might have married into Phillip's family based on the naming of his children Christopher, Frederick and William (those were not names from the Pyeatt side to our knowledge). I would think that Phillip could have been his brother-in-law or first cousin. Phillip's brother, Christopher, had two daughters who married two of the Smith boys that were brothers to Angelica Smith Pyeatt (William's wife). Another possibility is that John was related by marriage to the Hildebrand family.

In 1806 John Pyatt and John Hildebrand were appraisers for the estate of Isaac Hildebrand in St. Louis County, Missouri. When Jonathan Hildebrand died 20 years later, John Pyeatt was one of his appraisers as well. We find many connections to the Hildebrands including one of John's daughters, Nancy, who married into that family. According to John Keilch, "John Hildebrand (born before 1750 in Pennsylvania) was initially in Missouri in the 1770s, then in 1780 left for North Carolina (a part that later became Tennessee), later went to Kentucky, and finally returned to Missouri. One of his daughters was married at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1793 and two daughters were said to have been married at Natchez (according to Elizabeth McCourtney's testimony to Lyman Draper). Jacob Pyeatt (b: c1747-1749), the presumed father of John (or possibly his brother), was involved with George Rogers Clark's Kentucky expeditions, as was Peter Hildebrand, a brother of John. Jacob Pyeatt subsequently lived in Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky. In 1788 Jacob Pyeatt moved to the Natchez area, and lived at Bayou Pierre (now Vicksburg), where he lived until at least 1794. If John Pyeatt was in fact a son of Jacob Pyeatt, he could have been in the Natchez area during 1790-92 and available to marry one of John Hildebrand's daughters. Even if John was Jacob's brother this could have been the case. Then John Pyeatt with his Hildebrand wife may have gone to Missouri along with the other Hildebrands. The Pyeatts, Hildebrands, and other families that eventually ended up in Missouri, apparently moved repeatedly up and down the Ohio River, the Mississippi River, and other waterways during the 1780s and 1790s, which is part of why they are so hard to trace." Two other families that seem especially connected to the Pyeatts were the Inks and the Votaws.

In deed books of St Louis County, Missouri, Book A pg 142 (From copies obtained from microfilm at the St Louis County Library Dec 2001. MCP) This indenture made this Eighteenth day of September in the year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and five between John Piat of the District of St Louis in the Louisiana Territory of the one part and James Richardson of the Same District of the other part, Witnesseth, that the said John Piat for and in consideration of the sum of two Hundred Dollars Currency of the United States to him in hand paid the receipt Whereof both acknowledge, hath given, granted, bargain ? ? enfeoff and confirm unto the said James Richardson his heirs and assigns, one certain Tract or parcel of land lying and being in this District aforesaid containing three ? ? and ? acres of eighth bounded with the said James Richardson. North to the vacant Land South to Jacob ?Coons land and East to the main Road, together with all the singular the priveleges and appurtenances thereunto belonging or in any wise pertaining unto the said James Richardson his heirs and assigns forever, To have and to Hole the said Tract or parcel of land containing one hundred and Twenty acres as aforesaid together with the one singular the priveleges ? ? ? ? -ing or in any wise appertaining unto the said James Richardson his heirs or assigns ? ? ? John Piat for himself his heirs Executors and administrators Doth Covenant and Agree to and with the said James Richardson his heirs and assigns the said Tract of Land containing One Hundred and Twenty acres together with all and singular the priveleges and appurtenances thereunto belonging or in anywise appurtaining he the said John Piat will forever warrant and Defend from him and his heirs unto the said James Richardson his heirs and assigns forever to the only proper use benefit and ?behoaf of him the said James Richardson his heirs and assigns forever, In Testimony whereof the said John Piat hath hereunto subscribed his name and affixed his seal at St Louis the Day and year above written.
Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of N F Ledue; Jno Hankinson
John Pyeatt (seal)
Louisiana Territory District of St Louis
Before the subscriber one of the Justices of the court of common pleas of the District aforesaid came the within named John Piat and acknowledged the above Instrument to be his act and Deed and as such desired the same might be recorded, In witness whereof I set my hand and seal the day of the the date of said act and Deed. ? Delaunay (seal) Recorded this Eighteenth Day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand Eight hundred and five. N. P. Ledue (seal)

If my understanding of early land laws is correct, John Pyeatt's wife would have had to relinquish her dower rights to any property sold by her husband in 1805. Since no wife did, it would appear to indicate that John had no wife at that time.

Many records exist regarding John's attempts to prove possession of his Spanish Land Grant. There are actually two tracts of land, one for which John received a concession (certificate #168) and one which appeared to be unsuccessful. A synopsis of the testimony to the Board of Land Commissioners reveals that in 1790 after raising a few crops, John was driven away by Indians and stayed away until 1800 when he went back and raised more corn in 1801 and was driven away by Indians again. In 1803 some of the farmers were killed by the Indians and so John lived elsewhere but continued to cultivate his property and raised four crops. Then in 1805 John came back and lived on the said tract until his death. It would appear from the inventory of John's possessions in 1827 that he had a lot of personal property indicating a healthy estate with lots of household items; bedding, cups and saucers, saddles and books, along with an array of produce, animals and tools.

So, from this information, we see a little bit of what John's life must have been like as a Missouri pioneer in the early 1800's. Of note, at least two of the Hildebrand family were killed by Indian's (the ones alluded to above?).

When Jacob Payett, whose age is consistent with the age of John's son, Jacob born c1792 (see below), gave his testimony for the attempt for a second land claim he said that "in 1803 the said Payett was driven away by the Indians and staid away about two years and then returned and lived on said place until he died. Witness further says that at the time the said Payett had a wife and 8 or 9 children". It seems that Jacob's testamony means that John had a wife and 8 or 9 children in 1803. My conclusion is based on two premises. One, is that all of the Spanish Land Grant claims which I studied, attempted to show the number in the family as of December of 1803. And, two, John had no wife when he died. Therefore, Jacob's testimony, five years after John's death and 31 years after 1803, seems to mean that John had 8 or 9 children in 1803 when Jacob was 11 years old. It also seems more likely that he couldn't exactly remember how many children John had when Jacob was 11 years old (31 year memory) than when Jacob was 37 years old (five year memory).

At the time of John's death, 1827, we find 9 heirs of John Pyatt listed in his estate, but, no mention of a wife and no widow's dower mentioned. Also, all of John's possessions were sold at his death which would indicate there was no wife to claim ownership. So, if Jacob's testamony meant that John had 8 or 9 children before 1803 - several must have died before 1827 and are unknown to us.

John died before December 12, 1827, as his estate administration begins at that time. Here is the genealogical information given in the Administrators Bond for John's estate:
December 12, 1827 John Piatt Estate: Know all men by these presents, That I Benjmin Piatt as principal, and we Jacob Piatt, Hiram Smith & Frederick Piatt as securities, are held and firmly bound unto the state of Missouri, in the full and just sum of five hundred dollars, ... Herculaneum, this twelfth December, 1827 ....that to the best of his knowledge there are nine heirs of John Piatt now in being (To wit, Jacob Piatt, Christopher Piatt, Benjm Piatt, Nancy Hilderbrand, Katherin Prewitt, Fred Piatt, Mary Smith, Wm Piatt, Jane Piatt.) and that to the best of his knowledge, that the said deceased died without a will, as far as he know and believe; and that he will well and truly administer ...

Is the administrator of the estate John's son, Benjamin Pyeatt, an heir who was born c1797-1800 or some other Benjamin Pyeatt such as his brother?

Here are the known children of John and the information that I have for them or links to their own pages on this site:

In 1845 when most of John's children sold their share of his property in Jefferson Co, MO, they were all listed as living in Ste. Genevieve, St. Louis or Jefferson Counties.

John almost certainly had other children for whom I have no information. They must have been ommitted from his estate as heirs as they most likely died before 1827 when John's estate was administered. I am unsure of the Missouri law of that time period. If he had grandchildren from a deceased child, would they have been considered an heir? I will continue to explore the possibility that some of the unidentified Pyeatts in that area are John's grandchildren. For instance, John did not list a son John (I have always thought there should have been one). However, there is record of an Agnes Pyeatt who was a son of a John born very early in the St Louis Co, MO, area and who is connected to Franklin County, Missouri. Could this John (father of Agnes) be a son of John? We know she is not the daughter of John who died in 1827 as she was living at that time and is not listed as an heir. Would she have been listed if she were John's granddaughter and her father was deceased? I come back to Jacob's statement about the 8 or 9 children in 1803 and, also, the wording in the administrator's bond of 'nine heirs NOW IN BEING'. More work needs to be done on this. It also seems that the children were widely spaced in some cases compared to the average of one child every 2-3 years at that time period. For instance, I have no children between William b: c1813 and Jane b: c1820. So, unless, John had one wife that died and he waited a while to remarry, there could have been other children born to John who did not live to adulthood or who died before 1827.

Some other items that confuse me: Mary and Hiram Smith were not included in the heirs of John Pyeatt who sold his Jefferson County, Missouri (was St Louis County) property in 1845. Had they both died by that time? I have found no further record of them after the administration of John's estate. Also, in the estate administration, there are no payments made to Benjamin Pyeatt or William Pyeatt who were both heirs. Are those receipts missing? Did they get their share later than the others who were all listed together as receiving their payments? If Benjamin was the administrator, perhaps he didn't write himself a receipt - but - why wouldn't William have one? William (with wife Angelica) and Benjamin were both listed as selling their share of John's property in 1845 indicating that they were still part of the estate.

Updated Aug 2012

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