(The following article was compiled and written by Robert W. Daniels, cousin of chapter member, Kitty Daniels Kutchmark. Flora L. VerStraten edited this article).

Today descendants of my ancestor and his family, who had settled in Jefferson County, OH in 1797, have been documented through 11 generations. Each successive generation moved farther away from the last and lost contact with each other. In preparing this family history I contacted those of later generations and asked if they knew about our family beginnings. I had the opportunity to hear a similar story repeated from generation to generation, down each of the family branches. Surprisely after 205 years the stories were almost identical. The story goes as follows: Around 1770, three Irish brothers last name of O’Donald, left Ireland on a sailing ship headed to America. The ship’s captain, overwhelmed with so many Irish aboard with similar sounding names, asked these particular brothers to temporarily drop the "O" from their names while on this sea voyage. The brothers were therefore referred to onboard as the Donald brothers.

After arriving here in America, one brother immediately began using the "O", the remaining two used Donald. Henry Donald, my ancestor, left Winchester area in Maryland and traveled the National Road to Cecil Twp., Washington County, PA. In 1797 his children migrated from there to Jefferson County and Carroll County, Ohio, where they settled and raised large families.

With minor exceptions the above story is as told by each branch of the family, generation to generation. I may add to this that Henry O’Donald and wife Mary originally could not read or write. Because of this and in speaking with a thick Irish accent, others had to write their name for them as it sounded phonetically. On numerous official records his name is spelled, Donald, Donnell, Dannell, and Daniel. On his will he signed Henry O’Donald, wife signed Mary Donnell, and his son Henry (Jr.) signed as a witness Henry Donel. Most descendants today are using the Daniel and Daniels. As of today we have documented 9,529 descendants and spouses.

Robert shared his thoughts about the migration patterns of his ancestors. To indicate the rapid growth of Washington County, PA the population in 1790 was 10,886 individuals, whereas in 1800 the population was 28,297, about 160% increase. In 1800 about 45% of the population was age 20 years and under. Soon farms, becoming overworked, divided up between sons into smaller sections. It soon became evident to support large families many would have to look elsewhere for new lands. Many chose to look north to Mercer County after that area opened up. Others began looking west ward to across the Ohio River.

The land between Washington County, PA and the Ohio River was in dispute as to which state owned it, PA or VA. Before ownership was determined and anxious to lay claim to good fertile farmland, my ancestor left Cecil Twp. and ventured into that area clearing land in what is today called Hancock County, WV (then VA). A couple of years later his land claim was denied so he and his family moved back to Cecil Twp. to be near family members. Later when permission was given to go west into areas not already claimed, they crossed the frozen Ohio River, with some sons settling in Springfield (Patterson family), Saline (Daniels) and Knox Twp.’s in Jefferson County, directly across from Hancock and Brooke Counties in WV (then VA). Some areas in Jefferson County later became Lee Twp. in Carroll County, Ohio.


Henry Daniels was the son of Charles and Jane Gamble Daniels, and grandson of Henry and Mary O’Donald. Henry is referenced in the publication titled, The History of Jefferson County, Ohio published 1890 as follows: "Salt springs were noticed by the very earliest settlers in Yellow Creek; in fact, were known to the Indians as well as the four footed denizens of the forest, and when the government surveys were made, Section 34 was retained as public lands containing valuable minerals. This, however, did not prevent the settlers from utilizing the springs in the manufacture of salt, which was then worth $8.00 a bushel in the Ohio Valley. Henry, in 1802 erected a small furnace for boiling the salt water. He sunk a hollow sycamore log in an upright position at the spring, salt water was dipped into boiling kettles, producing three bushels of salt per day." (Saltt business: owners were as follows:  Stewart McClave, John Peterson, Mordecai Moore, and Isaac Shane).