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Discovery re John Tunnicliff Jr, b1750, UK, moved to Albany NY

Discovery re John Tunnicliff Jr, b1750, UK, moved to Albany NY

Posted: 1248519542000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Tunnicliff, Tunnicliffe
I have discovered today that there is an error in most of the family trees involving John Tunnicliff Jr on Ancestry and on the internet. He was born about 1750 in the UK, married Hannah Hudson in Albany NY and they had numerous children there and there are now many descendants

All the trees show John Tunnicliff Jr as son of John Tunnicliff Snr of Kirk Langley, Derbyshire and his first wife Elizabeth Tunnicliff (a cousin) of Mapleton (or Mappleton), Derbyshire. John Snr emigrated with his second wife and children and lived near Butternuts, NY

I have discovered today that this might not be correct. It seems the child John born in 1750 did not come to America, he died in childhood, and it also seems that the father John Tunnicliff did not die in the USA.

This means that the John Tunnicliff who married Hannah Hudson might NOT have been the son of John Tunnicliffe Snr and his first wife Elizabeth

John Tunnicliff, born and baptised in 1750, died at the age of four years (soon after his mother)

This is shown at a website which shows "Some Memorial Inscriptions - Mappleton, Derbyshire - St Mary's Churchyard" as follows:

A11. Elizabeth, wife of John TUNNICLIFF,
11 April 1753, [age] 25
Also near this place lies the
Body of Ann TUNNICLIFF, their daughter,
Who died on her Birth day, 8 Feb 1758, 5yrs

17 June 1780, [age 64]
John, son of John & Elizabeth TUNNICLIFF,
2 Nov 1754, [age] 4yrs

for confirmation see

This should put the cat amongst the pigeons! Even so, it is clear that a John and Mary Tunnicliff of Langley Lodge, Kirk Langley, Derbyshire and at least two of their children (eg William and Joseph) did come to Albany and Butternuts.

So where did John Tunnicliff junior come from? Presumably a relative, nephew, etc?

Re: Discovery re John Tunnicliff Jr, b1750, UK, moved to Albany NY

Posted: 1285067365000
Classification: Query
I hope a Tunicliff researcher can help

I am looking into the following

1768 Feb 19 “40 people from Langley, Hilton, etc. (organised by Mr. Tunnicliff of Langley) emigrate to Pennsylvania.”

I live in Hilton Derbyshire and am the chiar of the local histroy group. We would like to follow this up and I believe it is a John Tunicliff who organised this emigration.

Does anyone have any information?

Re: Discovery re John Tunnicliff Jr, b1750, UK, moved to Albany NY

Posted: 1352170685000
Classification: Query
John Tunnicliff (1725-1800), John Tunnicliff Jr's father, emigrated to America around 1769. According to a letter written from Tunnicliff to Benjamin Franklin (21 Dec. 1766) he was living in Langley, near Derby and inquired about land in Pennsylvania and Jersey. He ended up in Albany, New York before 1769.

I am curious regarding the document you have. Are there other names? I would be very interested in learning more about it.

Re: Discovery re John Tunnicliff Jr, b1750, UK, moved to Albany NY

Posted: 1352196079000
Classification: Query
It was in the Derby Mercury Feb 18 1768

'Several poor familes of 40 men, women and children from Langley, Hilton etc near this town set our for London in 2 wagons for Pensylvania organsied by Mr Tunnicliff of Langley who is also gone their with his family. Some time ago he made a purchase of some land'

Re: Discovery re John Tunnicliff Jr, b1750, UK, moved to Albany NY

Posted: 1352331364000
Classification: Query
Thanks for the quote from the Derby Mercury, Helena. That backs up other info I have assembled about the Tunnicliffs when looking into a family of Hudsons who I thought were related to me, but weren't!

There is quite a lot of misinformation on the web about John Tunnicliff (both senior and Junior).

Most trees do not show the date of JT (snr)’s remarriage after the death of his first wife, Elizabeth in 1753.

When she died, he had several very young children, including Ann, a daughter only a few months old, baptised on 11 February 1753, and his son John (jnr [No 1]) born in 1750.

He remarried within a few months to Mary Woodawis (i.e. Mary Woodhouse, b1730) on 23 September 1753 at Litchfield Cathedral, Staffordshire

A year later, his son JT [jnr [No 1] died at the age of four years in Oct/Nov 1754

This was set out in my original post with the Memorial Inscriptions from Mappleton, Derbyshire - St Mary's Churchyard" as follows:

A11. Elizabeth, wife of John TUNNICLIFF,
11 April 1753, [age] 25
Also near this place lies the
Body of Ann TUNNICLIFF, their daughter,
Who died on her Birth day, 8 Feb 1758, 5yrs

17 June 1780, [age 64]
John, son of John & Elizabeth TUNNICLIFF,
2 Nov 1754, [age] 4yrs

According to a false tradition (persisting until today in several sources), in 1754/55, about a year after his second marriage, leaving his wife and young children at home in Derbyshire, John Tunnicliff senior sailed to the North American colonies to purchase land on which to resettle his family.

John Tunnicliff senior was certainly in England during the period from 1757 to 1763. There are parish records of the christening of further children in Kirk Langley, Derbyshire as follows: William (6 January 1757), Joseph (25 February 1758), Mary (1 November 1759) and Hannah (31 July 1761)

In fact, he did not go to America until nearly ten years later (circa 1763) when he went to Philadelphia - at about which time he may have inherited the bulk of his fathers estate. Returned to England in 1765, then setting off back with his party of 40 in 1768

We also know that a John Tunnicliff junior [No2] - jeweller or watchmaker - apparently son of senior, said to be born in about 1751, emigrated to the Albany district.

There, JT junior [No 2] eventually married Hannah Hudson (daughter of Ephraim Hudson of Kniveton, 4 km from Langley, who, with his wife & several children was part of the group that went with John Tunnicliff to America in 1768

I suggest two conclusions from these facts

JT snr remarried to Mary in Sept 1753. John jnr [no1] died Oct 1754. But the first child of snr and Mary for whom we have found baptismal records was William, conceived mid 1756 - and after that, two more children born at 12 month intervals. Then another with a 2 year interval

It seems very likely to me that the JT jnr [No2], who survived and went to America:
(1) was a son of John snr and Mary, and
(2) was born in about 1755.

By 1768, John Tunnicliff (senior) had leased “Whitehall”, a country house with farm land on the southern edge of the city of Albany (New York) from John Bradstreet and had become a member and vestryman at St. Peter's Anglican church in Albany. The last will and testament of John Bradstreet, Major General in his Majesty's Army, dated September 23, 1774 stated “I leave to John Bradstreet Schuyler, son of said Col. Schuyler, the farm of which I have a lease in fee, and is now possessed by Tonycliff [i.e. Tunnicliff]....” John Tunnicliff was again listed as one of the church wardens of St Peter’s, Albany in 1773.

It seems that after returning to America, while his wife and family were living in safer accommodation, John Tunnicliff (senior) spent some of his time on his land in the pioneer patent, which was probably purchased in the late 1760s. According to a recent historical assessment: “The strongly rooted local tradition that John Tunnicliff, a colorful and important figure in the early history of the region, came to the Otsego country as early as 1755 or 1756 is certainly fanciful.... Tunnicliff was still in Derbyshire in 1763 and that he was still looking out for a piece of property in America as late as December 1776. It is possible that he made a trip to Philadelphia in the interval, but the earliest date for his arrival in Otsego seems to be between 1767 and 1769.” (from “Cooper's Inheritance: The Otsego Country and its Founders” Lyman H. Butterfield*, 1954)

We also know that between 1765 and 1775, John Tunnicliff (senior) made at least one trip to England to purchase good quality sheep to stock his pioneer farm. In a memorandum written in 1798 (see below), he referred to “an English Ram Which Cost me a Journey to England — Six lambs I purchased But five of them died On the voyage”.

According to one account, on one of his voyages to the American colonies, John Tunnicliff travelled with a man who he subsequently employed on his pioneer estate (it is not recorded whether the man had been recruited before leaving England). “Among the passengers who came to this country from England on board the ship with Mr. Tunnicliff, in 1758 [this date is incorrect, see extract from Derby Mercury, the actual date was ten years later], were John Russell and George Johnson, who were at that time young men. John Russell was a carpenter by trade, and was employed at once by Mr. Tunnicliff at the "Oaks." A building was erected previous to the building of the sawmill, and the lumber for the house was all sawed by Mr. Russell with a whip saw. He continued in the service of Mr. Tunnicliff three years, and received one acre of land for each day's work. The land thus purchased is located in the extreme western part of the town of Otsego, now Snowden, Otsego county. New York, on the Otsego creek, and originally embraced nine hundred acres.” (from the biography of Rensselaer Russell at pages 400./401 of “History Of Black Hawk County, Iowa, And Its People” by John C. Hartman [1915])

Reportedly, John Tunnicliff (junior) had remained in England and did not accompany his parents when they sailed for America in 1763, although he would have been aged only about 8 at the time. Perhaps he remained in the care of relatives while finishing his education and learning his trade as goldsmith (he was the second son, so would not inherit his father’s estate). However, he and other relatives reportedly followed his father across the Atlantic, the extended family living in several locations. John Tunnicliff (junior) reportedly emigrated to America in 1772, on the same ship that carried his future bride-to-be, Hannah Hudson, in her early teens, her father Ephraim Hudson and at least three of her siblings.

A Scottish traveller visiting the Albany area in 1774 described the successful results of John Tunnicliff’s farming: “The soil is very indifferent for several miles near Albany, being nothing but a cold spungy clay or sand, covered with pine trees; but even upon this soil they have exceeding good crops when they are at any pains to manure their land, as Mr. Tunnicliff, a Derbyshireman, has showen, who settled here about five years ago on one of the worst spots in this country, and by his management had this year the best crops I have seen. His stock is also of a superior kind to any in the country. He got the breed of his sheep from Derbyshire.” (“A Tour Through Part of the North Provinces of America, 1774-1775” by Patrick M'Robert (first printed for the author in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1776, see

According to one account, John Tunnicliff’s first improvements on his pioneer land in the Otsego area “probably date from about 1770, when he bought property in the Croghan Patent. The ruins of his house (though not the first one he built) can still be seen on the Oaksville-Burlington road southwest of Canadarago Lake. In the years before the Revolution he built a house and barn, planted an orchard and an English garden, raised cattle, sheep, and bees, supplied the settlers moving into the Butternuts Valley, and made cheese that was marketed at Albany and became famous for its quality.” (from “Cooper's Inheritance: The Otsego Country and its Founders” Lyman H. Butterfield, 1954, see

After the war of Independence, John Tunnicliff (senior) left the Albany area, where he had spent the latter part of the war, and returned to his pioneer estate in what became Otsego County.

Now as to his supposed son,

John Tunnicliff (junior) (probably born 1754-1755, probably son of John Tunnicliff snr and his second wife Mary, d 14/7/1814 in Warren, Otsego, New York, USA)

who married

Hannah HUDSON ([reportedly born 18/3/1756], c28/6/1758 in Kniveton, daughter of Ephraim & Elizabeth, d aged about 87 years on 3/12/1843 in Warren, Otsego, New York, USA)

on 15 July 1776 in Warren, Otsego, New York, USA.

We can guess why they named two of their sons John and Ephraim, and two of their daughters Elizabeth and Mary (ie the names of their parents). But why did they name their first son William and their first daughter Sarah????

William Tunnicliff (b19/3/1777 at Albany, NY, d31/8/1836 at Warren NY) m Charlotte Ranyard
John Tunnicliff (b8/6/1779 at Albany, NY, d4/4/1841 at Warren NY) m Mary Ellsworth
Sarah Tunnicliff (b11/2/1781 at Albany, NY, d1781)
Elizabeth Tunnicliff (b25/1/1782 at Albany, NY, d1818) m 11/4/1802 Jonathan Tunnicliff
Mary Tunnicliff (b17/11/1784 at Albany, NY, d14/5/1853) m 22/4/1808 Noah Heath Coleman
Hannah Tunnicliff (b25/1/1787 at Albany, NY, ?d21/12/1840) m William Stocker
Thomas Tunnicliff b15/8/1789 at Albany, NY, d25/3/1825 at: Black Rock, Buffalo, NY) m Harriet Thomas
George Tunnicliff (b15/12/1790 at Albany, NY, d15/4/1865 at Warren NY) m 10/1/1820 Marinda Tilden
Charlotte Tunnicliff (b31/8/1793 at Warren, NY, d10/4/1870) m John Warren
Nancy Tunnicliff (b7/2/1795 at Warren, NY, d13/10/1878) m 13/9/1821 Leonard Lewis
Juliet E Tunnicliff (b13/3/1799 at Warren, NY, d22/6/1874) m 28/6/1819 Joseph McChesney
Ephram [Ephraim] Tunnicliff (b21/4/1801 at Warren, NY, d1842 at Buffalo, NY) m Abigail D Harris
Joseph Tunnicliff (b24/6/1803 at Warren, NY, d1875) m Diadama (Deidamia) Herkimer
Horatio Nelson Tunnicliff (b22/12/1805 at Warren, NY, d5/11/1813)

Reportedly, during the War of Independence, John Tunnicliff Jr. divided his time between his father's farms at Whitehall (just outside Albany) and in the Unadilla Valley (100 km WSW of Albany).

John Tunnicliff (junior) reportedly served on the continental side in the war and was subsequently awarded a bounty right having been an enlisted man in the First Regiment, Albany County Militia.

It seems that between 1777 and 1805 (when aged between of 21 and 49 years), Hannah had seven sons and five daughters.

After the war, Hannah and John Tunnicliff (junior) settled in Albany where he earned a living as a watchmaker. During the 1780s, he was paid by the Albany government for repairing the city clock. His jewellery store at 16 State Street was advertised in the pages of the Albany Gazette.

In the 1790 census, the household of John Tunnecliff, Jr in City of Albany, first ward, was recorded as follows: “Tunnecliff, John Jr......1-4-5-0-0” (i.e. his household contained one free white male over 16, four free white males under 16, five free white females, and no slaves).

In 1793, Hannah and John Tunnicliff reportedly moved from Albany to a farm variously reported to have been in Richfield Springs or about one mile (1.6 km) south of Little Lakes, in the town of Warren, New York. He died aged 63 years in July 1814 in Warren, Herkimer County.

John Tunnicliff junior is recorded on several historic markers within New York state. On Maiden Lane between Eagle Street and Lodge in the city of Albany, Albany county, NY, there is a marker which reads: "John Tunnicliff, Jr.1751-1814 Clockmaker And Superintendent Of Town Clocks”

On US 20 in the town of Warren, Herkimer county, NY, there is a marker that reads: "John Tunnicliff, Jr. b. 1751, Derby, England, Came To America 1772; Revolutionary Soldier; Settled Here 1793; Died 1814; Buried One Mile South, Tunnicliff Cemetery."

In the town of Exeter, Otsego county, NY, there is a marker that reads "Tunnicliff-1755, Homestead Of John Tunnicliff, Sr. Early Colonizer Of New York Also His Son, Major Joseph Tunnicliff, Soldier In War Of 1812"

Kirk Langley is 11 miles SE of Kniveton, and nearly 4 miles NW of the centre of the city of Derby

Re: Discovery re John Tunnicliff Jr, b1750, UK, moved to Albany NY

Posted: 1352402006000
Classification: Query
Thank you for yuor very interesting reply. I live not that far from Kirk Langley/Kniveton in Derbyshire. To sail to and from America in those times must have been quite an undertaking.

Re: Discovery re John Tunnicliff Jr, b1750, UK, moved to Albany NY

Posted: 1352437551000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Tunnicliff
First of all, thanks to Helena for the Derby Mercury quote and thank you to johhnylad for your in depth analysis of John Tunnicliff Sr and Jr [no. 1 and no. 2]. I've been spending the last few weeks gathering information on the John Tunnicliffs but hadn't yet sat down to put it together. And with so much information and misinformation, it's nice to have another set of eyes analyzing the data.

The first time I saw the information on the "Memorial Inscription from Mapleton, Derbyshire- St. Mary's Churchyard" I wanted to dismiss it immediately as a strange coincidence, but your analysis makes perfect sense. All that is needed now is a Christening Record for John Tunnicliff Jr [no.2].

In looking at the "Benjamin Franklin" letters I'm finding more evidence against his sailing to America in 1754/55 and 1758. As the stories go (including "Richfield Springs and Vicinity" by W.T. Bailey, A. S. Barnes & Co. 1874), in 1758 he settled on an estate on the Schuykill River (in Pennsylvania) until 1764 when they removed to New York.

In a letter from John Whitehurst, Derby, 18 Mar 1763 to Benjamin Franklin, John Tunnicliff Sr. was in America at that time looking for land.
"The bearer Mr. Tunicliff, is a farmer of good Credit, from this neighbourhood. He has lived many years at Langley, a Vilage four Miles from hence. He visits North America with a Veiw of Purchasing two or three thousand Acres of uncultivated land, and bringing his family over to Settle there, having too great a Spirit to comply with the terms which farmers in general are now oblig’d to comply with at this time in England. Viz. of occup[y]ing lands at the Will of the Lord. And therefore is determined to take up his aboad in a Land of greater liberty, and to situate himself so, as to carry on some Trade with the Indians." (

To John Whitehurst from Benjamin Franklin (in New York) 27 Jun 1763:
"As I was not at home to receive Mr. Tunnicliff and afford him personnally my Advice and Assistance, all I could do was to recommend him to some able and intelligent Friends there, who I am sure will be glad to serve him; and when I return, which I hope will be in about two Months I shall chearfully render him every Service in my Power. "(

To Richard Jackson from Benjamin Franklin (in New York) 27 Jun 1763:
"Your Favour by Mr. Tunnicliff reach’d me here. I have recommended him for a Purchase of Land to Lord Stirling, who has great Tracts in the Jerseys out of the Indians way, and says he should like such a Man for a Neighbour, being himself employ’d at present in making great Improvements near Baskinridge where he purposes Building a Seat. I have recommended him also to Mr. Hughes, who is well acquainted with Country Affairs, and capable of giving him the best Advice. When I return to Pensilvania, which I hope will be about the Beginning of September, I shall readily afford him such Assistance as may be in my Power."

From John Tunnicliff Sr., Langley Lodge, Near Derby, 21 Dec 1766:
"I Received your kind Letters for which I return you my Best Thanks. If I can get a good Plantation either in Pensylvania or the Jerseys provided the same, is in a good Neighbourhood and the House High and Ary Sittuation to render it Healthy and near the River Delaware or the River Schoolkill with sufficiant Meadow and Pasture of the White Honey-Suckle, Grass Sufficiant for Summering and Wintering Twenty Milking Cows if such a Plantation should come to your Knowledge Please to let me know of it but I Beg you will give yourself no trouble of making Enquiry as I shall not have it in my Power to render you any Amends, from your Friend and, Humble Servant, John Tunnicliff"

It's interesting he is asking about land for a plantation on the Schoolkill (Schuylkill), when according to other "sources" he settled there in 1758 on a farm he previously purchased.
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