About a year ago, I discovered that Adam Nicely, Sr., a veteran of the American Revolution, is my sixth great grandfather. My uncle, a dedicated genealogist himself, was surprised by this news and has asked to see the evidence. He (my uncle) does his research the old-fashioned way, by going to courthouses and cemeteries. I do my research the same way I do virtually everything else–by staring a little glowing screen while I smoke a cigar. (His way seems a lot more fun and satisfying.) I am willing to bet that he’s seen some documents that I’ve never seen, and it’s possible that I’ve seen some documents that he hasn’t seen.

I’m posting the evidence here because I suspect that some other members of my family might also be interested in this information. If you’re from Western PA and your name is Butina, Burd, Bridge, Karns, Kerns, or Nicely, you may find this interesting. If you’re not, this might help you the next time you’re trying to fall asleep. (Note: Names in bold are in the direct line of descent.)

Adam Nicely, Sr. was born in 1730 in Lancaster County, PA. At the age of 30 (1760), he married Elizabeth Eichert from Philadelphia, PA. He served in the American Revolution as part of the West Md. County Militia in 1777. He lived to be 96 and died in Donegal Township, Westmoreland County, PA and was buried in Keltz Cemetery in Ligonier (now part of Darlington). His grave can be seen there today, and it would appear that the original headstone has been replaced.

Evidence of military service and burial.

Evidence of military service and burial.

According to 13 separate family trees found on Ancestry.com, in 1765, Adam and Elizabeth had a daughter, Maria Polly Nicely who married John Kerns (sometimes spelled Karns and Karnes). In 1780, they had a son, also named John Kerns (1780-1850).

Maria Polly Nicely is the weakest link in the chain. Despite appearing in so many different family trees, there are a few discrepancies. Her marriage to John is frequently listed as 1783, three years after the birth of their first child. Although out-of-wedlock births weren’t unheard of at the time, it’s hard to imagine a socially acceptable circumstance where the couple would wait three years to get married. One possible explanation is that Maria’s husband John also served in the Revolutionary War and married her upon his return. This would fit his age and the timeline pretty well, but I can find no record of his service.

John Kerns married Catherine Soxman in 1803. Among their children were Anna Marie Kerns (1804-1852).  

In 1825, Anna married Simeon Burd (1804-1861).

In 1843, Anna and Simeon had a son, also named Simeon Burd (1843-1908). Simeon married Virgina Carbis (marriage date unknown). Simeon and Virginia had a daughter, Florence Baptista Burd (1875-1932).

In 1902, Florence married Edward Vincent Bridge (1872-1946). In 1913, they had a daughter, Virginia Bridge (1913-1979), my grandmother. If all the links in this chain are accurate, then Adam Nicely, Sr. is my sixth great grandfather and my Dad and my uncle’s fifth great grandfather.