Arterburn

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When Some Research Notes was compiled and published, we lacked the
more recent Y-DNA discoveries that have since confirmed an "out of India
or South Asia" origin for the ancestors of Peter Arterburn.  In that earlier 
book, I proposed a "dark German" origin for Peter because that seemed the
best interpretation overall of the evidence at the time.  I also suggested
that "Arterburn" could have been our original surname— as a compound of
"Arter" and "Bern" or "Berner" perhaps,  even if of very recent origin since 
there was no history for "Arterbern/er" or a similar spelling in Europe.

Taking seriously John Elsea's court testimony that Peter (or his ancestors)
"came from the East India," this scenario presumed some kind of interlude
for Peter of travel to and from the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia, today),
unless interpreted to mean that Peter had conveyed to John Elsea some
deep knowledge about dark Germans having ancient origins in South Asia.
Either presumption is conceivable but far-fetched.  Given all that we have
since learned, the scenario of the "dark German to the Dutch East Indies
to America" is not supported by the facts.   With the discovery of "East 
Indians" from the British colony of India in the public records of colonial
Maryland and Virginia, Peter's "alias Williams" connection, and the new
Y-DNA evidence, John Elsea's meaning becomes clear.  

The single most compelling research question for ARTERBURN descendants 
that remains unanswered:  If Peter Arterburn was of "East Indian" or South
Asian (patrilineal) descent as historical sources attest and Y-DNA testing 
clearly supportsas opposed to Native American or African or European
descent, then how did Peter come by the "Atterburn/Arterburn" surname?
Since there is no apparent history for "Atterburn" or "Arterburn" in Europe
or the British Isles, it's unlikely that either spelling could have been the
actual form of an Old World surname.


And these corollary questions:   Was "Peter Atterburn alias Williams" the 
son of the East Indian indentured servant, "John Williams?"  Or was Peter
the son of the (East) Indian, "William,"  the father of George Williams?  
Could John Williams and William have been one and the same person?  
Did "Atterburn" or "Arterburn" represent the ancestral surname of Peter's 

mother or the mother of his father— although spelled differently, or did  

Peter simply adopt a new surname in Maryland for some reason unknown

to us?   Could "Elizabeth," a "Pamunkey Indian Queen" and mother of

George Williams, have been the mother of Peter, which might confirm one

local Shenandoah County tradition that remembered the family of "Peter 

Otterburn" as a "tribe of Indians?"


   The pronunciation of the "Otterburn" surname with its anomalous

   variations of spelling found in 19th-century English census records 

   are remarkably similar to the variations in spelling of Peter's name

   as recorded in 18th-century public records of Maryland and Virginia.

   In 19th-century England, "ar" was often pronounced with broad A 

   (as in "father") while the  "r"  sound (non-rhotic) was dropped or

   diminished but retained in the spelling of many common words of

   ordinary speech (e.g., "card," "arse," etc.).  This speech sound of

   broad A could be confused with the sound of short O when names

   were spelled only from vocalization, as illustrated by anomalous 

   renderings of "Arterburn" for "Otterburn" names in England (see 

   also Some Research Notes  (7th ed.), pp. 29-46; pp. 61-70).  The

   "Great Vowel Shift" that resulted in the emergence of the broad A 

   phoneme (/a:/and non-rhotic pronunciation from Middle English

   and Early Modern English had begun in the 15th century, and also 

   impacted evolving American English in 18th-century Maryland and

   Virginia.

  

   The earliest spelling (May, 1773) we have in Shenandoah County is 

   of "Peter Otterburn" in Henry's record of baptism, which agrees with  

   the broad A sound heard in "Arterburn."    Some transcriptions of

   "Atterburn" (e.g., when not in an alphabetical list, originally) could

   arguably have been transcribed as "Otterburn,"  since examples

   of upper-case cursive "A" and "O" (without an upper loop) can be

   found that are virtually indistinguishable.  (For an example of Peter's

   name transcribed as "Otterburn" in Prince William County, see "Prince

   William County People," then compare this to the actual facsimile

   image of the "Tithables List of 1765," in Appendix #5 of Supplemental

   Notes.)   The broad A sound heard in "Arter-" and the similar sound

   of short O in "Otter-" suggest that broad A (not short A as in "cat")

   was probably represented in renderings of  "Atterburn,"  in those

   instances where cursive "A" was originally rendered, although this

   appears to us a deviation in spelling since a short vowel typically

   precedes double consonants in English, today.    "Atterburn" (as

   transcribed) is found exclusively for Peter in Maryland, and occurs

   predominantly for both Peter and William in Prince William County, 

   which suggests that "r" may not have been distinctly heard in the

   first syllable of Peter's pronunciation, originally (as suggested by

   "Peter Otterburn," also).


      Could there have been an unconscious bias that favored 

      "A" instead of "O" when personal names were spelled 

      from vocalization, simply because the sound of broad A

      may have been more commonly heard in speech in the

      Tidewater of Maryland and Virginia, and also written or

      spelled more often than "O" especially at the beginning

      of names, by those who heard Peter and recorded his

      surname?  What name was Peter actually vocalizing?

  

   The evidence is clear that Peter's patrilineal ancestors could not have

   been English (or Scottish) "Otterburns."  Could Peter's mother or the

   mother of his father have been an "Otterburn?"  There is no history of

   "Otterburns" in colonial Maryland or Virginia.   We must also seriously

   consider that Peter may have simply adopted a surname similar in sound

   to one or more other European names so to identify more fully with the

   dominant culture of white Europeans in Maryland.  In his monumental

   work of research, Paul Heinegg's summary statement that "East Indians

   apparently blended into the free African American population" clearly

   does not describe the ARTERBURNS.  We have no solid clues at present

   about the identity of Peter's previous wife, but his marriage to Sarah, 

   who was described as a "fair skin" or white woman, suggests a decided

   preference for a European identity,  as do all of the intermarriages of 

   their children and descendants (and of Peter's son, William) with Germans,

   English, Scots, and Scotch-Irish.  Peter's early and apparently enduring

   ties with William Davis and the Davis familypresumably Europeans,

   suggest this, also.    Given this likely propensity and his physical

   appearance, might Peter have adopted a different surname to avoid 

   identification with African Americans in Maryland also bearing the

   "Williams" surname? 


   What are we to make of the tradition of German ancestry reported

   by a majority of the descendants interviewed by Art & Jan Arterburn,

   or of the related claim of Swiss ancestry for the ARTERBURNS by a

   Shenandoah County historian?  Could Peter's wife, Sarah, or his 

   previous wife in Maryland have been the source of this tradition?

   Germans were the majority population in Shenandoah County, and

   Peter clearly associated with Germans (e.g., Henry Spillmann, John

   Wolf, Samuel Stover/Stauffer).  Some of the children of Peter and

   William and/or their descendants intermarried with Germans or Swiss

   (e.g., Booker/Bucher, Carrier/Karrier, Houn, Smoote/Smootz, Wey,

   Wolfe, etc.), in Virginia and Kentucky. 

  

   The anomalous rendering of "Peter Arturberner" in Shenandoah

   County appears more likely a case of an identity imputed than of

   a surname revealed, given what we now know.   "Arter,"  "Bern,"

   "Berner," and "Burner" were Swiss/German surnames.  ("Burner"

   can be found in the 1789 tax list of Shenandoah County.)  But

   the compound rendering of "Arturberner" apparently cobbled 

   from the sound of Peter's name has no history in either Germany  

   or Switzerland.  Germans of dark complexion (e.g., "Black-Dutch")

   were present in the Middle Colonies, including northern Virginia.  

   Peter's physical appearance and the fact that he was in court 

   supporting a German, "Henry Speelman," when this early spelling

   was rendered (1774) might have suggested such an identity to

   the clerk who recorded his name.    The evidence is clear that

   Peter's patrilineal ancestors were not dark Germans or Swiss.  

   However, Peter's support of Speelman and apparent connections

   with other Germans, together with intermarriages and a family 

   tradition all suggest some kind of familial or cultural relationship,

   very possibly derived from Sarah.   William's wife, Nancy, might 

   have been German, too, or even English or Scottish, instead of

   the "full-blooded Indian" of family tradition (see "George Williams

   in Charles County Court," below).


   "Arturberner" probably does not tell us anything about the origin

   of our surname, but does mark the emergence of "Arterburn" as the

   predominant spelling found in public records of Shenandoah County.

   "Arterburn" is only found twice in Prince William County (PWC),

   in Glassford's Dumfries Stores accountsfor Peter, compared to   

   ten entries of "Atterburn" (as transcribed) for Peter and William in

   these same accounts, not including extant PWC court records for

   "Peter Atterburn."  These two anomalous "Arterburn" spellings in

   Prince William County appear to be instances of interpolating "ar"

   in rendering Peter's pronunciation, interpreted as English broad A 

   with non-rhotic or diminished "r," similar to anomalous renderings

   of "Arterburn" for "Otterburn" in England.  (The singular instance

   of "William Arterburn" in London is probably an example of same.)

   John Walker used "ar" to indicate the sound of long or broad A for

   pronouncing "aunt"— a word not spelled with "r"— in his London

   dictionary in 1775.  Walker's example seems remarkably revealing 

   of the extent to which "ar" had become identified during Peter's

   time with the speech sound of English broad A and non-rhotic "r."

   (See also Some Research Notes (7th ed.), pp. 29-46; pp. 61-70)

        

   Although based in Scotland, Glassford's lucrative tobacco trade

   in Virginia and Maryland had business ties to London, and speakers

   of London English were almost certainly present in Dumfries and

   throughout the Tidewater of the Chesapeake, as well.  Some of

   these folks— most notably those with education and status— would

   have moved westward to the new counties of northern Virginia, 

   and their language habits could reasonably be expected to reflect

   in those public records.


      Whether the "Arterburn" spelling became the final form of our

      surname as a result of the intersection of German and English

      cultures and languages in Shenandoah County, aided perhaps by

      our family's desire to embrace a German-American identity the 

      better to fit in, may be impossible to prove but seems likely.

      The origin of the tradition of our German ancestry and the

      origin of our surname are probably not related, otherwise.


      As American English continued to evolve and as rhotic pronun-

      ciation became the norm, and as literacy improved, the spelling

      of "Arterburn" predominated beyond Shenandoah County, both

      in family and public records.  However, variations in spelling can

      be found in public records throughout the 19th century.  Most of

      us have heard others pronounce "ar" in "Arterburn" as broad A

      with and without the sound of "r," even today.

        




   The formulation, "Peter Atterburn alias Williams," has not been found

   subsequently in Charles County Court records.  Although earlier records
   that are available have not been searched, this entry (1736) may reflect
   Peter's (b. 1711, age 25) first court appearance and a statement of Peter's 
   bona fides as a free man with standing before the court.  "[A]lias Williams"
   suggests the court might have relied on the previously adjudicated status 
   of John Williams in this court (1706/7), during which John Williams was 
   declared free of his indenture, as surety for Peter's status.  Once Peter's 
   credentials were established before the court, there may have been no 
   further need to declare this extended formulation in subsequent court 
   records, which could explain its singular occurrence.

       Another possibility is that "alias Williams" may have referred to
       the family of "George Williams," who might have been Peter's
       older brother or relative.  George Williams had very recently 
       appeared before Charles County Court (1733) claiming title to 
       ancestral Indian lands by rights of his mother, "Elizabeth," a
       "Pamunkey Indian Queen."  George's father, "William," appears
       to have been an East Indian (see "George Williams in Charles
       County Court," below). 
   
   We also have the account of John Gardiner pointing out his (Nonesuch)
   property boundaries to Peter around this same time (1736/7), as attested
   in Peter's later court deposition (1748).  Is this a clue that Peter may have
   been new to Nonesuchperhaps even to tobacco farming?   
      
   Johannah Hodgson had purchased John Williams' contract of indenture
   from "Mr. [Edward] Mann," who appears in court records of Talbot County,
   Maryland (search MSA online; also, see "Benjamin Guy alias Williams ... 
   a freeman" in Talbot County Court, March 1730/1.)  Could these be clues  
   that Peter had recently arrived in or returned to Charles County, and/or 
   that he might have had family ties in Talbot County?



                      RootsWeb/Marshall:  "Early Colonial Settlers of Southern Maryland and
                      Northern Neck Counties" (continually updated)


 
John Williams in Charles County Court  (12 November 1706,

       George Williams in Charles County Court (13 June 1733): 
        

" ... George Williams son and heir to William who

intermarried with a Pamunkey Indian Queen named

Elizabeth of Prince George's County  ...  a certain

neck of Land then lying in Charles County .... John

Ward aged 75 deposeth that he has known George

Williams a Native Indian from his infancy ... son of

the Queen of Pamunkey who was wife to an Indian

... called Mc [?] William the father of the said Geo.

Williams ... that 31 years ago [1702] George Williams

and his parents lived where Fran[ci]s Payne now

lives ... John Gar[di]ner deposed the Indians were

forted in Cornwallis' neck about fifty years ago ... "


(Underline, italics, and bracketed contents above

added.  See Heinegg's complete transcription.)  


      

       The terms "intermarried" and "Native Indian" in contrast with

       "Indian" in this context suggest that George Williams' father

       was probably an Asian or "East Indian" and not an American

       Indian. 

 

       John Gardiner (of Nonesuch) here testified apparently in

       support of this claim of George Williams,  whose family

       had lived in the same community of Mattawoman (see also

       "Prince George's Land Records," below).  If Peter belonged

       to this Williams family and had a longstanding acquaintance

       with Gardiner, this might have been why we find Peter at

       Nonesuch, in 1736/7.

      

       William and Elizabeth are identified in this court record only

       by English calling (given) names.  Typically, complete names

       were used to identify individuals in these court records.  This

       appears to be a telling clue that William did not possess an

       English lineage or an inherited surname.  Elizabeth, a Pamunkey 

       Indian evidently from a chieftain's family, almost certainly did

       not have an English lineage.  George's surname of "Williams"

       may have been adapted from his father's name on the

       occasion of George's Anglican baptism. 


       Whether or not he had been baptized, William must have

       been recognized as a free man since George apparently

       asserted his lawful claim to this land through his father

       as well as his mother.   Originally, Charles I (1600-1649)

       had "granted" this neck of land to George's "ancestors"

       the Pamunkey Indians, who later by "Mutual agreement

       of the Indians afsd [i.e., "aforesigned," or conveyed] their

       part to your petitioners father and his heirs forever."  It's

       doubtful a Deed as such to William was ever recorded. 

     

       Could "Peter Atterburn alias Williams" have been the

       (younger) son of William and Elizabeth?   If his father

       did not have an inherited surname,  could this have been

       a reason for Peter adopting a different surname?  Could

       George's status as "heir" have been a factor?   Might

       Peter's desire to identify with Europeans have been a

       factor?    Could repercussions of antagonisms between

       Europeans and Native Americans, including perhaps this

       land dispute on Cornwallis' Neck, have played a role?


       If William was Peter's father, this could be reflected in the

       naming of Peter's son, "William," apparently born to Peter's

       previous wife in Maryland.


       If Elizabeth was Peter's mother, this might explain the naming

       of the early 20th-century "Otterburn School" ("Otterburn

       Precinct," today) for a "tribe of Indians" that once inhabited

       the area.  The school was located where Peter is known to

       have lived in Shenandoah County (in Warren County, Virginia,

       today).  No Native American tribe in Virginia was known by

       this or a similar name;  the family of "Peter Otterburn" was

       the obvious referent.     This may not have been garbled

       local tradition resulting only from a memory of Peter's

       "East Indian" ancestry, but actual if vague local memory of

       a Native American ancestry for the ARTERBURN family, as

       well.  If Elizabeth was Peter's mother, our family tradition

       in which William's Nancy was remembered as a "full-blooded

       Indian" may instead refer back to William and Elizabeth—

       who was probably a "full-blooded" Pamunkey

      

       Testing of mtDNA could definitively determine whether Nancy

       or Elizabeth was of Native American descent,  if a proven

       matrilineal descendant for either could be found.  Likewise,

       testing the Y-DNA of a patrilineal descendant— if one could

       be found— of George Williams would show whether George's

       father was also likely to have been Peter's father.  Whether

       the story of William and Elizabeth is also our story poses an

       intriguing prospect for the future of ARTERBURN family 

       research.




   "Received from Francis Payn[e], Peter Atterburn" (1744)
  
           
                "John Gardiner, age ca 72; mentions he has known
                Mattawoman 40 years then called St. Thomas' Fresh;
                mentions Old Indian Field ..." 

              
                "Francis Pain, age 29 years; mentions Henry Ward ..."

                "John Ward ... mentions his father, John Ward, Sr.,
                 dec'd, his Pamunkey land ..."



                      Who exactly was the "William Davis" who provided "security"
                      for credit with Glassford (see Dumfries Stores Index) for "Peter     
                      Atterbirn"— landlord, employer, benefactor, relative/in-law,
                      or some combination of these?

"William Davis" in Colonial Maryland and Virginia 


"William Davis" in the census of Dunmore County (1775)
in district #4 adjacent to that (#3) of Peter and William
(see Supplemental Notes, Appendix #7, p. 598)

"Henry Tanner" and "William Davis" in Charles County
                Court Records, March 1738/9 Court, Liber T#2, Page 537.

                    "Henry Tanner, age about 89, declares that about 
                     30 years ago, he lived on the Plantation now in the
                     possession of Thomas Stone ...."
                    
                   "William Davis, age about 70, declares that about 
                    40 years past, he remembers a bounded white oak 
                    which stood very near the place mentioned in Henry
                    Tanner's deposition ...."
              
                   (RootsWeb/Marshall ID:   I012916 and I009797)

"William Davis Arterburn" (1855-1931)   (see Cousins, p. 380)


What connection if any between "Presley Davis" and 
"Presley Arterburn," or "Elijah Davis" and "Elijah
       Arterburn," and Peter's "William Davis?


                      "Jesse Davis"  (RootsWeb/Marshall ID: I051076)

                      "Jesse Davis"  (RootsWeb/Marshall ID: I046252)

                         w.p. Nelson County, KY (adjacent to Jefferson County)

                      

                      
               

               Might Peter Arterburn's distinctive personal mark of three wavy 
               lines have reflected memories of his youth working as a sailor 
               or fisherman, or just nostalgia for an earlier life near the coastal  
               waters of the Chesapeake in Maryland, or of something else?
               
                              
                              "The wavy line is a common sign for water,
                              watercourse, water surface, and the sea."                             
                                (Symbols: Encyclopedia of Western Signs
                                and Ideograms / Carl G. Liungman)

                              Tobacco Coast:  A Maritime History of Chesapeake
                                Bay in the Colonial Era / Arthur Pierce Middleton

                             "John Gardiner" (of "Nonesuch")  

                                (RootsWeb/Marshall ID: I047926)

                             "Captain John Gardiner," "mariner"
  
                                (RootsWeb/Marshall ID: I053395)                          

                                   


                       
 



Family Search:  Charles County, Maryland Genealogy

Family Search:  Talbot County, Maryland Genealogy


MSA:  County (Jurisdiction) Government Records

MSA:  Search the Maryland State Archives Online





Wikipedia:  Haplogroup R1a1  (Y-DNA)

Eupedia:  Haplogroup R1a  (Y-DNA)

National Geographic Society:  Genographic Project

Smithsonian/NMNH:  Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation

Native Heritage Project:  East Indians in Early Colonial Records

Miss America 2014:  Nina Davuluri

ABC News:  Indian Ancestry of Princess Diana