Family History by Keith Clawson (March 2, 2014)

This article will be a collection of my thoughts about the different families that make up my tree.  These will be based on information I have obtained from different historical data as well as what I have been told by different members of the family.  This will be an ongoing document as I update it over time.


Presently, I can only trace the Clawson branch to about the middle of the eighteenth century. The earliest Clawson I can trace is a Josiah Clawson who was on the tax list in 1763 for Tyrone Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.  From several different sources, there were 5 Clawson brothers.  Two of them, Richard and Peter Clawson fought for the colonists in the Revolutionary War as members of the Cumberland County militia.  Also in the early 1780's, Peter and Richard can be found in the tax records for Tyrone Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania as well as a widow Clawson.  Tyrone Township is now a part of Perry County, Pennsylvania.  This, I assume. means that Josiah Clawson has died.  After this time, some or all of the five brothers moved to Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.  About this time according to family lore, these brothers got into some type of argument and the 5 brothers went to four different areas of the state. When this argument occurred, it was also told from family lore that the brothers changed the spellings of the last name as a final statement in this disagreement.  This is probably how the different spellings of the last name occurred.  The spellings that have existed were Clawson (supposedly the original spelling), Closson (still exists today), Clossin, and a few other variations.

Richard and Josiah Clawson moved to Indiana County, Pennsylvania in the Blacklick Township area.  These two brothers were in the same area according to the tax and census records, their farms were near to each other.  From tax records, they must have moved into Indiana County before 1807. Peter remained in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania and it is believed he was poor from the legal records that exist for him.  The members of this branch largely spelled their last name Closson.  There is a Peter who had lived in Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania around 1800 and it is now determined that he is not directly related to the Clawsons mentioned above even though some of his descendants appeared in other parts of my family tree.  Daniel may be a brother to Peter, Richard, and Josiah but may also be a nephew to another brother not yet found.  There is also a John Clawson married to Elizabeth Wincher who I have a similar problem.  Is he a brother or a nephew to Peter, Richard, and Josiah?  I have them listed as brothers since this is what most researchers believe.  Daniel and John eventually made their way to Indiana County where Daniel went to Blacklick Township and John went to Conemaugh Township.

From having my DNA tested and comparing the results to other people who have been tested, this is the current status from this testing.  Some Clawson researchers believe that my Clawson line is related to a Josiah Clawson who married Margaret Buckalew in New Jersey.  They were both born and grew up in New Jersey.  According to the Buckalew Association website, they had at least two children named Peter and Richard.  Also from some research done by others on the Clawsons as well as on the LDS website, they also have Josiah marrying Margaret Buckalew.  Josiah's parents were Thomas and Anne Clawson.  Thomas' parents were William and Mary Clawson.  These families can be traced to a Claus Cornelius Van Schouw who came to America in the mid-1600's from the Netherlands.  In 2009, I submitted a DNA sample for genealogical purposes.  The results were compared to several members from the Van Schouw line and there is no connection between my Clawson line and the Van Schouw line.  In comparing my DNA to different databases, my ancestors were Eastern European.  My DNA is similar to the populations in the Baltic area and Carpathia region in Eastern Europe.  This fits into the Haplogroup of R1a1a1.  At this time, it is not known how my Clawson ancestors made it from Eastern Europe to Scotland.  A person who analyzes DNA for the R1a Haplogroup has stated that Romans had hired mercenaries from Eastern Europe to go to England to be a part of the Roman army that was occurred in the time period of 300 to 500 A.D.  He theorized that the Clawson ancestors may have been part of that mercenary group.

For more information on the DNA testing, go to DNA Test Results


I have also traced the Stewart family to the middle of eighteenth century. Most of the older information on the Stewarts came from a Stewart biography that can be found in the book, 'Indiana County, Pennsylvania, Her People, Past and Present' published in 1913.  This was written by Joshua T. Stewart, which also happens to be my great-great-granduncle.  This was a good article that gave me a good beginning into my Stewart research.  The earliest I can trace the Stewart family back is to Charles and John Stewart.  I do not know if they had any additional siblings in that research is difficult since there are many different Stewart families that are not related at least in America.  Charles and John were both born in Scotland and came to America.  Charles fought for Lord Cornwallis' army during the Revolutionary War and eventually settled in Indiana County, Pennsylvania where he died.  John fought in the Indian Wars and was wounded in the breast.  He established a farm in what is now Buffington Township.  His son, James; his grandson, James; and his great-grandson, William G. Stewart held many political offices during their lifetimes and were able to acquire wealth and land because of the advantages these offices provided.

John's son, James was known as Major James Stewart.  James commission came from being a part of the Indiana County militia for over 40 years.

Due to various reasons, there were a few of the Stewart families of the early nineteenth century that had only a few children which was highly uncommon in those days.  This eventually leads into that the Stewart family tree is not as large as some other family trees that also causes there to be not many researchers doing work on this Stewart family.  From my research, there appears to be at least three Stewart families in Indiana County that are not related.  This has caused some confusion in the past since the different Stewart families had members with very similar names living in the same period as their namesakes in the other families.  And to answer some questions, my Stewart family is not related to James Stewart, the famous Hollywood actor.

I am now looking for a male Stewart relative to provide a DNA sample to determine what Stewart family we may be related to in Scotland.