Early Travis Family History

Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York

from Volume III, page 889

Lewis Historical Publishing Co. New York, 1913

Note: Take this information with a grain of salt. Many of the early names and origins are undocumented. (Charles P. Travis, Nov. 1998)


The surname Travis is supposed to be Norman French in origin, being derived by one etymologist from Brevieres, between Bayeaux and Caen in Normandy, France. There was a family of the name in that locality at an early date. After 1138 Ranulph de Clinchamp, whose residence was in the same territory, took the name of Travers. In the time of William the Conqueror, Robert de Travers, baron of Burgh-upon-Sands, became hereditary forester of Inglewood, England, an honorable and valuable position. In 1165 Ralph de Travers held the see of Worcester, in England. Hugh de Travers belonged to Lincoln and was a factor in some arrangements there in 1189-90. Roger de Travers lived in Bedfordshire in 1202. The family or a family bearing the name was also prominent in Yorkshire in the time of King Henry I. A Travers family dwelt in Lancaster in 1318. Members of the family were also prominent in Winchester in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

There was also a prominent family of the name in county Cork, Ireland. This family may have been Irish in origin, the name in this case being an approximation to the Norman form from some Gaelic name, but the family is supposed by one genealogist to be connected with the Traverses of formerly long standing in the counties of Lancaster and Devon, whence the first settler went to Ireland. This first settler is said to have married a sister of the English Elizabethan poet, Spenser, and was father to Colonel Robert Travers, who was killed in the battle of Knockaross in 1647; he married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Richard Boyle, Archbishop of Tuan, who wedded (second) Richard Davis. Esq., later of Garrycloyne and Birch Hall, county of Cork. The arms of the family are described heraldically: Sa. a chev. ar. betw.in chief two escallops, and in base a boar's head of the second. Crest--A wolf passant. Motto--"Nec temere nec timide."

Another derivation of the name, Travers, is given by Lower, who thinks the name may be derived from the French word "traverse." The name has appeared in the American records in many different forms, Travers and Travis being the most common. There is little doubt that Travis and Travers were originally the same name or were at least derived from the same form and origin.

(I) Schurman Travis, the first ascertainable ancestor of the Travis family in America here under consideration, went from the lower part of Westchester county to Putnam county, New York, then known as the south precinct of Dutchess county. He lived for some years in Peekskill, Westchester county, New York, and was at another time clerk of the south precinct of Dutchess county. Luther Travis, now living at Kalamazoo, Michigan, says that Schurman Travis came from a line of ancestry that lived in Westchester county, New York, and on Long Island prior to 1700 on Long Island first. He found that Garret Travis (whose name was spelled in different ways) was living on Long Island some years prior to 1700. Also he found that Garret Travis and his wife Catherine were living on Budd's Neck in the town of Rye, in I705, and at that time they appeared to have had two sons, Philip and James. It would seem that Schurman Travis must have been a descendant or been in some way connected with that family. Luther Travis also got on the track of another line of the Travises who arrived in Westchester county and were probably located in Sleepy Hollow in 1752. The ancestor of this family, as far as can be ascertained, was Joshua Travis. There is another family descended from Daniel Travis, who was born in I740, the members of which have been closely connected with Westchester county. It is quite possible and even probable that there was an original connection between all these Travis families. Schurman Travis married Thankful Titus some time previous to I739, when their son Titus, mentioned below. was born. It is not certain that Thankful's maiden surname was Titus, but this is inferred from the facts that the Tituses were fairly numerous in that locality in that time and that Titus was the name given to the only son of whom there is a direct record. A similar line of reasoning suggests that the mother of Schurman Travis was a Schurman, the earlier generations of the Schurman family having lived in New York City and in Westchester county prior to 1700.

(II) Titus, son of Schurman and Thankful Titus was born in Westchester county, New York in 1739. Titus Travis and two of his sons were in the same company and regiment of New York militia during the revolutionary war. He married in 1759, Elizabeth French. Children: George, mentioned below; James, born in 1762, served in the revolutionary war, must have moved away from Westchester county soon after the revolutionary war was ended; Gilbert, Elizabeth, Margaret, Elizabeth, Anna, Titus, Susan, Samuel, Daniel.

(III) George, son of Titus and Elizabeth (French) Travis, was born in Westchester County, New York, in 1760, died in 1843. He served in the same company of New York militia as his father and brother during the revolutionary war. He took a great interest in public affairs and was a leader of the Whigs in his community. Later he lived in Putnam county New York, and was engaged in farming. He had two sons who served in the war of 1812. He married (first) Abbie Owens; six children: Jeremiah, George, Jonathan, Anna, Hannah, Betsy. He married (second) Sarah Lockwood; two children; Chadwick and Drusilla.

(IV) Jeremiah, son of George and Abbie (Owens) Travis, was born in Putnam County, New York in 1790, died at Kent, Putnam County New York in 1863. He served in the war of 1812, and was a farmer and blacksmith, being well known in both occupations on the country side. He lived for a considerable time in the town of Kent, Putnam county, New York, where the members of his family attended the Baptist church. He married Mercy Agor. Children: 1. Albert Gallatin, born in 1818; was a doctor by profession; married Sarah Satterlee and lived in Virginia; children: Eugene, Frank, Mary, Fillmore. All born in Putnam County, New York. 2. Norman L., born in 1829, married (first) Susan Organ; they lived in Putnam County, new York; children: Peter, Charles, Mary, Jeremiah; Married (second) Sarah Forman Tompkins; children: Augusta, Leslie, Clara. 3. Sally Ann, born 1822; married Frederick Pinckney; children: Zelma, Elizabeth, Emma. 4. Mary E. Born 1824; married Lewis Hadden and lived in Michigan; children Augusta Anna, Jeremiah, George, Frank, John, Charles, Phillip. 5. Margaret, boron 1828, married John Pinckney and lived in Michigan; children: Mary Edward, Nathan. 6. George W., born 1830; married Susan Sackryder; children: Lincoln, Roscoe, Homer, Eudora. 7.Mehitable, born 1832; married George Hadden, lived in Michigan; children, Lucy, Allen, Mary Jane, Wright, Dora. 8. John W. born 1834; married Maria Hopkins; two children. 9. Jeremiah, mentioned below. 10. Gould , born 1841; married Ella Ford, who bore five children; he was a Baptist minister and lived in Oregon.

(V) Jeremiah (2) son of Jeremiah ;and Mercy (Agor) Travis, was born in 1839 at Kent, Putnam County New York. He taught school for a number of years, and also engaged in farming. He is now retired from active business. Most of his life has been spent in Putnam and Ulster counties. He married (first) Esther J. Baxter who belonged to the family of that name whose immigrant ancestor came from England prior to 1700. He married (second) Jeanette Wright whose Holland and German ancestors came to America prior to 1700. Five children of his first marriage are living: Luther M., Kalamazoo, Michigan; Gideon B. Of Jacksonville, Florida; W. Irving, of Los Angeles California; Grace and Mary, both of New York City.