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Genealogy of a Poinsett Family - page 22 / 84





22 / 84

Descendants of Thomas Poinsett and Lois Bennet

Our more recent line of Poinsetts, a branch of the SC family, were coastal merchants and sailors. They plied their businesses along the coasts and up the rivers of FL, SC, DE, and NJ, engaging in cask manufacturing, steamboating, trade and merchandising. The movements and dispersions of this family make them especially difficult to trace. Our lineage continues through Thomas Poinsett (1766 - <1807) and Lois Bennet ( - >1830), who settled near present-day Jacksonville, FL, according to Oliveros (1980). If they did so, it probably was about 1787, and their first son, Uriah, may have been born there about 1788. The family then may have moved, about 1789, into the Delaware River basin. Thomas and Lois' three other sons, Solomon, Stephen, and Asa, were born in NJ or DE between 1790 and 1799. They also had a daughter, Mary, but I do not know her place of or year of birth. The earliest record I found for the family in the Delaware region was that for Thomas on the assessment list for the Red-Lion Hundred (district) of New Castle, DE, in 1804. In 1807 Lois Poinsett, wife of Thomas, is listed in the New Castle tax record, suggesting that Thomas had died. In 1809 the eldest son, Uriah, is the taxpayer. In 1813 the two older sons, Uriah and Solomon (our ancestor), are in the New Castle tax list. In 1814 Capt. Solomon Poinsett and Capt. Uriah Poinsett are listed in the Wilmington city directory. This is the first indication of their involvement in operating steamboats on the Delaware River... and it was the time when the War of 1812 was at its height.1 There is a tax record for Uriah in the Christiana Hundred for New Castle in 1816, 1817 and 1821. Younger brother Asa also became a taxpayer in 1821.

Asa and Uriah are in the tax record for 1825; Asa only is listed in 1832.

As will be noted later, Uriah, Asa, and Stephen were associated with the Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church beginning around 1820. Solomon drowned in 1826. Asa and Stephen were in Wilmington for several years.2 Uriah returned to FL prior to 1830, about the time his

first wife died.

The family's occupations all centered about

shipbuilding, captaining steamboats (when and coastal trading and merchandising.




seafaring: cask making, new in commercial use),

While the Poinsett histories in SC and NJ are fairly well documented, their involvements with FL and DE are not well known. I am indebted to Janet Crosby Taft of Jacksonville, FL, for providing most of the information herein about the Poinsetts in FL. She kindly provided a great amount of information about the Jacksonville area,

1 A state of blockade from New York to Savannah was proclaimed by the British on 16 Dec 1812 and became increasingly effective during 1813. Several dozen British warships were present on the Atlantic coast during 1814. There was one 74 (a square -rigged ship of the line with 74 guns), two frigates, and several small vessels blockading Delaware Bay in 1814. Off Charleston and Savannah there were two frigates, one sloop and a brig. It was a dangerous time to venture into ocean waters and there was great fear of invasion along the rivers. The British penetrated Chesapeake Bay and burned Washington in August, 1814.

2 Wilmington, DE, was a very active center in the "underground railroad" that assisted runaway slaves from about 1830 to the outbreak of the Civil War. The Quaker community was a major participant in such activities.


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