Thoughts and Speculations on David McNitt's History Titled "McNitt and McNutt"

I should start by saying that the adoption of different forms of our surname is not uncommon.  In many cases McNitts are recorded as McNutts in records and vice versa.  Individuals, or entire family groups, would adopt one form or the other.  In some branches of the family, many McNitts adopted the McNett variant.

No date is given for  the McNitt and McNutt history, but it was probably written early in the twentieth century.  It is likely that David A. McNitt wrote the history in order to share it at one of the periodic family reunions.  Reflecting on the history of the family was one focus of these gatherings.  In 1970, Mrs. Stanley Brown, a genealogist from Plymouth, Indiana, examined the old record books of the McNutt reunions (then in the possession of Edith Zink of Tiffin, Ohio). She reported that the minutes include the following passage:

At the reunion of 1912 (Walbridge Park, Toledo, Ohio) a committee was appointed to write the history of the McNutt family. The committee was: Mrs. Susie McCord [daughter of Calvin P. McNutt], Mrs. Mary Cairl [daughter of Calvin P. McNutt], Mr. A.M. McNutt [is this Alfred Marshall McNutt, grandson of Andrew?], and Mrs. Wormwood [two of John McNutt's descendants married Wormwoods]. The history was written by A.M. McNutt and Mrs. Wormwood and read at the reunion of 1916, at Bascom, Ohio.

I have never seen a copy of the 1916 history, but it may not have been distributed in paper form to the attendees.

In writing his history, David McNitt did not conduct any genealogical research.  He reports that "What I have written is what Uncle John and Father talked over while I was small and, later, Aunt Betsey and Father and Aunt Isabell."  David was born in 1837.  I find no record of his Aunt Betsey in the 1850 census or later,  his Uncle John died in 1852, and his Aunt Isabel moved to Iowa in the 1850s..  Therefore such discusions must have occurred before and during David's teen years and he probably was writing down his memories while in his sixties or seventies.  It is no wonder that he makes several factual errors, especially on the names of his great grandfather and his grandfather's brothers.  I would expect his memory to be more reliable when he was discussing his uncles and aunts and cousins (most of whom he knew personally).

Since we have no idea when David's McNutt grandparents died, I do not know how well he knew them.  Still, it would have been helpful if he had included a little more about them. - even his grandmother's name.  The history gives surprisingly little on David McNutt himself other than to say that he served in the Revolutionary War as did his brothers.  Information that appears later in the history shows that the person that the author identifies as David McNutt's brother Donald is Daniel McNitt Jr. (1788-1854) and the person he refers to as David's brother Barney is actually Benjamin McNitt (1785-1851).  Neither of them was born early enough to serve in the Revolutionary War and they did not have a brother named David. 

The history does not make mention of when David McNutt was born, but since his oldest children were born in the 1770s, he was probably born in the 1750s.  Thus he would be of the right age to be a brother of Daniel McNitt (1751-1829) of Salem, Washington County, New York, father of Daniel McNitt Jr. and Benjamin McNitt.  We know from military records that this Daniel, several brothers (one of whom was named David), and their father all served in the Revolutionary War.  At least one of these McNitts (Andrew) used the McNutt form of the name.  We have no proof that David McNitt of Salem is the same person as the David McNutt from this history, but if the author is correct about there being a close relationship between the McNitts and McNutts of north central Ohio then it seems likely.

After examining early New York census records, I would guess that the David McNutt from this history is the one who lived at Painted Post in Steuben County in 1800 and at Sodus in Ontario County [it is now located in Wayne County] in 1810.  Of his older sons:

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