The Pioneers Joseph and Sarah Warnick of Western Maryland

Joseph Warnick and his wife, Sarah, were the ancestors of the numerous Warnicks of western Maryland. They were among the earliest settlers of what is now Garrett County. They were already there in 1787, when Francis Deakins headed a team that surveyed much of the land "westward of Fort Cumberland."

Deakins surveyed 4,165 50-acre "military lots" to be awarded to Revolutionary War veterans, but the settlers already occupying some of the lots were given a chance to purchase the land at low rates. Altogether, Deakins found 323 families living on 636 lots. Most of these settlers were in present-day Allegany County, but Joseph occupied lots 3836 and 3837 on Big Savage Mountain, in present-day Garrett County. He probably lived on lot 3836.

This is the earliest record of this couple. Almost 100 years later, information pertaining to Joseph's son William, as recorded by U.S. census takers, noted that Joseph had been born in Ireland.

With the creation of Allegany County in 1789, courts became more accessible. While little can be reconstructed today of the character of Joseph and Sarah, Joseph left behind extensive public records of his court battles (some of the earliest cases heard in the county), land transactions, estate settlements (probably reflecting unsettled business transactions), and a will naming his heirs.

Judging from tax assessments, it appears that Joseph and his family prospered in their mountain home. In 1798, he was assessed in what was then Upper Old Town Hundred with 4 horses, 12 cattle, "Michael's Wonder" (150 acres), and five military lots. The total valuation was $330, a considerable sum in those days.

Joseph was involved in the purchase and sale of numerous parcels of land. The records that survive at the Cumberland courthouse are difficult to follow, and a coherent chronology of transactions has not been pieced together.

The last glimpse of Joseph Warnick is from his will, which was drawn up in 1819. In his will, he named his children: Jane Warnick (probably born before 1788), John Warnick (born about 1788), Samuel Warnick (born about 1789), Elizabeth "Betsy" Warnick (born 3/4/1791), James Warnick (born about 1793), Mary Warnick (born in 1794), Joseph Warnick (probably born about 1796), and William Warnick (born 2/22/1798).

Joseph was listed as head of household in the 1820 census. He died prior to March 1829, when his will was acted upon. Judging from his age as approximated in the 1800 census, he was probably over 74 years old at the time of his death.

Sarah was listed as head of household in the 1830 census. She died about 1838.

Settling Joseph’s estate remained the subject of litigation until 1844.

I have compiled a huge amount of information about thousands of descendants of Joseph and Sarah Warnick.  The second edition of my book, Warnick Families of Western Maryland (535 pages, 1995), is available for sale. Interested parties should contact me by e-mail for ordering information. The book can be found at the Genealogical Society of Allegany County, the Ruth Enlow Library in Grantsville, the library of Allegany College, and the Library of Congress.

My collection of information about the western Maryland Warnick families is in a constant state of refinement. Inquiries about western Maryland Warnick families are welcome. This page was revised August 29, 1999.

Walt Warnick's Western Maryland Family History Pages