Marriage of Deaf John to Ruth vs Elizabeth Ruth Fisher
Since writing the article, conflicting information appeared contesting Ruth as the same person as Elizabeth Fisher. Since the conflict arose, I have not been able to verify beyond a doubt that his wife Ruth (as quoted in Deaf John’s Will) is, in fact, the same woman as Elizabeth Fisher, recorded as his wife in the Swedes Church Marriage Log on 1 Jan 1764, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, I am reasonably certain that they are the same woman. His brother, Handsome Jim, is reflected in the same Swedes Church Marriage Log one year earlier on April 26, 1763, having married Sarah Carter who was a member of the Chester Quaker Society of Friends, Chester, Pennsylvania. Sarah Carter Barns was later disowned from the Chester Quaker Society of Friends for “…he not being of our Society” on October 20, 1763. This we know for certain. Both John and his brother James relocated to North Carolina in 1754 when John was only 13 and James even younger. However, a common practice in that era was to return to the main city of commerce for work and trading for domestic goods. Philadelphia would have been well known to both young men since they were raised to their teens in Chester, Pennsylvania. North Carolina was unfurled for agriculture and would have taken years to establish as a profitable income source to feed a family as large as the Barns Clan. So, it would have made sense for the boys to return to Philadelphia for work.
It is confirmed that the Carters lived in Chester, Pennsylvania, in close proximity to the Barns family; however, I was unable to confirm the location of the Fisher family in the early 1700’s. Stephen Fisher of Lincoln County, North Carolina died in 1785 and his Will records Elizabeth Barns as his daughter and Elizabeth as his wife. I was unable to determine when Stephen Fisher migrated to Lincoln County, North Carolina. It is possible that this is the father of Ruth and that her first name was in fact, Elizabeth named after her mother. It is also possible that over time, Deaf John began referring to his wife as Ruth to avoid confusion with his daughter named Elizabeth, or some other reason unknown to us. Deaf John had daughters of which one was named Elizabeth and another was named Ruth, so either could be the case. At this time, there is enough circumstantial evidence for me to reasonably conclude that Ruth is Elizabeth Ruth Fisher. However, it is my hope that a future genealogist is able to evidence for certain her full name.