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Old 11-18-2017, 03:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maus View Post
I have a 19th century ancestor who held the title 'Squire. I found the mention in a newspaper, but not elsewhere in his paper trail. This particular ancestor was a farmer with lots of land in Virginia. He was also a judge within his district of his small regional town. I found that fact from another newspaper article mentioned his name along with his district which included officers, judges, and clerks who would monitor the polls on election day.

Although I have not researched it much, I had assumed that esquire was someone who owned land.
Would you happen to know the name of the newspaper in which you found the article? Perhaps I could research that source. My M-G-Grandfather owned his house and blacksmith shop, but he also owned several acres in Virginia, now West Virginia.
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Old 11-18-2017, 06:36 AM
 
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The later use of the term 'squire' occurs in the book Treasure Island. Squire John Trelawney was the person who funded the expedition to find and retrieve the pirate treasure. He was a local landowner, a friend of Dr. David Livesey, who in turn was an acquaintance of Jim Hawkins, the possessor of the treasure map.

While the term squire original came from chivalry, and was a title used for a older boy or young man who was pledge to the service of a knight, in England the term converted to a title used by the landed gentry, with a squire being the second lowest rung on the ladder of nobility, between a knight and a gentleman. Hence the landowner, Squire John Trelawney.

But you say that your ancestor was from Germany, not England. The Wikipedia article, which I read while delving into the term 'squire', mentions the German word 'knappe' being used for the English word 'squire'. But the German meaning after medieval times was for a journeyman laborer, not for gentry, as in a bergknappe, or mountain squire, aka a miner. It's very reminiscent of my own experience. An ancestor bore the title of captain, and my father was convinced that it meant that our fore-bearer was a master of a ship. I later uncovered the fact that the ancestor was actually a mining captain - he led a crew of 20 miners. Instead of being a naval officer, he was in truth the equivalent of a mining foreman.
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Old 11-18-2017, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryleeII View Post
Yes, thanks, I've gone that far. But I wonder why someone in this country would use such a title? Its on all his papers, including his death certificate, he died in 1949. It was also on his daughter's marriage license. Perhaps just a vanity title he gave himself? Or a way of distinguishing himself from someone else in the area with the same name?
Didn't you say he was a blacksmith from West Virginia?

I would call the history department at WVU and maybe someone can help you there. Or a local librarian in your grandfather's hometown.

Plantations weren't really a West Virginia thing. More on the fringes of the state because of the mountainous geography.
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Old 11-18-2017, 04:53 PM
 
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I have a Squire ancestor.

Squire Kinney, Texas slave born in 1853.
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Old 11-18-2017, 05:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryleeII View Post
Yes, thanks, I've gone that far. But I wonder why someone in this country would use such a title? Its on all his papers, including his death certificate, he died in 1949. It was also on his daughter's marriage license. Perhaps just a vanity title he gave himself? Or a way of distinguishing himself from someone else in the area with the same name?
The vanity title thing. It was also a way for a man to tack on an air of prestige. Like "See me? I'm special. I have a title, and you don't!" Which is a bit of a negative viewpoint on it, sorry. People do it today, every day. Ever meet a PhD who insists on being called doctor so-and-so? Sure, they've earned the title through school, but insisting on the title is frequently disrespectful of the intelligence and knowledge of those you interact with. Historically, we see such titles as "Captain", "Colonel", and "Squire", sometimes not even earned - just a way to be a little special and stand out from the crowd.
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:36 PM
 
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in the very early days, a squire was someone who took care of the kings forest, like a game warden, then it evolved into land owner
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