ORIGINS OF NAMES
we look at the actual historical transition of our name, it is interesting to
first look at how names have evolved and why, indeed, we need surnames at all.
In early times when the population was smaller and few people would ever travel far from
their respective settlements, people would be known only by their given name and
place of habitat e.g. Harold of London, Peter of Bedford etc. It was only when
the population grew and the undoubted confusion of more than one William of York
in one's midst took place, that individual surnames originated for the purpose
of more specific identification.
four primary sources for second names or surnames were;
for example, Baker, Butcher, Smith etc. In some cases though time has changed
the shape of these words and such names as Baxter, a derivative of Baker, have
emerged. As a simple rule of thumb, many names ending in -er, have derived from
name plus relationship,
for example, Johnson, Patterson, Jones etc. Again names have evolved from the
original source and such names as Dawson are now quite common, but is in fact
from the same origins as Davidson, with Daw being an olden days shortened
version of David.
for example, Longman, Short, Small etc. Some names were derived from a persons
manner, for example Dukes and Abbots probably were given to somebody who acted
in a "dukely or abbotly" manner. Many names derived from less
complimentary distinguishing characteristics, such as Shufflebotham and
Crookshanks. Names such as Goodfellow, Wisdom and Fairman are perhaps somewhat
kinder to those who now carry the name. It does seem somewhat unfair that
anybody should have to inherit a name with such obvious characteristic
connotations as Boldass, particularly when one may grow up to be a 6 stone
for example York, Bradford, and of course Covington, even Churchill which
derived from those who lived near a church on a hill. By far the largest group
of surnames is drawn from names of places, from whence a person came, or
occasionally was going to, or from the geographical detail of his place of
one would consider, to be quite straightforward, but in many cases, as years
have passed by, the spelling and pronunciation of a name may have changed
dramatically. An interesting example of this is the surname Snooks, which it is
said, has derived from the Kent town of Sevenoaks.
of these spelling changes were due to illiteracy rather than some wish to
confuse latter day genealogists. In the early days even the most educated had
their problems spelling words when pronounced by a rural speaker. More of this
later when we look at the different derivatives of Covington.
the same basic rules apply for Welsh names, except many more are derivatives
from their father's name, eg Davies, Jones, Williams etc, all being translation
as "son of". Another variation is the old Welsh prefix of "ap",
again meaning "son of". This has spawned names such as Pritchard (ap
Richard) and Pugh (ap Hugh) etc.
surprising is the fact that there are more hyphenated names in Welsh families
than anywhere else in the UK. This is because the Welsh have a great affinity to
using both parents names in their surnames as a means of differentiating between
all the Jones' and Williams' who live there.
Like the Welsh, many Scots share the same few names, having taken their chosen
name originally from the powerful clans with whom they sought protection, as a
sign of allegiance. Even today the inhabitants of one Scottish island all have
the same name, though they are not all related by blood. To rectify this
confusion many added place-names to their surnames, and although this initially
was started by the lairds and barons, it soon spread to farmers and the like.
Scottish names can be found throughout the world, thanks to the Scots great
tradition of colonisation, however many 18th Scots fearful after the Jacobite
Rising, travelled south and adopted less obtrusive English local names.
The surname prefix "Mac" is of both Irish and Scottish extraction and
like "Ap" in Welsh and "Son" in English means "son
of" and is placed before the father's name. An interesting additional note
is that O' before a name is usually linked with, and placed in front of, the
grandfathers name, and again, roughly translated means "of".
to the Marquis de Ruvigny in 1911, there were about 100,000 living descendants
of Edward III. Today that figure must have grown substantially and would suggest
that over 20 out of every 100 Englishmen born are a royal descendant. If you are
fortunate enough to link in with a member of the royal family, much of your
future genealogical research work will have been done for you. Sadly, it is
unlikely to mean that you will be invited to Sunday tea with the Queen, but it
does make interesting after dinner small talk at your next candle-lit supper.
research has always been limited to those actually named Covington. No doubt
anybody wanting to trace back descendants of each spouse of a Covington will
find their way into the Royal circle. Please let know if you are successful in
any legal claim for part of the Duchy of Cornwall.
One of the great challenges for any genealogist is to come up with the
definitive answer to the question "Where did my name come from?" Not
surprisingly there can sometimes be a difference of opinion
between one genealogist and another. I'm pleased to say that the same applies to
the Covingtons, be it that we don't seem to be too far apart in our version of
the grassroots origin.
the rest of this page are 3 versions of the answer to the "Where are we
from?" question. These have been penned by myself, a Zella H Nesbitt,
grand-daughter of Berrill Covington and one Venda
Covington. Because this is my website, I'll go first !!
IN ENGLAND by Martin H Covington
location origins of the Covington name are believed to be associated with the
English translated phrase "One who came from
(The estate or settlement of the Cufa family), in Huntingdonshire. (Note; Cufa
is a kind of wicker coracle used on the River Tigris in Mesopatamia, although
how a tribe came to be named after a wicker basket is somewhat unclear).
breaking down the original Cufingatun name, piece by piece, we have:
(Anglo Saxon tribe name)
(estate) or ton (Anglo Saxon for a place surrounded by a hedge or
palisade, a town or village).
Anglian names containing the -ingtun prefix were established in the Northumbria/Berwickshire
area. It seems that the connective particle "-ing" is only found with
"-tun" in both English and Scottish forms. Examples are given of
Edington, Edrington, Mersington, Regington, Thirlington and Upsettlington as
being first recorded around 1095 in Berwickshire and meaning " farm
associated with ... ". This is a similar explanation to that as described
for Covington, Huntingdonshire. There may also be links with Covenham &
earliest examples to be found of the Covington name, or spellings similar, are
as follows; Covintune and Covesgraue
- 1086 Domesday Book, Kuvintone
- 1226 Episcopal Registers, Coutngton - 1260 Assize Rolls for Hunts, 1331 Feet of Fines for Hunts
by G.J.Turner, 1493 Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Covinton - 1272 Feet of
Fines for Hunts, 1279 Rotuli-Hundredorum 2 vols 1812-1818, 1285 Feudal Aids 6
vols 1899-1920, 1303 Feudal Aids 6 vols 1899-1920, 1303 Exchequer Subsidies for
Hunts 1303, Coventon
- 1478 Feet of Fines
(Domesday Book) may have developed into Cosgrave which is in Northamptonshire
near Stony Stratford on A508, just outside Milton Keynes, where, there is said
to have been a strong form of the Covington name in the past.
is most interesting to note that the majority of examples found were recorded in
the Huntingdonshire area. Covington, the village, is no more than a hamlet,
although it does have a fine example of a Norman church, suggesting that it was
once a relatively important settling place.
Place Names of Bedfordshire & Huntingdonshire)(The Concise Oxford Dictionary
of English Place Names by Eilert Ekwall)
is also a small town in Lanarkshire, Scotland named Covington. It is believed
that the place name could have originated from Scandinavia. It is also suggested
that Covington, Colinton & Cobbinshaw could be linked, as all 3 have as
their first elements the CO personal name Kolbeinn (Scandinavian), an adaptation
of the Irish name Columban.
may have given rise to the Villa Colbani, circa 1190 (Colban's Estate) and the
following extracts from Scottish History detail how the name has been developed
to the present day.
Colbayn, Colban & Colbanus -
earliest form found was Colbaynstoun, i.e. the vill or tun of Colbayn or Colbain,
perhaps the Colbanus who was a witness to the charter by Earl David founding the
Abbey of Selkirk (later Kelso), circa 1120.
is doubtless the ancestor of Thomas de Colbainestun who witnessed a charter by
William the Lion confirming certain churches in Dumfrieshire to the see of
Glasgow between 1187-89 (REG p65).
Colbani - 1189-1196
- 1204 (Dryburgh)
de Colbaynstoun witnessed resignation of the lands of Ingilbristoun (later
Inglisberrie) in 1204 (Dryburgh, 163) and as Thomas de Villa Colbain witnessed
an undated charter by William the Lion to David de Haia, son of William de Haia
of Herol (SCM 11 p305).
de Colbaynstoun between 1202 and 1222 was witness to a charter by Brice, Bishop
of Moray bestowing the church of Deveth (Daviot) on the cathedral of the Holy
Trinity at Spyny (REM 53).
Colbanston & Colbenstone - 1296
de Colbanstone and Isabele de Colbanston rendered homage for their possessions
in 1296. The seal of Isabele bears the Virgin & Child & S'Isabelle de
Colbanesto, and that of Margaret bears a device like a shuttle in pale between 3
stars and a legend S'Margar' d' Colbanst (Nain 2, p198,534,550)
de Colbenstone of Lanarkshire, probably a relative, also rendered homage in the
same year (ibid p213).
1297 a Royal Message from Edward 1st of England was directed to William de
& Colbayneston - 1304
1304 Sir John de Colbaynston held the successful farm of barony of Colbayneston
of the King (Bain 2, p232,428
- 1434, Covingtoun - 1480 & Colbinshaw - 1512
Bain - Calendar of documents relating to Scotland preserved in Public Record
Office, edited by Joseph Bain, Edinburgh 1881-84, Kelso - Liber S.Marie de
Calchou, registrum cartarum abbacie Tironensis de Kelso 1113-1567 Edinburgh 1846
(2 volumes), Dryburgh - as Kelso but "Premonstratensis de Dryburgh",
Edinburgh 1847, REG - Registrum episcopatus Glasguensis, Edinburgh 1843 (2 vols),
SCM - Miscellany of the Spalding Club, Aberdeen 1841-52 (5 vols))
THINK AM ENGLISH !!
the Covington name has derived from one of two locational sources, one English
and the other Scottish. From my research, I believe the English version to be
the one that has spawned the majority of today's people named Covington,
whereas, the Scottish name has remained purely as the place name of a little
village in Lanarkshire. Few Covingtons live, or have lived, in, or close to,
Scotland, so it is seems highly unlikely that the personal name developed from
earliest person named Covington that I have been able to trace was the rector of
Covington Church in Hunts, Edmund Nicol de Covington in 1381. As stated above,
he was named as "of Covington", so can be considered as being from the
pre-surname era, as can one Abbut of Covington, who I have recorded as born,
circa. 1520. Both of these examples are actually more likely to be describing
the job location, as The Rector or Abbot of Covington, so genealogically
speaking are of little real interest as they would not have passed the name onto
their children, if they had had any. The earliest Covington surname, that I have
on file is John, born circa 1542, although I have records of a Robert who died
in 1558, therefore it could be that he was born before John, although there are
no details of his age at death.
But that is just my interpretation of the information that I have managed to
uncover. The following item is somebody elses view. One Zella H Nesbitt,
grand-daughter of Berrill Covington a 19th century Brit who became a Mormon and
moved his family to Utah in the U.S.
ANOTHER COVINGTON STORY by Zella H Nesbitt,
(note: this is a direct extract from the original work and there are some
obvious errors in interpretation of English History)
The name "Covington" can have two origins and it is
now impossible to separate them
There are two Scottish places called Covington.
One of these was spelled Villa Colbani around 1100, Colbaynistun around
1212, Cowantoun in 1434 and Covington in~l480.
The meaning is Colban's Village. The
other place is of fairly recent origin and was probably named for a Covington.
The older place was probably named for the Colbanus who
witnessed a charter by Prince David around 1120. This Colbanus was probably the
ancestor of Thomas de(of) Colbainestun who witnessed a charter by King William
the Lion around 1180. He is probably the Thomas de Colbanyston who was a charter
witness in 1204 and who witnessed a charter by King William the Lion a few years
later. William de Colnanyston was a witness to a land charter granted by
Brice, Bishop of Moray around 1210.
Margaret de Colbanstone and Isabele de Colbanston rendered
homage for their property to the English Crown in 1296. The seal of Margaret
bears a device like a shuttle between three stars and the legend “S’Margar'd'Colbanst”.
The seal of Isabele depicts the Virgin and Child and the legend "S’lsabele
Edmund de Colbenstone also rendered homage the same year. All
of the foregoing lived in Lanarkshire and were probably related. A royal message
to William de Colbeynston from King Edward I of England was delivered in 1297.
Sir John de Colbaynston held the farm or the Barony of Colbayneston by direct
grant from the King around 1327.
There is also a Covington in Huntingdonshire, England, which
was spelled Covintune in the 1086
Book, Kuvintone in 1226 and Couyngton in 1260. The meaning is “homestead of
Cufa's people". Cufa is probably of Scandinavian origin and the meaning is
The foregoing information was researched for me by a Mr.J.C.
Downing. I am not sure if we are related to our Scottish Cousins but
Huntingdonshire is very close to Bedfordshire and it is quite possible that we
could claim a future connection to them.
However, the Covington's were in Bedfordshire very early
also. The Parish Register of St.Pauls begins with 1565 and almost the first name
in it was a Covington. I also found Coventon wills in the late l500's. At this
time they seemed well established and it is my belief that they had been there
for some time before that.
The first man by that name emerging from the shadows or
unknown and unidentified ancestry is a John Coventon probably born around
1612-16. His wife was Ann and we find three children listed in St Pauls as
belonging to them. Elizabeth - Christened 1633: William 1640 and Mary 1643. Then
at this time all of the entries in St Pauls are missing as they are in many
other parish registers of England at this tine. We have to turn to History to
understand why, for a period of nearly 20 years there were no Baptisms,
marriages or burials recorded.
History tells us that this was the period of the civil wars
when Cromwell ousted the Kings and became Lord Protector of England. In order to
understand why this affected the church records we need to go back to about 1330
when King Henry VIII separated from the Roman Catholic Church in order to be
able to divorce Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn. The Pope & the
Catholic Church did not allow divorce. At least this was more logical than
simply beheading her, which of course became the fate of poor Anne Boleyn and
then latterly Catherine Howard.
He confiscated church properties and made such changes as suited his
purposes. They then became known as
Church of England or Protestants. When
his daughter Mary Tudor came to the throne after his death she reinstated the
Catholic Religion and executed so many protestants that the Catholic Church fell
into disfavour and in 1558 when Henry's other daughter Elizabeth came to the
throne she appointed an Archbishop of Canterbury and began to unify the two
extremes of religion and this brought about what is termed the golden age of
About this time it became a law for all the Parish Ministers
of all the churches to begin keeping a written record of all the Christenings
(Baptisms), Marriages and Burials which took place in their jurisdiction and
these became known as the Parish Registers. Some began right away and others
took a little longer and we find that the five churches in Bedford, England
began about 1565. This began the period when those trying to locate their
ancestors in England began their golden age, so to speak. Many of these old
registers are a gold mine of information. This continued until about 1642 when
the rebellion of the Civil Wars began
By 1649 the Roundheads as the rebels called themselves
finally succeeded in having King Charles I beheaded and Cromwell, their leader,
became Lord Protector of what is known as the Commonwealth period.
The churches came under attack as did anyone else who
remained loyal to the King. The churches were searched and anything that would
burn was burned, which included many of the Parish Registers. Many of the
Ministers fled into hiding and took their records with them. Some of the records
were buried and in some cases were never found again, and so this next 20 years
are a very difficult time for genealogists.
From 1653-1660 the records were kept by a registrar who was
appointed by the government and while some of them did a fairly good job, others
were careless as is the case in St. Pauls. In 1660, Charles II was crowned and
many of the ministers returned to their Parishes. In St Pauls, Bedford the
entries begin again in November 1660.
What this means to our Covington Family is that John and Ann
were having their family right in the middle of this terrible time.
We will probably never know exactly
how many children they had, but this John seemed to be the only one at that time
and so as, we pick up the later period about 20 years later we find what must
surely be their children in the marriages. We find an Elizabeth who married a
William Gardner 1672: Mary married Richard James 1671 and we find a John
Coventon who married a Mary Fobach 1667 and then the exciting find was our No.1
Simon who married Mary Menard (Maynard) l2 Oct 1671.
Simon and Mary had four children born in St Pauls: Mary,
Simon II, Elizabeth, and William, and little William died a year later. Then we
have nothing more on this family in St Pauls.
They moved to St Peters and we find the reason for this in
the will of a George Maynard of St Peter Martyn dated 2 Nov 1680 in which he
says: I bequeath to my daughter Mary Coventen the house and lands whereon John
Kemp now lives in St Peters, … along with bequests to his other children. So
then we go to St Peters Register where we find three more children born to Simon
and Mary, namely, another William, Jane and George. For nearly one hundred years
we find our Covingtons living in St Peters. It was here that Simon II married
his wife Elizabeth Upton.
Elizabeth brought an interesting line into the family and we
were able to trace her mother's ancestors back into the l400s through wills on
the Tillye ancestors. It is not my
purpose to give all dates and information on these families which are contained
on the Family Group sheets and also only those allied families which had some
direct bearing on the history of our Covington Family and so I will not
elaborate on these lines.
Simon and Elizabeth had eight children all born in St
Peters. The second of which was Simon III; who was born January l704. Simon III
married a girl named Sarah, but we have never been able to find the marriage,
and so we are unable to find her maiden name or anything about her. But we know
they had nine children, and again it was the second son who was named Simon, our
Simon IV. Simon III lived to be nearly 80 years of age and he took on the job of
raising Simon IV’s three small children as we shall talk of later.
At this point we need to go back in time to pick up another
ancestor out at the mists of the unknown. This was a John Dove born about 1634
who lived and had something to do with food
drinks in St Pauls. In his will dated l680 he leaves to his son William some
leather and shoemaking materials along with the bench and etc. This is important
because we believe that he was then living in, if he did not own it, the little
shop known as the Robin Hoode Inn.
This little bit
or history concerning the
Hoode Inn was important to
me because in our Family Traditions we had the story
of some property which was left in England and which the family was unable to
sell before they left
and which was probably worth quite a sum of money at
was always going back to England to claim the said
and he had deeds with which to do it. Unfortunately he never ever was able to
make the trip.
So I was eager to find more on this Robin Hoode Inn. On the
25 November 1718 a
John Cooch married Dorothy Hensman in Kempston,
Bedfordshire and at this
time a marriage settlement
mentioned two cottages and the Robin Hoode Inn, now in the occupation of William
Dove. Next we find the Will of William Dove who
the son of John Dove and who is called a cordwinder (shoemaker) at this time,
and in this will he leaves to his daughter Elizabeth Berriel the "house she
now liveth in, known by the name of the Robin Hoode, to her and her heirs
also leaves to his son
William Dove jr my house in Mill Lane the house I now live in. This
Mill Lane is in St Cuthberts and this is important
also and may be one of the two cottages mentioned in the marriage settlement.
Now, to go back to our Simon IV. He was born 21 Sep
St Cuthberts to Jane Berrill who was the daughter of William
Berrill and Elizabeth Dove (she is the one in William Dove's will who was given
Hoode Inn). We have so far been unable to prove the parentage
Berrill, but believe he may have came from
Northamptonshire which records
we have not as yet obtained for our
library. Although much research has been
This Simon IV was a thatcher which means he
the straw to the roofs of the houses.
Simon and Jane seem to be living in St Cuthberts at this time
and their four children are listed in that Parish register and yet the Robin
Hoode seems to have been on the main street in the center of Bedford which would
have been in St Pauls. Perhaps they
were living in one of the two cottages given in the marriage settlement.
Simons brother William had by this time married a sister to Jane Berril
by the name of Elizabeth. We find later that they are living in the Robin Hoode
and it may be because our Simon did not become a shoemaker but chose to become a
At any rate tragedy seems to stalk
little family; They had two sons:
Edward born 1760 and again the
second son was our Simon V born 1763, John the third son born l765 only lived
one day. Then in 1766 and I believe that it
have been at the birth of another son whom they named John, the young mother
died on the 4th Sep and one month later on 2 Oct the father also passed away, at
the age of thirty-one years leaving three small children under six.
This Simon, the thatcher left a will and in it he bequeaths
his share or
one half of
house in which my brother William now liveth and which is commonly called or
known as the Robin Hoode in the said town of Bedford and also all his monies and
whatever he has in trust to his Father Simon Covington and his brother William
to be used to care for his three young children. The will was signed the 30
September which was shortly after his wife's death.
One more will throws light onto the property deeds which
Uncle Edward said he had in his possession. Our Simon V who became an orphan at
had the older brother Edward
(brother to his father Simon
looking out for him. We have the will of Edward Covington of St Peters
1812, in which he leaves to his nephew Simon, son of Simon, of
St. the cottage with all rights belonging thereto which is situate in the Parish
Peters which I lately purchased of Martha Butter and now in the occupation
John Belden, shoemaker.
was the Simon
who married Elizabeth Brown and we know
was a shoemaker and the father of your Simon VI and my Berril.
I had a researcher in England who knew I was interested to
find out more of The Robin Hoode. He made inquiries and came up with the opinion
that it had now become known as the "Crossed Keys". In those days they
had the shop on the ground floor and lived upstairs. And so one can imagine that
back in 1650 John Dove had an eating and drinking place in the downstairs part
and it may have continued or it may have been partly used as a shoemaking shop
by those who were shoemakers like William Dove and our Simon Covington.
I know Mother always wondered if the story was true
and if the property was all that was described and I can't help wishing that we
could have found these facts and stories for her to enjoy.
About 1794, Simon V, the shoemaker moved his family to
Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. I
believe it had something to do with the fact that it was here that the first
effort was made to put shoemaking into a factory. Up until this time you went to
your nearest shoemaker who might have a small shop or even a room in his home
and ordered your shoes and he made them to fit that particular feet according to
your specifications. Wellingborough became famous for the first large scale
attempt at assembly line shoemaking. At any rate we know they were there in 1797
when one of their daughters was buried there. My grandfather claimed to have been born there in 1794, but
when we found a record of
the family it listed St Pauls as the birthplace for all
of the children.
We find also at this time that
and Elizabeth’s children are not listed
the five Parish registers in Bedford. We
finally found out that they had separated themselves from the Church of England
and joined a congregation
which called themselves Independents
we found the record of the births
and also of Berril's family. They
what was called the Old Meeting House on Mill Lane or sometimes referred to as
Independents Mill Street Chapel.
I feel that this story would not be complete without a little
history and description of Bedford since it is near and dear to the hearts of
all of us who had our beginnings in that famous City.
Bedford is one of the largest cities of Bedfordshire. It is
seat and is situated
about forty-eight miles from
London. The great river Ouse
winds its way
northeast border through all the north central portion and exits into
Buckinghamshire on the west. It cuts right through the City of Bedford and from
the pictures its banks are beautified and it forms a large part of the
recreation of the city such as boating picnicking etc.
Bedfordshire is an inland county and contains about 1:63
square miles. It is
generally level with
highest hills not more than five hundred feet high.
fertile soil make it suitable for farming which along with stockraising
dairying are its main industries.
Years ago hat making and lacemaking
were important, but now on a limited scale.
One description I found said that much of it is not so
different or so much changed from the days when our ancestors walked its
streets, attended its churches and struggled for their existence within it's
boundaries. It was here
in Bedford City Jail that John Bunyan the great puritan
preacher and writer was a prisoner from 1660-72.
He was imprisoned because he refused to give up his beliefs after the
restoration of the Catholic Church, and it was while he
prisoner that he began to write and
in 1675 while serving another six months term that he wrote most of his greatest
book "Pilgrims Progress"
It was through him and others like him that religious
intolerance was finally broken down and by the time our Covington Family
carne along they were free to join any one of half a dozen churches, but
even so they were still labeled as dissenters it they had their children
baptized in one of the Parish churches of that time.
The city of Bedford is divided into five areas each taking
the name of the church within its boundaries and known as Parishes. The five
are: St Pauls, which is the largest and situated in the center of the city near
the river: St Peters: St Cuthberts: St Marys and St Johns.
The Berril Covington family moved from Bedford to Liverpool
some few years before 1852 where they got work making shoes for the army to get
money to go to America. This followed their conversion to the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints or Mormons. But their family was large so three of
them came first. The oldest daughter Mary Ann and Berril Jr emigrated in 1842.
Later the brother Simon (Simeon) came out but got as far as California and never
did rejoin his family in Utah. Josiah another brother never made it to America
but his wife and family along with Berril’s family sailed from Liverpool in
1852. They joined a wagon train and crossed the plains to Utah with most of them
walking most of the distance.
I did not know too many of my Covington relatives personally
as most of the older ones were long gone before I was old enough to care much
about those things. Also because my Grandfather Berril and most of his family
moved to Ogden, Utah which was about sixty-five miles from where we lived and
where he had first settled. In those early days we had no car and those kind of
trips were always just a dream away. And so my memories are mainly from the
stories which came to me through my mother from her mother Priscilla Covington
who was the youngest child in the family of Berrill Covington.
I do remember my grandmother Priscilla even though I was only about seven
years old when she died. My Mother always seemed to have a particular fondness
for her Covington relatives and I always thought the stories were romantic and
Of course there was the one of the valuable property left
behind which we could dream of selling and making us all rich. Then there was
the stories of Priscilla as a little girl of eight years who was brave enough to
be baptized in January in the frozen over river Ouse in the middle of the night.
This had to be done after a hole was made in the ice and at night because of the
bad feelings against the Mormon church at this time.
And then the stories she told
their long walk to Utah which I
so romantic at the time.
I remember one of our Covington cousins who had a trained
animal act which
included horses that could count and a dog that walked
a tight rope. I was
young at the time and don't remember
his first name or how he fits into the family but I have thought that he was
maybe a son of Alonzo Covington who ran a livery stable in Salt Lake City for
Simeon Covington, one of Berril's sons who remained in
California drove one of the big mule teams which were used to haul Borax out or
the desert and I
seen these things portrayed in
movies always thought this must have
taken a lot of practice and
know-how to handle three or four of these teams at once with their heavy loads.
I have always thought they must have had their share of the
spirit of adventure to leave their homes, friends, and families, and a lot of
courage to brave the perils of a new
country. And this brings to mind another of our
among the passengers of the Mayflower which brought to the
American shores the brave men and women who were to establish the first
colony in the New World.
Tillie Line which I mentioned before. Mary Tillie was the
of Elizabeth Upton who married Simon II. Mary's grandfather was a John Tillie
who with his wife Joan and his youngest daughter, along with his brother Edward
Tillie and Edward’s wife made up five of the passengers who sailed on that
famous ship in 1620. We know that
due to the fact that the Captain set them ashore in Massachussetts instead of
Virginia and in December which in Mass. is bitterly cold. And due to the fact
that the Mayflower was overcrowded and that they had to remain on board for the
rest of that cold winter that about a third of the little colony died of
malnutrition and disease that first year. John and Edward and both of their
wives were among that number. They
were about fifty years of age at the time and had left the rest of their family
in England among which was Robert Tillie the father of Mary. The daughter
Elizabeth survived and married one of the men of the colony and
have a large family of eleven children many
descendants in New England.
During the month of February in this year 1984 something very
thrilling and remarkable happened and we have become reunited with one of our
lost families who also answered the call of adventure and settled in Australia
in about 1839. The ancestor of this branch of our family was Simon the brother
of Berril and about whom we
until a letter arrived from one of his great great grandsons a Mr. Darren Foster
who through his efforts has managed to establish contact.
This branch of the family adds a new and exciting chapter to
our Covington story.
This Simon Covington who was known throughout his life as
Syms, left home perhaps soon after the death of his father which event
happened Mar 1831. His Mother had passed away about ten years earlier. At any
event we find him in
Plymouth which is a southern
in December of that
Plymouth? Perhaps the call
to adventure which is strong in
young men and he was about twenty-two years old at the time.
Here he signed on as a "Fiddler" and cabin boy on
the H.M.S. Beagle a small
Naval Brig about ninety feet
length, and carrying 74 men. It was to be a scientific gathering voyage. Also
signed on board as an expert “Naturalist” was a young man about the same age
as Syms by the name of Charles Darwin.
The Beagle sailed from Plymouth 27 December 1831 and little
did they know that before they next touched English soil they would have
circumnavigated the globe and five years would have passed. They arrived in
England 1 Oct 1836.
It was not long before Syms was
an assistant to Charles Darwin and the
two then gathered specimens of
every living thing which Charles then used to prove his Theory of Evolution and
which then became his most famous writing
"The Origin of the
One might think that young Syms would have had enough of
foreign lands and sailing, but in 1839, he was off to Australia where he married
his wife and raised a large family of nine children. He worked here as an Inn
Perhaps he had some
experience in Inn Keeping in his early days.
Since those early days back in l500’s our Covingtons have
had many and varied occupations: Inn Keeper, shoemaker, fanner, shepherd,
laborer, thatcher, postmaster, Livery-stable-keeper, trainer of animals,
mining, railroading and many
more that I don't remember or know
about. But no matter what I have a great love and respect for
part they have played in my life.
I read these words in a little
of Bedford: "Bedford on the River Ouse is a charming town full
character and steeped in History." I would like to paraphrase this to read:
The Covingtons of Bedford were charming people full of character and ever
striving to make that history."
AND YET... ANOTHER VERSION by Vaden Covington
Brief Covington Story-
From 831 A.D. to the 1976 Bicentennial
The name Covington originates from "Kolbin"
which the Norseman, Turgesin brought with him when he invaded Northern Ireland
in 831 A.D. It was translated by the Irish as "Covan." In the
migration to Scotland the name became "Cova." In the further
migration to England the name became "Cov" the name: "Ing"
meaning people and "Ton" meaning town. Thus town of Cov's people or
Covington appears in Baiamund's Roll as
"Covingtoune" - in the 1086 A.D. Domesday Book as "Covintune"
- in the 1126 A.D. Episcopal Register as "Cuvintone" and in the 1260
A.D. Assize Rolls of Huntingdonshire as "Couyngton."
The town of Covington is located 65 miles
north of London, England and 3 miles from the famed Kambolton Castle where
Catherine of Arragon was in exile, while King Henry VIII formed the Church of
England, so he could divorce her.
The Covington Church was built in Covington
in 1171 A.D. and is still used and in good repair. My wife and I were there in
1971 to help celebrate the 800th year since the Church was dedicated.
(Covington Church which has served the parish of Covington, England for over
800 years. Its fine Norman doorway and ancient heraldic glass gives a direct
link with the Norman Conquest of England. One of its early ministers was Nicol
Nehemiah de Covington, my ancestor was born
1628 A.D. in Covington, Huntingdonshire, England. Left Covington, and arrived
in Northampton, Virginia, in 1646. He was a grist mill stone cutter,
blacksmith and tobacco planter. He registered this Owl's Head Trade Mark in
Thomas Covington, son of Nehemiah registered
the "Quarter Circle above the C" brand shown here in 1691. He was a
stone cutter as were many Covington's in our line. He was the Great
Grandfather of General Leonard Covington shown later.
Many Covingtons were prominent in United
States History: here are a few that we have in our Bicentennial display at the
County Museum here in Redlands:
Benjamin Covington, General under General
George Washington in the Continental Army. Elected to Continental Convention
in 1788. Later he was granted "Plantation Acreage" and a pension by
William Covington, served as Captain in the
Virginia Colonial Army under General George Washington. He served as Adjutant
General to George Washington in the Continental Army and wrote the terms of
surrender at Yorktown. Congress granted him 2500 acres of land for his
Matthew Poythress Covington, was the
Colonial Surveyor for King George III. He joined the Continental Army and was
captured by the British. He made his escape and was later appointed to set up
the North Carolina Military Academy.
Captain Henry Covington, served under
General George Washington and married Winifred Stone, whose father was a
signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was District Judge for many
years and had a large farm on the side.
General Leonard Covington, entered the Army
in 1792, was commissioned lieutenant of Dragons in 1793. Joined Wayne's Legion
in 1794, and greatly distinguished himself in the battles of the Maumee, Fort
Recovery and the battle of Miami. Subsequently, returning to Maryland, he was
elected to Congress. He later moved to Natchez, Mississippi, where he took
command of Fort Dearborn. He later, with 600 soldiers, took possession of West
Florida, (which consisted of the now pan-handle of Florida, part of Georgia,
Alabama and Mississippi) for the United States from the English and French who
claimed it. He then retired and built a mansion at Washington, Mississippi, 6
miles from Natches, which still stands in good repair.
At the outbreak of the 1812 War with
England, General Covington re-enlisted, built and took command of Fort
Covington across the St. Laurence River from Montreal, Canada. He was killed
in the Battle of Chrysler's Field in Canada, November 11, 1813. He was buried
at Fort Covington and in 1820, was removed to Mount Covington, Sackets Harbor,
New York. Most of the places, counties and forts named Covington in the Untied
States were named in the General's honor.
James Wall Covington, my grandfather, moved
from North Carolina in 1840 to Mississippi, where he started our present
business of making grinding equipment. He made hand and foot grinders for
grinding farm tools, gem coral and sea shells for trinkets in the Indian Fur
trade. In 1848, he registered the Covington Trade Mark as shown on the front
of our catalog. During the Civil War, at the end he was broke because the
Confederate money was worthless. Things were so bad in the south that he
decided to move to California by ox teams. The Indians were on the warpath,
along the Santa Fe Trail, so he decided to take the long Mormon Trail by way
of Salt Lake City.
He loaded the bottom of the wagons with
Covington Grinders for trading stock and started out on this two year journey
(which can be made in 2 hours by air now). My father, Wm. Vaden Covington, was
one year old when they left and three years old when they arrived where
Redlands is now.
Part of each day was used to herd the oxen
for feed and hunting for food, so travel was very slow. My grandfather had a
brother in Salt Lake. He helped to make trades of Covington Grinders for
supplies and get a guide to take them through the desert to Redlands,
California. Feed for the oxen would be poor and very little hunting. Mormon
guides always insisted on feeding the Indians along the way to keep on good
terms with them, so it took extra food. My folks arrived where Redlands is now
In 1873 James Wall Covington registered this
"M T" mark in San Bernardino County which he used on his grinding
arbors and livestock. We still use this trademark and brand.
You will notice in our catalog that we are
members of the Exclusive California State 100 Year Club. That we have been
making grinding equipment in the Redlands area for over 100 years, to serve
Covington's and Dr. Gerald Smith, Director
of our San Bernardino County Museum here in Redlands invite you to visit our
display, "The Covington Story 831 A.D. to 1976"...
SUBSEQUENT TO THIS ...
I received the following e-mail in July 2007
from Victoria Chulkova
Dear Madam / Sir,
My name is Victoria Chulkova.
On your web site I have known some
information concerning the name Covington - Kolbin.
My mother's name was Tamara Kolbin. Her father was Victor Kolbin and her
grandfather was Vasiliy Kolbin. The family was living in Kotelnichi near
Viatka, Russia. The name Kolbin is very rare in Russia, as it is not Russian
one. I don't have any information when Kolbins came to Russia, and I don't
have any information about Kolbins before Mr. Vaisily Kolbin. He left Russia
in the beginning of XX century to UK and was leaving in Hornsea (York) till
his death in
Do you have any information how Kolbins got to Russia.
Thank you in advance,
Victoria Chulkova (Mrs.)
offers the following opinion,
Richmond County, NC lineage
Lineages: England Maryland North Carolina
still quite debatable who may be the English progenitor for this line.
Most accounts of the early Covingtons, both in England and in America,
include much speculation. This
author (WDB) does not consider the decent defensibly ‘proved” until
generation (7) below: William Wall ("Uncle
Billy") Covington (1777-1852).
E. Covington in a note to this author (Oct-2000) then favored the following
lineage: (1) George Covington in Bedfordshire England, through (2) George, (3)
William, (4) Peter (of Bedfordshire), (5) Henry (died MD 1744), then (6) John
who came to North Carolina. The following brief details are taken from D.E.
Covington’s book “Covingtons Remembered” (1991):
George Covington was christened 10-May-1568. This may be the George
Covington that married Elizabeth Wilbrow 13-Mar-1576. His will, dated 1613 in
the Bedfordshire parish of Turvey in England, lists 7 children, including
William Covington (d. abt 1662), a blacksmith, married Ann, and had 8
children, including Peter;
Peter Covington married Elizabeth, and had 5 children, including Henry;
Henry Covington (ch. 14-Nov-1681 in Turvey, Eng.), came to Maryland and
died 1744 in Queen Anne’s County. George
Calvert (Lord Baltimore) had established the Maryland colony.
Henry Covington was living there by 1712 on his land called
“Providence.” He died in Jul-1744, having collected a large estate. He had
seven children, including John;
John Covington, Sr., was born abt 1710, married Mary Airey at St. Luke
Church, Church Hill, MD on 31-Jul-1731. He
died abt May-1767 (Will 36ff 2-3 Queen Anne’s Co., MD).
FamilySearch files favor an alternate descent (used in this database):
John COVINGTON (AFN:19ZX-S4G)
Nehemiah COVINGTON (AFN:L8V8-60)
Born: 1628 Place:
Coventry, Huntingdonshire, England
Died: 1681 Place:
Great Monie Crk, Somerset, Md
Buried: Place: Covington's
V., Somerset, Maryland
Married: Jul 1667 Place:
Covington's V., Great Monie Cr., Somerset, Maryland
Born: 1628 Place:
Of, Covington's V., Somerset, Maryland
Died: 1678 Place:
Of, Covington's V., Somerset, Maryland
Married: Jul 1667 Place:
Covington's V., Great Monie Cr., Somerset, Maryland
Thomas COVINGTON (AFN:L8V8-9H)
Born: 10 May 1670
Place: Great Monie Crk,
Died: 30 May 1670 Place:
, Kent, Md
Buried: 1715 Place:
St Paul's Church, Kent, Md
Abt 1690 Place:
, Kent, Md
Born: 1672 Place:
Of, , Kent, Maryland
Buried: Place: St.
Pauls Church, Kent, Md
Married: Abt 1690 Place:
, Kent, Md
Henry COVINGTON (AFN:L8V7-ZS)
Born: 1693 Place:
, Kent, Md
31 Jul 1744 Place:
Providence, Queen Annes, Md
Buried: 31 Jul 1744 Place:
, Queen Annes, Maryland
Married: 1712 Place:
, Queen Annes, Md
Born: 1700 Place:
Of, Church Hill, Queen Annes, Md
Died: Aft 31 1744 Jul Place:
, Queen Ann, Maryland
Buried: Place: St.
Pauls Church, Queen
another source (http://home.swbell.net/jwjean/covington.htm)
gives the emigrant ancestors as: (1) William Covington b. abt 1585 in England,
and d. 22-May-1674 in Essex Co., VA. This source states that William came to
America with Lord Baltimore in 1634. This
source gives a further descent as (2) John, Sr., then (3) John, Jr., with
John, Jr., being the father of (4) Henry Covington (abt 1674-1744) of Queen
Anne’s County, MD.
Mildred Covington Sossaman in her memoir traces her William Covington (ca
1753-1816) line back to Henry Covington (1744 will, Queen Anne’s Co, MD),
through his son William born ca 1720 (Queen Anne’s Co, MD), and died after
1789 (will, Richmond Co., NC). She notes that there were multiple Covington
lines, which had often intermarried. Sorting
out the early generations of Covington is probably impossible, and often is
based more on “legends and lore.”
of Richmond County, NC
J.E. & I.C. Huneycutt (1976), “A History of Richmond County”
Early families of Richmond County: “The Covington, Everett, Cole, Dockery,
Webb and McDonald families were among the earliest settlers; and the
Covington’s probably have the best claim to aristocracy, having been members
of Lord Baltimore’s settlement in Maryland.”
63ff: The Covington families (by Elizabeth Williams Covington)
indicate a William Covington who may have come to the Richmond County area in
1743. “They are directly descended from Henry Covington who came to Queen
Anne’s Co., Maryland, in 1760. Two
of his children came to Richmond County with their families – William, who
married Sarah Newman and then after her death Rachel Thomas, and a daughter
Sarah who married a Richardson.
son of Henry was John who married Mary Airy in Maryland.
While they did not come to Richmond County, their ten children did. From these ten came many other family names in Richmond
these fine families came many substantial citizens in the Ellerbe-Norman
Section, the Zion community where Uncle Billy or William Wall Covington was
the leader, .. (etc.). The
Covington descendants are the Walls, Everetts, Hunters, Capels, Baldwins,
Gibsons, Terrys, Throwers, Ingrams, ledbetters, Coles, Littles, Dunns,
Thomases, Masons, Usserys, Ropers, Crawfords, Kellys, Leaks, Thompsons,
Steeles, Entwistles, Baltons, Smiths, Ellerbes, Nichols, Haywoods, Webbs,
Watsons, Bosticks, Parsons, and Hudsons and probably others.
compiled genealogies for the Covington’s of Anson and Richmond County, NC,
are based upon the biographical sketches of Captain William Everett, which
were published in the Rockingham Post Dispatch, Richmond Co., Volume 10, No.
35, July 21, 1927. Some other
Covington researchers have criticized some of the speculative assignments in
these sketches, and some errors have been found (as would be true for all
extensive compiled genealogies). Capt.
Everett begins with the traditional “three brothers” fable: “Tradition
has it that there were three brothers bearing the above name (Covington) who
came to Maryland from England with Lord Baltimore in 1632.”
Further opinion as to the true root of the Covington
name appears in a file contributed for use in
by: Joy Fisher email@example.com February 4, 2008,
Author: B. F. Johnson with references to Charles Manley Covington (ref 11477 in
Covington History database files)
"The Covington family goes back to a very ancient period in both Scotland and
England. The Scottish founder of the family was said to have been Colban, who
nourished about the year 1120. From him came the local name of the parish which
in 1190 was called Colbani. In 1212 it appears on the record as Colbaynistun. In
1396 it is called Colbanstoun. In 1480 it appears as Covington. This evolution
in names and variations in spelling are very common in all of our English and
Scotch names. The original meaning of the name was Col, black, ban, bone or leg.
Colban, therefore, was "the blacklegged." In those days in Scotland the men wore
kilts, and were bare as to the greater part of the leg. It is therefore clear
that Colban was of dark skin, and as the majority of those around him had fair
skin it was very natural for them to seize upon this personal peculiarity by
which to designate him, tthis being a custom in all primitive nations. This is
the Scotch derivation. The English family originated in Huntingtonshire of that
country. The early name was Coventon, afterwards changed into Covington. Coven
or Covan was derived from the Latin conventus, a convent, and Coventon or
Coventon thus means a convent town, the family evidently taking its name from
some convent town. The old form of Coventon survived down to the seventeenth
century, and Covent Garden, London, is a relic of this old spelling. In England
while the family name was spelled Coventon, a coat-of-arms was granted which is
described as follows: "Az. fretty argules a saltier parted of the last between
four estoiles or." Crest. "An heraldic tiger rampant gu. semee of estoiles armed
and tufted or, supporting a tilting spearppre." Motto, "Invidere
The family history in America is rather obscure. One Thomas Coventon (who later
spelled his name Covington) came from England and settled at Plymouth, about
1740. He was a master mariner, and retiring from the sea purchased large
property in Old Plymouth. A younger brother, Jacob Covington, inherited his
property. This family appears to have died out entirely in New England. Another
branch settled in Franklin county, New York State, and changed the name of old
Fort Springs Mills to Fort Covington. The Maryland family appears to be the
oldest in this country, and is beyond all reasonable doubt the parent stock of
all the southern Covingtons. These Maryland Covingtons came over at the first
settling of that colony by Lord Baltimore. The family tradition has it that
there were three brothers. The North Carolina and Virginia families are both
believed to have been descended from these, and it is a tradition in the North
Carolina family that two brothers, descended from one of the original Maryland
settlers, came to Rockingham prior to 1776. These two brothers were John and
William. A third brother settled in Covington, Ky., and gave his name to the
town. Terrell Covington, father of the three brothers in Florida, was a
descendant of John. A favorite name in the Maryland family was Leonard. Rebecca
Covington, daughter of Leonard, married in 1750 Lieutenant Benjamin Mack-all,
who was one of the earlist Maryland patriots and suffered much from Tory
persecutions. John R. Covington, a member of the Maryland family, became a
gunner in the navy, and died in 1840. Erasmus F., of the Kentucky family, was a
lieutenant in the regular United States Army, and died in 1833. General Leonard
Covington, of Maryland, born the thirtieth of October, 1768, entered the regular
army as a Lieutenant under Anthony Wayne in 1792, was a captain in 1795,
resigned late in that year, served in the Maryland Legislature in 1805-1807,
re-entered the army in 1809 as a Lieutenant-Colonel, was a Brigadier-General in
the War of 1812, and fell mortally wounded at the battle of Chrysler's Field, on
November n, 1813, leaving behind a record which entitled him to be classed not
only as a gallant, but as a most capable soldier. Another prominent member,
Judge Alexander Covington, of Mississippi, who died October 16, 1848, aged
seventy-one, went from Virginia to Mississippi where he lived for forty years,
was a Christian gentleman, charitable, hospitable, and of rare colloquial
powers. It will thus be seen that the family is of ancient origin, has been long
settled in our country, and has made an honorable record."
Extracted from: FLORIDA EDITION, MAKERS OF AMERICA, AN HISTORICAL AND
BIOGRAPHICAL WORK BY AN ABLE CORPS OF WRITERS VOL. III. Published under the
patronage of The Florida Historical Society, Jacksonville, Florida
"OUR KIN" by W.H.Manning Jr & Edna Anderson
Published in 1958, this book contains a
significantly detailed section on the Covington tree. Some of it is definitely
inaccurate but nevertheless worthy of a read. This pdf format copy was sent to
me by Duncan Covington
Cvngtn@aol.com in May 2012 and can be
accessed by clicking on this link OUR KIN PDF
COVINGTON DNA RESEARCH
Recent correspondence has put me in touch with one Dr Dan Wharton from the
Thomas Covington(1605 line) - he writes
" Offering to coordinate a Covington DNA
project, employing "molecular genealogy" to explore the connections
between the various Covington lineages. The Y chromosome is inherited
biologically from father to son in the way that surnames are
"inherited" from father to son culturally. By analyzing a set of
genes on the Y chromosome, it is possible to see which same-surname lines are
connected by common paternal line descent vs. those that only represent a
coincidence of surname use. This can be a tremendous help for Covington
genealogists at a records impasse.The DNA test requires the sampling of male
Covingtons only but female Covingtons and maternal line descendants can also
employ the technique by getting cooperation from brothers, uncles or cousins.
Sampling is handled easily and conveniently through the mail. Five or more
participants allow for substantial discounts on the analysis. For more
information, please contact Dan Wharton by e-mail at:
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