The following are notes and photos focusing on the descendants of Alexander Cleveland (c.1645-1683) reportedly from the ancient parish King’s Stanley in Gloucestershire County, England prior to arriving in Virginia.
Alexander Cleveland and his wife Dorcas settled in Blue Run, Orange County, VA and then Bull Run in Prince William County, VA. Their second child, Alexander Cleveland Jr., was born in Orange County, VA on 6/31/1659.
Alexander Cleveland Jr. married Mildred “Millie” Presley (b. 1667) and they raised six children in VA.
Alexander Jr. purportedly died on 8/15/1770 when he was 111 years old. It is said that Millie died three days before her husband, on 8/12/1770.
Alexander Cleveland Jr. and Millie’s second child Harrison Cleveland married Sarah Richards and they raised four children in VA. Harrison died in 1829 while traveling to Berkeley County, Charlestown, VA on a business trip. Berkeley County, Charlestown, VA is now known as Charles Town, WV (Berkeley County).
Harrison and Sarah Cleveland’s son John Henry Cleveland was reportedly born in Winchester, VA in 1811. As an adult, John Henry Cleveland settled down in Washington, DC and married Nancy Ann Shields Walker (born: 11/25/1811 Fairfax, VA). John and Nancy married on 4/2/1839 or 4/3/1839 in Washington, DC. They could both read and write and raised a family of five at 170 Bridges Street in Georgetown. John Henry died on 6/11/1852 in DC.
Nancy “Ann” Cleveland operated a boarding house out of her large home for the rest of her life with the help of her son, James William, and her daughter-in-law, Margaret. Ann Cleveland passed away on 8/1/1888 and is buried next to John Henry in Holy Rood Cemetery in DC.
James William Cleveland was born in 1844 in DC to John Henry and Ann Cleveland. In the 1880 Census, James William Cleveland was still living on Bridge Street and his occupation was Fireman. He died on 5/4/1881 in Washington, DC at the age of 37. James is buried next to his parents and his wife in Holy Rood Cemetery, Washington, DC.
On March 28, 1864 James William Cleveland married Margareth (Margaret) Harp (Born in VA 1845 and her parents were born in VA) Note: This is NOT the Margaret Harp that has been publicized by some as being ours. That Margaret Harp was born in MD, had a twin sister, and the girl’s parents were both born in Maryland. These twin girls were four years younger than our Margaret Harp. (I have proof of this person mix-up on file but have not corrected other claims as of this notation.)
Our Margaret Harp Cleveland’s mother was named Margareth Harp (Born in VA circa 1822), died in DC on 4/13/1876, and was buried on 4/14/1876 in the Presbyterian Cemetery in DC. It is important to note that WV did not secede from the Confederate state of Virginia until the year 1861. Vital records prior to 1861 may well point to WV and not VA.
In the 1860 DC census, Margareth Harp was thirty-eight years old, born in VA circa 1822, listed as a Widow who was living with the Richard Walker family along with her daughter Margaret Harp, twenty years of age, and her daughter Ellen Harp, seventeen years of age. In the 1870 census, Ellen Harp was married to John R. McKinley, a thirty-one year old brick molder, and they had two babies. Ellen couldn’t write, reported that she was twenty-one years old, and born in VA. They live in the 4th Ward of Georgetown along with other McKinley family members William and Susan, both 60 years of age, and a Joseph, a brick mason at twenty-one years of age.
James William Cleveland and Margaret Harp Cleveland were the parents of seven children. Their first child, John Robert Cleveland, was born November 28, 1865 in DC and he died in 1937 in NJ.
In the 1890 DC Census John Robert Cleveland reported working as a Fireman/Engineer in DC. In those days, that was one of several possible job titles given to men who kept the coal furnaces/boilers going and handled the maintenance of the equipment. However, there were several fire departments in DC at that time with a number of paid firefighters. It is possible that he and his father were paid employees in one of the DC fire departments.
In Montgomery County, MD in April of 1892 John Robert Cleveland married Johanna Louise Kane (DOB: 7/26/1865). Johanna’s parents were: Thomas Kane b.1830 and Margaret Quill b. 1834 in County Kerry, Ireland. They settled in DC, raised a family, and were parishioners of St. Aloysius in their Northwest DC neighborhood for the remainder of their lives.
On 11/1/1892, James William Cleveland was born in Georgetown, Washington, DC. By 1896, I found reference of Johanna being referred to as a widow. Johanna, who typically was called Jo, began using the name Josephine in the late 1890s. Josephine and her son James William Cleveland lived with Raymond A. Mahoney in Georgetown for a number of years. James William Cleveland’s nickname in school was “Murphy.” James was a remarkable young man and a loving son. He was a bright student, an excellent gymnast, and loved playing baseball. James was an athlete and played baseball with the amateur baseball team Northern Organization Central League in Washington, DC. “Billy Cleveland” was apparently an awesome third sacker whom Clark Griffith scouted as a future player for the Washington Ball Club the Washington Nationals (Washington Senators.)
In 1893, John Robert Cleveland was living in Asbury Park, NJ and opened a plumbing business there. John Robert married another Irish Catholic girl in 1898. Her name was Nellie (1870-1952). John and Nellie had a daughter whom they named Margaret and then their son Frank was born in 1905. John’s wife, Nellie, immigrated to the US from Ireland in 1896 with her parents. John Robert Cleveland and Nellie lived on Asbury Ave. in Asbury Park, NJ. John Robert and Nellie are buried in St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Sea Girt, Monmouth Co., NJ.
Frank Cleveland was a plumber by trade throughout his life. Frank served in the Navy during WWII. He was stationed in DC for a short while during the war, but his ship deployed from CA. Frank was honorably discharged when the war ended. Frank married and lived his life in Asbury Park, NJ. Frank and his wife Helen are buried next to his parents in St. Catherine’s Cemetery. I found no reference to their having a child. John Robert and Nellie’s daughter Margaret (b.1902) was a bookkeeper during her career. I found no record of her marrying or having children. Margaret spent her last days in a retirement home in FL.
In 1910 (DC Census) Margaret Harp Cleveland was listed as 65 years old (DOB 1845) with parents born in VA. Margaret Harp Cleveland lives with her youngest daughter Ida M. Cleveland (42 years of age) and her husband, William E. Reynolds (56 years old), and their children on Volta Place in Precinct #7 DC.
Margaret Ann Harp Cleveland died on 2/1/1911 after a five day illness with pneumonia. Margaret lived with her daughter Ida Reynolds at 30th St., NE in DC. Margaret was buried on 2/3/1911 in Holy Rood Cemetery next to her husband James William Cleveland.
Josephine Kane Cleveland’s son, James William Cleveland, was raised a Catholic but he wanted to marry Irene Pee, a local girl who was a Methodist, whom he loved. The Catholic Church did not approve of their union. James and Irene drove to Reverend Charles Eyster’s (1857-1926) house in Baltimore, MD. He was the first pastor of the First German United Evangelical Church. On 12/27/1915 James William Cleveland and Maude Irene Pee were married in a quiet, private ceremony. James and Irene raised their eight wonderful children as Episcopalians.
James and Irene lived with his Mother for a few years in Washington, DC and then moved to a lovely house off of Connecticut Ave., in Chevy Chase, MD for a short while before settling in a large, beautiful home in Garrett Park, MD where they lived the rest of their lives. Maude Irene Pee Cleveland (1896-1981) worked as a telephone operator for the Bell Phone System - American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) in Washington, DC before her first child was born.
Throughout James Williams’ career he was an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Chief Paymaster of the Shoreham Hotel in DC, Manager of the Tacoma Park Theatre on 4th St., NW DC, and a restaurant owner. His children were allowed to see a lot of movies at the theater! Irene was an excellent pianist and saw to it that all four of her daughters took their piano lessons and practiced until they, too, became skilled pianists. Their children excelled in sports and art which served them well as their lives unfolded. James and Irene opened a restaurant in 1941, giving their three unmarried daughters and three older sons an opportunity to have hands on business experience. James was a Mason, respected businessman, and an admired family man. The motto of Freemasonry is: “Better men make a better world.”
James and Irene bought a cottage near Woodland Beach and Annapolis, MD where the entire family spent their summers boating, swimming, and enjoying life! During WWII, James and Irene’s sons Tech Sergeant James William Cleveland Jr. and Corporal John Robert Cleveland served in the Army and Coxswain Richard Allen Cleveland served in the Coast Guard. Their youngest son, Alton Bee Cleveland, served in the Coast Guard when he reached enlistment age and attained the rank of Seaman 1st class during WWII. James William Cleveland Sr. passed away on 10/26/1946 from complications of nonalcoholic liver cirrhosis esophageal varices bleeding.
Following James’ death, son Richard and his wife, Estelle, bought the family house. They provided a loving home for Irene, raised five children, and lived happily together for the rest of her life. Although devastated by her husband’s death, Irene Cleveland carried on as her family’s matriarch and anchor over the next thirty-five years of her life. She was a remarkable woman and a joy to her children, many grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She never dated or remarried, as she felt no one could ever hold a candle to the love of her life.