I am absolutely certain that my Mother's statement is correct, that the original Hepburn, James, settled in Donegal about 1680, that his son Samuel was born there, and thenceforth the succession of events is without question. I am strengthened in this belief by statements made to me by Mr. Geo. A. Hepburn of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co, also of Donegal ancestry though he does not claim direct relationship, who has reason to believe the race originated from a Scottish coventer by the name of James Hepburn, who, with the other members of his family, settled in Donegal about the time I have mentioned.
Their reports to their father in Donegal were sufficiently optimistic to induce Samuel Hepburn to set sail for America with his two younger sons. Mrs. Hepburn and her daughter Janet remained in Donegal waiting a final adjustment of affairs. The older Hepburn fully concurred in his sons' plans and decided to make his future home in this country. The younger son was sent to Donegal to wind up affairs and return with his mother and sister.
Here occurred a tragedy. The ship bearing the Hepburn party was wrecked off the Jersey Coast. Mother and daughter were drowned. John Hepburn, an athlete and strong swimmer, managed to reach the mainland in an exhausted condition. By the irony of fate, another vessel, on which were stowed the personal belongings of the family, arrived safely in Philadelphia. Many of the relics of this ancient migration, a few of which are in the writer's possession, indicate a graceful home life in the old Donegal homestead. As late as 1861 or 1862 the garret of my late grandfathers house in Philadelphia was filled with ancient Hepburn paraphernalia. Among them were the military equipment of the first Hepburn of whom we have certain knowledge, James, the father of Samuel. The blunderbuss, swords, pistols, highland garb, were all there. My mother and i Were on a visit from California and she showed and explained to me these antiquities. Some she brought home with her on our return, but to my great regret overlooked the blunderbuss, the swords and horse pistols. It may be said in passing that the ancient family mementos were concentrated in the possession of James Hepburn and his son of he same name, my grandfather. James and his father (Samuel) were never separated after their arrival in America. Naturally the effects were transferred from Philadelphia to Northumberland. My grandfather lived in the house where he was born until he move to Baltimore, after which the old house was virtually abandoned. It is natural conclusion that he removed the furniture, etc., to his new home and thence to Philadelphia. The final dispersal came in 1868, when my grandmother Hepburn died. Her daughter, Emma, who had been the companion of her old age, Prepared to join her two sisters in California, part of the contents Of the house were sold, some given away, and some shipped to California vía Cape Horn. I never heard what became of the blunderbuss.
From the combined issue of James and William have descended many men who have shone often brilliantly ín nearly all the activities of modern life, and many women of personal charms who were always faithful mothers and wives.
-0- * Grandson of Samuel Hepburn