Sheriff-Shreve.html Origin of SHERIFF-SHREVE -- 1624-2002

There are many theories about the origin of the SHERIFF/SHREVE surname. However, there is no documentation to prove a nationality with any of these theories... One observation in documenting the SHERIFF/SHREVE Family to date is that they were a very active and close-knitted family and not afraid of moving on or adapting to their environment. With their entrance into America the Quaker Shreve ancestors had arrived in Rhode Island prior to 1620 and benefited from Roger Williams' advocacy of religious freedom. in the 1600's, they have fanned out across the United States.

  • Origins in England...


    In old England, 10 familie sequaled a tithing…ten tithings equaled a shire….Each shire elected a shire…. Each shire elected a reeve… That “shire-reeve” came to be known as a “sheriff.” Sherrif was a contraction for the term Shire Reeve. He was the shire law enforcement officer for the king. This theory portrays the SHERIFF family origin in Rugby, Warwickshire England. This is the most prominent theory accepted and the most widely published. The SHERIFF family resided in England during the time of the religious persecution and it is believed they were Quakers. In 1600’s because of religious persecution and fear of death, the family left England and migrated west. Some believe they may have been in Holland/The Netherlands because of the marriage of Oara Oara the daughter of a wealthy nobleman to William Shreve. History has been linked very closely with the Pilgrims and Puritans at Plymouth and Rhode Island. It has been represented that William and Oara Oara Shreve may have escaped because of an unreconcilable parent so they took refuge in America from England aboard the ships carrying the families coming to Plymouth in the early 1620’s. They may have stayed in the Isle of Wight and their son came to the Rhode Island Colony

  • Ancient Origins...

  • This theory portrays the Sheriff/Shreve family origin from Italy, others that they came from Greece, yet others that they were native of Southeastern Europe. To account in these cases for the name, which is apparently English, it is said they changed it when migrating to England, or, that it was originally Sheriff, a name that formerly was not uncommon in Greece, but was of Mohammedan origin, signifying, first a descendant of Mahomet, and after, a nobleman. Afterwards arriving in England and being knighted Sir William Shreve; he may have been an Englishman who had been sent on some service in Italy or Greece by his government and was rewarded for his conduct by a knighthood. Many cultures were an important influence on society at this time


    According to our family DNA I do believe West Asia or Turkey (Black Sea) is where our Shreve kindred started out. Like our Warden family, they probably made their way north with the Roman army to Great Britain. William Warden, brother to Cyrus E Warden, and his ethnicity shows the following: west asia 1% middle east 1% Europe 99% ireland 46% europe west 35% Great Britain 7% iberian peninsula 6% scandinavia 4% europe east 1% italy/Greece <1%

    Two of our grandchildren have a trace of <1% West Asia. West Asia < 1% Caucasus < 1%


    From Wikipedia, The Caucasus or Caucasia is a region at the border of Europe and Asia, situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. It is home to the Caucasus Mountains. white/European people = caucasian. It goes back to German anthropologist Friedrich Blumenbach. In his work in the late 1700s and early 1800s, Blumenbach divided Homo sapiens into five distinct races based on their physical characteristics. There was the Mongolian, or “yellow,” race, the red American race, the brown Malayan race, the black Ethiopian race, and the white Caucasian race.

  • My Thoughts...

  • I believe that there is an element of truth in all of the above theories. Surnames evolved from descriptive identification, which was once recorded in various accounts of taxation, fines, church registers and other accepted documents. However, surnames were not considered hereditary until sometime after the 14th century. It was not unusual for people to migrate to other countries and lands to attain religious freedom or begin a new life. In observing the SHERIFF migration in America since 1624, most SHERIFF families remained ever the pioneer, moving on to better themselves. I have also observed through tracing the genealogy of many of the early SHERIFF families that the SHERIFF family heritage was tied very closely with the Plymouth Settlement and Little Compton, Rhode Island as well as the Society of Friends. Most of the early SHERIFF families married English Quaker families and were involved with the Society of Friends. It should be noted that the son Caleb changed the name to SHREVE after coming to New Jersey...


    Whatever the outcome, the SHREVE family should be proud of its heritage. We came to this country in its early years and have maintained a presence for nearly 380 years and beyond according to our own family dna. Our ancestor, William and son Thomas were definitely adventurers and pioneers, which is proven by their migration through Europe to America. Caleb Shreve settled in New Jersey after 1680 and was part of the early settlement of that state as well. SHERIFF descendants were also active in the American Revolution fighting alongside the patriots for our freedom. Many major battles fought in New Jersey were fought in areas where they lived, so they would not only have been involved in the fighting but also providing food and services to the patriots. I think it is exciting to belong to a family that has a nearly 380-year heritage of being Americans. It is exciting to see what research efforts have uncovered in Europe!


    Caleb Shreve descendant Col. Israel Shreve, Rev. War soldier, left a well documented journal of his move from Burlington, New Jersey westward. Thanks to Judy Starkey for transcribing and sharing the following journal

  • Journal of travel from Township of Mansfield, County of Burlington in the State of New Jersey to the Township of Rostover, Westmoreland, State of Pennsylvaia
  • Party consisting of the following persons: Israel Shreve, Mary, his wife, Kezia, Hester, Israel; George Greene, Rebecca and Henry - with John Fox and James Starkey; 3 two horse wagons and 3 cows; Wm Shreve and Rhoda, his wife, 2 children, Anna and Richard; Joseph Beck and Sarah his wife and their children, Benjamin, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Henry, Joseph and Ann with one 3 horse wagon; Daniel Hervey and Sarah his wife and their child Job with a mulatto boy named Thomas; Joseph and Ann Wheatly, John Shelvill, one 3 and one 2 horse wagon and a cow (29 souls in all)


  • Monday, July 7, 1788
  • Set out and crossed the Delaware River at Doukses Ferry when we parted with a number of our relations and friends who had accompanied us and continued on the Sign of Gen'l. Washington, 1 ½ miles today, here stayed all night, rainy night


  • Tuesday, July 8, 1788
  • Set out early - halted in City of Phila. Several hours getting "necessaries" - left Phila - passed the Schuylkill over a bridge at the Middle Ferry. Halted on hill on other side, set out again and halted at the sign of the Buck - 21 miles today, stayed overnight


  • Wednesday, July 9

    Set out at sunrise, Daniel Hervey and wife being unwell halted and breakfasted at the sign of the Spread Eagle - here for the first time boiled our tea kettle. Set out again but hindered by having 2 horse shoes put on - rain all day - halted at Downingtown, stayed all night - 22 miles today


  • Thursday, July 10
  • Set out again - hindered by getting forage (?) at Mill - over exceedingly muddy - bad roads, halted and dined at Caleb Ways, have perceived the black mare badly foundered - drenched her with salt and water and sent her to the light wagon - went on and halted at the sign of the "Mariners Compass", kept by a Mr. Taylor, in Pegua Valley - 13 ½ mi. today only - occasioned by bad roads and crossing the South mountains - one of my wagons drove by James Starkey, over setting bottom up. Our women much fatigued by walking. Sarah Hervey walked 8 ½ mi. over hill at one heat


  • Friday, July 11
  • Set out over roads full of bad mud holes. Halted and breakfast at Sign of the Hat kept by Andrew Coldwell, hindered this AM by repairing wheel clasp around felloe (?) - went over muddy roads to George Anisley at the head of the great spring, sign of the Bird-in-Hand - dined. Set out again and crossed the Conestoga Creek - two miles from Lancaster - all cheery and in good spirits - 17 miles today. Stayed all night - height of harvest - observed wheat - bad in general - being killed by severity of weather - much mildew


  • Saturday, July 12
  • Set out early - halted in Lancaster - had one new horse shoe put on - breakfasted late, went on again - halted at Scotts Mills - dined in the woods - went on again and were obliged to halt at a private home - paraded our beds in a barn - this did not set well. Daniel went on to Elizabethtown in the night - 16 mi. today


  • Sunday, July 13
  • Set out and halted at Elizabethtown at the sign of the Bear by Alexander Boggs. Here John Gastore and wife overtook us on their way home to the Monongahela River - only 4 mi. today


  • Monday, July 14
  • Set out at sunrise, halted, breakfasted at Middletown, in sight of the Susquehanna River - kept on to Chambers Ferry - crossed over to Capt. Simpson's - set out again and forded a rapid creek called Yellow Bruches (?). Very mirey roads - halted at Pattersons Tavern - stayed all night - 8 mi. today. Good, level land - wheat appears to have plenty of straw but mildewed and rusty from Susquehanna to Lancaster


  • Tuesday, July 15
  • Set out again, passed over exceeding good level land - halted and dined at Carlisle - lost my dog. Set out again over level roads but full of bad mud holes - rainey night - halted Robt. Simples Tavern - 22 miles today


  • Wednesday, July 16
  • Set out again and halted at Mr. Crackens tavern at head of Great Spring and breakfasted. Road better than yesterday, on to Shippensburg, halted and dined at Capt. Scotts Tavern (when dining at taverns always made use of our own provisions). Set out again in hard rain - by advice took the right road that lead over the three hills lately opened and made by a Mr. Skinner from Jersey - halted again at Joseph Fenleys Tavern at the sign of the Ball - 19 miles today - roads level but muddy in places - rain


  • Thursday, July 17
  • Set out and halted at Coopers Tavern at the foot of first hill called Blue Mountain and breakfasted - all in good health and high spirits - crops good and plenty - free from mildew and rust, then ends the good land until over all the hills except in spots, and here began sorrow. Set out and ascended the first mountain so steep that we were obliged to double the teams to get up and very stony going down the other side in this valley crossed a creek called Cannogoguinop (sp), halted at said Mr. Skinner's who made the road. A hard rain coming on and our horses much worried we stopped the afternoon, stayed all night. Joseph Beck's daughter, Ann, was taken sick - 8 mi. today


  • Friday, July 18
  • Set out again and rose the second hill called the North Mountain, this as steep and stoney as the first, at the west fork forded a creek in Path Valley, went on and halted at a tavern. Landlord drunk - a Mr. Noble and the landlady on a bed nursing the landlord who was fast asleep, this place affords neither forage or water and whiskey nearly out. Coming down the last hill Daniel Hervey left his stallion to follow the wagon, the horse took an old path and caused several hours search before he was found - stripped of all his gear except his collar - consisting of a new blind bridle, a pair of leather lines, harness, back and belly bands and one iron trace, the other having been taken to lock the wagon. Set out again about 2 o'clock P.M. and ascended the third hill called Tuscarora Mt. which is much steeper than the others. At or near the top there are several cabins, an old woman living in one very ill. At the west fork of this third hill is a good farm - went on a mile farther to Mr. Gimmerson's - who keeps a tavern and store of goods, which he sells as cheap for hard cash as such goods are sold in Jersey for paper money. Here I had the misfortune to break one of my wagon wheels, sent it on 5 mi. to be repaired this eve. 8 mi. today. This place is called the Burnt Cabins where the old road that passes through Chamberstown (Chambersburg) comes into the old Road said to be twenty miles farther than the new one, but much better and shuns (?) two of the 3 hills just mentioned Our women complain heavily on account of being obliged to walk on foot over the mountains


  • Saturday, July 19
  • Set out about eleven o'clock all but the disabled wagons and passed over barren sideling roads, halted at Capt. Bird's at Fort Littleton - 5 mi. today - one or 2 good farms in this valley, here stayed for wagon wheel which was not finished till evening


  • Sunday, July 20
  • Sent the repaired wheel to the wagon - hindered further by shoeing horses - set out over barren roads good, but much gullied - halted in the woods at a Run of Good Water at the foot of Sideling Hill - 13 mi. today, stayed all night - heavy complaints among the women


  • Monday, July 21
  • Set out Sideling Hill up a new road made by Skinner, halted on the top and breakfasted at Henry Livingston's Tavern - went on over exceedingly stoney roads to Ray's Hill, then cut saplings and chained to our wagons, this hill steep gullied and very stony. Skinner's men at work making a new road down, we continued on to the crossings of the Juniata, forded the river - halted on the hill at a Col. Martin's Tavern. Landlord nor lady at home, no feed but 2 Rye Sheaves cut up for which I paid 9 d, the girls of the house were uncouth and surly - went on and halted at Cabin Tavern, kept by a Jersey Dutchman; 12 mi. today. Road from Martin's barren and bad sideling hill, one felloe of my wagon gave way, Mr. Shreve put in a new one


  • Tuesday, July 22
  • Set out after breakfast, went on and passed through Bedford, halted for a horseshoe - went on 4 miles further and halted at John bonnet's Tavern at the forks of the old Pennsylvania and Glade Roads - 15 miles today. There is an excellent farm with more than 100 acres of best meadowland. Joseph Beck's child very ill - stayed overnight


  • Wednesday, July 23 - 1788
  • Set out late in the A.M. over poor country, in evening halted at a poor Dutch Hut where the landlady was very angry with D.H. for pulling a radish. Nothing at this tavern but whiskey and gnats - 13 miles today


  • Thursday, July 24
  • Set out and passed on five miles to the fork of the Allagana (Allegheny?) Mountain, having now passed twelve miles along dry ridge and seen but two or 3 houses which are very poor - went on and ascended the mountain which is nothing of a hill to what we have passed, halted and dined a little off the road on the hill, very rainy, we then proceeded on from the Allegana one mile into the glades and halted at Christian Spiker's where we stayed the remainder of the day - 11 P.M. Ann, daughter of Joseph Beck passed away - departed this life to the great grief of her parents - 13 mi. today


  • Friday, July 25
  • Sent to Berlin for a coffin which arrived in the evening, when the child was decently buried in Mr. Spiker's burying ground - stayed all night - still raining by spells


  • Saturday, July 26
  • Hired Geo. Panakie and two horses to put before my heaviest wagon for 8 - 4 ($8.4 (?)) per day and find him and horses. Set out - halted at blacksmith's, had 2 clasps put on wagon and one horse shod. Set out and halted at Mr. Black's, here is a family waiting for Judsims (?), went on, taking a right hand road at an empty cabin on account of the other road being cut so much by heavily loaded wagons, halted and dined at one Jacob Louts, went on and halted at a Dunken called Perkey, 15 mi. today - the land in the glades we passed - poor


  • July 27
  • Set out and after going a few hundred yards missed the most material part of Daniel Hervey's property, it having gone on before and taken a wrong road, a hue and cry was raised when to his great joy it was found unhurt. We passed on and began to rise Laurel Hill, halted and breakfasted at a run of water. Set out again and ascended to the top of the mountain over miry and stony roads, then soon began to descend first down a short steep hill, then a long gradual descent through chestnut Brush, the timber appearing to have been killed by fire sometime before. Huckleberries here as well as in many places before very plainly on the low green bushes. The road down is over logs and stones enough to dash all to pieces. At length we arrived at a house in Legenear (Ligonier) Valley it being Sunday and rain coming on, stayed the afternoon and all night. Women fatigued by walking over the mountain


  • Monday, July 18 - 1788
  • Set out and after passing 3 miles halted and breakfasted. Set out again and found the steepest hill we had met with, in going up Chestnut Hill were obliged to put 6 horses to some of the heaviest wagons - raining hard. Descend the ridge and came into the other road so miry as to sink the wagons to the hub in many places. Stopped at blacksmith's to have a new shoe put on one of the horses. Set out again and met Joseph Wood on his way to Jersey from Little Kenbanay, he informed me a house was ready for me in the forks of Youghaina, went on and was overtaken by John Fox with news that one of Daniel Hervey's wagons had broken down. I halted at John Bennet's Jr; it being the first house over the mountain. In the evening all the wagons arrived except Daniel Hervey's 2. 12 miles today. Last evening on his way to Mr. Bennet's Dan Hervey got off the road - being dark was unable to find it again, being forced to take lodging in the woods till daybreak. Sarah Hervey and Sarah Beck walked 6 miles over very bad roads this afternoon and arrived very weary


  • July 29 - 1788

    Sent for D. Hervey's broken wagon and had a new axle tie put in. We are now clear of the mountains over which we have with much difficulty got so far safely, except the misfortune of losing the child Ann. The Allagania Mts. The back bone of America or the United States is easy to ascend being the long gradual ascent up Dry Ridge. Upon it, especially on the east side are large white pines in great plenty. The glade is a high country or piece of land 18 mi. wide: between this and the Laurel Mountain the road for many mi. is through chestnut timber, such as I never before saw for size and height. As many rails could be cut per acre as in best swamp in Jersey. Land is of little value except for timber


  • Wednesday, July 30
  • Set out halted and breakfasted at Mr. Robeson's, went on through a settlement on good level land for this country - stopped and dined within four miles of Budd's Ferry, here found a Mr. Brent with a large family from Huntendon in Jersey bound for Kentucky, went 2 miles further and found Moses Juttle waiting for Judge Symmes, went on again and forded Youghagaina River, water so high came into wagons - going amiss. Halted and stayed all night in Budd's Ferry. We are now in the forks. Here I rec'd Col. Bayard's letter of instructions where to find the house prepared for me - 14 miles today


  • Thursday, 31 - 1788
  • Set out and halted at Capt. Peterson's, where Carvet (?) formerly lived, went on and took the Elizabethtown road for several mile, where all the wagons left me and turned off to the right hand near the meeting house to Asher Williams. I went on with my family and turned to the left of Mr. Walter Wall's. A hard rain coming on and the road difficult to find. I stayed all night with Mr. Walls - a Jersey man and very kind


  • Friday, Aug. 1st 1788

    Set out - Mr. Walls sent his son James as guide with me: after going a mile or two met Mr. Jos. Levinson(?), the owner of the house I was going to with Mr. Taylor. Walter Carr also accompanied us with several others to our new habitation arriving about 1 P.M. All well after a fatiguing journey of 25 days since leaving Jersey. House provided for me is a new one - 30 ft. by 26 - two stories high - built of hewed white oak logs with very good stone chimney. House is not finished, no family living in it before - we set to - stopped it with lime and clay, laid the upper floor with chirty (?) boards and now pretty comfortable for summer - there is a spring of good water within 5 rods of the door. I have privilege of pasture and fourteen acres of good ground to sow this fall with wheat and plenty of apples for house use etc, etc. I have ridden over some of the land and must say in general is exceedingly good producing excellent crops of grain - many parts too rich for wheat - crops in general are good. Indian corn in some places is excellent - in other fields has been hurt by the wet season - all that truth can say against the place is that the land in general is hilly though even the sides of the hills are very rich, producing walnut - sugar trees - ash - with a variety of other woods etc. As to the inhabitants they are mostly from Jersey - very kind to new comers as well as to one another, live in a plain way - not spending much in dress and foppery - but are well provided with the real necessaries of life


    Israel Shreve

    Rostover Township Westmoreland Co. Penna


  • Aug 10 -1788
  • Jacob Keelor, who faithfully discharged his duty in carefully driving a wagon. (???)


    Transcribed by Judy Starkey


  • William Martin Shreve
  • Henry Miller Shreve