Tong blog

Bits of history from our familes

William Tong(ue) (1756 – 1848)

William Tong(ue) was not the first Tong in America, but he can be credited with propagating the Tong name. Depending on the records you find, William had between 26 to 28 children with two different wives (Ellen Ford and Elizabeth Thomas). In his autobiography, William says 26, 13 from each wife. With his first wife, Ellen Ford, he says

By her I had thirteen children, six sons and seven daughters, all of whom lived to be heads of families with the exception of two who died in infancy.

And with his second wife, Elizabeth Thomas, he says

By her I have had thirteen children, seven son and six daughters. My youngest child is almost 23 years of age. I have been the father of twenty six children, thirteen sons and thirteen daughters.

Herald Stout lists 27 children total, with one dying in infancy. This is a mystery yet to be solved.

Children of William Tong with Ellen Ford and then Elizabeth Thomas from the Tong book.

Children of William Tong with Ellen Ford and then Elizabeth Thomas from the Tong book.

William was born on 8 Aug, 1756 at Prince George’s Co, Maryland. We are not sure of his parents but believe it was John Tongue and Jean ‘Jane’ Warren of Prince George’s Co, Maryland.

William served in the Revolutionary War. In 1775, he enlisted in Maryland Militia, serving in Capt Rezin Bell’s (Beale) Company. In 1776, he joined Capt Dent’s Company.

In 1777, William joined the Continental service with Col Luke Marberry’s Regiment, General Smallwood’s Division. He fought against Lord Dunmore at Brandwine and Germantown. You can learn more about his military service in his autobiography.

William can be traced across the country, first in Prince George’s Co, MD, then Washington Co, Md, then Ohio Co, KY, Madison Co, Missouri, Madison Co and finally in Jefferson Co. Illinois.

William Tong is buried in Old Union Cemetery, Mount Vernon, Jefferson, Illinois.

William Tong - headstone

William Tong – headstone

Along with his autobiography, I have found other documents that describe William’s life. See the William Tong Timeline and the Biographical Sketch to learn more about this early ancestor. Both can be seen on the website.

If you have other information to share, please leave a comment. I would love to find a picture but I am afraid that will never happen.

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