Mystery of my great-grandfather, Creighton Sloan

I think that we are related to John Sloan the famous artist. My theory (and it is only a theory) is that we are 4th cousins and my great-great-grandfather, Creighton Sloan, was illegitimate, a bastard, no known father, but his mother was Mary Ann Sloan, daughter of William Sloan (1798-1876), who was a prominent person in Philadelphia who had ten children. Mary Ann Sloan went to Ireland in 1842 to give birth to her illegitimate child and ten years later after the baby was born came back to America. If correct, this probably links us to both John Sloan the famous artist and Samuel Sloan (1815-1884) the famous architect and it means that our family has been in Philadelphia for a long time, since around 1740.

But this is still just a theory. It fits the facts but no proof yet. It does explain why Creighton Sloan (1842-1916) never said who his father was. There is no other reasonable explanation to fit the facts as I know them. My grandfather Howard Creighton Sloan (1873-1940) looks so much like John Sloan (1871-1951) that their pictures almost seem to be of the same person. See
Death Certificate of Creighton Sloan
Death Certificate of Creighton Sloan

Also, take a look at Every image on that website was created by my son, Peter Sloan, who just graduated with a B.A. degree in fine art and computer graphics at the State University of New York at Purchase.

Passenger Manifest showing arrival of Creaton Sloan in America
Passenger Manifest showing arrival of Mary Ann, Creaton and Esther Sloan in America in 1852

Passenger Manifest showing arrival of Creaton Sloan in America
Passenger Manifest showing arrival of Mary Ann, Creaton and Esther Sloan in America in 1852

For a long time I have faced a brick wall with regard to my great-grandfather, Creighton Sloan (1843-1916). Recently through the help of several researchers including especially Molly Kennedy (who I highly recommend) I have made substantial progress. Indeed, I would feel on the verge of completely solving the problem, except for one detail: In order for my theory to work, it was necessary for one of my ancestors, having been born in Pennsylvania, to go back to Ireland, probably in 1842, and then return to America in 1852.

Here are two items of evidence. First is the relevant entries from the passenger manifest of the ship Scranton which arrived in New York in 1852. I am showing two different copies of the same thing. Note that it shows Mary Ann Sloan age 36, Creaton Sloan aged 8 and Esther Sloan aged 6. In spite of the difference in spelling, I believe that this Creaton Sloan is my great-grandfather. Also, William Sloan of Philadelphia had a daughter named Mary Ann of about that age. So, this Mary Ann could be either the mother or the elder sister of Creighton Sloan.

We tend to assume that once a family reached America, they never went back. However, I recall reading some statistics saying that about half of the early Americans did go back. Therefore, I would like to know how likely it is that this occurred.

The particulars of my case is that the death certificate of my great-grandfather says that he was born on June 25, 1842. In the 1910 census, his daughter Anna Daisy said her father had been born "At Sea-Irish".

The passenger list for the Ship E.C. Scranton shows that a "Creaton Sloan" aged 8 arrived in New York from Liverpool on May 29, 1852. This is Film ZI-131, Reel 113, starts at page 624. On line 486 it shows Creaton Sloan age 8 arriving from Ireland destination Philadelphia. Line 487 shows Esther Sloan, age 6, undoubtedly his sister. Line 485 shows Mary Ann Sloan age 36 (or possibly age 31). The ship had 665 passengers.

Most of the other passengers are listed as going to New York. Since the Sloan's destination is Philadelphia, it seems likely that somebody was waiting for them there, possibly their father.

There is a remarkable similarity between this family and a family that had long been in America. William Sloan was born in 1798 in Pennsylvania. He was married to his first cousin, Mary Sloan, who was born in 1806. They had ten children. Among them were Mary Ann Sloan, born about 1827, Esther Sloan, born about 1839, Infant Sloan born 1841 and Infant Sloan born 1843.

The Infant Sloan born 1841 has Ancestral File Number 1F28-66H . The Infant Sloan born 1843 has Ancestral File Number 1F28-67P .

What I am suggesting is that the Infant Sloan born in 1843 could be my great-grandfather. If that is the case, then I am related to most of the Sloans in America, because this family has been traced back far.

An additional important bit of evidence is that William Sloan went to live in Fulton County, Pennsylvania and died there in 1876. My great-grandfather Creighton Sloan also lived in Fulton County, Pennsylvania in about 1876. He later moved back to Philadelphia where he was for the 1880 census and then in 1882 moved to Chicago where he remained for 34 years until his death in 1916.

My theory, if correct, also solves another problem. The 1910 census says that he was born "at Sea". However, he was born in 1842 or 1843 and arrived in America in 1852. It is possible that he was born "At Sea" on the ship taking him from America to Ireland, not the other way around.

I think that I am on to something. I would like to hear the opinions of anybody else.

This thread has led me to a new theory about this:

It seems that the mother of my Great-Grandfather, Creighton or Creaton Sloan, was Mary Ann Sloan and her father may have been William Sloan (1798-1876).

This suggests that my Great-Grandfather took the maiden name of his mother, not his father's name. This means that my great-grandfather might have been illegitimate (My goodness, was my great-grandfather a bastard? Does it run in the family?) or his father might have died or his parents divorced.

Another researcher has pointed out that there was a Creaton Family living in Philadelphia at this time.

My idea is that if for example Mary Ann Sloan married a man named John Creaton, then their son might be named John Creaton-Sloan. If that John Creaton died or whatever, then the John might have been dropped, leaving his name as Creaton Sloan. Since the spelling Creaton is never used as a first name, he might have later changed the spelling to Creighton. By the 1860 census for Philadelphia, he was living with an unrelated family and spelling his name Creighton Sloan.

His death certificate in Chicago lists his father as simply "Mr. Sloan" and no motherfs name is provided. This suggests the cover-up of a family secret.

Any ideas about this?

Sam Sloan

From: "Mary Ann Mooney"
Sent: Monday, July 21, 2003 3:58 PM
Subject: Creaton Sloan came May 29, 1852

Hi Sandra, I checked all my Irish to America CDs and found your Creaton Sloan in "Irish to America, 1846-1865.

Creaton, Sloan, age 8, child, male, Last Residence:Ireland.
Date of Arrival: May 29, 1852
Port of Debarkation: New York
Final Destination: USA
Ship's Name: Scranton
Manifest ID # 900123
Port of Embarkation: Liverpool
Purpose for travel: Staying in USA but not a citizen of USA
Mode of Travel: Steerage.

Creaton was traveling with two other Sloans,

Esther, age 6, child
Mary Ann, age 36, "Servant", no marital status.

All three are listed as Last Residence: Ireland. There is no mention of
Irish county. There is no relationship information.

I would guess that the two children are Mary Ann's children, but that is a
guess. She could have been their aunt or cousin.

All of my Irish ancestors changed their ages whenever they felt like it,
getting younger and younger as they aged. I would take the age of eight for
Creaton as more accurate than the later ages you have found.

Good luck in your quest, Mary Ann

The E.C. Scranton, built 1851. Built by George Greenman & co. for Everett & Brown of New York. She operated in the Liverpool trade, although in 1853 she ran as San Francisco packet.

The record for Creighton Sloan is confusing. In the 1910 census, he was "English" and immigrated to America in 1843. He owned a rooming house in 1910. In the 1920 census, his daughter Anna said that her father had been born in Ireland. However, in the 1910 census, the same daughter said her father had been born "At Sea-Irish".

I have established that Creighton Sloan died in Chicago on 29 March 1916 in the home of his daughter, Mrs. Anna Daisy Howes. (Thank you Molly Kennedy for discovering this). His death certificate does not give the name of his parents. However, at one point it is said that he was born at sea. His date of birth was 25 June 1842.

My theory is that his mother died in childbirth on the ship. It is possible that he did not know her name. His father probably died not long thereafter. The ship probably landed in Philadelphia. The 1860 census shows him living with an unrelated family in Philadelphia. He is believed to have been from Northern Ireland.

Since a ship took about three weeks to reach America, it should be possible to identify the exact ship he was born on and the names of his parents, assuming that all of the above is correct. Can anybody with access to ship passenger lists for 1842-1843 help me with this? The name Creaton Sloan is found in Irish to America, 1846-1865 Passenger and Immigration Lists.

The 1860 Census shows Creighton Sloan living in Philadephia with John Keitty or Reitty, Male age 42 Laborer plus

Samuel Keitty age 16
Maria Keitty age 14
James Keitty age 4

I suppose that the mother in this family has died. I suppose that they may have arrived on the same ship together.

Sam Sloan

Information from Pedigree Resource File (submitted by a descendant, Cheryl Joyce Brackney who lived at 1431 W. Armstrong Way, Chandler, Arizona 85248 in 2000). Cheryl believes that Creighton was born in Ireland although family tradition indicates that his birth was in England. He died in Chicago, Illinois. He is on the 1880 US Census. This Census indicates his birth was in Ireland. It also indicated that he was a worker at a "paint works."

A Creighton Sloan, likely but not certain to be the same person, is listed in the 1870 census, Series: M593 Roll: 1314 Page: 674, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He is listed as age 30, born in Pennslyvania. If this is the same person, there needs to be a change in the direction of the search, because so far we have been searching without success for a Creighton Sloan born in 1843 in Ireland. However, there is a possible explanation. If he was born on the ship going from Ireland to Philadelphia, then it could be said that he was born in either Ireland or Pennsylvania.

Creighton Sloan is listed in the 1910 census for 23-WD Chicago. Age 67, he apparently owned a rooming house, because several other people living in the same house are listed as "lodgers".

Last Name First Name Middle Name Sex/Race Age Cert # Death Date
SLOAN CREIGHTON M/W UNK 6010184 1916-03-29

County City Date Filed

He was b. June 25, 1842 in Ireland; father's name "Mr. Sloan" b. Ireland and "not known" for mother; he was married, wife's name not given on the early IL death certificates; he died at 819 Center St, where he'd lived for 2.5 years; Informant was Herbert C. Howes of the same address. It said he'd lived for 34 years in Chicago (and in IL); buried at Rosehill cemetery.

Death Certficate 10184 leaves a blank space for "How Long in US if foreign born". This implies that he was born in the USA.

At 06:50 PM 7/15/2003 -0400, M Carr wrote:
> Hi Sam, Hope some of this is helpful or at least interesting
>1870 Philadelphia city directory: Sloan, "Cheighton", foreman, 24 N. 18th
>there was a Malachi W. Sloan, carter, at 14 N. 18th 1875 Philadelphia
>city directory Sloan, Creighton, grocer, 2241 Memphis at the same address
>in 1875: Trice, Frank, oysters, 2241 Memphis I tried looking for other
>Sloans who were grocers, in case it was a family business, but could only
>find them in other years - nothe in 1875. 1862: Sloan, Benjamin, grocer,
>1030 Race Sloan, Patrick, grocer, 809 Auburn 1880: Sloan, Patrick, grocer,
>1342 1880 Philadelphia city directory: Sloan, Creighton, engineer, 1846
>N. Warnock at the same address in 1880: Young, Christian, segars, 1846 N.
>Warnock 1910 Chicago city directory: Sloan, Creighton, 2051 Howe
>you'll see some clues in all of this. Mary

I think you have discovered something important. He died in 1916. His death certificate says that he had resided in Chicago for 34 years. This means that he came to Chicago in 1882.

I believe that there was only one person named Creighton Sloan, so this is probably him.

The next question is: Who was Malachi W. Sloan? Could this be his father? Since he either came to America as an infant or else was born here, he must have been with a father.

Sam Sloan

For other photos see:

My Home Page

Contact address - please send e-mail to the following address: