Aquilla Lett, a man of mixed African American, European and possibly Native American heritage settled on
a farm In Meigs Township, Muskingum County, Ohio around 1819. Soon several other families with simular heritage settled on
farms nearby, forming a community. The Lett Settlement was one of the earliest African American mixed race communities
to be settled in Ohio.
Historical & Biographical Abstaract
The Lett family history can be traced to the year, 1683 with the arrival of their ancestor, Molly Welsh,
an Englsh dairymaid, who had been falsely accussed of the crime of theft. Due to her ability to read, her life was spared
and she was sent to the English Province of Maryland as an indentured Servant.
After seven years of servitude, Molly, a white woman of a remarkable fair complexion; probably blonde hair,
was freed and eventually purchased her own small farm in Maryland. While she properred, she knew that whe would need more
hellp with the farm and began to save money. Although Molly was opposed to slavery, her survival left her with very few options.
She eventually purchased two slaves to help with the farm work, and in time freed both slaves and married her exslave named
BANNAKA, who was an African prince from the ancient Wolof kingdom of Walo; located in Senegal.
Bannaka was described as "a man of bright intelligence, fine temper, with a very agreeable presence, dignified
manners and contemplative habits," Molly took her hsuband's name as her surname, which eventually became Banneker. The couple
had four daughters; the oldest of whom was named Mary.
Mary Banneker, a daughter of Bannaka and Molly Welsh Banneky, grew into a slender, very attractive young woman
of uncommon intelligence and was described as being of a bright mulatto complexion and having an abundance of straight black
hair, which led persons unqcquiainted with her to suppose she was an Indian (Native American). Mary Banneky married
a former slave, dname Robert. Robert had no surname name, so he took his wife's surname, Banneker, as his own. Robert
Banneker was a native of the African country of Guinea and had been sold into slavery; but he remained in slavery for
only seven years.
Being unruly, Robert escaped and lived with the Indians. He was recaptured several times and was sold
as a slave who must be chained. He was eventually purchased by a wealthy person who believed a man with such dignity should
not be in bondage and Robert was freed.
Mary and Robert Bannaker became the parents of 5 children; 1 son and 4 daughters: Benjamin, Jemima, Julian,
Minta and Molly. The only known documentation for Julian Banneker is from a Baltimore tax record that mentions her as "their
crippled mulatto daughter".
Benjamin Banneker, is the son of Robert and Mary Banneker, was self-educated mathematician and stronomer,
who would become known as the first African American Man of Science. Among his credits are; buiding one of the first working
wooden clocks built completely in the Colonies, the publication of 5 almanacs which were used to forecast tides, planting
and harvesting schedules, medicinal treatments for colds and other ailments and locations of the stars used for navigation
and the establishing of longitudes and latitudes for the purposes of buidling and corresponded with Thomas Jefferson, at that
time Secretary of State, calling for Mr. Jerfferson to use his position to address the issue of slavery.
James A. Guy, Sr., whose descendeants would later marry into the Lett family, had seen Benjamin Banneker quite
often and hade made his acquaintance. James stated that Banneker was a bookkeeper for the Ellicott family and often weighed
James Guy's wheat and corn for him at Ellicott's Mills. James reported that when Benjamin Banneker was in public he addressed
people as "thee" and "thou". He noted that Banneker was not a black man, but a "thorn" color; perhaps what could be described
as a chocolate color. James said that Banneker had little to do with colored folks generally; perhaps he was too busy. James
Guy used to laugh when he would hear the Letts talking about the dollars of Uncle "Ben (Benjamin Banneker). "Humph"
James would say, "The ground was too poor to raise beans on."
Jemima Banneker the sister of Benjamin's Banneker, married Samuel Lett in Baltimore County, Maryland in 1757.
Samuel Lett whose real name was Delaney, was a farmer of English, Irish and Native American descent. When Samuel Delaney was
very young, his mother - Mary, a white woman whose last name was Delaney, married a mulatto by the name of Zachariah Lett.
Based upon Baltimore County land and church records concerning Zachariah Lett, his wife's name was Margaret.
At some point in time, Samuel Delaney took the last name of his step-father as his own and became known as Samuel Lett.
Samuel and Jemima Banneker Lett were known as people of good manners and indomitable energy, traits which
they passed on to their children Samuel and Jemima had 9 children, 8 of whom lived to adulthood. Due to Samuel and Jemima
being good students of the "Bible" in their day and time, all of their children were given biblical names; Aquilla (Latin)
meaning Eagle; Meshach Samuel -(Hebrew)- meaning the Name of God; Elijah -(Hebrew)- meaning Jehova is God; Mary
"Mollie" -(Hebrew)- meaning Bitter; Keziah "Kizzie" prononced Cassia - meaning Fragran Tree resembling cinnamon; Peter -(Greek)-
meaning Rock; and Benjamin -(Hebrew)- meaing Son of my right hand.
Information on Molly Welsh, Bannaka, Mary Bannekeer, Robert Banneker and Benjamin Banneker is taken form "A
Sketch Of The Life Of Benjamin Banneker", from notes taken in 1836, "read" by J. Saurin Norris, before the The Maryland Historical
Solciety, (Thursday) October 5, 1854, from a Lett Family Article written by Charles Henry Lett, which is inclulded in "Oak
Grove - A Pioneer Community, Page 109 published in November 1983 and from "Baltimore County Families 1659 - 1759, written
by Robert W. Barnes and published in 1989. Further information is taken from, The Life of Benjamin Banneker, by Silvio Bedini
(Chapter I - Page 17 & Chapter 11- Page 25, published in 1972 from THE LIFE OF BENJAMIN BANNEKER - THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN
MAN OF SCIENCE; (revised and expanded by Silvio A. Bedini and published 1999). Additional information is taken from
oral history recorded and thereafter researched by George Simpson in the early 1900's. This oral history was passed on in
manuscript form to Amanda Lett who in turn passed the documents on to Charles Henry Lett, son of Judson Lett and a descendent
of Aquilla Lett Sr.
Early Marriages of the Lett Siblings: Lett - Cobbler Aquilla Lett Sr., b. 1758 Baltimore County Md. d. May
1, 1848 in Meigs Township, Muskingum County, Ohio; married Christina "Charity" Cobbler on Tuesday, September 27, 1787 in the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Frederick Md.. Christina was b. 1768 d. March 26, 1848 in Meigs Township, Muskingum County,
Ohio. They had the following children:
- Samuel b. 1788.
- Elizabeth "Betsey" b.1789.
- Abraham b. 1790.
- Mary "Polly" b. circa 1800.
- Nancy b. 1801.
- Susanna "Susan" b. 1802.
- Peter b. circa 1803.
- Aquilla Jr. b. 1805.
- William, b. circa 1810.
- James b. 1811.
Aqulla is the oldest son of Samuel and Jemima Banneker Lett. He owned a 79 acre farm in Meigs Township in
the section referred to as the Lett Families Settlement:
Meshach Lett, b. circa 1760 in Baltimore County Md., d. March 15, 1848 in Meigs Township, Muskingum County,
Ohio, . Meshach married several times: (1) Rosannah Cummmins (2) Amelinza Wallace (3) Susan Stewart (4) Mary Goins.
- Rosannah Cummins (? circa 1818 in Ohio) were the parents of 3 known children, 2 sons and 1 daughter:
Jemima born 1800. Niether of the sons have been identified. Rosannah Cummins died circa _______
- Amelinza Wallace was married on Monday, May 21, 1821 in Harrison County, Ohio. Meshach and Amelinza
were the parents of 2 known children, 2 sons - names unknown. After the death of Amelinza Wallace Lett circa_________.
- Susan Stewart (it is not known if they had any children or the date of death for wife Susan Stewart
- Mary "Mollie" Goins a daughter of Jason Goins b. _______ d. circa 1883 in Guernsey County, Ohio. Meshach
and "Mollie" Goins Lett had no children. Upon the death of Meshach Lett , Mary "Mollie" Goins Lett married Benjamin Chandler
Simpson on March 29, 1849 in Muskingum County, Ohio.
Lett - Beard:
Samuel Lett b. circa 1765 in Baltimore County, Md. d. between 1840 & 1850 near Cumberland, Guernsey County,
Ohio. He married Esther Beard b. _______ d. between 1840 & 1850 in Ohio. They were parents of 16 children 7 of whom have
been identified by name:
- Othias B. b. cica 1810, Mary b. circa 1814.
- Elijah b. 1816.
- Samuel b. 1818.
- Margaret b. 1821.
- Andrew b. 1828 .
- Aquilla b. Monday, January 12, 1829.
Lett - Caliman:
Elijah Lett b. circa 1768 in Baltimore County, Md. d. 1854 in Meigs Township Muskingum County, Ohio. He married
Elizabeth "Betsy" Caliman a daughter of Moses Caliman and Henrietta Perrill/Pearl on April 26, 1821 in Harrison County, Ohio.
Betsy was b. 1792 in Frederick County Md., d. 1870 in Meigs Township, Muskingum County, Ohio. Elijah and "Betsy" had 5 known
- Moses b. 1822.
- Margaret b. 1824.
- Othias b. October 15, 1829.
- Hester b. 1830.
- Emanuel b. March 1, 1834.
Lett - Lett :
Mary "Mollie" Lett b. circa 1775 in either Patapsco Upper Hundred of Baltimore County Md, or near Frederick
Township, Frederick County Md. d. circa 1840 in Saltlick Township, Perry County Ohio, or in Meigs Township, Muskingum County,
Ohio. She married Charles Lett b.________ died 1836 in Morgan County Ohio. Charles and Mollie Lett had several chlddren but
their exact number and identities are not known.
Lett - Lett :
Keziah "Kizzie" Lett b. circa 1777 in vicinity of Frederick, Frederick County Md., d. circa 1860 in Hocking
County, Ohio married Solomon F. Lett b _______d. 1834 in Brooksfield Township, Morgan County, Ohio . They were the parents
of 5 known children:
- Jemima b. circa 1801.
- Nancy b. circa 1803.
- Joshua b. circa 1808.
- Susanna b. circa 1810.
- Mahala b. circa 1812.
Lett - Unknown:
Peter Lett b. circa 1791 d. ________ in the vicnity of Frederick, Frederick County, Md.. Peter married a white
woman, name unknown, in Pennsylvania around 1820. His wife died between 1838 & 1850. They were the parents of 10 known
- Peter b. 1821.
- Samuel b. 1821 or 1822.
- Betsy b. 1824.
- Mary A. b. 1825.
- Margaret b. 1829.
- Susan b. 1830.
- Hiram b. 1833.
- Sarah b. 1835.
- Andrew b. 1838.
Lett - Caliman:
Benjamin Lett b. 1792 in the vicinity of Frederick, Frederick Country, Md. d. October 13 or 14 1847 in Muskingum
County Ohio, Meigs Township. He married Mary "Polly" Caliman b. 1790 in Frederick County Md., d. August 3, 1866 in Muskingum
County Ohio, Meigs Township. Polly Caliman was the daughter of Moses Caliman and Henrietta Perrill/Pearl Caliman. Benjamin
and Polly were married on January 5, 1809 in Frederick County, Virginia. They were the parents of 12 chldren - 11 of which
have been identified by name:
- Solomon b. 1809.
- Samuel b. 1814.
- Emanuel b. 1815.
- Elizaabeth b. 1818.
- Benjamin b. 1820.
- William b. 1822.
- Margaret b. 1825.
- Moses b. 1828.
- Thomas b. 1832.
Compiled from updated research submitted by Charles J. Weiker, Tuesday April 16, 1996 . * Charles J. Weiker
is a 5th great grandson of Aquilla Lett Sr., and Christina Cobbler Lett and a 4th great-grandson of their daughter, Elizabeth
"Betsey" Lett Stevens. Charles J. Weiker is also a 4th great grandson of Benjamin and Mary Polly Caliman Lett and a 3rd great
grandson of their son, Solomon Lett.