About the Joseph Project
18 May, 1999
Thousands of people in the United States are descendants of Joseph
HEDGES: "Joseph of Monocacy" as he was known during his
lifetime and we call him still today. Joseph died at Monocacy Manor in
Prince George's Co., Maryland in 1732. He was not the first
"Hedges" in the New World, but if you share our ancestry, he
was the first of our line confirmed to have been in America. (1)
Unfortunately, the information being circulated about Joseph of
Monocacy seems to be as much misinformation as fact. Depending on whom
it is you want to believe, his parents could have been any one of three
or four pairs; and about as many names have been suggested for his
As one book puts it, "Joseph Hedges was English, but - not
withstanding elaborate family claims to the contrary - no substantiated
tie has ever been established to a marriage in England or to his
The problem is that his early life is not well recorded. Primary
documentation is sparse and secondary documentation is scarcely better.
Most of the time neither is cited. Nowhere, to our knowledge, has there
been a recognized effort to bring the documentation together in one
place where it can be evaluated. In this age of electronic
communications we believe it is possible to do better. Cooperative
efforts can be mounted to improve the documentation. Even if no further
evidence is located, merely bringing the information together so that
the preponderance of evidence can be discussed and assessed, offers hope
for a consensus about Joseph of Monocacy.
We propose The Joseph Project - A global effort: To share the facts,
legends, opinions, and whatever else seems relevant about Joseph of
Monocacy. To identify opportunities for improving the factual base. To
conduct further research where it seems appropriate. To document what is
found. To compile the findings into a single collection. To evaluate and
discuss what is found. To reach conclusions and a consensus, if
possible, about the facts and the life of Joseph of Monocacy.
- By one scenario, Joseph was
the son of William, and William was the first of the line in
alternatives have been listed for interested readers.
- "Pioneers of Old
Monocacy, the Early settlement of Frederick County, Maryland,
1721-1743" by Grace L. Tracey and John P. Dern, Clearfield
Company, Baltimore, 1987.
Updated: Monday, May 22, 2000