By Richard Gwynallen
1744 – 1836
Relationship to Fawn: 6th great-uncle
In the east-central part of Alexander County, North Carolina, in the northwest part of the state, there is a small community called Hiddenite. Near Hiddenite is an Allen Cemetery, one of the many small, old family burial grounds that dot the countryside throughout the original 13 colonies. It is located in a wooded site surrounded by a piled rock fence.
According to the Alleghany County, North Carolina historical records, the graveyard came into use after 1797 when George Allen and his wife Lucretia Reaves migrated from Wake County, North Carolina to Alexander County. According to Allens of the Southern States, no marriage bond has been found in Wake County. The marriage and the births of their children were identified by an unpublished record “in a family Bible . . . which is now in the possession of James Boyce Allen . . . and his wife nee Sara Carpenter of Hiddenite, North Carolina.”
George and Lucretia built a cabin at Rocky Face Mountain about 200 feet from the cemetery.
There are 14 known graves in the cemetery, but only five tombstones. Other field markers exist. Identification of the graves lacking tombstones is derived from family bibles.
- Abijah Meadows
- Amie Allen Fain
- Charles Allen
- Donald Fain
- Elizabeth Allen Simmons
- Elizabeth Simmons Meadows
- Esther Campbell Allen
- George Allen
- James Simmons
- Lucretia Reaves Allen
- Rebecca Allen
- Robert Allen
- Susannah Allen Brack
- One unknown Allen-Fain
Our story starts with George Allen. I have not written this story up until now because of some conflicting evidence as to his relationship to our line. The confusion will speak for itself as you read. However, I decided that an Allen cemetery most likely related to our family was interesting enough in and of itself to post.
At the heart of the conflicting evidence is an 1832 Revolutionary War Pension Application (S2345) in which George states he was born in 1744 in Hanover County, Virginia. However, other genealogies have him born 1 May 1743. Some genealogies have his father unknown, others have the father as another George, though unproven as to which. In addition, some have a George and Lucretia in Iredell County at the end of their lives.
Then there is our family’s George. None of the Georges have a birth certificate. Our George is thought to have been born 1 May 1744, very similar to the other Georges, but ours was born in Scotland. I was communicating about this with another researcher online, who told me he had learned to take with a grain of salt the birth dates and places provided in these Revolutionary War Pension Applications. While good clues, he said they didn’t always know their birth year, much less the month and day of birth very accurately, and he had found many instances in which a birth was stated as being in the colonies only to find the birth had been overseas. Some wanted their pension applications to indicate they were colonial born. Some who have looked at this pension application, note that George says he was born in Hanover County, Virginia in 1744, but there are no land records of an Allen in Hanover County, Virginia prior to 1744. Others wonder if he meant Hanover Parish in Prince William County where a George Allen does appear on land records. Being an amateur at this I decided to just let it sit.
However, in addition to the similarity in birth dates, I found another striking connection. Our direct descendant, Benjamin Allen, who we have as the son of James Allan and Anne Gwynne, married Martha “Patsy” Hicks, the daughter of Bishop Hicks and Catherine “Caty” Jeter. It turns out that the Alexander County George Allen and Lucretia Reaves had a son, William, who married Mary “Polly” Hicks, another daughter of Bishop Hicks and Catherine Caty Jeter.
This seemed a little more than a coincidence to have two Allens marry sisters from the same family and the Allens not be related.
However, George and Lucretia had a son, Benjamin, just as did our James and Anne, and around the same period of time. In fact, the two can get confused. The widespread nature of the Allen/Allan surname in North Carolina, the vagaries of family stories as they appear in family bibles and tradition, the fact that Allans and Allens had been emigrating from Ireland and Scotland throughout the 18th century (many of them related though migrating at different times), and the commonness of names like George, James, and Benjamin, allow for confusion.
Then I discovered that George and Lucretia had a son, Robert, who married Esther Campbell. Esther’s grandparents were Archibald Campbell and Flora Morrison of Kintyre, Scotland. The aunt of our James Allan, Isobel, married Flora Morrison’s brother, Duncan, in 1747. Therefore, Isobel was Esther’s great-aunt. This points to a relationship between the Allans and Morrisons back in Scotland, and perhaps between the Allans, Morrisons, and Campbells.
The Allan-Morrison-Campbell connection in Scotland and in North Carolina, added to the Hicks connection, were interesting enough connections to leave me with sufficient confidence that the George buried in Alexander County was directly related to our Allens.
I had considered for awhile that the George buried in Alexander County and our James might be the same person as James appears in at least some genealogies as James Alexander George Allan), and, perhaps, James had remarried after Anne’s death. We do not have any information on when George emigrated to the colonies, though the tradition of his birth as being in Hanover County, Virginia might indicate he arrived through the port of Yorktown, Virginia and made his way inland. We have no public record of him until his Revolutionary War activity, and then when he marries Lucretia Reaves, which some have as late as 1794. This could be inaccurate, but, if correct, is somewhat late in his life no matter which version of his birth you accept. Lucretia is thought to have been born about 1750, so she, too, would have been starting a family much later than normal. I wondered if it could have been a second marriage for both.
Support for one theory or the other all rest on family traditions, and unpublished old family papers and family bibles.
In any case, we have an interesting Allen cemetery connected to our family whether George and James are the same person, or brothers. I lean toward them being brothers.
According to his pension application, George served as a private in the North Carolina Militia under General John Butler.
In the application, he stated he was ” . . . living in Wake County at the time he entered the Service & remained there till about the year 1800 when he removed to Iredell County, that lived there ever since.”
That part of Iredell County became Alexander County in 1847. Alexander County records show that George could have been in Alexander County as early as 1797, though according to Allens of the Southern States, the first land records have him “listed in Iredell County in 1800. The Grantee Deed Index for Iredell County has three grantee deeds listed for George Allen the earliest one from William Potts in 1801, two others from Mathew Wallis in 1802 and 1805.” Prior to that the earliest record is the 1790 census that shows him as head of household in Wake County.
We assume that they made their living in Alexander County through a combination of small farming, hunting, trapping, and trading, but we don’t really know.
Since we really do not know much more about them, I want to briefly discuss the families they intermarried with and whose names appear in the Allen Cemetery.
THE HICKS AND CAMPBELL-MORRISON CONNECTIONS
William was born to George and Lucretia in 1781 before his family moved from Wake County to Alexander County. He would later migrate to Clarke County, Alabama, where he died in June 1849.
In Wake County he married Mary “Polly” Hicks, third child and second daughter of Bishop Hicks and Catherine Caty Jeter on October 12, 1807. I have seen it stated that he was the brother of our direct descendant Benjamin, who married Martha “Patsy” Hicks, first daughter of Bishop Hicks and Caty Jeter. This is not impossible. To make matters more confusing, James and Anne had a son named Benjamin and a son named William, as did George and Lucretia.
However, due to the reasons stated above, our own family tradition and the Allan-Campbell-Morrison connection in Scotland, I conjecture that William was Benjamin’s cousin, not his brother.
I am not following William’s line, but to tie up loose ends, William and his family did not move to Alexander County with George and Lucretia. A Wake County Deed, date February 10, 1826, shows that William Allen of Wake County, NC granted 50 acres of land to Lewis Jones of Wake County.
Then, on March 22, 1826, William Allen of Fayette County, Georgia appeared before William Richards, Justice of Peace of that county, and appointed Peter Wynn of Wake Co. NC his lawful attorney, to sell 50 acres of land on Horse Creek, Wake Co. NC, said land belonging to William Allen, and being a part of the tract of land which was sold to Lewis Jones on February 10, 1826.
So, William and Mary left North Carolina for Georgia in February or March of 1826. They moved with a large family, five daughters and four sons, all born in Newlight District, Wake County, North Carolina.
We know they were still in Georgia in 1834 because on November 29, 1834, William witnessed a deed. However, they are thought to have left for Alabama soon after the witnessing of that deed.
Throughout their lives they were a farm family.
Robert Allen was born to George and Lucretia in 1786 and died in Alexander County in 1874. He married Esther Campbell of Stokes County, North Carolina on 16 November 1811. We assume a relationship existed between the families before the Allens left for Alexander County.
There were eight known children of Robert and Esther:
- Lucretia Jane (married a Patterson)
- Dorcas Jones (married a King)
- Archibald Campbell
- Robert Hale
- George James
- Elizabeth Catherine (married a Smith)
- Mary Caroline (married a Powell)
- Esther’s family line is interesting.
Her line descends from Archibald Campbell and Flora Morrison of Kintyre, Scotland. Archibald and Flora married in 1745. Their son, Archibald, was born in 1748 in Kintyre, Scotland, and married Jane Evans, also believed to be of Kintyre, Scotland about 1775. It was Archibald and Jane who are believed to be the immigrant couple who ended up in North Carolina before 1777 when James, the first of seven children was born. Esther was one of those children, born on 25 October 1784 in Stokes County.
It seems that after Archibald Sr.’s death, Flora came to the American Colonies with their son and daughter-in-law, and another son. That latter son is believed to have died on ship.
More information on Esther’s family can be viewed here.
FAMILY NAMES APPEARING IN ALLEN CEMETERY
“William Reeves, born circa 1720, who received a grant from Henry McCulloch for 400 acres south of the Neuse River and east of Ellerbe’s Creek that is in present day Durham, North Carolina. In that deed he is described as a planter of Johnston County. The presence of the elder William Reeves in this area is noted in Durham County – A History of Durham County, North Carolina by Jean Bradley Anderson, on page 19, “Among the first to take up land in present Durham County were William Reeves, who received 400 acres where Ellerbee Creek runs into Neuse River (1746)”.
“On 10 October 1763 the land between the Neuse and Ellerbe Creek was conveyed by deed from William Reeves, Sr. to William Reeves, Jr. This land south of the Neuse and east of Ellerbe’s Creek remained in this particular Reeves’ family for 52 years, from 1746 until it was conveyed by the second William Reeves to Nathaniel Jones, Sr. on October 16, 1798. (Recorded in Wake County Deed Book Q at Page 415.)
“William Reeves, Jr. appears countless times in the minutes of the Wake County Court from the county’s inception in 1771 through 1803. He is recognized as a Revolutionary War Patriot for his civil service as tax assessor during the revolution by the DAR. From the 1770’s, he serves on juries, is overseer of the road from Munns Store to the county line, is assessor and tax gatherer in Captain Woodson Daniel’s district and from 1787 to 1803 is a Magistrate Justice of the Wake County Court. Prior to the formation of Wake County, he is listed along with his father in Orange County Court Minutes and various deeds. In August of 1760, as William Reaves, Jr. he registered his cattle brand in Orange County.
The above information came from:
According to Sara C. Allen in The Heritage of Alexander County, North Carolina (Volume I, 1986), James Simmons married Elizabeth Allen about 1800 in Iredell County, North Carolina (probably later became part of Alexander Co.) and was a farmer near Rocky Face Mountain. James and Elizabeth were the parents of six children: William Simmons, Ozias Simmons, Lucretia Simmons, Elizabeth Simmons Meadows, James Simmons, Jr., Susan Simmons Moxley and Mortimer Simmons.
The origin of the Simmons family is unclear to me at this time.
One of the Simmons-Allan children, Elizabeth, married Abijah Meadows. I have no clear information on this couple, or the origins of the Meadows.
Amie Fain married Charles Allan, possibly a brother of George. I have no certain information about the couple. There is also a Donald Fain buried there. Perhaps Amie’s brother or father? The origins of the Fain family is also unclear, though a Fain family emigrated to Pennsylvania from Ireland, and made their way south to Virginia and North Carolina. The Fain family came from Ireland, but might have originated on the eastern Welsh border.
A daughter of George and Lucretia, Susannah, married a Thomas Brack, according to her grave stone, but I know know nothing of his family or any children they may have had.
Mar 18, 1791
Feb 3, 1862