William Raeburn – A British Seaman

By Richard Gwynallen

William Raeburn
1761 – 1795
Relationship to Fawn: 1st cousin, 7x removed

William was the son of Margaret Allen and Henry Raeburn, who we introduced in the essay, Margaret Allen & Henry Raeburn – Another Banffshire Family in the post-Culloden era.  His christening is given in parish records as 22 September 1761 in Banff, Banffshire, Scotland.

Recently, in one of the blessings of the internet, I heard from Lefayre (Heslehurst) Palmer in Australia who is a descendant of William, and thus a distant cousin of mine.  She offered some information on William’s naval career that was fascinating.   Lefayre has several long standing contacts who have provided some of the information in the past.  All attempts have been made to find the original researchers and authors.  If located, acknowledgment of those folks will also be made.

I have summarized that information below.  As documentation is available I will add it to the story. I’m very grateful to Lefayre for adding a very interesting piece to the knowledge of our family history.

William’s Story

William first mustered onto the Culloden on 6 May 1785, which led him to Plymouth, Devon, England, where he married Ann Rowter from Liskeard, Cornwall.

I wonder if enough time had passed since the battle of Culloden that serving on a ship by that name didn’t mean anything.  Or did it, given that at least some of his mother’s family had been involved in the Jacobite rebellion?  Or did he grow up sheltered from those stories?

William Reburn and Ann Rowter had four children. The first child, William, was born in 1787 in Menheniot, Cornwall, but died young.  George was born in 1788 in Stoke Dameral, Devon.Thomas, was born in 1790 in Liskeard.  A second son named William was born in 1792 at Liskeard.

Liskeard(Lyskerrys in Cornish) is about 20 miles west of Plymouth and 14 miles west of


Tin Mines in Gonnamena near Liskeard.

the River Tamar.  Liskeard is an ancient market and stannery (tin mining) town. It received its charter as a market town in 1240.  Liskeard is today one of the few Cornish towns that still has a livestock market, which is held every Tuesday.


Modern-day Liskeard cattle market

Many structures still extant in Liskeard were there in William’s day.


Stuart House, built between 1480 and 1520. King Charles I stayed at Stuart House in 1644.


St. Martin’s Church, Liskeard, Cornwall – mostly 15th century

Bodmin Moor lies to the northwest of the town. 


Bodmin Moor near Liskeard, Cornwall


Bodmin Moor Tregarrick Tor

Plymouth lies between the River Plym to the east and the River Tamar to the west.


River Tamar

Both rivers flow into the natural harbor of Plymouth Sound. The River Tamar forms the county boundary between Devon and Cornwall.

In the nearby parish of Stoke Damerel the first dockyard, HMNB Devonport, opened in 1690 on the eastern bank of the River Tamar. Further docks were built in 1727, 1762 and 1793.  Devonport is today one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy.


Devonport Naval Base


Devonport today

William’s first ship, the HMS Culloden, was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 16 June 1783 at Rotherhithe.


HMS Culloden

He then mustered on to the Victory, followed by the Drake.

HMS Victory was a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy,  launched in 1765.  In May 1778, the 42-pounder guns were replaced by 32-pounders, but the 42-pounders were reinstated in April 1779. In 1782, all the 6-pounders were replaced by 12-pounders. Later, she also carried two carronade guns, firing 68-lb (31 kg) round shot.  This was the status of the ship when William served upon it.


HMS Victory

HMS Drake was a 14-gun brig-sloop of the Royal Navy launched in 1779. She was bought from a commercial builder during the early years of the  American War of Independence, and went on to support operations in the English Channel and the Caribbean. At one stage she assisted an attack on a French-held island, an expedition commanded by a young Horatio Nelson.

To make matters a little confusing, there appear to have been two William Raeburns aboard the HMS Drake, both with wives named Ann, and both Boatswains.  Both had wills, and the wills allow us to separate the two men.

Lefayre noted that it turned out that our William had been drafted between ships (between the Victory and the Drake) while at sea and it was compulsory for Royal Navy seamen to make a will on entering a ship.

The will we believe to belong to our William was signed 20 April 1795, and was proved on 22 May 1798. It was witnessed by Capt. Samuel Brooking. It was customary for wills of men on board ship to not be proven until much later. The date it was signed and witnessed was considered legal even thought it was not recorded in a court.

Both men left their worldly goods to their wife Ann, but the William in this will names his wife as Ann Reburn of Liskeard, whom he names executrix.

The Drake sailed for the Caribbean almost immediately after William’s boarding of the ship in April 1975, where he died of a fever.  Lefayre noted that service men feared being sent to the West Indies due to the high death rate from Yellow Fever and Malaria.

The Admiralty Records note William Raeburn’s death on 24 August 1795.  The death is recorded in the HMS Drake muster of July/August 1795 (ADM 36/1499) as well as the Ship’s Pay book (ADM 36/473).  The Captain’s Log of the HMS Drake records William’s death as above with the following entry: ” . . . departed this life William Reburn Boatswain of a fever at 5. . . . Buried at sea with the usual ceremony.”

A Boatswain is a Petty Officer, the seniormost rank of the deck department. The boatswain supervises the other members of the ship’s deck department, and typically is not a watchstander, except on vessels with small crews.

The boatswain is the foreman of the unlicensed (crew members without a mate’s license) deck crew. The boatswain, or bosun, is distinguished from other seamen by the supervisory roles: planning, scheduling, and assigning work.

As deck crew foreman, the boatswain plans the day’s work, assigns tasks to the deck crew, and checks on the completion of the work. Outside the supervisory role, the boatswain regularly inspects the vessel and performs a variety of routine, skilled, and semi-skilled duties to maintain all areas of the ship not maintained by the engineering department. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boatswain)

The ship’s three standing warrant officers, the Carpenter, Gunner and Boatswain (Bo’sun), who, along with the Master, were permanently assigned to a vessel for the purposes of maintenance, repair, and upkeep. Standing officers were considered the most highly skilled seaman on board, and messed and berthed with the crew. As such, they held a status separate from the other officers and were not granted the privileges of a commissioned or warrant officer if they were captured.

The Warrant Chart below shows the hierarchy aboard ship.


In William’s time, the Boatswain’s typical uniform would have been a blue frock coat with Navy buttons.

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The Victory still exists today as a museum. For more information, go to: HMS VictoryThe ship offers a look at how William might have been living on board ship.  Below are two pictures of how seamen of William’s rank of Boatswain and below would have slept and eaten.


HMS Victory berthing and messing


HMS Victory berthing

Additional Notes

The line descending from William and Ann continued in Plymouth, Devon, England until some descendants emigrated to Australia in 1886, leading ultimately to Lefayre.

An interesting note is that William’s brother, George, also entered a naval career.  George Reburn married Mary Beer at Stoke Damerel parish in Devon, England in 1798.  The certificate showed him as being of HMS Bedford.

Both William and George entered the Royal Navy and both ended up living in Plymouth, Devon, England, and marrying west country women.


The Tedder Family

By Richard Gwynallen

Hannah Tedder
1764 – 1844
Relationship to Fawn: 6th great-grandmother

Hannah Tedder married William Mooneham on 28 February 1785 in Wake County, North Carolina.  They appeared in the 1800 Federal Census as living in Hillsborough, North Carolina, which is Orange County.  Orange County was reduced in area in 1771 when the western part was combined with the eastern part of Rowan County to form Guilford County. Another part was combined with parts of Cumberland County and Johnston County to form Wake County. The southern part of what remained became Chatham County.  Many of these county names will crop up in this essay.

The Moonehams had been based in Granville County and Bertie Precinct.  Jacob may have been the first to migrate to Wake County or Orange County.

There does not seem to be any known birth certificate for Hannah Tedder, but researchers agree that Hannah was most likely a daughter of Benjamin Tudor.  Benjamin was the younger son of John Tedder, whose inventory of estate was listed in 1721 in Surry, Virginia.  Benjamin was born about 1718, his older brother, John, about 1695.  Both used the surname of Tudor.

After their father’s death, their mother re-married to Henry Rose.  By 27 June 1750, Benjamin is found living on 200 acres on Poplar Creek in Brunswick County, Virginia, land deeded to him by his step-father, Henry Rose.  He is believed to have married around this time.

Poplar Creek today is about nine miles in length in the southwest corner of the county.


Poplar Creek

It empties into the present Gaston Lake or Roanoke (Stanton) River on the southern border. The southwestern border at the time of Benjamin’s and John’s gift from Henry Rose was in fact that of Lunenburg. Today, it is Mecklenburg, which was taken from the southern part of Lunenburg.


Lake Gaston


Roanoke Creek

From 1752 – 1760 Benjamin appears in the Vestry Book of St Andrews Parish as resident of Brunswick County, Virginia.

On 30 May 1762 Benjamin and a Henry Tudor witnessed the will of William Watkins in Sussex County, Virginia.  William identified Henry Tudor as his son-in-law.  In the terms of the time, this could have meant step-son.  Both Benjamin and Henry were listed as living in Albermarle Parish.

On 27 January 1764, Benajamin’s brother, John Tudor, bought 160 acres on the east side of


Fishing Creek, NC

Fishing Creek from John Kirkland for 32 pounds current money of Virginia.  at this time he was a resident of Granville County, North Carolina.  Later that year, on 4 October 1764, he sold 160 acres in Brunswick County, Virginia for 45 pounds.  He was still on the tax list in 1769, with one other male adult, his oldest son, Henry.

It is likely that sometime before 1775 Benjamin and his wife went to Granville County North Carolina to scout for land, and likely that they lived with his mother, Mary Rose, and brother John, on the 160 acres his mother and brother owned on the East side of Fishing Creek.

After Benjamin and his wife returned to Virginia, they sold their land in Sussex County and removed to somewhere in the vicinity of Granville County, perhaps in Chatham County where a Benjamin witnessed a land deed in 1785 and three of our Benjamin’s sons are listed in the 1800 Census.  The sale of the land appears in the Virginia Deed Book E, pp. 380 – 381: “1775, 16 November. Benjamin and Mary Tedder of Granville County, North Carolina, to John Avent of Albermarle Parish, Sussex County (VA), 119 acres, 34 Pounds.”

It appears that two of the sons of Benjamin and his brother John, also named Benjamin and John, were members of the Granville County, North Carolina militia in 1771.  They were soldiers in Captain James Yancy’s company of foot soldiers belonging to a regiment commanded by Colonel Richard Henderson.

John Tudor seems to have served two other tours of duty in the North Carolina militia. He went on an expedition against the Cherokees under Captain Nathaniel Snipes, but was forced to turn back due to the lack of wagons and pack horses. He also served under Captain William Hicks, Colonel Taylor, and Generals Greene and Morgan at the battle of Guilford Court House, North Carolina.

Tudor researchers are certain this is John Jr., as John Sr. had signed an oath of allegiance to the Crown.  Therefore, it is unlikely that John Sr. fought against the British at Guilford Court House, although he may have been in the militia the other two times.  John Jr. would only have been around seventeen in 1771.  However, John Jr.’s surviving pension application does indicate he was in the militia at that time.  If it was John Jr. that appeared in the 1771 muster then the Benjamin would most likely be Benjamin Jr. serving with his cousin. It unlikely Benjamin Sr. who would be around fifty-three at the time would be serving as a foot soldier.

Benjamin’s children include Rebecca (Beck) (about 1759), Sarah (about 1754), James (about 1760), Benjamin, Jr., John, William, Harmon (about 1762), Anna (about 1770), and most likely Hannah (about 1765).

It was this move to Granville County that brought the Tudors/Tedders into the area of the Moonehams.

Benjamin’s son John was in Wake County before receiving 484 acres on Great Beaver Creek in Chatham County (Entry date 1 March 1779, issue date 31 March 1780). His name appears as Tedder in the 1790 and 1800 censuses.

Like her other siblings, Hannah appears to have adopted the Tedder spelling at least by the time of her marriage to Jacob Mooneham.  Other Tedders, most likely her brothers, including John and Benjamin, Jr., were already identified in Wake County before 1785.  In 1784, William Tedder, likely her brother, and his brother-in-law William Redding of Cumberland County, were contracted to lay off a road from the end of a new road opened in Wake County to the county line with Cumberland County into the road to Daniel’s Ford on the Cape Fear River.  William had settled in Cumberland by this time.  She might have been living with one of her brothers, or been introduced to the Moonehams through them.

A Note on Hillsborough

Since Jacob and Hannah appear in Hillsborogh by 1800, it’s worth noting the role Hillsborough played in the late 18th century.  Founded in 1754, Hillsborough was an early Piedmont colonial town where court was held.  In the late 1760s, tensions between Piedmont farmers and county officers were a major influence behind the Regulator movement, which had its epicenter in Hillsborough.

Several droughts had contributed to crop loss and economic depression in the inland counties.  This led to debt and many farmers unable to pay taxes.  The tax system was in the hands of local sheriffs, who were often corrupt.

As the western districts were under-represented in the colonial legislature, it was difficult for the farmers to obtain redress by legislative  means. Ultimately, the frustrated farmers took to arms and closed the court in Hillsborough, dragging those they saw as corrupt officials through the streets.  The most heavily affected areas were said to be those of Rowan, Anson, Orange, Granville, and Cumberland counties. It was a struggle between mostly working farmers and artisans, who made up the majority of the backcountry population of North and South Carolina, and the wealthy planter elite, who comprised about 5% of the population, yet maintained almost total control of the government

The government defeated the Regulators at the Battle of Alamance in May 1771.  Several trials were held after the war, resulting in the hanging of six Regulators at Hillsborough on June 19, 1771.

This would have been an historical drama that the Mooneyhams, as small farmers in the affected areas, would have lived through prior to just years before Jacob and Hannah’s marriage.

Hillsborough would later take a unique position at the start of the Civil War, only reluctantly supporting the secession of North Carolina.

Tedder Family Origins

Tedder is a variation on the Welsh name Tewdur or Tudor. Originally a Welsh forename, it is derived from the words tud “territory” and rhi “king”.  Anyone residing in such a territory, or on land of a family with that surname, could have adopted the name as surnames became required by law.  Anciently, the family is connected with the small village of Penmynydd in Anglesey, North Wales.

While a Welsh name in its origins, the name spread beyond Wales and the English counties bordering Wales throughout northern England, and in London and the surrounding areas, from the 16th century onward.  With the ascension of the Tudors to the throne, the Welsh community in and around London grew, and remains significant today.  Therefore, our immigrant ancestor may not have been living in Wales at the time of emigration,

When and from where Hannah’s grandfather, John, arrived in Virginia has not been proven conclusively.

However, some Tedder researchers, such as Robert Tedder writing on geanealogy.com in 2012 are satisfied that the immigrant ancestor was Thomas Tedder, who departed from London at the age of 19 on the ship Peter Bonadventure in 1635,  and who settled in Gloucester Virginia.

The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607 – 1660, by Peter Wilson Coldham, does contain the ship list showing Thomas Tedder for the period of 26 March – 4 April 1635.  Thomas is listed among those as note “with certificate provided at Gravesend”.  This would have been the certificate of conformity to the Anglican Church of England.  Gravesend is a town in Kent, England, 21 miles southeast of central London on the south bank of the Thames.  The town received a Royal Charter in 1401 allowing for the operation of boats between London and Gravesend.  The ship, under Thomas Harmon, was bound initially for St Christophers and the Barbadoes.  Another 19 year old named Thomas Evans was also on board.  This may have been the Evans whose family would end up living near the Tedders.

This date of departure would place Thomas Tedder’s emigration during the period known as The Great Migration. which lasted from 1629 to 1640.  These were the years when the Puritans in England came under greatest pressure. In 1629, King Charles I dissolved Parliament, thus removing legislative processes for Puritan leaders to secure recognition and leaving them vulnerable to persecution. The Great Migration is usually used in reference to the settlement of New England, but emigrants of the era traveled to the southern colonies as well.  In 1640, when Parliament was reconvened, migration, particularly to New England, dropped sharply.

Thomas, married a Mary, and they had at least three sons. “One son, Andrew Tedder of Gloucester is documented as giving a heifer to Robert Cale in 1670.  I believe this is the same Andrew listed in the Library of Virginia Colonial Records in 1678 as a merchant.  A second son, Edward, lived in the 1670s near the Lilley and Thomas Evans families. Edward was initially documented as Tidder then Tidderton.  He . . .  received 93 acres of land in Virginia in 1678.  By 1702 William Titterton, Edward’s son, the Lilleys and Thomas Evans are in Eastern North Carolina.  In 1702 William Titterton’s son, also William, married Sarah Lilley.  Some of William’s descendants stayed in North Carolina and others spread to Georgia, Mississippi and other places.

“I believe the third son was named John and is the same John found in the Library of Virginia in 1677 and 1697.” (Robert Tedder)

This John was the father of our Benjamin Tudor, and Hannah’s grandfather.

A Southern Railman in Iredell County, North Carolina

by Rick Gwynallen

Captain James William Davidson Murdoch
1861 – 1921
Relationship to Fawn: 1st cousin 5x removed


I am grateful to Jonathan Medford for the post I found on his genealogical website, Them Medfords & Other Mountain Folk.  Most of the material in this essay comes from his post.  The above photo is thought to be James William Davidson Murdoch, the clothing he is wearing a railroad uniform, and the photo taken in the 1880s.

James William Davidson Murdoch was born 21 September 1861 in Troutman, Iredell County, North Carolina. Mr.Medford informs me that most records he has seen refer to James as James William Murdoch.  However, the index at St. Michael’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Iredell County, North Carolina shows he was christened James William Davidson Murdoch.

Just four months prior to our cousin coming into this world, North Carolina had seceded from the union and fighting had started on the North Carolina coast.  Though one so young might have remained blissfuly unaware, the first four years of his life unfolded in the context of the Civil War, and certainly would have been a dominant concern affecting the family life that swirled around him.  He was the son of John A. Murdoch and Eliza Avalin Hartline.  By the time he was 6 he was orphaned.  However, all was not completely bad news in his young life.  That same year, his older sister, Margaret Theresa Elizabeth, married Daniel Perry on 7 March.


Daniel Alexander Perry and Margaret Theresa Elizabeth Murdock in their later years

James started work for the Southern Railway in 1877 as a section laborer. A section laborer keeps the track and trackbed in good shape.  This would checking for broken rails, defective switches, deteriorating trackbed, track obstructions, and weather-related problems.  A section laborer would remove and replace ties, pull and drive spikes, and shovel rock ballast.

Ultimately, he would become Captain with the Southern Railway and the line supervisor between Winston-Salem and Charlotte.

James married Eudora M. Peeples about 1881, and had five children: Alma Louise, Carrie Mazillah, Homer Odell, John Cress, and Walter Edward. The family moved from Statesville, North Carolina to Mooresville, North Carolina, about 18 miles to the south, in 1902 or 1903. After Eudora’s death in 1906, James married Mary Elizabeth Raymer, and they had two children: Nellie May and James Forrest.

James became a rail line supervisor for Southern Railways.  His son, John Cress, followed in his father’s footsteps and became a machinist for Southern Railways at the Spencer Shops in Spencer, North Carolina.  The obituary for James dated 16 December 1921 records his last position, his length of service, and how he began his life as a railman: . . . a year ago gave up his work as track supervisor of the Winston-Salem division of the Southern Railway, in who’s service he had spent 34 years, beginning as a section laborer in 1877.

Jonathan Medford wrote:

“The Spencer Shops were built in 1896 after Samuel Spencer of The Southern Railway recognized a need for a third major “back shop” service facility on the eastern main line between Washington D.C. and Atlanta. Land was purchased at the halfway point at what is now Spencer, NC.  James was one of the first local employees hired and was likely already working as a rail man at the time.”

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One can still visit the Spencer Shops where the Murdochs worked.  The Spencer Shops is now the North Carolina Transportation Museum.


The Back Shop, the Master Mechanic’s Office, the Flue Shop and the 37-stall Bob Julian Roundhouse are original buildings of the Spencer Shops.  It is one of the few remaining intact 20th-century railroad locomotive facilities in the United States.

For more information on the historic shop: Southern Railway Spencer Shops

The Statesville Landmark newspaper is among those newspapers that have been digitized, and Jonathan Medford reprinted a range of items from the newspaper that reference James.  Local papers can offer glimpses into the lives of families.  The items below show different positions James held with Southern Railway as well as family matters.  The examples from Them Medfords & Other Mountain Folk are reprinted below.

Freight Train Wrecked Near Mocksville
28 Dec 1900
Winston-Salem Special, 24th, to Charlotte Observer

The freight train which left Winston last night for Charlotte was wrecked on the Cornatzer hill, four miles this side of Mocksville.  Seventeen cars were piled in a heap, many of them being loaded with coal.  The track was torn up for some distance.  The accident was caused by the rails spreading.  On account of the wreck the passenger train from Mooreseville to Winston was cancelled for today.  It is thought the track will be cleared so trains can pass tomorrow.  All of the trainmen escaped injury last night.

[Mr. Jas. W. Murdock, section master of Statesville, was called to the scene of the wreck Sunday night with his force.  The track was cleared Monday evening and Mr. Murdock got home Monday night. The Landmark]

Jas W. Murdoch of Statesville Promoted

20 Aug 1901
Mr. Jas. W. Murdoch of Stateville, who has had charge of a work train on the Asheville division of the Southern Railway, has been appointed supervisor of the line between Taylorsville and Charlotte and Mooresville and Winston, succeeding W.F. Wilson, transferred.  Mr. Murdoch was formerly a section master.  He is a good citizen and a capable railroad man and The Landmark is gratified to learn of his promotion.

Misses Alma Murdoch to Attend School
17 Sep 1901
Misses Alma Murdoch and Minnie Meacham left Wednesday for Asheville, where they will attend school at the Normal and Collegiate Institute.

Statesville Visit
12 May 1903
Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Murdoch and children of Mooresville visited friends here yesterday.

Miss Carrie Mazillah Murdoch to Marry

28 Nov 1905
Miss Carrie Mazillah Murdoch, daughter of Capt. and Mrs. Jas. W Murdoch, formerly of Stateville, now of Mooresville, and Mr. Chas. A. Troutman will be married at the home of the bride’s parents in Mooresville December 27th.

Death of Mrs. Jas W. Murdoch at Statesville
11 May 1906
Mrs. Murdoch, wife of Jas W. Murdoch, supervisor of the North Carolina Midland and Charlotte and Taylorsville railroad lines, died Tuesday night at 10 o’clock at her home in Mooresville, aged about 40 years.  The remains were brought here yesterday morning and interred in Oakwood cemetery.  Four children survive.

Mr. and Mrs. Murdoch lived in Statesville for several years, moving from here to Mooresville.  The family has many friends here and all who know them sympathize with Mr. Murdoch and his children in the great loss they have suffered.

Sad News
14 May 1906
The deaths of Rev R.T.N. Stephenson and Mrs. Murdoch which were announced in your paper of Friday, was sad news to our people.
Mrs. Murdock is well remembered here, having lived here some time in Capt. Murdock was section master on the railroad here.  She was an estimable lady.
Stony Point, NC

Card of Thanks
15 May 1906
Please allow us space in your valuable paper to express our sincere thanks to the good people of Mooresville for the kindness shown us during the illness and death of our dear wife and mother.
May God’s richest blessings rest upon each of you, is our prayer.
J.W. Murdoch and Children

Miss Murdoch and Mr. Brown Married Last August
Mooresville Dispatch, Feb 25, 1907
The first news of the morning was the announcement of the marriage of the eldest daughter of Mr. J.W. Murdoch, Miss Alma, to Mr. Marvin Brown, mail carrier on Mooresville R.F.D. No. 3.  There is a bit of romance attached to this marriage that might be spoken of.  Last summer these two people, on their way from prayer meeting, decided they would be married secretly, so after ‘Squire C.V. Voils had declared his good name to keep this secret he performed the ceremony, giving them a certificate of marriage.  This certificate was produced Sunday morning.  The two have been living at their respective homes since the marriage and have conducted themselves in such a nice way that neither their intimate friends nor homefolks have guessed the truth.
[The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jas. W. Murdoch, who formerly lived in Stateville.]

Mrs. Marvin Brown Died
31 May 1907
Mrs. Marvin Brown died Wendesday morning at her home at Mooresville. Mrs. Brown was Miss Alma Murdock, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jas. W. Murdock, formerly of Statesville, and has many friends here who will regret to learn of her death.  She was married to Mr. Brown last year.

Memorial Services
On Sunday afternoon, June 2nd. Memorial services were held by the Methodist Dunsay school in memory of one of its faithful attendants and pupils – Mrs. Alma Murdoch Brown. The services were conducted by Supt. M.W. White and short talks were made by Rev. S. T. Barber and Mr. Pegram. A committe from the Sunday school was appointed to prepare a memorial, which was read by Miss Viola Johnston. After the services the school marched to the cemetery, where flowers were strewn on the grave of their departed member.

[Below is the memorial that was read]
In Memoriam
Mrs. Alma Murdoch Brown was born at Troutman September 9th, 1883, and died at Mooresville May 29th, 1907. She was at the time of her death 23 years, 8 months and 18 days old. She was a consistent and faithful member of the Methodist church and Sunday school and was a regular attendant upon its services, she having been organist of the choir for some time. There has not been a death among us for some time that has caused greater genuine sorrow and regret than the death of MRs. Brown.

Taken from us when just in the prime of life and when the future held for her such bright promise, it seemed hard that she should be called upon to give them all up and go the journey from which none ever return. In our finite mind we cannot see why it is so, but God, in His all-wise way, took her for some good purpose, and we humbly submit to Him who doeth all things well, though our hearts bleed that she is with us no more.

Wednesday afternoon, May 29th, at 6 o’clock, the funeral services were conducted by her pastor, Rev. S. T. Barber, assisted by Rev.  J.W. Jones, from the church where in life she had loved and labored, and as the sun sank low in the west and cast slanting shadows athwart the evening sky, her remains were tenderly lowered into the grave by loving hands, to await the resurrection morn.

To the grief-stricken husband who had loved and cherished the idol of his heart, and who had almost completed for her a new house that was to be their home; to the father who had loved and watched over her from childhood days, and to her sister and brothers who have lost their beloved sister, this memoriam is dedicated. May her rest be sweet and may her loved ones meet her in the home of the good.

“Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep,
From which none ever wakes to weep,
A calm and undisturbed repose,
Unbroken by the last of foes,
“Asleep in Jesus, far from thee,
They kindred and their graves may be,
But thine is still a blessed sleep,
From which none ever wakes to week.”
~ The Committee

Beloved Railroad Man of Mooresville Died Wednesday Afternoon – Funeral

15 Dec 1921, Friday Morning

By J. A. B. Goodman

Mooresville, Dec 16. – Capt. James William Murdock, one of
Mooresville’s best-beloved men, passed away Wednesday afternoon at his
home on north Main street. Capt. Murdock had been in ill health for
several years, and a year ago gave up his work as track supervisor of
the Winston-Salem division of the Southern Railway, in who’s service
he had spent 34 years, beginning as a section laborer in 1877.

Capt. Murdock was sixty one years of age, and was a son of the late
John Murdock, of the Troutman community. He was twice married. His
first wife being a Miss Peoples. A daughter and three sons survived by
this union — Mrs. C.A. Troutman of Mooresville, Homer and Edward
Murdock of Charlotte, and Cress Murdock, of Statesville. In 1908 he
married Mrs. Mary E. Stines, who survives him, together with a son,
Forrest, and a daughter, Nelly. He is also survived by three step
sons, Eddi and Spencer Stines, of Philadelphia, and Hugh Stines, of
this city, who succeeded Capt. Murdock when he resigned his work with
the Southern.

Left an orphan at the age of six years, the deceased was bound out to
a Mr. Vanderburg. Even at this early age his strong prohibition
tendency asserted itself, and he ran away from his employer a few
years later because he operated one of the then numerous distilleries
in Iredell county. He spent several years in Illinois, later returning
to his native state.

During the years he has spent in Mooresville, Capt. Murdock has been
one of the town’s best citizens. He was deeply pious, holding his duty
to the Lord above all other things, and countenanced nothing that
savored of irreverence or immorality. He was a value member, and for
many years a steward of the Methodist church here. He was outspoken in
his convictions, but was unfailing in kindness and sympathy.

For a number of years he was a member of the city graded school board,
and served loyally and efficiently. It was characteristic of him that
at the first meeting of the board after his election he insisted that
the proceedings should be opened with prayer.

In July of last year the Southern News bulletin published an
appreciation of his services in which he was described as “one of the
most loyal men on the Winston-Salem division, who has made an enviable
record for dependable and efficient service.” He was highly esteemed
by all employees and officials of his division.

Funeral services will be conducted from the Central Methodist Church
at 11 o’clock Friday morning, by the Pastor, Rev. L.B. Abernathy.
Interment will be made in Willow Valley cemetery.

– The Statesville Landmark December 15, 1921

J.W. Murdock’s Will
23 Jan 1922
The will of the late J.W. Murdock, of Mooresville has been filed for probate.  The will, which was made on September 25, 1912, names C.V. Voils of Mooresville as executor, and leaves his property to his wife, Mary E. Murdock, to be divided share for share among his bodily heirs upon her death.

The Patterson Family Line

by Rick Gwynallen

Jane Patterson
1795 – 1861
Relationship to Fawn: 4th great grandmother

I wrote a couple of small essays on my great-aunt Susie Dent Allen.  She was named after her maternal grandmother, Susan Dent, so I started wondering about her Dent family line. The custom among the Scots, Irish, and Southerners to have given surnames of mothers, grandmothers and others to children as first or middle names, thus perpetuating that family identity, is a God-send to researchers.  While I’m still working on the details of the Dents I ran across Aunt Susie’s great-grandmother, Jane Patterson, whose line was already pretty well researched by others.  I am particularly grateful to the The Haywood County Line website for its description of the family lineage.

Jane Patterson’s parents were Tillman Patterson and Matilda Young.  However, let us start at the beginning of the Patterson story, or at least as early as can be proven.

Emigration from Scotland

The immigrant ancestor appears to have been Joseph Patterson, born about 1660 in Scotland.  His wife’s name was possibly Jennet.  At present, I have no substantive information about them, such as a point of entry into the colonies, year of arrival, or what part of Scotland they lived in.

We know he arrived prior to 1690, the approximate year of his son John’s birth.  If he left in the 1680s political turmoil could have sent him abroad.  Perhaps he was an anti-royalist.  Perhaps the various wars of the 17th century simply made life at home economically precarious no matter which side he took.  We just don’t know.

The name Patterson has a long history in Scotland in the Highlands and Lowlands.

The name in Scottish Gaelic is Mac Phadraig, which could be a shortened form of Mac Gille Phadraig, meaning son of the servant/devotee of (Saint) Patrick. Perhaps the ancestor was a churchman during the time priests were allowed to marry, or perhaps the ancestor was a lay member of the church hierarchy.


A family of this name is found toward the end of the 13th century on the shores of Loch loch-fyne-1Fyne.  By the 16th century, the anglicized form of Paterson or Patterson is found in Inverness and Aberdeen.  The surname of Patterson eventually becomes widespread in the Lowlands.  


Today the Lowland Pattersons are deemed a clan by the Court of the Lord Lyon, though currently without a chief.  The surname of Paterson or Patterson is also considered as a sept of Clan MacLaren and Clan Farquharson.

The First Generation in the American Colonies

Joseph’s point of entry is unknown. Given that the earliest documentation starts in Virginia, it is possible that Yorktown could have been the place of embarkation, but it could just as easily have been Maryland.

Joseph Patterson’s son John was born in 1690 in what would soon become Prince George County, Bristol Parish, Virginia.  He was the first of this Patterson line born in the American colonies.  At the time of his birth there were fewer than 2,000 people living in the area.

John appears in the County Deed Book in 1716 where he sells land on the Great Swamp adjoining a plantation given to him by his father, Joseph, which was originally part of a larger tract of land owned by his father.

“Sept 10 1716 John Patterson of Bristol Parish, Pr. Geo Co. to Richard Bland of Westoph Parish, Pr Geo. Co. on the Great Swamp between plantation where Joseph Patteson, father to John Patterson, formerly lived and plantation where Mr. John Woodleife formerly lived which tract was formerly part of a greater tract belonging to said Joseph Patterson and was given to said son John Patterson by his last will, for f15   Wit; Peter Bond, Thomas Matthew John Patteson  Rec. Sept 11 1716″ (Prince George Co., Virginia , 1713 1728 Abstracted and Indexed by; Benjamin B. Weisiger, III, Pg. 122)

The early 1700s is an era so different from our own that it’s hard to picture what farm life was like.  The word “plantation” draws up an image of a mansion, but that was no necessarily so in the early 1700s.  The Accokeek Foundation operates a living history farm in Accokeek, Maryland called the National Colonial Farm.  It includes a representation of a  farm of the era in which John Patterson lived and farmed in Virginia.


Prince George County at that time was predominantly agricultural.  Agriculture was the basis of the economy and directly or indirectly provided the livelihood for every resident. At the heart of this agricultural economy was tobacco.  Tobacco created wealth in Prince George County that certainly created large plantations over time, as well as wealth that allowed horse breeding to begin. However, tobacco provided “modest livelihoods for smaller farmers, and even served as legal tender for debts. That one crop contributed more to Prince George County than anything else, and created a prosperous, sophisticated tobacco society which traded its staple with English and Scottish merchants for goods from all over the world.”  (Source: Prince George County History by Alan Virta)

John married Jane Smith some time before 1720.  Their eldest child was my direct ancestor, Smith Patterson.  They had two other children, Francis and Eady before Jane died.

Before 1727 John married again, this time to Mary Taylor, and had three more children, Lewis, George, and Catherine.

John and his family migrated to North Carolina sometime prior to November of 1743.  A Crown Grant of 300 acres in Edgecombe County, North Carolina was issued to Mary Patterson on 15 November 1743.

John died in 1754 at the age of 64 in North Carolina, possibly in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.

The Second Generation

Though born in Virginia, the story of the second generation unfolds significantly within North Carolina.

We are descended from the eldest child of John and Jane, Smith Patterson, who was born 28 August 1720 in Prince George County, Bristol Parish, Virginia.

Smith married Sarah Turner about 1750, the date being used because that was when their first child was born. Assuming her birth around 1724 in Virginia, the author of The Haywood County Line website speculates that this could have been a second marriage for both of them since Smith was 30 and Sarah was 26 at the presumed time of their marriage.

Their first child was Sarah, who is believed to be born in Virginia in 1750.  Their second child, Young, was born about 1753 in Guilford County, North Carolina, so it appears that between the birth of their first two children, sometime between 1750 and 1753, Smith and Sarah moved with the Patterson family from Virginia to North Carolina.

Smith Patterson migrated to Granville County with his half-brothers, Lewis and George by 1754.  He appears as a sergeant in the Muster Roll of the Regiment in Granville County under the Command of Col. William Eaton as taken at a General Muster of the Regiment on the 8th of October 1754. He was part of Captain Daniel Harris’s Company. Lewis and George were also listed as part of that Company.

Smith appears in the 1755 tax rolls of Granville County, North Carolina.

The Granville County Deed Book of 1761 – 1764 indicates Smith was acquiring and selling land.

“Oct. 2, 1763-Smith Patterson of Granville Co., to Jememiah Neil of Granville Co. for 33 pds 6 shls 6 pence, 250 acres onside of Reedy Creek on James Alston’s old line to Lemuel Hargrove’s corner, to Mangum’s Acock’s lines. Wits; Robert Flack, John Linton (Abstracts of Granville Co. NC, Deeds 1746-1765)

“pg 245-46 April 1, 1763-Grant to Smith Patterson for 700 acres onNorth side of Reedy Creek at Adcocks’s corner, Macon’s Creek,Hardway’s and Young’s lines.

“pg 240-41, Jan. 4 1764 Smith Patterson to Mathew Morrell of Southhampton Co. VA. for 40 pds., 500 arces on Meltons Creek in Granville Co., NC at Jeremiah Neils corner Hardway’s and Youngs lines. Wits;James Thompson,Lewis Harris.”

Though not our direct line of descent:

“Records for two of Smith’s stepbrothers, Lewis Patterson and George Patterson also show them migrating south. As early as 1755, census records show Lewis already in Granville Co., NC where he would die in 1810 at the age of 83. He and his wife, Lucy Jordan, had 10 children.

“Smith’s stepbrother, George Patterson, migrated from upper North Carolina to the south. Records on him can be found in Bute, Warren, Granville, Tryon, and Edgecomb Counties of North Carolina, finally settling in York County, South Carolina. He died there in 1803 at the age of 74. George’s son, Littleberry Patterson and his descendants were some of the earliest pioneer families to settle in Monroe, Polk, and McMinn Counties in Tennessee.” (Haywood County Line)

We find Smith and his son Young Patterson in Franklin- Warren County, North Carolina at least by 1771 when they appear in the Tax List.  However, he seems to have been unable to pay his taxes in 1788.  He is referred to as an Insolvent in Franklin County, North Carolina records: “Jeremiah Perry Collector in Capt Whites District for the year 1788 be allowed the following Insolvents, Smith Patterson 50 acres and 1 poll.”

We are descended from their son Tillman.

The Third Generation

Tillman Patterson was born 1761 or before in Granville County, North Carolina.  His pension application, filed on 3 October 1826, when he was living in Louisburg, Franklin County, North Carolina gives his birth year as 1753, but the 1840 Federal Census give his age as 79 resulting in a birth year 1761.

Tillman participated in the American Revolution.  According to his pension application of 11 September 1826 in Franklin, North Carolina, Tillman joined the army in Franklin, North Carolina on 1 November 1778.  He served as a sergeant in Captain Sharp’s Company of Colonial Armstrong’s North Carolina regiment, and was discharged somewhere between 1 and 10 August 1779.

Tillman first appears in the Federal Census as head of household in the 1800 census, at that time living in Louisburg, Franklin County, North Carolina, which indicates he had migrated to Franklin County at least by 1800.  Possibly his family had removed to Franklin County at the time he enlisted in 1778.

Tillman and Matilda had at least three children, all born in Franklin County, North Carolina: Jane born about 1795, Young on 14 March 1799, and Smith about 1798.

We are descended from Jane Patterson.

Tillman may have left his own farm in his later years because he appears in the household of James Dent and his daughter, Jane, in the 1840 census, which gives his age as 79. 

James and Jane were married about 1825, and would become a set of my third great-grandparents.  The child from whom we are descended, Susan, would have been a child in the house with her grandfather, Tillman, in 1840, eight years old art the time, and 17 at the time Tillman’s death in 1849.

I don’t know the location of the Patterson or Dent farms in Franklin County, but below is an overview of Louisburg, Franklin County.


And I did find this little house.


This little building was a rest stop for stagecoach travelers on the Richmond to Raleigh road (401) in Franklin County NC. Built in the late 1700’s or early 1800’s. The main house burned in the 1970’s.

I can imagine that the Pattersons and Dents may have traveled this way, perhaps using this little rest stop to met people or for simple refreshment.

A County Donegal Connection

[updated: 4 July 2017]

By Richard Gwynallen

Judah Ladd Ward
1803 – 1835
Relationship to Fawn: 4th great-grandmother

We have two Ward lines on my mother’s side of the family marrying into the Richardson family in the same general time period in the same county.

Judah Ladd Ward married Green Lee Richardson in Stokes County, North Carolina on 12 February 1825.  Anna Emma Jane Ward married the son of Judah Ladd and Green Lee, Joseph Richardson, on 23 February 1850 in Stokes County.

I’ve assumed these two Ward lines were related, but haven’t proven it yet, so I decided to go ahead and discuss the roots of Judah Ladd Ward’s line. Perhaps I will come up with something about Anna Emma Jane Ward’s ancestry later.

At first glance I assumed Ward was an English family line.  However, I was surprised to find Wards having arrived in the Cape Fear, North Carolina area on The Thistle with families from Kintyre, Scotland in 1739.  These families formed the Scottish Highlander community in Cape Fear that became one of the most notable Gaelic speaking communities in North America.

Also, I discovered that there was both an English and a Gaelic origin for the name Ward.  The English version has two possible derivations, the first being occupational for a civil guard or keeper of the watch, and the second topographical, describing one who lived by a ‘werd’ – a marsh.

In the Gaelic case, Ward is an Anglicized version of the original, “Mac an Bhaird,” “son of the bard.”

This essay will focus on two things:

1. The origins of the Ward family
2. What life was like in Stokes County in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when our Ward and Richardson families lived in Stokes County.

The Immigrant Family

Judah Ladd’s family seems to have arrived from Ireland prior to 1730 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The immigrant family was James Ward and Sarah Rodgers, and perhaps five of their children: James (Jr.), William, John, Issac, and Joseph.

James (Sr.) and Sarah were married about 1700 in Donegal, Ireland.  The Ward family seems to have been based in the Inishowen Penninsula of County Donegal for at least four generations.  Sarah was also born on the Inishowen Penninsula, but she may have been the first generation there, and her Rodgers family may have come over to Ireland from England or Scotland.  There seems to be very little known about her parentage.

At least one of their sons, John, from whom we are descended, was married in Ireland.  His wife was Mary Ann Campbell of Kilmacrennan (Gaelic: Cill Mhic nÉanáin or Cill Mhic Réanáin), County Donegal.  The village of Kilmacrennan lies west of of the Inishowen Penninsula and Drongawn Lough, which is the lough bordering the southwest of the Inishowen Penninsula.  This branch of the Campbells was in Ireland prior to the plantations of the early 17th century.  It’s unclear when and how they came to be in Ireland.  They acquired land from an English officer who was given land in Donegal in the late 16th century.  An invading English army, intervening in a clan conflict and taking advantage to establish power there, was stopped in its effort to conquer Donegal, but had captured territory in east Donegal and gave confiscated land to English settlers.

James (Jr.) also seems to have been married in Ireland and brought three children to the colonies.  Since he married in Virginia his first wife must have died.

The Ward researcher Carolyn Ward Clark (CWC) informed me that she had seen the ship record, which listed the senior James Ward as a widower of age 58 in 1730. It also listed on the same ship his son, James, Jr. (born 1700); the sons of James, Jr., James III (born 1727), Joseph and William (born about 1725); James, Sr.’s son William Ward (born 1702), who was single at the time; and our direct ancestor, son of James, Sr., John Ward, (born 1704).  CWC speculates that John’s wife, Mary Campbell of Kilmacrean, stayed in Ireland, pregnant with Jacob (born 1730), and came the next year to the American Colonies with Jacob and his older brother John (born 1727).

James Sr.’s family settled in Augusta County, Virginia, where John Ward and Mary Ann Campbell also spent their lives.  They settled in the valley of the Calfpasture River of the Beverley Manor project.   In 1744 James Patton and John Lewis received a land grant of 16,500 acres on the Calfpasture.  John Ward was listed as one of the original settlers on this land grant. From this point Wards appear periodically in surviving records. In one index of an undated document that is thought to be from 1750, John Ward is identified as a yeoman farmer in his purchase of 231 acres in Beverly Manor from John Patterson, identified as a weaver.  William Beverly of Essex County was granted a patent of 118,491 acres of land on 12 August 12 1736 that became the Beverly Manor.  Beverly Manor includes the modern suburbs of Staunton, Virginia.  On 18 February 1761 John Ward sold to Joseph Waughub 246 acres in Calfpasture at the head of Grassy Lick Run at top of Black Oak Hill, which was part of Beverly Manor.

In 1745 John Ward served in Captain John Lockridge’s company of militia.

The son of John and Mary Ann from whom we are descended, Jacob, married Anna Hill and settled in Culpeper County, Virginia.  They appear in the rent rolls in Culpeper County in 1764. CWC identifies their land as “southwest of Culpeper city near Madison Co. now on Rappidan River.”   Jacob and Anna’s son from whom we are descended, John, migrated into North Carolina, ultimately to Stokes County. There is more information about John further below.

Ward Family Origins

James’ parents were Thomas Ward and Sussanah Swanson or Swenson.  Sussanah’s parentage also is a mystery, but there is speculation that she was descended from the Sweeneys or MacSweeneys from County Donegal west of the Inishowen Penninsula.

If this is accurate, our immigrant Ward line descends from a well established Ward family of the Inishowen Penninsula, and Scottish Sweeneys who were based in County Donegal for centuries, having settled there as mercenaries for the O’Donnells. More on that further down.

James’s grandparents seem to be Richard Ward and Alice Edmonds.  Her parentage is also speculative.  However, our James’ great-grandfather, John Ward also appears to have married an Edmonds named Alice Anne. Perhaps these two Alice’s were aunt and niece or cousins.

Any level of certainty around the ancestry of James Ward, the immigrant ancestor, ceases with his great-grandfather, John, who was born about 1600.

Descendants of James Ward in Kentucky maintain a site that clearly believes the Wards were of native Irish stock, and that the name is derived from the Gaelic, Mac an Bhaird. They make no speculation as to James’ specific ancestry.  In Early Modern Ireland, 1534 – 1691, a family called Mac an Bhaird is listed as a poet family from Ulster (pp. 522 – 538).  The site Ulster Ancestry also identifies Mac an Bhaird as the Gaelic original of MacWard, but gives it a Scottish origin, implying a pre-plantation transfer of the name to Ireland.  Ulster Ancestry also locates the name in Antrim and Down. There are other Mac an Bhaird in other parts of Ireland, with a significant grouping in County Galway and in County Donegal.  A Maelisa Macaward was bishop of Clonfert, County Galway as early as 1179. Many a Mac an Bhaird or Ward appeared as bards to the O’Donnells in County Donegal.

There was a Cornelius Ward who was one of three Franciscan missionaries to cross from Antrim to Kintyre on 21 July 1624 to minister to scattered Catholics and to convert others in western Scotland.  The other two were Patrick Hegarty and Paul O’Neill.  (The Glens of Antrim Historical Society)

Others believe that the Wards originated in England with old roots in Yorkshire, and came to Ireland in the late 16th century when an English army, as mentioned above, took advantage of fighting between the O’Neills and O’Donnells and occupied the Inishowen Peninsula, or possibly with the plantations of the early 17th century.

The Ward researcher Carolyn Ward Clarke leans toward the theory of an English origin, but believes it is more likely to have been the area of Faversham in the Swale district of Kent, or the area of Tonbridge in west Kent.  She mentioned in an exchange a family story of the pirate John Ward of Faversham, also known as Jack Ward or Birdy, who ended up as privateer for Queen Elizabeth I plundering Spanish ships and later became a Barbary pirate, living in Tunis and converting to Islam.  No idea if this is a real connection in some distant part of our ancestry, but the pirate Jack Ward makes an interesting story.

MacLysaght, in his Irish Families series (1982, 1985), identifies two separate Wards groupings in Ireland, one English and one Gaelic. A group of Wards in County Down is of English origin, and is headed by Viscount Bangor.

Does all this information help us.  We still only know that our Ward ancestors came from the Inishowen Penninsula in County Donegal and intermarried with Campbell, Rodgers, and Swanson/Swenson families.  How they got to County Donegal we do not know. Were they part of the families who had served as bards to the O’Donnells?  Or did they migrate there from further east, be it Antrim or Down, or even Scotland or England?

Swanson or Swenson heritage

Since James Ward and Sarah Rodgers were our immigrant couple I would like to record more about Sarah’s line of descent and their origins, but I have just not found anything of substance.  The spelling “Rodgers” seems to be the most popular spelling of the name in Scotland, which leads some to speculate that Irish Rodgers came to Ireland from Scotland as part of the plantations.

Due to the lack of any certain information about the Rodgers, I will make a few comments about James’ mother’s family line to offer some cultural context for the family.

Whether Swanson or Swenson, the name derives from the pre-8th Century “Viking” (Scandinavian) personal name Sven, Suen or Sveinn, a form of endearment.

In County Donegal, the most significant use of the name comes from the MacSweeney clan.  The Mac Suibhne (MacSweeney) originated in the lands of Knapdale in Argyll, Scotland from an 11th century  marriage of an O’Neill prince, Ánrothán Ua Neill, with a Scottish princess.  Their grandson was Suibne, from whom the clan derives its name. After opposing Robert Bruce’s claim to the Scottish throne the clan lost its Knapdale lands and most left for Ireland.  Those who remained in Scotland became known as MacQueen.  The Mac Suibhne clan became Gallowglass soldiers for the O’Donnell dynasty of Tyrconnell, then settled in northern Donegal at the beginning of the 14th century.

The Mac Suibhne clan were unique among Gallowglass warriors.  Many Gallowglass received land in which to settle, but this clan established itself as a power unto itself over significant territories.  Possibly their relationship to both the O’Neills and the O’Donnells helped.

Mac Suibhne territories were stretched across northern Donegal.  One branch was based at Rathmullen on the western bank of Drongawn Lough.

The Mac Suibhne stronghold of Castle Doe is at Sheephaven Bay near Creeslough.



During the plantation of Ireland in the 17th century, Donnchadh Mac Suibhne was allotted 2,000 acres around Kilmacrennan where the Mac Suibhne chiefs were inaugurated.

Other branches of the clan existed as far west as Gweedore in Donegal.

The historian James Logan, in The Scottish Gaël, remarked how the Mac Sweeneys were notable for their hospitality. At Clodach Castle, a seat of theirs in southern Ireland in the Munster Parish of Kilmurry, there was a stone set near the highway which was inscribed with an open invitation to travelers to make for Clodach for refreshment.

More than likely, the family of Sussanah Swenson/Swanson came from a MacSweeney family connected to the MacSweeney bases at or near Rathmulllen, Kilmacrennan, Creeslough, or perhaps on the Inishowen Peninsula itself.


North County Donegal – Area of Ward, Swenson, Rodgers, and Campbell families – Inishowen Peninsula, and west to include Rathmullan, Kilmacreen, and Creeslough

Life in Stokes County – Late 18th and early 19th centuries

John Ward married Rachel Vernon on 21 Dec 1779 in North Carolina in Germanton in what was Surry County and would later become part of Stokes County. CWC believes they were “likely living on Ward Road near Prestonville where their cemetery Ward Cemetery is and they are buried.”  I noted a record that identifies this cemetery as “on Highway 772 between Prestonville and Sandy Ridge; highway went through center of cemetery.”

This represented the first Ward of this line to settle in Stokes County.  John Ward appears as head of household on the 1820 and 1830 federal censuses.  Prior to Jacob and Rachel’s appearance in Surry County, both the Ward and Vernon families were based in Virginia; the Wards in Augusta and Culpeper, and the Vernons in Lunenburg County.

The Stokes County Historical Society commissioned the publication, The Stokes County Historic Inventory, which was released in 1989.  Most of the information below is drawn from that report.

Stokes County lies in the northwest Piedmont of North Carolina bordered by Virginia to the north, Surry County to the west, and Rockingham County to east.  The county today has become somewhat of a bedroom community for towns such as Winston-Salem and Greensboro.  Historically, it has been a rural county.


Close to the center of the county rise the Sauratown mountains, with rolling hills and valleys characterizing the rest of the area. Though covering only 5% of the county, the mountains have shaped life in the county. The natural beauty of the land has drawn people to the area for generations, and now contributes to the tourist industry in the county, and probably accounts for it becoming somewhat of a bedroom community.


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On the other hand, the mountains hindered the development of roads and communications, and limited the size of farms and the cultivatable land. Census records show that for most of the 19th century only about 20% of the land was under cultivation.

What land was cultivatable was quite fertile, however, due to the many streams cutting through the county.  Though mostly not navigable, the waterways gave rose to grist mills and other services required by a rural population.

Stokes County farms grew corn, wheat, oats, grasses, garden vegetables, and fruits, particularly apples, in addition to raising cattle, sheep, and swine. However, tobacco was and is the main cash crop.

The configuration of the land created by the mountains, hill country, and small valleys fostered to a situation where most inhabitants were yeoman farmers, what we might today call family farmers, as opposed to the larger planters. The rugged terrain and the difficulty of moving agricultural products to major market areas limited the practical size of farms.  Further, a large percentage of these small farmers were tenancies held from larger, wealthy landowners.  The 1850 census shows that there were 591 farms in Stokes county at that time, with an average of only 56 acres of improved land per farm.  Consequently, slavery was not as prevalent in Stokes County. The 1860 census records show that only 3% of the white population had slaves, and only 28 households had 20 or more slaves.

Unlike the extensive Ulsters Scots community in Iredell and Rowan counties south and west of Stokes County, families of English descent dominated Stokes County.  The German and Ulster Scots communities were a minority.   Though the earliest churches seemed to be the German Moravians, the English Methodist and Baptist churches appear to have dominated and continue to do so today. John and Rachel are buried in a non-denominational Ward Family Cemetery.


The life of our Ward family in Stokes County in the early 19th century seems to have been that of yeoman farmers, possibly tenant farmers, who probably raised a variety of crops and livestock for family use and some commercial potential, most likely raising tobacco as a main cash crop. As with most of their class they probably had carpentry and blacksmithing capability, and perhaps supplemented their income through trades such as these.  It was essentially subsistence farming where each farm was highly self-sufficient, and relatively isolated from each other.  Examples of family farms in the county have not survived from that time, but their farm was probably a modest home with a variety of outbuildings.  The Stokes County Historic Inventory describes most homes as “simple but sturdy log or frame houses of traditional construction, form, and detail . . . little affected by stylistic trends popular in the outside world.”

The Civil War drained the resources of the county as it did throughout the south with many men gone to fight in the Confederate army, and stores and supplies provided to the army.

John and Rachel’s daughter, Judah Ladd Ward, married Green Lee Richardson in 1825. Both Green and Judah had died before the Civil War, but at least two of their sons were among those away from the farm.  Green (Jr.) served as a private in Company D of the 52nd Regiment, North Carolina Infantry. Their son, Joseph, was fatally wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia on 4 May 1863, while serving as a private in Company L, 21st Infantry North Carolina Regiment, and died at an Army hospital in Richmond on 10 May 1863. Joseph may have been a reluctant soldier having not enlisted until 22 February 1863. He may have been conscripted. The Richardson story is more fully explored in The Richardson and Johns Families – Our Maryland Quaker Roots.

However, the county escaped the devastation of actual fighting. The only military action occurred late in the war when Union General Stoneman’s cavalry swept through the mountains and western Piedmont, setting up camp on 9 April 1865 in the county seat of Danbury.  However, after Stoneman determined there was little military need for troops in the county, his forces left Stokes County the next day by way of the village of Germanton near where the Wards lived.

Ending with a John Ward Story

John Ward, husband to Rachel Vernon, filed a pension application for his service in the Revolutionary War.  The following is adapted from a summary of that pension application (pension File #W-9872) by Arthur Allen Moore.

John Ward was a private in the company commanded by Captain Green in Colonel Patrick Henry’s regiment in the Virginia line. He served 19 months and 2 days, being stationed in Williamsburg and discharged September 3, 1776.

In 1777, he volunteered again in Culpeper County, Virginia, and served under Captain Rucker, who marched his company to join General Washington near Philadelphia for a period of three months. There John Ward served by reconnoitering the position of the enemy.

In 1778, he moved to Germanton in Surry County, North Carolina (later Stokes County) and enlisted in the Militia under Captain Henry Smith and General Rutherford. He marched south with their force to the Savannah River where he patrolled the river to prevent crossing by the British.

He later served as a wagon driver of the provision wagon in Charleston, South Carolina. He enlisted still another term as wagon driver to the Yadkin River.

Additional information from his pension application papers indicate that he served under Colonel Lythe and Major Nelson opposite Augusta, crossed river down to Georgia to Briar Creek, where his unit was defeated March 1779. He served in this expedition five months as Captain. In swimming across the river after the battle he lost his commission and other papers. He was discharged by General Rutherford after crossing the river. He seems to have also served as a captain under Captain Henry Smith, Colonel Brevard, and General Rutherford, though the time frames are unclear.

An Allen Burial Ground in Alexander County, North Carolina

By Richard Gwynallen

George Allen
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.

  1. Abijah Meadows
  2. Amie Allen Fain
  3. Charles Allen
  4. Donald Fain
  5. Elizabeth Allen Simmons
  6. Elizabeth Simmons Meadows
  7. Esther Campbell Allen
  8. George Allen
  9. James Simmons
  10. Lucretia Reaves Allen
  11. Rebecca Allen
  12. Robert Allen
  13. Susannah Allen Brack
  14. 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.


Gravestone of George Allen

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.



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:

  1. Clarissa
  2. Lucretia Jane (married a Patterson)
  3. Dorcas Jones (married a King)
  4. Archibald Campbell
  5. Robert Hale
  6. George James
  7. Elizabeth Catherine (married a Smith)
  8. Mary Caroline (married a Powell)
  9. 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.


Gravestone of Robert Allan and Esther Campbell



“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 reaves-areafrom 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.


Gravestone of Abijah 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.

wife of
Mar 18, 1791
Feb 3, 1862

I hope one day to visit the Allen graves at Hiddenite

New Information on Our Boyd Ancestors

By Richard Gwynallen

Robert Boyd
1728 – 1806
Eleanor McCullock
1732 – 1819
Relationship to Fawn: 6th great-grandparents

I had heard about a Boyd farm in County Tyrone in Ulster and another in Lancaster County,


Boyd Ancient Tartan

Pennsylvania.  Various branches of our family are connected to both those areas. So, I was wondering if there might be a relationship between those farms and our family.   I was trying to find information about those possibilities while also casually searching around for anything about an old Boyd homestead in North Carolina. Nothing was coming up on those accounts, but I did run across the document, Two Lines of Boyd Crossing Paths in the Frontier, complied by the Rev. Christian D. Boyd of the Newton County Missouri Boyds.

The following will refer to many different relationships within our family, but I identified Robert and Eleanor above because that is the marriage in this country from which our Boyd line descends.

Rev. Boyd noted that the ancestry information in Two Lines of Boyd Crossing Paths in the Frontier was “pieced together from family history given by the children and grandchildren of John Boyd, son of Robert and Eleanor of Iredell Co., NC, and the research forged by Linda Lawhon and others in the Boyd family, as well as Ewing clan.”  It’s a nice find for amateurs like me when the work of experienced genealogical researchers and holders of family history have some of their work compiled.

I’ll focus here on the items that build on our previous essay, Our Boyd Line.  As a reminder, in that essay we identified the immigrant ancestor as Robert Boyd who came to Pennsylvania from Ireland with two sons, William and Robert.  It is his son Robert from whom we are directly descended.  One small point we learned from this compilation was that Robert had “raven locks.”  His brother William was a red head for those who might be curious.  It’s a small thing, but it gives a little bit more of a picture of someone for whom we have no picture.

Locating where Robert and Eleanor lived in North Carolina

As we know, Robert (the son) married Eleanor McCullock, and they would remove to what was Burke County and would become Iredell County, North Carolina. 


Lower Little River, North Carolina

From this compilation we learn that Robert and his family “settled along the Muddy Fork of the Lower Little River and acres on Lower Little River including the Big Falls and his own improvements for complement. Present day, this parcel is located northwest of Taylorsville, NC, in Alexander Co., with HWY 16 running through it.”

We also learn from these accounts that Robert and Eleanor operated a mill, most likely a grist mill, on Lower Little River during the Revolutionary War.


18th century North Carolina Grist Mill

Most of the early grist mills were replaced in the 1780s and 1790s with improved construction.  I haven’t found any images of 18th century grist mills from Lower Little River, but the two pictured here offer an idea of what it may have looked like.


18th Century Lenoir County, Tennessee Grist Mill

Mills of the time were frequently refitted over the years to serve many purposes in addition to milling grains; sawing wood, for instance.  In addition to offering services needed in rural life, the mills were one of few places where the community gathered to reinforce relationships, share news, and discuss matters of communal interest.

Fourth Creek Congregation connections

Robert and Eleanor’s son, John (my 5th great-uncle), was born in 1764. This account gives Philadelphia as the place of his birth, as I have thought to date, but also indicates it could have been Richmond, Virginia as the family migrated south and was thought to have spent some time in Virginia, particularly Bedford County.

John Boyd is listed on the 1810 Census as a head of household in Burke/Iredell County, North Carolina.   He and his family appear in the records of the Fourth Creek Presbyterian Church in Iredell County, North Carolina.

We have seen Fourth Creek as a cradle of our family in previous essays involving the Mordah, Wasson, Milligan, Sloan, and Watt families.  I had not seen confirmation that the Boyds were part of that community.  Prior to this the only certain early congregation connection I knew of for the Boyds was the Concord Presbyterian Congregation.  Robert and Eleanor’s grandson, Robert (my 3rd great-grandfather), is buried in the Concord Presbyterian Church cemetery, as are Nancy Angeline Boyd and John Murdock (my 2nd great-grandparents). Since Concord grew out of Fourth Creek I had thought that earlier Boyds might have been part of Fourth Creek, but didn’t have anything certain.


Robert Boyd and Catherine Houpe Tombstone – Concord Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Iredell County, North Carolina

Tombstones in Concord Presbyterian Church Cemetery for
John Franklin Murdock and Nancy Angeline Boyd.


John Boyd’s grandson, James Hall, would become a well known minister of the Fourth Creek Congregation.  I knew about Hall, but didn’t know there was a (distant) relationship to our family (2nd cousin 4x removed to me).

Another interesting intersection occurs here when a daughter of Alexander Witherspoon (a 6th great uncle to me), Martha (1st cousin 6x removed to me), married John’s nephew, John Boyd (1st cousin 5x removed to me), son of William (a 5th great-uncle to me). The comments in the document indicate that Alexander Witherspoon was also a Fourth Creek Congregation member.

Migrations and connections – Related families?

John Boyd and his wife, Elizabeth Ewing, and their family left North Carolina about 1811 and migrated to Logan County, Kentucky where they farmed and became active members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  This document has much more information about John and his descendants, but I will not be including all that here as our direct ancestor remains in North Carolina.

However, one matter I will explore is the possibility described in Rev. Boyd’s paper that the Boyds and Ewings, and through the Ewings another Boyd line, were related.  It can be hard to follow. Bear with me.

John and Elizabeth had 13 children.  One was Hannah Ewing Boyd.  Hannah stated that the Boyd farm in Logan County was adjacent to the farm of Rev. Finis Ewing and his brother, Chatham. She also claimed that her father, John Boyd, and Finis Ewing were cousins.

“About 1817, John and ten of his children moved to Stewart Co., TN. There he purchased 271 acres on the north bank of Green Tree Grove Creek, about a mile south of the Trigg Co., Kentucky line, not too far from Canton, KY, which was founded by Finis’ nephew-in-law, Abraham Boyd. . . . By [the] 1850 [census], only Robert, John’s son, remained with his parents on the farm.”

This Abraham Boyd was married to Nancy Agnes Linn. Both Abraham and Nancy were born in Bedford County, Virginia in 1765. They married on 1 April 1794 in Davis County, Tennessee She was the daughter of Adam Linn who lived in Bedford County, Virginia during the Revolutionary War. (Source: A Jessamine County, Kentucky database, drawing this information from The Wilford-Williford Family Treks Into America, Vol. 2 by Eurie Pearl Wilford Neel, Nashville, TN, Rich Printing Co., pp. 108-109.)

Abraham was a contemporary of John Boyd. Abraham’s grandfather William also emigrated from Ireland to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania about 1718.  He later settled in Bedford County, Virginia enroute to South Carolina. Abraham migrated to Tennessee where he married Nancy Agnes Linn, then settled on the banks of the Cumberland River in West Kentucky at a spot known as Boyd’s Landing in 1785. In 1800, he donated land for the town of Canton, Trigg County, Kentucky.

“Traces of rude log cabins were found in many places along the Cumberland River when the first permanent settlers came, and the belief is current that families of trappers and adventurers made this a rendezvous many years before any effort was made to open up and improve the country.  As early as 1799, a party of emigrants . . . . [that was the] family of Abraham Boyd . . .  a native of North Carolina but had been a resident of Tennessee in the neighborhood of Nashville for a number of years, and removed thence to the point above stated. The trip must have been made in flat-boats, for there were no roads, and an old settler remarked that he assisted them in cutting a road through and it took several days to complete it. He erected his first dwelling on the ground where the present church stands. His father-in-law, Adam Linn, Jr. accompanied him and made a settlement three miles out from the river on the Luster place.”  Adam Linn, Jr.’s father, Adam Linn, was born in Ireland, possibly Belfast, about 1720.

Abraham’s wife, Nancy Agnes Linn was also of Irish descent. Her mother, Sidney Ann, was a Ewing who had run away and married a native Irishman named Adam Linn, last residing in Belfast, against her parents wishes.  Quite the scandal.

The compilation notes that Abraham Boyd’s family was also of interest.  His parents were James and Martha Burns. “Abraham’s mother was born between 1735 and 1740 and was a close “blood kin” to poet Robert Burns (1759-1796), born in Ayershire, Scotland.”  Not that important to our essay here, but a fun note.


There is nothing conclusive to prove Hannah Boyd’s assertion that our Robert Boyd’s line is related to the Ewings and the line of Boyds brought to the colonies by William Boyd, grandfather of Abraham Boyd, though there s also nothing to indicate a reason she would have been misled on the point.  However, what this document describes is a pattern of migration that places all these families in similar geographic areas.  As it concludes, “It is interesting to see the migration pattern of various Boyd families related to Robert and Eleanor and of William and Elizabeth. Where Abraham Boyd went, not too far in his tracks were also the sons and grandsons of Robert.” All the families spent time in and around Philadelphia; Bedford County, Virginia; Tennessee; Logan County, Kentucky; and Trigg County, Kentucky.

In any case, we have a few new details added to our knowledge of the Boyds.  We know Robert had “raven locks,” Robert and Eleanor settled on Lower Little River in Burke/Iredell County, North Carolina, ran a mill on on the river during the Revolutionary War, and were part of the Fourth Creek Presbyterian Congregation.

A Progressive Southern Churchwoman

By Richard Gwynallen

Susie D. Allen
(1894 – 1990)
Relationship to Fawn: 2nd great aunt

I wrote about my great aunt Susie Dent Allen in a previous essay.  Since then, I was in communication with some members of her church and a few more items have surfaced.  The choir was named after her, and is still called The Susie Allen Choir. There is a photo and write-up of her that hangs in the church’s choir room, and they are sending me a copy.  When I get it I will post it here.

In going through some of the church’s online scrapbook entries, I found a few items that included a photo of Aunt Susie, or other information that I thought was interesting.  I also learned from the February 2005 church newsletter that Aunt Susie had served as the church clerk for many years.

First the photos:

In this 1961 photo Aunt Susie is being presented a letter of appreciation by a church official, James Washburn.


This 1958 photo is of particular interest to me because it includes Aunt Susie’s sister, and thus another aunt of mine, Fannie Bell Jones.


This 1956 photo has two of the church’s elders (one being Aunt Susie) conversing with two young members of the choir and other performances.  The past and future of the church meeting in the present so to speak.


My memories of my Aunt Susie are all about her welcoming us into her house for one of her teas.  So, this photo of her welcoming arrivals is one of my favorites as it seems to represent the hospitality that I recall.


And some articles of interest

The original United Church of Raleigh Aunt Susie had been part since settling in Raleigh was given up by the church in 1969 and torn down as the congregation moved to the suburbs.


In my last essay I noted that my aunt’s receptivity to the “new ideas and values” mentioned in the Spectator column (posted in that essay) of a changing south seemed consistent with her selection of church because her church is involved in arrange of social justice issues today.

That commitment to social change was evident throughout the newsletters I reviewed.  Going through the newsletters I found articles throughout the years about social justice issues like farmer workers organizing and anti-segregation. This opinion piece spoke directly to that commitment.


This photo from 1961 shows the church’s integrated bible school in a state park.  The site noted that the church was very involved in the integration of state parks.  For transparency purposes, the site also noted that the dancers in the photo imitating Native Americans would today be considered inappropriate. We learn as we grow.


I was told that in addition to the choir and supporting various events, Aunt Susie was involved in the creation of the church’s Institute of Religion in the 1940s. The Institute was committed to the idea that religion could not remain aloof from critical issues of the day, and hosted cutting edge discussions as the presentation in 1963 by James Farmer, National Director of the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), and organizer of the historic Freedom Rides of 1961.

Of course I might be just viewing this through my own political lens, but I feel a certain pride that my aunt lived a life so close to issues of social justice in an era when it would not have always been popular. It made me wonder if her family life in her youth imbedded those values in her or she came to them on her own as she entered the work world.

Eleanor Mordah & James Brown (not the singer)

By Richard Gwynallen

Eleanor Mordah
1724 – 1752
Relationship to Fawn: 8th great aunt

Eleanor was the youngest known child of John and Agnes Mordah who emigrated from County Tyrone, Ireland to the Donegal settlement in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1729. Eleanor was only four or five years old when they made the trip.  I’ve posted two essays about her sister, Jean, who stayed in Pennsylvania when most of the Mordahs went along the Great Wagon Road into Virginia and North Carolina. Eleanor, too, remained in Pennsylvania, and this essay is the beginning of her story.

I have seen in some research that Eleanor may have had the middle name of Gilchrist.  It was a common practice among Scottish and Irish families, and later families of the American South, to give children a middle name that was from a family of a maternal line in order to preserve the name. Gilchrist certainly fits that bill. However, I have not found a Gilchrist family related to our Mordah family. For now, I mention it because others have, but I have no proof of that name at this time.

On 6 November 1746 Eleanor married James Brown in Paxtang, Pennsylvania, presumably at Paxtang Church.  The marriage appears in the Record of Pennsylvania Marriages Prior to 1810, Marriage Record of Paxtang and Derry Churches.

Paxtang Presbyterian - 1

Paxtang Presbyterian Church

Life on Conedoguinet Creekconedoguinet-creek-1

At some point they settled along Conedoguinet Creek between Carlisle and Newville. This part of then-Lancaster County became Cumberland County in 1750.

We have not been fortunate enough to locate a surviving house they would have lived in, or other building they frequented, aside from the church, but a few remarks about things that characterized the life of settlers at that time might give color to the world in which they lived.

Much was happening in their day.  The relationship between Native Americans and settlers was being tested by illegal settlements and traders pushing rum on Native peoples.  The settlements were growing and settlers were planning for the development of mills, a constitution for Pennsylvania, and disputes arose over the existence of slavery in the colony.

Native Americans and the Lancaster County Settlers

The Shawnee were the first resident nation in the area, but many nations, most prominently the Iroqouis, used the area tfor rade and movement south.

This was a significant area of established Native American trading routes, which were critical for economic and cultural exchange.


Trade and negotiations with Native Americans was a part of life in the area when Eleanor and James lived there.  A good overview can be read on the Cumberland County website.

That document relates some of the exchanges between settlers and Native peoples over illegal settlements.  The first of several councils was held in 1750 near Carlisle.  These councils represented a significant community matter in the last years of Eleanor’s life.

“The first council was held in 1750 at Silver’s Spring, east of Carlisle, to discuss illegal settlements along the Juniata River north of Blue Mountain. The area had not been purchased from the Indians yet and settlers were establishing homes in the region. A second council, called the Treaty of 1753, was held at Carlisle and is considered one of the most important councils held during that period.24 Pennsylvania Governor James Hamilton appointed Benjamin Franklin, Richard Peters, and Isaac Norris as commissioners to hold the conference. The council was held at the request of the tribal chiefs. The tribes represented at the council were Iroquois, Delaware, Shawnee, Miami, and Wyandot. The concerns were again the settling of lands north and west of Blue Mountain that had not been purchased. Another topic was the abuses of rum traffic in the region.”

Eleanor had died by the time of the second council.  However, the primary topics in the community between 1750 and 1753 must have been relations with the Native people’s and how to handle illegal settlements.

Paxtang Church

The churches were at that time the major institutions around which community life revolved. It must have been the center for communal discussion of relationships with Native peoples. The Mordahs, Browns, and Rutherfords were surely participants in those discussions as several of the men served as elders in the Paxtang church.

Family Life

Eleanor’s husband, James, was born in 1724 in or around Paxtang.  Eleanor and James had four children.  It appears she died of complications resulting from childbirth because she died on 20 September 1752, one day after the birth of her son, John Brown.

Their son, John, served in the Revolutionary War and was with the army at Valley Forge.

Paxtang Church

The first building on this site, a log structure, was erected about 1716. The present stone building was erected in 1740 and was restored in 1931. It is the oldest Presbyterian Church building in continuous use in Pennsylvania. The church site was deeded by heirs of William Penn in 1744.

This would have been the church in which Eleanor and James were married and which they attended afterward.  I imagine Eleanor and her sister, Jean, saw each other here.  Much of the community life of Eleanor and Jean would have been centered at the church.

Jean is buried in the Paxtang Presbyterian Churchyard.  I had assumed Eleanor would be buried there as well, but I have not found a picture of her tombstone. Perhaps she was buried on the land she and James Brown owned.

Background on the Brown Family

The Browns are not the primary aim of my research, but one of them did marry one of our Mordahs, and this, a Mordah line follows that bore the name of Brown. So, to offer a brief picture of the forces that shaped the Brown family and led to their emigration I’ll include a few points about their ancestor John Brown.

The Brown family emigrated from Ireland, but they originated on Priestville farm in Ayrshire, Scotland.  They descend from a John Brown (1627 – 1685) and Isabel Weir.

A 1900 publication, Matthew Brown: Ancestry and Descendants, compiled by Robert Shannon, describes much about the family’s life in Ayrshire.  The book puts the Browns squarely in the middle of the religious conflicts of their times as Covenanters.  There is a great deal of interesting information in the book about this era. Some of the language is clearly partisan as Presbyterian and Scots-Irish works of the era tend to be.

There is apparently nothing known of his parentage, and little of his early life.  According to the Matthew Brown: Ancestry and Descendants, he was educated. He acquired his education from Presbyterian ministers that had been removed from their posts by Charles I, and who hid in hills and mountains of the uplands in southwest Scotland.  They taught from home to home.  Shannon records that John had thought about the ministry for himself and would have bee a great preacher but for the fact that he stuttered.  Once these ministers had left the country or been arrested, John held a religious class in his home on Monday evenings.

He became a packhorse carrier early in his life, and it remained his main occupation throughout his life.  In those days, products of the rural areas were taken to market towns by packhorse.  The packhorse carrier would convey the product to market, sell them, and make purchases specified by their clients.

He also farmed, but the relative poor soil in the area was more conducive to raising sheep, so it is presumed that raising sheep was part of his enterprise. The area is even today known for its sheep.

Quoting from, Homes, Haunts and Battlefields of the Covenanters, the book describes John’s home:  “Priesthill the abode of John Brown, was, in his days, a small moorland far lying far up among the wilds of Ayrshire in the eastern part of the county . . . it is nearly four miles northeast of the now large and prosperous village of Muirkirk, then only a small hamlet.”

The hill above his house apparently has incredible views; the Pentland hills to the east, the mountains of the Isle of Arran in the Firth of Clyde to the west, the Galloway hills to the south, and Highland mountains to the north.

He was not known to have taken an active part in the Covenanter uprisings, but he subscribed to the Covenant, would not make a vow of allegiance to the British King, and did not attend Anglican services, which all were required to do. Therefore, his name was given to the authorities for not attending public ordinances.

He also continued allowing Covenanter ministers to meet at his home.  Eventually crown forces caught up to him.

He was seized by soldiers in the early morning of 1 May 1685 on the hill above his house cutting peat.  He was brought to his house and examined as to his reasons for not attending public services, and told to vow allegiance to the King in front of his family. He refused to swear the Oath of Allegiance.  He was told he would be allowed to pray, which he did. After praying, he said goodbye to his family, and he was shot in front of them. The legend is that John Graham of Claverhouse, who was the King’s agent in hunting down the Covenanters, was present and shot the man himself.

The family was left alone on the moorland. In a few hours others from the area came to help.  In 1825 a monument was raised on the spot.


His house is gone, but it is recognizable from a mound and a few stones thought to be part of the house.


A hiker stands at the site of the John Brown home just feet from where he was shot

The website WalkHighlands provides a good description of how to get to the remote site.


There are some good, even ghostly, stories by a couple who visited the area on Wandering Through Time and Space.

Below are views of and from the site, including the modern Priesthill Farm.

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The Brown Family Migration

About a year after John’s death, Isabel and her two sons, John (born about 1684) and James (born 1685 after his father’s death), moved to Ireland with the help of friends.

The James Brown who married Eleanor Mordah was descended from John.

Both of Isobel’s sons would emigrate to the American Colonies in 1720.  The name of John’s wife he left Ireland with is currently unknown.

The two brothers settled along Swarata Creek, not far from present day Middleton, in what was then Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and what is now Dauphin County.  John is buried in the Old Paxtang Presbyterian Meeting House Cemetery.


And the Browns came to Lancaster County, James met Eleanor,
and we return to the beginning of our story


Margaret Allan & Henry Raeburn – Another Banffshire family in the post-Culloden era

by Richard Gwynallen

1733 – unknown
Relationship to Fawn: 7th great aunt

Margaret is another of the Allan family of Banffshire that remained in Scotland after our direct ancestors emigrated.  It is a very simple story.  Really it is just a story of two people marrying and moving on as great changes engulf their world.  The changes Margaret and Henry’s life undergo is a story of the aftermath of Culloden.

Margaret Allan was the sixth child of James Alexander Allan and Isabel Ruddach.  She was born on the 19th of March, 1733 in Bogtown, Fordyce Parish, in what was then Banffshire, Scotland.


On 19 July 1751, in the town of Banff, she married Henry Raeburn. Henry was several years Margaret’s senior, having been born in 1722 or 1723. He was the son of Henry Raeburn and Margaret Castles or Casells.

Once I get a copy of their marriage certificate I will post it here.

They seem to have lived at the Raeburn family’s Whyntie farm until they moved to the town of Banff sometime between 1754 – 1757. They had eight children.  The first two, Elspet (1752) and James (1754), being born at Whyntie, and the rest (George-1757, John-1759, William-1761, Henry-1764, Robert-1766, and Charles-1770) being born in Banff.

Elspet and James’ births are recorded in the Boyndie Old Parish Register, Vol. I: Births/Baptisms 1750 – 1759.  It is clear here that Margaret and Henry were still at Whyntie when Elspet was born. For James, the record shows only the “Parish of Banff,” and town or farm, but other genealogies agree that the family was still at Whyntie when James was born.

I am grateful to the Fenty Family website for information on this land.  The Fenty name is derived from Whyntie.  As they moved on they took the name of their original home with them. Their site provides interesting insights into the origin of the place name, as well as many of the maps I am using.

Whyntie is a stretch of coastline and adjacent land between Portsoy and Banff in what was called Banffshire, Scotland.   There is today a Whyntie Head, a Whyntie Wood and two farms, Easter and Wester Whyntie.


Scotland – The lands of Whyntie are on the Moray coast in the northeast


This is the land of Whyntie, with its stream, wood and bay.  Around it are the places named in the old charters, unchanged over six hundred years – Boyndie Dallachy, Brangan and Threipland (many thanks to the Fenty Family website)


Whyntie Head


Whyntie coast

There are today two farms identified in Whyntie, Easter Whyntie and Wester Whyntie.  The exact location within this setting of the Raeburn farm I do not know.

Easter Whyntie

Wester Whyntie


Margaret and Henry are believed to have become merchants or artisans in Banff, but I do not yet know specifically what. However, we may have insights into why they moved sometime between 1754 and 1757.


Between 1750 and 1830 great changes in the settlement patterns of people in Scotland occurred. The above map is the part of Major Roy’s Military Survey map from 1746 showing Whyntie. In it one can see the farming townships, or the” ferm-touns.” The ferm touns had been the basis of a communal, co-operative system of agriculture for centuries “where the run-rig arrangement of unenclosed strips of land were distributed amongst the villagers to ensure no-one got all the good or all the unproductive land.  Each family got some of both. ” (Fenty website. Scotland before the Industrial Revolution: An Economic and Social History c.1050-c. 1750, by Ian D. Whyte, provides a thorough discussion of the Scots English term ferm touns and the ancient run-rig system)

During the ’45 Rising, Hanoverian commanders were at a disadvantage in Scotland because they had no modern survey map of Scotland.  Roy’s task was to address this deficit and create a complex map that allowed for control and order of geographical space through reconnaissance and survey.  The map had many functions, not the least of which was to serve as a tool for understanding the Scottish settlement patterns and changing them.  A more complete discussion of Roy’s task and the resulting may can be found at the National Library of Scotland.

In fact, these ancient forms of land use disappeared over the next several decades to be replaced by larger farm units which often retained the name of the original village, though sometimes with an adjective added to describe the division of land taking place, such as Easter and Wester Whyntie.  Hundreds of planned towns and villages sprang up by 1850. A way of life was disappearing, but productivity of rural lands increased, amenities in towns expanded, and artisans came to thrive in the towns. As people have done everywhere, our ancestors were moving and adapting.

Though we do not know for certain, perhaps Margaret Allan and Henry Raeburn saw the writing on the wall with the first steps in the breaking up of Scottish land use patterns, and the other changes imposed on Scotland after Culloden, and made their move to Banff  to be one step ahead.  As with shifts of population from farms to towns throughout the world, rural people bring with them many skills, including blacksmithing, carpentry, and spinning and weaving.  I hope to be able to tell a story of their life in Banff one day.