Monday, April 24, 2006

Reedy, Dill and Lee family

My grandmother is Lucille Reedy.
Her father is Larastus Reedy.
His mother was Maude Dill.
Her father was Elias Dill.
His mother was Levida Lee.
Her father was Elias Lee.
His father was Sampson Lee.
His father was William Lee.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Interesting Document

In my research for my ancestors with the "Lee" surname, I came across a very interesting letter to General Robert E. Lee that I copied and thought I'd share with you. I am most likely not related to him, but this makes for interesting reading. It was found in the Lee family vertical file at the State Library of NC at Raleigh.

I think reading real letters and diaries from real people of this era really shines a new light on why it's important to study history and remember that these people had many similarities to us, that they endured hardships and that they made our freedom possible...

A Letter to General Robert E. Lee

From Dr. Aldert Smedes

St. Mary's (a college in Raleigh), May 22d, 1863

My Dear Sir,

Amid the toils and dangers to which you are exposed for your country's welfare, you are richly entitled to every drop of comfort, which it is possible to pour into your cup.

The term of your daughter's residence at this school is about to expire, and it affords me great pleasure to assure you that her diligence and proficiency as a pupil, and her conduct as a lady, have been worthy of her parentage. This is bestowing the highest praise upon her. She has been exemplary in her observance of the minutest rules of discipline, and has scarce allowed a moment to pass unemployed and unimproved.

She carries away with her the most cordial esteem and regard not only of all her teachers and young companions, but many of our community whom her father's name had attracted towards her. Her modesty is not the least of her recommendations; she never betrays by look, word or gesture the least consciousness that she is the daughter of the man whom the Nation delights to honor.

While you, General, have had a daughter under my tuition, I have had two sons fighting as lieutenants, under your banner. Both were at the battle of Chancellorsville; where one, the adjutant of the 7th NC fell mortally wounded. He was a noble, gallant and what is infinitely better, a Christian boy. This is my consolation in so grievous a bereavement. His brother went though the same battle unhurt. He is attached to the 5th Regt. N.C.J.

But I will not intrude upon time which belongs to the country.

I am, General, with the most sincere respect and esteem,

Dr. Aldert Smedes

More NC Research

I went to the NC Archives again on Saturday and had limited success. I've got several branches of my family that came from North Carolina...

My Mom's Side of the Family

  • Dill- In Mom's family, the earliest record of any Dills is Job Dill... He is the grandfather of Elias Arthur Dill, 1848 of GA. I found records of a John H. Dill, Jr. 1809-1863. I do not know if he's related or not. This information was found in Bible records. It also mentions that his mother might be Mary Ann Fischer.
  • Killingsworth- I couldn't tie it in to our family but in the vertical files, there is a record of a Shaw/Killingsworth Bible. It lists Nancy Ann Killingsworth who died 1833. I don't think they're related, but I'm not sure. I need to contact an aunt of mine who has more information.
  • Westbrook- Judith Westbrook, 1782-1843 was married to Elias Lee. She was born in Sampson County, NC. I found records of a Judith Lee Wesbrook, who was a sister of James Westbrook (d. 1817). She was mentioned in Sampson County NC Wills 1784-1895 by Cora Bass.
  • Lee- I know that the Lee family was from Sampson County, NC. I found a spot on an old map called Lee's Chapel. It was a Baptist church. Not positive if there is a connection, but I suspect my aunt will have more information for me.

My Dad's Side of the Family

  • Banks- On an old map of Hertford County, NC, I found a place called, "Banks Creek It is very near Murfreesboro and appears to drain into the Meherrin River.
  • Cottons- 1) John B. Cotton, 1778 was born in NC. I think he originated in Hertford County. I looked up the Cottons and found very little that I could link to this family, but there was a spot on an old map of Hertford County called, "Cotton Crossroads"... Settled about 1710 by John Cotton (possibly grandfather of our John Cotton?) of Virginia and was authorized to be laid out as County Seat in 1758; Later known as Old Barfields or Barfield and later as Tuscarora. 2) The earliest information I have on any Cottons was John Bertie Cotton (1658) born at Queens Creek, Isle of Wight, VA and his wife, Martha Godwin (1680) of Virginia. I have more than one family that was from Isle of Wight, VA. Next time I am here, I am going to look into that area and see what I can find because this archive has lots of information on North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. 3) Also, I found birth and marriage records for a Cotten Graveyard. A note on the bottom says that it's in Harnett County. It mentions a Joseph Cotten, his wife Mary Cotten (died 1898). I think these are probably descendants of our Cottons. 4) I found birth and marriage records that are labeled, "Cotton Records in the Bond Family" (I haven't come across the name Bond before)... Births: *Sir John Cotton of Limehouse Parish, England (and it says that tradition says he was the "Sir John Cotton" mentioned in Wheeler's History- whatever that is...), *James Cotton (married Sarah Luton 1748), son of Sir John Cotton, *Clara, Daughter of James Cotton (died unmarried), *Eliza, daughter of James and Sara Luton Cotton (Married Henry Bond 1807)... Since our cottons were around in 1680, I think it's unlikely that any of these Cottons are directly related to us.
  • Knight and Carter- Priscilla Knight (1748 of Halifax, NC) was married to Tom Cotton (1748 of Hertford County). Priscilla's father's name (I am not positive about any of this information) was Moore Knight. I do not know her father's name. Moore Knight's father's name was James Knight. James Knight was married to Priscilla Carter. Her father was Kindred Carter. In the archives, there was a vertical file for Knight. I didn't see anything that would directly tie them to my family except that there was mention of Sumner County, TN (which several family members in my research lived in before moving to AR). Also, the vertical file mentions ties to the Cain family. I know that there are Cains living in the Yell County area... It might not be too much of a stretch that the two families had ties. Many times, several families traveled together when they moved/homesteaded.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Pictures from the Murfree Family Papers

The Murfree Family of NC around the Time of the Revolutionary War

Hardy Murfree (5 June 1752-6 Apr 1809) and his son William Hardy Murfree (2 Oct. 1781-9 Jan 1826

I've been doing some looking to find out more about our ancestors who lived around the time of the Revolutionary War. I found some GREAT information!

Turns out, around that time, our family was living in the area that became Hertford County, North Carolina. Until this morning, I wasn't quite sure how we were related to these two individuals (Hardy and William Hardy Murfree), but I knew that they were somewhat important in the history of the statehood of North Carolina and the Revolutionary War. Turns out, Hardy Murfree is our Patty Murfree's brother! William Hardy Murfree was our Patty Murfree's nephew...

You see, both men were patriots and were very involved in the government. The following information was found on pages 344 and 345 of the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography Volume 4 edited by William S. Powell and printed by the University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill and London) in 1991.... Read on...

Murfree, Hardy (5 June 1752-6 April 1809), Patriot and state official, was born at Murfree's Landing (now Murfreesboro), the son of William and Mary Moore Murfree. As an officer in the North Carolina Continentals during the Revolutionary War, Murfree won acclaim by leading a column of infantry in a successful attack on Stony Point, a British bastion on the Hudson River. Throughout the war, he was a valuable soldier, serving as major and then lieutenant colnel.

After the war, he was appointed state inspecor of revenue and commissioner of confiscated property in the Edenton District. His interest in internal improvements led to service with a commission to promote the opening of Nag's Head Inlet and to his efforts to have a canal cut from the Roanoke to the Meherrin River. In 1787 he sponsored a successful petition to have the state incorporate the town of Murfreesboro, which he laid off on the hands of his father. He was an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati and a Federalist member of the convention of 1789, when North Carolina belatedly ratified the federal Constitution. An active Mason, he founded American George Lodge No. 17 at Murfreesboro in 1789.

His wife, Sally Bricknell, having died in 1802, murfree moved with his children in 1807 to Tennessee, where he had been granted large landholdings as compensation for his services in the war. He died suddenly at his unfinished home, Grantlands, and was eulogized in a Masonic funeral oration b y Felix Grundy. In 1811 the state of Tennessee named its new capital, Murfreesboro, in his honor. His son, William Hardy, was a North Carolina Congressman and his great grandchildren included the novelists Fannie Noailles Dickinson Murfree and Mary Noailles Murfree ("Charles Egbert Craddock") -Written by Thomas C. Parramore

Murphree, William Hardy (2 Oct 1781-9 Jan 1826), attorney and congressman, was born at Murfree's Ferry (now Murfreesboro), the son of Hardy and Sally Bricknell Murfree. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1801. After reading law for a year at Edenton, Murfree opened a law practice in Murfreesboro, where he was also a partner in a mercantile enterprise.

Murfree entered politics in 1805, when he was a sucessful candidate for the state House of Commons. He served a second term after his reelection in 1812. In the latter year, he also served as Democratic elector in the Edenton District for the Madison and Gerry ticket. In 1813 he was elected to the first of two terms in Congress, during which he "had the reputation of a true republican." Reviving the idea of his father for a series of canals to connect western agricultural regions with Atlantic ports, Murfree in 1814 introduced in Congress an extensive plan of internal improvements similar to that later championed by Archibald D. Murphey. His proect included the connection of the larger towns of North Carolina and South Carolina with Norfolk and Savannah. Nothing came of the proposal, though it created considerable interest in the South Atlantic states and won the endorsement of Nathaniel Macon.

By 1820 murfree had grown discouraged about the prospects for commercial development in eastern North Carolina. After arranging his affairs in the state, he followed his father's footsteps to Tennessee, settling in 1823 on lands inherited from Hardy Murfree. Like his father, however, Murfree survived the change of residence for only a short time. He died at him home in Nashville, leaving his wife of 18 years, Elizabeth Maney Murfree, and a son, William Law. -Written by Thomas C. Parramore

Murfree (NC and VA), Banks, Blackwell and Ross

So today I decided to go back to visit the state of North Carolina's Archives and Genealogy room. My mission was to try to prove that our Patty Murfree (wife of Revolutionary War Soldier, Benjamin W. Banks) was really related to William and William Hardy Murfree.

I found out that the name "Patty" is also often referred to as "Martha" or "Polly". This was news to me... I think I recall seeing Martha somewhere in the Murfree Family Papers at the University of NC in the stuff with the picture of Robert E. Lee.... I'm going to go back by there either tomorrow or Monday to check it... I'll make some copies and will post some excerpts on this blog soon... Stay tuned...

Anyways, today I went back to the archives in Raleigh and had some MAJOR success!!! I found out who Patty Murfree's father and grandfather were! Before I explain further, let me review how these people are related to me...

My father is John Johnston.
His father is Harold Johnston.
His father was Harold Banks Johnston.
His mother was Mary Cabell Banks.
Her father was Hardy Murfree Banks (1831).
His father was Alexander M. Banks (1786).
His father was Benjamin W. Banks (1760- Rev. War Soldier) and his wife was Patty Murfree (1745?).

New Information: Patty Murfree's father was William Murfree II Junior (or in other words, he was William Murfree IV) born after 1715 and her mother was Mary Moore. He moved from the Isle of Wight/Nansemond area of Virginia to Northampton County, North Carolina, where he bought land in 1746.

Their children were (let me know if you'd like more information about these people's children/grandchildren because I have some additional information):
  1. William Murfree, born 1739
  2. James Murfree, born 1741
  3. Sarah Murfree, born 1743
  4. Patty Murfree, born 1745 (I am descended from Patty Murfree)
  5. Betty Murfree, born 1747
  6. Nancy Murfree, born 1749
  7. Col. Hardy Murfree, born 1752
The parents of the above William Murfree IV were William Murfery I and Sarah Holladay. *Note- There were children named William Murfree II and William Murfree III... I will include more information on these people below...

William Murfrey was married three times and first appeared in the Isle of Wight County, Virginia in the latter part of the 1600's.

William Murfrey I's Wives
  1. Margaret Perkins, daugter of Edward Perkins
  2. Frances ___?___
  3. Sarah Holladay, daughter of Anthony Holladay and Mrs. Ann Brewer.
Children by the First Two Wives (again, I have more info on the children of these people):
  1. William Murfrey II born before 1686 (his son was William Murffrey III)
  2. Margarett Murfrey born before Aug 1686
  3. Micaell Murfrey born before 1686
  4. John Murfrey
  5. Elizabeth Murfrey
  6. Elinor Murfrey
  7. Sarah Murfrey

Children of the Third Wife, Sarah Holladay:

  1. William Murfrey IV born 1715
  2. Katherine Murfrey
  3. Ann Murfrey
**New Information comes from the book The Murfree Ancestry of Bill R. Linder of Kenedy, Karnes County, Texas by Bill R. Linder, copyright 1998. From what I understand, he once worked in the National Archives. This book was found at the State of North Carolina Genealogy Room at 109 East Jones in Raleigh, NC.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Genealogy Trip to North Carolina

I took advantage of going with Patrick on a business trip to the Raleigh/Durham area and have been doing some research on my family tree.

I have things traced back to the American Revolution so far. On my grandfather's side, I know that Benjamin Banks was a Revolutionary War soldier. He was married to Patty Murfree. They were both from Hertford County, North Carolina. Benjamin Banks was born in 1760 and died in 1852. Patty Murfree was born before 1756. I'm not sure exactly when, though.

I'm trying to find more information about Patty Murfree's family in the hopes that I can find more Revolutionary Soldiers in my ancestry.

Yesterday, I went to the State of North Carolina's Archives and found some great information on William Hardy Murfree and Hardy Murfree (more details on them to come in a later post)... I am relatively certain that they are related to my Patty Murfree, but I am not sure how they're related just yet. Both men were active leaders in the establishment of the state of North Carolina.

This morning, I made a trip to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to look in the archives in the Southern Historical Collection. They have a collection of Murfree Family Papers. These included diaries, news clippings, deeds, records of indentures, bills, receipts and a few pictures. Would you believe that there was a signed picture of Robert E. Lee? Here is a picture:

There were very interesting letters and receipts in the collection. I may go back on Monday or Tuesday to make some copies. Everything is on microfilm.

I didn't have as much luck as I'd hoped I might in finding proof that Patty Murfree was related to these Murfrees....

Tomorrow I'm planning on going back to Raleigh to do a little more digging in the archives and genealogy departments. Maybe there I can dig back a bit.

I'll keep you posted!

Nikki, the Historian

I've recently started doing research on my family tree. I think it's probably a good idea to document what I have been doing, how I'm doing it and what my findings are, so I'm starting this new blog.

This family research business is pretty new to me, but I'm learning quickly.

Check back often to see how things are progressing!