The Smathers of Haywood County

John Smathers and Mary Agner Smathers Haywood County - Shook-Smathers House

Photo courtesy of The Shook Museum - Clyde, Haywood County NC

A few weeks back the girls and I attended the Quay Smathers Memorial Singing School which was held in the Shook Museum in Clyde, NC. This is the second year we've been able to attend and we had a terrific time. We've been fortunate to get to know Quay's daughters, Liz and June, who we have much in common with.

We all come from musical families and The Deer Hunter grew up in the Dutch Cove area of Canton that Quay's family lived in and that June still lives in today.

During this year's singing school June pointed out the photo above and read the words below from a document that belongs to the museum.


John Smathers b 17 Dec 1781 Pa d Feb 10 1825 Haywood Co NC 44y + Mary Agner May 10 1803 NC b Jan 1776 d Nov 28 1868 NC Haywood Co 92y

Mary Agner lived until her death at age 94 in the old Shook House, which still stands. She was there when the famous Methodist circuit rider Francis Asbury stayed as a guest. Her dress was exhibited until recently in the house which has become a museum.

John Smathers and his wife, Mary Agner Smathers, moved from Pennsylvania into Piedmont North Carolina, and, after the Revolution, found their way into what is now Haywood County. 

They selected a home spot somewhere in the neighborhood of the present site of Canton, or near Turnpike by 1815 to escape Rowan Co’s disease stricken community. Here they made their home and reared a family.

The children of John and Mary Agner Smathers were Isaac, Charlie, Mary, George, Jesse, and Levi. The children all grew to maturity in Haywood county and married there.

Among Mary Agner Smathers’ prized possessions was a book written in 1795 in German, containing songs, prayers, and sermons by Martin Luther. That book is in the possession of Janice Smathers and her bro Julian. “An inscription on the fly leaf of this old volume, with its brittle paper and ink faded almost beyond deciphering, has preserved the key which opens a door into past history of the Smathers family before its first members came across the Blue Ridge to the Pigeon River,” Patton wrote. “There in German script, appears the record, which translated reads: Johannes Smetter was born 17th Dec 1781 Pennsylvania.”

I had the front pages of the Smathers German book translated by a German Scientist I work with and is attached for your information and use as well as a photo.

Courtesy of 6x grandau Rebecca from her Smather’s family album collection.


List of children:

Isaac (Eiseg) William 2/7/1804 Rowan died: 10/23/1835
George Fredrick (The Yorg) 9/9/1807 Rowan died: 6/24/1894
Jesse 12/19/1811 Rowan died: 2/20/1879
Mary ‘Loni’ Smathers 4/20/1816 Haywood died: 9/21/1855
Levi, 9/9/1817 Haywood died: 3/4/1896
Charles ‘Charley’ 7/21/1819 Haywood died: 12/8/1906

Added by Junior Ramsey 7/18/2016


As June shared the story of John and Mary I felt goosebumps rise up on both my arms as I thought about the Smathers family who've called Haywood County home for over 200 years. Thinking about the longevity of the family line in the same general area and the heritage, music, and culture continuing to be passed down even until this day, made me wish I could send John and Mary a message and tell them they did good. 

If you ever get the chance drop by the Shook Museum for a visit. The old house is beautiful, especially the third floor chapel, and the folks who run the museum are very informative and friendly.


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The Colemans in 1902

The colemans cherokee county nc

The Coleman family - 1902.  Pap's grandmother, my great grandmother was a Coleman.

My immediate family has been tightly woven with more than a few of those Coleman descendants. Why I dare say they're close as family, which would be sort of silly because they are family even if its in a distant manner. 

The colemans cherokee county nc with names

I won't go into all the family details, only a few. See Elias and Sarah? They were the parents of 11 children. There was:

  • Dora-surely she's one of the ladies? 
  • Ella- a twin!
  • Ollie- a twin!
  • George
  • Frank (wasn't he handsome!)
  • William
  • Jennie
  • Carrie (my Big Grandma)
  • Fred
  • Joseph
  • Sarah

Folks are trying to give names to all the faces. The follow are notes from my cousin Nina.

  • Maybe Fred is the 4 child over from Big Grandma-he would have been about that age
  • Maybe its Aunt Ollie by Frank 
  • The gentleman standing between the 2 ladies holding babes looks too tall to have been a Coleman from this bunch so maybe he's a spouse
  • Maybe the baby in the mother Sarah's arms is the last child-named Sarah
  • Marion Green is the man in the back beside Ellie holding a child-he and Ellie were married 

A few things I thought of when I first saw the picture:

  • One of the first things I noticed was how well dressed they look-they look pretty spiffy and well to do for 1902 in this area
  • The bench the children are sitting on
  • The scenery behind them
  • I wonder where the photo was taken
  • How Big Grandma's face and expression remind me so much of Chatter and Chitter's and Pap's, and maybe mine too 

When Chatter was just a little bitty thing a sweet lady down the road named Zelma would tell me every time she saw us that Chatter was just like Carrie/Big Grandma. 

I can barley remember Big Grandma. I don't have any of the fond memories of her that I do of her daughter Marie, Pap's mother. Oh but Pap does. He has great memories of the days and nights he spent with Big Grandma. He says he can't hear good piano music that he doesn't think of her. And I've heard more than one person say Pap was her favorite. I know you're not supposed to have favorites, but I don't think anyone told her that because I believe she had a favorite from my generation too and it wasn't me!

A fellow Coleman descendant recently shared the photo with me on Facebook. Just wow. I still can't quit looking at it.  I've never seen a photo of Big Grandma as a child. I've stared at this picture for over a week. I just can't get over the pull it has for my eyes. 

I'd like to go back and tell them all the things I just told you: that the Coleman descendants have tight connections to this day-especially Frank and Carrie's descendants; that those facial features are still showing up and looking pretty good all these years later; and that four, five, six, and even seven generations later-some of us are still right here where they left us. 


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Maggie Collett Martin

Maggie Collett 
When the leaves began to turn last fall I started thinking of Maggie. In the beginning I'm sure I was actually thinking of Maggie's Chapel Church, but before long my mind had settled on the Maggie it was named after and I knew I wouldn't be able to ignore the prickling feeling I had until I figured out who she was. Years ago I found the oldest gravestone in the church cemetery was Maggie Martin 1868-1892. While I pondered the church's namesake I decided Maggie Martin had to have something to do with it.

Maggie's Chapel Church brasstown 
I pass Maggie's Chapel every day. If you look through the sparse woods from the road you can see the church standing like a sentry. But even if you don't look, you're reminded of the church by the sign that sits close to the road. You barely have to avert your eyes from the highway to see it.

Maggie's Chapel Church 
(notice the old sign: Baptist Methodist)

As I was sharing my memories of Maggie's Chapel with you the other day, I left out one interesting tidbit. Over the years the church has shared a dual denomination. An occurrence that might be considered odd in most areas, but here in strong Southern Baptist country it seems downright impossible. Pap told me throughout his lifetime the church had went back and forth between the Baptist and Methodist denominations and since the congregation was mostly neighbors, family, and friends more often than not it was a mixture of the two.

After the question of who Maggie had settled itself deep in my brain I called Pap. Right off he thought he might know who Maggie was. Pap said "If I recall right when Ab Bullard and his wife come to this country, all the way from Cherry Log GA, they brought their old Mother with them and I think her name was Maggie. And it seems like I remember her getting folks to try and improve the church cause at that time it wasn't much more than a lean to."

Maggie's Chapel Cemetary 
I must admit, I was disappointed with Pap's lead. I mean I'm sure the elderly lady was nice and all, but I already had this picture of Maggie in my mind and that didn't fit it. This whole little episode shows how smart Pap and I are.

It took me longer than I want to admit to realize the Maggie Pap remembered couldn't have had anything to do with the naming of the church. Even if Maggie Martin's gravestone didn't have anything to do with it either, there are enough graves that date well before Pap's birth to show the church was already in use before Maggie and the Bullards came to this country from Cherry Log GA.

While I was asking around, someone suggested since it had been a Methodist church I should contact the Methodist Association because they kept records of all their churches. I did, and a very nice lady did some research for me, but she couldn't even find a record of there being a Methodist Church in Cherokee County named Maggie's Chapel.

In the meantime, Maggie kept needling me to find her. I made more than a few trips to the church, but that didn't do anything but intensify the feeling that Maggie wanted me to know who she was. One day as I was searching an online genealogy database I stumbled upon Jean Darnall's name and email. Her email was listed as a contact person for information concerning Cherokee County NC. I figured it was a stab in the dark, but I fired off an email about Maggie to Jean. I figured I'd probably never hear back from her. In only a few hours Jean answered my email and better than that she had information about Maggie...the right Maggie.


Jean sent me this:

I found out more about "Maggie Martin", whose gravestone image you sent:  I found information about Maggie and her birth family in the following reference books:

1)  Grindstaff, Irene Collett.  "Hugh and Amanda Stalcup Collett"  The History of Cherokee County North Carolina, Vol. I
Page 124.

2) Collett, Anna Drake Roper.  "Abram and Mary "Polly" Stewart Collett"  The History of Cherokee County North Carolina, Vol. I.   Page 123.

3)  Freel, Margaret.  Our Heritage-the History of Cherokee County, North Carolina.  Reprint.  Pages 263-264.

Margaret Eugenia "Maggie" Collett was born Aug. 14, 1869 and died 1892.  Her parents were Hugh Mack "Hugh" Collett and his first wife, Amanda Stalcup (Hugh went on to marry three more times).  Maggie was one of 10 children of Hugh and Amanda (Stalcup) Collett.  Maggie's paternal grandparents were Abraham "Abram" and Mary "Polly" (Stewart) Collett, who were the first settlers in Valleytown, Cherokee Co., NC. 

Maggie's birth family played an important role in the settlement of Cherokee County, NC.  According to these sources, her grandparents, Abram and Polly, arrived in Valleytown (called the Cherokee Nation when they arrived) in 1830.  Abram received grants of land from the U.S. government amounting to hundreds of acres, but he chose to purchase the same land from his close neighbor and friend, Junaluska, the Chief of the Cherokee Nation, thus preserving good relations. Abram was elected ranger from Fort Butler, later the town of Murphy, in 1839. 


After reading Jean's research I was impressed that Maggie had a direct connection to the first white settlers of Valleytown-her grandparents. But still the question remained-was the church named for her?


Jean had the answer to that question too:

The Heritage of Cherokee County, Vol. II has a family history which I believe answers your question. Among the family histories in this volume was one titled "Julius John B. and Maggie Collett Martin" (#1094 on page 259). This family lived in the Brasstown section of Cherokee County, and they were responsible for the formation of this cemetery. 

Here's an excerpt:

"...One Sunday afternoon, when Julius and Maggie walked to the top of the hill above where they lived, Maggie pointed to a place and told Julius that is where she wished to be buried.  A short time later Maggie passed away. Julius saw that her wish was granted. He gave the land for the cemetery. Soon others were interred there and a small church was built. The church is known as Maggie's Chapel. Both Baptist and Methodist congregations use this church..."


Maggie Martin 
Maggie and her husband Julius had 3 sons: Hamilton, Verlin, and Jeff. After Maggie died, Julius went on to marry again. He and his new wife, Ada, had 9 daughters and moved to the Martins Creek section (the next community over) of Cherokee County. Many of his descendants still live in Martins Creek and the surrounding area today.

Maggie would have been 24 when she died. A young mother of 3 children barely has time to catch her breath much less point out where she wants to be buried. Makes me think she knew she wouldn't be on this Earth much longer when she showed her husband where she wanted her final resting place to be.

After I told Pap what Jean had shared with me, he said he could remember an old falling down house that sit just below the church on the left side of the driveway down in a little hollow when he was a young boy. Could that have been Maggie and Julius's house? Maybe...probably.

Since I've been old enough to notice such things I've seen the yellow bells and spirea that bloom in the woods just where Pap remembers the old house.

As I drove to and fro this spring the flowers seemed especially sweet to me. I thought of Maggie just a young slip of a girl who probably planted them herself, never dreaming a church would be named after her, a church that would continue to influence her community through the coming generations; never dreaming her memory would nudge a Brasstown girl to discover who she was over a 100 years later.


p.s. THANK YOU Jean-for helping me find Maggie!

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Sylvia Lee 1940 - 2010 RIP

I first published this Mountain Folk interview in August of 2008. Over the past weekend I recieved the sad news that Sylvia had passed away. I thought I'd re-post the interview and dedicate it to her memory-she was a fine lady of Appalachia.

Sylvia Lee 

Sylvia Lou Palmer Lee was born in 1940 in the Pleasant Valley area of Cherokee County NC. She weighed 1lb 4oz and her twin sister weighed 2lb 6oz. Her sister was born blue and died 4 days later. Seems little Sylvia, although the smallest, was a fighter. Her father, an electrician, fashioned a homemade incubator from a wooden radio box and a string of Christmas lights to aid in Sylvia's survival. They fed her with an eye dropper.

Tipper And Sylvia Large Web view 
I recently had the opportunity to sit on Sylvia's peaceful porch amidst the big trees she loves and hear about her Appalachian upbringing.

When Sylvia was small her family moved to the Beech Cove area of Clay County NC. Her family ran a chicken farm-where Sylvia's responsibility was to water the chickens. She and her brother had to carry the water a far piece, and it was hard work. Although there wasn't much time for playing, Sylvia did have one doll she enjoyed playing with.

Old home place at beech cove 
Sylvia still lives at the old home place in Beech Cove. She shared a memory with me of her Granny Palmer gathering flora for a spring tonic. Sylvia said the most amazing thing about Granny Palmer was her looks. She was a beautiful woman-but more than that she looked unbelievably young-no older than 18, with smooth clear skin.

Each spring Granny Palmer would go out into the mountains and gather items to make her tonic. All the kids were given a dose, and Sylvia says they were never sick as children. Sylvia wishes she had written down the ingredients of the tonic so she could have shared it with her children and grandchildren in the hopes of their good health as well.

Sylvia's hands Large Web view 
Sylvia married Ralph Lee and raised 4 wonderful children. Sylvia is an accomplished seamstress, a masterful painter, and a writer of songs, poetry, and books. Sylvia is also an extremely gifted quilter. She was gracious enough to allow me to photograph a few.

Cactus quilt pattern 
A cactus pattern

Whirlygig quilt pattern 
A whirligig pattern

Teepee quilt pattern 
A teepee pattern

Star quilt pattern 
A star pattern

Old timey quilt pattern 
Of all the ones she showed me-this one is my favorite-it reminds me of my Mamaw.

In closing I ask Sylvia if she could sum up her thoughts about being an Appalachian. Sylvia said....

~The Blue Mountains are her favorite thing in Appalachia, they were a secret place, but now they've been discovered by everyone.

~She wishes neighbors would help one another like they use to in the old days. She's afraid a time is coming when people will knock you in the head for a piece of bread.

~She's been all over the country but likes it here the best.

Sylvia Lou Palmer Lee is a true Appalachian Mountain Woman. I hope you enjoyed reading about her life in this Mountain Folk post.


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Parallel Lives Of Two American Patriots

Www.gordonbanks.comi Large Web view 
Today's Guest Post is written by David Anderson


Parallel Lives of Two American Patriots

James Anderson, Sr. & Martin Maney

It would seem an improbable scenario to consider how two Irish immigrants, both most likely being strangers in their native Ireland having led lives that ran so close a parallel to one another as they began their new lives in the English colonies of north America.

James Anderson, Sr.: 1740- 1814; County Antrim, Ireland 

James Anderson, Sr. was born in the year ca 1740 in County Antrim Ireland, a county that is situated on the northeast coast of the island and is more specifically located in present day Northern Ireland. It is believed that James was an Irishman by birth, but according to historical accounts he was of Scottish ancestry. This could be born out by the Anderson surname which is generally attributed to Scandinavian origin.

As a young man he had decided to leave his native homeland either by necessity or simply seeking the opportunity to make his fortune in the North American colonies. Several years prior to the beginning of American Revolution he left Ireland and his family along with the dismal prospects for a meaningful life in eighteenth century Ireland and boarded a ship for passage to the English Colonies in North American. James is believed to have entered the colonies through either the port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or in the port near Fredricksburg, Virginia. Prior to his participation and during his American Revolutionary War experience James was found living in several of the English colonies. These included New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and finally into North Carolina soon after the conclusion of American Revolution.

James arrived in the American colonies ca 1760 as an indentured servant as was the case with most of the Irish immigrants during the colonial period. However, continued search is presently underway to find and verify accurate records documenting the Colonial landowner or other parties to whom he was indentured. His service as an enlisted soldier with the rank of private in the American Revolutionary Army afforded him the opportunity to take advantage of future benefits offered to these war veterans. This was the promise of free land as payment for service in the War for American Independence.

After reaching the American colonies he eventually made his way to county Essex in the colony of New Jersey. Many of the landowners in the colonies did not have sufficient human labor to operate their vast estates, so in order to operate their farming or other operations the landowners through agents in England would recruit men who were willing to leave their homeland and relocate to the colonies. Specific documentation as to his occupation prior to the American Revolution is uncertain, it could however be safely assumed that he probably was employed in the farming operations of one or more of several wealthy colonial English landowners and Tobacco producers who had established claims in the colonies.

Since James later became a prosperous farmer in the Buncombe county area of North Carolina it could again be assumed that he was bringing with him the craft that he had followed earlier in his life. Many of the Irish immigrants who came to the colonies could not afford to pay ships passage, so in order to repay the expense of passage to the colonies the immigrants would enter into an agreement with the sponsors that subjected themselves to being enlisted as indentured servant for a period of years. This enabled the servants to repay the debt of passage to the sponsors to their new home in America as well as the promise of owning their own land which would have been impossible in their native Ireland.

Historical records show that James Anderson was married to Lydia Mallett and was still living in the New Jersey colony just prior to the beginning of the American Revolution. Five children were born to James and Lydia during this period. When the War of Independence began in 1775, James enlisted as a Private in the colonial Army.

Official documents filed in the US National Archives find James Anderson serving as a Private in the New Jersey Militia that was commanded by Captain James Bonnel. This Militia was part of Spencers Regiment that was commanded by Major General John Sullivan. After he was discharged in 1781 James was found to be living with his family in New Jersey until the year 1782. Further historical records indicate that he later moved to Delaware in 1784. He then again moved further south to Surrey county North Carolina sometime before 1790. His final move was to Buncombe county North Carolina soon after 1790 census.

After James had moved his family to Buncombe county ca 1794-95 he settled on land that was situated on Gabriels Creek. This farm was situated near the present town of Mars Hill, North Carolina. Land transfer records show that he also owned land in 1797 which consisted of a 50 acre tract that he received as a land grant from the state of North Carolina for his service in the Revolutionary War. A later document finds James and his family living on a farm that was situated on the Paint Fork of the Little Ivey River. James continued to accumulate land through the year 1807, finally owning several hundred acres in the surrounding area.

The exact date of James Anderson’s death is not found in Buncombe county records, however family tradition holds that he died between the years 1810-1814. A headstone was placed by the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution in the Gabriels Creek Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery located near Mars Hill, North Carolina in a Revolutionary War Soldier Grave Marking dedication ceremony.

One of the grandsons of James Anderson, Sr. was Lazarus Anderson. Lazarus was the son of James Anderson, Jr. and was born in Buncombe County in the year ca. 1810. The birth place of Lazarus was at the farm of his father that was situated on the Paint Fork of the Ivey River. Lazarus later moved to Cherokee county with his wife Nancy Maney Anderson and his family just prior to, or during the period of removal of the native Cherokee people in the year 1838. Lazarus established a homestead in the Shooting Creek section of Cherokee county and remained there with his family until his death. Lazrus’s farm was located in present day Clay County.

Lazarus wife, Nancy Maney was a grand-daughter of Martin Maney. These early Cherokee County pioneers raised a large family in the Bethabera community of Shooting Creek. Numerous descendants of Lazarus and his wife Nancy remain in the area to the present time, which also includes the writer.

Lazarus Anderson died in 1875 and is buried in the Old Shooting Creek Baptist Cemetery in Clay County, Hayesville, North Carolina. Nancy Maney Anderson is buried in the Bethabera Baptist Church cemetery that is also located in Shooting Creek section of Clay County.

Martin Maney: 1752- 1830, County Wexford, Northern Ireland

Martin Maney was also an Irish immigrant who made his way to the American Colonies from County Antrim, Ireland. “In his native Ireland Martin was a farm manager on a large estate and according to record had just completed a successful spring planting on this Irish estate when an agent for Colonial plantation owners in the British colonies of North America recruited him and sixty other qualified farmers to travel to the English Colonies as indentured servant. Martin sailed from Dublin Ireland on the Brig “Fanny” which was a two-mast, square rigged ship that was sailed by Captain Richard Taylor. The ship reached Virginia in 1769 and Martin began his service to the Fielding Lewis enterprise”. pp1

His passage to the colonies was paid by a wealthy Virginia planter, one Fielding Lewis. Lewis was the owner of a successful plantation which consisted of over 1,500 acres of prime farm land located near present day Fredricksburg, Virginia.

Mr. Lewis was then developing this vast Plantation holding into what was later to become known as Kenmore Manor of Virginia. Kenmore Manor is still in existence today and is operated as a National Historic site. Kenmore Manor is located in the town of Fredricksburg, Virginia and is situated on adjoining property to the home of Mary Washington. Mary was the mother of George Washington who was to become the first President of the United States and generally referred to as; “the father of our country”.

On May 7, 1750 Mr. Fielding Lewis married Elizabeth “Betty” Washington, the only sister to George Washington. It is documented by Kenmore Manor Historical Society that many of the early American Patriot leaders gathered at the home of Fielding Lewis for “Council of War” meetings prior to the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. Included among the Patriots attending the meetings hosted by Mr. Lewis was George Washington.

As customs during the colonial period would dictate, indentured servants were expected to always keep themselves separate from the ruling gentry. However, Martin certainly could have at times been in reasonable contact with the Kenmore owners in his position as overseer of the Plantation. One would have to assume that during the several years of his indentured servitude at Kenmore Manor, he must have sensed the tension of the times and perhaps to some degree was able to see and observe many of the early Patriots and other founders of the emerging country as they gathered for councils of war at the home of Mr. Lewis.

After Martin had completed his period of indentured servitude at Kenmore Manor; "he enlisted in the 8th. Virginia of Foot that was commanded by Brig. General John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg who was later known as “The Fighting Parson”. His enlistment on December 4th 1775 found him serving with 278 other men that were formerly from the Shennandoah Valley of Virginia. The 8th Virginia Regiment was made part of the Continental Army by an act of Congress on May 27, 1776." pp9. National Archives and other historical records from Blount county Tennessee Judicial Court show Martin describing his military service in the American Revolution. His unit participated in the battles of White Plains, New York on October 28th, 1776, the Battle of Germantown, Pennsylvania on October 4th 1777 and finally engaged in the Battle of Monmouth, New Jersey on June 28th, 1778. Martin was soon thereafter discharged from his first tour of Revolutionary service at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania by General Muhlenburg.

At the time of his discharge from his first tour of service Martin, as well as many other men were informed that the Colony of North Carolina was offering enlistment bonuses for veterans coming to serve in their militia units. Martin met with a Colonial enlistment officer at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and signed for this bonus to serve for a short tour of duty in the, “over mountain territory” of North Carolina. This area is located in the present state of Tennessee and more specifically is situated in Washington and Unicoi counties. He was assigned to the Campbell Garrison that was located on Big Limestone Creek in present day Washington county Tennessee.

During this time as the attempt was made to create the new state of Franklin, General John Sevier was chosen to lead the effort toward statehood. “When General Sevier was threatened by death from the Loyalists and Tory supporters, Martin along with two other men, David Hickey and Isaac Davis were chosen as personal bodyguards for General Sevier.” pp21. Martin also served as a forward scout for the Campbell Station and was engaged in numerous skirmishes with the Cherokee tribe as well as loyalist and Tory supporters.

“In 1779 Martin reported his personal property in Washington County, North Carolina. The records indicate that at the time Martin was a single man who owned one horse and six pounds sterling with a taxable value of thirty-six pounds sterling”. pp23.

When the town of Jonesborough was in the process of being established, the town was surveyed into lots and a land lottery was put in place allowing individuals to participate in the drawing for town lots. Due to his veteran status in the War of the Revolution as well as a member of the North Carolina Militia, Martin was able to purchase four lots within the new town. Historical maps on file in the Washington county courthouse show that Martin won lots; 36,53, 62 and 71.

In September 1781 Martin married Keziah Vann, the daughter of John and Agnes Weatherford Vann. In 1770 British colonial officials hired John Vann on the death of his predecessor John Watts as the official Cherokee interpreter. At the time of their marriage Martin and Keziah were living near Big Limestone Creek in Washington County near the present town of Jonesborough, Tennessee. Martin was still enlisted in the service for North Carolina at the time of their marriage and while he was away on duty with the North Carolina Militia, Keziah was found living with her mother and father.

Land transfer records show that Martin and Keziah had moved to the Big Ivy Creek section of Old Buncombe county where on July 17, 1797 he was in possession of a land grant for 100 acres. This land grant was payment for his service in the War of The Revolution. During their years of living as one of the first pioneer families in the Buncombe county area their family grew to include several children. One of the granddaughters of Martin and Keziah was Nancy Maney. During this same time period James Anderson Srs. Family was already living in the same general area. One of the grandsons of James Anderson Sr. was Lazarus Anderson.

Lazarus Anderson and Nancy Maney

Nancy Maney and Lazarus Anderson were married ca1840 and started raising their family there in Buncombe County. This union of Lazarus Anderson and Nancy Maney merged the families of the two American Patriots, Martin Maney and James Anderson Sr.. It presently is unknown if these two Irishmen were acquainted in their native homeland. The parallel lives of these two men immigrating from Ireland to the English colonies, each man becoming soldiers in the War of Revolution, then migrating to Buncombe then Cherokee county North Carolina, and finally ending in uniting of the two families by blood somehow seems too unlikely to be true. It is however, true and is cherished by many to the present day. The descendants of these men who still reside in the general areas number in the hundreds.

Nancy Maney Anderson was the last surviving member of the old generation and was considered the matriarch of the family. Nancy was affectionately referred to by the name “Granny Tote” by all who knew her. This name was given to her since due to her advanced age of 100 plus years she was ‘toted’ from place-to-place by members of her family. Boyd Anderson, a great-grandson of Nancy’s who was born in 1902 once told me that he remembered seeing her when he was a child and remembered her smoking a corn-cob pipe, and that he remembered her as being bedridden. Nancy died April 6, 1921 and was buried in the Bethabera Baptist Church Cemetery. Her husband Lazarus had died in 1875 and was buried in the Old Shooting Creek Baptist Church Cemetery

By present count there are four known descendents of Martin Maney, and James Anderson, Sr. who are members of the Sons of The American Revolution. Membership in the SAR requires proof of direct bloodline from a soldier of the Revolution. These members are;  Mr. Milus Bruce Maney, John Denton, Ray W. Anderson and David C. Anderson. Each of these individuals are members of the Button Gwinnette Chapter, Georgia Society, Sons of the American Revolution.

There are presently members of the tenth generation of these two Patriots living in the Clay county area alone. This represents 251 years of occupying or having citizenship on the American continent with 170 years presence in present day Cherokee and Clay counties.

Acknowledgements; Martin Maney; 1752-1830, A Revolutionary War Soldier and Related Families; Milus Bruce Maney, c1999; pp; 1,9,21,23., et al.; State Archives of Tennessee


I hope you enjoyed David's writing and research as much as I did! I'm not sure which part I liked best. Thoughts that come to mind:

  • I wonder if James Anderson, Sr. and Martin Maney knew each other in Ireland or if they 'run into' each other in either the colonies or in Buncombe County.
  • Pondering the legacy of both men. Ten generations later their descendants are still living in Western NC and beyond. 
  • Thinking of those ten generations living in the same general area you can see how and why our rich dialect, traditions, and general culture have survived even until now.


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