Monday, October 25, 2010

Castellaw Family Reunion

The Castellaw Family Reunion was held this past weekend at Holly Grove Baptist Church in Haywood County, TN. It was a great time with descendants of Tom and Nancy Marianna Johnson Castellaw and their son and daughter-in-law, Bob and Zula Zera Watridge Castellaw gathering to reconnect or, in some cases, meet for the first time.

The location of the reunion was especially meaningful considering Nancy Marianna Johnson donated the land for the school that was built on the property and many generations of Castellaws have attended the church.

In this photo taken back in the 1940s, a group of Castellaw children are gathered on the lawn of the church. For some reason, I believe they are smelling flowers. The boy on the front row, second from the left is my late Uncle Jess Williams whose children, my first cousins, Pat, David and Donna were all at the reunion. Interestingly, I think the girl on the back row on the far right looks like my daughter, Olivia. I need to find who she is.
Thanks to the Jackson Sun picking up the story we were able to connect with some family members we had not yet met. Lt. General John "Glad" Castellaw and his wife, along with his second cousin, Martha are descendants of John Edward Castellaw. They saw the story in the paper and joined us at the reunion. John Edward Castellaw was Tom Castellaw's brother and is thought to have married Nancy Marianna Johnson after Tom's death. In the book "Nicholas Cobb Descendants" by Joe H. Cobb, he states that Cousin Lura Cobb wrote that "Nancy had two of them Castellaw men." Also, marriage records in Haywood County show that J.E. Castellaw and N.M. Castellaw married in 1888.

Tom and Marianna Nancy Johnson Castellaw and Bob and Zula Watridge Castellaw

One cousin, Margaret, had the great idea of bringing flowers for us to put on the graves of all the Castellaws in the Holly Grove Baptist Church cemetery. Then later a few of us drove down to place some flowers on TJ and Nancy's grave. While we were in the cemetery mood, we took a quick spin by the Cobb and Brantley family cemeteries as well.

Days like that really help make the names and places I see in my genealogy come to life.

 For more about the Castellaw family, visit

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Illustration of Colonel John Dawson

Today I received this scan of my 6th great grandfather, Colonel John Dawson, from the archives at The College of William and Mary. I recently wrote about discovering that my 7th great grandfather, the Reverend William Dawson, was the second president of that college and the author of the book "Poems on Several Occasions." I had an archivist check for any images of him or interesting details that may exist in their archives. Unfortunately, nothing exciting on him was found but they did have this great illustration which is supposedly of his son, the Colonel.

According to their records, as of 1962, the original was in possession of Mrs. Joseph Cheshire Webb of Hillsborough, North Carolina.

Colonel John Dawson married Penelope Johnstone who was the daughter of the Royal Governor of North Carolina from 1734 - 1752, Gabriel Johnstone and a much-married, colonial socialite, Penelope Golland Maule Lovick Phenney Johnston.

Colonel John and Penelope Johnston Dawson had a daughter named Margaret who married John Castellaw. Their son, John Dawson Castellaw led many wagon trains from Bertie, NC to Haywood Co., TN in the early 1830s.

For more about the Castellaw family, check out Haywood County Line.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Looking for George Williams

I've been trying to find out what I could about George Williams who is my fourth great-grandfather. Recently, I received an email from Lynn who knows a lot about the churches of Bertie Co., NC and she had some more pieces for the puzzle.

What I did know was that, according to "A History of Zion Church" by Bernie W. Cobb, in mid-November, 1833 a new church called Zion Baptist Church convened in Haywood Co., TN and elected a pastor. "Brother Leggit moved that an offer be extended to George Williams and Brother Rooks seconded the motion. Brother Outlaw was instructed to write him letting him know he had been chosen as the first pastor and requesting that he join them for the next meeting."

Lynn was able to provide a little more information for me about where George came from.

She let me know that George Williams was first mentioned in the minutes of the Holly Grove Baptist Church in Bertie Co., NC on December 13, 1828 as “Brother” George Williams.

Holly Grove Baptist Church was originally organized as Outlaw's Chapel in 1804 with 99 members. It was apparently in 1825 that Outlaw's Chapel officially became Holly Grove Baptist Church.

In the January 1829 minutes, George Williams was referred to as an Elder. He was unanimously chosen to pastor the church for one year on March 9, 1833. On March 28, 1833, he accepted the call of the church to serve them as pastor for one year provided that the church would change their meeting times from the second to the first Sunday in each month.

In the April 12, 1834 Minutes, $24 for his services during the previous year was mentioned. On May 3 of the same year, he agreed to serve "as long as convenient." In May 1835, he and Henry White agreed to serve the church together. In March 1836, the church wanted Mr. Williams and Mr. White to serve again. Henry White served. Nothing further was mentioned in the minutes of Holly Grove Baptist Church about George Williams.

Hopefully, this will help me find more out about George and who his parents were.

I do know that Williams was the pastor at Zion for a few years but the 1850 Census shows George living in Madison County, TN Dist 11 which is Jackson, TN. He was 53 and his wife Nancy was 40. They had a daughter, Harriet A. who was 17 and born in 1833 in Tennessee. George’s occupation was listed as a Baptist Minister.

You can read more about the Williams Family here.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Star-spangled Beanes

While Dr. William Beanes is not a direct descendant of mine, he was very close to the Marbury family and, now that I know his story, is someone I'll think about every time I hear "The Star-Spangled Banner."   

Leonard Marbury, my 6th great-grandfather, had a brother named Luke Marbury Sr. Luke Sr.'s son (and my 5th great cousin) was also named Luke and was a Colonel in the Revolutionary War.

Dr. William Beanes was Colonel Luke Marbury's first cousin on his mother's side and his close friend. When Colonel Marbury married Dr. Beanes' sister, Elizabeth, they also became brothers-in-law.

Dr. Beanes was a surgeon in the Revolutionary War and married Sarah Hawkins Hanson. She was the niece of John Hanson who became the president of the First Continental Congress and therefore technically, the first President of the United States.

Colonel Marbury's granddaughter, the late Jane Contee Marbury Penn, many years later, wrote that Dr. Beanes and Colonel Marbury were devoted friends. They both engaged with the Maryland troops at The Battle of Long Island and were among the few Maryland men who escaped after the battle. They escaped by “swimming across Long Island.” Source: The Patriotic Marylander, pg. 15

Dr. Beanes played a pivotal role in the inspiring Frances Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner.”

“In 1814, when British encamped at Marlborough, on their way to Washington, the officers made their headquarters at Dr. Beanes’ house. On their return, after burning the Capitol, they learned that Dr. Beanes had headed a party which made prisoners of some of their soldiers and in revenge, they carried him away to their fleet and treated him with harshness it is said. Efforts were at once made by the friends of Dr. Beanes to effect his release and Frances Scott Key was sent to Admiral Cockburn with a flag of truce to demand release of the prisoner, who should have been treated as a non-combatant. The enemy was about to bombard Fort McHenry when Key reached the flagship. He was compelled to remain on board all night and witness the bombardment. The rest of the story is well known – how in the dawn’s early light, Key, discovering the American flag still floating over the fort was inspired to write what has become our immortal National Anthem, ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’”
 Bowie, Effie, Across the Years in Prince George's County, 1947 

After his release, Dr. Beanes spent the remainder of his life on Academy Hill in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. He died there in 1828.

Dr William Beanes Grave
Dr. William Beanes on Wikipedia

Friday, October 8, 2010

From Alex and Olivia to Alfred the Great

The Marbury family is loaded with some interesting characters and, if you allow jumping back and forth from the wife's genealogical line to the husband's, you can get from my daughters, Alex and Olivia, to Alfred the Great and run into some pretty interesting figures along the way. The link in the chain around a couple of the Revolutionary War ancestors named Leonard and Frances is "likely" rather than "proven" but everything before and after those generations is certain. Just a few of the cast of characters include:

Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland
who was the daughter of John of Gaunt, the first Duke of Lancaster and his mistress Katherine Swynford who has a whole club dedicated to her called The Katherine Swynford Society. Joan was the grandmother of Edward the IV and Richard the III of England.

Saint Margaret of Scotland of who was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in recognition of her personal holiness, fidelity to the Church, work for religious reform, and charity. Her husband, Malcolm III, and their eldest son, Edward, were killed in a fight against the English at Alnwick Castle on November 13, 1093. Her son Edmund was left with the task of telling his mother of their deaths. Margaret was ill, and she died on November 16, 1093, three days after the deaths of her husband and eldest son. Her remains are kept at Dunfermline Abbey in Fife, Scotland.

Edmund I who was called the Elder, the Deed-doer, the Just, or the Magnificent and was King of England from 939 until his death in 946. During his reign the revival of monasteries in England began and he established peaceful relationships with Scotland. He was murdered by Leofa, an exiled thief, while celebrating St Augustine's Mass Day in Pucklechurch in South Gloucestershire.

Alfred the Great who was King of Wessex from 871 to 899. Alfred was an educated man who encouraged education and improved his kingdom's legal system and military structure. He is regarded as a saint by some, but has never been officially canonized. The Anglican Communion venerates him as a hero of the Christian Church, and he may often be found depicted in stain glass windows in churches throughout England.
Here is how you get from Alex and Olivia to Alfred the Great:

Alex and Olivia Williams have me as their father.
My mother is Shirley Lovelace Williams
whose mother was Virginia Brantley Lovelace
whose mother was Allie Ern Marbury Brantley
whose father was Hardy Joyner Marbury
whose father was Ben F. Marbury
whose father was Robert Green Marbury
whose father was John Marbury
whose father was Leonard Marbury
whose father was Francis Marbury
whose father was Leonard Marbury
whose father was Frances Marbury
whose father was also Francis Marbury
whose father was Euscbius Marbury (b. 1605, England)
whose mother was Elizabeth Cave
whose father was Henry Cave
whose mother was Margaret Throckmorton
whose mother was Lady Vaux
whose mother was Elizabeth Fitzhugh
whose mother was Alice Neville
whose father was Richard Neville
whose mother was Joan de Beaufort
whose father was John “of Gaunt” Beaufort, Duke of Lancaster
whose father was Edward III King of England
whose father was Edward II King of England
whose father was Edward I “Longshanks”
whose father was Henry III
whose father was John Lackland, King of England
whose father was Henry II Curtmantle King of England
whose mother was Matilda
whose mother was Matilda of Scotland
whose mother was Saint Margaret of Scotland
whose father was Edward Athling
whose father was Ethelred II the Unready, King of Kent
whose father was Edgar the Peaceful
whose father was Edmund I
whose father was Edward
whose father was Alfred the Great
Primary Source

You can read more details about the Marbury family at