Families of Mary Elizabeth "Polly" Parker McConnell

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April 2006


Randy has generously shared these for publication with the Christian County Mogen Web site. No data may be reproduced or published without permission of the author. 


Jeremiah and Milly Robey Parker 

Mary Elizabeth "Polly" Parker McConnell, wife of Walter, was the eldest daughter of teacher-farmer Jeremiah "Jerry" Parker (June 12, 1766-July 15, 1841) and Milly/Mildred Robey (Jan. 6, 1763-April 25, 1844). The Parker-Robey marriage likely took place in the Potomac River counties of MD or VA by early 1787.

Jerry was the son of John Parker of Charles and Prince George's Co., MD while Milly was the daughter of John Alfred Robey of Charles Co.

Zachariah Parker, their oldest son, later would tell three sets of census takers that he was born in MD, placing the family there in November 1787, likely in Charles or Prince George's County, after the Revolution.

But the young couple soon moved to VA. Polly's state mortality record in Missouri indicates she was a native Virginian, and her federal military bounty application stated she was age 66 in 1855, born in 1788/9. Jeremiah and his household aren't found in the 1790 federal censuses of MD or NC or the tax lists used as substitutes for VA's destroyed census of that year.

Jerry may have moved his young family near Nashville, Davidson Co., TN (then-North Carolina) by 1789 when several of his brothers moved there. Records of the Davidson Co. Court[1] show these entries on Jeremiah Parker:

• July 1789 — Jeremiah Parker among grand jurors for ensuing court.

• October 1789 — Jeremiah Parker called as grand juror.

• October 1789 — Jeremiah Parker among grand jurors for Superior Court.

• January 1790 — Jeremiah Parker on jury #2.

• October 1790 — Court ordered Jeremiah Parker to serve as road overseer instead of Jonathan O'Neal.

• October 1790 — Jeremiah Parker serving on jury #2 while his possible brother, John Parker (Jr.), was on jury #10.

Polly's probable VA birth is followed by a September 1792 court citation for Jerry in the records of King and Queen Co. District Court of northern VA, where he was likely working as a plantation tutor. His suit against William Edmondson for an unpaid debt was dismissed when Parker failed to address Edmundson's response to the original petition, and Parker was assessed 86 pounds of tobacco for clerk costs and 120 pounds for attorney's fees of the defendant.

The family came to North Carolina by 1795, when the last known child, John Alfred Parker, namesake of his Parker and Robey grandfathers, was born. On Nov. 21, 1797 Jerry bought a 111-acre farm, formerly owned by John McFarland, at a sheriff's sale for 25 pounds.  Jerry was the first Parker to settle and buy land in Iredell Co. of western North Carolina, but a few of Milly's relatives had lived in the area since 1772 and owned land near the new Robey/Parker settlement.

The year 1799 found Jerry appointed road overseer on the South Yadkin River, and he served on a November jury.

By 1800, other Robeys in the area included Tobias and Leonard, Milly's brothers, and father John A. Robey IV wrote his will in Iredell Co. in 1804. Tobias had purchased his property in 1794 and may have led the family move to Iredell Co.

The 1800 tax rolls show Jerry and Milly had three houses (probably two for slaves or tenants/family) and a stable on the farm with a total value of $155. This 111 acres was supplemented with the purchase, for 188 pounds, on April 1, 1801 of another 40 acres from Thomas Tucker, an original grant known as the John Archibald tract; the Tuckers were Robey cousins.

During the North Carolina years, at least Milly converted to the Methodist Church. Her gravestone indicates the conversion took place 40 years before her death on April 25, 1844 — or in 1804.

The Parker sojourn in North Carolina was relatively brief.

Davidson Co., TN records indicate Jeremiah may have returned there as early as Oct. 15, 1801 when the court appointed him to a road jury on thoroughfares from French Lick to Nashville to Mansker's Station and from Nichols Ferry to Hickman Road to Mansker's. Also serving was a John Rice; in 1811, Drusilla Parker — the name of Jeremiah's stepmother and as well as a possible half-sister — married John Rice in Middle Tennessee.

On May 20, 1806, Jerry sold his land to Joseph Allison for 188 pounds. His son Zachariah and daughter Polly were in Williamson County of Middle Tennessee at least by June 1807 when she married Walter McConnell and Zachariah served as bondsman.

Jerry left behind family debts in North Carolina where in 1808, the inventory of John Robey IV's estate noted that collection of loans to Jerry was doubtful because he no longer lived in the state.

It is highly possible that the Parkers joined in an 1806/7 wagon train with many of the McConnells, Bones, Wassons,  Houstons and other Iredell neighbors. Because he sold his farm in May 1806, Jerry and Milly had adequate time to make the trip and secure new land and housing before the winter.[2]

Jerry appears on the 1807-10 tax lists of Williamson Co., TN with his son Zachariah as adult males who owned no real estate. In 1811 and 1812, however, Jerry's farm totaled 154 or 152 acres on Hurricane Creek. In 1813, he again is shown having no property.

The 1813 landlessness likely signified the sale of the farm in preparation for a move south by Sept. 10, 1814 and a rapid rise to prominence in Giles Co., TN. On that date, Jerry and three other men promised the county court there that they would come to the next term of the court and testify for the state against William Welch in the alleged  assault and battery of Abel Oxford.[3]

On Dec. 8, 1814, Jerry was appointed by the court with John Hillhouse and James Graham to allot one year of support for Sarah Welch, widow of Nicholas Welch, and her children. (The Welches – William, Nicholas and Sarah – may have had no closer relationship than neighbors with the Parkers.)[4]

On March 7,1815, the Giles Co. Court appointed him a constable for the militia district of Capt. Pickens[5] and in June ordered Jerry and fellow constable Enoch Davis to attend a session of circuit court, probably in Columbia or Franklin, TN.[6] In October he was exempted from further attendance at circuit court.

The same circuit court authorization occurred in June 1816, and that December Jerry was qualified to attend the county grand jury as a constable.

A record of his Latin tutoring bills for minors Rufus, Archer C. and Jack White (possibly orphan sons of Carroll White) for 1819 and 1820 has survived in Pulaski, the county seat, but Jerry failed to appear on the 1819 Giles County tax list. In 1820, the final paperwork was completed on his purchase for $167 of town lot #52, containing 12 acres and six poles, in Pulaski in a public auction on Nov. 17, 1819.

Jerry and Milly eventually settled on Dry Creek in Civil District No. 5 of Giles Co. in the 1820s.

Jerry was a minor slaveholder who grew cotton, and he appears to have been mainly involved in hog farming. His estate file shows sales of hundreds of pounds of bacon. School terms sometimes only lasted for three months, usually between planting and harvest, so teaching would allow considerable time for farming as well.

Both Jerry and Milly are buried in Salem Cemetery, Giles Co. The small cemetery, which lies off Highway 64 West across Dry Creek Road from the site of the old Salem Methodist Church, was the burying ground for neighborhood Faught, Parker, Inman, Carter, Hays, Dickey and Puryear families.

Jerry Parker left most of his farm in his 1840 will to wife Milly and his spinster daughter Lilah, and the document indicates that Lilah and granddaughter Mary Jane Brown (later Mrs. Moses Faught) were taking care of Milly. William Henry and Alfred W. Parker, Jerry's grandsons, bought parts of the farm at estate sales.

Milly's tombstone, besides the reference to her conversion, contains this inscription: “Jesus can make a dying bed feel soft as downy pillows...while on his breast I lay my head &  breathe my life out swetly (sic) there.”

On Jan. 20, 1850, John A. Parker, Lilah Parker and the heirs of Linnie Parker Brown sold their interest in Milly's real estate, the 72-acre farm on Dry Creek, for $20 toZachariah Parker.


Siblings of Polly Parker McConnell

Of the Parker children other than Polly McConnell:

Zachariah (Nov. 19, 1784/7-April 4, 1870) was born in Maryland before the family came to North Carolina and probably named for Jerry's brother, who died in the early 1780s in Maryland.

Zachariah married Christeanah Benthall (July 26, 1789-Dec. 31, 1870), daughter of Mathew Benthall, on Nov. 14, 1809 in Williamson Co., TN. They are buried in Salem Cemetery.

Zachariah's eldest son, Alfred Washington (d. Nov. 17, 1886), married neighbor Delilah P. Wood (July 18, 1811-March 18, 1858), the daughter of Matthew and Rebecca Virginia Young Wood. Delilah's sister, Mary, wed Alexander McConnell, Walter and Polly's son, and another sister, Elizabeth Ann Wood, married Wiley Blount Faught Sr. Both the McConnells and Faughts migrated to Christian Co., MO.

Alfred W. and Delilah's family was unusually troubled. Before her death, at age 46, Delilah gave birth to at least two children who died as infants, one in 1840 and James M. (1835-Feb. 16, 1838). A third son, Jeremiah, killed himself on June 12, 1879 at age 30.

Even more tragic, however, were the events of May 17, 1859, a year after Delilah's death. Alfred's home, across the road from the Salem Church, caught fire, claiming the lives of three daughters, Elizabeth (Nov. 16, 1843), Frances (Aug. 11, 1847) and Rebecca C. (Dec. 25, 1852). Alfred rebuilt the home, placing an exterior door in every room on the first floor to provide quick exits.

Zachariah's grandson — George Washington Parker (1845), the son of Alfred and Delilah — married into the Inman family when he took Mary E. Inman as his wife in 1866. Mary E. (April 17, 1846-1922) was the daughter of James C. and Francis Faught Inman, who brought their family to Christian Co., MO in 1852, but returned during the Civil War to Middle TN. James C. Inman was the nephew of Elkanah D. Inman, ancestor of most Christian County Inmans from Giles Co.

Alfred Washington, who remarried to Marie C. Flautt after the disastrous fire, was followed in the family of Zachariah and Christeanah Benthall Parker by:

— Matthew C. (1814-1863, m. Sarah Ann Oglesby).

— William Henry (1818-1885, m. Henrietta Miller).

— Martha.

— Margaret Ann Jane (1819-1900, m. John Rice Finley.)

— Mildred Florence (1822-1902, m. Jacob R. Miller). This branch of the family moved to Texas.

— J(eremiah). Milton (1824-1896) married first to Ann Harwood, daughter of John W. Harwood, but she died April 9, 1850 at Campbellsville after several weeks of illness that “she bore with Christian fortitude and resignation.”[7] J. Milton then married Leanna C. James.

— Sarah H. (1826-36).

— Christeanah Amanda (1828-1907, m. Samuel J. Baker).

— The Rev. Zachariah Parker Jr. (1830, m. Ella Sanders), who roamed the south, as far afield as Dallas, according to court records.

— John Wesley (1833-1833).

— John Absalom (1834-1890, m. Eliza J. Baker).

— Lilah (1836-36), who is buried in Old Salem Cemetery.

Zachariah's descendant, David O. Parker Jr. of Tuscaloosa, AL, sponsors Parker-Robey family research today.

Malinda "Linnie" (1790-1827/1830) married Thomas Brown, a well-to-do Virginian, after the family came to Giles Co. and had five children: Malinda C. (1814) who married neighbor Allen B. Cameron; Delila Ann who married Gilbert N. Gaines; Margaret A. or J. (1825) who married Pleasant M. Faught[8]; Mary J. (June 24, 1826-May 1853) who married Moses M. Faught; and John Parker (1827). The Cameron and Gaines members of this family disappeared into the mists of history after 1850.

After Linnie died, Jerry and Milly took in her five children, according to the 1830 census.

John Alfred (Nov. 30, 1795-Sept. 22, 1868) married Harriet Hooks, daughter of Curtis Hooks, and they had eight children: James L., Isaac Thomas (m. Susan Adelia Keloe), Elizabeth Ann (m. Daniel Porter Story and, after his death around 1865, Robert C. Chapman), Virginia Angeline (m. George W. Cameron), Kisiah, Alfred Forest (m. Rebecca A.T. Schuler), Harriet Francis (m. Samuel Rollins) and Sarah Margaret (m. William A. Gaines).

By legend, Harriet Hooks was a dance-hall girl whom John A. met in Nashville on a trip; the marriage is said to have made him the family pariah. Hooks families, however, lived in Giles Co. by the War of 1812.

If John A. was a family outcast, a certain irony exists because his descendant Carol Schmidt worked for years on a book about the Jeremiah Parker family. Another researcher, Clara Parker, who heads the Old Records Section of the Giles County Courthouse, married into this branch of the Parker family.

Delilah or Lilah (1800-1850s), who remained unmarried, was living with her niece Mary Jane Brown and her husband, Moses M. Faught, in 1850 in Giles County, probably on the original Jeremiah Parker farm that Delilah inherited.


The Parkers of Maryland

Jeremiah Parker appears to have been the son of John Sr. (1728) and Mary Parker of Prince George's Parish, Prince George's Co., MD, who were neighbors and friends of Milly's parents, John and Mary Robey.

The 1776 Prince George's parish census shows John Parker Sr., age 48, and probable second wife Drusilla, 29, living with sons age 15, 13, 11 and 5 years and daughters 10, 4, 2 and six months old with three teen-age slaves. The 11-year-old son would approximate the age of Jeremiah Parker. Two doors down lived John Parker Jr., 23, and wife Mary, 24, with two daughters, ages 2 and 1, and two other adults, a 24-year-old male and 26-year-old female.

Parish church records also record the birth of son Zachariah to John and Mary Parker Sr. on Sept. 23, 1761; this entry, however, does not signify that the Parkers belonged to the Church of England because the parishes were the official birth registrars in the colonial period of Maryland.

Some evidence suggests the Parkers, whose records are sparse, lived on both sides of the Potomac River in VA and MD.  Prince George's County, the home of the Parkers and some Robeys, included part of the current District of Columbia until the 1790s.

The Robeys in America, 1658/9

Compared to the "seems," "apparentlys," and "perhaps" that still cloud the Parker picture, the Robey information is relatively abundant.

The Robeys have been found in Maryland since the 1600s in adjacent Charles Co., which lies on the southern peninsular tip of Maryland's Western Shore, and the Robeys' ancestral hometown of Port Tobacco is about 20 miles south of Washington, D.C. on the Potomac River. Washington, D.C., did not yet exist during Port Tobacco's glory days. Once a bustling landing on the Potomac River with access to the Atlantic Ocean, the village of Port Tobacco today has a population of 27 — or far less than the total number of Robeys who lived in or around the town before 1800. Charles County today is still thick with Robey family members.

During the first 100 years or more in America, the family name was variously spelled Roby, Robey, Raby and Ruby. The spelling eventually devolved into Roby and Robey, but the families are the same. The daughters in the family had a habit of using Robey as the first name for sons.

The family is believed to have descended from three Robey brothers from England, two of which settled in the area of Massachusetts that became New Hampshire and the other who founded the southern branch of the family.

Milly Robey, Jeremiah Parker's wife, was descended from four generations of John Robeys, including the immigrant (b. c. 1635 in England-after 1681, Charles Co., MD). John Robey I came to Maryland in 1658, and for paying his own passage, he obtained a patent for land on Maryland's Eastern Shore; a warrant for 100 acres was issued on Jan. 25, 1659, but no record of its use is found.

Mormon records indicate a John Robey Jr. was born to father John Robey in 1662 in Charles County. If so, John the Immigrant did not live there for long. The sketchy early information suggests that John I moved across the Potomac River to Virginia where, on Sept. 25, 1666, he was subpoenaed to testify March 2, 1667, in Old Rappahannock Co. Court (today's Richmond or Essex Cos.) in a civil suit against John Cox. He may have married there.

Records do not document the wife, Sarah, or date of death for John I. He was still living in 1681 when he had returned to Maryland and the state assembly granted him a payment of 100 pounds of tobacco for raising a crop that year. However, he died before 1687 when John II and his apparent mother, Sarah (Mrs. John Robey I), living in Charles Co. again, simultaneously registered their "marks" for cattle and hogs, the forerunners of brands, that apparently were running on unfenced pastures or commons. (Unless John II's wife had separate property, there appears to be no reason for her to register her mark, so this Sarah more likely is his mother. The woman could have been a sister, though.)

This old document is extremely difficult to read, but for John Robey's mark, he used "crops of both ears, two holes...of right and a nick underneath of left." Sarah relied on "crops of both ears and a hole in...right and a nick underneath both ears."

John Robey I is believed to have had two sons: John II and Thomas, who married Ann Wallis on June 7, 1687 in Christ Church Parish, Middlesex Co., VA. Both Thomas and Ann were living there at the time, and they had a possible daughter, Margaret of Middlesex Co., who married William Boulter of Great Britain in 1714 in Essex Co., VA.[9]

John Robey II, son of John the Immigrant, was married by 1687 to Sarah Luckett and died in 1726, when his wife filed letters of administration on his estate. Because John II had to have been at least 18 to register a cattle mark, his birth came in 1669 or before, lending some credence to reports suggesting 1662. They had at least 11 children, and John II must have married twice because a half-brother, Benjamin, is listed for the children of Sarah Luckett Robey. (A family historian asserts that Benjamin was an illegitimate son, which would correspond more closely with the family records.)

The Robey families held long-term leases in Zachaiah (Zuh•kí•uh) Manor, a holding of Lord Calvert that stretched from Port Tobacco east to the town of Benedict. In Maryland's colonial days, a "hundred" was the standard settlement area and census tract that was supposed to raise 100 militia men (in theory).

Much of Zachaiah was rented under long-term leases that passed from generation to generation as property, but the manor was interspersed with "patent" land, such as "His Lordship's Favor" and "Baltimore's Bounty," that was sold outright. A 1768 census of these leases has preserved much of the genealogical data of the Robey family.

Among the offspring of John II and Sarah Luckett Robey were:

Peter (1687-1737). Peter Robey leased 86 1/4 acres of Zachaiah Manor on May 3, 1728 — one of the two oldest Robey leases in the area. The leases indicate that Peter, Benjamin, Ralph and Michael Hines Robey all obtained property in the area in May and June 1728. Other family members, perhaps the next generation, added to the holdings in later years. Few families, except for the Pigeons (1714) and Darnalls (1727), are shown to have lived in the area earlier. The Peter Robey tract was in the hands of a John Robey (b. 1725) and nephew John Henley, the son or stepson of Elizabeth Robey (Mrs. John Sr.) Henley, in 1768.

Thomas (1688-1782 in Charles Co.) had nine children: John Nally (1710), Joseph, William, Mary (m. Morton), daughter (m. Thomas Sute), daughter (m. Thomas Lane), Ignatious, Leonard (1740) and James Clement Robey. The gap of at least 30 years in births suggests two wives.

Elizabeth (1690-after 1740), who married, perhaps as his second wife, John Henley Sr.

John III (1691/4-1776 or before). (See below.)

William (1700-1775) who married Elizabeth. At age 68, William was living on a farm of unknown size in Zachaiah Manor, which originally had been leased by his half-brother Benjamin Robey on May 3, 1728. Elizabeth is not shown living in 1768 on the manor records, but she was alive when William died in early 1775.

William and Elizabeth had at least seven children: Ann, Lawrence, Elizabeth, Arthur John, Owen, Easter (m. Cooper) and Mary (m. Spain).

• A daughter (b. 1702) who married George Gibbon.

Michael Hines (1702-1750) who married Elizabeth. Michael on June 29, 1728 leased 123 1/4 acres of Zachaiah Manor. His widow Elizabeth and likely second husband Thomas Owens had possession of the lease in 1768, although Sarah Robey, age 40 (b. 1728), was the tenant for life. Michael took out another lease on 70 acres in Zachaiah Manor on July 10, 1740. Widow Elizabeth and Owens were still in possession of the lease in 1768, although her sons Thomas (1731), John Taylor (1733) and Hines Roby (1735) actually lived on the land.

Michael Hines and Elizabeth Robey also had three daughters: Ann (1737), Mary (1739) and Lydia (1741).

Ralph (1708-before 1776) who married 1) Penelope Cawood/Caywood and 2) Sarah (b. 1723). Ralph leased 104.5 acres of Zachaiah Manor on June 29, 1728 and was still living there in 1768.

Samuel (1709) took up his lease on 54 acres of Zachaiah Manor on Christmas Day 1743. He was still living there with a nephew, 26-year-old Berry Robey, in 1768.

Stacey (1711) married 1) John Wornald and, after his death, 2) Daniel Stewart in 1748. Daniel died in the spring of 1766 in Charles Co. One researcher suggests that Daniel and Stacey had a child before their marriage, named Robey Stewart, who was guaranteed 50 pounds sterling upon Daniel's death in a prenuptial agreement.

Richard (1713-1801 in Charles Co.). He moved to Worchester Co., MD by 1772, but returned to the Port Tobacco area by 1776 and remained there in 1790.

Benjamin, who was among the early settlers in the manor, took his lease on May 3, 1728. He was born before 1687, making him either the product of an earlier marriage or the illegitimate offspring of John II's youth. Benjamin married Mary Wood and had at least one son, Thomas,  who played an important role in the movement of Robeys to Rowan/Iredell Co., NC.


John Robey III and Sarah Berry

Around 1713 John Robey III married Sarah Berry, the daughter of Dr. Samuel Berry of Charles Co. (before 1672-after 1734).

The Berrys of Charles Co. are said to have descended from James Berry, whose son William came to Maryland around 1652 and settled in Calvert Co. William seems to have married a Preston and had two sons, James and William. James, who settled in St. Mary's Co. (the oldest in Maryland), married Ann Wynne, the widow of Stephen Caywood of Charles Co. and Dr. John Wynne of St. Mary's. The long ties between the Caywoods, Berrys and Robeys led genealogists to assume this family line holds.

Samuel Berry is first found in Charles Co.  in 1690, when he sued a John Wilder; Samuel had a brother, Humphrey, cited in deed records in 1697.

On Oct. 2, 1704, Samuel Caywood Jr. and wife Mary sold Dr. Samuel Berry 100 acres known as “Hull” in Charles County, part of a 600-acre tract patented by Samuel Caywood Sr. in 1675 on the Mattawoman River three miles northwest of Waldorf, MD and 20 miles south of Washington, D.C. As late as 1926, this property remained in the hands of Berry descendants.

In 1713, Samuel Berry and his cousin Caywood filed suit against James Maddox, but subsequent court records have been lost. In 1732, Berry filed to be free from tax levies, probably because of extreme poverty, age and inability to work, and his petition was granted; the petition would place his birth by 1672 or before.

Dr. Berry deeded all his land and belongings to son-in-law John Robey III on Nov. 30, 1734 in exchange for a guarantee of lifetime support. Among the items were a feather bed and furniture, a wooden cupboard, two iron pots, an iron skillet and four pewter basins, not counting land that seems to have been rented and remained in the "possession" of someone else.

The doctor, whose possessions reflect the often poor finances of physicians on the frontier, must have been living with his son-in-law John Robey and daughter in 1734. His daughter, like most frontier wives, is unmentioned in these legal documents and exists only as an extension of her husband.

Dr. Berry had six children, including:

Humphrey (d.c. 1771, Charles Co.) married Mary Smallwood and then Ann Lovejoy of Prince George Co., and accumulated substantial properties, including his inheritance of “Hull,” and farms known as Mt. Paradise, Berry, Smallwood's Plains, Nutwell, Discord, Batchellor's Forest and Berry's Lott. His will indicates he was a minor slaveholder.

Samuel Jr. (1718-1775/6) married Ann Thomas, daughter of Daniel Thomas. Samuel Jr. owned 50 acres on Cool Spring Branch.

• Sisters Elizabeth (d. 1794) and Ann died single.

William (d. 1733) married Esther, probably a Caywood.


John Alfred Robey IV (1714-1808)

Of children of John III and Sarah Berry Robey, only John IV has been documented.

John Robey IV married at least twice, once to a Mary, probably his second wife. Oddly enough, he apparently ended the line of John Robeys by naming none of his eight or nine children John (or a John V died as a youth).

By his first wife, John IV is believed to have had at least these children, based on his will and other records:

Leonard (b. 1738), whose family moved into Virginia and North Carolina.

Berry (1742-1820 in Iredell Co.). Berry was named for his grandmother's family, and he was living with a great-uncle, Samuel Robey, in Zachaiah Manor in 1768. He eventually moved to Montgomery Co., MD.

Elizabeth who married a Beurel (Burrell?).

Esther or Easter (b. before 1742-before 1804), who married a Tucker.

Rachel, either a daughter or granddaughter who married Robey Tucker, a cousin.

Mary (b. before 1736-before 1804), who married a Tucker.

By his second wife, probably Mary, John IV fathered:

Ede (d. by 1804), who married John Smith on Jan. 18, 1788.

Tobias (1758 in Maryland-1802 in Iredell County) who married Drucilla. Leonard and brother-in-law Jeremiah Parker served as executors of the estate.

Milly (1763-1844), who married Jeremiah Parker. Milly seems to have been a nickname, short for Millicent, Mildred, Melissa or even Malinda, a name that Milly gave to one of her own daughters.

John IV was known as "John Jr." for 60 years, until his father died in the 1770s, and John Robey Jr. obtained a lease on 42 acres in Zachaiah Manor on June 23, 1762. John IV, however, was not living there in 1768, and his lease was then in the possession of Thomas Luckett, a probable cousin through John's grandmother, Sarah Luckett Robey. The lease was to run another 15 years and 4 months, or until around July 1, 1783. The annual rent to the family of Lord Calvert was 8 shillings, four pence.

In the years leading up to the Revolution, John IV and his family had moved north to Prince George's Co. The 1776 census of St. John's and Prince George's parishes of Prince George's Co.  shows John Robey, age 62, and Mary Robey, 55, living with eight children. This man's age, wife and number of children are strikingly similar to John IV and his family; the age is exact. The other males were aged 23, 17, 10 and 8; the females 20, 18, 13 and 10. One of the males over age 16 is listed as "defective." The 13-year-old daughter was Milly's age.

The case is strengthened by the oaths of allegiance to the province of Maryland given on Feb. 23, 1778 in Prince George's County. Signing consecutively were John Parker (father of Jeremiah), Roby Tucker (John Robey IV's son-in-law/nephew), John Roby (IV, father of Milly), Absalom Roby and Leonard Roby (John IV's son).

In the 1790 census of Maryland, John IV was still living in Prince George's Co.

The migration of Robeys to Rowan and Iredell counties, NC began with Thomas Robey (1711/12-May 1774), the son of Benjamin Sr. and grandson of John II. In 1735, Thomas married Sarah Smallwood, and they had six children: Pryor Smallwood (1738), Nathan, Verlinda, Charlotte, Sarah and Ann.

Sometime after 1765 and Sarah's death, Thomas remarried to Eleanor Gaither Lovelace, the widow of Jean Baptiste Lovelace, mother of nine and member of a highly prominent family. Thomas, Eleanor and most of the 15 Robey-Lovelace children moved to Iredell (then Rowan) Co., NC in 1772. Thomas died in 1774, Eleanor in 1776; she lies in one of the earliest graves in Lewis Graveyard of Iredell Co.; the Lovelace/Loveless children, however, remained in the area.

The first potential sign of John Robey IV's Rowan Co. family migration comes in 1793 when a John Boswell Robey, of undetermined relation, bought land from Thomas Archibald. Also, in 1794, John IV's son Tobias bought property from the same Thomas Archibald. (John Boswell Robey is not mentioned in John IV's will.) The 1778 tax lists of Rowan Co., which then included this land, show Archibald living next to Nathan Robey, son of Thomas.

Three Robey properties [10] were listed for Iredell County taxes in 1800: Leonard Robey, son of John IV, 318 acres with a house and three outbuildings, including a barn and a stillhouse for whiskey making, all with a value of $500; Tobias, another son, 149 acres with three houses and at least one, perhaps two stables, valued at $96.50; and John B. Robey with 161 acres, three houses, a barn and a stable, assessed at $185.50.

At about age 90, John IV wrote his will on Feb. 1, 1804  — and divulged virtually nothing of interest except the names of his children. His second wife died before him and is unmentioned. He made a special bequest of five pounds to Rachel Tucker,, who married Robey Tucker, who may have been caring for him. He also named his "trusty friend," Burgess Gaither of Iredell, originally of Howard Co., MD, as executor, indicating a tie to the family of Eleanor Gaither Lovelace Robey.[11]

John IV's burial site is unknown, although he died in Lincoln County, NC c. 1808, when his will was proven in court. Lincoln Co. is adjacent to Iredell Co.


[1] Davidson Co. , TN, County Court Minutes, 1783-1792, Carol Wells, Heritage Books Inc., Bowie, MD, 1990.

[2] (Complicating the picture of how and when the move came, though, is daughter Lilah's 1850 census data that indicates she was born in North Carolina in 1810. It is possible that Milly stayed behind with family in NC, or Delilah, like many respondents, gave incorrect information to census takers. Lilah more likely was born in 1800 or before; the 1800 census shows two daughters under age 10 in Jerry's household -- Linnie and probably Lilah or a daughter unknown.)

[3]Robert Dowdle, Eli Joiner and Carol (Carroll) White also agreed to appear. They also appeared with Parker the next December to do the same because the case apparently was continued. Giles County Court Minutes, pp. 259 and 304.

[4]Ibid., p. 308.

[5]Ibid. p. 351.

[6]Ibid, p. 437.

[7] Western Star, Pulaski, TN, April 11, 1850

[8] Some researchers say Margaret married William H. Lock of Giles Co. He married M(argaret).M. Baker in early January 1850. Western Star, Jan. 10, 1850

[9] Index to Marriages of Old Rappahannock and Essex Cos., VA.

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