The family tradition is that about 1742 William Ewing acquired lands upon the waters of the Upper Shenandoah River in what is now Rockingham County, Virginia. At least important parts of the large landed estate which he and his children subsequently acquired came down to his recent descendants. At the time this William located in the neighborhood of Linville Creek, a tributary of the Shenandoah, that region was part of Augusta County. In its earlier days Augusta was a vast empire, carved in 1730 out of a greater known as Orange County. Augusta lay west of the Blue Ridge. At first Augusta comprised the territory which later became four States and also forty counties which subsequently became, for the most part, part of West Virginia. To the northeast and on the same side of the Ridge, established at the same time, including the lower Shenandoah Valley, was Frederick County.
For years after this Ewing reached that part of Virginia, Augusta, westward and northward of the Alleghenies, far out in sight, was an unknown wilderness. As shown in another chapter that entire Valley region was for perhaps forty years after this Ewing home was built on the waters of the Shenandoah, liable to deadly attacks by the Indians. This William, therefore, built his early home of the big trees, cut into suitable lengths and hewn on two sides. Portholes were provided, so that it was in effect an outpost blockhouse, one of the old block-house forts of that day, which were the chief cornerstones upon which American expansion and civilization were built. Tradition has it that more than once the place was besieged by the savages, and large numbers of arrow-heads subsequently found about the site tend to support the story. Nearby was a smaller stone structure, having a subterranean connection with the spring, used as a retreat for the women and children when the frequent Indian alarms spread along the frontier, and in which they remained during the acute danger.
Subsequently, the savage dangers in retreat before the slow but relentless advance of the "palefaces," this pioneer erected, not far from the old home, which in time disappeared, a commodious mansion of brick, colonial in style, originally having the big dormer windows and the great porch with its lofty columns. Here this old pioneer picket died in or about 1796, having been born in Scotland in 1694.
Johnston, in Memorials of Old Virginia Clerks, published in 1888, says this Ewing came into the Shenandoah Valley and made his first land purchase in 1742, locating "some three miles northwest of where Harrisonburg now stands." He also says that this William was a native of Scotland; that, being a strong Calvinist, he fled to Londonderry, Ireland, that from there by permission of Queen Mary of England, he came to America and first located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and that there he married a Miss Shannon.
Old deeds and other documents, which I have seen and yet in the family, certainly identify this Ewing as having first lived, after reaching America, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania; and that he married Ann Shannon, there is no doubt. At an early day he owned property in Philadelphia. Some of his living descendants have a tradition that he came to America direct from Scotland, reaching here at the age of seventeen in 1713. There is another tradition, which appears to be dependent on what Johnston has recorded, that this Ewing came from Ulster, Ireland, where he at least paused after leaving Scotland. Remembering that this William undoubtedly had close relations in Ulster, and that at that day much of the immigrant movement was from Scotland to the Province of Ulster; and out of Ulster, Londonderry being an important port, to America, I am satisfied that this young man came to America direct from some point in north Ireland. That he came earlier than 1718 is doubtful. John G. Ewing, long a close student of our genealogy, in an interview with me in December, 1920, expressed himself as certain that no one of our family reached America earlier than 1718, and that date is born out by Dubois and other early writers. While the difference between the traditional dates of arrival is not important, yet 1718 is the one more generally accepted by tradition, the statement of Isaac S. Ewing, a prominent business man now of Harrisonburg, a descendant of this William, being representative of the more general view:
My great-grandfather (this William) came to this country from Scotland in 1718. He landed in Philadelphia and came to Rockingham County, Virginia, in 1742, and took up land which has been in the Ewing name ever since.
Mrs. Maria Ewing Martin (of the Hon. Thos. Ewing line), who investigated this subject while visiting in Scotland, appears, as her manuscript notes disclosed, to credit the tradition that this William was born in Tillichewan Castle, two miles from Loch Lomond and ten miles from Glasgow. The old castle yet stands, it is said, and is on the estate of the present distinguished Orr-Ewing house, lineal descendants of the ancient Loch Lomond family. Other traditions have it that this Ewing was born in even more historic Stirling Castle, also not far from Loch Lomond. Anyway, if born at either place he was within the baronial jurisdiction of Stirling Castle, and as his ancestors were barons, I often wonder on which side sat the one then living when William Wallace, Scotland's national hero, stood in old Stirling Castle charged with treason, as we have the story from some authors.
Johnston's statement that this Ewing was a strong Calvinist and that he fled to Ireland may mislead. In common with the clan from which he descended, this Ewing, we are sure, was a Covenanter Presbyterian. In another chapter we have seen something of the quarrel between the Presbyterians and the Catholics during the era in which this Ewing left Scotland. He "fled," evidently, in the broader sense of going to seek opportunities to worship God, after Presbyterian teaching, in greater peace. More, it is tradition that his father said to him: "My lad, your oldest brother inherits the patrimony and the title. Go to America and seek an honest fortune in the great opportunities of a new country. Aye, remember, lad, you are a son of a worthy Scotch baron."
Another branch of the family, has this tradition thus:
My son, you know that your eldest brother will inherit the title and the estate. I am but a poor baron and can give you only 320 pounds sterling. Take it and go to the New World to seek your fortune.
In 1913 Mrs. Theresa Ewin(g) Perkins compiled a record in which, as handed down to her, she gives the traditions and descendants of this William Ewing of Rockingham, from whom she sprang. As this manuscript was about to go to press, Mrs. Louise Grundy MacGavoch Todd, of Nashville, Tennessee, a granddaughter of Mrs. Perkins, now deceased, sent me a copy of the copy of this Perkins record in her possession. I had been informed that Capt. Thomas Henderson, a cousin of Mrs. Todd, had the original of the Perkins manuscript; but he wrote me that since Mrs. Perkins' death the original appears to be lost.
According to this Perkins story, William Ewing, the Rockingham pioneer, had brothers, Samuel and George; and this William "fought at the siege of Londonderry, Ireland, 1689." Then there is this parenthesis: "I have learned that it was Baron William Ewing, father of" the Rockingham William, "who fought at Londonderry."
What was the source of this information regarding the Londonderry service, I am unable to learn. That an ancestor of this William Ewing did take some part in the interest of the Protestant fighting at memorable Londonderry, has some little other support; but, as we have seen, another branch of this family insists that this William came to America direct from the paternal home in Scotland. From the light now before me I do not decide which is the more accurate. There could be a measure of truth in both.
The late Miss Mary E. Ewing of Harrisonburg, a great-granddaughter of this immigrant, who was much interested in family history, gives us an interesting picture of this Scots laddie after he became an old man. She obtained her information from her father, William II, who died of pneumonia in 1857, being then in his seventy-ninth year. Miss Ewing says that among the most cherished recollections of her life were the accounts by her father regarding "that grand old man, my great-grandfather. First, let me describe him," she wrote me September 1, 1911. "A little, frail old man. He wore a long cue, tied at the end with black ribbon; short breeches fastened at the knees with knee-buckles—I have one of them—silk stockings—I have one of them and low shoes. Nothing could induce him to change his costume or habits, although a rheumatic (in old age). He was quite peculiar in his political ideas, being a strong monarchist. My father was fifteen years old when he, my great-grandfather died and he (father) said they had frequently begged his grandfather to go to town to vote, but he would reply: 'No, God made kings and queens but never a President.'"
Miss Ewing also says of her great-grandfather:
He was the youngest son, a petted darling of his mother, and came over with three cousins. He, my great grandfather, was very averse to coming; but the law of primogeniture left no alternative, the eldest son inherited everything, so he came, and they had a stormy voyage, landing in what was then a small village, now the city of Philadelphia.
This informant further says that this William went to school—for three years it is said—to Ann Shannon, in Pennsylvania, a member of a Scotch-Irish family that had preceded young Ewing to America. He and Miss Shannon married, he, it is said, at the age of 22 and she at the age of 25. Miss Ewing adds: "My impression is that she was the dominant spirit, but they were a very happy couple through life." However, as the wife lived much longer than the husband, there must be some confusion regarding ages, for some of the descendants point out that her tombstone tells us that she was about ninety at her death; and it is confidently asserted by some of the descendants, as seen, that he died in 1796.
The early records of Augusta County disclose that the first deed to this William for land was recorded November 17, 1761, conveying, in consideration of one hundred and forty English pounds, 708 acres, "on easternmost branch of Linvel's Creek, conveyed by Hite et als 3rd October, 1746. Delivered: Andrew Ewin, October 1769." (In the deed and by the clerk also the father's name is spelled with the "g," while the other name is Andrew Ewin, though this Andrew was the son.) This was quite certainly the same Jost Hite who settled near Winchester as stated in the next chapter. His title was from the British authorities. Hite, alone and with others, from time to time obtained large tracts of land on waters of the upper Shenandoah as well as on the lower Shenandoah in Frederick County. By 1742 he had a mill on Linville Creek, which he rented that year to Thomas Linville. The old mill was long a neighborhood land-mark.
This 708 acres bought by Ewing on Linville Creek was the nucleus of the old home farm which eventually grew into an estate that was pricely for the day.
In another chapter we have seen that after the success of the Revolution, the next source of land titles in Virginia to lands west of the mountains was the decisions of the commission appointed to pass upon claims "to lands on the western waters." In addition to this source, land warrants were obtained from the Virginia treasury, entitling the purchaser to locate, have surveyed and then upon the survey obtain a grant from the State to specific tracts of unoccupied lands. There are many deeds among the records in the old Land Office, conveying lands from one source or another to the many Ewings living near the eastern base of the Blue Ridge or here and there in the fertile valleys to the westward.
An early deed to a member of this family is found in the Virginia Land Office dated 1780, and is to Henry Ewing. (Book A, 423.) It recites that the land lies "on the head drafts of the west fork of Cook's Creek;" and is based upon a survey of 1773. This illustrates the slow and tedious method by which titles to lands were in that day to be had. In this case of course the fundamental changes of the Revolution had intervened.
In the same year a deed or grant issued to John Ewing based upon a survey of July, 1773, on the same waters and also in Augusta, and adjoining the lands of Wm. Shannon, Jr.
In 1781 a patent issued to Jno. Ewins of Rockingham "on the head branch of Linville Cr. adjoining his own and Brown's land, and also said Ewin's Cab. tract." Other deeds indicate the large and valuable landed estates acquired from time to time by this family.
It is interesting that July 16, 1776, William Ewing was one of the several witnesses against "Alexander Miller, M. A., formerly a Presbyterian minister," charged with "aiding and giving intelligence to the enemy." The Scotch and Scotch-Irish of Virginia were, with few exceptions, belligerently patriotic in the days of the Revolution. It is significant, and the more so that this section was then the frontiers of the late colony, that just twelve days after the Declaration of Independence the Virginia patriots were prosecuting Tories, and doing so "under a commission from the late the Honorable Committee of Safety of Virginia." Thus went into practical operation the independent sovereignty of a great American State. According to tradition regarding William Ewing's monarchial proclivities, one would have expected to see where he had been prosecuted, for the patriots of his community, as in fact all along the Virginia Scotch-Irish frontiers, were very busy and very unsparing. Few Tories escaped exposition and with it often punishment. I am aware that there is in print studies of the "Virginia Loyalists, 1775, 1783," which hold that in the western and frontier counties of Virginia, such as Montgomery and Augusta and Rockingham, "insurrection of the Loyalists," during those years, "was by no means rare;" and that it was "difficult to get the patriots to enlist and leave home on that account." The young author who reached that conclusion held that "one of the best ways of ascertaining the sentiment of these western folk is to note the disposition of the militia. If we judge by that we must conclude that there was a large amount of loyalism in" Virginia—that is, in the western counties. But that young author's inexperience misled him. We know that, among other things, the militia of the frontier counties of Virginia knew as no others did that if the fighting element of their section went into the armies operating against the British in eastern Virginia and elsewhere, the resulting exposure to the Indians would probably mean that the border families would be put to the knife and torch, "the western folk" would be "wiped from the map," in fact; and that, aside from its personal appeal to the male members of the "western" frontier, would seriously endanger the patriot cause. The Tory strength of the western Virginia counties has been over-estimated; the contribution of the operations of our fathers against Tories and the Indians is under-valued.
So to find this William Ewing serving as a witness against a Tory, together with the fact that he was not prosecuted, shows that at least his influence was with the patriot cause. For his services in that case he was awarded for each day of attendance as such witness "25 pounds of tobacco, or two shillings and one penny." There were eight witnesses at the first hearing of this case; and the officer for summoning them, "in which he rode 150 miles," was allowed "four pence per mile." This gives light upon the thinly settled condition of the country at the time.
Of course it cannot absolutely be known from the records that this witness was the pioneer William; but as far as I can find he alone in all the region at the time bore his first name.
An undisputed tradition in the family of this pioneer William Ewing is that he was the youngest son of a Scotch baron, entitled to bear a coat of arms. Down to the present the family have claimed, rightly I am sure, arms which are identical with the Old Ewing arms borne by the Ewings of Craigton (or Craigtoun, as sometimes spelled), and which are more fully described in the chapter on Ewing arms.
A copy of the arms claimed by this William Ewing was given me by the late Miss Mary Ewing, his grand-daughter; and they are identical with the old Ewing arms claimed by Dr. John Ewing of the Cecil County family and of the University of Pennsylvania, a copy of which was left by his grand-daughter. These arms are identical with those reproduced by the halftones in this book,--and are, as we have seen, the old Scotch arms. Neither descendant of these respective branches ever knew or knew of the other.
In support of the baronical and arms tradition is an old seal after the name of this pioneer to an instrument dated in 1742. Apparently a signet ring bore the device, use to seal that instrument. In the case now extant and in the possession of one of his descendants, the impression was made upon red sealing wax and is about the size of a dime. In general the design is that of a modern notary seal, for instance. The papers came to the present owner through Miss Mary E. Ewing, who obtained them from her father. They are certainly the genuine originals. At the top of this seal, clearly defined, is the sun in its splendor. I am sure this feature of the design comes from the old Ewing arms. Below the sun is another figure. This, it appears to me, as seen under a magnifying glass, is a bird clutching in each set of claws a cluster of branches. The wings and head are clearly distinguishable; but the lower part of this figure is not so clear; the wax having been somewhat worn down by age. I am sure that it is the figure of a bird; but some of Ewing's descendants, who have seen this seal, believe the figure to be a "griffin,"—a figure described by Nisbet as "a chimerical creature, half eagle, half lion, having large ears." In either case this figure to me conceals its meaning. No bird and no griffin is found on any Ewing arms upon which this signet could be based. Around the figures are apparently words or letters; but in the wax impression before me they are now so worn away that just what they are is something of uncertainty.
Woodward and some Scotch writers point out that "Badges were the earliest form of hereditary insignia, preceding shields or coats of arms, and commonly used as seals." Occasionally these seals were accompanied by a motto. Early Scots laws required each freeholder to have his seal. The Scotch editor of Clan Ewen (1904) says "the seals almost invariably have the initials of the owners for the time being."
These facts, probably, account for the origin of and suggest a clue by which to guess as to the words or letters of this old seal.
However, I value that splendid heirloom as important evidence going to prove that this William came of a "house," that his ancestors were legally entitled to the Ewing arms shown by Nisbet and found in the Workman Manuscript, which existed before 1565, and which are more fully discussed elsewhere. That the sun in his splendor, found in this old seal, comes from the old arms, I have not the least doubt.
Being a younger son this pioneer was not, under the Scots law, entitled to the "undifferenced" arms of his ancestor, and so with the sun he used another figure foreign to the paternal insignia as a design for a seal with which to authenticate deeds and other important instruments. Conscientious and law abiding as all the evidence proves, he would not have claimed descent from a family distinguished by arms, were the claim not correct. As we have seen, arms had the protection of the Scotch laws and those laws were of force at the time this seal was impressed upon the old document now before us.
Here is a reproduction of this seal as the artist and I read it.
As the old Ewing arms thus at least partially emblazoned on this signet, a device well executed and very pleasing in appearance, existed in the house or clan many generations before this Ewing was born, it is clear that his brothers and cousins were entitled to "matriculate" the emblazonment in the Lyon's Office. The oldest child, we recall, took the arms as borne by the ancestor; while younger children were entitled to the same arms upon which they placed something which the rules of heraldry recognized as distinguishing the younger heir. In America, such arms though not matriculated (recorded in the Lyons Office) and though not differenced as required by the established rules, are valuable, as has been observed, as evidence of descent. Hence this signet is important light upon the correctness of the claim of certain Ewings of America to the old Ewing arms, though in later days we find many of the reproductions "emblazoned" often in a more or less inaccurate or marred fashion. Since the several other American Ewing families of which I write claim the arms claimed by this Ewing of Rockingham, his seal tends to establish their descent from the same Scotch family from which this William Ewing came.
This William Ewing married, as has been said, Anne (or Anna) Shannon, about 1733. She died in 1801, it is said at the age of ninety; and the two are buried in the yard of New Erection Presbyterian Church in the Valley of the Shenandoah, near their old home where both lived after reaching Virginia. A considerable roster of this Rockingham family is given by Hon. and Mrs. Presley K. Ewing in "The Ewing Genealogy." However, neither the widow of this pioneer Rockingham William Ewing nor any of his immediate children went to Georgia, and it seems certain that this William and Miss Shannon were married in Pennsylvania. There are some other genealogical errors in print regarding descendants of this William Ewing,--errors which unavoidably creep into the first editions perhaps of all genealogies; but those immediately interested will doubtless discover them, and by co-operation we shall one day reach a more reliable genealogy of the Virginia Ewings than has so far been produced.
The Perkins genealogy as copied for me by Mrs. Todd is about as given by Hon. P. K. Ewing and wife in their "The Ewing Genealogy," and which they obtained through Dr. and Mrs. William H. Fox of Washington. Hence, no attempt is here made to repeat all of what may be seen in "The Ewing Genealogy" regarding this family. However, some things not there found are here presented.
To this William Ewing and wife, one of the Ewing pioneers of Augusta County (and of that part which became Rockingham County), Virginia, were born (1) Henry, 1736-1796; (2) Andrew, 1740-1813; (3) John, 1741-1822; (4) Elizabeth; and (5) Nancy.
Upon the formation of Rockingham County in 1778 Henry became one of the first justices of its court.
While this family lived in Augusta County an order was made by the court, May 29, 1781, allowing Henry Ewing pay "for 23 days, acting as commissary for John Fitzwater's company" of patriot soldiers serving under the State. This company rendered valuable service during the Revolution. Again on September 23, 1783, we find another order by the court which states that "Henry Ewins acted commissary of provision law in 1781."
This Henry was either the son (most probably) or the grandson of the earlier William, the sentimental Scotch monarchist. Had there been question of this William Ewing's adherence to the revolutionists, it is not probable his son would have been made the first clerk of the court established by the new State; and a near relation would hardly have been entrusted with feeding and equipping the troops upon which the new State depended for sovereignty not yet admitted by Great Britain.
This elder Henry Ewing married Jane Rodgers. Terminating his clerkship, he moved to Hardin County, Kentucky, and there died. Children:
(a) John, 1761-1796, moved to Kentucky;
(b) Henry, moved to Mississippi (Perkins);
(c) Andrew, married Sarah Hickman;
(d) Sallie, who married John Davis. The latter had Margaret, Martha, Ewin, James, John and Allen. Some of these went early to Missouri.
(a) John married Sallie Davis, moved to Kentucky with his father. This John was the grandfather of Mrs. Perkins, copy of whose manuscript Mrs. Todd sent me. Mrs. Perkins says he succeeded his father, for a time, as clerk of Rockingham court. Their children were
(a) Henry C., 1788-1815;
(b) Watts Davis, married his first cousin, Margaret Donly;
(c) Jeannetta, married Ed. Hall of Virginia and went to Kentucky; and
(d) John, who died young.
(a) Henry C., who married Elizabeth Hill, had (a1) John H., who was born in 1817 near Franklin, Tennessee; and his brother and sisters in Kentucky; (a2) Lucinda G., who married Henry Wright; Martha H., never married; William H., 1824-1867; (a3) Jeannetta, married J. T. Pendleton; Watts Davis, married Georgia Sebree; Mary E., married Col. W. P. Cannon; Sallie D., never married; and (a4) Theresa Green, 1836-1916, who married Samuel F. Perkins. This is the author of the Perkins data copied by her granddaughter, Mrs. Todd.
(a1) John H. Ewing first married Susan Goodwin, and they had (aa1) Henry Clayton, married Annie May; William G., married first, Sallie House, second, Martha Hillman; Alice, married William Donelson; Susan Goodwin, married Frank Anderson; Andewena, married William P. May. By the second wife, Mrs. Catharine (de Graffinreid) Perkins had John H.; James W., 1855-1889; Katherine; Lucinda; John Overton, born 1861, married Adair Humphries; Elizabeth C., married Martin Baldwin in 1877; Beng. R. de G., 1866, married Margaret Winstead.
(a2) Lucinda G. and husband Henry Wright ("The Ewing Genealogy" has James H. Wright), Clarksville, Tennessee, had ten children, some of them died young and Susan R., 1839-1899, who married Edmond Turnley, Elizabeth H., 1842-1863; Florence, married Marcellus Turnley in 1867; Jeannetta E., 1843-1915; William Hickman, married Martha Wiblett; and Martha E., married R. M. Scott, Cordelia, Georgia.
Henry C. Ewing's daughter (a3) Jeannetta H., who married John T. Pendleton, has no living descendants.
(a4) Theresa Green, who married Samuel F. Perkins, Franklin, June 29, 1858, left Leah Letitia, 1859-1910, married Leland Jordon; Elizabeth E., who married John H. Henderson in 1879, died in 1918; Thomas F., 1863-1892; Theresa Ewin, married Frank G. McGavick, and her twin Samuel F.
(aa1) Henry Clayton Ewin, oldest son of John H. Ewin and wife Susan Goodwin, who married Annie May left a daughter Henry Ewin; and a son, who became Capt. William G. Ewin, and married Sallie House, and the latter had one child, Mary Thompson, who married Edward McNeilly of Nashville. By a second wife, who was a Miss Hillman, Capt. Ewin had Henry, Susan, John, Hillman, Grace, and Andrewena.
Alice, oldest daughter of John H. and Susan Ewin, married William Donelson, grandnephew of Mrs. Andrew Jackson, whose husband was President of the United States. The Donelsons left John, who yet resides near the famous Jackson Hermitage, Lillie, who married a Dabney, and Andrewena, who married Thomas Goodall of Nashville.
Susan G., eldest daughter of Lucinda Ewin Wright, who married Edmund Turnley, left two sons, Harvey and Edwin and Jeannetta. These sons left children. Jeannetta married Stokley Wade and left Ednetia, William, Netta and Susan.
Lucinda Ewin Wright's third daughter who married Marcelus Turnley has children, one of whom, Alpha, married an Alford and lives in Lewisburg, Tennessee.
Andrewena, daughter of John H. and Susan G. Ewin, who married William P. May, had Elizabeth, Annie, and Susan. The oldest lives in Nashville. Susan married and moved to Atlanta, Georgia. John Overton Ewin, second child of John H. and Katherine D. Ewin, married Adair Humphries of Clarksville, Tennessee. Their children, Lucy, Dorothy, James, Adair. Some live in Florence, Alabama.
Elizabeth, the youngest daughter of John H., married Martin Baldwin, and have, Katherine, William and Lucinda of Montgomery, Alabama.
Benjamin de Graffenreid, youngest son of John H. and Katherine de G. Ewin, married Margaret Winstead of Franklin, Tennessee, and have six children.
Leah Letitia Perkins, daughter of Theresa Ewin and Samuel Perkins, married Leland Jordan, attorney at law, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in 1879. Their children are nine: (1) Theresa G. married Dr. H. C. Rees of Los Angeles, California; (2) Samuel P. 1881-1915; (3) Mary N., married Frank V. McCollock of Los Angeles; (4) Leland, married Gertrude Wilson; (5) Letitia P., married James Lytle in 1912; (6) Montford (deceased); (7) Elizabeth E., married Harry Deckbar, January 15, 1921; (8) Martha married John Rees in July, 1914; (9) Henry E.
Elizabeth Ewin, second child of Samuel F. and Theresa E. Perkins, married Judge John H. Henderson of Franklin, Tennessee. They have a large family.
Theresa Ewing, fourth child of Samuel F. and Theresa E. Perkins, who married Frank Young McGovock, October 15, 1884, have Theresa P. and Louise Grundy. The latter married William Robert Todd, May 16, 1914, and is the person who copied for my use her grandmother Perkins' data as here given.
Henry Clayton Ewin, second son of Samuel F. and Theresa G. Ewin Perkins, married Sada B. Tansil, daughter of Col. E. E. Tansil of Dresden, Tennessee. They have five children, Theresa McG., married Currin Rather; Marty T.; Leitia J., married Tim Lyons; Henry (deceased) and Sarah Bell. Newton Cannon, third son of Samuel F. and Theresa Ewing Perkins, married Mary S. Smithson, daughter of Capt. G. W. Smithson of Franklin, has one child.
All through Mrs. Perkins' manuscript this branch spells its name Ewin, omitting the g; and the name of this branch is thus spelled by Judge and Mrs. Ewing in their "Genealogy." It is certain, however, we see, that the earliest Virginia ancestor of the family spelled, correctly, his name Ewing as long had done his Scotch progenitors.
(2) Andrew Ewing, the second son of this older William, born March 15, 1740, married Susannah Shannon, daughter of Thomas Shannon of Virginia. The Perkins' manuscript credits them with nine children, whose names are not given, but adds: "He was the great grandfather of Judge Ewin H. Ewing and all the Nashville (Tennessee Ewing." Of course we all now know that there are other Ewings of Nashville who are not descended from this Andrew Ewing; and we also know that those of other pioneer Nashville Ewing ancestry have left upon their community and the country an impression quite as creditable as the fine record of this family.
An old petition, signed by a large number of inhabitants of Augusta County, to the Court, dated 1754, is signed by Andrew Ewin, possibly this Andrew. It prays that the court enter an order forbidding ordinary keepers to sell "such large quantities of rum and wine at an extravagant rate"; and points out that "a stop to said liquors would encourage us to pursue our laborious designs, which is to raise sufficient quantities of grain which would sufficiently supply us with liquors and the money circulate in the country."
It must be remembered that in that day and for many years subsequently almost every one drank more or less intoxicants and practically every large farm made its own liquors. Anthony Bledsoe, for instance, it is interesting to note, one of the heroic characters of the pioneer days of the present Southwest Virginia, received for conducting a venue, or sale of a personal estate in 1768, eight gallons of rum, as shown by the old Augusta records.
The Augusta County records disclose that Andrew Ewin served with Henry Ewin and William Ewin on a jury in 1768.
In 1780 this Andrew moved to what is now Nashville, Tennessee. He was appointed one of the commissioners who founded that city. In 1783 he was elected clerk of the court of Davidson County and held the position until his death, April 3, 1813. His children were:
(a) Andrew, born July 1, 1768; died March 1, 1830.
(b) Margaret, born June 4, 1769; died June 1, 1862.
(c) William, born June 7, 1771; died November 1, 1836.
(d) Nathan, born February 11, 1776; died May 1, 1830. Nathan had Orville; his son Albert G., who was living in Nashville at 86 in 1921, had Albert G. Ewing, Jr., attorney of Nashville.
(e) Elizabeth, born March 14, 1779. She married Thomas Shannon.
(c) William, son of Andrew and Susannah Ewing, (Nashville, Tennessee), married Margaret Love, May 26, 1795, and their children were, as found in "The Ewing Genealogy", which is substantially as I have had the record for many years:
1st. Andrew B. Ewing, born July 27, 1796, died May 15, 1880. He was born near Nashville, Tennessee; was a physician; twice President of the Medical Society of Tennessee, and several times President of the County Society. He married Eliza McDowell McGavock, daughter of Captain Hugh McGavock, at Max Meadows, Virginia, May 1, 1821. Issue:
(a) William Ewing, born May 2, 1823; married (first) Lucinda McGavock, of Max Meadows, Virginia, and (second) Lida Withers. He served both in the Mexican War and Confederate Army, in the latter in command of a company of cavalry at the time of his death. He represented Williamson County, Tennessee, in the legislature in 1861. Issue by Lucinda:
(aa) Andrew B. Ewing, born July 25, 1851; married February 8, 1882, Blanche, daughter of Edwin Crutcher.
(bb) Joseph William, born February 17, 1853; died unmarried.
(cc) Lillie Eliza, born March 24, 1855; married William J. Brown, October 25, 1882. Children: Susie Elizabeth, born August 26, 1887; William Johnston, born January 27, 1890; Milton Ewing, born May 10, 1895.
Issue by Lida:
(a) William Milton, born December 9, 1862; married Maggie, daughter of D. F. Mills, May 18, 1886.
(b) Hugh McGavock Ewing, born December 11, 1824.
(c) Randal Milton Ewing, born June 1, 1829; resided in Franklin, Tennessee; was appointed Attorney General of the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Tennessee when the State seceded in 1861 and again held the same office in 1864-1865; was elected Vice President of the Tennessee Bar Association, 1884-1885; married Mary Ellen, daughter of James Rodgers McGavock, September 13, 1853. Issue:
(aa) Carrie Eliza Ewing, born September 17, 1854.
(bb) Charles Andrew, born September 25, 1857; married Sarah Elizabeth Owen, November 22, 1887.
(cc) Francis McGavock, born December 26, 1861; married Eliza McClung, daughter of John Marshall, January 15, 1892.
(dd) William F. born February 20, 1864.
(d) Andrew J. Ewing, born May 17, 1835; died about 1890, unmarried.
(e) Susan Mary Ewing, born January 2, 1841.
(f) Ann Eliza Ewing, born August 1, 1843.
2nd. Joseph Love Ewing, born May 31, 1798; died 1864; married Sarah E., daughter of David McGavock, November 11, 1824.
3rd. Felix Grundy Ewing, born September 2, 1800; married Sarah McRorry, September 2, 1824.
4th. Susannah Shannon Ewing, born July 4, 1804; married Major William Hartsfield, April 4, 1838.
5th Milton P. Ewing.
6th. Eliza Milford Ewing, born December 24, 1807, married James G. Dunaway, January 3, 1828.
7th. William L. Ewing married Nancy R. Thompson, February 16, 1832.
8th. Jesse H. Ewing, born September 10, 1811; married Martha Jane, daughter of Matthew Johnson, of Williamson County, Tennessee, January 7, 1841.
9th. Cyrus G. Ewing.
10th Margaret A. Ewing, born December 11, 1815; married (first) Dr. Andrew J. White, December 7, 1835; married (second) Dr. Robert Glass; married (third) Mr. D. Cameron.
11th. Mary Jane Ewing, born October 5, 1817; married Pleasant A. Smith, February 16, 1837. Issue:
(a) William C. Smith.
(b) Pleasant A., married Martha Thompson Hamilton, October 18, 1866. Children: William Ewing Smith, born January 15, 1868; Mary Hamilton, born August 15, 1873; Nannie F., born August 30, 1878, and Nellie French, born February 23, 1882.
(4) Amelia Ewing, born January 7, 1774; died November 1836; married in Nashville, Tennessee, 1795, Moses Speer, who died July 11, 1840, in Houston County, Texas. She removed to Texas in 1833. Issue:
1st. Andrew Ewing Speer, born March 17, 1796; died 1837; married Elizabeth Williams. Issue:
(a) John Ewing Speer, born 1826.
(b) Susan, born 1831; married A. P. Scruggs. Child: Rosa Vulnor, born 1868.
2nd. Moses G. Speer, born January 9, 1798; died 1841, unmarried.
3rd. Jesse Lee Speer, born December 4, 1799; died 1890;
4th. James Green Hill Speer, born July 28, 1801; died 1832; married Eliza O'Brien. Issue:
(a) Sarah Amelia Speer, married Mr. Jackson.
(b) John Moses. Child: William.
(c) Mary Ann, born March 1832; married Mr. Bartlett.
5th. Thomas Hickman Speer.
6th. Nathan Ewing Speer, born May 1, 1805; died 1870; married 1830, Eliza Jane, daughter of Francis P. Blair, of District of Columbia. Children: George; "Bettie," died 1872; married Dr. Fisher.
7th. Edward Young Speer, born April 11, 1807, died 1881.
8th. Mary W. Speer, born January 9, 1809; died 1849; married Rev. G. Garrett, November 15, 1832. Issue:
(a) Mary Susan Garrett, born April 11, 1834; married Rev. James A. Peebles, June 11, 1855; lived in Arkansas. Issue:
(b) Ann Amelia, born March 13, 1837; married William Wallace, September 11, 1863.
(c) Helen J., born January 23, 1841; married John A. Billups, December 24, 1867. No issue.
(d) William Andrew, born August 3, 1843; died July 28, 1861; unmarried.
(e) Emma F., born November 24, 1846, married (first) Goodwyn Myrick, December 31, 1878, and (second) F. M. Whitehead, November 1890. No issue.
(5) Nathan Ewing, born February 11, 1776; died at Nashville, Tennessee, May 1, 1830; married Sarah, daughter of Daniel Hill, who died at Nashville in 1855; moved to Tennessee in 1780 and was Clerk of the County Court of Davidson County from 1813 until his death. Issue:
1st. John Overton Ewing, born 1800, died 1826; married Lemira, daughter of William Douglass in Louisville, Kentucky, November 6, 1823. He was a physician, began the practice of medicine in Nashville with Dr. A. G. Ewing as partner, under the firm name, J. O. & A. G. Ewing; established a high character in his profession before his death. His widow married Major John Boyd and died June 12, 1838. Issue:
(a) Hill Ewing, who died in infancy.
(b) John Overton, born August 27, 1826; died October 8, 1866; married (first) January, 1843, Margaret (daughter of Alex Campbel, who died October 22, 1848; married (second) Sarah E., daughter of John M. Bass, of Nashville, Tennessee, December 14, 1852. Issue by Margaret: Alex. Overton Ewing, born May 22, 1848; died October 5, 1849. Issue by Sarah.
(aa) John Bass Ewing, born January 28, 1855.
(bb) Boyd, born August 8, 1856; died April 3, 1897.
(cc) Felix Grundy, born August 8, 1858; married Jane, daughter of George Washington, of Robertson County, Tennessee, October 28, 1891.
(dd) Henry Overton, born May 1, 1860; died March 16, 1905; married Minnie, daughter of H. S. Chamberlain of Chattanooga, Tennessee, January 20, 1892. Children: Margaret Louise, born March 5, 1893; Rosalind, born July 28, 1894; Winifred, born December 21, 1898.
(ee) Malvene Bass, born March 24, 1865; married Dr. William H. Fox, of Washington, D. C., December 21, 1898. (Many years ago Dr. and Mrs. Fox kindly placed this family chart at my command.)
2nd. Henry Ewing (Nathan, Andrew, William), born 1802; died 1846-1847; married Susan, daughter of Samuel Grundy, and sister of Hon. Felix Grundy. He was Clerk of the Court of Davidson County, Tennessee, and later moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
3rd. Albert G. Ewing, born 1804; died 1872; married (first) Jane C., daughter of Alex. Campbell, and married (second) Mary Jane Marsilliott. He was a minister and moved to Illinois (Eureka and Bloomington). Issue by Jane C.:
(a) Margaret Ewing, married Joseph H. Pendleton, a lawyer, October 31, 1848, at Bethany, Virginia, and lived in Wheeling, West Virginia. Issue: Joseph Minor; John Overton; Henry Harwood; Ida Ewing, married F. P. Jepson, having a child, Evelyn Ewing; Virginia Campbell, married A. N. Wilson, child John Overton Pendleton; Margaret Josephine, married G. S. Hughes, child John Overton Pendleton; Elizabeth Winston.
(b) Henry, died at birth.
(c) Sarah, married J. W. Bush at Bethany, Virginia, and moved to Huntsville, Texas. Children: Fanny Overton, married Mr. Lee; Kate Ewing, married Mr. Heflin; Rawlings; Sarah, married Mr. London; Ewing; Leonard, Mattie, and Etta.
Issue of Albert G. Ewing by Mary Jane:
(a) Rowena Ewing, married James B. Stevenson in Eureka, Illinois, and lived at Coulton, California. Child: Anna, married Mr. Bullis.
(b) Jane, married Mr. Davidson, Eureka, Illinois. Child: Annie.
(c) Alberta, died 1872, unmarried.
4th. Orville Ewing, born February 6, 1806; died October 10, 1876; married (first) Milbrey H., daughter of Josiah Williams, in Nashville, Tennessee, January 26, 1832 and married (second) Susan C. Avery, a widow, in Groton, Connecticut, October 17, 1866. He was president of the Planters Bank of Nashville, the precursor of the American National Bank of Nashville; lived in Nashville; died at Gainesville, Florida. No issue by Susan C. Issue by Milbrey H.:
(a) Margaretta Williams Ewing, born February 21, 1833; died October, 1849, unmarried.
(b) Edwin H., born January 19, 1835; died July 26, 1873, in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was a merchant; married Emma, daughter of Alex. Eakin, June 10, 1856.
(c) Albert G., born October 30, 1836; was a lumber merchant; lived in Nashville, Tennessee; married Harriet or Henrietta, daughter of Mark Cockrell, November 8, 1865, in Nashville.
(d) Rowena W., born July 7, 1838; married October 2, 1865, John C. Thompson, a distinguished lawyer of Nashville, Tennessee.
(e) Henry, born December 23, 1840; died June 13, 1873; was a journalist; lived in Nashville, Tennessee; and St. Louis, Missouri; married Emma, daughter of Edwin T. Burr, in Batesville, Arkansas.
(f) Orville, born February 5, 1843; hardware and lumber merchant in Nashville, Tennessee; married July 25, 1865, Irene daughter of W. E. Watkins.
(g) Josiah Williams, born July 21, 1848; married Jennie, daughter of Pryor Smith, of Rome, Georgia.
5th. Edwin Hickman Ewing, born December 2, 1809; was a lawyer of Murfreesboro, Tennessee; member of the United States House of Representatives (1845-1847); married Rebecca P., daughter of Josiah Williams, December 20, 1832. Edwin H. Ewing was one of the great lawyers of Tennessee; served by special appointment of Judge of Tennessee Supreme Court, and was instrumental in establishing Peabody College of Nashville. Issue:
(a) Josiah W. Ewing, born August 11, 1834; died August 4, 1890; married Ada B. Hord, November 21, 1855.
(b) Jane C., born December 30, 1836; died February 14, 1871; married (first) December 3, 1856, Emmet Eakin, and (second) August 17, 1868, Dr. James. Wendell.
(c) Orville, born August 8, 1840; died December 31, 1862, unmarried.
(d) Florence, born May 13, 1842; died June 13, 1896; married (first) October 11, 1866, Andrew J. Fletcher, who died April, 1871, and married (second), May 20, 1873 Daniel Perkins. Children by Andrew: Edwin Ewing, born August 20, 1867; died December 9, 1889, unmarried. Mary Dean, born January 11, 1870; died June 3, 1877. Children by Daniel: Thomas Moon, born April 30, 1876; died June 15, 1876. Rebecca W., born February 6, 1878. Sarah, born March 18, 1880.
6th. Andrew Ewing (Nathan, Andrew William) born June 15, 1815; died June 13, 1864, in Atlanta, Georgia; was a lawyer, a member of the United States House of Representatives (1849-1851); and colonel in the Confederate Army; married (first) Andrew Hynes' daughter Margaret, born February 1, 1819, who died January 7, 1840; married (second) Rowena, daughter of Josia (sic) Williams. "Andrew Ewing was a forceful and eloquent speaker; a man of great public spirit; a Democrat and party leader; opposed secession but went with his people, and used his fortune to build a gun factory in Nashville just before its fall; he served as judge of Gen. Bragg's Military Court." Issue by Margaret:
(a) Hynes Ewing, married Hattie Hiter, and was killed in Kentucky. No children.
Issue by Rowena:
(a) Rebecca Ewing, born June 30, 1842; married in Nashville (possibly Chattanooga), Tennessee, December 25, 1865, Col. Henry Watterson, the famous editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal.
(b) John, born February 10, 1844; died unmarried.
(c) Milbrey, born February 27, 1846; married September 18, 1866, in Nashville, Tennessee, Spencer Eakin, who was connected with the St. Louis, Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad Company.
(d) Nathan, born July 12, 1847; married Margaret Perkins. Issue: Elizabeth, Robert and Andrew.
(e) Robert, a lawyer, was born August 10, 1849; married Hattie, daughter of Rev. Thomas A. Hoyt, March 28, 1876. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee and became clerk and master of the Chancery Court (1876-1882), and in October 1883, became chairman of the Board of Public Works and Affairs; was later mayor of Nashville.
Later descendants of many of the above are given in "The Ewing Genealogy" by Judge and Mrs. Ewing.
(3) John, the third son of the older William, in 1768 married Phebe Davison (or Davis), as the old records spell the name). He inherited the family residence and part of the extensive lands of his father, and there died May 5, 1822. His home was known as "The Grove" and there he entertained with a lavish Virginian hospitality. Feb. 7, 1786, he became deputy clerk of Rockingham County, and subsequently became one of the justices of the court, holding the position until March, 1817.
March 24, 1806, the will of Martha Davis was probated. She left estate to "Daughter Euphona Donley, heirs of daughter Sally Ewin."
In Augusta deed book number twenty, page 248, is the record of an old patent dated Feb. 10, 1748, to land to Jno. Harrison, Jr., "bequeathed to Phebe Davis, now wife of Jno. Ewins, by said John's will,"—that is, said Harrison's will.
This John and wife Phebe had the following children:
(a) Ann, July 9, 1770. 1845, married Thos. Shanklin, and moved to Kentucky.
(b) James, a lawyer, 1773, married Grace Shanklin, April 15, 1795, moved to Kentucky;
(c) Mary, October 8, 1775, married, (first), Benjamin Smith, April 19, 1792; (second), John Pence, Oct. 6, 1796. In the circuit court records of Augusta County is a deposition by John Ewing, who gave his age as 76 or 77; and another by Phebe Ewing, both given Sept. 13, 1816, who gave her age as 68, and there is another by Mary Pence, who says she is a daughter of Jno. and Phebe Ewing, who gives her age as 42. (Chalkley Papers.)
(d) William, Aug. 15, 1780, Jan. 14, 1857, commissioned captain of cavalry, 116th regiment, Rockingham Militia, Aug. 19, 1812, and served in the war of 1812-1814; married Elizabeth Bryan, daughter of Maj. Wm. Bryan of the war of 1812-'14; inherited the home place near Harrisonburg, Virginia, and there died.
(e) Hannah, Dec. 8, 1782, married James Mallory, Apr. 13, 1809, and moved to Missouri;
(f) Elizabeth, Nov. 7, 1786, married Harrison Connor and moved to Kentucky;
(g) John Davison, Apr. 2, 1788;
(h) Jesse, July 2, 1791-June 16, 1809.
Children of (d) William and his wife Elizabeth Bryan;
(d1) Jessie Harrison, 1808-1867, married Lavinia Bryan, and moved to Missouri;
(d2) Nancy Bryan, 1810-1889, never married;
(d3) George Washington, 1812-1846, never married;
(d4) Henrietta Davison, 1815-1884, married Robert Sithington, Dec. 30, 1840;
(d5) Benj. Bryan, 1817, died in 1862, in Richmond, Virginia. Served in Gen. J. E. B. Stuart's Cavalry, C. S. A., never married;
(d6) Phoebe Ann, 1819-1893, never married;
(d7) Daniel Baker (Rev.), D. D., July 7, 1821-Feb. 13, 1886, married Oct. 18, 1852, Francis Todd Barbour of Orange County, Virginia;
(d8) Robert D., 1823-1889, never married;
(d9) Mary Elizabeth, 1824-July 8, 1916, never married; she gave me valuable information concerning this family;
(d10) Elizabeth Allen, 1827, 1902, married Sept. 15, 1875, John T. Brown. She wrote some letters upon family history while living for about one year in Ohio, and her statements appear in Mrs. Maria Ewing Martin's manuscripts, but she appears to have made no study of the family history;
(d11) William Davis, M. D., 1828-1902; surgeon in the Confederate Army; married Margaret Sellers, Oct. 29, 1859. (See inf.)
The children of (d7) Dr. Daniel Baker Ewing and wife: Bryan, who died in infancy; Wm. Nicholas, married Mitt Hall of Texas and resided in Houston, have five children; Lucy Barbour Ewing, Cornelia Bryan S., married Rev. David T. Ward, both these daughters now of Washington, D. C.; Elizabeth Bryan, married Rev. Geo. A. Sparrow, now in North Carolina; Maybelle, married Edmund Harvey Symonds; and Jeannie Pendleton, married Geo. Gross Hall of Texas.
William Davis, M. D. (d11 supra), graduated University of Virginia and Jefferson Medical College, was a deacon in the Presbyterian church. His children: W. T. Ewing, 1860, married Blanch Ferguson; Elizabeth; Isaac L. Ewing, business man of Harrisonburg, Virginia, 1868, married Lilia G. Hite in 1897; Lillie M., married Wm. G. Grove of Waynesboro, Virginia.
That this pioneer William came to America with three cousins, as we have seen Miss Mary E. Ewing had it, is corroborated from other reliable sources. "Who were the three cousins and where did they live, " I asked her. She wrote in her reply:
One owned the Sweet Springs in West Virginia, one lived in Pocahontas (as the section came to be, in West Virginia now) County. I do not know where the other lived.
Unfortunately she did not remember the name of either—not surprising, as she was well advanced in years at the time she gave me this information, tho her mind was clear.
The Sweet Springs are now in Monroe County, at the east base of the Allegheny Mountains, approximately one hundred miles from Harrisonburg. The Springs are now a short way from the Greenbriar County line. Pocahontas County is on the northeastern border of Greenbriar and the nearest point on its eastern limit is approximately fifty miles from the old Ewing home in Rockingham County. Back in the pioneer days the three places were, as we have seen, in one county. For some time while Greenbriar was one of the counties of old Virginia, there lived within it a man, learned and of fine reputation, by the name of John C. Ewing. At one time I suspected that this John was identical with Miss Mary E. Ewing's grandfather, who was this immigrant William's son John; but when I asked her she replied:
No, my grandfather never lived in Greenbriar County.
John C. Ewing died in Greenbriar County in 1858. Aug. 17, 1911, Mrs. Agnes Wayland Wardell, of Columbus, Ohio, wrote me:
I remember well hearing my mother tell of taking a carriage trip in 1851 to White Sulphur Springs, Greenbriar County, Virginia, with Prof. Jno. C. Ewing and his wife, Madelene. . . John C. Ewing was for six years professor at Woodlawn Academy, quite a prominent school in those days. From there he moved to Tom's Brook, or Middleton, Virginia. I have heard my mother speak of five children in Jno. C. Ewing's family: Thos. J., Jane, Amos R., Edith and Robert. The oldest son, Thos. J., came to Ohio in the early fifties to study law with his father's brother [who, she says, was the Hon. Thos. Ewing, first Secretary of the United States Interior, born in Virginia in 1789].
Jno. W. Wayland of Harrisonburg, an uncle of Mrs. Wardell, says Jno. C. Ewing taught his mother at Woodlawn in 1840-1845. He thinks that subsequently the family moved to Ohio. He says he often heard his mother speak of Jno. C.'s sons, Amos R., Robert and Thomas, and that his daughter Jane, "who was a life-long and intimate friend of" his mother, married Wm. Sisler and lived at Mt. Jackson, Illinois. Joel F. Kagey, a brother of Mr. Wayland's mother, wrote me (July 31, 1911,) that one of Jno. C. Ewing's sons was a physicians; and that Jno. C. had five sons and four daughters. Thos., the oldest, he says went to California; Amos remained in the Shenandoah Valley; "Absm went to Ohio, and I do not know where Robert and Wm. Went," he adds. He says the daughters were Jane, Cassie, Eady, and Bettie. He did not know what became of the girls.
As shown by an old letter, Jno. C. Ewing was living at Anthony's Creek, Greenbriar County, Virginia, in 1856-'58.
So much for all I have been able to learn regarding this Jno. C. Ewing.
Mrs. Maria Ewing Martin, one of the intelligent genealogists of her branch of the family, a daughter of General Thomas Ewing, who was a son of the Hon. Thomas, says, in a letter written a few years ago, that she was convinced that her immigrant ancestor, Geo. Ewing, was either a brother or cousin of William of Rockingham. She adds:
It is a matter of family tradition that two brothers, William and Robert, came with him (her immigrant ancestor) and went to the West or Southwest. (Letter of May 9, 1903).
As found in the manuscript notes of Ewing genealogy by Mrs. Martin, which she very generously sent me to read, she quotes Mrs. Elizabeth Ewing Brown (of the Rockingham family, we have seen) and who lived a year in Ohio and later died in Orange, Virginia, thus as of Dec. 18, 1894:
I have heard my father say that his grandfather William (of Rockingham) had a brother and two cousins who crossed the ocean with him. The brother staid in Pennsylvania. One of the cousins settled … in the forks of the Ohio and the other near the Peaks of Otter in Virginia.
I have before me a letter by Miss Mary E. Ewing written some years before I knew her, in which she says that it is her family tradition that her immigrant ancestor had two cousins who settled in Virginia near the Peaks of Otter, now in Bedford County. That is not inconsistent with what she subsequently said of the relations who came with her ancestor, which relations so coming with the immigrant William subsequently lived in Monroe and Pocahontas Counties, as she recalled.
Mrs. L. B. Dunaway, of the branch of William of Rockingham which became established in Tennessee, in a letter written several years ago, says:
Our ancestors were of Scotch-Irish stock, coming originally from Scotland, near Stirling Castle, afterwards going to the northern part of Ireland. We have always understood that three brothers emigrated to this country; their names I have forgotten, but think William and Robert; and do not know where they first settled. (Jas. L. Ewin, Ewing Family data manuscripts.)
Randall M. Ewing of Franklin, Tennessee, also a descendant of William of Rockingham County, writing at an advanced age on Oct. 13, 1884, said:
I have heard my father say that William of Rockingham had two brothers, Henry and I think Thomas. When Thomas Ewing of Ohio (the first Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior) was in public life, he, my father, used to say that he was related through one of these brothers. I think one was named John, and I think the other was Thomas. (Jas. L. Ewin's Ms.)
When he says "I think one was named John," it is clear he meant to say, "also another of the immigrant brothers was named John."
In another letter I find this:
A memorandum made in 1865 from information given me by my paternal aunt, Eliza Milford (Ewing) Dunaway, states that she was named after her great-grandmother whose maiden name was Eliza Milford. This was William's first wife.
The writer of this letter thought she was speaking of William of Rockingham; but she had him confused with some other William, perhaps with the ancestor of the older Cecil County family.
Since William, the Rockingham County pioneer, married, as is admitted, Anne Shannon, Mrs. Dunaway clearly referred to the erroneous belief that that William was a son of William of Scotland (or Ireland) who married a Milford.
However, as these statements show, and as every genealogist of our clan descendants knows too well, the subject is not without its difficulties. All that can now be done regarding some questions is to reach greatest probabilities in the light of the evidence now available. So all the available evidence considered, I am satisfied that William of Rockingham and Thomas, the ancestor of the Hon. Thos., were cousins or brothers—probably brothers, and with Robert, another brother, came to America in the same ship. With this view Jno. G. Ewing, long a professor at Notre Dame University, Indiana, and now an attorney of New York City and Washington, of the Hon. Thos. Ewing line, concurs, as stated by himself in a lengthy and very pleasant discussion of family history in my office in November, 1920. In a letter to me Oct. 22, 1919, John G. Ewing says that that Robert was a witness to the will of Thos. Ewing, his immigrant ancestor, in 1748, at Greenwich, N. J., "His, Robert's, descendants are still to be found in Western Jersey, I believe. William went south, and I am under the impression that he was the Wm. Ewing first of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and then of Rockingham County, Virginia." That cousins of these came in that ship and that other cousins came subsequently is clear, too.
I know that at least a few of the Rockingham County descendants laugh at this conclusion, holding that it is not shown that this ancestor was related as here stated. But my conclusion is warranted by the evidence now to be had as measured by the rules applicable in such cases. Should the future discover further evidence either way, I shall have pleasure and other may profit thereby.
Some of the traditions upon this point confused, as so often is done in family history, generations, I am sure. But they would not be so wide-spread and found in each branch so persistently were there no foundation for each.
So that for these reasons and others which cannot now be given, as I estimate the weight of the evidence, James Ewing, who settled not far from the Peaks of Otter in Virginia, the half-brother of Nathaniel of Cecil County, Maryland, and James, the founder of what I distinguish as the Pocahontas County family, and Robert and Charles of the famous Peaks of Otter farms, and John, my own great-grandfather, an immigrant who died in Montgomery County, Virginia, in 1788, were cousins of William of Rockingham and of his brothers, Thos. and Robert. Of course this view involves a similar relation to Nathaniel and his half-brothers and half-sisters. As elsewhere shown, of the cumulative evidence upon this point, the coat of arms is not least, though of course it does not help us to determine the degree of relation between the families claiming it.
Some students of our family have been inclined to regard William of Rockingham County as a son of William, the father of Nathaniel and his half-brothers, whom we generally call the Cecil County, Maryland family. But the evidence shows that William of Rockingham was the youngest child and that he was born in 1694 near Glasgow. Nathaniel and all his half-brothers were born from 1692 on down for at least eight or ten years, in Ulster, Ireland, to which their father had gone much before the reputed birth of William of Rockingham. That the Cecil County family were born in Ireland, both Bible and other reliable data prove. It is true that it is tradition that an ancestor of William of Rockingham married Eliza Milford, and it is also true that Col. W. A. Ewing gave to William, the father of the Cecil County family, Eliza Milford as one of his wives. In this Col Ewing has been widely followed; but he, too, may have confused generations. That the two Williams had a common ancestor who married Eliza Milford is more likely the truth; and for her some of William of Rockingham's descendants are named.
The old Augusta County records, as given in the Chalkley transcripts and abstracts, disclose the following Ewing names in addition to some I have mentioned, which I am unable certainly to identify:
Mar. 25, 1793, the Augusta court recommended Robert Fulton Ewing as ensign of the second battalion of the militia.
Aug. 28, 1776, Samuel Ewing entered suit against Robert Sayers, apparently involving a tract of land on New River, bought in 1755, "where Humberstone Lyon was then living."
Walter Davis' will was probated April 7, 1803, leaving estate to a grandchild, Wats Ewing. This Wats appears to me to be the son of John Ewing and Phoebe Davis--the name being thus written often in the old records, as has been observed.
Joshua Ewing bought personal property in Augusta County in 1763.
Samuel Ewing in Nov. 1768, bought personalty at a sale of estate in Augusta County.
July 29, 1800, Peggy Ewin married Peter Long in Augusta County. The bond given the day before shows this Peggy to be the daughter of Henry Ewing.
John Ewing and Sarah Davis were married in Augusta County May 22, 1787. This must be the John whose wife has been reported to me as a Davison.
In a suit among the District Court judgments, Augusta and Rockingham, May 5, 1784, it is shown that "Samuel Ewing of Bedford is about to go to Georgia." "Ewing proposed to take the slave to Mr. John Talbot or Mr. David Wright, Bedford, who would take charge of him, 17th July, 1784."
Page last updated 13 October 2008.