Actually, what R. Floyd would tell you about the relationship between William H Pendarvis and James W Pendarvis of Mobile, AL is that they are indeed cousins (unless one or both had assumed the name), but that the degree of relationship is unproven. Perhaps a guess, but an educated guess and a stong hypothesis with a multitude of documentation to support it.
The only known Pendarvises living in this country in the early 1800's were those descended from Joseph and Parthenia Pendarvis. The Bedon-Pendarvises left no legitimate heirs by that name, and if they left illegitemate heirs who used the name "Pendarvis", there is nothing in the archives of South Carolina or anywhere else for that matter to support it, or even suggest it. The Bedon-Pendarvis family is well documented, including a great deal of information found since Heyward's book, and including a general assembly petition of 1804 specifically outlining the Pendarvis-Bedon heirs.
Of the seven children left by Joseph and Parthenia; James'last male heir by name Pendarvis died on Feb 7, 1805 without children, Elizabeth died young, and Mary left heirs by name of Rumph. Of the other four sons all are possibilities, some more remotely than others, for the ancestor of the Mobile Pendarvises. Nothing in the records indicates that John of Dorchester Co., SC left children, though it has not been proven specifically that he did not. William, of Orangeburg and present day Bamberg, SC, did leave male heirs and is the second most likely candidate for the Mobile Pendarvises ancestor, though the facts that make William of TN his son or grandson and make Sarah of Pike Co., MS his daughter-in-law nearly eliminate him as a possibility for the Mobile Pendarvises ancestor based on the collective information. Thomas (died 1783) of Dorchester Co., SC left four sons of whom Josiah and Frederick can be eliminated as ancestor to the Mobile clan by existing records. The Florida and Georgia Pendarvis pioneers fought in the War of 1812 with men from Thomas' neighborhood and then moved to Georgia with people who were Thomas' near neighbors and relatives. An adult Thomas was living in Georgia in 1816. The Florida and Georgia Pendarvises are most likely Thomas' descendants through his sons Thomas, Jr. and perhaps Joseph, which with what is known about Thomas, Jr. and Joseph and their children pretty much excludes them as the Mobile ancestors.
Brand, of Orangeburg and present day Bamberg, left male heirs through his son Joseph (died 1793-1795). This Joseph had two sons, James and William, born between 1774 and 1784. That fact is proven over and over again by existing Barnwell Co, SC records. The part of Barnwell Co that they lived in is now Bamberg Co. Both men have been proven to have left SC in the early 1810's. By SC records alone James is shown to have died between 1817 and 1827, and William was living after 1831. Both men were out of the state when they died. They were already adults when the James and William of Florida and Georgia were clearly still children. William married Elizabeth Zeigler in SC and took her with him when he left SC. He is found in 1810 in the SC census and then disappears from SC records after 1814. A William shows up in Pike Co., MS in 1816 living among other former Bamberg and Orangeburg area residents. That William Pendarvis left descendants still living in MS and LA who remember his wife to be a Zeigler, though some have called her Catherine, not Elizabeth. A James Pendarvis shows up in Alabama records in 1817 with a child old enough to marry. SC census records indicate that his wife was slightly older than he was. An Ann Catherine Pendarvis is found as a witness on the Barnwell Co Pendarvis family and in-law records. The process of elination leaves an adult Pendarvis female only one position within the family for which she signed as witness, and that is as wife to James. A Catherine Pendarvis died in Mobile in 1825 age 50, which fits nicely with her witness date and James' wife's census age. As James is the only Pendarvis of his generation to have ever been found in Alabama, and Catherine is also there and of the right age, and as Ann Catherine was already the leading contender as a possibility for his wife, I propose that they are one and the same. James' only brother outlived him. His closest male relatives by name Pendarvis were 2nd cousins and second cousins once-removed. If he helped raise any male Pendarvis relatives they were probably sons of his brother. As his brother outlived him and lived in MS, if James raised any of his brother's children it was likely out of choice rather than neccesity. This is, of course, not to say that they couldn't have gone to live with him to find work or some such notion, which I suspect one eventually did. By census and other records it seems that James (died 1817-1827) had at least three sons, one of which was older than William H Pendarvis (born ca 1805), and two in William H's age range. If William A Pendarvis did not belong to William H Pendarvis as son, and he was indeed a Pendarvis by birth, perhaps he was child to one of James' other sons. The designation of orphan, unless specifically stated, sometimes referred to a minor with an estate and a missing parent, whether by death, abandonment, or illegitemacy
Though repetitive, the following is another previously written treatise on the same subject:
A James Pendarvis is proven to be the son of Joseph and Anne Salley Pendarvis by the probate records of James and Ann Daniel (Barnwell Co., SC). By probate, land and census records for Barnwell Co., SC James is proven to have left the area around 1810, and to have died between 1813-1827. Census records indicate that he was married prior to 1800. The Daniel probate and land records are witnessed by an Anne Catherine Pendarvis. An Anne Catherine Pendarvis witnessed at least one Barnwell land record with James Pendarvis prior to his departure to Alabama. She is not mentioned in the SC records after 1810. The wife of James Pendarvis is a logical person to have witnessed the same records witnessed by this Anne Catherine Pendarvis. There is no other known Anne Catherine in the Pendarvis family at this period (1799-1810), and no other possibility for this immediate branch of the Pendarvis family in Barnwell Co. The Daniel probate records state that James did leave descendants living after 1828 and outside of the state. Anne Daniel's estate was hotly contested and a large record has survived. Her husband James Daniel's records also survive, as do some non-probate records for both of her previous husbands.
A James Pendarvis gave permission for his daughter Elizabeth to marry a Philip Dicks in Montgomery Co., AL (which comprised a much larger area than present Montgomery Co)in 1817. The James Pendarvis of Barnwell Co., SC was connected by marriage to the Dicks family of Orangeburg and Barnwell Co, SC through the Jennings family. His eldest sister married a Jennings and a first cousin was ward to another Jennings. His grandmother was a Jennings and there are other suspected connections. The Jennings and Dicks families were closely related by this time. There isn't another known James Pendarvis of the right age to have been living and be father of a woman old enough to marry in 1817.
Catherine Pendarvis received a letter in Mobile in the early 1820's and then died, aged 50, in Mobile in 1825 (therefore born approximately 1774-1775). She is likely related to the other Pendarvises living in Mobile at the time (as Pendarvis is an unusual name). Her age is correct for a woman living in the household of the 1800 Orangeburg, SC census for James Pendarvis (this part of Orangeburg later became Barnwell Co.) She is of an appropriate age to have been the mother of the Elizabeth Pendarvis who married in 1817 and of all the children and young adults who died in the 1825-1826 Mobile death records. She is old enough to have witnessed legal documents from 1799-1810.
While this is not proof that the Catherine Pendarvis who died in Mobile in 1825 was the wife or widow of James Pendarvis of Barnwell Co., or even that she was the wife or widow of the James Pendarvis of Montgomery Co., AL if the two are not the same man, she is certainly a strong contender.
I hope this helps to show how I came to the conclusion that James Pendarvis was father to William H Pendarvis, and why James W Pendarvis was likely a first cousin rather than a more remote relative of William H Pendarvis'. A most important question in the debate is if not these Pendarvises, then which Pendarvises. There simply were not enough others of the name.
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