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Home: Surnames: Pownall Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: Pownall Pendergrass connection
Posted by: Karen Brandon (ID *****7806) Date: May 19, 2005 at 19:22:22
In Reply to: Pownall Pendergrass connection by Charlene Esteb of 176

Hi, Charlene !

I think I can help you some. Later, I may be able to help you a lot more, as we are awaiting DNA results from a direct male descendant of the John Pendergrass who in fact married Margaret Pownall, daughter of John Pownall. Those results will be compared with those of two living males from
my paternal line to see if my research that we all come from the same "pod" of Pendergrasses in Granville. N.C. is correct or not. ( provided the Pendergrass wives were faithful, of course)

I am MOST curious to know where you got the information that THIS John P who married Margaret Pownall was born in England in 1750, as that knowledge could be very valuable to me. MY John Pendergrass was very closely associated with Bob's John Pendergrass in early Granville County, N.C. and the Pownalls were there very early on, too. They (Pownalls)came in first and originally lived near the Goins, who were apparently free mulattos and in an early Granville tax list, John Pownall pays tax on "Nan Goin's mulatto". I bring this up only to point out that there were other Pownalls/Pownells/Parnells in the area early on besides John Pownall. I have transcribed the names and dates if you need them.

(I don't approve of racial labels personally, but they were a fact of early Colonial life that can't just be ignored when they help identify a particular family or individual.
For example, there was a Richard Pendergrass, listed as 'a person of color, mulatto" who was in N.C. very early as a very visible FREE man who came into Virginia voluntarily. He may not have had African roots, but he clearly wasn't European, as he and his family are listed as Black down the line. He fought in the Revolution, was granted land, married, had LOTS of children and left a nuncupative will. The knowledge that he and his descendants were Black saves some sorting out of that particular branch of the family, as they are so designated on the tax and census records throughout. It's disappointing that we probably are not related to him, as he must have been quite a courageous guy, but it saves a lot of research to know that his branch and mine were probably not blood related).

I'm surprised no one has told you about Robert Pendergrast's excellent book "Family History: John Pendergrass of Bute County, N.C. and Lancaster County, S.C.
He lives at 1996 Chrysler Drive, Atlanta, Ga with his wife Libba, and has a listed phone. I'm sure he'd be happy to sell you a copy. Additionally, you can find much of his work listed on a website called something like Descendants of John Pendergrass, hosted by somebody else.

Bob and I have compared and shared notes for about 30 years now, and I consider him a very good friend. However, he published his book in 1980, and I've recently turned up some stuff that may not have been available at that time. He located a good bit of info on John Pownall (his direct ancestor, but probably not mine)including that a John Pownall he believes is his was taken from gaol in Essex England and placed aboard the frigate Smith, William Loney, Commander, at Gravesend 13 September 1730 along with 76 other convicts for transporting to Virginia. The nature of his offense is unknown. Bob states in his book that this John Pownall married Elizabeth, widow of John Butler, in Westmoreland Co, Va,and they then moved to Stafford County, Overwharton Parish. After Eliz's death, John Pownall married Margaret Nelson as recorded in the Overwharton parish register, 4 Sept 1748, and daughter Margaret's birth was recorded there as 10 Nov. 1748, which Bob thinks should be 1749. The Pownalls then moved to Granville County, N.C., where they bought 680 acres from the province. There were other large land purchases, and a sale of land in (later formed) Warren County to Thomas Cook in 1766.

Bob thinks that John Pendergrass and John Pownall may have arrived together from Virgina, each independent of other close family, but I think the old tax lists contradict this idea. There were other Pownalls and other Pendergrasses in close association with each other in Granville (which became several other counties later)as early as 1755, with the Pendergrasses arriving apparently for the first time, in a group of at least three adult males, in 1757, taxed in 1758.

Because of these old tax lists, it seems very unlikely that the John Pendergrass who married Margaret Pownall was born in ENGLAND in 1750, although anything is possible, I guess.
Unless the family got right off the boat and hightailed it into Granville County N.C. without stopping for long anyplace else, it seems likelier that Margaret's John Pendergrass was born stateside in Va (most British came into Granville County from Virginia, not far away.) If you have some info showing his birth in England and how he managed to get to Granville County by the age of 7 or so, I would surely LOVE to have it, as I know this John Pendergrass married the daughter (Margaret) of my gggggrandfather John Pendergrass's next door neighbor, John Pownall. Bob thinks that the John Pendergrass who married Margaret Pownall is the one listed next to her father in 1771 Bute county on a non alphabetized tax list, BUT after his John Pendergrass and Margaret Pownall and her father John Pownall take off for South Carolina between 1771 and 1779, the John who lived in that small area near John Pownall is STILL THERE on the annual tax lists. In fact, he stays there, right there, with the same neighbors by whom he's always lived, until 1789 when he and most of his kids buy land and physically move to adjacent Wake county. The mystery is: what was the relationship between Bob's John P and my John P.? We know they weren't the same person, and by our calculations my John Pendergrass seems to have been born right around 1735, give or take, which makes him a bit young to have a son married in or before 1770. Being a year or two off could make a big difference, of course. This is the main focus of my research right now - to figure out the exact relationship between these two Johns, if any, and their relationships, if any, to the two Spencers and William.

I have spent weeks at the Raleigh archives reading the ancient records commencing with the formation of Granville County N.C. I can tell you that there were at least 4 Pendergrass adult males/heads of household in Granville by 1757 - John, Spencer, William, and another John(too old to be Margaret's John if he was really born in 1750). I THINK William split off and went to what later became Orange County,N.C. and I'm not sure he was really part of the "pod", but I'm still working on this. Granville County was huge in those days, so it's hard to tell where people actually were. By tracking the neighbors, though, it's clear that in 1761 on a list of tax delinquent "Hous Capers" there were a John SR, a John, and a Spencer Pendergrays living VERY close together and obviously related family members.

There is just the one mention of John as specifically being SR, at least so far, and it is of course very suggestive.
However, in those days, junior and senior were used with their literal meanings of younger and older and didn't necessarily mean father and son in the same way they do now,
although it isn't a bad bet as a working hypothesis.

You obviously know that Margaret Pownall and John Pendergrass had three sons that are known : Nathaniel, Nimrod, and John (poor kid got it from both sides !) and you are probably aware that Margaret's John was killed, allegedly by Tories, in South Carolina while still relatively young. (Bob has good evidence that he fought for the revolution at one point, but may have also fought for the Brits) There are spaces for a couple more children, at least, who may or may not have actually been born, and may or may not have been girls, as girls tend to disappear.

My interest is in the very very early connections between the Granville County N.C. Pendergrasses and from whence they came and who and how and when, of course, and the Pownalls PROBABLY are not directly related to me, even if my John does turn out to be Margaret's John's daddy. However, the Pownalls play a very important role in helping to identify the Johns and to place them geographically.

Please let me know where you got the info about the birth date and place of Margaret's John Pendergrass as that might point me in a better direction, and if you want the actual facts and figures on the early Granville "Ps and Pos", as I abbreviate them, I'm more than happy to share.

Karen Marcum Pendergrass Brandon


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