The Weaver Family

Compiled and Submitted by Raymond Weaver
victoryfirst504@gmail.com
Please contact the submitter with questions or comments.  

 

 

Paul P. Weaver family reunion 1984

           

Who are Paul and Margaret Weaver and their ten children? Where did this family come from genealogically? Who were their ancestors and what was their past?

            Mom often talked about her ancestors. She knew about her Grandfather Albert Andrews’ adventure in the South Dakota Indian Territory. She knew, of course, that her mother was born there. I remember her telling the story of how her father, as a child, told a workman in his father’s work shop ( Columbia Bridge Co. ) to sharpen his knife “as sharp as a razor”, on his father’s orders ( not true ). I recall Mom telling about Peter Nevius who, according to her, was the Mayor of New Amsterdam under Peter Styuvesant ( not substantiated ).

            Daddy knew somewhat less about his ancestors. He knew they were from upper East Tennessee and originally from North Carolina. He knew that some of Grandma Jollay’s people were the Witts who founded Witt’s Foundry near Morristown. He was very sure that they were ALL Protestants.

            I had passing interest in family history until the television series “Roots”, a twelve hour docu-drama in January, 1977. This series chronicled a negro family from the time of the free ancestor’s capture in Africa to freedom after the Civil War. I was very much moved by the series to look at my own family history, as were many others. I know my mother would have been moved also. Unfortunately, she had died after a short illness two years earlier. That is the way it is so often with family history. By the time we value the information the people who have it are already gone.

            Over the last thirty years I have discovered an amazing amount of information about our family. Almost all of it has been finding other’s work. I dare say that it is rare for an amateur genealogist to make an original discovery. One such discovery comes to mind. I found the grave plot of the Charles Andrews family at Chattanooga Memorial Gardens in White Oak. There were two notable graves, Mary E Andrews, died, 16 Feb 1897, the other, H F Andrews, died, 16 Apr 1897. Two deaths so close to each other and one only twenty-one years old ! This speaks of an epidemic or some other great family tragedy.

            When I checked the obituary for the date of this twenty-one year old male, Herbert F Andrews, I found that he had been killed in a very tragic hunting accident in North Chicamauga Gorge. This happened only two months after the death of his mother, Mary Winters Andrews. Some seventeen years later ( 1915 ) his father, Charles W Andrews, was killed when the horse pulling his buggy bolted, throwing him out.

These are only a few of the untimely, tragic deaths that I have found. In 1943, Mom’s brother,  Uncle Bob Morrison, an Army Air Corps flight instructor, was killed when his plane crashed while on a training flight with a student pilot. A century earlier it is reported that Elijah Witt was killed when he was thrown from a horse. Moses Gamble, brother of Andrew Gamble, ( Rebecca Trotter’s maternal grandfather ), was killed in the Sultana Incident in which a Mississippi River steam-boat exploded while loaded with returning Union POWS.

There have been two deaths in war, Grandma Rebecca Weaver’s brother, Amos Alexander Trotter, died with typhoid during the Civil War. Granddaddy Bob Morrison’s uncle, David Harry Morrison, was killed in action during the Civil War two days after the enemy had, in fact, surrendered. Because of communications problems it was common for fighting to continue well after the official end of hostilities. Great Grandma Nora Jollay’s father, Chesley Skeen, served with the Grand Army of the Republic (Union). As with Amos A Trotter, he too, developed typhoid. He however, survived his illness and lived out a full life in Gray Oklahoma.                                                                                   

 

Two family lines are believed to be of Nordic or Viking descent. It is believed that the Morrison Clan of Lewis, Hebrides, Scotland originated from Norse castaways, Olaf the Black, King of Man, and his wife, Lauon. The Trotter line ( originally Ruthven of Perth Scotland ) is traced back to Sven and his son Thor. They are believed to have been Vikings who gave up life at sea ( and the cause of “social justice” – equalizing European wealth ), settling in Perth. These fanciful legends are not substantiated.

            All our ancestors came to North America very early, well before the Revolutionary War. The overwhelming majority were of Scotch-Irish descent. The Scotch-Irish terminology usually refers to Scotts who migrated to Northern Ireland, then on to the North American Colony ( United States ). The English Colony in Northern Ireland was only marginally successful. The native Irish people have never accepted it. Even today there is a smoldering civil war, which flares up every generation or two.

There is a sprinkling of Welsh, Dutch, and French as well. All our ancestors that we know about were Calvinist Protestants when they immigrated. There is some reason to suspect that one family, the Ezells ( William Weaver – Kissia Ezell – numerous spellings ), may have been Jewish. It is possible that Ezell is a culturalized form of Israel. Kizzia Ezell’s brother is believed to have been Levi Israel. Kizzia’s father, Buckner Ezell ( Israel ), moved to Knox Co about the time William and Kizzia did. He is not known to have used the Israel name. There is NO family tradition of Jewish ancestry.

There is however, a tradition of American Indian ancestry. The source of this ancestry has never been identified. Brown eyes crop up in our line from time to time. These are not consistent with our known ancestry. I remember my Grandfather, Odes Weaver, teaching me to count to twenty in “Indian”. He never said where that came from. Aunt Loan ( Leona Weaver Byrd ), Grandpa George Weaver’s sister, was told when her husband died, that if she fell on hard times she could go live on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina.

One of our Dutch ancestors, Johannes Nevius, was believed to have been a farmer on Manhatten Island ( New York City ) when Peter Stuyvesant surrendered to the British. He was one of the signers of the Petition of Surrender on 15 Sep. 1664 that gave Manhatten Island and the New Amsterdam Dutch Colony to the British. Jane Nevius, a descendent, married Andrew Wilson in 1822. These families are in Grandmother Morrison’s Andrews line. There is also Dutch ancestry in the Skeen family, with Matthew Skene ( from Aberdeen, Scotland ) marrying Jane Titus in 1730.

 Two brothers, John and Guillermo ( William ) Witt, escaped with their lives from Catholic France. They came to the Huguenot colony of Manakin in Virginia. The Witts were Scots who spent several generations in France. It is believed these were the ancestors of Elijah Witt and his two brothers and two sisters, all of whom migrated into upper East Tennessee after the Revolutionary War. This points to the inevitable problems with accepting other’s work. We will always find that at least some of what we thought was settled fact is erroneous.

Spiritually, all the immigrating ancestors that we know about were Protestant Calvinists. This is not surprising given that they were mostly from Presbyterian Scotland. In all fairness we must recognize that religious persecution and martyrdom happened on both sides. The severest incident we know of is the beheading of Grandfather William Ruthven

( see “Gowery Conspiracy” and “Raid of Ruthven” online ). This was probably as much political as spiritual and his conduct was less than totally noble. Some of the Ruthvens escaped to Ireland and adopted an Irish wife’s family name, Trotter, for “health” reasons.

Our Methodist roots are very strong on both the Weaver and Jollay side. Grandpa George Weaver was the oldest member of Second Methodist in Knoxville at the time of his death. It appears that the early Methodist circuit riders of East Tennessee simply were much more vigorous than the Presbyterians. On the Weaver side, the Methodist Church was the dominant and probably the only church in the communities of Middle Creek ( Pigeon Forge ), and Beaver Ridge ( Karns ), so traditional Calvinists found themselves attending Methodist Churches. We have less information about the Jollay family who were also Methodists.

Our Catholic roots come from one source, the family of Charles Carol Morrison and Mary Elizabeth Jones. We know very little about the Jones family. Charles Carol Morrison’s grandfather, Thomas Morrison, was a devout and godly Presbyterian Christian, as all his ancestors had been. Thomas’ son, David Humfreville Morrison was quite secular according to his obituary. We do not know precisely how Charles and Elizabeth became Catholics. I suspect that Elizabeth was from a Catholic family background but that is just a guess.

There is royalty in our past. The facts of life are that there is royalty in everyone’s past if you go back far enough. Yes, there are Barrons and Earls and even Lords and Kings. That is NOT who we are. We are commoners. We are artisans. Only two of our direct-line ancestors are known to have a college education ( Pastor David Samuel Andrews and physician, Dr John Cutler Emery ).

Our ancestors were religious refugees and pioneers. Many of our ancestors built log cabins in the wilderness. They befriended and even fought wild Indians ( Christian Hettick – killed by Indians ). They built stockade forts ( Josias Gamble – Fort Gamble near Maryville Tn. ). They poled down wild rivers with barrels of lard, corn meal, and whiskey ( Thomas Morrison ). Some of them even surveyed and established the original state lines ( Samuel Morrison ).

Many of our ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. A number made the First Families of Tennessee as “charter” residents of the state when it was received into the union in 1796. Several served with the Union Army in the Civil War. There were no known Confederates, only one known slave owner ( Josias Gamble ). There has never been a single divorce among our direct-line ancestors. Only one of our ancestors that we know of, has ever been charged with a crime.

          Grandfather Lord William Ruthven was a leader of Scottish Protestants in 1584. He was charged with holding King James IV of Scotland ( who became King James I of England, of KJV Bible fame ) as a prisoner for ten months. Grandfather Ruthven was later captured, charged with treason, and beheaded. His actions were done to prevent Queen Mary Stewart, Queen of Scotts, ( “Bloody Mary” ) from re-establishing Catholicism as the faith of Scotland.

After her father died, Mary was raised by her mother in Catholic France. When she returned to Scotland as an adult, she sought the help of the Vatican to maintain her power base. There was great political and ecclesiastical intrigue involved throughout her reign. She herself was later beheaded.

We know very little about our Weaver ancestors. Grandfather William and Kizzia Weaver were married in Orange Co NC on 1 Oct 1812. We next find them at Halls Crossroads north of Knoxville. From there they relocated to Beaver Ridge, which is now known as Karns, west of Knoxville. We know almost nothing about William’s son George W Weaver Senior, a land owner and farmer. He and Malinda are buried at Third Creek Baptist Church Cemetery.

We first locate the Jollays in Iredale County, ( Statesboro area ), NC before the Revolutionary War. Grandfather Abner Jolly settled in Grainger Co where he agreed to raise a heard of hogs in exchange for a tract of land ( almost certainly raised on “open range” ). The Jollays later lived at White Pine in Hamblen Co. We have a photo of Abner’s son, William Hardin Jollay, Grandpa George Jollay’s Father ( it may be a photo of a painting ). William Hardin Jollay’s wife Mary Melissa Rice is one of the lines on which we have never been able to learn any information.  

On Mom’s side, the Morrisons were originally from the Isle of Lewis, New Hebrides, on the north-west coast of Scotland. Some of Grandfather Samuel Morrison’s family were killed in the Siege of Londonderry, Ireland ( see internet ), a planned massacre of Scottish Protestants by Catholic British King James II in 1689.  Samuel and Marcy Mace Morrison entered Philadelphia about 1740. Their infant daughter, Anna, did not survive the voyage on the ship Sally of Coleraine. They were true pioneers, migrating across Pennsylvania to Indiana, and later, settling in Dayton Ohio.

Grandfather Samuel Morrison’s grandson, Thomas, built a river raft on the main street of Dayton Ohio. Launching it into the Miami River, he floated down the Ohio River to the Mississippi, and on to New Orleans, selling provisions along the way. A history of his adventures and many personal letters survive him. His son, David Humfreyville Morrison founded Columbia Bridge Company, which was later forced into bankruptcy by Andrew Carnegie, who had a “corner” on steel production.

The Andrews Family was from Wales. They lived for several generations in Dedham Massachusetts, currently a suburb of Boston. Grandfather David Samuel Andrews became a Congregationalist pastor and took a church on the frontier, in Winona Minnesota in 1858. His sons, Charles and Grandfather Albert W Andrews homesteaded near Ashton SD in the 1880s. They later moved to Chattanooga because of health concerns ( Charles’ wife, Mary W Andrews ), lack of water supply ( dry wells ), and general hardships ( poor crops and brutal winters ).

So we see all these strands coming together in Tennessee in the lives of ten Weaver children and many of their offspring.           Finis