Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Jackson family story

When the first census of Union County, Ga., was taken in 1834, two years after the county was formed, three Jackson families were listed. William Jackson was head of one household, with four males and five females in his home. The other two Jackson heads-of-households were Joseph, with two males and two females; and the third was Samuel, with one male and two females. It is likely that William, Joseph and Samuel were brothers. Joseph and Samuel Jackson were not in Union's 1840 or 1850 census. But William Marion Jackson remained in Union, and it was from him that many of the present-day Jackson descendants came.

A shipboard romance bound William Marion Jackson's grandparents. The year was 1748. John Jackson was on board a ship from London, England headed to Maryland to settle in the colony there. Things looked promising in the new country. Aboard ship on the long journey to America, John Jackson met a young lady named Elizabeth Cumming (1720- 1825). They had time to get acquainted on the sea voyage. After John got established in Maryland, he married Elizabeth Cumming in 1750.

To John and Elizabeth Cumming Jackson was born a son named William. He, in turn, had a son named William (ca 1799-July 27, 1859) who married Nancy Owenby Stanley (ca. 1793-1861), a widow with two small boys, in Burke County, N.C. It is interesting that Nancy was six years older than William. The story goes that Nancy Owenby Stanley's brother, Arthur, introduced the 16-year-old William to his widowed sister, and the two were soon married.

William and Nancy Jackson moved their growing family to Habersham County, Ga., about 1827. They settled north of present-day Cleveland, Ga., (now White County) in the Nacoochee Valley, near towering Yonah Mountain. Their son, William Marion Jackson (1829-1912), was born there, as was their last son, Andrew (1835-1917). Children Rebecca, Armelia, Johile, Susie, and Kimsey had been born in North Carolina before the family migrated to Nacoochee Valley.

Land lots were being sold "across the mountain" from Nacoochee Valley in what would become Union County. William Jackson purchased land in Choestoe Valley and moved his family there, probably about 1831. Earliest records of Choestoe Baptist Church in 1834 list William and Nancy Jackson as members, and also Joseph Jackson who also was in Union's 1834 census.

William Marion Jackson (1829-1912) married Rebecca Jane Goforth (1833-1901) in Union County on December 19, 1850, with the Rev. William M. Pruitt performing the ceremony. She was a daughter of Miles and Elizabeth Patillo Goforth. Rebecca's mother died in Henderson, N.C., before her father migrated to Union County sometime before the 1850 census was taken. His household shows Miles Goforth, age 50, as head of household, with sons Millington, 22; John, 21; Albert, 16; and Miles Jr., 10; and daughters Sarah, 19; and Mary, 12. In the 1850 Union Census, Rebecca Jane Goforth, 17, was in the home of her sister, Martha Davis (24). Martha was married to William T. Davis (30). Rebecca Jane was helping her sister Martha with small children, Melinda (7), Mary Ann (2) and Jane (1).

William Marion and Rebecca Jane Goforth Jackson had eight children: Nancy (1851) who married John W. Souther; William Miles (1853) who married Nancy Souther and Nancy West; Sarah Catherine (1858) who married James M. Hood; Mary Louise Jackson (1861) who married Archibald Benjamin Collins; Martha Ann who married William J. Hunter and John Pruitt Collins; Frankie Jane (1870) who married James Elas Collins; Thomas Kimsey who married Jane Collins and Mary Caroline Collins; and Fairlena (1873) who married Jospeh Souther and George Harris.

William Marion Jackson was a blacksmith and a farmer. He served in the War Between the States as a private in Company D, Second Regiment, of the North Carolina Volunteer Mounted Infantry (U. S. Army). He was wounded in the Battle of Shiloh and carried a bullet in his leg for the rest of his life, suffering great discomfort from the wound. Rebecca Jane Jackson died June 5, 1901 and William Marion Jackson died March 12, 1912. They were interred at Old Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery.

c 2007 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Apr. 26, 2007 in The Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

About Patriot Ebenezer Fain

Setting the record straight is very important to me. Therefore, I admit that I made a mistake in names in last week's column (April 12 edition) concerning one of the two Fain brothers who settled in the Choestoe District of Union County and were listed in the county's first census taken in 1834.

Please note that the name of the older brother should be David M. Fain. I erroneously concluded that the M. was for "Mercer," his mother's maiden name. In family record studies, one should never "jump" to conclusions. Each time I listed David Fain's name in last week's column, it should have been David M. (not Mercer). There is no record available thus far to show what the M. stood for in David's name. The third child of Ebenezer and Mary Mercer Fain was, indeed, named Mercer Fain. I apologize for the error. To clarify, and for those interested, I will list here the names of their children.

Children of Ebenezer and Mary Mercer Fain:

David M. Fain (1782-1852)
Margaret Kathryn Fain-Witzel-Thomas (1786-ca.1870)
Mercer Fain (1789-ca.1872)
Elizabeth Fain-Trammell (1791-1870)
Mary Ann Fain (1794-1881)
Sarah M. Fain-Howard (1796-1877)
John Samuel Fain (1797- 1873)
Rebecca Fain-Hughes (1801- ca.1875)
Polly Ann Fain-Harwell (1804-1877)
To correct dates when the Fains moved to Habersham County, Georgia, I owe another apology. Quoting my source, Dean Thomas, he states: "About 1819 the four families of Ebenezer Fain, his sons Mercer and John Fain and his daughter Elizabeth Fain Trammell were among the first pioneers to move from Buncombe County into the 3rd Land District of Habersham (now White) County. The Fains settled in the Duke's Creek Valley in the vicinity of the present towns of Robertstown and Nacoochee, about seven miles northeast of Cleveland, Georgia. Ebenezer Fain's home was in that part of Captain Fain's Georgia Militia District 427 (now Nacoochee District, which became Tesnatee Georgia Militia District 558 in 1830) [p. 10, FTC Genealogy]. Then, David M. Fain moved to Habersham in 1821 and Margaret Fain-Witzel-Thomas moved there in 1824.

Their proximity to the new Union County saw John Samuel Fain and David M. Fain settling there about 1832, and when they moved on in 1839 to Old Gilmer in what would become Fannin in 1854, they left behind the Fain name on a creek, a road and later a post office in Union (that part of last week's article was correct!)

Now, with corrections made, to use flashback, let us review some pertinent information about Patriot Ebenezer Fain (08.27.1762-12.29.1842). He was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania to Nicholas Fain and Elizabeth Taylor Fain. His parents immigrated from Ireland about 1749. Nicholas Fain was a peddler and about 1772, when Ebenezer was a boy of ten, the Fains moved on the Great Valley Road and settled on the South Fork of the Holston River at a place called Abingdon. That area is near the present location of Bristol (Tennessee/Virginia).

For descendants of Ebenezer Fain, it is interesting to trace his patriotic service.

At age fourteen in 1776, he enlisted in the Virginia Militia. His job was to help quell an uprising of the Cherokee against the settlers whom the British termed "unruly western frontier whites." This enlistment was for three months, June through August. Fain's service then involved two victorious battles against the Cherokee.

In 1778, Nicholas and Elizabeth Taylor Fain moved again, that time to Jonesborough, Washington County, North Carolina (now Tennessee). Ebenezer Fain served four more enlistments with the militia. In June, 1780, he was enlisted as a "light horseman" and showed extreme bravery in several confrontations from July 14 through August 8 of 1780.

His third enlistment began in September, 1780. Among other encounters, he was at the famed battle of King's Mountain where he received a wound in the leg.

In December, 1780, Ebenezer Fain enlisted for the fourth time, serving under the famed Colonel John Sevier. Their raids against the Cherokee (who were in alliance with the Tories and the British) burned towns, captured horses, destroyed crops and killed Indians. Ebenezer's fourth enlistment ended in March, 1781.

His fifth and final enlistment began on April 1, 1781. For six months he was a mounted ranger, helping to guard the frontier in Washington County against Tories and Indians. It was during this enlistment that Ebenezer Fain and John Nicholson became close friends (note that John Nicholson migrated to Union County, Georgia after the war and was buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Blairsville). These two men served in the Georgia Legislature from the old Walton County, which Georgia claimed for awhile, along the contested North Carolina- Georgia line. But that is a story for another time.

The Fains loved the mountains and followed the ridges from Pennsylvania down through the Cumberlands to Virginia, to North Carolina (now Tennessee), to Habersham, some to Union County, Georgia, and then to Old Gilmer (now Fannin). With the peaceful fields of his son John Samuel Fain clustered along rushing Hot House Creek, and the ridges towering above the plantation, Patriot Ebenezer Fain died peacefully on December 29, 1842.

c 2007 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Apr 19, 2007 in The Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fain brothers - early settlers in Union County

The John Samuel Fain and David Mercer Fain families were listed in the first Union County census taken in 1834, when the county was just two years old. This census, conducted under a special act of the Georgia Legislature passed in 1833, was taken in new counties that had been formed from Cherokee lands. The census was completed March 24, 1834, and listed a total of 903 people in the population of Union County at that time.

Who were these Fain brothers, and what led them to settle in the new Union County?

Both John and David Fain were sons of the famed Revolutionary War soldier, Ebenezer Fain (1762-1842). He served five enlistments as a patriot in the war to free America from British rule. The two Fain men who were residents of Union County in 1832 were sons of Ebenezer Fain, patriot.

David Mercer Fain (1782-1852) was the first-born child of patriot Ebenezer Fain and his wife, Mary Mercer Fain. He was born at Jonesborough, Washington County, North Carolina (now Tennessee). The Fains migrated to 96 District in South Carolina, then back to Buncombe County, NC (now Transylvaina). There David Mercer Fain married Rebecca Moore. But the Fains were by no means through with their migrations.

About 1819 Patriot Ebenezer Fain, with his grown children, David Mercer and John Samuel Fain, and a grown daughter, Elizabeth Fain Trammell and her family, settled in a portion of Habersham County (now White) north of Cleveland in what became known as Captain Fain's Georgia Militia District 427 (now Nacoochee District). By 1821, more of the Fain children had migrated to Habersham County, including their daughter Margaret Fain Witzel Thomas and her family.

Then came the move into the Choestoe District of what would become Union County, Georgia in 1832. John Samuel Fain and his family settled there first. Then John's older brother, David Mercer Fain and his family joined them. They settled near the Indian village of Choestoe (Militia District 834). It is interesting to note that close friends of the Fain brothers, Thompson Collins and his wife Celia Self Collins, migrated with the Fains, also settling in Choestoe District.

The Ebenezer Witzel listed in the 1834 Union Census was a grandson of Patriot Ebenezer Fain, and a son of Margaret Fain Witzel Thomas.

Bearing names of the people who lived there, Fain Creek and Fain Branch Road in Choestoe were named for David and John Fain. But by 1839, David Fain got the wanderlust again. His younger brother, John Samuel, had already secured land along Hot House Creek in Gilmer County (now Fannin). David followed, and the two Fain men, along with other settlers at Hot House, established the Hot House Methodist Episcopal Church. Firm Methodists, and associates of early pastors, the Rev. Francis Bird and the Rev. Jesse Richardson, the Fains had been instrumental in establishing a church at Duke's Creek in what became White County, and one at Hot House in what would become Fannin County.

What other landmarks remain in Union County of the Fain settlers? In the 1840 Union census was listed Ebenezer Fain, grandson of the Patriot Ebenezer Fain, and the first child of David Mercer Fain and Rebecca Moore Fain. He married his second wife, Elizabeth D. Roberts in Union County (evidently his first wife, Eleanor Dalton, had died in Habersham County).

Elizabeth Robert's parents were neighbors of Ebenezer's parents at Choestoe. This Ebenezer Fain was a justice of the peace. But by 1848, Ebenezer Fain (the younger) bought land in Old Gilmer (now Fannin) along Sugar Creek, evidently wanting to be nearer his parents.

Meanwhile, back at Choestoe where the two Fain brothers settled about 1832, these events were taking place on the land they had sold. John W. Duckworth (b. 1821 in Buncombe County, NC) applied to the US Postal Service and was granted permission to open a post office. It was approved and opened July 14, 1884. The post office was set up at the intersection of the present Fain Branch Road and Town Creek School Road. He named it the Duck Post Office, using the first syllable of his last name. On June 14, 1892, Duckworth's son-in-law, John P. Collins, became postmaster. He applied for a name change, and the post office became known as the Fain Post Office to honor the early settler Fain brothers, John and David. The post office was discontinued on March 30, 1907, but that section of Town Creek in Choestoe District is still sometimes referred to as Fain, Georgia.

[Note: I give credit to H. Dean Thomas of Ringgold, GA, a descendant of Patriot Ebenezer Fain, for information relating to the Fain Family, published in his 2004 FTC Genealogy (Fain, Thomas, Curtis), and available at the dedication service for the Patriot Ebenezer Fain memorial marker on October 16, 2004 at Hot House, Fannin County, GA.]

c 2007 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Apr. 12, 2007 in The Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Thoughts on Holy Week and Easter

Many of you in my "reading audience" have, no doubt, participated in services related to Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter Sunday. The climax of the week is Easter, which we often term "Resurrection Sunday."

When we observe Holy Week and Easter, we are engaging in a world-wide observation of some of the most significant events in Christendom.

Have you ever wondered why, on the calendar, we sometimes observe this Holy Season in March and sometimes in April?

By the second century AD, the Feast of Easter was well established, but there was confusion about when to observe it. Then the Christian Emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicaea in 325. It was at that council in the fourth century that the body of sages determined that the best time to observe Easter was the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. And by way of explanation, the vernal equinox is the beginning day of Spring, the date when day and night are of equal length.

As churches observed the Season of Christ's Passion, his trial, his crucifixion and his resurrection, which we know now as Holy Week, the observances became mixed somewhat with pagan practices already observed in some countries where the story of Jesus was proclaimed.

From St. Bede, often referred to as the Venerable Bede, an eighth century English historian, we learn why our religious celebration is called Easter. In Teutonic mythology, Eostre was the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. A season was celebrated at the beginning of Spring. When the early English Christians wanted to have more influence on their pagan neighbors, they decided to call the celebration of Christ's resurrection Easter- a name similar to the old goddess Eostre. In that way, the Christians felt that those who were already celebrating a season of rebirth would be more open to hearing and accepting the heart of the gospel story, the death, burial and resurrection of the Christ, the Savior.

Churches today seek to tell anew the gospel story by emphasizing the days of Holy week. Among the most celebrated are Maundy Thursday, the day of the institution of the Lord's Supper with the disciples in the upper room; Good Friday, the day of the death sacrifice of the Son of God; and Sunday, Easter, the Day of Resurrection.

How, then, do we associate Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, and Easter lilies with the Resurrection? We could attribute these to commercialization of a sacred day, as at Christmas we are gung-ho for gift giving. Eggs represent new life and are based on practices common in ancient cultures. An old Latin proverb, translated, means "all life comes from an egg." Eggs became a part of spring festivals and of Easter.

The Easter bunny is also universal and secular in origin. But we should, in all correctness, say the Easter Hare, not the Easter Rabbit. It is commonly held that hares are born with their eyes open, whereas rabbits are born with their eyes closed. The open eyes of the hares, according to legend, were fixed on that full moon following the vernal equinox. Both eggs and hares were symbols of the goddess Eostre, from whom the name Easter was derived.

So common are these customs now that there is a danger that the fun of Easter for children overshadows the significant meaning of the day. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to teach the real truth of Easter. The truth is well illustrated by a story going the rounds now. A teacher gave her nineteen students a plastic easter egg and asked each one to return it with a story of how it represented Easter day. She feared that one child who was a slow learner would not get the significance of the assignment. On the day when each child opened his/her egg and explained its meaning, the little boy brought his empty egg. The teacher knew he had not understood. But then he said, "My egg is empty because the tomb was empty. Jesus rose from the dead." The slow child had really understood the significance of Easter and expressed it in a meaningful way.

Lilies began to be used as Easter decorations in the 1880s in America. Mrs. Thomas P. Sargent saw a beautiful white lily in bloom in Bermuda when she visited there. Taken by its beauty, she brought bulbs back to her home in Philadelphia. There, a nurseryman named William Harris fostered the bulbs which bloomed by Easter. The purity and whiteness of this early-blooming lily became a symbol of the resurrection of the Son of God.

Whatever you experience during Holy Week and Easter, may you be brought closer to the truths of hope and life.

c 2007 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Apr. 5, 2007 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.