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descendants of some of these families right down to the present,

but that would make the book too large. Where it is possible

the names of the children in the family are given and whom

they married.


Walter Carruth may have been a member of the Nottingham

Colony. He came in 1753 and located in their bounds, but he

did not take up a full section of land. His children were James,

John, Agnes, Sarah and Ann. These married in the congrega-

tion, but in a few years the name disappears from the records.
William Mebane bought 600 acres on the north side of Buffalo

Creek in 1753. This was outside of the bounds of the plot sur-

veyed to the Nottingham Colony, but he must have attended

Buffalo Church. In 1759 he moved to the south side of South

Buffalo and became associated with Alamance Church. His wife

was Elizabeth, and their children were Samuel, William, John,

David, Robert, Mary, and perhaps others.
William Mebane must have been a brother of Col. Alexander

Mebane, who settled in the Hawfields Church community of

Orange County. Alexander was a witness on the deed of Wil-

liam ; and a son of William witnessed the deed of Alexander

when he sold land in Guilford. When Rev. Hugh McAden came

from Alexander's community to Buffalo he came straight to

William's and spent three days with him.
William Denny bought of Robert Rankin 640 acres on the

waters of the Reedy Fork in 1755 and located here. His wife

was Anne, and their children were William, James, Margaret,

Hannah, Jean and Agnes. James married Mary, daughter of

Robert Donnell, Sr., lived at the home place, and died in 1779,

leaving two children, James and William, Jr. Jr. ; William, Jr.,

located in Rockingham County ; Jean married Robert Rankin.

William Denny, Sr., died in 1770.


There were two Finley families in Guilford. Andrew (1714-

1780) located near Alamance Church, and George near Dog-

gett's Mill on Reedy Fork in 1755. It appears the Finleys were

the first to build a mill at that place. Some of George's chil-

dren were Josiah, George, Jr., James and Joseph. Josiah mar-

30 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People


ried Alsey, and their children were George, James, Betsy, Rachel,

Lettie, Polly and Abigail ; James married Jean McQuiston,

daughter of Robert, and their children were Elizabeth, who mar-

ried Mr. Walker; Polly, who married first John Cunningham,

Jr., and second James Mclver ; George B., who married Nancy,

daughter of Elisha Wharton, and moved to Missouri ; Sarah mar-

ried Mr. Reid; Nancy never married. These were members of

the congregation and some of them active members of the church.


George Hamilton secured a grant for 640 acres in 1756 on the

North Buffalo, what is now known as the John C. Cannon place.

His wife was Frances, and their children were George, Thomas,

John, James, Robert, Hance, William, Joanna, and perhaps

others. George, Jr., married Jane, daughter of James Denny,

Sr., and moved to Tennessee after the War; Thomas married,

and lived at the home place and reared a family of nine chil-

dren ; John held several offices in the county ; James and Robert

moved to Tennessee after the War; Hance held office in the

county ; William married Mary and died in 1785, leaving no

heirs but willed land in Tennessee to his nieces ; Joanna was the

first wife of Thomas Grier.


Robert Smith located on North Buffalo, where Walter L.

Wharton now lives, in 1756, and it appears his children were

mature when he came here. He died in 1778. His wife was

Mary, and their children were John, William, Robert, Andrew,

Elizabeth, Mary and Isabella. It is pretty well established that

this John located on Rock Creek and is the ancestor of the

Smiths of that community. John's wife was Elizabeth McComb,

and their children were John, William, Thomas, Robert, Samuel,

Jesse, Elizabeth and others; William, son of Robert, Sr., married

Mary, daughter of John Cunningham, Sr., and lived at the home

place. Their children were Margaret, Samuel, Robert, William,

Cunningham, Jonathan and Anne. He died in 1783. It was his

son Robert who sold this place to Watson Wharton in 1796

and moved to Tennessee. In fact, it appears that many of this

Smith family moved to the west. Cunningham married Abigail

Rankin and moved to Illinois. Andrew, the son of Robert, Sr.,

located on the Reedy Fork.
Robert Thompson secured two grants of 640 acres each, one

on Buffalo and one on the Reedy Fork. He lived on the Reedy


Members of the Congregation 31


Fork. He witnessed the deed of John McKnight and others on

North Buffalo. On the day of the Alamance battle, May 16,

1771, he went with his pastor. Dr. Caldwell, to Governor Tryon's

camp to try to effect some kind of a compromise to avoid a

battle. Dr. Caldwell returned to the Regulators to deliver his

message, but Robert Thompson and Robert Mateer, of the Haw

River Church, were detained. Later when Thompson started

to return to his men he was shot down by Governor Tryon.

(Life of Caldwell, page 153.) His was the first blood shed for

the rights of the American Colonies. Robert Thompson left

two sons, Samuel and John, and a daughter, Samuel married

Margaret, daughter of John McClintock, Sr. ; the daughter mar-

ried Abram Whitesides, and their daughter married James Can-

non, the grandfather of Congressman Joseph G. Cannon, of Illi-

nois, and father of Governor Newton Cannon, of Tennessee.
John McKnight secured a grant from Earl Granville for

639 acres on both sides of Nick's Creek in 1756 and located here.

His wife was Catrine, and their children were Robert, William,

Elizabeth (1756-1838), and Catrine. We have no record of

Robert; he must have died about 1800, leaving only one son

named John. This John sold his father's half of his grand-

father's land in 1810 and moved west; Elizabeth married

Andrew Wilson in 1794 and they had two sons, John and David ;

Catrine married James Denny, son of George, in 1801, and

moved west; William married Mary, daughter of Thomas Cum-

mins, in 1802, lived at the home place, and their children were

John, Amelia, William and Anne. John and Anne died unmar-

ried ; Amelia married William M. Denny, son of James, Jr., and

grandson of James, Sr., in 1836, and moved to Missouri ; William

married Mrs. Elizabeth Albright Efland, in 1849, widow of

Sampson, and daughter of Jacob Albright, and they had one

child, John E. The descendants of John, Sr., still own part of

the original grant.


John Brawley was born in Ireland and came here about

1757 and secured a grant from Earl Granville for 696 acres of

land on Reedy Fork. He married Sarah, daughter of Walter

Carruth, and their children were Nancy, John, Peggy, Walter,

Anne, Hugh, Sarah, James and Mary. Nancy married Andrew

Donnell, son of Thomas, Sr., in 1779, and some of their descend-


32 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People


ants are still with us. After the War John Brawley moved to

Iredell County.


William Anderson, tradition says, was born in Ireland and

came here in 1758 and secured a section of land on the Reedy

Fork Creek. He had at least four sons, William, John, Thomas

and James. William married Anne, daughter of James Denny,

Sr., and they had eight children, one of whom, John, became a

Presbyterian minister ; John, Sr., was long a ruling elder in this

church ; Thomas and James must have moved away some time

after the Revolutionary War.


Nathan Dick bought of Mordecai Mendenhall 450 acres on

Horsepen Creek in 1758. His wife was Mary, and their chil-

dren were John, William, Hannah, Deborah and Grace. He

died in 1766.


A few years later William Dick was trading in land in the

same community and living at Martinsville. He may have been

a son of Nathan. We are not sure about that. William's wife

was Rebecca, and their children were Thomas, James, John, Sam-

uel, William, Obediah and Susannah. Thomas located on the

Reedy Fork and owned two mills and 1500 acres of land ; he

married Jane, daughter of Robert Brwin, and their children

were Martha W., Nancy, Elizabeth, John W., Rebecca, Jane E.

and Thomas J. James married first Isabella, daughter of John

McClintock, in 1786, and second Mrs. Patsy Galbreath in 1823,

the mother-in-law of his son Reuben. His children were by the

first marriage and were Judge John M., Reuben, William,

Thomas, James T., Jane M. and Hiram Campbell. We do not

know what became of John and Samuel, except that John had

one son, Thomas H., who settled in the Alamance Church sec-

tion and was the grandfather of John C. and Samuel D. Dick.

William, Jr., moved to Orange County; Obediah married Re-

becca Thompson in 1809. He located on the Reedy Fork and

in 1829 moved away ; Susannah became the second wife of Moses

McLean. William, Sr., died in 1810 and he and his wife are

buried in the Buffalo cemetery.
Robert Ervin bought 640 acres of John McClintock in 1758

and located on the Reedy Fork. His wife was Martha, and their

children were Isabella, Robert, Richard, Joseph, Mary, Jane and

Sarah. Isabella married Robert Hanner, of the Alamance


Members of the Congregation 33


Church section, in 1773 ; Robert married Charlotte Mitchell,

daughter of Adam, in 1794; Joseph married Lavinia McComey

in 1782; Mary married Daniel Donnell; Jane married Thomas

Dick, son of William; Sarah never married.


Joseph Unthank located on Brush Creek of Reedy Fork in
1758, and must have been a member of the Buffalo congregation.

Dr. Caldwell preached occasionally in that community. His

wife was Judith, and their children were Allen, John, Josiah,

and three daughters. He died in the early part of 1780. Of the

three daughters, one married Jacob Hunt ; another William

Hunt, and the third married William Robinson. We do not

know what became of Allen and Josiah; John married Sarah,

and died in the latter part of 1780, leaving four children:

Joseph, Jr., John, Mary and Hannah. This Joseph, Jr., died in

1823, leaving two children, William and Temple. This William

married Sarah, daughter of Thomas McQuiston, and died in

1835, leaving two children, Rufus and Narcissus. This Nar-

cissus married Hon. J. Robert McLean, son of Levi, and was the

mother of Mrs. C. M. Vanstory, of Greensboro.


Hugh Brawley, a brother of John, came from Ireland in
1759, and secured from Earl Granville 359 acres three miles

northeast of the church. His children were Hugh P., John,

James, Joseph and perhaps others. He died about 1781.
Samuel Brown secured from Earl Granville a grant for 300

acres on Buffalo Creek in 1759. His children were James,

Joseph, Benjamin, John and others. James bought of William

Anderson 282 acres on the Reedy Fork, just where the old

county line between Rowan and Orange crossed the creek, in

1772. He sold this 282 acres to John Stewart in 1787 and moved

to Tennessee. He was a ruling elder in this church. Benjamin

was killed in the Revolutionary War. Joseph and John were

either killed in the War or moved to Tennessee shortly there-

after.
Alexander McKnight bought of his brother John 511 acres

on the north side of Buffalo Creek in 1759. In 1765 he sold this

place to John Rankin and bought of Thomas Donnell 393 acres

on the headwaters of North Buffalo, and built the first grist

mill there. The old dam may yet be seen. It appears that he

married Hannah, daughter of Thomas Donnell, and after his

34 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People


death in 1774, she married George Denny. Alexander and

Hannah jMcKnight's children were Robert (1767-1841), and

Jean (1773-1841). Jean never married; Robert's second wife

was Mary, danghter of David Wiley. They were married in

1816. The third wife was Martha Patterson, whom he married

in 1827. His children by the first marriage were Robert, Alex-

ander, James, Thomas and John. Robert died unmarried ;

Alexander moved to Franklin County, N. C. ; James married

Hannah, daughter of William Montgomery, Sr., and moved to

Virginia ; Thomas moved to New York City ; John married

Anne, daughter of Samuel Allison, in 1813 and located two miles

west of Greensboro, and their children were Lydia, Mary M.,

Hannah J., Elizabeth A., Rebecca and John H.
James Donnell, son of William, of Cecil County, Md., bought

of Thomas Donnell 320 acres on North Buffalo in 1760 and

located here. His wife was Margaret, daughter of William

Edmundson, and their children were Margaret, Jean, Hannah,

Elizabeth, Thomas, Mary and Samuel. Jean and Elizabeth

never married ; Margaret married John Cunningham, Jr., in

1786 ; Hannah married James Denny, son of James, Jr. ; Thomas

married Nancy, daughter of John Rankin, in 1800 ; Mary mar-

ried Joseph Rankin, son of John ; Samuel married Anne, daugh-

ter of William Rankin, in 1800. James Donnell died in 1796.


Edward Ryan located on the headwaters of South Buffalo

about 1760. Two of his children were James and John. James

married and had two sons, James and Patrick. John married

Eleanor McAdoo, sister of James and John, and their children

were Eleanor, Robert, John, Margaret, Mary Ann, William and

Grima. John, Sr., died in 1794.


Robert Brasher secured a grant from Earl Granville for 240

acres on Buffalo Creek in 1761. His children were Asa, Zaza,

Bazel, Isaac, Martha and others. Bazel and Isaac married daugh-

ters of John Nicks and moved to Tennessee after the War ; Mar-

tha married David Morrow ; Zaza married Elizabeth Adkinson in

1775; Asa's wife may have been a Nelson and his children were

Zaza D., Jesse, Nathan, Samuel and a daughter, who married

Arthur Morrow. Zaza D. married Lucy, daughter of William

McGee, and held several offices in the county.

Members of the Congregation 35


Thomas Flack, a young man, secured a grant from Earl

Granville for 481 acres on Walnut Branch, two miles north of

the church in 1761. He married Jean, daughter of James

McQuiston. In 1773 he sold this place to John Chambers, and

located near Haw River Presbyterian Church and joined there.
Robert Breeden secured from Earl Granville a farm on both

sides of North Buffalo about 1760 and located there. His wife

was Mary, and their children were Alexander, Robert, Charles

and Margaret. Alexander died in 1793 and his is one of the few

wills Dr. Caldwell witnessed; Charles sold his farm and moved

away in 1802. Robert Breeden, Sr., died in 1778, and his step-

son, James Donnell, and John Rankin were the executors of his

will. His wife's first husband must have died before they came

to North Carolina, and it appears that this James Donnell was

the grandfather of Mt. Robert G. Donnell, of Alexandria, Tenn.


Benjamin Starrett secured from Earl Granville a grant for

547 acres on South Buffalo in 1761. The grave of his wife,

Mary, is the oldest one marked in the Buffalo Church cemetery.

She was born in 1723 and died in 1775. Benjamin died in

1778, leaving the following children : Benjamin, James, Mary,

Joanna, Hannah and Hester. He had located in the Alamance

Church community before his death. Joanna married Charles

Breeden, son of Robert, in 1779.


James Starrett located on the Reedy Fork at an early date.

He was perhaps a brother of Benjamin. His children were

John, James H. and others. John was a surveyor and married

Anne, daughter of Alexander Gray, Sr. ; James H. married

Elizabeth, daughter of Col. John Gillespie. This Starrett fam-

ily became affiliated with the Haw River Church after it was

organized.
Francis McNairy located on Horsepen Creek in 1762, buying

640 acres from Hermon Husbands. He had married Mary

Boyd in Lancaster, Pa., in 1761. Their children were John,

Mary, Andrew, Robert, Margaret, James and Catherine. John

was licensed to practice law in 1784 and moved to Tennessee

with General Andrew Jackson in 1788, where he died ; Andrew

and Robert also went to Tennessee ; James married Elizabeth

Jeans and remained here and is the ancestor of all the Guilford

McNairys.

36 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People


Robert Bell came here from Caswell County in 1762 and

located on Sugar Tree Creek (Jordan's Branch). His children

appear to have been Samuel, Robert, Francis and James. Rob-

ert, Sr., died shortly after the Revolutionary "War and his sons

moved to Tennessee. Rev. Robert Bell, a noted Cumberland

Presbyterian minister, was the son of Robert, Jr., who had mar-

ried Mary Boyd in 1775. Hon. John Bell, United States Sen-

ator from Tennessee, was the son of Samuel.


Samuel Bell, a brother of Robert, Sr., located on the Reedy

Fork in 1762. His children were James, Francis, Thomas, Sam-

uel, John, Mary and Agnes. James married Mary Carson in

1773 ; Thomas married Elizabeth Carson in 1774 ; John married

Jane, daughter of Samuel Scott, Jr., in 1778 ; Mary married

"William Donnell, son of Robert, the 2nd, in 1773 ; Agnes mar-

ried Henry Reed in 1766. Samuel, Sr., died just at the close

of the Revolutionary War, and the most of his children moved

to Tennessee.
Col. John Gillespie was born in 1741 in Frederick County,

Va., and came here in 1762, and secured a grant from Earl

Granville for 640 acres on the south side of South Buffalo. His

wife was Elizabeth, and their children were Daniel, James S.,

Elizabeth and Anna. Daniel (1766-1833) married Lucretia Gott

in 1788 and lived on the north side of North Buffalo at what is

known as the Cannon place ; James S. married Hannah, daugh-

ter of James Denny, in 1791, and lived on the Reedy Fork ;

Elizabeth married James H. Starrett, son of James; Anna mar-

ried John Hanner, son of Robert, in 1802.


Nathaniel Brown located on Horsepen Creek about 1762. He

had two children that we know of, Elizabeth and Thomas.

Elizabeth married James McMurray, son of John, Sr., in 1774,

and their children were John, Anne, Uphiah, Jane and Hannah.

Thomas married Agnes, daughter of David Kerr, in 1793, and

moved to Tennessee.


James Denny, of Lancaster County, Pa., bought of John

Nicks 650 acres just east of the church in 1763. His wife was

Agnes, and their children were Mary, Anne, Marianna, George,

Jane, Agnes, Elizabeth, James, Hannah and William. Mary

married Samuel Duck and lived on Richland Creek; they sold

out in 1796 and moved to Tennessee ; Anne married first Wil-


Members of the Congregation 37


liam Anderson, son of William, Sr., and after his death she mar-

ried Mr. Bass ; Marianna married Col. John Paisley, son of

William, Sr., in 1769 ; George married Mrs. Hannah Donnell

McKnight, widow of Alexander McKnight and daughter of

Thomas Donnell, Sr. ; Jane married George Hamilton, son of

George, Sr., and moved to Tennessee after the War ; Agnes mar-

ried William Donnell, son of Thomas, Sr. ; Elizabeth became

the second wife of Major John Donnell, son of Thomas, Sr., in

1781 ; James married Rebecca, daughter of Robert Rankin, Sr.,

and reared a family of several children; William married first

Margaret, daughter of William Paisley, and second Jane,

daughter of James McMurray.


James Coots was born in Ireland; came to America and

located for a short while in Halifax County, Va., then came to

North Carolina about 1763 and located on the Reedy Fork.

He married first Sarah, daughter of James McQuiston, and

second a daughter of John McClintock. His children were Jen-

nie, Louvenia, Vertie and another daughter who married James

Spence. Jennie married Alfred Dillon ; Louvenia married Leven

Aydelotte, son of Benjamin, in 1811 ; Vertie died unmarried.


John Coots, a brother of James, came with him and located

on the Reedy Fork in 1763. He married Mary, daughter of

Robert McQuiston, in 1769. He must have been married before

this, for his daughter Hannah married Jeremiah Cunningham

in 1779. After the death of his second wife he married Han-

nah, daughter of John Hamilton. In 1788 Samuel and Thomas

Thompson and John Coots secured title to 4,260 acres of land

in Tennessee, and in 1796 he sold his farm here and moved to

Tennessee.
William Spruce, a young man, secured from Earl Granville

394 acres on the south side of North Buffalo in 1763. He mar-

ried Sarah, daughter of John Nicks, and their children were

John H., William, Joseph, Quinton, Thomas, Sarah, George and

Elizabeth. Joseph married Shealy, daughter of Benjamin

Aydelotte, in 1797 ; Sarah married Mr. Strain ; Elizabeth never

married. William Spruce, Sr., died in 1808.
Arthur Forbis secured a grant from Earl Granville for 640

acres on Hunting Creek in 1764, and that same year he mar-

ried Mrs. Lydia Rankin, widow of George. Their children were

38 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People


Jennet, Elizabeth, Anne and Lydia. Jennet married Hanee

McCain in 1787 and they reared a family of ten children.

Lydia married George Donnell, son of Robert, 2nd, and they

reared a family of five children. Arthur Forbis was a ruling

elder. He died in 1789, and his stepsons, John and Robert

Rankin, were the executors of his will.


Dr. David Caldwell (1725-1824), son of Andrew, of Lan-

caster County, Pa., bought 550 acres of John Blair on the head

waters of North Buffalo January 2, 1765, and permanently

located here. He married Rachel, daughter of Rev. Alexander

Craighead, of Mecklenburg County, in 1766. Their children

were Samuel C, Alexander, Andrew, Patsy, David, Thomas,

John W., James Edmond and Robert C. Rev. Samuel C. mar-

ried first Abigail, daughter of John McNitt Alexander, of Meck-

lenburg County, and second Elizabeth, daughter of Robert

Lindsay, Sr., of Guilford County ; Rev. Alexander married

Sarah Davidson ; Andrew, Patsy and James Edmond never mar-




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