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INDEX OF INDIVIDUALS
FAMILY TREE WHITE
FAMILY TREE BROOKE
||see FAMILY TREE
|Born: 02/Jun/1723 Hanover Co., VA
|Died: 1773 Hanover Co., VA
1. Sarah Dabney
2. Mary Dabney
3. William Dabney
4. John Dabney
5. Anna Dabney
6. Elizabeth Dabney
7. Susan Dabney
8. Rebecca Dabney
9. Cornelius Dabney
10. Nancy Dabney
"In 1759 John Dabney, of Hanover, bought from Joel Terrell and David Lewis
four hundred acres, and from Joel Terrell four hundred more, which included the
present Birdwood plantation, and the oldest tavern perhaps in all the section,
called at the time Terrell's Ordinary. In 1764 William Dabney, a brother,
purchased from Archibald Wood four hundred acres on Mechum's River, above the
Depot of that name. John soon returned to Hanover. William sold his place in
1768 to William Shelton, and John having died in the meantime, his trustees sold
his land in 1773, six hundred acres of it to James Kerr, and the remainder to
Anna (Harris) Dabney moved to Bedford Co., VA after the death of her husband.
TRANSCRIPT of John Dabney Terrell, Sr.'s Memoirs
(Written to his nephew, John Davis Terrell)
Contributed by David Ben-Abraham
Background: John Dabney Terrell, Sr. was an early resident of Franklin County,
Georgia between the years 1800-1814, before moving on to Marion County, Alabama. There are many legal deeds at the Georgia State Archives relating to
this man and to his business transactions (land conveyances, slave purchases,
etc.). In Alabama, he became one of the principal persons of that State,
officiating as Territorial judge and a signatory to Alabama's first Constitution
in 1819. He was also Indian Agent for that region of the State.
Original located at the Alabama Department of Archives & History.
"To-day I sit down to write from chaos. The reminiscences of men and things so
long gone must, in some things, be the work of chance. Sometime in the latter
part of the Sixteenth Century, William Terrell must have emigrated from England
to America. He settled, lived and died in Hanover County, Virginia, on Pamunka,
 a small river passing between Richmond and Fredericksburg into the
Rappahonnock. The Peninsula formed by this stream and the Potomac forms the
Northern Neck of Virginia, the Potomac dividing Virginia from Maryland. Having
no family register, I cannot know whom he married or whether he came to the then
colonies a married or single man.
He was a tall, long, hungry coarse man, with ox-like bones vastly wanting in
flesh, black hair and eyes, brows like two conjugal owls, mouth like the poor
man's louse, and a nose like an elephant proboscis, one whole foot long. His
voice was hard, keen, loud and bursted the very elements with an unearthly
sepulchral tone; and when irritated to its top, little mean and crippled devils
might well tremble. I have seen old Sam compress his gaunt frame and mock his
shivering voice. Was it a misty dark night when that shrill voice struck you,
one's flesh would weld to the bones like dried beef or make one feel runish all
over. Than him the very house of mourning could not beat him; the shambles of
death was (sic) not much power, for his bed was a cowhide on the ground under a
mulberry, sheltered by the broad heavens. There and thus he and his wife dug the
ground, made tobacco, bought Africans very low and became independent. He was
honest and respectable, but his command came to his square and so did others, or
all dealings broke; of his daughters, I remember nothing; his sons, of whom I
have heard, were James, John, Joel, Timothy. John lived in Granville County,
North Carolina, as did Timothy in Chatham, than whom perhaps the whole world
never produced a more finished highland devil. He was rich and honest, but drank
freely, and all sorts of master devilment filled the measure of his utmost
capacity, and his glory. He married a Martin, a kind of folks many of whom were
tormented constantly with the blue devils, and many other sorts, and by this
blood Tim cast poison into his descendants. Those Tugalve Terrells were his
children and old Molly Phil Martin was another, drink, fight, lie, swear, and
maybe some stole a little. I think there is as much in the blood of families for
good or evil, as there can possibly be in animals. Has not manners crept through
families since Adam, and however mended by commingling with others, the evil
germ sometimes pops out in all its primitive glory and so; adversely, from the
lowest walks of life, there sometimes springs an intellectual, a great and good
giant. Wealth improperly used too often enervates and ultimately destroys the
strongest powers, mental inebriation, hypochondriac, which fools never knew how
to bring on themselves.
Joel was the father of Harry,  also called Henry Terrell. With whom he 
inter-married, I have no recollection, unless it was Elizabeth Axford, after
whom I think my sister Elizabeth was named. He had sons William, Richmond, Harry and Peter. His daughters known to me were Molly Richardson (Mrs. Willis), Mary, who died young, and Mrs. Edward
Garland. I have heard my mother speak in the kindest and most respectful terms
of her uncle Edward Garland. I never saw him. William was a man of middle
stature, of plain common education and sense, industrious, careful, economical,
in his dress remarkably plain, a big mouth and horrible nose. By all I think he
was ranked among the best of men in any country. His wife, a Wingfield, was
pretty, strong, black, but among the most amicable of her sex. They had no
daughters; the sons were Quaker Tom, Joel, Peter, William, David and Richmond.
 Joel and William died early in life. The little doctor William Terrell, 
of Hancock [County], Ga., is the only son of Joel. His whole connection died.
Honest and respectable men rank with any others. Richmond died when young, as
did his sister Mary. Peter was a big fat fellow, a simpleton in all things but
money. His head and mouth were capacious, but like the horse leach and the grave
never, never, never said enough. His nose was overwhelming. It struck off from
its foundations at about thirty-six degrees of any latitude, and like the horn
of destruction on Alpion hills, blew a blast like old Nick in the dance of Tam
O'Shanter. Although his reputation was fair, there was yet eternally something
that a high minded, honorable man would hate. His fence got on fire, and his
exertions and turmoil of mind and body to out it killed him in a few hours. His
daughter, Fannie, was a fine woman and married Ben Barnham. Joel his eldest son,
deserved high regard. With the others I was not acquainted.
My father, Henry Terrell, I think was born in 1732 and died in 1798 or 99. 
He was born on Pamunka (sic) river in Hanover County, Virginia. He was executor
to my grandfathers' Terrell and Dabney's  estates. He was perhaps under six
feet, rather spare built, chin a little long, fine mouth, nose plenty, but not
aquiline, keen, deep blue eyes of the middle size, very small legs and big feet.
I have been told when in the vigor of life, scarcely any man could match him in
any of the gymnastic sports. From my earliest knowledge of him he eat (sic) no
fat meat or drank spirits until his last sickness. His education was of the
common English, wrote a beautiful hand, had much more mind than acquirements,
was strictly a confidential and business man, though not of the first order; his
kindness of heart would not let him. His mental powers were of a sound grade,
and I think as a high-minded honorable man no one stood higher until his second
marriage. He was old and from some unhappy fatuity married his overseer's
daughter. He became involved and disposed of a good many negroes and much
valuable land for a mere song for lands on the frontiers of South Carolina. I
have always thought the troubles of his latter days brought on disease with
which he lingered near two years; the merest skeleton of his former self. He
possessed a very handsome estate and left perhaps one-half to his wife and two
younger children, Henry and Patsy.  He was among the best of fathers that
ever lived. His worst fault I've long very plainly seen was his indulgence to
his children and everybody. He lost by one, and injured his children by the
other, and that forever-and-venerated shade  lies on a little elevated and
whitely point near a branch in what is now Pickens County, South Carolina, on
Big Estitoe Creek waters  of the Savannah, lone, lonely, dear shade, lonely
and alone, till the spring time shall wear down all mortality. Then when the
long, long night of death is o`er, we two shall meet again, but O G-d, how shall
we meet? His destiny is forever fixed, but what, what shall mine be? That broken
spirit and contrite heart, generated by the Prince of Peace, and on which he
delights to smile and to bless, could those be mine? That, that would do.
I think he must have been more than thirty years old when he married Ann Dabney,
 of Hanover County, by whom he had Mary, who died young, Joel who died some
years since, Polly who died in 1782, nearly grown, Robert Harris who in about
1781 was shot by Joel with an old rusty musket which no one knew was loaded.
They were shooting at each other for fun, till it finally fired, and held Robert
by the clothes to the desk by which he was standing. Father and Mother were both
absent at the time; Edward Garland who died at Tantown, Va., in 1797, John
Dabney,  Samuel Davis, Elizabeth Axford, George Washington,  Ann Dabney
and William Higgins.  By his last wife  he had Henry and Patsy who
married James Osborn, and now lives in Decalb, Ga. Henry Terrell had removed
from Hanover to Bedford County, Va., some years before the Revolutionary War,
where all his first children were born, except Ann and William who were born at
Lower Sawratown on Dan River, Rockingham County, N.C.  In March, 1776, just
at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, my father went out as captain of a
volunteer company raised for three years' service. From some cause unknown to me
it seems he remained in this service not quite two years and then went into the
commissary department and remained in the service until the reduction of little
I have no register of the ages of my brothers and sisters, father or mother.
This was kept in Burket's Exposition of the New Testament. This book fell into
the possession of the last wife. I was born October 14, 1775.  I was married
to Lydia Brincoe Warren on the tenth of March, 1795. My oldest Alpha was born
March 20, `96. Edward Garland, William Higgins, Elizabeth Axford, James, John
Dabney,  Bochin (this was the name of a river in Canaan and signifies
repentance), Ann Dabney and Sarah Allen.
I cannot close this record without paying a just tribute to
John and Nancy
Hunter,  parents of John at Tuscaloosa. When my mother died and my
father by some fatuity united but the ashes of a man with a young girl, this my
aunt was a good and perfect mother to us all, and than my uncle John a higher
cleaner souled man never lived.
I will say John Davis Terrell, the son of William Higgins Terrell, the son of
Joel Terrell, the son of William Terrell. William H. Terrell was the son of
Ann Dabney, the daughter of John Dabney and Ann Harris. John Dabney and Ann
Harris had other children: William Dabney who died leaving one son, John Quarles
Dabney; John Dabney who had John William and Anderson, his daughters were
Elizabeth Ann, Martha, Nancy Hunter and Margaret; Cornelius Dabney who had
Polly, John, Celia and Ann, if any more, not remembered; Sallie Dabney, who
[married] Waller, (I think) his name was Thomas of Spottsylvania, Va; her sons
were Carr, Dabney, Pamphrey and John; her daughters were Agnes who married
Smith, Dorotha who married Rouny (Mrs. Spier) and Elizabeth; Mary Dabney who
married Thomas Winer, had William, Thomas and John, daughters not remembered
except Sarah, who died, and Elizabeth who married her cousin Dabney Waller;
Betsey Dabney who married Barnet Brown, her daughters were Francina, Lucy and
Sarah. Francina married Jack Rhodes, Lucy married Thomason. Betsey's sons were
Reuben and Charles (twins), Asa, Iva and Barnet; Susan Dabney who married Thomas
Harris of Albemarle County, Va. Her eldest daughter Ann is all that is
remembered. Lucy Dabney who married Thomas McReynolds, she had Polly, Dabney,
Dickson, James and Thomas, Ann and Elizabeth; Rebecca Dabney who married
Warren, she had Ann, Robert and Sallie Allen; Nancy Dabney who married John
Hunter of Campbell County, Va., she had Ann, Rachael, Maria, Elizabeth Axford,
Cynthia and Matilda, John and Caroline. Ann married [a] Hunter; Rachael [a] Fields; Elizabeth [a] Sevier; Maria [a] Hose; Cynthia [an] Eddination;
Caroline [a] McBath. In early life it was stated to me that William and Joe
Terrell came over from England together. William settled in Hanover County, Va.,
 Joel went to New York. In 1822, at Washington, I became acquainted with Joe
Terrell, member of Congress from that State. He spelt his name Tyrel. My
impressions are that there is most likely not any of this name in America but
what are related, not up to the fourth generation, and so also of the Dabneys.
The Terrells mainly lack nothing in nose, and the Dabney's in dark skins and
eyes.  Besides in very many instances there are marked family resemblance in
form and feature. Tyre and Robert Harris were brothers of Ann Dabney, Sr.;
Fannie Crawford mother of William H., was grandmother Dabney's sister. Timothy
was grandfather Dabney's  brother. His sons were Solomon, James, Micajah,
Simon, Moses and Aaron; his daughters Phil, Martin and M. Brooks.
On the genealogy of our family, I have said all that is recollected. I wish it
may be of some service to you. Should anything be remembered I will write again.
You asked me to say something of myself. Sir, my path has fallen mid all the
cross corrents of life. I know I have more than common mind. I have business
powers, but I started wrong foot foremost, grasped too far. I never could find a
hireling to do my business right. The mistakes, the carelessness, the lapses
were mine and though my condition is now better, I have in the evening of life
the mortification, the severe necessity of looking back. Yes, the embers of a
man looking back at the remnants of fortune and himself. The path is cheerless.
That Being who takes care of all of us is implored to be our star by night, and
our guide by day, to rest this traveler in his last home when his will calls him
there, and I offer them some devotion for him who reads this, that he may in the
midst of his business, constantly mid all life's cares, remember the causes and
the days which are past, learn wisdom from them and additionally that wisdom
which carries the soul happy from earth to Heaven. May all this be his. If my
brains ever come home I may speak more fully of myself. Let this for the present
do. May the angel of peace take care of you.
Always your relative,
John Dabney Terrell"
1.The name of this river is actually called the "Pamunkey," named after a tribe of
Indians who went by that name. It is situate about two and a half miles from
Hanover Court House.
This Harry is the father of the author of these Memoirs.
i.e., Joel, the grandfather of our author.
4.Most of these brothers resided in Wilkes County, Georgia.
From whom Terrell County Georgia takes its name.
6.Actually, the year of his death was 1798, as attested by the register of his
Last Will in Pendleton District, South-Carolina (now contained with the Wills
and Deeds of Anderson County, S.C. The county was divided in 1826 and underwent
name changes, called now Pickens County and Anderson County.).
The sense here is to the estate belonging to Cornelius Dabney.
This Patsy received the six negroes mentioned in Harry Terrell's Last Will, yet
being too young to administer such property, she and her inheritance were both
placed under the guardianship of her older brother, John D. Terrell, Sr., the
author of these Memoirs. Whether or not Patsy retained title to these six
negroes cannot be determined.
9.A euphemism for a gravesite, in beloved South Carolina.
Should be, "Big Eastatoe (Eastitoe Creek)," a place-name given by the Cherokee
Indians of that region.
11.This Ann Dabney was the daughter of Cornelius Dabney, whose father's Last Will
was dated 26 Oct. 1764, and recorded 7 Feb. 1765.
Our author of these Memoirs.
13.He also moved away from South Carolina, and later came to settle in Marion
William Higgins was the youngest brother of Jno. D. Terrell, Sr., and was also
the father of John Davis Terrell, the young man unto whom these Memoirs were
written. They settled in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
15.Again, our author reverts back to the narrative of his story, speaking about his
father, Harry Terrell.
It should be noted that William Higgins Terrell who is here mentioned was born
May 24, 1784.
At that time, John's father, Harry, was living in Bedford County, Va.
The reference here is to John Dabney Terrell, Jr., who was Probate Judge of
Marion County for forty years.
Nancy was the aunt of our author, the sister of our author's mother.
20.Formerly known as New Kent County.
The Dabneys came to the colonies from Nantes, France, where there they were
known and called by the surname d`Aubigne'
The sense here is to Cornelius Dabney, grandfather of our author by his mother's