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Andrew, the Son of Samuel & Sarah McCorkle of Augusta Co., Virginia

Sometime ago I received this message from J. B. (Jack) Childers, another McCorkle researcher: "See that you are researching the McCorkle Line. I am also a descendant of a Samuel McCorkle who was born 1774 Rockbridge County, Virginia and the only proof that I have of him is his marriage contract on file in Bath County, Virginia  on 12 Jan 1798. My family history, my aunts DAR and other information say that this Samuel was the son of Andrew McCorkle who was born about 1750 and died 12 Jan 1777, 27 years old. I believe that he could have been a son of Samuel McCorkle and Sarah Buchanan, but was not mentioned in the will because he had died.  If you have any data on this please let me know." In another message Jack mentions William, a brother of Samuel, born in 1772 in Rockbridge County.

 

The above information fits very well with what is known about Samuel McCorkle Sr. and his family, so I decided to look into the proposed assumption by analyzing the information I had accumulated. The will of Samuel McCorkle Sr., dated September 1, 1785, is the main reason that this subject arises. In his will, Samuel names grandsons Samuel and William, but does not name their father. I have not seen any research or analysis regarding the parents of these individuals.

The starting point for any McCorkle research in 18th century Augusta Co., Virginia would probably be the Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia by Lyman Chalkley. However, Chalkley does not mention an Andrew McCorkle one time, although Samuel Sr. and his children are mentioned somewhat frequently. Likewise, there doesn’t seem to be a candidate Andrew McCorkle in From Viking Glory: Notes on the McCorkle Family in Scotland & America by Rev. Louis W. McCorkle. Also, no leads were obtained from the LDS Family Search site. The next step was a search of the Revolutionary War military records and the Augusta County tax records. Here we found some interesting information. 

On July 2, 1784, Catherine McCorkle, heir-at-law, applied for the 100 acre land warrants issued in the names of Andrew and Samuel McCorkle for their service in the Revolutionary War. In the documentation associated with these warrants, ex-officers of the War certified that both men enlisted in August 1776 for a period of three years and that Andrew died in January, 1777 and Samuel died in December, 1777. Without doubt, this was the Andrew McCorkle mentioned in Jack Childers’ message, but was this Andrew the son of Samuel Sr? If I understand Virginia probate law of the period, only blood relatives could inherit. This would preclude Catherine from being the wife of either man, but she could have been the only sibling of two brothers or the only sibling of one and the daughter of the other. For instance, she could have been the daughter of Andrew and the sister of Samuel. These two men were related to Catherine and therefore related to each other; however, I can’t see any way to connect them to Samuel Sr. or the grandchildren mentioned in his will. Also, Catherine is a complete mystery. I know of no Catherine McCorkle in the early Samuel line, so unless someone can work Andrew, Samuel & Catherine into the picture, I think it is highly unlikely that these two men were closely related to Samuel Sr. of Augusta County.

However, there was another Andrew McCorkle in Augusta County that is a much more likely candidate. The 1777 Augusta Co. List of Tithables taken by Elijah McClenahan shows the following:

Saml McCorkle, 2 tithables, 822 acres (These tithables were most likely Sam Sr. & Sam Jr.)

Significant changes to the Virginia tax code became effective in 1782. The Augusta Co. List of Tithable Property in the District of Capt Buchanan of Capt Longs Company taken by Smyth Tandy on Apr 10, 1782 provides the following information:

Saml McCorkhall, 1 tithable, 5 horses, 8 cows (This was most likely Sam Sr.)

Samuel McCorkhall, 1 tithable, 4 cattle (This was most likely Sam Jr.)

         Andw McCorkhall, 0 tithable, 3 horses, 4 cows (This is a strange entry in a “List of Tithables”. The new tax law called for the separate enumeration of males 16 to 21 and males 21 and over, but the Augusta Co. enumerators did not follow this procedure. I can think of several explanations for the “0” entry. Andrew could have been an exempt official or he could have been the resident of another county or he could have been under the tithable age of 16/21. However, there was only one other “0” tithable on the Tandy list. All the women head of households were listed with a blank space as were several males that I assume were exempt for some reason. Therefore, my conclusion is that Andrew was an under 21 head of household, or less likely, a non-resident of Augusta.)

The 1783 Augusta Co. List of Tithable Property of Capt Buchanan of Thomas Smiths Company taken by Thomas Hughs shows the following:

Saml McCorkle, 1 tithable, 6 horses, 7 cows

Saml McCorkle, 1 tithable, 4 cows

Mary McCorkle, 1 horse, 3 cows (A head of a household. Could Mary have been the widow of Andrew?)

Although Samuel Jr., John and Robert, the other sons of Samuel Sr., were enumerated in latter tax lists, Andrew and Mary were not.  If this Andrew was indeed under 21 in 1782, he would have been was rather young to be the father of Samuel and William, the grandsons of Samuel Sr., but this is relationship is certainly feasible. Unfortunately, he could not have been the father of the Samuel born in Rockbridge in 1774, so this possibility doesn’t help the theory of Jack Childers.

However, I have recently determined that John and Robert McCorkle lived in Bath County, Virginia from 1792 to 1801, so the Samuel McCorkle, mentioned above by Jack Childers, was very likely one of the grandchildren mentioned in the will of Samuel Sr. and the son of the Andrew taxed in 1782. Samuel probably lived for a time with John or Robert after his father’s death circa 1783. This Samuel was married to Elizabeth Hicklin in 1798, was 1st taxed in Greenbrier County in 1799 and was enumerated in 1820 as being between 26 and 45. These dates would make Samuel’s birth year 1775-1778, probably closer to 1778. Samuel died in Greenbrier before 21 February, 1822 when his widow was bonded as the administrator of his estate. 

Some researchers have proposed that the grandsons mentioned in the will of Samuel Sr. were the children of Samuel Jr., his oldest known son. However, the language of the bequest of Samuel Sr. to his grandchildren supports the unnamed deceased son alternative. He names his living daughter Sarah Chapman and her unnamed 1st son, but does not name the father of Samuel and William. In addition, the later will of Samuel, Jr. provides for grandchildren of unnamed deceased sons. This structure is nearly identical to that used by Samuel Sr., so it is highly likely that Samuel Jr. followed the example of his father’s will.

On Feb 17, 1795, in Augusta Co., a William McCorkle, age 16, was bound to Henry Moiser. This William was most likely an orphan and could have been the son of the Andrew mentioned in 1782.

This evidence leads me to conclude that Samuel and William, named as grandsons in the will of Samuel McCorkle Sr., were the sons of Andrew McCorkle. There is proof that an Andrew McCorkle lived in Augusta County in 1782 and the absence of any Andrew in Chalkley’s research indicates that this person’s stay in Augusta as an adult was of a relatively short duration; therefore, I conclude that there is a very high probability that this Andrew was the son of Samuel and Sarah McCorkle and that he was born circa 1761 and died circa 1783, leaving sons Samuel and William. In addition, I conclude that the Samuel that married Elizabeth Hicklin was the son of Andrew and grandson of Samuel McCorkle Sr. of Augusta County.

This conclusion does not imply that Samuel Jr. did not have a son Samuel III, because the tax and marriage records of Green County, Kentucky support this relationship. This son may have even been born before the death of Samuel Sr. as was John, another son of Samuel Jr.

My sincere thanks go out to Bob Baird. Bob has patiently answered my questions concerning 18th century tax law and has provided me with ideas and alternatives that have been very useful.

Click here to send me any data or opinions concerning this issue.

 

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Revised July 27, 2006