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The Christian Fender family of North Carolina

The wife of Christian Fender

Mary, aka: Anna Maria

No one seems to know how the name Anna Maria Long was introduced into the family history, as the wife of Christian Fender. The name was introduced many years ago and spread among the researchers, and was passed from book to internet gedcoms, finding it's way into almost every Fender family tree. Yet, no evidence has been found to indicate that Christian's wife was a Long, or that her name was Anna Maria. Christian's Will of 1793 names his wife as Mary.

It was thought that since 2 of Christian's sons, Henry and Gabriel, married daughters of neighboring Long families in present Yadkin County NC, that Christian's wife was also a Long.

Concentrated research in 1999 focused on the identity of Mrs. Christian Fender, and several facts were discovered. Research began within the Deep Creek area of NC. There it was discovered that Christian Fender and his children were already living in the Hinkle ( Henkel) Settlement of Davie County NC between 1768 and 1778, many years before the Long ( Lang) families came to settle on Deep Creek in 1774, some 30 miles NW of Christian's home. A search of Davie County records reveals that there were no Long families in the Hinkle settlement in the time that Christian lived there. There is mention of a Moravian George Long in the early Moravian records of Salem in Forsyth County NC circa 1753-1756. There are also accounts of a John Long being killed in an Indian raid in 1761. (see footnote 1)

From Rowan -Davidson counties we find the accounts and deeds of land transactions of a prominent Long family in the Dunkard settlement on CRANE Creek, just south of present Salisbury, NC as early as 1758.

The last fully documented evidence of Mrs. Mary Fender was the 1813 tax list of Surry County, NC. Research focused on locating information on Christian’s and Mary’s daughter and son-in-law, Sarah (aka: Sally ) and Jonathan Gentry and their descendants, because it is thought that Mary Fender may have resided with her young daughter.

From the research of L.G. Chapel: 1999

"The church I’m researching was constituted in 1779 and is located in present day Wilkes Co., approximately 15 miles from where I believe Christian’s homestead was located. The book(s) containing the church records from about 1800 - 1827 were lost, so in 1828 a new book was started. Sometime in late 1829 they did a listing of the church members. One of the members was listed as MARY FENDARK.

Further reading revealed the following: "July, 4th Saturday, 1829. The Church set together in order, and proceeded to business. "....On Friday before the 1st Saturday in July, received by experience and baptism, Mary Fendar."

What other Mary Fender could it have been other than Christian’s wife? The last provable record I/we have of Mary Fender is the 1813 Surry Co. Tax List. She seems to have disappeared after that point in time. Some have suspected she went to Indiana.

Here is what I believe happened. We know for a fact that her next-to-youngest daughter, Sarah, married Jonathan Gentry about 1800 and moved to Wilkes Co. It was quite customary for a widowed wife to move in with the youngest daughter, that being Catherine, but I (and others) believe she died young as there are no adult records for her. Therefore, Mary moved in with the next-to-youngest daughter who was Sarah.

Also, given this new-found information, I now believe that Christian and Mary are not buried side-by-side. Catherine may be buried by her dad on the old homeplace in current day Yadkin Co. close to Bald Knob, but I doubt if Mary is buried there. My best speculation is she is buried in Wilkes Co. somewhere near the Traphill area.

I went through the Federal Census microfilm for 1820, 1830, 1840 and 1850 looking for support to my belief Mary, wife of Christian Fender, was living with her daughter and son-in-law, Sally and Jonathan Gentry. John and Sally lived in Traphill, Wilkes Co., NC. Here is what I found:

1820 Census, Jonathan Gentry, page 515 No one of the proper age that could have been Mary.

1830 Census, Jonathan Gentry, page (didn't write it down....duh!) One female aged 80-89. (if born abt 1743, her age would be 87)

1840 Census, Jonathan Gentry, page 37, Capt. Spicer's Dist. No one of the proper age that could have been Mary.

1850 Census, Jonathan Gentry, Sr. One female aged >100. (if born abt 1743, her age would be 107)

Given this information, I conclude Mary, wife of Christian Fender, was alive in 1850 and living with her daughter and son-in-law in Wilkes Co., NC.

I suspect her gravesite will also be in Wilkes Co. unless she was carted back to Surry/Yadkin Co. to be buried beside her husband who died at least 50 years earlier. As of this time, I don't have a burial site for Jonathan Gentry, just a DOD...April 15, 1852. Also, I don't have a DOD for Sally Fender Gentry. "

End of the notes & research of L.G. Chapel

Comments of Carolyn Spence:

The possibility is also being explored that Christian Fender may have had more than one wife. Assuming that Christian Fender listed his children in their birth order in his Last Will & Testament, Gabriel, Nimrod, and Anna Maria Hoppes, are thought to have been born in Virginia , while son Michael is thought to have been born in Virginia or the Hinkel Settlement in present Davie Co. NC.

Christian Fender moved from the Dutchmans Creek of Davie Co. to the Deep Creek of present Yadkin in 1778. Henry S. Fender is thought to have been born on Deep Creek, as well as John ( whose birth is proven through the Hope Registry). The exact birth dates of daughters Sarah and Catherine are unknown, but if the children are listed in birth order, Sarah and Catherine were the youngest children, most assuredly born on Deep Creek.

A presumed child Silas, who is said to have died young, presents a mystery as no record of his birth or death exists except in handed down tradition.

Given that Gabriel, Nimrod and Anna Maria were born between 1763 and 1769, we then encounter a significant gap of seven years between the birth of these first three children and Michael, Henry, John, Sarah and Catherine, who were born between 1776 and the date of Christian's Will in 1793. The Will states that sons, Michael, Henry and John were " under 21 years of age", in 1793, and if the children were listed in birth order, the daughters Sarah and Catherine were also younger than 21 years old, which would put their date of births at possibly 1782 and 1784, assuming a 24 month period between their ages.

Given the mortality rates of the time involved in childbirth, the gap of seven years may be indicative of the death of Anna Maria Fender, the birth and death of Silas Fender, and the reason that prompted the move from Dutchmans Creek to Deep Creek. From my research I have not found any of Christian's documented neighbors from Dutchman's Creek who migrated with him to Deep Creek. While the Dutchmans Creek settlement was German Lutheran, Christian migrated to an area settled predominately by English Baptists.

End of comments of C. Spence

Does anyone have any thoughts on these theories? We welcome new information & documentation.

UPDATE: New research on the wife of Christian Fender will be presented in the association book... coming soon.....

1. "The Conquest of the Old Southwest" by Archibald Henderson Ph.D., published by Century Company, NY, 1920, Chapter 5. The Moravians: " A little later word came to Fort Dobbs that John Long and Robert Gillespie of Salisbury had been shot from ambush and scalped- Long having been pierced with eight bullets and Gillespie with seven."

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