Welcome to this website, where I have collected all my writing on Meacham genealogy, plus a new section on the Mathews of Arkansas (my mother's family). Most of these articles and notes concern people with the surname Meacham/Mecum/Machen etc. in Virginia during the 17th century, as this period has become the main focus of my research. This evolved as I tried to work out the descent from the widely (and erroneously) claimed ancestor of all southern Meachams -- the immigrant "Joshua Machem." It very quickly became obvious that what had become embedded in Meacham genealogy was wrong, and the situation was very complicated. These essays reflect a growing awareness that "southern Meachams" derive from several different immigrant ancestors.
Another aim of my early research was to trace the origin of the immigrant(s) in England. It became painfully evident that this task was going to take many years, or a windfall of good luck, if it was ever to happen at all. Lately, research has focused on the Kentucky lines.
Comments, corrections and additions to the data presented here are most welcome, and will be added to this website. It is hoped that eventually an extensive databank of facts and supporting documentary references can thus be established, so that future researchers do not need to start from scratch and seek out or verify each piece of information, but rather can build on the solid structure left by previous work. When I first begin to make inquiries about the early Virginia Meachams, I was struck by how little documentation was available, despite the large amount of research that had been done by various people, most notably Clarence Mitcham.
On my initial inquiries, someone very kindly sent me a few photocopied pages from Mitcham's book which were relevant to my line. Anyone who has felt the thrill of a sudden breakthough will understand the elation I felt on seeing for the first time the link between the ancestors known for certain by my father (back to his grandfather) and the earlier generations leading ultimately to Virginia. As far back as can be proven (so far!), I am descended from William Meacham originally of Caroline County, Virginia, who died in 1808. An additional thrill came recently when I found evidence indicating that William was the son of Joseph Meacham of Middlesex County, Virginia, who was the son of Joseph Sr., also of Middlesex, who was the son of John Meacham (born about 1640-50), who also lived in Middlesex County. The line cannot be traced back any further at this time.
Around 1775, William moved to Chatham County, North Carolina. Some 30 years later, his son Joseph settled in Christian County, Kentucky, along with his son Edmond. Several generations would live there during the 19th and early 20th centuries: Edmond Jr., Marion D., William F., and Marion H., William Feland.
Marion H. was my grandfather, whom I knew only through the very sketchy
childhood memories my father had of him.
My father was Dr. William Feland Meacham (1913-1999), who had lost both parents by the age of 10 and was raised by his maternal grandmother and other relatives in Hopkinsville.
He went on to become one of the country's great neurosurgeons, but never forgot his roots. By word and deed he showed a deep respect for family ties.
This work on Meacham genealogy is dedicated to his memory.
William Feland Meacham, Jr.