Thursday, December 17, 2009

Martha Ann "Annie" Harrelson Letter (30 December 1940)

Martha Ann "Annie" Harrelson Letter (30 December 1940)

(This letter was probably written to Sallie Gertrude (Crutchfield) Gunn. The 1900 US Census lists her given name as "Gertrude". Her husband, Perley Ovid Gunn was a grandson of Barzillia Powell. Barzillia's daughter, Louvenia Frances Powell, married a John Allen Gunn.)

Source: Elvin Meyers ( 16 December 2009

December 30, 1940
Dear Cousin Gertrude,

Just received your nice letter. I do not have a Kodak but will try to get some one to make a picture of Sterling Gunn's Rock.

Polly Powell was my daddy's mother. She married James C. Harrelson January 6, 1834. Polly was born January 27, 1810, and died November 5, 1856. My dad, John F. Harrelson, was Polly's oldest child. There were 11. Thomas, the youngest, died 3 years ago, age 85 years.

I heard John Allen Powell went to Missouri from North Carolina after his father, Peter Powell, Jr. died and lived with William Powell, brother of Peter Powell, Jr. and I heard that John Allen went to Texas after he got grown and was never heard of anymore. I have been told that Peter Powell, Jr. died in North Carolina.

I will go to Yanceyville soon and see what what I can get about the Powells. I have been told Brazillia Powell married a Miss Poteat of North Carolina the first time and a Miss Sparrow the second time. I know the Poteats real well but the old Powells are dead and the young people do not know anything about their people away back. This Miss Poteat that Brazillia married was Miles Poteat's daughter, sister to the one Henry Powell married. I am kin to the Gunns on both sides. My mother was a Hooper. Sterling Gunn married Mary Hooper who was Ben Hooper's sister. Ben Hooper was my ggrandfather.

One of my Grandpa Harrelson's sisters married a Gunn and I live alone and we could not leave My mother has been dead 11 years last May. My daddy has been dead 28 years. My daddy has a brother Pete Harrelson that lived in Bowling Green, Missouri. Pete is dead ... children near Bowling Green, Missouri. I know J. A. Mo... real well. I went to school with him in Yanceyville. I have heard my daddy say he remembered Uncle Baz (Brazillia) and Uncle Henry coming from Missouri to see Grandma (Polly). One of them gave one of Papa's sisters a gold piece and she had a pin made.

Annie Harrelson,
R. F. D.

It is likely that Reverend Barzillai Graves was born in Caswell County, North Carolina, and not in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, as some researchers have concluded Louise Graves reports that the father of Reverend Barzillai Graves, John Graves, Sr., moved his wife and four children to Caswell County in the year 1753 or 1754. Thus, as Reverend Barzillai Graves was not born until 1759, he would have been born in Caswell County, and these records have been so amended.

However, where the Reverend Barzillai Graves was buried after his death in 1827 is unknown. Note that one family record (papers of Robert Sterling Graves) states that the wife of Reverend Barzillai Graves, Ursula Wright Graves (who survived him around sixteen years), was buried at Mollie Harrelson's. Mollie was a nickname for Mary and Margaret.

An article in the Caswell County Heritage Book sheds a bit more light on this Mollie Harrelson:

The death of the Rev. Graves was on 14 July 1827 and the widow died 27 November 1845. In his will his daughter Mary was to have the home and she and her husband agreed with the widow to remain there and take care of her. Mary married General Thomas Graves. The home was on south side of Country Line Creek, and was later purchased by Harrelsons with Misses Annie and Mollie Harrelson being the last to reside there. It burned about 10 years ago.

Source: The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 234 (Article #259, "(Reverend) Barzillai Graves" by Katharine Kerr Kendall).

There were two spinster Harrelson sisters who lived for many years with their widowed mother south of Yanceyville. They were Mollie and Annie Harrelson; and their mother was Aurelia Harrelson, who lived into her eighties. Mollie's name was Mary E. Harrelson. Annie was Annie M. Harrelson (Martha Ann Harrelson). The head of this family apparently was John Forbes Harrelson (1834-1912), and it could have been he who purchased the Barzillai Graves property from descendants of Barzillai Graves. Mary Sims Graves, to whom the Reverend Barzillai Graves willed the property, died in 1875. Her husband died in 1877. They did, however, have children. Thus, when the Harrelson family came into possession of the Graves property is unknown. As of the 1880 US Census the John Forbes Family was living in Dan River Township, which is north of Yanceyville. The 1910 census gives a Yanceyville Township address. Thus, the acquisition could have occurred between 1880 and 1910. Any search for the gravesite of Reverend Barzillai Graves should begin where his wife was buried -- at "Mollie Harrelson's."

For more go to Reverend Barzillai Graves.

For the article on Reverend Barzillai Graves in The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) go to Reverend Barzillai Graves (1759-1827).


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