Beck, Jeffrey
Beverley, Capt. Harry
Beverley, Major Robert
Bosley, Sophia
Crowson, Robert
Crowson, William
DeWalt, Daniel Sr.
DeWalt Daniel, Part II
Durck (Derrick), Simon
Fouracres, John
Fouracres, Mary Ann
Fox, Adam
Hatcher, Elder Israel
Hatcher, Reuben Sr.
Hatcher, William
Hixe, John
Krebil, Jakob
Koone, Nicholas
Kuhn, Benedictus
Magill, William II
Martin, Martin
McCarter, James
McInturff, Christopher
McInturff, Israel Sr.
Meckendorfer, Johannes
Mosby, Edward
Ogle, John (of Delaware)
Ogle, Thomas
Ogle, Thomas J.
Owenby, James
Ownby, John
Porter, Ambrose
Ragan, Richard
Ragan, Timothy
Reagan, Daniel Wesley
Robinson, Christopher, I
Robinson, William
Shultz, Dr. Martin
Shultz, Valentine
Sims, Capt. William
Sitton (Sutton), Joseph
Stapleton, Robert
Stentz, Johan Heinrich
Sutton, John
Webb, Merry II
Weigand, Michael
Woodson, Dr. John and Sarah
Wormeley, Elizabeth

Ancestor of the Month

September 2008


John (Johny) Owenby (Ownby)

b. 1735    d. 1824


Almost 275 years ago, our ancestor John “Johny” [sic] Owenby (Ownby) either came to the American colonies or was born here.  There is conflicting information on his place of birth.  Some researchers say he was born in Lancashire, England, where Owenbys have lived since before the Battle of Hastings in 1066.  Others say he was born in Essex County, VA.  Those opting for birth in England say that young Johny came to Virginia with his father, John, Sr. (1710-1793) and his grandfather, Arthur (1670-1737). Arthur died in 1737, two years after Johny’s birth, so if the three did come together from England, that means two men (one about 65 years old and one about 25) brought a baby to start a new life in the new world.  Doubts. 


Owenbys, Ownbees, Onebys in Virginia


If Johny were born in the colonies, however, events would be much more logical.  John, Sr. would have had time to find a wife, marry her, and start a family.


In addition, there are deeds and legal papers that indicate some Owenbys were in Virginia before 1735, the date of Johny’s birth.  First, on 21 Oct 1687, one Arthur OWNBEE of Rappahannock County patented 78 acres.  He received this land for paying transport to the colony for two people: George Smith and “Teague, an Irish boy."  (Virginia paid people with acres of land if they “imported” new colonists.  Usually one importee equaled 50 acres.  For some reason, Arthur received fewer acres than normal.)  Second, a 1714 deed in Essex County shows Samuel Henshaw and Kazia his wife of St. Anne’s Parish selling an Arthur ONBEE, planter, 30 acres in St. Anne’s for 30 Sterling.  Third, there is an appraisal of one Arthur ONEBY’s estate in 1737, the year our Arthur died. 


Considering the inconsistencies of spelling of the period, these three legal documents could all easily concern the same person.  The only problem would be that Arthur would have been 17 years old in 1687.  Could he have patented land at that age?  (Descendants of the Owenby, Ownbee, Onbee family in Sevier County, TN tend to spell their name Ownby.  Just  when this version of the spelling became standardized in the area is unknown.  From this point on, we are going to go with the Tennesseans.)


John Sr.


Whatever the case, somehow a baby or child named Johny Ownby who was born in 1735 ended up in Virginia.   His parents, John, Sr. and his wife (name unknown), moved before 1760 to Albermarle County, Virginia.  (Albemarle later became Amherst County.)  Other than being the parents of Johny Ownby, not much is known about John Ownby, Sr. and his wife.  We do know that besides Johny, they had a son named James with whom John, Sr. moved to Kentucky in 1782, and where, on 26 Nov 1793 John, Sr. left  “all personal property and land to son James as he is getting advanced in age.”    Powell Stamper Ownby is also sometimes listed as John, Sr.’s son.  (See #9 below**) 


Luckily the 1737 estate appraisal for Arthur ONEBY answers some questions about John, Sr.’s relatives since the Arthur Ownby in that case is definitely ours.  The document names Arthur’s 3 surviving children: John Ownby (This would be John, Sr.), Mary (b. c1716) who married James Williamson, and Elizabeth (b. c1718) who married Carter Wells.  The document also mentions Arthur’s grandson Thomas (1628-1798), "the son of Thomas Ownby and Mary Brooks Stamper."  Thus, John, Sr. did have at least one brother—Thomas—and at least two sisters—Mary and Elizabeth.   Brother Thomas had apparently died young. His dates of birth vary from 1687 to 1701 to 1707 (though the 1687 date is suspicious), and he died before his father who died in 1737.  Thomas was probably around 30 or 40 years of age when he died.


Johny and Nannie


We begin to get solid information about 1760 when Johny Ownby married Nancy Ann Porter (1743-1818) in Albemarle County.  Nancy (called Nannie) was born in Orange County, VA.  She was the daughter of Ambrose (1731-1773) and Jemima (Smith?) Porter (no dates).  Nannie’s family had been in VA for at least three generations , and her paternal grandparents Benjamin (1675-?) and Ann Campbell Porter (1704-?) lived nearby.


Johny and Nannie lived in Albemarle County for about 10 years.  During that time they bought land and began their family.  The first five of their fourteen children were born in Albemarle (Amherst) County.


1.      James Ownby, born January 06, 1761 in Amherst, Virginia; died September 26, 1850 in Union Mills, Rutherford Co, North Carolina m. 4 Mar 1785 to Joanna Sims  (Our ancestor) (To learn more about James Ownby, go to the top of this page and click the sentence about previous AOM’s.  When you get to the Archives, scroll down the left margin until you reach James Ownby.  Click.  Voila!)

2.      John Ownby born 1764 Amherst, Virginia; died c1773/1780 (John may have died in the Revolutionary War.)

3.        Milly Ownby born 1766; died c1800

4.        Susannah Ownby, born 1768 in Amherst, Virginia; died Unknown.

5.        Ambrose Ownby, born 1770 in Amherst, Virginia; died Unknown


Land Purchases


When Johny and Nannie began buying land, their first purchase was 359 acres that abutted land belonging to Nannie’s parents.  It was located along the Buffalo River.  They bought this land from Charles Parks on 27 April 1764.   On 5 Sep 1768, they sold 111 acres of the land they had purchased from Charles Park to Martin Trap.  Five months later, on 5 Feb 1769, Johny sold 70 more acres of the Buffalo River land.  This time the buyer was David Blitz who paid nine pounds, twelve shillings for the property.  Nannie relinquished her dower rights to this property when they made that sale.  Johny sold the last of their Buffalo River property 25 Feb 1769 to William Mays.


Move to Pittsylvania County, VA


It is possible that the last of the Buffalo River property was sold to allow the family the freedom to move to Pittsylvania County, VA to be near Nannie’s parents who had apparently moved there.  After arrival in Pittsylvania County, Nannie and Johny had another child whom they named Arthur.   Ambrose Porter, Nannie’s father, was ill and died in 1773.  On 18 June 1773 he had written his will in Pittsylvania County, Virginia  and  added a codicil a week later on 25 June 1773. The will was probated 22 July 1773. (Following is an abstract:)


Last Will and Testament of Ambrose Porter being very sick in body but of perfect mind and memory.

         To my daughter Ann (Nannie) 1 shilling.

         To my daughter Ann’s five youngest children:  John, Milley, Susanna, Ambrose and Arthur to each one cow to be delivered to them as they come of age 9 or 10 years. (Arthur was born in 1772 after the Owenbys moved to Pittsylvania Co.)

         To my daughter Mary 150 acres with the plantation that she now lives on, on White Oak Creek, likewise the 2 cows she now has, 1 feather bed and a side saddle.

         To my two sons Benjamin and Joseph the remainder of my lands to be equally divided.  Benjamin to have the first choice and to Joseph one colt named Partner.  If either or both sons die without issue, then their part or parts to go to my other children.

         To my well beloved wife Jemima Porter all the rest of my estate and the use of my plantation during her life or widowhood.

         To my daughters Jane and Susanna at the death of my wife or her marriage, fifty pounds each out of the moveable estate.

         Should there be anything over that, to be divided amongst my five youngest children:  Mary, Benjamin, Jane, Joseph, and Susannah.

Appoint Henry McDaniell and my son Benjamin Porter executors.

Witnesses:  Richard Taliaferro, Peter James Bailey, Mary (X) Prosigh


Codicil:  If Negro wench Bett continues to breed, her increase to be divided among my five youngest children as mentioned above.

John Donelson security for executors.


Ambrose’s will shows his love for his family, but the codicil unfortunately reflects the attitude of the times toward slaves.


Family Continues to Grow


Johny and Nannie remained in Pittsylvania Co., VA for 7 or 8 more years, and their family continued to grow.


6.      Arthur Ownby 1772 in Pittsylvania  Co., Virginia; died 1861 in Rutherford County, North Carolina. m. 27 Jan 1795 to Barbara Hill (1776-1854).  Arthur and Barbara had eight known children. Arthur is buried in Old Field’s Cemetery in Rutherford Co., NC.

7.      Porter Ownby born 1774 in Pittsylvania Co., Virginia; died 1850 in Blairsville, Union County, Georgia. m 23 Feb 1797 to Martha Morgan, daughter of Rev. Perminter Morgan, a Baptist minister. Porter and Martha moved to Georgia.

8.      Thomas Ownby born 1776 in Pittsylvania Co., Virginia; died 1865. m. (1) 16 Apr 1798 to Mourning Hill m.(2) 10 Dec 1799 to Winnie Shelton

9.      Elizabeth Ownby born 1778 Pittsylvania Co., Virginia; died 1815.  m.  17 Nov 1798 to Powell Stamper Owenby. (**Powell Stamper Ownby was reportedly adopted by Johny and Nannie Owenby [some say he was adopted by John, Sr.; others say by Thomas Ownby—yet there is disagreement as to which Thomas.]   The Ownby name may have been added to Powell’s original family name—Stamper—or, he may have been the son of one of Johny’s brothers (if so, Elizabeth and Powell were cousins.)  If you check back to the 1737 estate settlement, you’ll notice that Arthur’s deceased son Thomas had married a woman named Mary Brooks Stamper.  Thus, the Stamper in Powell’s name may have come from her.  Perhaps Powell was a child from a previous marriage.  Whatever the case, for those interested in solving mysteries, this series of relationships might be fun to figure out.


Family stories tell of Powell being killed by a falling tree.    A neighbor stated,  “He had gone, very early in the morning to chop down a tree to make an Ash trough for his wife. She called him to breakfast, he turned to answer her and the tree fell. The accident took place on Johny [sic] Warren's place - also on Bald Mountain, where Powell and his family were living at the time of his death.”)


Move to North Carolina


Sometime before 1780 the Ownby family decided to move again.  This time their new home was in Tyron County, North Carolina.  Tyron County was a huge county that was later divided into several other counties, including Rutherford, which is where the Ownbys settled.  Again they bought land, and Johny and Nannie stayed in that general area for the rest of their lives.  They lived close to Colonel Hampton's Mill near Cove Road in Rutherford County.  They also continued to add to their family which was destined to grow to a total of 14 children.


10. John Ownby born 11 Jul 1781 in Rutherford Co., North Carolina; died 5 Sep 1869 in Sevier Co., Tennessee  m. (1)14 Mar 1805 to Elizabeth Hill, daughter of John Hill, and (2) 13 Nov 1830 to Lucinda Mary (Lacie) Martin.  (John Ownby was named in honor of his older brother.   The second John served in the War of 1812 as a private in Captain Bradley’s company of North Carolina militia.  As a result of his service, he received 158 acres of land in Sevier County, TN and moved his family there.)

11. Nancy Ann Ownby born 1784 in Rutheford Co., North Carolina; died unknown—probably Illinois.  m. 2 Oct 1803 to Ephraim Hill.  Nancy and Ephraim moved to Illinois about 1805.

12. Infant daughter Ownby born 1786; died before 1800

13. Joseph Ownby born 22 Feb 1788 in Rutherford Co., North Carolina; died September 1875.  m. 1810 to Hannah Wright

14. Nicholas Ownby born 1790 in Rutherford, NC; died unknown—probably Oregon.  m. 23 May 1821 to Lucy A. Martin.  (According to several sources, Nicholas and Lucy moved to Oregon in 1845 as part of the Tetherow Wagon Train.  They took their 5 sons and 2 daughters, a large herd of horses and cattle, and four well-stocked wagons.  All of the Ownbys survived the journey, but son John was later killed by Indians in 1852.  Nicholas must have been fairly affluent, for he hired several young men in Missouri to accompany and assist them along the way.  Memoirs of one of the young men show that Nicholas was a fair, thoughtful employer who was admired by the men he had hired.  The young man said Nicholas treated them, “as if they had been his own sons.”)


(Note:  John, Thomas, Nancy Ann, and Arthur’s spouses were possibly siblings or otherwise related since they were all named Hill.)


Journey’s End


Nannie and Johny lived in Rutherford County another 20 or so years.  Nannie died in 1818 and was buried in Mountain Creek Church Cemetery, five miles north of Rutherfordton, NC.   She was 75 years old.  After her death, Johny may have been restless.  He moved to Montford Cove, NC, for a time and then to Broad River township in Buncombe County, NC.  Broad River was near Bald Mountain where he was living at the time of his death.  (In fact, all these places are near each other.)  Johny died six years after Nannie in 1824 and was buried in Old Field Cemetery which is located about 5 miles north of Bat Cave, NC on NC Hwy #9 in Rutherford County.  He was 89 years old.


We don’t know a great deal about Johny and Nannie, but we do know they were strong and determined enough to carve out a home and living in the American frontier area during a time that took courage and tenacity.  Given the same circumstances, how many of us could do what they did?


Johny Ownby was Eli McCarter’s 3 great grandfather.  If you are Papaw’s great great grandchild, Johny is your 7 great grandfather.


Line of Descent from Johny Ownby to Eli McCarter


Johny Ownby (1735-1824) + Nancy Ann Porter (c1743-1818)

James Ownby (1761-1850) + Joanna Sims (1761-1852)

John Ownby (1791-1857) + Mary Koone  (1793-1881)

Mary Ownby (1814-1846) + Thomas McCarter (1811-1888)

Thomas Hill McCarter (1846-1923) + Marriah Reagan (1842-1923)

Rev. Eli McCarter (1886-1955) + Mary Elizabeth Hatcher (1889-1969)




“Ancestors of William Anderson Chandler” http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/k/e/n/Arva-Jewell-Kennedy-OK/PDFGENE19.pdf


“Descendants of Arthur Owenby.”  http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/w/i/g/Jean-T-Wigglesworth/FILE/0015text.txt


“Descendants of Thomas Oneby.”  http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/c/l/u/Linda-Clubb-CA/PDFODT3.pdf


“Early Ancestry of N. E. GA Counties: Union, Towns, White, Lumpkin, Rabun, Habersham, Dawson, etc.”  http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=jbturner&id=I4689

“Genealogial History of the Ownby Family, The.”  http://www.geocities.com/tracy-1/genealogy/ownby/index.html

“HODGE-L Archives” http://searches2.rootsweb.com/th/read/HODGE/2008-05/1211569184

“John 'Johny' Ownby.” Smokykin.com  http://www.smokykin.com/ged/f000/f90/a0009067.htm

McCarter Family Charts and Traditions

“Owensby Family Home Page, The.” http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/o/w/e/Gerald-Wayne-Owensby/WEBSITE-0001/UHP-0133.html

Ownby Family Genforum  http://genforum.genealogy.com/ownby/messages/107.html


“OwnbyHouse of Names:  http://www.houseofnames.com/fc.asp?sId=&s=Ownby&text2.x=33&text2.y=13


Reagan, Donald B. Smoky Mountain Clans, Volume 3. 1983.




























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