Thursday, August 18, 2005

Braxton Mabry III: Eighteen years along the Tennessee-Kentucky Border

Braxton and Nancy Mabry and their three children left Pittsylvania County, Virginia in about 1808, when Braxton was 58 years old. The Mabrys headed west, settling near the Kentucy-Tennessee border. According to Braxton's declaration in his pension application he was "in Tennessee eighteen years".

The four children who accompanied Braxton and Nancy were James (born between 1790 and 1800, Sarah or Salley (born ~1792, married Reuben Clevenger), Maximillian (born ~1794) and Joel (born between 1800 and 1810). The family name was spelled several different ways during this period, including Mabry, Maberry and Mayberry.

Where exactly did the Mabrys settle? I have not found any record of Braxton Mabry and family in Tennessee or Kentucky prior to 1813. When the 1820 Census was taken, the Mabrys were recorded in Cumberland County, Kentucky. A year later, the family was recorded in Overton County, Tennessee. So where were they exactly?

Perhaps it isn't surprising that Cumberland County, Kentucky and Overton County, Tennessee shared a border in the early 19th century (What was the northern part of Overton County is now part of Clay and Pickett Counties). Indeed, the border between Tennessee and Kentucky was not officially settled until 1818, so, until that time, even the Mabrys may not have known what state they were living in. (It should be noted that the 1810 census was lost for most Tennessee counties, including Overton, so the Mabrys could have been living there at that time).

It appears that by (at least) 1813 the Mabrys were living along the Wolf River, which zigzagged across the border of Cumberland County, Kentucky and Overton County, Tennessee. The evidence for this is summarized below (spellings as in the original records).

Records prior to 1820
In an 1813 Legislative Petition from Overton County, Tennessee James Mabry volunteered "To have a part in the Present War with Britanic Majesty's Savage Allies, Viz. The Creek Nation of Indians" (The Creek War was an offshoot of the War of 1812).

• Reuben Clevenger was granted 50 acres of land in Cumberland County, Kentucky, surveyed September 1, 1818, on "S s Wolf R" (South side of Wolf River?).
From Book L Page 303, iindexed in THE KENTUCKY LAND GRANTS Volume 1 Part 1 CHAPTER VI KENTUCKY LAND WARRANTS (1816-1873) THE COUNTIES OF KENTUCKY, page 507 (at

1820 Census
Note that only the head of household was named. Household members could include relatives as well as servants, farm hands, and lodgers. Reuben Clevenger was listed in both Cumberland County and Overton County.

Paoli, Cumberland County, Kentucky
- Braxton Mayberry: one man and one woman age 45+, one man age 16-26 (probably Joel) and three women age 16-26 (one might be Joel's wife, but the others?). (transcription , image of the census record)
- Maximillian Mayberry: one man and one woman age 16-26, one boy under the age of 5
- Reuben Clavenger : one man age 45+, one woman age 26-45 (Sarah), two girls and three boys under the age of ten (transcription, image of the census record)

Paoli was in the southeastern part of Cumberland County, which is now part of Clinton County, Kentucky. The census entries probably included farmers that lived in the area surrounding Paoli. The Mabrys and the Clevengers are listed as "working in agriculture". Neither family had any slaves.

Overton County, Tennessee
The Census does not give any specific locations within the county.
- James Mabrye : one man and one woman age 26-45, one man age 16-26. (transcription)
- Reuben Clavenger : one man age 45+, one woman age 26-45 (Sarah), two girls and three boys under the age of ten (transcription)

(note that a Jacob Mayberry was also living in Overton County in 1820. He was the son of Frederick Mayberry from Germany, so was not related to our Mabrys.)

Records After 1820

• In May 1820 Clear Fork Baptist Church in Cumberland County, KY "received by experience"James Maberry, Joel Maberry and Rebecca Maberry. Marjera (Maximillian?) and Sarah Maberry were "received" in July of that year. It isn't clear which (if any) church the Mabry family attended prior to 1820.

• In April 1821 Clear Fork Baptist Church dismissed a number of congregants including Maxmillian Mabery, Christianna Mabery, Joel Mabery, Rebecca Mabery, Reuben Clevenger, and Sarah Clevenger "to join a church more convenient for them". In May 1821, letters of dismission were also granted to "Dexter Mabery and wife Nancy" (is this Braxton?) as well as James Mabery and Sally Mabry.

• In May 1821 the Wolf River United Baptist Church was founded in Overton County, Tennessee. Reuben and Sarah Clevenger, MaxMillan and Rebecca Maybery were among the founding members.(the current address of Wolf River Baptist Church is 1390 Jones Chapel Rd, Byrdston (Pickett County), TN

• Joel Mayberry was granted 50 acres of land in Cumberland County, surveyed August 29, 1822, with the nearest watercourse "N s Wolf Cr" (North side of Wolf Creek?).
From Book L Page 300, indexed in THE KENTUCKY LAND GRANTS Volume 1 Part 1 CHAPTER VI KENTUCKY LAND WARRANTS (1816-1873) THE COUNTIES OF KENTUCKY, page 640 (at

• On September 15, 1825 Reuben and Sarah Clevenger "of Overton Co., Tennessee sold land to John Reneau. (Cumberland County, Kentucky Deed Records Book E page 509, cited on the Clevenger Family Genealogy Page).

In about 1826, when Braxton was 76 years old, he, his wife, their children and grandchildren decided to leave Tennesse, heading west toward Illinois and Missouri (leaving Braxton's military papers behind).

Learn more in the next installment!

Note that the Cumberland Co.-Overton Co. border area in which the Mabrys lived is now probably the Clinton Co.-Clay/Pickett Co. border area. This area was partially flooded by the creation of Dale Hollow Lake in the 1940s.

Mohawk Valley Document (describing the early settlement of northern Overton County,TN)
Tennessee in the Creek War (1813-1814) (be sure to look at the slide show).
Historical marker of the Clear Fork Baptist Church, just south of Albany, Kentucky
• Information about the Primitive Baptist Church which includes Clear Fork Church in Clinton Co., KY and Wolf River Church in Overton Co., TN
1807 Survey map (made before the Mabrys arrived in the area)
1839 map of Tennessee and Kentucky (the Cumberland Co-Overton Co area is to the right of the center of the map)
Current map of Clay County, Tennessee
Satellite map of area (if you don't see the satellite image, click "Hybrid").
The World of Dale Hollow

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