Family Stories

What Did I Just Find?

Have you ever been deep in genealogy research and found something that almost made you fall out of your chair?  Well that happened to me yesterday.  Now that Julian is back in school there is a little more time for research outside the home.  There were two new books in the genealogy room at our Mercer County Public Library – two volumes of Mercer County, Kentucky Deed Book Abstracts – 1786-1793 and 1793-1797.  Checking some of the older names I have written about recently, I found an indenture from Lewis Rose, and Barbara, his wife, to David Woods’ heirs and orphans – John Woods, Nancy Woods, William Woods and Betsy Woods.  Dated December 13, 1789, it was for 200 acres for 90 pounds.  The boundaries included land owned by McBride, Mosby’s line and Azor Reese’s preemption.  A note read, it being part of Azor Reese’s preemption.

Another indenture from Azor and Dinah Rees was to John Haggin, August 14, 1787, 504 and one-half acres for the sum of 1,000 pounds, on the head of Cane Run along Robert Mosby’s line.  The adjoining note says, ‘one certain tract or parcel of land containing 504-1/2 acres granted to said Rees by preemption and by a patent granted to said Rees by the Commonwealth of Virginia, bearing date April 6, 1785.’  I checked my Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution and Azor Rees, IP, was listed (IP standing for the Illinois Papers, a collection of rolls of militia and regulars.  Did Azor participate in the Indian raids towards the end of the war?  Another 203 of the original acres was indentured to Thomas Smith, August 14, 1787.  And on August 6th of that same year, 200 acres, for 100 pounds, was indentured to Anna Martin – the same last name as his wife.  Could there be a connection?  And finally, on December 10, 1789, an indenture from Azor Rees and Dinah, his wife, of Bourbon County, District of Kentucky, to Lewis Rose, for 90 pounds – the 200 acres Rose, three days later, sold to the Woods’ orphans.  Another piece of the trek of the Rees family.

Sacred to the memory of Elizabeth Bryan, born Chester County, Pennsylvania, May 10, 1780, died August 10, 1866, aged 86 years, 3 months.  Hunter-Dawson Cemetery, New Madrid, Missouri.

If you remember from earlier writings, Eliza Bryan, who wrote about the 1811 and 1812 earthquakes in New Madrid, Missouri, was the daughter of Azor Rees.  He married Dinah Martin sometime in the 1770’s in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Eliza was born in 1780.  She would have been nine years of age when this indenture was signed in Mercer County.  At some point after 1790 the Rees family moved to New Madrid, Missouri.  Did Azor Rees just own property in Mercer, but lived in Bourbon County?

Let’s pause for just a bit of a history lesson.  In 1789 – the same year as the indenture in Mercer County – Spanish diplomats in Philadelphia encouraged George Morgan, an American military officer, to set up a colony in southern Missouri across from the mouth of the Ohio River, named New Madrid after the capital city in Spain.  Did Azor Rees come to Missouri, specifically New Madrid, at the request of George Morgan?  Spanish rule continued until 1800 when Spain returned Louisiana, including Missouri, to France.  New Madrid was a county in Missouri Territory in 1804, after Thomas Jefferson purchased the Louisiana territory in 1803.

Eliza Rees married a Mr. Bryan, who served in the American army as a surgeon.  I’ve found no marriage records for Eliza Rees and Mr. Bryan – in Kentucky or New Madrid.  Could they have married elsewhere?  Evidently Eliza could read and speak perfect French – and visited Natchez in Louisiana.  Could their marriage have occurred there?  In such an early time many marriage records were lost, especially when the areas were back and forth between governments of different nations.  We may never know.

But I thought you should know there are still surprises that can make me sit up and take notice.

3 replies »

  1. Interesting since I have Reese/Reese connection to Ky. I have only been able to trace him to Fayette Co when he married Hannah Hall in 1818. John H. Reese died in Morgan county, IL 1846. Has anyone worked on the genealogy of this Azor Rees?

  2. Oh my gosh!!!!! You wrote this for me!!! I also found my ancestor in Virginians in themRev War, and with an IP! I posted it on all county and historical,sites, and the best answer I got was Infantry Private. Which did not sound right to me.

    Thank you for another great post. And I Have been chasing the Illinois campaign as there is some reference in Sullivan Indiana.

    Sent from my iPad


  3. My great brick wall, great grandfather Thomas Bryant lived in the NE corner of Washington Co, was born 1830 and married Mariam McMichael in Anderson County, and probably died at his son Delbert/Stewart’s house in Duganville, Mercer Co. Places him in the Antioch, Duganville, Seaville area. He lived on Sulfur Lick Creek. I have a pic of him and his wife and two youngest children at this house. His daughter Susan married William Wesley Hendren from just across the creek. His daughter Victoria Alice married a George Washington Bowen and is buried beside him at the Antioch Christian Church graveyard. Sadly, I have been unable to confirm any ancestors of Thomas. He was a farrier in the 54th Mounted Infantry Regiment during the Civil War, and we have a picture of him with his fellow soldiers at a reunion at Antioch Church. I’m always looking for clues in the Bryant/Bryan history in the central KY area. Need to try and dig up your post on Eliza Bryan. Could she have been a sibling/mother to my Thomas? Is the relocation of the family to Missouri why I’ve had problems?

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