Looks like my grandson’s family tree – is bigger then Texas! No wonder we beat the Nazis! Remember the Alamo!
DAVID AND ELIZABETH (PATTON) CROCKETT
submitted by Bruce Whitaker
Elizabeth Patton was born in Swannanoa, Buncombe County, NC, on May 22, 1788, one of the younger children of Robert and Rebecca (..) Patton. She married her first cousin, James Patton, son of her father’s brother Elijah. Elizabeth and James Patton moved to West Tennessee, probably Gibson County and were living there when James became involved in fighting in the Creek Indian War during which he served under General Andrew Jackson. He was wounded at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814, and as he lay dying he asked his friend and fellow Indian fighter, David Crockett, to take his personal effects back to his wife. David honored his friend’s dying request and in the process of returning the personal belongings, met Elizabeth Patton.
A short time later, David’s own wife Polly (Finley) Crockett died. He then thought of the pretty widow Patton, and upon inquire, he found that she had moved back to her father’s home in Swannanoa in Buncombe County, NC. He followed her there. Robert Patton’s home was located on the exact site of the present Laura Shuford’s house which is near the new Swannanoa Elementary School. Although Elizabeth Patton was pleased by David Crockett’s attention, she was not “bowled over,” and it took Crockett a considerable length of time to persuade Elizabeth to marry him. Some say they were married here in Swannanoa. Others say they went back to Tennessee to be married, but either way, they were living in West Tennessee shortly after their marriage in 1815.
Elizabeth did not find David Crockett to be a steady husband/farmer who stayed at home to till the land and care for his family and stock. Instead, it was mostly left to Elizabeth to run the home and garden and raise their three children as best she could while David made a precarious living as a hunter, and taking frequent long trips as a guide and trailblazer, helping other people travel or locate places to settle.
In the course of this activity David Crockett was a frequent visitor to Buncombe County. David and his companions frequently travelled the road from Asheville to Old Fort by way of Black Mountain. As a result of some local “political shenanigans” a toll charge was put on this road. Crockett and others were furious, and decided to find another way to get from Asheville to Old Fort. Crockett went up the old Asheville-Charlotte Road (now U.S. 74) to Fairview. There, about a mile and a half past Mine Hole Gap, they started clearing a bridle trail east to Old Fort. This is the present “Old Fort Road” in Faiview, and for a time after Crockett cleared it, the road was known as “David Crockett’s Bridle Trail.” This was in 1816. Sarah Whitaker Jenkins who lived from 1801 to 1896, recalled the event. She said that when she was about 15 years old, Crockett and his friends stopped at her father’s house, her father being William Whitaker Sr. (1772-1806). They asked for water first, and then for something to eat. Fifteen-year old “Sallie” helped her mother Mary Canady Whitaker (1772-1848) prepare supper for the men. Crockett spent the night with the Whitaker family.
The McBrayer family tell a story about their ancestor’s encounter with David Crockett during one of his trips through here. They believe it was Samuel McBrayer (1771-1846) who was out hunting one day near his home on the present Old Fort Road in Fairview. He saw a wild turkey, raised his gun and fired, but just as he fired, he heard another shot. David Crockett had also spotted the same turkey at the same time. Since the men could not determine whose shot had brought the bird down, they decided to split it.
The Cooper family also have a memory of a social encounter with David Crockett. Elizabeth Cooper Hill was born in Fairview on October 24, 1811, the
daughter of Revolutionary Soldier Adam Cooper (1760-1830) and his wife Elizabeth Forgay. Elizabeth, who married Felix Walker Hill (1806-1883) recorded in their Bible that “at age 15” she (Elizabeth) played the fiddle while David Crockett danced at the Cooper home. This was in Fairview in 1826.
Later that same year David Crockett was elected to Congress from West Tennessee.
At Robert Patton’s home there was an oak tree called “The Target Tree.” Here Patton and son-in-law Crockett would set up targets for shooting matches. The tree stood until the 1950’s when it was struck by lightning.
In 1831 Elizabeth Patton Crockett herself returned to Swannanoa for a visit. When she was ready to go back, her father Robert Patton decided to go with her, and died there a year later in 1832. David Crockett became the administrator of his estate.
In 1834 Crockett was defeated for reelection in Congress, and soon after that he and his nephew William Patton went to Texas to explore the are and decide upon a suitable place for relocating their families. While there, the men became involved with the Texan war with Mexico and were killed on March 6, 1836 in the Battle of the Alamo. Some time later Elizabeth and their three children, John W., William and Margaret, carried out the moved to Texas on their own, and Elizabeth died on January 31, 1860, in Acton, Texas, in Johnson County, now known as Hood County.
John Preston was born in Ireland, in the city of Derry, and emigrated to this country in the year 1740. About fifteen years before leaving Ireland, he married Miss Elizabeth Patton, of the county of Donegal, and had five children, all born in Ireland, with whom, and his excellent wife, and also his brother-in-law, Colonel James Patton, he came to America, and settled in Virginia. Colonel Patton was a man of wealth and worth, and had for some years commanded a merchant ship. He obtained an order of the council of Virginia, under which were appropriated to himself and associates one hundred and twenty thousand acres of the best land above the Blue Ridge in that state, several valuable tracts of which came to his descendants. He was killed by the Indians in 1753.
John Preston was also a wealthy man, but in a severe storm, on his passage to this country, lost much of his property. He obtained a valuable tract of land, called “Robinson’s,” which descended to his son, and, until recently, remained in the family. Others of his family, cousins or nephews, probably, came with him, or soon after his arrival, as we find that his grandchild, Margaret Brown Preston, married a distant relative, son of Robert Preston. His first residence was at Spring Hill, in Augusta county, but in about three years he purchased, and, with his family, settled upon a large tract of land adjoining Staunton, on the north side of the town. In seven years after his arrival in this country, he died, and was buried at Tinkling Spring Meeting-house, a celebrated pioneer place of Presbyterian worship. His wife and five children survived him. Mrs. Preston was a lady of great strength and energy of character, and she managed the plantation upon which she lived, until her distinguished children were all educated, grown up, and married. She then removed to Greenfield, the seat of her son, William Preston, where she died, in the year of the Declaration of Independence, at the age of seventy-six, having survived her husband twenty-nine years.
The children of John Preston and Elizabeth Patton were Letitia, who married Colonel Robert Breckinridge; Margaret, who married Rev. John Brown; William, who married Susanna Smith; Ann, who married Colonel Francis Smith; and Mary, who married John Howard, all of Virginia, from each of whom sprang a race of illustrious Americans, and illustrating the history of a great many of the states of the Union.
Over the grave, at Tinkling Spring Meeting-house, of this Irishman, the founder of so many American families, stands an obelisk with the following inscription:
To commemorate the virtues of
Who was buried here in the year
To attest the filial piety of his
In the third and fourth generations,
Of many names and scattered through many states.
And, more than all, to record
The faithfulness and mercy of God
To the seed of the righteous.
This monument was erected by the
Members of the
In the year of our Lord
Letitia, his eldest child, married Colonel Robert Breckinridge, of Botetourt county, Virginia, who was also Irish. After the death of her husband, she removed to Kentucky, where she died, in 1798, aged seventy years. She had five children—four sons and one daughter. Her eldest son, William Breckinridge, resided in Fayette county, Kentucky. He married a young lady named Gilham, and had six children. The eldest of these, Robert H. Breckinridge, married Miss Elizabeth Pollard. The second child, John B. Breckinridge, was a merchant in Staunton, Virginia, and left several children. The third child, Elizabeth Breckinridge, married Andrew Calvin, and left several children. The fourth child, Samuel M. Breckinridge, was an officer in the United States navy.
The second child of Letitia Preston and Colonel Robert Breckinridge, John Breckinridge, was a lawyer and statesman of high standing. He was a senator in Congress, and attorney-general of the United States in the cabinet of President Jefferson. He married Miss Mary Hopkins Cabell, of a noted Virginia family, and died in 1806, leaving seven children, great-grandchildren of John Preston. The eldest of these, Letitia Breckinridge, was twice married. Her first husband was Alfred Grayson, who left one son, John B. Grayson, who was an officer in the United States army, and afterward a general officer in the Confederate service. He married Miss C. Searle, of New Orleans, and left a son, John B. Grayson, Jr., who was also an officer in the Confederate service, and was afterward a planter near Gainesville, Alabama. Her second husband was Major-General Peter B. Porter, of Niagara Falls, also Irish, who was offered by President Madison, and declined, the appointment of general-in-chief of the army of the United States, and was secretary of war in the cabinet of President John Quincy Adams. He distinguished himself in the second war, at Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane, for which he received a gold medal from Congress and a sword from the State of New York, and, better than all, a good wife from this old Irish family of Virginia, by whom he had several children, one of whom, Peter A. Porter, was a colonel of New York volunteers, and was killed at the battle of Cold Harbor. This Peter A. Porter married his cousin, Mary Cabell Breckinridge, daughter of Rev. John Breckinridge, the distinguished professor of Princeton College, and granddaughter of Rev. Doctor Miller, president of Princeton College. Another son of Peter B. Porter was Augustus S. Porter, United States senator from Michigan. It will be noticed that this Letitia Breckinridge gave a gallant officer to each side in the recent contest. The second child of this John Breckinridge was Joseph Cabell Breckinridge, speaker of the house of representatives of Kentucky, and secretary of the State of Kentucky. He married Miss Mary C. Smith, daughter of Dr. Smith, president of Princeton College, another Irish-American, and had four children—Frances A., who married Rev. John C. Young, president of Danville College, Kentucky; Caroline L., who married Rev. Joseph J. Bullock, a famous divine of Kentucky, and afterward of Baltimore; Mary Cabell, who married Dr. Thomas P. Satterwhite, of Lexington, Kentucky; and John Cabell Breckinridge, member of Congress and senator from Kentucky, Vice-President of the United States, a major-general and secretary of war of the Confederate states, and a candidate for President of the United States. He married Miss Burch, of Scott county, in Kentucky, and their son, Clifton R. Breckinridge, is the distinguished member of the present Congress from the second district of the State of Arkansas. Of the descendants of this Joseph Cabell Breckinridge are the Routs of Kentucky, the Douglasses of Kentucky, the Crafts of Mississippi, the Bullocks of Kentucky and Maryland, the Satterwhites of Kentucky—the children and children’s children of the great-great-grandchildren of the Irish John Preston. The sixth child of this John Breckinridge was Rev. John Breckinridge. He was twice married, first to the daughter of President Miller, of Princeton College, and second to Agatha M. Babcock, of Connecticut. He had four children—Samuel M. Breckinridge, a lawyer and judge of St. Louis, Missouri, who married Miss Virginia Castleman, of Fayette county, Kentucky, and had a large family; Mary C, who married her cousin, Peter A. Porter, above mentioned; Margaret M., who was distinguished for hospital and other charities during the recent war, who died unmarried; and Agatha M., daughter of his second wife, Miss Babcock. The seventh child of this John Breckinridge was Robert J. Breckinridge, the distinguished theologian of Baltimore. He was thrice married. His first wife was his relative, Miss Sophonisba Preston, daughter of General Francis Preston, sister of William C. Preston, of South Carolina, and grand-niece of Governor Patrick Henry. He had fourteen children, of whom the fifth, Sally C. Breckinridge, married Rev. George Morrison, of Maryland; the sixth, Robert J. Breckinridge, Jr., a lawyer, a colonel in the Confederate army, and member of the Confederate congress, married Miss Kate Morrison, of Lexington, Kentucky. The seventh, Marie L. P. Breckinridge, married Rev. W. C. Handy, of Maryland. The eighth, William C. P. Breckinridge, a lawyer of Lexington, Kentucky, and a colonel in the Confederate army. He is a member of the present Congress, of silver hair and silver tongue, and a notable member of this Scotch-Irish Congress. He was twice married, first to Miss Lucretia Clay, daughter of Thomas H. Clay, and granddaughter of Henry Clay; second, to Miss Issa Desha, daughter of Dr. J. R. Desha, of Lexington, by whom he has several children. The ninth, Sophonisba P. Breckinridge, married Dr. Theophilus Steele, formerly of Woodford county, Kentucky, and afterward of New York City, a major in the Confederate army. The tenth, Joseph C. Breckinridge, a major of artillery in the United States army, married Miss. Dudley, daughter of Dr. Ethelbert L. Dudley, of Lexington. The eleventh, Charles H. Breckinridge, a captain in the United States army. The eighth child of this John Breckinridge was Rev. William L. Breckinridge, for a time president of Danville College, afterward a resident of Missouri. He married Miss Frances C. Prevost, daughter of Judge Prevost, of Louisiana. He had twelve children, of whom Robert J. Breckinridge, a physician in Louisville, married Miss Kate Hunt, daughter of A. D. Hunt, of that city.
The third child of Letitia Preston and Colonel Robert Breckinridge was James Breckinridge, a lawyer in Virginia, a member of the legislature of Virginia, and a member of Congress from that state from 1809 to 1817. He married Miss Ann Seidell, and had ten children, of whom the eldest child, Letitia Breckinridge, married Colonel Robert Gamble, of Richmond, Virginia, afterward of Tallahassee, Florida, and had nine children: (1) Catharine Gamble, who married John S. Sheppard, of Florida, and left children and grandchildren, named Sheppard and Beard; (2) James B. Gamble, who was twice married, first to his cousin, Miss Mary S. Watts, and, second, to Miss ,T. Rosetta Morris, of New York; (3) Cary B. Gamble, who resided in Cambridge, Maryland, married Miss Shaw, of Florida, and was a surgeon in the Confederate service; (4) Letitia Gamble, who married, first, Louis P. Holliday, and, second, C. H. Latrobe, of Baltimore; (5) Edward W. Gamble, an artillery officer in the Confederate army; and, (6), Robert B. Gamble, of Tallahassee, Florida, a captain of artillery in the Confederate army, who married Miss Chavis, of Florida. The second child of James Breckinridge, Elizabeth, married General Edward Watts, a lawyer, and speaker of the Virginia legislature. She had ten children, the third one of whom, William Watts, was a member of the constitutional convention of Virginia, and a colonel of infantry in the Confederate army, who married a daughter of Judge J. J Allen, of Virginia; the fourth, Ann S. Watts, married Hon. J. P. Holcombe, of Bedford county, Virginia, who was a distinguished lawyer and one of the diplomatic agents of the Confederate states; the seventh, Letitia G. Watts, who married, first, Dr. Landon Rives, of Cincinnati, and, second, Dr. F. Sorrel, of Savannah, medical inspector of the Confederate army, resident of Roanoke county, Virginia ; the eighth, Alice M. Watts, who married, first, Dr. George W. Morris, and, second, Judge William J. Robertson, of Charlotte-ville, Virginia; and the ninth, Emma G. Watts, who married Colonel George W. Carr, of the United States and Confederate army.
The third child of James Breckinridge, Cary Breckinridge, married Miss Gilmer, and had nine children, of whom the second, Gilmer Breckinridge, married Miss Julia Anthony, of Botetourt county, Virginia, and was a captain in the Confederate army, and fell in battle ; the third, James Breckinridge, married Miss Burwell, of Bedford county, Virginia, was an officer in the Confederate army, and fell in battle; the fourth, Cary Breckinridge, was a colonel of cavalry in the Confederate army, and married Miss Virginia Caldwell, of Greenbrier county, Virginia; and the seventh, John, was an officer in the Confederate army, killed in battle, and unmarried.
The fifth child of James Breckinridge, Matilda, married H. M. Bowyer, of Botetourt county, Virginia, and had eight children, of whom the fourth, Mary Ann Bowyer, married William Penn; the sixth, Woodville Bowyer, was an officer in the Confederate service, and fell in battle; and the seventh, Edward Bowyer, died a surgeon in the Confederate service.
The fourth child of Letitia Preston and Colonel Robert Breckinridge, Elizabeth Breckinridge, married Colonel Samuel Meredith, of Amherst, Virginia, afterward of Fayette county, Kentucky, who was a nephew of Patrick Henry. She had five daughters, the second of whom, Letitia P. Meredith, married Colonel W. S. Dallam, of Baltimore, afterward of Kentucky; the fourth, Elizabeth Meredith, married James Coleman, of Fayette county, Kentucky, and had eight children.
Margaret, the second child of John Preston and Elizabeth Patton, married the Rev. John Brown, a graduate of Princeton, and a distinguished Presbyterian minister of Virginia and Kentucky. She and her husband removed from Virginia to Kentucky, where they died, she in 1802 and he in 1803. They had seven children who reached maturity, of whom the eldest, Elizabeth Brown, married Rev. Thomas B. Craighead, a well known Presbyterian minister of Tennessee, and had seven children. Their eldest child, John B. Craighead, was a planter in Iberville, Louisiana, and married, first, Mrs. Jane Dickerson, daughter of Colonel Joseph Erwin, of Louisiana, and, second, Mrs. Beck, daughter of General James Robertson.
The second child of Margaret Preston and Rev. John Brown, John, was born in Rockbridge county, Virginia, was a lawyer and statesman, represented Kentucky as a district of Virginia in the Virginia legislature, and in Congress, in the old Congress, 1787-8. He was the first senator in Congress from Kentucky, and was twice elected United States senator. He was a warm personal friend of Thomas Jefferson. He married Miss Margaretta, daughter of the Rev. John Mason, and sister of Rev. John M. Mason, the illustrious Presbyterian minister of New York. They had two sons, Mason and Orlando. Mason Brown was a judge and secretary of state of Kentucky. He married, first, Miss Judith A., daughter of Hon. Jesse Bledsoe, and, second, Miss Mary, daughter of Captain Jacob Yoder, of Spencer county, Kentucky. His son, Benjamin Gratz Brown, of Missouri, great-great-grandson of John Preston, was senator from Missouri, and Democratic candidate for vice-president on the ticket with Horace Greeley, another Irish-American. John Mason Brown, son of Mason Brown, a prominent lawyer of Lexington, married Mary Owen, daughter of Major-General William Preston, of Louisville. Mary Y. Brown, daughter of Mason Brown, married W. T. Scott, of Lexington, a colonel of Kentucky volunteers in the United States army. The other son of John Brown and Margaretta Mason, Orlando Brown, lawyer and journalist, married, first, his cousin, Mary W. Brown, and, second, Mary C. Brodhead, formerly Miss Price. By his first wife he had three children, one of whom, Mason P., was for some time treasurer of Kentucky, and Orlando, Jr., a lieutenant-colonel of Kentucky volunteers in the United States army, and farmer near Frankfort.
The fourth child of Margaret Preston and Rev. John Brown was Mary, who married Dr. Alexander Humphreys, of Staunton, Virginia, and after her husband’s death removed to Kentucky with her family of seven children. Her son, John B. Humphreys, married Miss Kenner, of Louisiana, and left six children.
The fifth child of Margaret Preston and Rev. John Brown, James Brown, was a lawyer, and first secretary of state of Kentucky, went to Louisiana, and was for many years senator of the United States from that state, was United States minister to the court of France. He married Ann Hart, daughter of Colonel Thomas Hart and sister to Mrs. Henry Clay, of Kentucky. He died at Philadelphia, and, differing from most of his kindred, left no descendants.
The sixth child of Margaret Preston and Rev. John Brown, Samuel Brown, was a distinguished practitioner and professor of medicine, married Miss Percy, of Alabama. His son, James P. Brown, a lawyer and planter in Mississippi, married Miss Campbell, of Nashville, Tennessee. His son, George Campbell Brown, married Miss Susan, daughter of General Lucius Polk, of Tennessee. Susan P. Brown, the daughter of this Samuel Brown, married Charles Ingersoll, of Philadelphia, and his daughters, Adele, Ann W., Betty, and Kate M. P. Ingersoll, married respectively, John M. Thomas, a Philadelphia lawyer, Dr. James H. Hutchinson, of Philadelphia, Arthur Armory, of Boston and New York, and Dr. Francis Maury, formerly of Kentucky and afterward of Philadelphia.
William, the third child and only son of John Preston, of Ireland, was born in Ireland, and was eight years of age when his parents brought him to this country. He became a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, and was county lieutenant of Fincastle and Montgomery. He was a zealous rebel in the Revolution. He married Miss Susanna Smith, of Hanover county, Virginia, daughter of Francis Smith and Elizabeth Waddy. He left eleven children, each of whom became the ancestor of a noble race of men and women. I mention them in the order of their age:
First child, Elizabeth Preston, married William S. Madison, who died during the Revolutionary War, and left two daughters, Susanna Madison and Agatha Strother Madison. Susanna married John Howe Peyton, an eminent lawyer of Staunton, Virginia, and their son, William Madison Peyton, married Miss Sallie Taylor, and had eight children, of whom Susan M. Peyton married Joseph Howard White, and, afterward, Colonel Washington, of North Carolina, Sally T. Peyton married Thomas Read, and, afterward, Dr. James T. L. White, of Abingdon, Virginia; Agatha Garnett Peyton married Walter Preston, of Abingdon, who became a member of the Confederate Congress. Agatha Strother Madison, the second daughter of Elizabeth Preston and William S. Madison, married Garnett Peyton, brother to John Howe Peyton, her sister’s husband, who was an officer in Wayne’s Campaign, and, afterward, a farmer. Among her children were Benjamin Howard Peyton, who married Mrs. Ellis, daughter of Colonel William Mumford, of Richmond, Virginia, and William Preston Peyton, who married Miss Mumford, of Richmond, and afterward resided in Missouri.
Second child, John Preston, was a member of the Virginia legislature, and for many years treasurer of that state. He married, first, Miss Mary Radford, of Richmond, Virginia, and, second, Mrs. Mayo, formerly Miss Carrington. He had six children: William R. Preston, who married Miss Elizabeth Cabell, of Lynchburg, and removed to Missouri. His children, three sons and seven daughters, intermarried with the Tallys, Randolphs, Williamsons, and Des Meux. This John Preston’s third child, Eliza M., married Charles Johnston, a lawyer and member of Congress from Virginia, 1801-2. Their son, J. Preston Johnston, fell at Cherubusco, in the Mexican War. The fifth child of this John Preston, Sarah Preston, married Henry Bowyer, of Rockbridge, Virginia; one of their children, Thomas M. Bowyer, was a major in the Confederate service, and his sister, Sarah L. Bowyer, married Dr. Meredith, of Richmond, Virginia. This John Preston’s sixth child, Edward C. Preston, married Miss Hawkins, of Kentucky. His son, Edward C. Preston, Jr., was a planter, in St. Laundry county, Louisiana.
Third child, Francis Preston, was a lawyer, a member of the Virginia legislature, a congressman from that state (1793-7), a brigadier-general in the War of 1812. He married Miss Sarah B. Campbell, daughter of General William Campbell, another Irish-American, who commanded at King’s Mountain, and a niece of Patrick Henry. He had ten children, illustrious in themselves and their children: (1) William C. Preston, the great advocate and matchless orator of South Carolina, senator from South Carolina, and president of her University. He was twice married; first, to Miss Mary C. Coalter, and second, to Miss L. P. Davis. His children all died in infancy or unmarried. (2) Eliza Henry Preston, married General Edward C. Carrington, an officer of distinction in the War of 1812. Her three sons distinguished themselves in the last war; one on the Union side, and two in the Confederate service. Edward C. Carrington, who was captain in the Mexican War and brigadier-general in the Union army, was a lawyer, a member of the Virginia Legislature, and United States attorney for the District of Columbia. Her second son, William Campbell Preston Carrington, was a lawyer in St. Louis, a major in the Confederate service, several times brevetted for gallantry, and fell in battle at Baker’s Creek, near Vicksburg. Her third son, James McDowell Carrington, was a lawyer, resident in Charlottesville, and an officer of artillery in the Confederate service. (3) Susan L. Preston, married her cousin, James McDowell, also Irish; member of Congress and governor of Virginia, as we shall see immediately. (4) Sally Buchanan Preston, married her cousin, John B. Floyd, governor of Virginia. (5) Sophonisba, married her relative, Dr. Robert J. Breckinridge, whose distinguished family is already mentioned. (6) Maria T. C. Preston, married John M. Preston, a merchant, of Smith county, Virginia, and left two sons, who married into the families of Cochran and Woodson, and had each several children. (7) Charles H. C. Preston, married Miss Beall. (8) John S. Preston, a member of the South Carolina Legislature, and a brigadier-general in the Confederate army, married Miss Caroline, daughter of General Wade Hampton, Sr., of South Carolina. (9) Thomas L. Preston, married, first, his relative, Miss Elizabeth Watts, and, second, Miss Ann Sanders. (10) Margaret B. Preston, married Wade Hampton, lieutenant-general in the Confederate service, and governor of South Carolina; and her (Mrs. Wade Hampton’s) daughter married Major James Haskell, of South Carolina; and her son, Thomas P. Hampton, an officer in the Confederate service, fell in battle.
Fourth child of William Preston, Sarah, married Colonel James McDowell, of Rockbridge county, Virginia, who was an officer in the War of 1812. She left two daughters and a son. The eldest daughter, Susan S. McDowell, married William Taylor, of Alexandria, Virginia, a lawyer and member of Congress from Virginia, and had six children and numerous grandchildren. One of these six children married John B. Weller, member of Congress from Ohio (1839-45), United States senator from California, governor of California, and United States minister to Mexico. The second daughter of Sarah Preston, Elizabeth McDowell, married Thomas Hart Benton, the illustrious senator from Missouri, who held a continuous term of thirty years in the United States Senate. She had six children, of whom the first, Eliza P., married William Cary Jones, a lawyer, of New Orleans; the second, Jessie, married Major-General John C. Fremont, the distinguished explorer, and the first Republican candidate for President of the United States; the third, Sarah, married Richard T. Jacob, a colonel of United States volunteers, a member of the legislature, and lieutenant-governor of Kentucky; and the sixth, Susan V., married Baron Gauldree Boilleau, French minister to Peru, etc.; and most of them leaving numerous children, some of whom are in the army and navy. The son of this Sarah Preston and Colonel James McDowell, was James McDowell; born in Rockbridge county, Virginia, 1796; graduated at Princeton, 1817; governor of Virginia, 1842-5; and member of Congress, 1845-51. He married his cousin, Susan, daughter of General Francis Preston, and left nine children, of whom the first, James McDowell, was a physician, resident in Paris, France, married to Miss Elizabeth Brant, of St. Louis; the second, Sally C. McDowell, married Governor Francis Thomas, of Maryland, and, afterward, Rev. John Miller, of Petersburg, Virginia; the third, Mary B. McDowell, married Rev. Mr. Ross, of Bladensburg; the fifth, Sophonisba McDowell, married Colonel J. W. Massie, of the Virginia Military Institute; the sixth, Susan P. McDowell, married Major Charles S. Carrington; the seventh, Margaret Canty McDowell, married Charles S. Venable, of the University of Virginia; and the eighth, Thomas L. McDowell, married Miss Constance Warwick, of Powhatan, Virginia, and died in the Confederate service.
The fifth child, William Preston, was a captain in General Wayne’s army. He married Miss Caroline Hancock, of Virginia, and resided in Louisville, Kentucky. He had six children: (1) Henrietta Preston, who married Albert Sidney Johnston, at that time an officer of the United States army, afterward a general in Texas, and perhaps the ablest general in the Confederate service. His eldest son, William Preston Johnston, great-great-grandson of John Preston, a colonel in the Confederate service, and confidential aide to President Jefferson Davis, and a professor in Washington College, Virginia, married to Miss Rosa Duncan, of Natchez, and father of numerous children, has recently published a very interesting biography of his illustrious father. (2) Maria Preston, who married John Pope, of Louisville. (3) Caroline Preston, who married Colonel Abram Woolley, of the United States army. (4) Josephine Preston, who married Captain Jason Rogers, of the United States army.’ Her son, William Preston Rogers, married Miss Sophia L. Ranney, of Louisville. Her daughter, Susan Rogers, married J. Watson Barr, a lawyer, of Louisville. Her second son, Sidney Johnston Rogers, married Miss Belle, daughter of T. Y. Brent, of Louisville; and her second daughter, Maria P. Rogers, married her relative, Dr. Thomas P. Satterwhite. (5) William Preston, an eminent lawyer and distinguished statesman and soldier, member of the constitutional convention of Kentucky, lieutenant-colonel in the Mexican war, member of Congress from Kentucky, United States minister to the court of Spain, and major-general in the Confederate army. He married his relative, Miss Margaret, daughter of Robert Wickliffe, of Kentucky. His eldest daughter, Mary Owens, married her relative, John Mason Brown, lawyer of Louisville. His second daughter married Robert A. Thornton, a lawyer of Lexington, Kentucky. And (6) Susan Preston, who married, first, Howard Christy, of St. Louis, and second, H. P. Hepburn, of San Francisco.
The sixth child of William Preston, son of John Preston, Susanna Preston, married Nathaniel Hart, of Woodford county, Kentucky, and left five daughters and two sous. Her eldest daughter, Sarah S. Hart, married Colonel George C. Thompson, of Mercer county, Kentucky, member of the legislature of Kentucky and its speaker, and Colonel Thompson’s children and grandchildren intermarried with the Vances, of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana, and Martins of Louisville. The second daughter, Letitia P. Hart, married Arthur H. Wallace, and her children intermarried with the Alexanders, Edwards, Taylors, and Dades, of Kentucky. The third daughter, Louisiana B. Hart, married Tobias Gibson, of Live Oak plantation, Terrebonne parish, Louisiana, and left eight children, of whom (1) Sarah H. Gibson married her relative, Joseph A. Humphreys, of Woodford county, Kentucky. (2) Randall Lee Gibson, born at his grandfather’s residence in Kentucky while his parents were on a visit from Louisiana, graduated at Yale College, entered the Confederate service as a private, and fought up to the command of a company, a regiment, a brigade, and a division. Has been a member of Congress and United States senator since 1875; and married Miss Mary Montgomery, of New York. (3) William Preston Gibson, a surgeon in the Confederate service, married his relative, Miss Elodie Humphreys. (4) Hart Gibson, a member of the Kentucky legislature, a captain in the Confederate service, married Miss Mary Duncan, of Lexington, Kentucky. (5) Claude Gibson died while a captain in the Confederate service. (6) Tobias Gibson, Jr., also a captain in the Confederate service. (7) McKinley Gibson, likewise a captain in the Confederate service. The fourth daughter of Susanna Preston and Nathaniel Hart, Mary Howard Hart, married William Voorhees, whose children intermarried with the families of Sanders, Brand, and Duncan, of Kentucky and California, and one of them, Gordon Voorhees, was in the Confederate service and fell in battle. The youngest daughter, Virginia Hart, married Alfred Shelby and afterward Dr. R. J. Breckinridge, leaving children by both husbands.
The seventh child of William Preston, James Patton Preston, was a member of the Virginia legislature, a colonel in the United States army, and governor of Virginia. He married Miss Ann Taylor, of Norfolk, Virginia, and left three sons and three daughters. The eldest son, William Ballard Preston, was secretary of the navy in President Taylor’s cabinet, member of Congress from Virginia, 1847-49, and was a senator in the Confederate Congress. He married Miss Lucy Redd, and had six children. The second son of James P. Preston, Robert Taylor Preston, married Miss Hart, of South Carolina, and had three children. He was a colonel in the Confederate army. The third son, James P. Preston, Jr., was a colonel in the Confederate army. And the youngest daughter, Jane Grace Preston, married Judge George Gilmer.
The eighth child of William Preston, Mary Preston, married John Lewis, of Sweet Springs, Virginia, and had six daughters and three sons. Her eldest daughter, Susan Lewis, married Henry Massie, of Virginia, and had five children, of whom Susan C. Massie married Rev. Frank Stanley, of North Carolina. Mary Massie married John Hampden Pleasants, the distinguished editor of the Richmond Whig. His son, James Pleasants, was a lawyer of Richmond, and his daughter, the wife of Douglas H. Gordon, of Baltimore. Eugenia Massie married Colonel Samuel Gatewood, of Bath county, Virginia. Her children intermarried with the Goodes and Taliaferros (pronounced Tolover) of Virginia and Texas. Henry Massie, of the University of Virginia, married Miss Susan Smith, of South Carolina, and had six children, one of whom married her cousin, James Pleasants, of Richmond. The second daughter of Mary Preston and John Lewis, Mary Lewis, married James Woodville, a lawyer of Botetourt, Virginia. Her son, James Woodville, a physician of Monroe county, West Virginia, married his relative, Mary Ann, daughter of Cary Breckinridge, and had six children. The third daughter, Ann M. Lewis, married John Howe Peyton, of Staunton, Virginia, and left ten children, who intermarried with the Washingtons, Baldwins, Telfairs, Grays, Cochrans, and Browns, of South Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio. The fourth daughter, Margaret L. Lewis, married John Cochran, of Charlotteville, and had eight children, of whom John L. Cochran was a lawyer and a captain in the Confederate army ; James C. Cochran married Miss Elizabeth Brooke; Henry K. Cochran became a physician ; Howe Peyton Cochran, a captain in the Confederate army, who married his cousin, Miss Nannie Carrington; William L. Cochran, an officer in the Confederate army; and Mary Preston Cochran, who married Captain John M. Preston, of Smith county, Virginia. The second son of Mary Preston and John Lewis, William L. Lewis, married first Miss Stuart, of South Carolina, and afterward his cousin, Letitia P. Floyd, and had eight children, of whom James S. Lewis was a physician in Florida, married Miss Owens of that state.
The ninth child of William Preston, Letitia Preston, married John Floyd, then of Kentucky, but returned to Virginia, and was congressman from Virginia from 1817 to 1829—twelve years—and governor of Virginia from 1829 to 1834. She had seven children ; the eldest was John B. Floyd, who married his cousin, Sally B., daughter of General Francis Preston; was governor of Virginia, secretary of war in President Buchanan’s cabinet, and a general in the Confederate army. The second, William Preston Floyd, was a physician; the fourth, Benjamin R. Floyd, a lawyer, married Miss Nancy Matthews, of Wytheville, Virginia. His daughter, Malvinia Floyd, married Peter Otey, a major in the Confederate service. The fifth, Letitia P. Floyd, married her cousin, William L. Lewis, of Sweet Springs. Her daughters, Susan M. and Letitia Lewis, married Alfred Frederick, of South Carolina, and Thomas L. P. Cocke, of Cumberland, Virginia. The sixth, Lavellette Floyd, married George F. Holmes, of Durham, England, and professor of belles-lettres in the University of Virginia, and had five children. The seventh, Nickettie Floyd, married John W. Johnston, a lawyer of Abingdon, Virginia, and United States senator of Virginia from 1870. She had nine children at the time of her husband’s first election to the senate.
The tenth child of William Preston, Thomas Lewis Preston, was a lawyer, a member of the Virginia legislature, and a major in the War of 1812. He married Miss Edmonia, daughter of Edmond Randolph, who was an uncompromising rebel in 1776, a delegate to the Continental Congress, 1779-83, a member of the convention that formed the United States constitution, 1787, governor of Virginia in 1788, and in 1789-94 was Attorney-General of the United States and Secretary of State in the cabinet of Washington. Thomas Lewis Preston had two children, Elizabeth K. and John Thomas L. The former married William A. Cocke, of Cumberland, Virginia, and had four sons, the eldest of whom, William A., fell at the battle of Gettysburg. The latter was a colonel in the Confederate army, and professor in the Virginia Military Institute. He married, first, Miss Sally Caruthers, of Lexington, Virginia, and, second, Miss Margaret Junkin, of the same place, and had nine children, one of whom, Rev. Thomas Lewis Preston, married Miss Lucy Waddell, a relative, I presume, of the celebrated blind preacher of Virginia, who was an Irishman, and of Alfred M. Waddell, member of congress from Alabama, and Chairman of the Committee on Post-Offices and Post Roads, and another, William C. Preston, was killed in the Confederate army.
The eleventh and youngest child of this William Preston, the Irish father of innumerable American celebrities, Margaret Brown Preston, married Colonel John Preston, of Walnut Grove, Virginia, who was the son of Robert Preston, a distant relative. She had fourteen children, nine sons and five daughters, leaving numerous and distinguished descendants. Their fourteenth child, Henry Preston, left ten children.
Ann, the third daughter and fourth child of John Preston and Elizabeth Patton, was born in Ireland and married in Virginia to Francis Smith, of that state. She afterward removed to Kentucky, and there died at an advanced age. She left two sons and four daughters. Her first child, Elizabeth Smith, married James Blair, a lawyer, and attorney-general of the State of Kentucky. His forefathers, I presume, were also Irish. They had four children, the eldest of whom was Francis P. Blair, Sr., the distinguished journalist, editor of the Washington Globe, the organ of General Jackson. He married Miss Eliza, daughter of General Nathaniel Gist, and had four children, of whom Montgomery Blair was Postmaster General in President Lincoln’s Cabinet. He married, first, Caroline Buckner, of Virginia, and, second, Elizabeth, daughter of Levi Woodbury, governor of New Hampshire, senator in Congress, 1825-31, 1841-5 Secretary of the Navy under President Jackson, and Secretary of the Treasury under President Van Buren, and Judge of Supreme Court of the United States. Of the five children of Montgomery Blair, the eldest, Elizabeth, married General Comstock, of the United States army. The second child of Francis P. Blair, Sr., James Blair, a lieutenant in the United States navy, married Miss Mary, daughter of General Thomas Jessup, of the United States army, and had three children. The third, Francis P. Blair, Jr., married his cousin, Appoline Alexander, was a lawyer, a member of Congress, and senator from Missouri, a major-general in the Union army, and Democratic candidate for vice-president on the ticket with Horatio Seymour, receiving over two million seven hundred thousand votes. He left six children, one of whom is an officer in the United States navy. The youngest child of Francis P. Blair, Sr., was Elizabeth Blair, who married S. P. Lee, admiral in the United States Navy. The second child of Elizabeth Smith and James Blair was William Blair, captain in the United States army. He married Miss Hannah Craig, and his son, Patrick M. Blair, a lawyer in Illinois, married Miss Harriet M. Hall, of Derbyshire, England. The third child of Elizabeth Smith and James Blair was Susannah Blair, who married, first, Abram Ward, and afterward Job Stevenson, and her fourth child married Nathan Speer, and their only child, Elizabeth Blair Speer, married, first, John Coleman, of Memphis, and, afterward, Prof. Fisher, of Fulton, Missouri. The second child of Ann Preston and Francis Smith, John Smith, married Miss Chenoe, daughter of Nathaniel Hart, a Kentucky pioneer. She was the first white child born in Kentucky, and her name, Chenoe, is Indian for Kentucky. They had seven children, the eldest of whom, William Preston Smith, took, by legislative enactment, the name of Preston, married Miss Hebe Grayson, and was a farmer in Henderson county, Kentucky. His daughter married H. Harrison, of Lexington, Kentucky, and Chicago, Illinois.
The fifth child of John Smith and Chenoe Hart, Sarah Smith, married Rev. A. W. Young, of Memphis, and her son, John Preston Young, was a lawyer in that city. The third child of Ann Preston and Francis Smith, Susannah Smith, married William Trigg, of Frankfort, Kentucky, son of Colonel Stephen Trigg, a noted pioneer of Kentucky, who was killed at the battle of Blue Licks. Their fourth child, Jane Smith, married George Madison, governor of Kentucky, and their child, Myra Madison, married Andrew Alexander, of Woodford county, the eldest of whose four children, Appoline Alexander, married Major-General Francis P. Blair. The fourth child, Andrew J. Alexander, was a brigadier-general of volunteers, and a major in the regular army. The fifth child of Ann Preston and Francis Smith, William P. Smith, was a captain in the United States army. The sixth child, Agatha Smith, married Dr. Lewis Marshall, of Woodford county, and had seven children: (1) Thomas F. Marshall, graduated at Yale College; was judge of a Louisville court, and was the celebrated orator and member of Congress from Kentucky, 1841-3.
He fought a duel with James Watson Webb, in which the latter was wounded. (2) William L. Marshall, a lawyer of Baltimore, married Miss Lee, of Virginia. (5) Alexander K. Marshall, was a member of Congress from Kentucky, 1855-7; married Miss McDowell, of Jessamine county, Kentucky. (6) Agatha Marshall, married Caleb Logan, chancellor of Kentucky, and had five daughters. (7) Edward C. Marshall, was member of Congress from California, 1851-3; married Miss Josephine Chalfant, of Cincinnati, and had three children.
Mary, the fourth daughter, and fifth and youngest child, of John Preston and Elizabeth Patton, married John Howard, of Virginia. She had five children.
The first child, Elizabeth Howard, married Edward Payne, of Fayette county, Ky. Among their children were Edward C. Payne, a lawyer and farmer, of Kentucky; Daniel McCarty Payne, a lawyer, of Lexington, Kentucky, who had eleven children, one of whom, John Breckinridge Payne, was also a lawyer in Lexington, and another of whom, Mary Payne, married J. H. Neville, professor of Greek in the University of Kentucky. Another son of Elizabeth Howard and Edward Payne, John Breckinridge Payne, a physician, in Fayette county, Kentucky, married Miss Elizabeth Montgomery, by whom he had four children, one of whom, Victoria A. Payne, married William Owsley Goodloe.
The second child of Mary Preston and John Howard, Mary Howard, married Alexander Parker, of Lexington, Kentucky; one of their children, Mary W. Parker, married Thomas T. Crittenden, circuit judge and secretary of state of Kentucky. They had six children. The eldest, Mary Crittenden, married Tod Robinson, a judge of the supreme court of California, and she had eight children, of whom the eldest, Mary Robinson, married Felix Mercado, of San Francisco. Cornelius Robinson was a lawyer in that city. The second child of Mary W. Parker and Thomas T. Crittenden, Alexander Parker Crittenden, was a lawyer of San Francisco, whose daughter, Laura Crittenden, married Mr. Sanchez, of San Francisco, and whose son, James L. Crittenden, was a lawyer in New York City. The third child of Mary W. Parker and T. T. Crittenden, called after his father, Thomas T. Crittenden, was a brigadier-general in the United States army ; was a lawyer at Washington, and member of Congress from Missouri.
The fourth child of Mary Preston and John Howard, Benjamin Howard, married in the family of Mason, of Virginia. He was a member of Congress from Kentucky, 1807-10; governor of the territory of Indiana, 1810; and brigadier-general in the United States army in the War of 1812. He was also governor of Missouri territory.
The fifth child of Mary Preston and John Howard, Margaret Howard, married Robert Wickliffe, the distinguished lawyer and statesman of Kentucky. They had seven children, of whom the eldest, Sally Howard Wickliffe, married Aaron K. Woolley, a circuit judge and member of the Kentucky legislature. They had eight children, of whom the eldest, Robert W. Woolley, a lawyer in Louisville, was secretary of the United States legation to Spain, and colonel in the Confederate army. The fifth child of Margaret Howard and Robert Wickliffe, Mary H. Wickliffe, married John Preston formerly of Arkansas, and afterward of Trimble county; and their youngest child, Margaret H. Wickliffe, married her cousin, William Preston, of Louisville, member of Congress and United States minister to Spain; and his daughter, Mary Owen Preston, married her relative, John Mason Brown, the eminent lawyer of Louisville.
This is a wonderful record of one Irish family, and there were other families from the same country of not much less importance, if their records were as carefully examined : and what has been done to describe and preserve these records? The arrival of John Preston in America was scarcely second in importance to the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Did the Plymouth colony give us as many senators, and governors, and generals, and cabinet officers, and distinguished divines, and eminent teachers as did this single emigrant from Derry? Yet, what do we know of his arrival? From what port in Ireland did he sail? What was the name of his ship? to what port in America did she come? What was the date of his departure from Ireland, and of his arrival in America ? What were the names of the passengers and of the officers of the ship? I doubt very much if his distinguished great-great-grandson, the eloquent congressman from Kentucky, could answer any of these questions. This should not be so, and this society should see to it that this ignorance shall not continue.
This Preston family was a southern family of old Virginia and Kentucky, and therefore it is not surprising that it furnished so many brave and impetuous officers to the Confederate army; but love of the Union was warm in the hearts of many of its members, conspicuous among whom were the Browns, and Blairs, and Carringtons, of southern states, as well as the Porters, of the northern section.
Its members were generally Democrats, and firm friends of Jefferson and Jackson, It formulated “The Resolutions of 98.” They were almost all Presbyterians, and some of them violent controversionalists, who had measured pens, if not swords, with two of the most illustrious prelates of their Catholic countrymen, Archbishop Hughes, of New York, and Bishop England, of South Carolina.
They were generally persons of great talent and thoroughly educated; of large brain and magnificent physique. The men were brave and gallant, and the women accomplished and fascinating and incomparably beautiful. There was no aristocracy in America that did not eagerly open its veins for the infusion of this Irish blood; and the families of Washington, and Randolph, and Patrick Henry, and Henry Clay, and the Hamptons, Wickliffes, Mashalls, Peytons, Cabells, Crit-tendens, and Ingersolls felt proud of their alliances with this noble Irish family.
They were governors, and senators, and members of Congress, and presidents of colleges, and eminent divines, and brave generals from Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, California, Ohio, New York, Indiana, and South Carolina. There were four governors of old Virginia. They were members of the cabinets of Jefferson, and Taylor, and Buchanan, and Lincoln. They had major-generals and brigadier-generals by the dozen; members of the Senate and House of Representatives by the score ; and gallant officers in the army and navy by the hundred. They furnished three of the recent Democratic candidates for vice-president of the United States. They furnished to the Union army General B. Gratz Brown, General Francis P. Blair, General Andrew J. Alexander, General Edward C. Carrington, General Thomas T. Crittenden, Colonel Peter A. Porter, Colonel John M. Brown, and other gallant officers. To the southern army they gave Major-General John C. Breckinridge, Major-General William Preston, General Randall Lee Gibson, General John B. Floyd, General John B. Grayson, Colonel Robert J. Breckinridge, Colonel W. P. C. Breckinridge, Colonel William Watts, Colonel Cary Breckinridge, Colonel William Preston Johnston, aide to Jefferson Davis, with other colonels, majors, captains, and surgeons, fifty of them at least the bravest of the brave, sixteen of them dying on the field of battle, and all of them, and more than I can enumerate, children of this one Irish emigrant from the county of Derry, whose relatives are still prominent in that part of Ireland, one of whom was recently mayor of Belfast.
The sons of this family, in marriage alliances, seldom looked at a family in which there was not a governor or a cabinet officer; and the daughters seldom looked below a major-general or a United States senator; and, frequently, when they could find nothing to suit them in the proudest families of the land, they selected from their own stock, cousins and other relatives who were themselves, or their children, destined to be members of Congress, senators of the United States, ministers plenipotentiary, vice-presidents, cabinet officers, and professors and presidents of colleges, judges, pulpit orators, editors, chancellors, orators, and statesmen. And it is worthy of repetition, that a daughter of this family, Miss Taylor, married John B. Weller, member of Congress from Ohio, United States minister to Mexico, United States senator, and governor of California. Another daughter, Elizabeth McDowell, married Senator Benton, of Missouri. Another daughter, Jessie Benton, married General John C. Fremont. And another daughter, Miss Letitia Breckinridge, married Peter B. Porter, a distinguished member of Congress from New York, a commissioner under the “Treaty of Ghent,” major-general in chief of the troops of New York in the second war with England, and was appointed by President Madison, but declined, as commander-in-chief of the United States army. And this daughter of the Irish Preston family, to cap the climax of the victories of her sisters, took Niagara Falls as part of her marriage portion.