Monday, September 30, 2013

Southern Born and Bred

When I was a little girl my Dad would tell me my belly button was where the Yankee's shot me.

I think he used to do it to make my mom (a yankee) mad. The truth is though, my Dad is truly Southern born and bred. Born in Pensacola (me too), he is in a long list of Southerner's. To put in graphically. If you take a compass and put one point in Pensacola, and the other in Troy, Alabama, 95 percent of his family has been in that circle since before 1830. And those that weren't were by 1860.

His earliest family, the Pyburn's arrived in the Tensaw Settlement in December 1784. That's 3 years before the United States Constitution was written. They haven't traveled far, though some members have gone off to Texas and eventually California, there are still Pyburn descendants near Jay, and in Alabama. The most famous of our relatives, Jim Pyburn, the professional baseball player, died in Alabama not that many years ago. His brother was a local celebrity for his coaching also.

The McCurdy's came to Florida when Elijah McCurdy was discharged in the area in 1818. His wife's family came not long after. There are many McCurdy and Sunday descendants around Escambia County (Alabama and Florida) and it's immediate area. Sometimes I swear I am related to half the county!

Before Elijah came to Florida, Henry Franklin and a relative of mine, Josiah Brunson came to Clarke County, Mississippi Territory. In the 1820's, his son William Barnett Franklin and his son's family, the Brunson's, all came to Pike (now Crenshaw) and settled near  Brantley, Alabama. By 1830, Willoughby Baker and his wife Rachel Copeland were near Troy, Alabama.

The Johnsons from South Carolina came to Conecuh about 1818. One of the daughters of my ancestor William Burton Johnson married John Diamond and moved to Santa Rosa. My branch remained near Evergreen until the late 1880's. Another Conecuh family, the Chitty's came from South Carolina to Conecuh around 1818. The Stapleton's came from South Carolina to Alabama also around that time, settling first in Baldwin before some of them move to Florida and Coffee County, Alabama.

About the same time just prior to 1820, Michael Vaughan came and settled in northern Holmes. The Vaughan's lived between that area and in Geneva County, Alabama.

Of all of the families I just mentioned, only two, the Pyburn's and the Sunday's did not come from South Carolina. The Pyburn's came from Virginia and the Sundays from Georgia. Another family with colonial Georgia roots was Sarah Owens, the daughter of John J Owens and Lucinda Long. John bought up land in Russell and the family moved there before 1830. During the Civil War, Sarah with her husband John Sanders Barnes moved near Brantley where John quickly died. As far as we know, John came from NC before Georgia.

The last family, the Hardy's came later. Gardner Hardy moved to Coffee County about 1838. He is supposed to be from Georgia. Due to some interesting facts, he went to Louisiana for a year before settling in Santa Rosa where he presumably died between 1856 and 1860. His son, William Shepard Hardy married Sally Nelson, the daughter of Leonard Nelson, who if my memory recalls was also from South Carolina.

When I stop and think that even if I go by 1850, my family has been in the same location (and many are still there) for over 160 years (and up to 229 years), I am sometimes awestruck. My mom's family (even the yankee's) has just as rich as a history, though, sometimes not quite as colorful of one, but there is something to the feeling of home I get whenever I go to Pensacola. Though, it wasn't until the 1930's that most of the family started moving into the city, it is not just where I was born, or where my Dad grew up. It's in my blood. This is home.

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