Monday, June 19, 2023

The Solomons, The McGregors and The Church

The Rev. Bennett Solomon and his wife, Ava McGregor Solomon, are my Fourth Great Grandparents. I've written about them many times before. Mostly recently, I covered the subject of Bennett and his two brothers, Goodwin and William, who left Franklin County, North Carolina to travel west to settle along the Yadkin River in Montgomery County, North Carolina. Their origins I covered in my Post : Three Brothers. Next, I looked at them in land records and their connections after they arrived in Montgomery in: From Franklin to Montgomery  Lastly, I focused just on the family of the youngest of the three, William Solomon III and his wife, Harty Bridges Solomon, who left Montgomery and went west to Lincoln County, Tennessee, to join another of their brothers, Jordan Solomon. You can read that one, called William Solomon III and Harty Bridges by clicking their names. 

My end game is to attempt to separate the known Solomons from the unknown Solomons in Stanly County. I've looked at them long and hard enough to know they are most definately family members of the others. Where they fit in is another question entirely. 

The advantage of Bennett and Ava being my direct line ancestors, is that I can easily look at Thrulines on and see in an instant how much DNA I share with other descendants of Bennett and Ava. As Thru-lines goes to the 5th generation, I can also look at my DNA matches to the descendants of Bennetts parents, William Solomon Jr. and wife, Deanna Gordon Solomon, and Ava's parents, William McGregor and Sarah Flowers. Now, the Sarah Flowers is debatable. Everyone has her in their tree and there certainly was a Flowers who had two daughters who married McGregors, as is named in his Will, but there is no marriage certificate or bond, and it's still under debate. For now, Sarah Flowers is a stand-in for Sarah - wife of Rev. William McGregor.

The above is an example of a match I have that descends from Bennett and Ava's daughter, Hixey Solomon. I chose this one because of the initials. A typical 4th cousin, this individual shares 27 centimorgans with me on two segments. Go back another generation, and the centimorgans often drop down to single digits or one segment instead of two. When I hover over the name of Ava's father, William McGregor, I am told I have 78 matches to him, sharing between 8 and 336 cms with me. The big difference is because one of  Rev. William McGregor's sons, Ezekial, had a daughter named Avey, likely named for his sister, Ava, or a shared ancestor of them both. Avey would marry first, Benjamin Marks and have two sons. Benjamin Marks was the son of James Marks and Catherine Gunter who migrated from Chatham County, North Carolina to not far from where Rev. William McGregor had built his church on the Yadkin River. Her first cousin, William Solomon, son of Bennett and Ava Solomon, would marry Tabitha Marks, sister of Benjamin Marks. Therefore, I share DNA with descendants of those two sons, not just from the McGregor line, but also from the Marks line. That's the reason for the large variance of 8 to 336.  

To look at the "Lost Solomons", and determine how closely I might be related to them, if at all, I look at the "Known Solomons" first, and at how many generations back the connection may go. 

To look at what separates the Solomons who descend from Bennett and Ava, I must look at the McGregor connection first. The Solomons with the McGregor Connection were most likely the children of Bennett and Ava. many trees have all of them listed and with most entries I agree, however, there are two that are listed in some trees, and not in others, and I am beginning to see why.

The Three Sisters of Osian's Glenn, Scotland 

Rev. William McGregor was born in Scotland. That much is fact. Some give his date of birth as 19 Jan 1733, however, I can not determine where or how anyone came about with that date. Dr. Francis Kron, who later lived on his property, praised his planting of apples trees and claimed he came from "Osiaran's Glenn", which doesnt' exactly exist. Most have his birthplace as Perth. I will say Scotland, that is without a doubt.

Bute County also no longer exists, and where it was is now in other counties, including Franklin, where the Solomons who came to Montgomery were from. William McGregor shows up in the 1771 Tax Roles for Bute County. Other names that show up in that Tax List, of interest were Moses Curtis (who will be seen in Montgomery County land records in conjunction with the Solomons, Drury and John Christian, Green Hill, John Huckaby, John Solomon, William Solomon (the father of the 3 Solomon brothers who came to Montgomery County, NC and John was his brother), James Stiles, Thomas Webb and Willilam Webb. These names also would show up in Montgomery and/ or, later in Tennesee. 

Bute County, NC Record Book 7 records the Will of William Solomon Sr. on May 25, 1772. This was the Grandfather of the Three Brothers. " William Solomon to William Solomon Jr. Gift of a negro man to be his at my death." Witnesses were John Edwards, William McGregor, and Green Hill.

John Edwards is later seen in a Franklin County deed, as being "of Montgomery County" and selling land in Franklin to the Solomons. 

Rev. William McGregor  is mentioned in the 1774 minutes of the Kehuky Baptist Association of Bute County. 

In 1776, William McGregor was given a license to preach in Franklin County, NC, formerly Bute. 

On February 1779, a Petition was taken to separate a portion of Anson County to form Montgomery County. Rev. William McGregor's signature was on the petition. He was also on the 1780 - 1782 Tax lists for Montgomery County.

William McGregors first Grant in what would become Stanly County.

Many say that William McGregor started out in Anson County before moving to Montgomery. That is true, but also untrue. Factually, he started out in Stanly County and added on to his property from there. He did not move. This reckoning was all based upon the first land purchase made by William McGregor as he moved from the eastern counties to the Piedmont, along the Yadkin/ Pee Dee River. 

The red arrow is pointing to Attaway Branch. The blue dot is the approximate location of McGregors Grave. The pink dot is the approximate location of the old Stony Hill Baptist, precursor of Mouth of the Uwharrie, the Green area is the general location of the old Town of Tindallsville.

On July 1, 1778, Anson County, Book K Page 549, William McGregor purchased of Land Baron Henry Mounger, property on the Pee Dee River, "beginning at a Hickory on the River Bank near the mouth of Attaway Branch". Attaway Branch is now and was then, located in what is now Morrow Mountain State Park in Stanly County. This is not far from where the bones of Old McGregor lie or his old home on Attaway Hill. The deed went on to explain it was 100 acres per His Majesty's letter patent to Matthew Harvell bearing the date March 11, 1775 and was signed in the presence of James Allen, Walton Harris and William Hogan.

This old map is from 100 years after the McGregors and Solomons lived there, but of note, Naked Mountain referred to Morrow Mountain and "Mrs. Kron" would have had to have been "Miss Kron", referring to the last living of Dr. Kron's two daughters.

The year after William McGregor made this first purchase, the property became part of Montgomery County. In 1841, it became part of Stanly.

William McGregor recieved 3 Land Grants. 

Land Grant 1041 dated 1795, was on the southwest side of the Pee Dee River beginning on the River bank, Book 94 Page 73, Entered on Jan 4, 1795 and Granted on July 10, 1797.  It consisted of 50 acres 'near my own land I live on', a Spanish Oak, McColoks (sic) south corner, and joined the property of Jarrett Huckaby. Another Jarrett!

Grant 1197 was for 150 acres that bordered William McGregors own residence on the south side of the PeeDee. Book 111 Page 289, Granted on November 30, 1810, but applied for in 1800.

Grant Number 1928 Began at 'William McGregor's own corner post oak in McLesters own line running west 106 poles to Bennett Solomons line, N 26 East 68 poles to Mungers old 100....back to McGregors line.

He expanded his holdings but never moved. 

Many people are under the misconception that the Church that Rev. William McGregor founded and preached at was on the east bank of the River near where the old town of Henderson was. I disagree. All of his land-holdings and the grants for the church were on the west bank of the Pee Dee. It was called , "The Mouth of the Uwharrie" Baptist Church and indeed, from the riverbank of the property, you could, and still can, see the Mouth of the Uwharrie, but I believe it was on the Stanly County side of the river. 

As a teen, I had the privedge to work with the YCC's, at Morrow Mountain, in the late 1970's and early 1980. I vividly recall being shown, by Park Superintendant Joe Franklin, who was a member of Stony Hill Baptist Church, where, just down the current road from where the restored Kron House is,  just off the road, the old location of Stony Hill Baptist Church. It was also located not far from the location of the old town of Tindallsville, which was on a ridge between the Kron House and the current boat landing, which in olden days was Lowder's Ferry. 

The Congregation of  The Mouth of the Uwharrie Baptist Church became Stony Hill. As such, they rival Randalls, a Methodist Congregation, as the oldest church in the County. Kendalls, Bethel, Ebenezer (Badin Baptist), are still old churches, but not as old as these two. 

The names in the cemetery of  Stony Hill Baptist Church still reflect the names of families from centuries ago.

The Solomons, grandchildren of William McGregor, would spread out along Moutain  Creek, but land records prove that Bennett and Ava lived as neighbors to her father, Rev. McGregor. Along Mountain Creek, they would meet families, the Carters, Russells, Parkers, Nobles, Safely's and others. 

Another old Stanly County Church is that of Mountain Creek Primitive Baptist Church.

 This is the current location, which is pretty old, but the original location was located downstream a few miles near the forks Mountain Creek and Little Long Creek. A cemetery full of Carter patriarchs is located there, but it was originally the Mountain Creek Church cemetery many years ago. I don't believe this church rivals that of the Mouth of the Uwharrie/ Stony Hill, as they would, too, have been in the Sandy Creek Association, and they are not mentioned. 

Near the town of Liberty, in Randolph County, North Carolina, but at the time of its inception, a part of Guilford, sits a humble, barely noticeable old structure. Square and of ancient hewn chestnut logs, a passerby would never guess the mighty influence this small cabin had played in forming churches, families and lives in the central piedmont of North Carolina and beyond.

In a history of the church, The Southern Baptist Association is quoted in marking the site of the original church as stating that "it is a mother, nay grandmother and great grandmother.All the separate Baptists sprang hence." 

The congregation was established in 1755 by Elder Shubal Stearns, from Boston, Massachusetts, where he was born in 1706, and his brother-in-law, Daniel Marshall.  They came south into the "Great Mission Field" of North Carolina families. 

"From This Scion", portrayal of the first worship service at Sandy Creek by artist Don Adair.

Under the leadership of Shubal Stearns, the Sandy Creek Church would become the center of an Association of Baptist congregations known under the umbrella of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association. 

The initial churches in the Association were Sandy Creek, Grassy Creek, Little River, Lockwood's Folly, New River, Shallow Ford, Slow River, Southwest and Trent. One must remember, in a time of few roads, the rivers were the roads.
Little River, the first church in the Association from Montgomery County, was entered at first with 15 members. Rocky River was entered in 1758 with 189 members. This congregation was led by Rev. Edmund Lilly at the time with the aid of his Assistant, William Kendall. The location was in Anson County, very near the southern border of Montgomery County, now Stanly and boast members from both sides of the river.

The third from this area to enter the Association was "The Mouth of the Uwharrie Baptist Church" , under the care of Rev. William McGregor.

The Sandy Creek Association was holding two meetings a year in those days and in 1793, the meeting was held at "Uwahrry" on August 7th of that year.

In June of 1776, a very important year in our history, there was a meeting at the Sandy Creek Meeting House. It was ordered by the church that "William McGregor have liberty to exercise his gift in preaching the Gospel of Christ".

From the records of various church histories and organizations, we know that my 5th Great Grandfather, William McGregor, was a delegate to the Kehukee Baptist Association from Fishing Creek in 1774. 
1775 - He was a delegate to the Sandy Creek Church in Randolph County.
1800- He held a big Revival in Montgomery County at his own church.
1806 He was a delegate to Sandy Creek from Montgomery County.

The Ministry of Grandfather McGregor was part of what was called, "The Great Awakening" or a great Revival in North Carolina. While living in Tindalslville, he made way across many areas of the State, preaching and Baptizing and leading sinners to Christ.
Not only Rev. William McGregor, but his son-in-law, Bennett Solomon, grandson, William Solomon and his owns, including Ezekiel and William McGregor Jr., who migrated to Tennessee. 
I have oodles of ministers from various denominations in my family tree and William, Bennett and then William Solomon, my third Great Grandfather, are three of them. Perhaps this explains my experience as a sensitive. 
Josiah Bridges Solomon, son of Jeremiah Solomon of Franklin County, NC and a nephew of Bennett, had stated in a letter to Jeremiah and Bennett's brother Williams grandson, Frank, that Goodwin was also minister, but I've seen no other evidence of that.

By passing his ministry on to his descendants, Rev. William McGregor also expanded the growth of the church.

The 1790 census of  North Hampton County, NC lists John McGregor, William McGregor and Flowers McGregor, along with Thomas Webb.
The 1790 census of Montgomery County, NC lists William McGregor, Bartlett McGregor, Thomas Huckaby and Bennett Solomon. By 1796, all of those listed in North Hampton County were all in Montgomery County, joined by Green Hill and Rowland Ware. Two of his daughters, Sarah and Susan Ware, will marry two of Rev. William McGregor's sons, Ezekial and Willis. 

Also of note, there was a William and John McGregor of Bute County who served in the Revolutionary War. John McGregors will, dated 1796, was proved in Montgomery County. 

The 1805 Tax List of Warren County, Tennesee lists sons of Rev. William McGregor; Ezekial, Willis andWilliam Jr. (actually the 3rd). Thomas McGregor, thought of as the oldest son, is found in the 1805 tax list of Davidson County, Tennessee. Flowers McGregor shows up there in 1811 and also in 1811, a William McGregor and Ezekial Ware show up in Maury County. 

In the 1820 census, Ezekial, William and Richmond McGregor are found in Warren County. 
In 1830, in Warren, we now have Jehu, William Jr., Ezekial, Richmond, another Ezekial, Willilam and Willis. Also, living right next to her brother Ezekial is Ava Solomon.

The 1836 Tax List of Warren County shows Jay McGregor (Jehu), William Sr., Ezekial, Richmond, William and Willis.

Much of the information following comes straight from the following text:

From here, we can see the years of involvement of William McGregor, Bennett Solomon and their associates, John Culpepper and Armstead Lilly. I can't help but hasten back to the fact when I see the Lilly's involvement in the church, that in 1841, the Stanly County court recorded a young John E. Solomon has having lived with Edmond W. Lilly

The Uwharrie Church was represented by William McGregor and Isaac Calloway. Both were my direct ancestors. Isaac was the grandfather of Vashti Calloway, wife of Rev. Samuel Parsons Morton, and another set of my third Great Grandparents.

Throughout the years, the names of those who represented The Mouth of the Uwharrie Baptist Church, also informs us of the families who attended. In the early years, there was almost always a McGregor in attendance, and often with a Calloway as a companion.

On October 24, 1807, the meeting was held at a new church called Unity Meeting House in Randolph County and John Stewart represented Uwharrie. Rev. McGregor died the next year and Peter Miller, John Russell, and Pleasant Epps represented the church in his steed at Marshalls Meeting House in Anson. 
Bennett Solomon clearly took the reigns of leading the church after the death of his father-in-law in 1808, until 1815.

He was often accompanied by Isaac Calloway, John Mabry, John Pickler, Stephen Smart, Burrell Coggins and Bartlett Huckabee, John and Gabriel Russell and John Wilson.

In 1814, Bennett Solomon, along with John Gilbert and Mark Andrews were appointed as messengers to the next ' General Meeting of Correspondence.'

And he made it.

John Culpepper and Bennett Solomon were paid $5.00 each for the long mission trip they attended. This may have been what spurred them into starting a new Association of the closest churches to them. They called it the PeeDee Association. The first official meeting of the Pee Dee Association was in October of 1816 at the young Richland Creek Meeting House in Montgomery County. John Culpepper was the lead Preacher and Armstead Lilly his alternative. 

Rocky River Primitive Baptist Church was also a member of the PeeDee Association. From here, we switch over to the below text for our information, as the minutes of Sandy Creek went on without the Pee Dee churches.

I have already mentioned that Samuel Parsons Morton was also an ancestor of mine, an also a minister. He was born in 1805, and would not have recalled Rev. William McGregor preaching, but the reason I have included the below except of his biography included in the book on The Rocky River Primitive Baptist Church is that it mentions that he took his letter of Membership from Ebenezer Church, which was located where the town of Badin is currently. Badin Baptist is Ebenezer and the cemetery that sits beside it predates the modern building by many many years. The letter was dated December 23, 1848 and was signed by Daniel McLester, Clerk and William Solomon, Clerk Protem. Now, William Solomon was the son ofBennett Solomon and Grandson of Rev. William McGregor. William Solomon and Samuel Morton were both my Third Great Grandfathers and both ministers. I wonder what influence or connection they had with one another?

The above except also mentions that S. P. Morton had attended the Mouth of the Uwharrie Baptist Church, as he married a Calloway, and that, at the time, was their church. He no doubt heard Bennett Solomon preach as a child.

Elder Bennett Solomon was also recorded as having preached at Coldwater Baptist in Cabarrus County and at Jersey Church in Davidson County. He may also have preached at Abbotts Creek, also in Davidson County, and I know that it was a member of the Sandy Creek Association.

The above except is from a hisorty of the Coldwater Creek in Cabarrus County. It states that Rev. John Culpepper and Rev. Bennett Soloman were 'The leading personalities behind the organization of the Pee Dee Baptist Association". Rev. Culpepper also was given the job of Secretary to the Baptist Board of Foreign and Domestic Missions. I was surprised to learn that these churches were sending missionaries to Burma and countries in the Middle East.  Rev. Bennett Solomon was appointed to serve in his place if he could not.

After 1816, Bennett Solomon is no longer found in the activities of the church. There are land records that I am pretty sure involve him, Bennett Solomon Sr. and not the younger Bennett Solomon up to 1816. There are others in 1815, 1818 and 1821, I am sure must have been Bennett Solomon Jr., especially just as being a chain carrier. Bennett is assumed, from circumstanial evidence to have died around 1818. There is no Will, Obituary  or Tombstone, or other record decrying his demise. I believe he was buried in the McGregor family cemetery. My heart just feels like he is there. There are many who believe he went to Tennessee, but I find no proof of that. There, again, folks are mixing him up with the younger Benntett Solomon. Ava appears to have uprooted with her younger children and left to live near her beloved brothers in Warren County. She left two children in Stanly County, Rev .William Solomon and Fanny Solomon Russell, who married Jarrett Russell. 

There 's no doubt religion and the church greatly effected the decisions and moves of the McGregors and Solomons. It is this connection to the Baptist Church and to the McGregors than can help separate the children of Bennett and Ava from the ones who are yet a mystery. 

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