Hembree – Vann Connection, Part One (revised)


John Amory (d.1746) was an Indian trader associated with William Elder(s), Thomas

Nightingale, and John Watts.  John Amory was the uncle of Robert Emory (d.1790)

and the father of William Emory (d.1770), both of whom married daughters of

Ludovic Grant and resided with him in the Valley town of Tamah’li in North Carolina.

Ludovic Grant was associated with old trader Cornelius Daugherty who was in

nearby Hiwassee.            Ludovic Grant’s Cherokee wife was Elizabeth Gouedy (pronounced

and spelled “Coody”),  the daughter or ex-wife of another old trader, Robert Gouedy of

Ninety Six.  Thomas Nightingale and John Watts had land transactions with Robert

Gouedy.  David Hembree (father of Rev. James Hembree) had land adjoining some land

of Robert Gouedy in 1771.  John Amory fathered a son by a Cherokee woman; the son

was named John Emory (b.1744) and is better known as Old John Hembree.


John Vann entered the Indian trade as a packhorseman for James Maxwell by 1746

and later became associated with Bernard Hughes, Robert Gouedy, and John Downing.

John Vann’s Cherokee wife was probably Wah-li (War-le in the Lower dialect) and

she was the sister of chief Sour Mush and the half sister of Jenny Daugherty, the

daughter of Cornelius Daugherty.   She may have been the daughter or ex-wife of

Bernard Hughes.


John Vann had a brother Edward Vann (perhaps Edward Clement Vann) and perhaps

Joseph Vann, both of whom lived near or next to John Vann.  (This Joseph may just

be a son of Edward.)


The children of John Vann are not known for sure (nor is the date of his birth or

death) but include John Vann, Betty Vann, and Wah-li.  His daughter Wah-li

married a Joseph Vann (b.c.1737 d.bef.1800) who seems to be the son of Edward

Vann.  Wah-li and Joseph were the parents of James Vann (b.c.1766 d.1809), the

notorious Chief James Vann of Georgia.  This Joseph Vann  moved to GA in 1763

with a wife and three children and resided on the Savannah River below Cagg

Creek, at the mouth of the Little River. [Candler, GA Col Recs, IX, p.256]. 

(This therefore is the likely birthplace of James Vann.)  Edward Vann had land on

the SC side of the Savannah River.


Daughter Wah-li then married Clement Vann (b.c.1746 d.c.1830) who had no

children of his own but is referred to as the step-father of Chief James Vann.

Clement Vann had a younger brother Avery Vann Sr.


In Parts Two & Three I will try to unravel the connections between the Vanns

and the Hembrees (Emorys).  Please do not send me info on the ancestry or

exploits of Chief James Vann – I have all that I need.   Thank you.
















Hembree – Vann Connection, Part Two (revised)


John Vann entered the Indian trade as a packhorseman for James Maxwell

by 1746.  [SC Commons Journal of 11 June 1746].  In May 1747 he was

sent to the Choctaw Nation.  He returned to SC by 1749 and resided at the

trading post at Ninety Six.   He was associated there with Bernard Hughes

and Robert Gouedy. 


In 1751 the Lower Cherokee (SC) began attacking the English traders.

Bernard Hughes Sr. was reportedly killed in April 1751. (Turns out he

escaped and left his post at Stecoe on the Tuskasegee River in NC (by

order of Chief Raven) and retired to Ninety Six.)  [SC Commons Journal

of 7 May 1752] Daniel Murphy  (a son-in-law of Hughes?) was killed

farther north.  The Indians attacked Ninety Six and John Vann fled with

his wife and children to Augusta, GA in May 1751.  [SC Commons Journal

of 13 May 1751]  When he returned to Ninety Six he operated a trading

post with Bernard Hughes.  He was accused of allowing runaway slaves

safe conduct past his post and he was summoned to Charleston to answer

these charges in Dec. 1751.


In 1752 the Creek Indians attacked the Lower Cherokee and plundered

three packhorsemen at the Keowee village:  James Welch, John Downing,

and William Bailus.  [SC Doc Ind Affairs (2) 1750-54, p.247-9]


By 1753 many families came down from the Cherokee to live at Ninety

Six.  Among these were William Emory (who fathered two sons there:

Drury Hembree b.1755 and Abraham Hembree b.1757), John Watts

(who fathered John Watts Jr. there in 1753), the Cherokee widow and children

of William Elder(s), the widow and children of Daniel Murphy,  and James

Welch, John Downing, and Robert Emory (who left his Cherokee daughter

Susannah with the family of William Emory and went off to trade with the

Creeks along with Richard Smith of Keowee).


By 1756 Ludovic Grant came down from the Cherokee and soon

thereafter died.


Suspicions and complaints about John Vann (similar to those lodged against

Bernard Hughes) caused him to move to Georgia by 1757.  In a deposition

in SC he gave his full name as “John Charles Vian”.  [SC Ind Docs (3) p.442-3]


In Georgia, in 1757, John Vann was commissioned as a captain in the

militia and as a justice of the peace. [Candler, GA Col Recs VII, 691]


On 7 Feb 1758 Ezekiel Harlan (uncle of Ezekiel Buffington who married

2 daughters of William Emory)  petitioned for 100 acres on the Broad River

in GA at Pistol Creek, next to the lands of John Vann.  [Candler, Col Recs

GA Vol VII, 723].   On 4 Apr 1758 Edward Vann was granted 200 acres on

the SC side of the Savannah River, next to John Vann’s plantation (which

was soon to be seized in a lawsuit).    On 23 Oct 1758 Robert Gouedy sued

John Vann for business debts totaling L 80.


In 1758 with the completion of Fort Loudon, many of the families at Ninety

Six returned to the Cherokee Nation.  Susannah Emory (the daughter of



Robert Emory) at the age of 14 bore a son to John Stuart, one of the

occasional captains  at Fort Loudon (he was a Charleston politician, not

a soldier).  This son would be known as Bushyhead.


Also in 1758 and 1759 the Cherokee were recruited by Virginia to help

fight French-armed Indians in the north.  Richard Pearis of Virginia and

Richard Smith of Keowee were the white leaders of the Cherokee but

Warhatchie (Wauhatchy) of Keowee was the war chief.  (Warhatchie was

a half brother of Old John Hembree’s mother).  Young Will Emory

(b.1744 d.1788), son of  William Emory, was among the young warriors

who went north.  


The tragic Cherokee war of 1759-1761 wiped out the Lower Cherokee

but family bonds remained strong.  The half breed clans at Ninety Six

would have the option later of living as whites or living among the tribe

(sometimes doing both).    In 1760 John Downing and Bernard Hughes 

fled the Cherokee and stayed at John Vann’s house on the Broad River in

GA.  These type of events formed family ties that endured.


The extermination of the Cherokee in SC ended Charleston’s control

of the Indian trade.  Georgia, Virginia and North Carolina took on

greater roles.  Virginians such as John Rogers and William Ephraim

“Rim” Fawlin (Falling) moved in among the tribe.  The Cherokee

repopulated the SC backcountry but tribal power moved to the Overhills

(in TN). The Buffingtons and Harlans married among the Cherokee, and

Charleston businessman William Dewes established a trading post on

the path between Ninety Six and Keowee.  Ellis Harlan, Ezekiel Buffington,

Richard Fields and Robert Dewes (Due) worked for William Dewes, whose

SC post was called Dewes Corner, then Due West (a corruption of the

pronunciation of his name). Richard Pearis also established a trading post

on the trading route.  Joshua Pettit, a young import from New Jersey, worked

for Pearis briefly.


The Revolution found many of these families together as Tories who

traveled with the Cherokee but early crushing defeats brought the Cherokee

(and the half-breeds) to a position of neutrality.  An unofficial warrior class

formed among the Cherokee (and later included other tribes) called the

Chickamauga.  Will Emory, John Watts, William Elder, James Vann were

among these warriors. White Tories often took Cherokee wives and lived

among the tribe for safety.  Some of these put on war paint and ran with the

Chickamauga.   Richard Roe, John Emory, Charles Hughes, James Murphy,

Richard Fields, Joseph Vann and James Welch were among the mixed blood

or white Tories.


In Part Three the connections will become crystal clear (yeah, right).













Hembree – Vann Connection, Part Three (revised)


I have not discovered a major connection between the Hembrees and the

Vanns but there are many little connections which imply a long affiliation. 

Here are just a few.


The Joshua Pettit Connection:


Joshua Pettit (who has connections to every branch of the Hembrees) witnessed

the illegal land cession of 150,000 acres from the Cherokee to Richard Pearis

(via his Cherokee son George Pearis) on  21 Dec 1773.  Joshua fathered a son

by Cherokee Nannie Downing.  His time with the Cherokee was brief (his white

wife and children moved down to SC) but his consort grew to be an important

woman in the tribe.   The children of  Nannie Downing were:

            1.  Thomas Pettit Sr.  m. Catherine Hughes 

            2.  James Crittenden  m. Nancy Hughes

            3.  Jennie Crittenden  m.  John (Jack) Wright

            4.  Margaret McSwain  m. Avery Vann

            5.  Elizabeth McSwain  m. David Welch


A half-breed Joshua Pettit lived close to a half-breed James Emory in Sevier

County, TN, 1840 – 1850.  Other Cherokee Pettits can be found east and west.


The Hughes sisters were kin to Charles Hughes, the uncle of Chief James Vann.

Charles Hughes was a grandson of Bernard Hughes Sr.  James Vann shot Charles

Hughes c. 1792 (or c. 1806?).


John (Jack) Wright was a trader who lived among the tribe in TN in 1797.  His

brother, Josiah (Joe) Wright owned land on Martin’s Creek  (Pendleton District)

which was part of Cherokee countryman Alexander Drumgoole’s grant and close to

lands of John Ross, father of the Cherokee chief.  In the 1830’s the Hembrees lived

on this land.  (My Hembree/Emory ancestor died on this land in 1863.)


An Al-sie Wright, widow of  J. Wright (probably Josiah) was associated with the

Hembrees, Rainwaters and Vanns in the Baptist Church.  


Avery Vann was a cousin of Chief James Vann.   Charles Hughes Vann, a tribal

member in 1835, was probably a son of Avery Vann (there were two). 


David Welch (c.1782 – c.1835) was a grandson of Old John Hembree through

his first wife (more on this below).



The Welch Connection:


Old John Hembree’s first wife was a Cherokee mixed blood of Ninety Six, SC,

who died very young (c.1768).  His second wife was the white widow of John

Cantle (d.1768), Mary Elizabeth Cantle.  [SC Hist Mag xi, 36].  She died 9 Nov

1769. [Ibid. x, 166]  The only child of his first marriage was Elizabeth Jane

Hembree (b.1765 SC d.c. 1798 NC).  She married John Welch who was b.1753

at Ninety Six (son of packhorseman James Welch).  John Welch was a mixed-blood

Tory under Richard Pearis (along with Old John Hembree) and eventually settled

on the Valley River in NC near Tamah’li (Tomatley), the birthplace of the



Cherokee children of William Emory (d.1770) and Robert Emory (d.1790). Some

of the Welch children lived as white but others remained connected to the tribe.


There is a slim chance that Elizabeth Jane Hembree did not die c.1798 but

remarried a William Welch;  her children, though, remained with the father and

his Cherokee wife.  A daughter of  his second marriage was Al-sie Welch, wife of

Johnson Murphy,  Cherokee grandson of the Widow Murphy who resided at

Ninety Six. (Mixed blood Murphys also resided close to the Joshua Pettit and

James Emory  mentioned above in Sevier County, TN.)


See below for the Nicholas Welch who married Margaret Hembree.



The John Downing Connection:


On any Cherokee list, east or west, you are likely to find Welch, Murphy,

Downing, and Bushyhead names or descendants close together.  John

Downing partnered with James Welch when they worked for James Beamer

in the Lower towns.  Bushyhead, of course, descends from John Stuart and

Susannah Emory (b.1744), daughter of Robert Emory.  The Downings were

closely related to the Vanns by intermarriage. 



The John Fawling Connection:


Chief James Vann killed his brother-in-law John Fawling in a duel in 1807.

A Cherokee court ruled it was murder.  (James Vann was also part of the

conspiracy to kill Chief Doublehead in 1807.)  John Fawling was a grandson

of William Emory (d.1770), the half –brother of Old John Hembree.



The Emory Vann Connection:


Emory Vann was b.c. 1815 in Abbeville District, SC and was the  son of

Edward Vann (1763-1854) and Elizabeth Walls (d.1863).    Emory Vann was a

cousin of Avery Vann, therefore a distant cousin of Chief James Vann.  He was

named for an Emory, but which one?



The Buffington Connection:


Ezekiel Buffington married two daughters of William Emory and the close

relationship between the Buffingtons and the Vanns is well-established. Chief

James Vann was killed at Buffington’s Tavern in north Georgia.



The William Hembree Connection:


William Hembree (b. 1774 SC d.c. 1811 SC) was the oldest son of Old John

Hembree.  William’s wife was Selah Hughes, daughter of Charles Hughes, who

d.c. 1806 (the same Charles Hughes who was shot by Chief James Vann?)

“Selah” (SEE – lah) is a common Cherokee name often rendered “Cela” in

English and the phonetic reverse is also a common Cherokee name:  “Al – SEE”.

William had 6 children including William Hembree Jr. (b.1796) who married an



Alsie  (or Alerz) and Uriah Hembree (b.1805) who married Elizabeth Dolly Murray.

(Uriah was raised by his uncle Edward Hembree (1780-1863) and is often shown

as his son.)


William’s sons William and Uriah traded lands between the various Hembree lines.

Uriah signed the mortgage note of 24 Jan 1831 that allowed Simeon Hembree, son

of Edward Hembree, to buy land on Martin’s Creek that was once owned by Cherokee

countryman Alexander Drumgoole, then Thomas Carradine, then Josiah Wright (see



William Hembree sold land on 26 Mile Creek to Edward Hembree and to David

Hembree and later Edward Hembree bought some of David Hembree’s land.




The Granville County, NC Connection:


The Virginia Hembrees, Heatons, Rainwaters, Fowlers, Moselys, Kings, Days, and

Meadows all resided in Granville County, NC, during the Baptist migration.  So did

the Welch family of Nicholas Welch (b.1761 NC d.1822 TN) who married Margaret

Hembree (d.bef.1810), daughter of David Hembree.   These Welches are no relation

to the mixed-blood family of John Welch, though they both had brothers Thomas

and William Welch.  In the 1754 militia rosters for Granville County, all these names

are represented.



The John Hembree Connection:


On 12 March 1831 John Hembree (father of  Mahala Hembree) sold 75 acres on 26

Mile Creek to Uriah Hembree for $300.  This John (b.c. 1783 d.aft 1853) was a son

of  Rev. James Hembree.  John Hembree married Anna Heaton and acquired the 75

acres from Smith Heaton, who married into the Cherokee tribe and made tribal claims

in Georgia and Tennessee.  Rev. James Hembree was the executor of the estate of 

Anna Heaton’s father.  The Heatons (Eatons) moved with the Hembrees from Virginia,

through North Carolina, to Spartanburg District, SC then to Pendleton District, SC.



The William J. Vann Connection:


William J. Vann was b.1828 in SC and d. during the Civil War.  He was the grandson

of William Vann (d.bef 1795) and Martha (whose will was probated 25 Oct 1820 and

published by Rev. James Hembree).  These Vanns owned land on 26 Mile Creek close

to lands of Charles Hughes, William Hembree and Edward Hembree (sons of Old John)

and the family of Rev. James Hembree (1759-1849).    William J. Vann m. Mahala

(Hallie) Hembree (b.1824 d.1888) a daughter of John Hembree (b.1783).   Although this

Vann lineage is incomplete, it is no doubt part of the family of John Vann, the Indian trader.


William J. Vann moved to Cumming, Forsyth County, GA, where he appears in the 1860

census.  He was not the William Vaugh(a)n  associated with the Haw Creek Baptist Church.

The Vaughan family of Forsyth County is an unrelated and well-documented family.

The Haw Creek Baptist Church was founded by Richard Phillips in 1841.  He was b.1791

in NC and resided for a time on 26 Mile Creek in Pendleton District, SC.  He married

Delilah Rainwater, a sister of Job Rainwater.  Al-sie Wright was a charter member of this

church.  She was a widow (age 56) in 1832 when she drew land in Forsyth County and



was still part of the church in 1856 at age 80.   She thus was the correct age to be Josiah

Wright’s widow.



The Kedar Heaton – Kedar Vann Connection:


Sgt. Kedar Heaton served with other North Carolinians in the Cherokee Expedition under

Col. Richard Richardson in 1759-1760.  Kedar (Cader) Vann served with Joseph Vann and

Clement Vann in the Georgia Rangers patrolling the lands ceded by the Creeks in 1773-1774.






Far from complete, an examination of the Hembree – Vann connection helps us to figure out

the Hembrees connection to the Cherokee and the Hembrees connection to each other.  Much

is missing, but persistence and sharing has greatly improved our understanding of these

complex families.   I look forward to your replies and, as always, I reserve the right to

misquote my notes and garble the facts (a sign of advancing age).  With your help we can get

it right.






Corrections to Hembree – Vann Connections


1.  There were Coody AND Gouedy / Goudey families in SC and these are not the same

     names.  The wife of Ludovic Grant, though, was NOT a Coody but probably a Gouedy. 

     Robert Gouedy’s Cherokee descendants seem to have adopted the Coody spelling.  The

     estate of  Arthur Coodey of 96 District was administered 24 Mar 1783 by Edward Vann,

     Drury Murphy, and widow Edith Coodey.  Arthur was a Coody, not a Gouedy.



2.  Bernard Hughes was reported to be killed in 1751 and his death was often noted but Gov.

     James Glen clarified the issue in 1752:  only Daniel Murphy was killed, Bernard Hughes

     was plundered but not killed.  By order of Chief Raven of the middle towns and Gov. Glen,

     Hughes retired from his post at Stetcoe (on the Tuskasegee River in NC) and went down to

     Ninety Six.



3.  It was on 21 Dec 1773 (not 1775) that Joshua Pettit witnessed the illegal land cession of

     150,000 acres from the Cherokee to Richard Pearis and Jacob Hite via Cherokee George

     Pearis. [George Pettett, Pettett & Pettit – This Family Business, (Dallas: 2001)]   Joshua

     Pettit and Old John Hembree got a grant of land together in Spartanburg District in 1788. 

     John Hembree and John Elder joined in a civil suit that year in Spartanburg as well.  (A

     bastardy suit chased John Hembree out of Spartanburg.)



4.  Although our William J. Vann moved to Cumming, Forsyth County, GA, he was NOT

     associated with the Haw Creek Baptist Church in that county.  The William Vaughan,

     Willis Vaughan, and Delilah Vaughan shown there are a different and unrelated family. 

     The Vaughan family of Forsyth County is well-documented.