William Griffin Jeter and Elizabeth McCutchen Berry
WILLIAM GRIFFIN JETER
William Griffin Jeter was born 9/20/1807 to Thomas Jeter and Sarah Benfield and most likely on the farm of Zachary Taylor near Louisville in Jefferson County, Kentucky where his parents resided in the early 1800s. He came to Illinois shortly after his mother's death and became aquainted with his future wife when he united with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of John McCutchen Berry in Sangamon County. She was Elizabeth McCutchen Berry, the Reverend's niece and daughter of James Samuel Berry and Anny Weir.
A license was issued by Sangamon County on 3/9/1832 and William and Elizabeth were married 3/13/1832 in Bernadotte, Fulton County, Illinois, as noted by son Will in a letter on family history written in 1921 to a Berry cousin. The date is recorded in the family bible. It is likely that the Rev. J. M. Berry officiated but there was no return of the marriage details back to the county seat. In August of the same year William aquired from his brother-in-law James Berry, 55 acres along a branch of Concord Creek and about a mile north of the "old" Concord or Goodpasture cemetery, and this was still the location of the family farm when the Jeters left for Missouri in 1857. In that same month of August, 1832, Abraham Lincoln entered his position as a storekeeper with William F. Berry, son of the preacher and first cousin of Elizabeth, in a small cabin in New Salem along the Sangamon River and a few miles south of the Jeter farm. (The store would not prove profitable even after a move to a larger building, the only one with "planed" lumber in New Salem, and was sold in 1834.)
William and Elizabeth's first child, Anderson Bell, was born on 12/16/1832 and their second, Sarah Ann, 10/11/1834. Gov. Will Jeter, in a letter to a Berry cousin, notes that both were born in Fulton County. Sarah Ann died from whooping cough one day shy of her first birthday and was buried in the "old" Concord or Goodpasture cemetery in Menard (then Sangamon) county. Her tombstone is still there and is the only Jeter grave. Anderson Bell died of typhoid fever on 12/7/1854; his burial place is likely in the "new" Concord cemetery but there is no marker. He had not married. The rest of their children were all born on the family farm noted above which was located between Petersburg and Atterbury in Menard County.
A. Lincoln and W. G. Jeter were well aquainted. It is said, by family tradition, that there was a romantic interest between Abe and Elizabeth, but she thought him unattractive and turned her attention elsewhere. As did Abe with the legendary young Ann Rutledge who died of the fever on 8/25/1835. (Ann's sister, Jane O. Rutledge, had married one of Elizabeth's brothers, James Berry, on 2/28/1828 in Sangamon County.) We do find some connections on record however: There was a petition on 12/27/1834 by the citizens of Morgan and Sangamon counties in Illinois to the U.S. Congress to establish a mail route between New Salem and Beardstown, about 30 miles west. Among the signers: A. Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas, Wm. G. Jeter. And on 3/8/1836. Sangamon County Commissioners, which included William's father-in-law Samuel Berry, appointed Robert Conover, William G. Geter(sic) and Abraham Lincoln to locate a new road from Watkins Mill on the Morgan County line to Miller's Ferry. On 6/2/1836, Robert Conover, William G. Geter and A. Lincoln reported to the Sangamon County Commissioners that they made the location and recommended the opening of the new road.
In 1835 and in anticipation of the coming of a railroad, a new town called Fulton was laid out on the Spoon River in Fulton County, Illinois. William G. Jeter and brother-in-law Baxter Bell Berry bought land in 1838 and moved there. The Jeter family was listed on the 1840 census for Bernadotte (to which the town name had been changed) but were soon back in Menard County as the railroad chose another route and the town died. (This move to Bernadotte may have caused some confusion later on in the recounting family history, and it may be that the marriage and birth of the first two children, all before 1838, really occured in Menard County instead.)
About a mile north of the old Concord cemetery and across Lincoln Trail Road from the old Wm. G. Jeter farm was the location of the Concord Church, erected in 1840 by the Cumberland Presbyterians. It was built on an elevation above Concord Creek and to its rear was the church cemetery now known as the "new" Concord. In 1838 William G. Jeter had been elected ruling elder of the Concord Congregation and served in that capacity until his departure for Missouri in 1857.
William's brother, Thomas Horatio, had left Illinois for California just before the Civil War and William entertained ideas of doing just the same. And he started out to do exactly that in the spring of 1857, selling the farm, loading family and possessions into wagons and began the first leg, a 200-mile journey to northern Missouri. They planned to winter over in Missouri near the trailhead west and get an early start across the plains in the spring, but William liked the area around Chillicothe in Livingston County, Missouri so well he changed his mind, bought a farm and spent the rest of his life there. Two decades later his son Will and sister Harriet (with husband Zack Goldsby) would complete the trek west.
William Griffin Jeter died at his residence in Livingston County, Missouri on the 31st of August, 1867. The cause of death was "cholera morbus." He was in his 60th year. His son-in-law, the Rev. J. H. Tharp, wrote his obituary and noted, "He remarked to the writer a few moments before his spirit took flight, that his trust was in Jesus and that Jesus had promised dying grace."
William's dearly beloved companion of some 35 years, Elizabeth, survived another seven and a half years, passing away on March 31, 1875 of pneumonia at home in Livingston County. The Rev. Tharp wrote, "She was sorely tried by afflictions for many years, but in great patience was developed of her Christian heart, especially in her last sickness. She said she was going home, and told friends and children not to weep."
|Submitted by C. Victor Jeter|
Elizabeth McCutchen Berry (Jeter) (b.
3 Oct 1812) was the daughter of James "Samuel"
Berry and Jane Ann (Anny) Weir. Anny was born in Washington
County, Virginia on 1/22/1784 and married Samuel there 9/6/1803.
(Other children were James, Baxter Bell, Margaret Sharp, Martha
Ann, William Preston, Mary, Sarah W., and Harriet Melinda.)
Anny died 3/13/1834 and is interred in the Old Concord or Goodpasture
cemetery near the Berry and Jeter farms.
Anny was the first of nine children of James Weir and Margret "Peggy" Sharp. James was born in Virginia in 1762 and Margret was born in Chester County, PA in 1763; they were married on 2/19/1783 in Augusta County, Virginia. (The other eight children were: Hugh, John S., William, Margaret, Elizabeth M. "Betsey", James Preston, Martha "Patsey", and Lusina Porter.)
James Weir enlisted in the Army of the Revolution in Washington County, VA and according to his widow's pension application, he served "under the command of Genl. Greene and Col. Campbell" and "he was in service at and before the Battle of Kings Mountain and continued in service uintil after the Battle of Guilford." His name appears on a DAR monument to Revolutionary War Patriots and Soldiers in Maryville, Blount County, TN. James died on 3/11/1820 and is buried in the New Providence Presbyterian Cemetery in Maryville.
James owned land on Pistol Creek and lived on the Wright Ferry Road in what is now the Springbrook section of Alcoa, TN, north of Maryville. His widow applied for a pension on 3/7/1845 in Blount County (National Archives, Revolutionary War Pension File #R11287). She herself was the daughter of a Revolutionary War veteran, John Sharp of Chester Co., PA who, when he heard of the battle going on at Brandywine Creek near his home, went over to volunteer his services to General Washington.
Submitted by C. Victor Jeter
Here are some photographs of the memorial
marker for W.G. Jeter and his wife in Edgewood Cemetery in Chillicothe,
Livingston County, Missouri. The inscriptions on a single
marker in block 4 of the cemetery read:
Submitted by C. Victor Jeter
Replica of the first William F. Berry and Abraham Lincoln Store, New Salem State Park, Illinois.
Gravestone of Sarah Ann Jeter
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