Bob Hembree         11819 Maple st.   Whittier, ca.  90601






Text Box:  






A Family Newsletter


13th Edition                                                   January 1993




          William’s line is the subject of correspondence with one previously unknown to me, Mrs. Shirley S. Holmes. Several people may be able to pick up on parts of William’s family line, thus the subject for this edition of the newsletter. For your information, her letter stated that Cornelius Broadus Hembree must have had brothers or his father Jonathan must have, but she knew no names, dates, etc.



          First you should know I have been unable to confirm my research on his line as I would like because several rolls of microfilm are missing from the Church of Latter Day Saints Library in Salt Lake City. Hopefully, you may save me a trip to S. Carolina. On the assumption that you provide me with copies of what you obtain, I think I can provide you with the information you need to verify the data I’m supplying, and to complete a family makeup for several generations prior to Cornelius.

          First of all, you wrote that Cornelius father was Jonathan Hembree and his mother was Amanda Hopkins Hembree. If I am correct Amanda (Hopkins) was not his mother. She was his 2nd wife. Cornelius mother was Catharman/Katherine. The 1880C Spartanburg, S.C. shows Cornelius wife to be Elizabeth (Eliz. Turentine Newman) and the 1910C shows his wife as Amanda. I suggest you look at the county copy of the 1900C and see if you don’t find him, as the 1900 federal copy missed indexing him.

          At least the county should be able to inform you what district or precinct he was in and then you could search the federal census. If you find him on the 1900C you will then know to look for his marriage to Amanda between 1887 and 1900. Otherwise it is between 1887 and 1910/

          This line should come together quite easy as the family probates go back to William, but you need to know that Williams son Johnson married 2nd, his cousin Rachel Hembree who had children by her deceased husband, Hugh Davis. Johnson had 3 wives, and children by each, and I suspect that probate to be quite lengthy. Since you did not say if you were just beginning or an experience researcher, I will risk being boring and tell you to be very careful with the letter J. in Johnson’s line. Also, with the spelling of Johnathan, Jonathan. etc. as I found them very difficult to keep straight in census records.

          Also you need to know that the addresses for Christopher Hill and James Hill in Whittier, California as shown on the enclosed print outs are no longer correct I do not know for certain but I think they now live in Arizona. Odessa Hill, Laurens, S.C. reportedly has the family Bible of Christopher Cornelius Hembree (bro. Of your g-mother Henrietta), and she lives or lived in your area, at 200 McDonnel St., Laurens, S.C. I would greatly appreciate a copy of the family data therein if it is available to you. Much of my information was reported to be from that Bible but I do not have a copy of the pages containing the information.

          As for William, I am sending you family sheets, which I believe to be correct, but the probate records are needed to prove them. Records show Wm. and Wm. W. Jr., Dower releases show Wm. W. (Sr.) wife to be Martha, and Wm. W. Jr. wife to be Orinah, however until I review the probates I’ll just say that I think Wm. W. Jr. was a brother to Johnson, but he could have been Johnson’s father, which would then make Wm. W. (Sr.) Johnson’s g-father. It is important because Johnson was the administrator of the Will of Wm. W. Anyhow; it is Probate #1033 Spartanburg County, S.C. Also, if you are not aware of it, Spartanburg County does not maintain files on the older probates, you must go to the Archives in Columbia, S.C. to obtain them.

          Before I forget it Johnson was also the administrator of the will of Hugh Davis (deceased husband of his 2nd wife, Rachel) also in Spartanburg County. Wm. Hembree’s Will may be on page 145 Will Book C. Spartanburg County, S.C. or that may be only a reference to Wm’s land on Blackstock Rd. For Wm. it is also necessary to search Union County as he apparently owned land in both counties, or it could be Wm. (Sr.) in Union and Wm. (Jr.) in Spartanburg. I do not know if Union County retained their older Wills or if they are likewise, in Columbia.


          Other family probates (Spartanburg County) for this line are:

          2658 9/11/1867 Johnathan            4064 Elias W.

          1499 22 Jan, 1897 Jefferson                  4683 Elvira (wife Jefferson)

          7124 Wm. Madison                         8499 Wesley Lee

          8978 John West Brooks                 13462 James Earl


          A Deed dated 30 April 1832 states “heirs of William Hembree” and lists Ephraim, Polly, Isiah, and Joel (X) (the X is only my way of keeping some Joel’s straight). I believe these were the children of Wm. W. Jr.


          Another important research for the early family is a list of names, which was annually submitted to the Baptist Convention (Association is probably a better word than convention) by the Friendship Baptist Church, Pauline, S.C. The name was changed to Friendship, but this church was founded about 1765 and from 1802 to 1900 there are several Hembree’s referred to, but again I need the probate information for dates, to determine if it is Wm. Sr. or Wm. Jr. being mentioned. The records for this church were microfilmed and are retained in library vault at Furman, University. Although the lists concern Friendship Church they are not a part of the microfilm, which I reviewed. The information concerning the lists is contained in a book “South Carolina Baptists” which I am sure the university library has a copy of. It is in the chapter “Early Back-Country Churches”. Those early lists (reportedly 1770’s) will likely be listed by families. Phone calls to the church gained me little, but I think a personal contact is worth the effort. I know there are still Hembree’s living in the immediate area of that church.

          You stated “it is unlikely two different sets of Hembree’s grew up in an area of less than 5 limes apart”. Well it happened, and hard as it is to believe, the Civil War apparently is not over. About 5 years ago I visited Hembree’s on both sides of the Tyger River whose roots in the area, go back before 1800 and neither seemed to know anything about those on the other side of the river. You will likely need to sort them out yourself. If interested, I have Joel and David’s line from that area in good order, but I need to do more work on the others, Abraham, William, Drury and John. Drury & John may not fit in the 5-mile area, but close.


As I have it to date, the line goes as follows:

          James or John

          William b. 1755, Martha         (Correction’s/b Orinah)

          Johnson J. b. 1784 m. 1st ________, 2nd Rachel, 3rd Susan

          Johnathan J. b. 15 April 1806, m. Catharman/Katherine

                   Children (Johnathan likely son of 1st wife)

1.    Jeferson b. 12 January 1830, m. June or Jane Howard

4 children, all dried during childhood

2.    Cornelius Broadus b. 15 Oct. 1835, m. 1st Eliz. Newman

7 children, your grandmother Henrietta being the 6th Cornelius m. 2nd Amanda Hopkins.


Note page from my computer file on William W. (Sr.) Hembree


/ Spartanburg County Court minutes 1785-1799       Jury duty, 1791-92-93

/ Probate 1033 24 Oct 1821, Johnson Hembree Adm. Film 1022824 LDS    


/ W-45 Journal of the Ordinary pg. 84     Spart. Co. S.C. Will abstracts


$ Colonial Records (Unrecorded) land pg. 13 (The Carolina Genealogist)

$ S.C. Memorial 5 May 1773, 300 ac N. side Broad river, Craven Co., S.C.

/ Deed Bk. S, pg. 372 Spartanburg, 8 Mar 1824. (Enoch Smith sold above

  property to Orinah Hembree, for $130.) Witness was Wm. W. Hembree –

  Wm. W. would have to be Jr. as Sr. died in 1821

$ W-45 “Lands next to William W. Hembree Lands” 8 September 1823.

   Greenville County Library – Will Abstracts Spartanburg 1787–1840, Book

   C, pg. 145, Land on Blackstock Road, Spartanburg County. (Blackstock

   Is extension of Camelot Dr., west of Greenville/Spartanburg  Airport, So.

   Of Highway 29.

!  1800C Spartanburg Count, S.C. Over 45, Female 26-45, Female 16-26,

   Male 16-26, 3 males 10-16

!  1810C Spartanburg, Over 45, W over 45, 1 male & 1 female 26-45

!  1820C Spartanburg, Over 45, W over 45, 1 male 26-45

$  Deed Bk D, pg. 116-120, Spartanburg County, S.C., 25 September

   1784, refers to grant 17 May 1774, Lt. Gov. Wm. Bull to Wm. Embry, said

    Wm. Hembree (sic) sells 150 ac to Jane Fowler, on Wilie’s Br of

    Fairforrest Cr. (Note: Embry and Hembree spelling in Deed).

$  S.C. Memorial, 27 Oct. 1774 confirms Deed Bk. D, pg 116-120

/   W-44 Wm. had a drinking problem and the church excluded him, then

    forgave him as follows:  Nov. 1804 Excluded, Jan. 1819 Restored to

    fellowship, June 1823 date was Wm. Jr. as Sr. died in 1821).

$  26 October 1795 Halifax County, VA Deed Bk. B&S Bk. 16 pg. 451 Wm.

    Hembree sold 100 A. on Hyco River to Hampton Wade. (Film 0031876   

    LDS SLC)

$  22 October 1798 Halifax County, VA Deed Bk B&S Bk 18 pg. 18 Wm.

    and Orinio sold 188 A. on Bluewing Cr. To Annis, Hughs. (Both Wm. and

    Orinio sign with “X” marks. (Film 0031876 LDS SLC) Deed states “his

    wife Orinio”.

/   Wm. Embry in Caswell County, N.C. in 1786 (pg. 91 N.C. Taxpayers).

    Also Robert Embry in 1784 & 1786.


It appears from various records that the spelling of Hembree was not firmed up by all parts of the family as Hembree until about 1800, after the movement to S.C.


Note from above that Wm sold land both in Halifax County, VA and across the border in Granville County, N.C. (Blue Wing, Cr.). David Hembree owned land on Blue Wing Cr. And James and John both owned land in Halifax County, VA thus the William whose wife was Orinio, could be a brother to James, David & John or the son of James or John. But, I think the William, who married Orinda was the William Emery of Union County and your William was the son of James, as previously stated.

          The early census records show three William Emery or Hembree’s in the same general area of Spartanburg County, S.C.  Also it’s easy to confuse William Embry of Craven County, S.C. with this line but deeds signed by that William were spelled Embry and remained Embry. They likely were the same family farther back but the Embry / Emery /Emry / Hembrow / Hembree line in VA is very confusing, so that is only a guess. But one thing is clear, the William Embry of Craven County is a different line than the William who was Johnson’s father. There were also William Emery / Hembree’s in Anderson County area which definitely were Hembree but not the same Williams I referred to.


Reunion:  All Hembree’s invited:  Don’t miss it.

                   When:       July 16, 17 & 18 – 1993

                   Where:      Group Campground, Dodge Ridge, California

                   Info:           Contact Grant & Phyllis Hembree, P.O. Box 643,

                                      Twain Harte, CA  95383


Traveling?  Check out a marker in memory of Absalom Hembree, it’s located in a small park in the center of Toppinesh, Washington. States that a monument was placed in his memory at the site where he was killed – and gives the distance from marker to locate the monument which is about 9 miles southeast of the town. The marker info is basically correct but it took some effort from the locals to locate the monument. (In a ravine on a mountain slope, on Indian owned land). But take your boots, it’s rattle snake country. Also, check out the beautiful murals painted on sides of buildings in Toppenish. (Yakima Valley, Washington) Great Civic Project – Great Art.  


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