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A Family Newsletter


19th Edition                                                   August 1995


William Hembreeís Ė Spartanburg County, S.C.


          It should be noted there are many earlier Williamís in our family line, but the object of this article is to attempt to clarify the Williamís in Spartanburg County prior to 1830. Some letters concerning different Williams caused me to redo some research to be certain of the answers I gave. I feel it is worthwhile to use it in the newsletter as many of you descended from one or more of these Williamís.


To identify them the following numbers are assigned:

          William #1: William b. ca. 1735 / 43 who married Orinda

          William #2: William W. b. ca. 1789 that married Martha

          William #3: William Jasper b. 9/26/1827 who married Aminda M.


          William #4: William Jasper b. 12/26/1821 who married Emily Bice

          William #5: William b. 1812 that married Susan E. Tacket

          William #6: William b. ca. 1774 that married Selah (Anderson Co.)

          William #7: William B. 1797 married Alerz

          William #8: William M. b. 1812 that married Cassandra

          William #9: William Embry who always signed as Embry, although

                             Deed info indicates he also used Hembree. He was one

                             Of the two Williamís whose wife was named Martha. I

                             Generally refer to him as the Chester County, William.


I have a total of 165 Hembreeís in my files whose first name is shown as William, in addition to a large number whose middle names are shown as William. The names are often turned around, for example, William Jasper shown as Jasper William so I can only say that William was a popular name. If my memory is correct, the Guinness Book of Records list William as one of the top 4 names every year from 1700 to 1900.

          I have listed the above nine only because they are the ones which are most often mixed up since they all lived in or was born in the Spartanburg area prior to 1830, however, the Williamís which are most difficult to keep straight are Williamís numbers 1,2,6,7 and 9.

          William #6 was in the Anderson / Pickens area with Old John and later to Georgia where he is most often confused with others. He may or may not have actually resided in Spartanburg County, but he was the father of William #7 and the grandfather of William #3.

That reduces the Williams by three, and leaves 1, 2, 4, 5, 8 and 9 and I start with # 9.

          Although entitled Spartanburg County, one of the Williams was actually in Union County, S.C. and one in Chester County just across the Broad River adjoining Union County. The Chester County William #9 is consistently mixed up with the other Williamís so I start from there.

          William Embry #9 is first found in Lunenburg County, Virginia and later in Craven County, S.C. and it is important to know that Craven County, S.C. was really a district or area which was a part of Old 96th district, that included Spartanburg County, but was mostly what is today known as Union County, S.C.  It is also important to remember that in 1760 Ė 1830 period N.C. and S.C. still disputed their boundary line and N.C. records refer to this area as Craven County and or Camden District, while S.C. called it 96th District and Spartanburg County.  Two important factors are available regarding William #9 in tracing him. 1. He was literate, and in all his deeds and records that I have located he always signed William Embry. 2. He was a slave owner and available census records reflect this.

          Lunenburg County, Virginia Deed Bk. 4 pg. 97, Bk. 12, pg. 313 and Bk. 12, pg. 347 show the spelling as Embry and is signed William Embry. Deed Bk. 6, pg. 118, proves William and Henry, as Embry and I believe William Embry #9 was a grandson of Henry Embry of Lunenburg County, Virginia. William Embry #9 later moved to Rutherford County, N.C. (just across the border from then known Spartanburg County, S.C.) where he lived when he received a land grant in Craven (Spartanburg) County, S.C.

          In 1773 he was in Craven County, S.C. and sold land in Lunenburg County, Virginia to Edwards & Stokes and he bought 300 acres in Craven County on N. Side of Broad River. (The North Side of the Broad River was Union County, not Spartanburg).

          May 17, 1774 he received 2 land grants in Craven County, S.C. 150ac each, of Fair Forrest River called Wylys Fork from Lt. Gov. William Bull. The grant is to William Embry and William was literate as he signed the Deed, William Embry when he sold 150 acres of this land to Jane Fowler in 1784. The Deed identifies the land as part of the previously referred to grant.

          The property he purchased N. of the Broad River in Union County and property he owned on Fair Forest River was less than 10 miles apart if my locations are correct, and the Deeds are fairly specific as to the location.

          The 1790 Census of S.C. place Wm. Embry #9 in Chester County, Camden District.  In 1791, William Embry #9 was a messenger to Sandy River Baptist Church. The church was actually located on Turkey Creek across the river from Union County but, records state members lived mostly along the Pacolet River in Spartanburg County (Pacolet River is just north of the Fair Forest River area).

          In 1798, William Embry #9 from Rutherford County, N.C. purchased 100 acres on the N. side of the Pacolet River, Spartanburg County, S.C.

          In 1800, Census of S.C., William Embry #9 was living in Chester County. His wife was apparently deceased as no females are shown on census. He owned 8 slaves.

          In 1820, in Spartanburg County Deed Bk. R. pg. 293-294 a deed witnessed by John Embry refers to land bordered by William Embry, near meeting house spring. (Meeting house was the Sandy River Church).

          SUMMARY:  William Embry #9, lived first in Spartanburg County, where he attended the Sandy River Baptist Church, then moved to Union County and it was definitely William Embry #9 who sold the land to Jane Fowler, not William #1 as most researchers have recorded. NOTE FURTHER PROOF IS NEEDED BUT THIS WILLIAM #9 COULD HAVE BEEN THE FATHER OF JOSEPH HEMBREE of Roane County, Tennessee born 1778 in Rutherford County, N.C.  It is documented that Joseph was married in the home of William Hembree in S.C.


          William #2 was the son of William #1 and it was those two who are most confusing in Spartanburg County. To assist me in keeping these Williamís straight, I refer to them as Johnsonís line since Johnson was a brother to William #2 and a son of William #1.  I find it necessary to check every reference to these to Williamís to see which wife was involved in order to know which William it was at least until William #1 died in 1821 and that is a must to remember because following his death, his widow repurchased land sold by her son William #2, who signed as a witness on the deed. These deeds make it appear there is another William involved. One of the Deeds clarifies this situation but if you do not have that Deed itís easy to be lead astray as to the number of Williamís. William #2 was a member of the Friendship Baptist Church.


          William #1 was the patriarch William in Spartanburg, and if you accept the legateeís of his estate as his children, and his only children, then he was the father of Owen, Johnson, William #2, Isaiah, Esther, David and unnamed daughter who married Ephraim Story. However, I think David was Estherís son and that Esther was a daughter-in-law rather than a daughter. It appears another son Irah was deceased before his father William #1, and his wife Esther and son David were listed as legateeís because David was still a minor, otherwise only David would have been named. Other records indicate the name of Elizabeth as the daughter who married Ephraim Story, but it is still not proven that Elizabeth and this Story were one and the same family. William #1 and William #2 were members of Friendship Baptist Church.

          We know from the estate records of William #1 that Ephraim Story lived on land owned by William #1 and paid rent for the land during the estate period. One major problem with this family line is when that land was sold to Ephraim Story by Deed dated in April 1832 which states that the land is owned by the heirs at law of the estate of William Hembree, deceased. It is signed by Hembreeís Isaiah, Polly, Ephraim and also by Joelís (X). (Note:  Ephraim Hembree).  Researchers have stated and I previously made the same mistake in believing that the land was owned by William #1 and simply was not sold for several years following his death, that Isaiah, Ephraim, Polly, and Joel were children of a deceased son of William #1. While it is true that all the heirs at law need not sign on the same deed, all interests of the heirs at law must be conveyed for a valid title. No other deeds have been found to convey any of the several other living heirs at law of William #1, and there were quite a few heirs by 1832.

          One answer then is that the reference in the deed is to the heirs of law of William #2 instead of William #1, and this is a more reasonable situation considering the time and the fact that neither Joel or Ephraim Hembree are otherwise mentioned as heirs of William #1. However, the census records indicate that William #2 had more than the four children referred to, who would likewise have been heirs at law. Other than the census, I have found no record of them and believe it most likely they did not outlive their father, William #2. If so, a mention of them in the estate matters was not required.

          Some might ask, where are the estate records for William #2, however, it would not be uncommon to dispose of the estate holdings by method of a deed, if the only asset was a parcel of land. Some references list James who married Esther, but that is only conjecture on my part. My belief that James was a son of William #1 is based on a deed, which it appears to be the same land as Williamís but descriptions are somewhat vague. The mention of James and Irah are not meant to be confusing, but a fact to consider as possible line of heir ship for Joel, Ephraim, Isaiah & Polly.


          William #4 who married Emily Bice was a son of Isaiah & Polly, and grandson of Wm. #1, and members of the Friendship Baptist Church.


          William #8 who married Cassandra was the son of Johnson & Rachel and a grandson of William #1, and William and Cassandra were members of the Friendship Baptist Church.


          William #5 who married Susan Tacket was the son of Joel and Sarah. This could be the same Joel as mentioned in the Deed as an heir of Williamís estate. All indications point to this being correct but it still lacks documentation. This family is found in Carroll County, Georgia where Isaiah and Polly, and other descendents of William #1 moved. Also, the naming pattern of their children suggests this family line but it certainly is not proof.


          One of the sources I used in keeping the Williamís straight was church membership, and in this case those churches were Sandy River Baptist Church, Philadelphia Baptist Church and Friendship Baptist Church. Church records may name them only by William but by matching the known location of the land and the location of the Church, I was able to separate them. Also, the known birth death dates were considered. i.e.

          It was William Hembree #2 who was excluded from membership by the Friendship Baptist Church in 1823. William #1, was deceased in 1823 and William #8 was only eleven years old, and those were the 3 Williamís who attended Friendship Baptist Church, thus it could only be William #2. The only William found in the Philadelphia Baptist Church was during a much later time period.




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