Bob Hembree             11819 Maple st.     Whittier, ca. 90601


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A Family Newsletter



2nd Edition – Fall 1989


Happy to report the Newsletter was well received and many thanks to all for their response and support.  As the saying goes “Onward and Upward”.  The first item is to advise the subject matter for the next issues.  While subject to change, it is my plan to move the newsletter westward as the migration pattern did, and inserting and returning to specific family members as the issues progress.  Accordingly please contribute any info you think helpful to, or of interest to others:


            S. Carolina Hembree prior to 1820

            N. Carolina Hembree’s

            Tenn. Hembree’s prior to 1860

            Missouri Hembree’s, etc.


I recently attended the family reunion in White Co., Tenn. Not only did I enjoy the opportunity to visit my sister La Vera, and her family who reside near Pikeville, TN., but I had the opportunity to meet members of another line of the Hembree family.  I would like to say thanks for the hospitality extended, and a very well done to Martha Bond and others who made it all possible.  Also, as a part of the reunion get together I had the chance to renew acquaintance with Alvin Hembree, John F. Hembree & his wife, Julia, and to meet Mr. & Mrs. Joe Preston, all serious researchers of our family line.  I had the pleasure of traveling with John & Julia to Hembree Tenn., that’s correct Hembree, Tenn.  The place is shown on an old map and is located in Scott Co., Tenn.  The patriarch of the family there appears to have been Meshack Hembree but more on that in another issue as I’m hopeful that Julia will write an article on the research they did on their trip.  This issue will deal with the line of the family who settled in White Co. Tenn. Whose descendants held the reunion.


One of the 1st things I learned when I started genealogy was to make certain deductions based on strong evidence and then try to prove them out.  This poses a problem for some as once they have deduced something they then accept it as fact without proof.  My comments are not intended to bore anyone but I believe it necessary, for others, to know what a decision is based upon in order to judge its credibility.  One of the objects of this newsletter is to prove the family lineage, if you reason to think me wrong, please advise.


The White Co. group dates their family back to James L. Hembree b. 1812 / 15 and his wife Mary L. Knowles, but that was as far back as they knew.  Although I was sure James father was Zachariah, I lacked that one document that established a direct tie between Zachariah and James L. (I’m using his middle initial as L. although it is also given as M., G., and K.).  What I call the White Co. Hembree line goes like this.


                                    James or John b. abt. 1710

                                    James b. 1730 & wife Sarah

                                    Joel B. Sr. b. 1755 & wife Hannah Pettit

                                    Zachariah b. 1778 & wife Rosannah

                                    James L. b. 1812 & wife Mary L. Knowles

                                    John S. b. 1833 & wife Mary J. Speck

                                    Mary Jane b. 1855; spouse uncertain (Children known as Hembree ?)

                                    Wylie Castro b. 1877 & wife Martha McWhorter

1.      W.C. Jr. & wife Lucy Cowley

2.      Wyleen & spouse Paul C. Ricks

2a. Martha Ricks Bond

3.      Paul & wife Josephine Kirk

Current generations


John S. & Mary J. Speck had other children as did their daughter Mary Jane, however I am only dealing with the one line at this time.


That Zachariah was a son of Joel & Hannah – is proved by the Deed with the same description as land owned by Joel & Hannah.  Both deeds say N. Side of Tyger River on Branch of Cane Creek, so it is not an absolute, but I have been to the old plantation in S. Caro. (Chimney all that remains), talked to Hembree’s on both sides of the Tyger River, noted Cane Creek and further examined Deeds and found only 3 Hembree’s (James, Joel & Abraham) with land referring to the No. Side of Tyger R. and Cane Creek.  I have accounted for all of Abraham’s known land, and that leaves James & Joel, grandfather & father of Zachariah.  Also, Zachariah fits perfectly into Joel’s family in the 1790C if Spartanburg Co., and further although the name is only mentioned, it is in the Bible of Isaac Lyon Hembree, a brother to Zachariah.  Further it is known that Joel & Hannah moved to Tenn. In 1806 and that is the date of the Deed referred to above, indicating Zachariah & Rosannah moved with the rest of the family to new lands in Tenn.  Zachariah is again tied to family of Joel & Hannah by a Decision of the Tenn. Supreme Ct. in 1813.  Zachariah appears in the Roane Co., which is the same Roane Co. where Joel & Hannah settled.  He appears in Warren Co., TN. where his elder brother James is well documented. (area present day White Co.) and he appears in Morgan Co. TN. With still another brother Obediah.  He also owned land in Ark. beside his brother Obediah.  Zachariah has a proven connection to four Hembree brothers, and that he sold land that was previously part of his father or grandfather’s land.  Further, Zachariah is a Biblical name and all of Hannah’s children were given Biblical names.  The time was right, the places are correct matches, the spellings are correct, and the connections are important residence connections through land and court records.  In my opinion more than enough to support the family makeup, thereby proving the deduction I stated at the beginning.  The problem with the above given lineage was to connect Zachariah and his son James L.  I finally made that connection but I must admit that to some people there may be something wrong with someone who gets a charge out of a musty old record in a dirty old courthouse that doesn’t even have air conditioning.  But that’s where I found the information on Land Grant #22150 that led me again to the Tenn. State Archives where I obtained a copy of the Land Grant to Zachariah Hembree and James Hembree dated 22 day Oct. 1835, and this James could only be Zachariah’s son James as his brother James was in Ark. By that time.  A further study of the Census and I found Zachariah, and his son James as neighbors on the same page of the 1840 Census.

Thus to Martha Ricks Bond I advise that I have finally found that document, that until proven otherwise, completes her and the White Co. family line back to abt. 1710.  (See page on Zachariah).  It also happens to be my family line at the point of Joel & Hannah & beyond.


One of the reasons I set forth the above deduction, are the comments made in several of your letters responding to the newsletter.  Many of you seem to be looking for a recorded document giving the makeup of the family a hundred years ago.  I believe I can be most helpful by advising you to reach out to variant spellings, particularly when studying the Census as it probably contains more errors than any document ever written but most informative despite the errors.  But you have to prove out your differences.


Weight limits this newsletter to about 4 pages without additional postage so will wait till the next issue to reply to some of your letters.  Others may have the information you seek.


One of the interesting things I noticed in Tenn. was the custom to decorate the cemeteries in the fall rather than the usual Memorial Day, which I am accustomed.  The cemetery in Hembree, Tenn. and the one at Cardiff, TN. Were both neatly trimmed and the headstones brushed clean.  I’m unaware of who did the maintenance at Hembree, TN., but I know the one at Cardiff is maintained by Alvin Hembree & his wife and they deserve our thanks for the great job they’re doing.  Also, speaking of Cemeteries – the Cedar Gap Cemetery in Stockton, MO. is also a family cemetery, which is maintained by Lawrence Hembree and other family members who have incorporated it and do an excellent job.  If you know of others I would appreciate hearing from you, but these deserve special notice.


I have had difficulty finding anyone in Ga. who has an interest in our ancestry.  If anyone knows a contact please let me know, or better yet, send them a copy of this and ask them to reply.




Zachariah Hembree b. 1778 – 1780


1.      1800 Census Spartanburg, S.C.  Age 16 – 26, Daughter 0 – 10

  1. 1806 Deed – Spartanburg, Dower release proves wife name as Rosannah – Land description is same as Joel & Hannah land description – Deeds say N. Side of Tyger River on Cane Creek.

2a. 1806 sold land Pickens Co., S.C. (Waters of the Keowee River)

  1. 1810  Dismissed a lawsuit in Roane Co., Tenn.
  2. 1813 Mentioned in Tenn. Supreme Ct. decision, brother Benjamin swore “Zachariah settled upon the land”
  3. 1814 Roane Co. tax list  336 acres
  4. 1830 appears on Ark,. Tax list (Not necessarily a resident) also Brother Obediah on same Lawrence Co. tax list.
  5. 1830 Census Warren Co., Tenn. (area is present day White County)
  6. Mentioned in Bible of Isaac Lyon – name only no other comment
  7. 1840 Census of Morgan Co., TN. – neighbors – son James, brother Obediah
  8. 1814 Brother James owned land on waters of the main Caney Fork, White Co., TN – Caney Fork is same area as Zachariah in 1830 Census and same area as present day generation dates to Zachariah’s son James who married Mary L. Knowles
  9. 1835 Land Grant # 22150 issued to Zachariah Hembree and James Hembree (Certain to be Zachariah’s son James because his brother James was already in Ark. & MO.)  Land was in Morgan County, TN., the grant was issued in Nashville in 1838 but was entered in 1835.  Age in 1840 Census also proves it to be son James.


If Zachariah is a brother to any of the four then he is a brother to all four, James, Benjamin, Obediah and Isaac Lyon.  There is absolutely no doubt about Isaac Lyon and Benjamin being sons of Joel and Hannah.  We therefore know that James, Zachariah and Obediah are also their sons although there are no known Bibles, etc. for them.  James & wife and Joel and Dau. (1808 Roane Co., TN.)  sued James White and were awarded $1,000.  (Roane Co. Minute Bk. 1807 – 1809 page 278)  Another proof of James relationship to Joel & Hannah


Joel & Hannah


James – Rachel – Zachariah – Rosannah – Obediah – Benjamin – Isaac – Matilda – Sarah – Andrew – Joel B.

                                    per 1830 Census

3 Males b. 1800–1810, 2 Males b. 1810–1815, Female b. 1820–1825, Male b. 1820–25, Male b. 1825–30

also dau. b. 1790 – 1800 per 1800 Census Spartanburg, S.C.

One of the sons born 1810-1815 was James L. who m. Mary L. Knowles and their children were

                                    Female b. 1830-35

                                    John S. b. 1833 m. Mary J. Speck

                                                Martin B. b. 6 Aug. 1840; d. 3 Jul 1905

                                                William K. b. 1841-44

                                                James H. b. 1846-47

                                    Eliza b. 1848

It is through John S. & Mary J. Speck that the current White Co. group descends.

Martin was a Constable of White Co. 1888-1890, was married but no children – Confederate Pension  Application 6287 and 3288, White Co., Tenn.

William K. was killed abt. Age 22, apparently before marriage.  (Yet to be confirmed)

James H. was killed abt. Age 20, apparently before marriage.  (Yet to be confirmed)

Nothing known of the unnamed female b. 1830-35

Eliza apparently died in infancy as she is unlisted in 1850 Census.

Family was listed in DeKalb Co., TN. in 1850 Census as Emery.  (DeKalb Co. formed partly from White Co. – not a move just change in county lines)

James and Mary L. Knowles family appear in both Morgan Co. and White Co. Census for 1840.  I believe they moved to Morgan Co. abt. 1835 as evidenced by the Land grant and then returned to White Co. in 1840, thus the reason they appear in both Census.  In White Co. they appear as James G. Hembry and in Morgan Co. as James Humbry.  In Morgan Co. he appears with Zachariah and Obediah.