915 N. Ridge View Dr. Santa Maria, Ca. 93455-6319
A Family Newsletter
24th Edition December 1997
Other than the Joel’s of Tennessee, the one family member who has been the most difficult to tract down was Owen Hembree. It is for that reason I feel it important to document what I have learned, even though I still need certain information to prove it beyond any doubt.
Owen first appeared on the 1810 census (Spartanburg County, S.C.) and last appeared there in the 1830 census. Since those census years give no information except the name of the head of the household, and the age groups of the children and spouse, they were not much help. A couple of Deeds placed him in Spartanburg County, South Carolina as early as 1807, and the census told us he was born in South Carolina 1760-1765. Also, he was an heir / beneficiary of the estate of William Hembree in 1823. That was his life story, or at least what was discovered about him. That little bit of information makes it even more difficult because all three censuses say that Owen was born in South Carolina and confirm the birth date between 1760 / 1765. However, this is several years before we can document his parents, Wm. and Orinda being in S.C. and the earliest the historians give for the settlement of Spartanburg County, or old 96 District as it was known then. Not to argue with historians, but the Hembree’s were almost certainly there before the historians knew it. Some records show Joel Hembree, was born in S.C. in 1755, and Drury Hembree born there also in 1755, and from military records Abraham Hembree, stated he was born there in 1757. Thus, it appears that while the earliest land grants were not until 1768 / 1770, the Hembree families were in Spartanburg County, S.C. several years before the actual land grants were issued. They apparently settled in the area before giving up their land and homes in Virginia and North Carolina as we find records indicating about a 10 yr. overlap.
It is highly unlikely that three consecutive census records, which give Owens birth as between 1760 / 1765, would be erroneous, despite what historians tell us. Since no military record for Owen has been found to place him in the Revolutionary War, he most likely was born about 1765 or he would have been old enough for service.
While the families who dropped anchor in the lower areas of S.C., generally stayed there, those who settled the up country, as they called it, found life far more difficult than they desired and a high percentage of them moved on to other areas which were being opened to settlement. While two of Owens brothers and cousins moved onward to Georgia, I had no success in locating him there, although I was certain that the widow Rebecca Hembree found on the 1840 C of Carroll County, Georgia was Owens’ wife, it was always something I knew but could not prove.
From Deed records, which showed the sale of lands, owned by Owen in S.C., I was also certain that he moved onward or died about 1834, as he seemed to just drop off the face of the earth.
Rebecca’s family as given by the 1840 and 1850 census of Carroll County, Georgia has been known, but by itself is of little help. However, when you place her as Owens wife in the 1810 – 1830 census of S.C. and the 1840 Carroll County, Census, and allow for older family members to move out, you have a nearly perfect family match for all the known information, and the reason I was sure her deceased husband was Owen Hembree. Thanks to a document forwarded to me by Cheryl and Gary Grusendorf, I know Owen died in Carroll County, Georgia in 1837.
The document is page 602 of the Georgia Law Journal, a portion of which reads "Georgia, Carroll County: Daniel McBurnett applies for Letters of Administration on the estate of Owen Hembree, late of said County, deceased. (Signed) William L. Parr, Clerk, November 6, 1837".
Thus, we know Owen was in Carroll County and Rebecca was his wife. But while life may be exciting, it is not made easy, as I have yet to locate the actual records of the administration of the estate.
However, form a certain index, I discovered that the letters were applied for by both McBurnett and a Wallace Warren. I suspect both were sons in law of Owen, as three of Owens first four children were girls. The estate records may have been filed under the Administrators names and I am now exploring that possibility to locate the records. While the records are of the utmost importance in proving out the members of this family, I have a partial family list, which was developed from misc. data. Again, I remind you that this data is my work notes and will not be in final form until proven out, but will list my computer notes as data for the readers information.
Owen Hembree b. 1760 / 1765 S.C. died 1837 Carroll County, Georgia.
Rebecca _________ b. 1785 S.C. died after 1850.
Children: All born in South Carolina.
Laura Susan b. 1800 married ________ Morrow
Sarah b. 1802 married William Bates
Male b. 1804 William fist here
Female b. 1805 / 10 Lilly / Delilah
Female b. 1806 / 10
Elegus Thomas b. 1810 married Anna Maria Woodruff
Obediah b. 1813 married Theresa e. Weir
Female b. 1815 / 20
Female b. 1816 / 20
Joseph / Joel b. 1825 married Amanda McWhorter
Luis / Lewis b. 1827 / 28 Agusta Jackson
Mary b. 1830
Owen was born 1760-1765, as he appears on the 1810, 1820 and 1830 census of Spartanburg County, S.C. His wife, unnamed but also shown on the same census as born between 1780-1784. They had four girls and 1 boy, all born between 1800-1810, and by 1820, 6 girls and 3 boys. And by 1830 there was another boy b. 1825-30.
On November 28, 1804, a tract of land of 46 acres on both sides of Blackstock’s Road was surveyed for James W. Hembree. Land was bordered on 2 sides by lands of Smith. It appears this is the same land as Owens or adjacent lands.
Deed dated April 17, 1807, Owen purchased 96 acres from Robert Harper, Witness to the Deed was Wm. W. Hembree. (William W. was a brother to Owen).
Six months later, October 9, 1807 another Deed shows he sold the same land back to Robert Harper. The land was located next to Wm. W. Hembree, Wates of Dutchman Creek. (Same Blackstock Road area).
From Deed records, Owen first lived on land on S. side of Dutchmen’s Cr., Spartanburg County. He sold 40 acres of land to William Hembree on April 7, 1813, which was granted to him in March 1807. The land lay on both sides of Blackstock’s Road and joined other land where he lived. However, there is a mix up somewhere because the same Deed Book and date, also shows William sold the land to Owen.
Deed Cross Index for 1825 shows Owen bought 50 acres from Sheriff, Thomas Poole.
Owen, signed a Deed so he was literate, at least to that extent.
Deed dated February 1, 1831; Owen sold 71 Acres to Robert Moore. Land on Little Thickety Creek. (Land, which he lived on, means Owen, had moved from the Blackstock Road area to Little Thickety Creek. The same general area that Abraham Hembree, and Joshua Pettit lived.)
Owen was a legatee of Wm. Hembree’s estate. (His father, not his brother Wm. W. Hembree) Since Wm. died in the estate, and Owen was named as a legatee, and service made upon him at the beginning of the estate, there is not much doubt that he was William & Orinda’s son. At least until proven otherwise.
The lands on Blackstock Road are the same lands that Wm. W. Hembree & his mother Orinda, sold to and repurchased from Smith.
From the census records we know that Owen did not have children, until he was at least age 35 and his wife was at least 15 yrs. younger than he. That fits well into the customs of the day, but it also makes it possible for a previous marriage, and other children, which I know nothing about.
Owens age indicates he was likely born in Halifax County, Virginia or Granville County, N.C. as records indicate his parents, William & Orinda were not in S.C. that soon, but that would be ignoring 3 census records which list his birthplace as S.C.
Owen, b. 1760-65, means his father William was b. 1740 or before. Owens father William was a brother to James Hembree b. 1730, instead of being James son, as I have previously thought.
Owens birth date of 1760-65 proves he was too young to have been one of the original four that went to S.C., as some have suggested.
The maiden name of Owen’s wife may have been Morrow as that family name is found as neighbors, and as witness to land Deeds relating to Owen. Or it may be mixed with his daughter Laura who reportedly married a Morrow.
When found, the estate records from Georgia should give the names of all living children at the time of his death. Obediah, b. 1813, Sarah b. 1802, Laura Susan b. 1800, Joseph / Joel S. b. 1825 and Mary b. 1830 is a partial list. While I believe the estate records will also show a son named Luis (Lewis) b. 1827, the 1830 census record does not show this son.
As yet no proof has been found that Elegus Thomas Hembree was Owens son, but I feel certain the estate records will prove this out, despite some conflicting info. This is the Elegus Thomas Hembree that was proven certain members of his family and descendants use the name Emory, which I covered in the 16th Edition.
Also, at least some references and a copy of a certain letter referred to Owen as one of the original four brothers who settled in S.C. We know from Owens age, that that was in error, it was Owens father William who was one of the four.
Having the location and year of Owens death to work with, I am still searching for the estate records to prove his family out. From the index I have learned the administrators bond was filed in the Carroll County, Georgia, Court of Ordinary, Bk. A. pgs. 198 thru 202, and the filings occurred between January 2, 1838 and March 31, 1838. An appraisement of the estate was done April 2, 1838, and a bill on May 18 1838. It would appear to be a simple thing to get copies of pages 198 thru 202 but to date I have only found index info. thus the assistance of anyone having access to Carroll County, Georgia records will be greatly appreciated.
Abel Owens Hembree, a descendent of David Hembree was also in Carroll County, Georgia during the same time period, but his history is well documented. He was about a third cousin to Owen.
Today’s mail gives me more information about Owen, and from it I know that Daniel McBurnett married Lilly Emory / Hembree April 22, 1834, so he was a son-in-law as I thought. Other information indicates her name was Delilah, so need to clear this up. Also, Delilah had a brother named William, so at least two more members of Owens family are known. As soon as I can straighten all of this out, I will list Owens complete family in a future newsletter.
Once again the Christmas Season is with us. A time when no matter what our problems are, they are made lighter as we celebrate the birth of Christ. If our Christmas Cards seemed cold this year, well my wife decided to help out and sealed all the envelopes before I stuffed a letter inside. But my letters are not that exciting so you didn’t miss much. I hope you have a grand and glorious Holiday Season.