ob Hembree             11819 Maple st.     Whittier, ca. 90601


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A Family Newsletter


8th Edition                                                     Spring 1991


                   WHO’S LISTENING? Probably not many but I promised in an earlier issue to advise you of others who are interested in the family genealogy and while the mailing lists changes with each issue I believe it is now represents a sufficient cross section of the different lines to provide the names of those most active in researching hopeless causes. Several people receive the newsletter but have expressed no interest in doing research about the family and their names are omitted. Otherwise the names are included herewith. While I had hoped by not what each of you would have submitted a personal background sketch that others might know something about you, it appears that the entire Hembree family is of modest heritage and will require additional urging to get that accomplished. (Funny, no one would have ever noticed modesty as a family trait, had I not pointed it out.)

          Under the Ancestor heading of the list, the major lines of the family are shown as James, David, Drewry, Abraham, William #1 (Pickens, S.C.), John (Spartanburg, S.C.) referred to as John #1, John (Kentucky) referred to as John #2, William #2 (Spartanburg, S.C.), Joseph and Other. Other lists the earliest known ancestor but the major line is unknown. The first name listed is the grandfather or in the case of female lines the first name will be the first time the name Hembree appears in the line:  Example C. Andrew Marcum is a grandson of Marietta V. Hembree, daughter of Joel Thomas Hembree, and the line goes back to James Hembree, and is therefore shown as C. Andrew Marcum / Marietta / James.  Hopefully, direct interaction will benefit each of us.

          Note:  John #2 lacks proof as being Hembree. He is the John Embry found in Lincoln County, KY in 1787. The residence location on Brush Creek checks out as the same family as Ezekiel. However, Meshack & Ezekiel were born in SC according to census records thus either John returned to SC or it is not the same Brush Creek. Later records show it as Knox County, KY but it appears to have all been Lincoln County until about 1807. I am still trying to find information on the KY county formations. During a period of 17 years, this household family name is spelled 8 different ways. Plan ahead if you decide to study this one.

          THANKS:  A special thanks to Marietta Cunningham for her generous contribution to assist in mailing costs of the newsletter. And thanks to each of you for your concerns and many expressions of appreciation and enjoyment of the newsletter. But take heed to this warning, kind words make it difficult for me to find the proper hat size.

          CORRECTION:  How could that be necessary? Anyway, in a previous newsletter I said that in Abraham’s pension papers he stated that he was born in Spartanburg, SC. It was Drury’s pension papers, which contained that statement. I still am seeking documentation to prove Abraham was Drury’s younger brother, but since the family was in Spartanburg when Drury was born, I feel certain they were still there two years later when Abraham was born. It is interesting to note that NC and VA each claim one as a Revolutionary Soldier from their state, even though Drury stated under oath he was born in Spartanburg, SC.

          FORMAT:  The change in format is an attempt to accomplish two things with one effort. I attend a Computer Desktop Publishing Class at Long Beach City College, and the professor will be a lot happier if I use at least 2 columns for a class project, and I’ll get some mileage out of an article that was written for class purposes. Also, I would like to encourage each of you to write about yourself or an ancestor that you knew personally or discovered something about while researching the family line. I did not know Joel Thomas Hembree but discovered a letter written by him and with other data I obtained, the attached story was derived. Since Alvin Hembree is named in the story, and I consider him to be an expert on Roane County, TN, I submitted the original to him for any corrections. Much to my surprise, a part of the story derived from family hearsay was in error. As proof, Alvin sent me an Obit and I was able to correct it before any damage was done. It only proves out the need to obtain as many sources as possible when dealing with the past. However, I still believe most family related stories are basically correct and a good source to begin research from. The correspondence from many of you is self evident that you both know a lot about different family members and are very capable writers. It is hoped a file can be developed from your various writings. Please submit.

          REUNIONS:  No data concerning these so I will just remind you of the one I know of at Pinecrest, California 21-23 June 1991. All Hembree’s and descendents are invited. SEE YOU THERE.

          PEDIGREE:  Several have asked for my lineage and I will conclude my botched up job of this newsletter by enclosing it. Next newsletter, I will try to get back to where I left off with the family lines in Tennessee and attempt to locate the area they resided in.







James Hembree lineage has not been proven beyond this point, however I believe I have it correct for several generations but will not publish it until proven out.

The Pettit line is proven except for one generation. The problem is only a matter o whether it is one generation or two generations during the 1700’s. There may be a junior or there may have been two wives, otherwise it is documented through history back to Pepin of Heristal, Mayer of the Palace in Austrasia who died 714. His son Charles Martel was b. 689 so Pepin was born sometime before that. Get out your English History books if you want to chase this line and go back three generations before Charlemagne. Although rare, this line is pure. By that I mean each son or daughter was the offspring of a legitimate marriage, and therefore documented through history.

If you are a descendent of Joel & Hannah, when your children are studying English History, they can tell their teacher, Hey – That’s one of my Ancestors.

Ed Moss – the Moss line goes back to England and the name is Morse at that point but I have not had the time to work it on backwards, but the church records of England should do the job, as it is known that the family was given permission to use the royal name Edward, and likely thus Edward Moss but I need to do more research to know exactly what that means.




          In Roane County, TN, on October twenty-fourth 1824, Mary Fanny Blake Hembree, born September sixth 1803, a bride of eleven months, having said her wedding vows on November thirteenth 1823 with Isaac Lyon Hembree, presented him with their first born, a son. Thus, began the life of the subject of this article. One of the first needs of any young life is a name. Whether Mary or Isaac suggested the name, we do not know. It may be they merely followed what appears to be the custom of the day, naming the first male child after the husband’s father, and using the wife’s maiden name as the middle name of the first female child. In any event, they must have decided that if one grandfather was good, two were even better, so they chose to honor both and named their newborn son Joel Thomas Hembree.

          Having a grandson, and a namesake surely must have brought joy and occasion for a party for the paternal grandparents; Joel B. Hembree, born 1755, Spartanburg, SC and his wife Hannah Pettit, born 1758 and the maternal grandparents; Thomas Blake and his wife _____ King, who were nearby in Roane County.

          Isaac and Mary lived in the Blue Spring Valley just south of Kingston, TN. I recently visited the site near the Blue Spring where Joel would have played. One of my distant cousins, Alvin Hembree pointed out all that remains today: the foundation of the old cold storage house built near the spring, used in the absence of a deep freezer or refrigerator. By today’s standards it was somewhat less than convenient since the spring was approximately two hundred yards from the house situated on a point overlooking the spring and the creek into which it flowed. Today it sits on the shoreline of a lake created by the damming of a river. It remains a beautiful site, even after the great campaign to litter America. In this peaceful area Joel would grow to assist his father in running the farm, a distillery, a mill, and other duties. While I have no records of his catch, he must have enjoyed many hours of great fishing in that nearby river.

          As a young boy of only twelve he would learn one of the problems of the frontier:  that childbirth took its toll. His mother would die on the twenty-first of February 1836, only five days following the birth of his sister, Mary (Polly). He would again feel a great loss on the twentieth of October 1854 when his first wife Nancy died.

          The first twenty-six years of Joel’s life was spent in that area before moving on. After growing to manhood in Roane County on the twenty-eighth day of February, 1850 he married his first wife, cousin Nancy Caroline Hembree, daughter of Col. Joel Hembree and Polly Wilhite. Joel Thomas and Nancy made their home in Roane County for a short time. Their first child, Charles Carlton Hembree was born there October tenth, 1853. The family patriarch Isaac Lyon Hembree was moving in the westward journey to new lands in Missouri. They decided to follow.

          After moving to Missouri, Nancy returned to Roane County to visit family and friends. She took ill during the visit and died in Roane County. Joel & Nancy’s son Charles was left with maternal grandfather, Col. Joel Hembree who later placed him with the family of a Dr. Jordan to raise and educate.

          As Joel was growing up he must have began to wonder about all the relatives who were also named Joel. He was less than a year old when his grandfather, Joel B. Hembree, died on February sixteenth, 1825, but there were still relatives all about that were using his name. In addition to his grandfather, other relatives named Joel were:


                        An uncle, Col. Joel Hembree, b. 25 Mar. 1796, Spartanburg, SC.

                        An uncle, Joel B. Hembree, Jr., b. 26 Nov. 1804, Spartanburg, SC.

                        A cousin, Joel Jordan Hembree, b. 7 Dec. 1804, Spartanburg, SC.

                        A cousin, Joel Blackburn Hembree, b. 18 June 1827, Roane County, TN.

                        A cousin, Joel Dallas Hembree, b. 16 June 1840, Roane County, TN.

                        A cousin, Joel B. Hembree, b. 20 June 1846, Sumner County, TN.

                        2 other Joel Hembree’s, the exact relationship, still unknown.


          All of the above lived in Roane County prior to Joel Thomas leaving in 1854. It seems the family liked the name so much that two of the above were really named Joseph but were always known as Joel, and listed as Joel on some census records. Joel also apparently liked the name as on May twenty-eighth 1875, he and his third wife, Sarah Jane Marcum b. December twenty-ninth 1843, named their son Joel Marcum Hembree.

          Just to add a touch of confusion, since Joel married his cousin, his uncle became his father-in-law, and his cousin became his brother-in-law. You could also say his uncle was his son’s grandfather if you wish to keep at this.

          It was in Dade County, Missouri where Joel Thomas settled. He was a successful farmer of some twelve hundred acres, a County Judge and later the proprietor of Challange Mills in Greenfield, Missouri. On April twentieth, 1855 he chose Nancy Hayes for his second wife. Nancy was born 1834, in Indiana, the daughter of Andrew E. Hays, born September twenty-seventy 1787, died February twenty-second, 1882 and Hannah Hays, born December ninth, 1792, died July nineteenth, 1872. This marriage also ended with the death of his wife, as Nancy died January nineteenth, 1864. Nancy and Joel had three boys and one girl. Joel’s third wife was Sarah Jane Marcum, born December twenty-ninth 1843, the daughter of John W. Marcum and Melissa Craig Marcum. Sarah Jane and Joel had five boys and five girls. Thus, Joel’s family consisted of three wives, and sixteen children, all raised in Dade County, Missouri except for the boy in Tennessee who grew up to become the Reverend Charles C. Hembree.

          Joel Thomas Hembree was in Dade County, Missouri when he answered the call to service during the Civil War. It is during his military service that he wrote a letter, a line from which came the idea for the title “A Stake in the Ground”. I find the letter humorous, but it also related to the conditions of the day. It speaks loudly as to his character in that he saw a duty and attempted to serve it as best he knew how; even if it meant telling the General a few facts. Since the letter is part of the military record which is Public Domain, and over 100 years old, and therefore, not subject to copyright, it is copied in full: 


Greenfield, MO. June 14, 1864

Brig. Gen. J.B. Sanborn,

Commanding at Springfield, MO:

          GENERAL:  Although I am a stranger and a commissioned officer of the lowest rank, I have the presumption to write you a few lines on the condition of things out west. I am just in from Lamar, where my company is stationed at his time, and has been since March last, and has affected nothing in the way of putting down the rebellion. With their present strength they never will effect anything, from the fact that they are just like a stake drove down in the middle of a big road. The rebels can go on either side and we cannot help it, from the fact that we are too weak. If we divide and send out a scout we are left too weak at the post to affect anything, and the scout is too weak to do anything, for when you divide 40 men you have not many in either squad. The rebels know our strength and condition generally, and when they pass through they go in squads of 80 to 100 men.

Then when we run on them they whip us, and we have to skedaddle, which tends to encourage them rather than any other way.

          Another thing in this arrangement is, in protecting Lamar we protect 1 grocery keeper, 1 doctor, 1 lawyer, 1 member of the Legislature, and some 3 jayhawkers, about 10 acres in corn, some 4 or 5 little gardens, a few stolen sheep, some milk cows, and some half dozen horses. Now this is what the post at Lamar amounts to, when, if we had more men, we might kill some of those fellows going north; or, if there are no more men to spare, if we were stationed in some neighborhood where people are at work we would encourage them to work by our presence, even if we were to weak to afford them any real protection, but as it is the post at Greenfield and the one at Lamar are 30 miles apart; then 35 miles to Fort Scott, and no one living between Greenfield and Fort Scott but a very few families, so the rebels have full sway. On the 12th instant about 100 rebels passed this side of Lamar, about 10 miles, going north. They robbed 3 women of 2 horses, all their provisions, and some clothes. The women were traveling.

          We do not ask to be moved from Lamar particularly. All we ask is to be placed in a condition that we can do something. I presume, if it was necessary, it could be proven that this member of the Legislature is in partnership with the Kansas jayhawkers. I do not set myself up as an adviser or dictator, but I am for doing something, if I can be placed in a condition that I can do something.

          I am, yours, with respect,



          Second Lieut. Co. E, Seventh Prov. Regt., E. Mo. Mil.


          Joel Thomas Hembree would not have wanted to be just “A Stake in the Ground”, unless, as a family man, a County Judge, a community leader, and a believer in God his stake in the ground was an anchor for many. 


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