Second part of Old Letters, beginning in 1853

The above 1853 letter [in Part One of Old Letters] was written by the deceased Edwin Alexander McCorkle's brother, Robert Andrew Hope McCorkle (RAH McCorkle) in Dyer County, Tennessee, to RAH and Edwin’s sister, Elmira Sloan McCorkle Roache (Mrs. Dr. Stephen Roache). Elmira had been born in Rowan County, NC, but moved with her parents and siblings to the area of Murfreesborough, Tennessee (Stone’s River, Rutherford County), to take up Alexander McCorkle’s Revolutionary War land-grant. (Alexander McCorkle’s NC will left the land-grant to only two of his sons, Robert and William).   The land in Rutherford County (Middle Tenn.) was lost in title-dispute litigation. Thereafter Robert & Margaret and their children and grandchildren, including Elmira Sloan McCorkle & husband Dr. Stephen Roache, moved on to Dyer County, part of the newly opened Western District of Tennessee.  Elmira Sloan McCorkle Roache and husband Stephen did not linger long in Dyer County, moving on northward from Dyer County circa 1829.  For a while their son “Quincy” Robert Quincy Roache (wife née Rebecca Sunderland) operated a store in the Newbern area.  Quincy and his oldest brother Addison Locke Roache, Sr.,  graduated from the University of Indiana Bloomington.

 Generation One. Alexander McCorkle m. 1st “Nancy” Agness Montgomery (McCorkle), the mother of his children, and they are buried in the Thyatira Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Rowan County; and Alexander m. 2nd Rebecca Brandon (McCorkle).

Generation Two.  Robert McCorkle by his 2nd wife Margaret “Peggy” Morrison (McCorkle).  Robert and Peggy are buried in the McCorkle Cemetery, Dyer County, Tennessee.

Generation Three.  Edwin A. McCorkle who m. Jane Maxwell Thomas (McCorkle).  I think Edwin was born in Rowan County, NC, and know he and Jane are buried in the McCorkle Cemetery, Dyer County, Tennessee.  Edwin died in 1853 and Jane died in 1855.

Edwin Alexander McCorkle left upon his death 10th January 1853 a widow, Jane Maxwell Thomas McCorkle, the daughter of Elizabeth Purviance and William Thomas. [William Thomas was a son of Jacob Thomas and Margaret Brevard Thomas of  NC.] Soon, in 1855, the widow Jane would follow her husband Edwin into death.

Generation Four.  Edwin A. McCorkle & wife Jane Maxwell Thomas McCorkle had the following surviving children. I’m not sure I have them in the correct birth order. My direct ancestor, John Edwin McCorkle, came late, just before the twins Finis and Tina.

            IV.(1)        “HRA” Hiram Robert A. McCorkle; m. 1st Margaret Cowan, mother of all but one of his children, the 1st being Winfield Purviance McCorkle. Margaret suffered severe depression after the accidental death of son Tolbert and died in hospital in Nashville; Hiram’s 2nd wife was Janette Menzies, the mother of only one, Edwin Archibald McCorkle.  More on Hiram:       HRA McCorkle (Hiram), born 6th November 1827 and died in Newbern, Tennessee, in 1907, married (1st wife) Margaret A. Cowan, born 3 JAN 1833 in NC: The 1850 Census  of Dyer County, Tennessee, 9th District, lists the following 2-month-old male child, born in 1850 in Dyer County, but whom I had never heard of until reading the old census records: O. F. MCCORKLE.  I had always thought Winfield Purviance McCorkle (buried Eminence, Ky.) was Uncle Hiram’s first child; evidently erroneously.  --Parenthetically, I just sense that Margaret A. Cowan McCorkle, born 1833, was somehow kin to the 1st wife of Benjamin Huie (1798-1879), namely Lavinia Cowan, but I cannot find any records to help me.  [End of HRA McC] ;

            IV.(2)        a son who died young, I think named William Thomas McCorkle.

           IV.(3)        David Purviance McCorkle m. 1st Margaret Scott; 2nd Elizabeth Jackson.  Margaret Scott was a daughter [I think but am not certain] of James “Jimpse” Scott & wife Violet B. Roddy (Scott), so his children will be listed in the Scott section.

           IV.(4)        Rebecca Elmira McCorkle m. John C. Zarecor; they lived in the Yorkville area, in Gibson County.

            IV.(5)        “AJ” Anderson Jehiel McCorkle m. 1st Martha Scott, a dau. of Violet B. Roddy & James “Jimpse” Scott, Martha Scott McCorkle a granddaughter of James & Sarah Dickey Scott, each b. 1777; Martha Scott McC was a sister to Sarah (Mrs. Julius M. Huie). Anderson Jehiel McCorkle m. 2nd Lou Fox.  He kindly raised several of his Scott wife’s nieces/nephews.  Martha Scott’s sister Tirzah “Clementine” Scott (Trimble) left a daughter Bettie Trimble (Mrs. Hundley) and Bettie Trimble (Hundley) had sons Boss” Elmo Hundley and Bryan Hundley.  Also, Clementine’s husband (Trimble) and at least one son (Trimble) lived with Anderson Jehiel McCorkle

            IV(6)    Elizabeth Jane McCorkle (Mrs. Wyatt Reeves), of Gadsden near Humboldt, Gibson County, Tennessee.

            (7)        John Edwin McCorkle m. 1st “Tennie” Tennessee Alice Edwards Scott, a granddaughter of James & Sarah Dickey Scott, each b. 1777; and 2nd Mary Elizabeth Cotton of Botland near Bardstown, Kentucky.

            (8a)      “Tina” Margaret Latina McCorkle (Mrs. John T. Gregory) and

            (8b)      Tina’s twin Finis Alexander McCorkle.

Misspellings in the above letter of RAH McCorkle are the author’s (Robert A. H. McCorkle, 11 January 1853) not the scrivener’s (Marsha Cope Huie, 11 February 2006).




Mrs. Edwin Alexander McCorkle was née Jane Maxwell Thomas. She was a daughter of Elizabeth Purviance Thomas and William Thomas, who spent their last few years in Dyer County, Tennessee, moving there from near Lebanon in Middle Tennessee.  Elizabeth Purviance (Thomas) was a daughter of Mary Jane Wasson (Purviance) and Revolutionary War soldier John Purviance, later referred to as “colonel” which seems to have been purely an honorific as I’ve seen him officially only as a “lieutenant.” [I’m not sure, though, that he didn’t achieve colonelcy.] As related toward the beginning of this document, some of the Purviances moved back to Middle Tennessee from taking refuge in Bourbon County, Kentuckky from Indian depredations in early Sumner County, Tennessee; while others moved from Bourbon County further north to Preble County, Ohio.  Here are some Purviance marriages made in Preble County, Ohio:


Purviance, Andrew         Goodeno [Goodenough? Or Goodnight?] ,? Hester           01-07-1852

Purviance, David Arsons   Sprowle, Ann               02-02-1809

Purviance, David I.       Morton, Hannah M.          06-01-1853

Purviance, James          Ireland, Jane M.           12-21-1826

                          Knox, Sarah E.             02-27-1844

                          Morton, Eleanor            04-28-1840

                          Sproule, Betsy             07-11-1808

Purviance, John           Beggs, Jane                09-15-1840

                          Woods, Margaret            04-22-1819

Purviance, Joseph W.      Vanhorn, Mary Aletha       05-70-1835

Purviance, Lewis          Mitchell, Betsy            10-24-1816

Purviance, Patterson J.   Porterfield, Juliet Dor-   12-16-1841

Purviance, William        Wasson, Mary               10-23-1830



The following letter, chronicling hard times and scarcity in Yorkville, Gibson County, Tennessee, during the War Between the States, was sent to me in 1984 by “Casey” McCorkle of San Leandro, California.  The letter, 1862, is from Robert & Margaret Morrison McCorkle’s son, Robert Andrew Hope McCorkle, to his sister Elmira Sloane McCorkle Roach, living at the time in the town of California in the State of Missouri.  At the time of this writing, RAH’s wife Tirzah was still alive; Tirzah was to die just after end of the Civil War, on August 27, 1865.  --  RAH’s own son Robert Eusebius McCorkle had just died on Jan. 30, 1861, aged about 20 (born 1841).

            Yorkville Tenn.  June 24th 1862.


Beloved Sister,


            Our paths have been strewn with trials from our childhood to gray hairs.  When you and I parted last, little did we then think that our beloved country would be plunged into fratricidal war in our life time.  but fates have decreed it otherwise.  We were taught to love our country and reverence its constitution and laws.   we ever believed no other nation on the habitable globe had such institutions.  but alas!  alas!  we are ruined.  We have suffered demagogues to lead, and ru-

in our happy country.  I can but believe there are thousands of honest hearts who have ever been for peace, altho evils did exist, yet they could have been cured without so much blood shed and misery.  But ‘tis usele for me to dwell on this part of our woes.


            On the 11. day of January last Howard [Howard Harris Roache, son of Elmira the addressee] came to my house.  I knew him and was glad to see him tho weary and worn.   we made him some new warm clothes, and he spent several weeks with us, seemed truly happy in passing among his relations, tho I observed he often thought and sighed for home.  at leangth James came home [the writer’s son James Scott McCorkle].  They enjoyed themselves very much together–visited around generally.

[Page Two]


When James went back he went with him, though I dident know he intended to stay until I got a letter fom him stating that he had concluded it was best to remain, from too considerations, first the Mississippi was so full he couldent get back to Gen.l Parsons til late in the spring.  The other was he was permited to join Col Wright’s Reg.t with the promise of being released the 2. [?] of June with the Reg.t   he intended then to rejoin Prices command.  Susan got a letter from him the morning he started into the Shiloah battle.  it was full of thought, expressed confidence in his Redeemer tho “before night he might be cal d to eternity.”   he esca=

ped unhurt Sunday. but Monday he was struck with a musket ball above the right eye.

The first sugeon pronounced it slight, but when he returned to camp on re examination it was thought dangerous.  On Thursday James [James Scott McCorkle] was detailed to go with him and many others.  I went Wednesday to Trenton [Tennessee, in Gibson County] to meet the wounded, some came, but our boys dident get there til Thursday night.  he died before he got to Trenton.   in Trenton, James had him neatly dressed, and a good coffin for him, and procured a hearse and got home Friday.  when I saw the hearse coming I was shocked.  Aa wounded neighbor drove up in front.  I ask him who it was.  his reply was “a friend of mine” oh!  how my heart throb.d.   he then said it was “Howard.”  I cant express my feelings.


                                                            [Page Three]


we kept him in the parlor that day and night.  Then I took him and laid in Our rowe beside [my 20-year-old son who died recently, in 1861] Robert.

[Our old family records list a Robert E. McCorkle as a child of RAH & Tirzah Scott McCorkle, Robert E. McCorkle having been born in 1841 and dying on Jan. 30, 1861 *]

Amidst all the sorrows of the case I feel gratified that we were permitted to thus care for him, for many of our near friends lie bleaching on the plains of Shiloah.

Billy Cowan was one who fell there.  Cap t. Wilkins was mortally wounded there.  Old Saury [Saury?] Grier’s [Greer’s?] son was wounded, taken prisoner, and has not been heard from since.  After the reorganization under the Conscript law, ** many of our boys came home.  nor do I

think they will ever go back.


            The Federal army is south of us.  They hold all Tennessee.  The Mobile & Ohio R.R. is being fixed to run the trains in a day or too.  The Federals hold the Memphis & Charleston RR. and the mississippi Central.  They hold Hernando, Holly-Springs, and many other places in that state.


Yorkville is quiet tho the Federals have visited it several times.  They havent mistreated us at all. tho there is a Reg.t of “Jay Hawkers” who are waking up many along the R.R.  – Gen.l Quimby’s head qrter is Trenton. The Officials there denounce the conduct of the J.Hawkers.  They propose to restore the union and protect the loyal.  Many are flocking to the old Union Flag that wavers over Trenton.   indeed from every appearance I am conscienciously of the opinion that the unfettered voice of Tennessee spoken out, would be for the Union as it was.



            * Howard Harris Roache, who was mortally injured at the Battle of Shiloh yet lived a brief while afterwards, has two tombstones in the McCorkle Family Cemetery in Dyer County, Tennessee.  One is a decent but ordinary rock placed there by his uncle, the above writer R.A.H. McCorkle.  The other is a tall, spired monument erected later by his parents, Dr. & Mrs. Roache.  In the summer of 1985 we affixed the more modest one, which had for years been lying in neglect against the old iron fence, to the second, more elaborate marker.


            ** This letter helps restore the honor of my Huie great-grandfather, Julius M. Huie, who would have been about thirty-four years old in 1862.  Julius’ daughter “Aunt Phronie” always maintaned, “Paw hid out from the conscript in the corn bin.”  Probably that means from the Southern Confederacy conscript, but I don’t know; it could have been just as easily from the Federal conscript.  My mother, Joyce Cope Huie, says my father, Ewing Huie, didn’t like his aunt, Sophronia Huie Thompson, to tell that story about his Grandpa Julius Huie. Now it looks as if it might have been the “Federals” whom Grandpaw Julius Huie managed to evade.  The Federals and the “Confederals” each roamed in and out of Dyer and Gibson Counties throughout the war, exchanging a few volleys with no major battles; and each side, when it could, tried to “conscript” the men of the community.  – I was raised on the story that a “Yankee” was, and is, buried in our front yard, down toward Highway 77, between our house and the highway.  He is supposed to have been killed there, and buried in what was then a cow pond. 

                                                [Page Four]

We are all in moderate health.  hot weather, good crops.  Legrand Whary is dead.  so is Bill Shaw. & Green Holmes. [***]   J.J. Scott is still very feeble, he is at his uncle billies.  Jno. McCorkle very feeble.[[27]****]   Leander[28] has got home from the army, Locke & Ed havent got back yet.[29]

                                                May 2

Brother’s last letter about Howard


M rs Elmira S. Roache





[RAH McCorkle wrote the following on the outside of the letter after folding it:]

            There has been no chance hitherto to communicate to you since Howard came here.   he said he sent you a letter by private conveyance from Columbus [Kentucky].  Tirzah [wife Tirzah Scott McCorkle] and I went to Union City while they were there.  Their Reg.t was ordered away while we were there.  We all came together to Rutherford Station.  There Howard gave us the parting hand at mid night the 15th March.

Tho. dark, we could see the boys weep----

I trust the way will be open for this to reach you.  If so you will write immediately to Rutherford Station Mobile and Ohio R.R. Tenn----I hope to write again.  Farewell

                                                                        R A H M.Corkle                              

Elmira S. Roache._________________

 *** Green Holmes is buried in the Old Yorkville Cumberland Presbyterian Cemetery. Or I should say, I thought I saw his marker there before restoration of the cemetery, but his name does not appear on the new Internet listing of cemetery graves for Gibson County, Tennessee.  --In 1983 when I received these McCorkle-Roache papers from Casey McCorkle, the old cemetery was abandoned and overgrown with brush.  Fortunately, in the late 1990s, I think because of the efforts of Congressman Ed Jones to have the cemetery declared historic, the cemetery has been restored. –“Miss” Llew Wyatt Jones just told me that Hamilton Parks of Trimble, Tennessee, contributed greatly to her husband’s efforts for restoration.





RAH McCorkle wrote another letter during the Civil War that I have read, but cannot now locate.  He was greatly

distressed that his son James Scott McCorkle had been taken by the Federals without Due Process of Law, and, he wrote, kidnaped for no good reason.  James’ wife Lizzie Obedience Clements McCorkle, RAH wrote, was terribly upset, and so was James’ mother Tirzah Scott McCorkle.  I have this letter somewhere and hope to place it here.  James Scott McCorkle was allowed to go home eventually, without further punishment.


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 Another resident of the same Churchton (Verdant Plain, Verdant Grove) community knew the horrors of Civil War, for he was riding as a Confederate soldier.  He was my maternal great-grandfather, Wilson NEWBERRY Cope.  Newberry Cope married "Sis" Narcissus Elizabeth Hendricks and begot my mother Joyce Huie's father, Ira Mitchell Cope (1879-1949), who married Notie Headden, my mother's mother.  Newberry Cope began his life in North Carolina, as the following letter reveals, and though he is not strictly speaking a McCorkle kinsman, he became kin in-law through the marriage of Joyce Cope to Howard EWING Huie, who produced Sophie Huie Cashdollar and me, your compiler.


Every President of the United States considering asking Congress to declare war--or, more aptly these days, invading a country like Iraq & only then asking Congress to go along--should read these Civil War Era letters., or best of all be conscripted into war service himself.  This was truly a fratricidal war; for example, Newberry Cope and his brother Reynard or Renard Cope were fighting for the Confederacy at the same time, unbeknownst to Newberry as this letter indicates, their brother "Sandy" Alexander Cope was fighting for the Federals.  --

Civil War letter from Wilson Newberry Cope to his uncle William Wyatt in North Carolina, husband of Susannah Cope (Wyatt). 

Source: Davie County Public Library, Mocksville, North Carolina.

Sandy Cope's descendants Charlotte Cope Malone and Linda Cope Beckham of  Shelby County, Tennessee, kindly sent me a copy of the following letter.  In this letter NEWBERRY COPE, 3rd Lt. of the Confederate States of America, relates that brothers WILLIAM COPE and DANIEL COPE are both at home (in Dyer County-Gibson County of West Tennessee), and mentions brothers "Sandy" Alexander Cope and Graves Cope.  Unbeknownst to Newberry Cope, his brother Alexander Cope (called "Sandy" for the red hair which my mother Joyce Cope Huie and I inherited from Sandy's nephew Ira Mitchell Cope, son of Newberry Cope) had enlisted, after moving to Missouri across the river from Tennessee, in the Union Army.  Newbery Cope's letter reports that Sandy Alexander Cope and Graves Cope had moved to Missouri.  And Newberry reports that brother Reynard or Renard Cope of the 12th Tennessee Regiment, CSA, had died with typhoid fever, and that his sister Elmina or Elmino Cope was living with Uncle SANDY WYATT.

Newberry Cope married "Sis" Narcissus Elizabeth Hendricks, emigrant from Davie County, NC, carved from Rowan County.  Narcissus was a daughter of two parents from Rowan County, NC, viz.,  Uriah C. Hendricks and 1st wife Mary MacMahan, whom Uriah married in 1833 in Clermont County, Ohio Territory.  Uriah C. Hendricks is buried in the McCorkle Cemetery, as are immigrant parents to Dyer County from Rowan County, NC, Daniel Hendricks and wife Isabel Pendry.  Daniel Hendricks & Isabel Pendry had other sons (other than Uriah) one of whose namese was Daniel Roland Hendricks.  I mention him because he, too, is buried in the McCorkle Cemetery.  The "Roland" came from the French heritage of the immigrant Daniel Hendricks--a Roland Gaspar who was the father of the mother of our immigrant Daniel Hendricks (I think I have that correct.)

The union of Newberry Cope and Narcissus Elizabeth Hendricks, emigrants from Davie County, NC, produced:

Cordelia "Delia" Cope (Mrs. Riley Matthus Grills) of Trimble, buried Carmel Methodist Church Cemetery, toward Trimble but really in Churchton community; Daisy Cope Henley (Mrs. Will Henley), also buried at Carmel; and their "Baby Brother" Ira Mitchell Cope , 1879-1849, my maternal grandfather, who married Notie Headden.  Ira and Notie, too, are buried at Carmel church cemetery.  --  My grandfather Ira always said he and Delia made their first crop when he was three years old, and Aunt Daisy watched.  They, however, adored their sister Daisy Henley, but evidently she wasn't predisposed to do much work except cooking delicious food.  I remember a meatloaf she cooked with surprise boiled eggs inside--marvelous, it was.  And I remember that she would sit on her front porch in Trimble as an old lady and rock and let the flies blow around without making the effort to swat them.  But how I loved Aunt Daisy !  for she was sweet and loving to me, a mere grand-niece.


" Chattanooga Aug. 15th 1863


" Uncle William,


It has been a long time since I've heard from you, and many changes have taken place in two brief years.  War now is experienced in all of its horrors The enemy now has possession of many of our homes, and our kindred subject to their malicious Caprices.  They hold Middle and West Tenneßee, and rule with an iron rod.  This truly is a dark hour in the history of our Country. Yet I believe she will yet come forth purified and better fit to enjoy Liberty.  This generation knew not the value of the freedom they enjoyed until they lost it, But should they gain their independence, they will know how to appreciate it.  


[new page]


From my addreß you will know that I am not at home.  I belong to the Army.  I came into the 47th Tenneßee, last December was 12 months ago, a private.  Since that time I have been made Third Lieutenant and my Regt. being consolidated with the 12th I am now 3. Lt. of Co. of the 12th & 447th Tenneßee Regiments.  I supposed you have seen in the papers of Braggs retreat from ShelbyvilleWe had a hard time of it.  It rained all the time nearly during the retreat. We are still at Chattanooga fortifying but may not stay long.  Our Army is somewhat discouraged because they had to fall back from Shelbyville Tenneßee without a fibght.  I supose you get the war news by the time I do & that is about all the news a Soldier gets.


[new page]


I will now tell you about what I know of  my folks at home.  Ive  not heard from home since last of Spring they were all well then.   [Brothers] William [Cope] and Dan [Cope] are both at home.  I have not heard from [brothers] Sandy and Graves in nearly three years. (You recollect they moved to Missouri.)   Brother Reynard Cope has been dead about two years.  He belonged to the 12th Tenneßee Regiment. Died with Tyaphoid fever.


Sister Elmino [Elmine? Elmina?]  is living with Uncle Sandy Wyatt. Ive nothing more to write at present.  I hope you will write to me as soon as you can conveniently.  Direct your letter to me



{Company I of 12th & 47th Tenn. Regt}

{Smiths Brigade                               }

{Cheethams Division                         }


 W. N.  Cope   


[signed in the same hand as the text; Newberry Cope did not use an amanuensis]                     


         Notie Headden, daughter of Winfield Scott Headden & Ada Taylor Headden; and granddaughter of Moses Headden & Elizabeth Boyette Headden.   Notie Headden m. Ira Mitchell Cope.


Tombstones of Winfield SCOTT Headden and wife lie (turned backwards from later additions) at Newbern, Tenn., Poplar Grove Cemetery. Notie Headden and Ira Mitchell Cope are buried in the Mt. Carmel Cemetery of Dyer County.  Joyce Cope Huie did not know where Newberry Cope was buried, although presumably with his wife Narcissus Hendricks Cope at Carmel, but Joyce nevertheless recently, circa 2003,  erected a tombstone at Carmel for Newberry Cope.


Some Headden Tombstones at Poplar Grove Cemetery just east of the railroad tracks at Newbern toward Yorkville:

Headden ‑‑‑‑‑‑ Aug 27 1881 - Apr 12 1884 son of  D. C. & M. M. B son of David Crockett Headden?


Headden, Elizabeth Mar 5 1817 -Dec 12 1885 wife of  Moses.  This is Elizabeth Boyette Headden, wife of Moses Headden; parents of inter alia Winfield Scott Headden.


Headden, John William Oct 31 1852-  Dec 1 1882.  Look for other Headden tombstones at Cool Springs Cumberland Church across the line into Gibson County.  The POPLAR GROVE CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH just east of Newbern on Hwy. 77 has been defunct all my lifetime and I'm 60 when typing this.  In fact, I hear that, sad to write, the NEWBERN CP Church is almost without members.    



The horrible after-effects of Civil War:

Things were to get worse in the Yorkville-Newbern area. It doesn’t appear that the actual participants, and onlookers, during the Civil War hated each other.  Post-war events seem to have engendered the bitterness and enmity more than did actual war. I’ve read from distinguished historians of the period that it was the grandsons, not even the sons, who were most bitter about the war, at least in the South, which had felt occupied and then victimized by Reconstruction.  Of course, the Radical Republicans, and many northern opponents of slavery, would say that the South only got its due.  That would oversimplify the case, though, as many southerners disliked the institution of slavery, and much of northern commerce had been mixed up with the slave trade. It was slave-trading that was, to me, the true evil. Many, many folks, and not all southerners, bear guilt for the sin of slavery.

                        Provenance of the following letter: Carol McCorkle Branz of Spokane, Washington, who found me from my postings on the Internet.  Carol McCorkle Branz is a great-great-granddaughter of RAH McCorkle through Joseph Smith McCorkle (“Joe” was a son of RAH McCorkle & Tirzah Scott McCorkle, and Joe lived in Yorkville).  Joseph Smith McCorkle had a son named Robert Jesse McCorkle, who I think moved to Missouri, just across the Mississippi River, and Robert Jesse McCorkle in turn had a son named Robert Frazier McCorkle, who begot Carol McCorkle Branz. On Jan. 30 2006, Carol Branz kindly posted several precious old letters to me in care of my mother in Tennessee (Joyce Cope Huie, 216 Newbern-Yorkville Highway, Newbern, Tennessee 38059).  We feel inestimable gratitude to Carol McCorkle Branz ( for sharing these relics with the Tennessee McCorkle kin. 

Carol McCorkle Branz –descendant of RAH McCorkle & Tirzah Scott through their son Joseph Smith McCorkle, immediately above, sent me the following paper showing the horrific effects of Civil War. The original is in pencil.

The threat on the front side of the leaf of paper is more frightening than the back, as the front side (in mostly all caps, except as shown below) is grammatical and, though twisted and evil, reflects education. Not so the penciled note on the back. First, the penciled note on the front:



“Mr McCorkle.   We have asked you as a citizen to get rid of that negro family on your place and it seems as if you are not going to do it.

“Now.   [erasure]     you must get rid of them.  If you don’t, look out.  Your house will go UP IN ashes and we will do you more harm than that.  He cant make a crop here.  If we have to poison every well and pond on the place.   and God being our Judge we don’t want to do thatBUT HE MUST LEAVE here.


 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ToM Tompson

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

WE Don’t Want To have                                                  [written vertically to  the right:]

any trouble out of you                                                        AND IN 10 DAYS AT THAT

but he must Leave



[Rough, Penciled

Sketch of A Man


from Tree

with rope

around his neck]

                                    MR NIGER

                                    THIS IS

                                    YOU IF YOU

                                    IS YOU IF

                                    You STAY HERE


What happened?  I do not know about this particular instance.  I have read that the “Red House” in which the McCorkle family first settled burned, but don’t know when. We know that the “Red House” was on the north of what is now the Newbern-Yorkville road (Highway 77), across the road from what became the John Edwin McCorkle home.  I do not know when the Red House burned.  More generally than the specific case above, we do know than numerous African-Americans continued to live in the neighborhood despite such threats. 


 --  It has been told me by old-timers, though, that in the nearby Cool Springs district of Gibson County the radical hate-mongers managed to make their community “lily white.” Not so in the McCorkle land-grant area—although in 1866 after the Civil War Hiram R. A. McCorkle writes in his journal as if in amazement, “My place is clean of Negroes.”  --But in 1901 his journal with grief records the death of Frelinghuisen McCorkle, who was buried in the McCorkle Cemetery. Uncle Hiram attended the funeral services held on the cemetery grounds and writes that he shed a tear at the death of Frelin McCorkle.



I wrote the following in 1983 and distributed this little booklet to our John Edwin McCorkle-Julius M. Huie Family Reunion, before I had been able to ascertain that William Hays Morrison was unquestionably a brother to our Margaret Morrison McCorkle:




            This collection of papers above is dedicated to the Morrison cousin, William Morrison or possibly Gilliam Morrison, who lived 1767-1837 and was probably the brother, most certainly a kinsman, of Margaret Morrison McCorkle.  Margaret was born 11 August 1770, just before the Revolutionary War of 1775-83, and she died 11 Nov. 1848 at over 78 years’ age.  Margaret Morrison was the 2nd wife of Robert McCorkle, whose first wife was (Lizzie) Elizabeth Blythe of Lebanon, Tennessee.

            Margaret Morrison McCorkle’s parents were Andrew Morrison and wife Elizabeth Sloan (Morrison) of Rowan County, NC.  The now-unmarked grave of William Morrison lies next to that of his sister Margaret Morrison McCorkle in the McCorkle Cemetery, Dyer Co., Tennessee.  Once beloved by someone, this William Morrison [now known to be William Hays Morrison] rests somewhere near his tombstone that now lies in ruins against the fence at the McCorkle family cemetery in Dyer County.  His epitaph makes him born circa 1767 and reads thus:


Sacred to the Memory of                                                       

___liam Morrison                                                                   

____departed this life

____22nd 1837                                    

____70 years


[By 2003, I had read on <>  that this William Morrison has to be William Hays Morrison; and that William Hays Morrison’s wife is buried in Bedford County, Tennessee.  William Hays Morrison, born 7 January 1767 in Rowan County, North Carolina, died 22 August 1837 in Dyer County, Tennessee (McCorkle Cemetery). His wife was Mary Haynes, born 11 Mar 1779 in Rowan County, NC; died 4 Sep 1816 in Bedford County, Tennessee.  They married in 1795 in Rowan Co., NC. lists their children as the following; but we do not have them in our old records, and I cannot vouch for veracity of the ff:

1          Eliza S. Morrison (Mrs. William Stinnett), born 1797 Iredell County, NC; married 13 Oct 1843 in Ray County, Missouri. 

2          John Morrison, born 1798 Iredell County, NC

3       Joseph Pinckney Morrison, born 7 May 1801 Iredell County, NC. Married Matilda McKee Brown; died 28 Sept. 1887 in Glennville, Kern County, California.  {He was a Cumberland Presbyterian minister,  and undoubtedly a nephew of Margaret Morrison McCorkle.  – Joseph Pinkney [sic.] Morrison was the recipient of a letter written 29 July 1857 by his aunt Mary Morrison when she was living with another nephew in Hillsboro, Coffee County, Tennessee; Mary expressed concern that Joseph P. Morrison might lose his land in Tennessee to squatters and other claimants.}

4       Elinor Panthea Morrison, born 1805 Iredell County, NC

5       Robert Donnell Morrison, born 14 July 1813 in Bedford County, Tennesseedied 4 June 1888 in Milan, Sullivan County, Missouri. Robert Donnell Morrison m. Sarah E. Sawyer, born 11 April 1817 in Lincoln County, Tennessee; died 7 March 1896 in Sullivan County, Missouri.  [The “Donnell” name was shared by an early Cumberland Presbyterian minister. I wonder if this Robert Donnell was named after him and would conclude probably so.]

6       William Mann Morrison, born 1815 in Franklin County, Tennessee.  Married Jane Daves, 1819-1880. William Mann Morrison died 1 October 1895 in Marshall County, Tennessee.

[End of William Hays Morrison, brother buried beside Margaret Morrison McCorkle in McCorkle Cemetery, Dyer County, Tennessee]


            This collection of papers is also dedicated to our immigrant ancestors Alexander McCorkle and 1st wife (Nancy) Agness Montgomery McCorkle, who emigrated from in or near Ulster Plantation, Northern Ireland, to Harris Ferry, Pennsylvania.  They removed themselves thence down the Great 18th-century migration road to the Piedmont of North Carolina, near Statesville / Salisbury, in Iredell County, this part of which later became Rowan County, North Carolina.


            Alexander McCorkle’s gravestone in Thyatira Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Rowan County, North Carolina, near Salisbury and Mooresville, reads:

                        In Memory of Alexander M’Corkle

who died December 24th 1800

Aged 78 years.

The inscription on the grave of Alexander’s first wife, Nancy Agness McCorkle, the mother of his children, reads:



Wife to Alex McCorkle Snr.

Deceased Sept Ye 5 1789

Aged 63 Years.


Agnes Montgomery McCorkle was known in the Scots fashion as “Nancy.”  Alexander married again, after the death of 1st wife (Nancy) Agness Montgomery McCorkle. His 2nd wife was named Rebeccah Brandon, by whom he had no issue.


This collection of papers is also dedicated to the numerous African-Americans who lie buried in the McCorkle Cemetery in Dyer County, Tennessee, in graves now unmarked.  Some had probably been slaves, like Frelinghuisen McCorkle, but most were, more likely, descendants of freedmen and freedwomen.  My mother [Joyce Cope Huie, born 1915] thinks Jeff Bean is buried there.

            [This is the Jeff Bean who came down from Indiana/Ohio when my mother’s Hendricks great-grandfather, Uriah C. Hendricks  –  who is buried in the McCorkle Cemetery  –   lost his 1st wife Mary McMahon Hendricks, whom he had married in 1833 in Clermont County, Ohio,  Mary (Polly) McMahan having come originally, we think, from Rowan Co., NC.  Ira Cope, Uriah’s grandson, said Uriah C. Hendricks rode on a horse up to get his wife.  Upon the death of his 1st wife, Uriah went north again, up to Indiana/Ohio to which the McMahon family had by then migrated, to bring south to western Tennessee Mary Polly MacMahan Hendrick’s sister, Temperance McMahon Bean (widow Bean) (Hendricks) (alias “Aunt Tempe.”)  The Temperance name can get a bit confusing because Uriah C. Hendricks seems to have had a sister—or perhaps 1st cousin—named Temperance Hendricks (Chaffin), who married Mr. William O. Chaffin in Rowan County, North Carolina in the early 1800s, either 1829 or 1833, I think I remember.]

            It is known that Temperance McMahon BEAN Hendricks brought Jeff Bean south with her, where he became well respected in the Churchton community.  Whether he had been a slave or not, my mother Joyce Cope Huie cannot now remember. Nevertheless, at the time of death of Uriah C. Hendricks ‘s 1st wife, Mary McMahon Hendricks, Jeff Bean would have been a freedman.

In the 1950s a McCorkle descendant desecrated the graves of the black men and women who had been placed to rest forever in the front of the cemetery, in front of the old iron fence that used to mark the dividing line but which fence has since disappeared.  My cousin Edward Campbell Huie who died in March 2001, long a trustee for the cemetery, told me knew who had shamed us all by destroying these markers; but I have no first-hand knowledge of the identity of the appalling miscreant so am reluctant to name him here even though he is long dead now.  I hope his soul re-incarnates, if there is such a thing as transmogrification of the soul, into a body of a very dark brown colour. Of one thing I am certain: he will have to do penance somehow, somewhere, before he rests.--  All right, so my 90-year-old mother has counseled [as she proof-reads this in November 2005 before I place it on the Internet] that I can’t mention Joe Hiram Pope, husband of Fannie Fuller Pope.   ­­­­Mother says she never before heard Ed Huie's Joe Hiram Pope story anyway; and in Joe Hiram's defense he did spend many long hours mowing the old cemetery during our long summers.  Perhaps he just didn't take extra care to preserve what was deteriorating anyway; I do not know; and we are not supposed to judge our neighbor's actions or heart.  -- But it was his wife Fannie who helped run my father from the old family Lemalsamac church; although she had long tried to find my daddy a good, respectable woman to marry [to those folks, "good wife" could only mean "a Church of Christ member" ].­­ Folks, believe me, it ain't prudent to be, or at least to appear, liberal in the country.  --   --  --  --  -- 


This collection of papers is also dedicated to my mother, Joyce Rebecca Cope Huie, whose love and sacrifice have seen me through various personal pestilences. When cancer struck me as a very young woman and brutal treatment ensued, it was her strength of will & other resources that sustained me.  And: to my maiden aunt, Sarah Elisabeth Huie, who I really do believe had a photographic memory.  She is the genesis of most of my stories gathered here.  Aunt Beth generously shared her knowledge of God and family, but rarely ventured off our farm except for church and grocery-shopping. I’m still a bit raspy at Aunt Beth though for turning in Jennifer Huie (Tucker)  & me for smoking in the chicken coop when we were 14.

            [In 2005 I would add that it was the profound interest in all learned topics of Ralph Ervin Williamson that re-awakened my thirst for knowledge and desire to make this compilation public.  A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy & Stanford University (Petroleum Engineering), with the M.S. from the University of Texas in Earth Sciences (not to mention a law degree, which rarely leads to intellectualism), he has enriched my life immeasurably since we married, each aged 53, on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1999.  -- If I said the “curiosity” of Ralph inspired me, that although true would be amphibology.]




                        Note aboutVerdant Plain,” “Verdant Grove,” Tennessee, & Southern Consanguinity:

            According to Elmira Sloane McCorkle Roache, her mother’s mother, Elizabeth Sloane (Mrs. Andrew Morrison) [variously, Elizabeth Sloan] was a 1st cousin to Robert McCorkle.  That makes the mother of Elizabeth Sloane Morrison (the mother being __?__ McCorkle Sloane) a sister to the  Alexander McCorkle who married Nancy Agness Montgomery.  That in turn makes Margaret Morrison McCorkle a 1st cousin-once-removed to her husband Robert McCorkle. – We are hopelessly interbred.  –   Robert McCorkle died in Dyer County, Tennessee, very soon after making the journey from Rutherford County in Middle Tennessee.  Robert is buried in the McCorkle Cemetery, Dyer Co., Tennessee. – In regard to Margaret Morrison McCorkle’s listing her address as “Verdant Plain,” it is clear to me that she was referring to the McCorkle farm situated in eastern Dyer County, Tennessee, five miles east of Newbern and just west of what is today the Churchton Community.  Obviously the name “Verdant Plain” did not catch on. One wishes it had.


Women’s Liberation 1850s-style


I'm adding the following generational demarcations to re-orient the reader:


Generation One: Alexander McCorkle & Nancy Agnes Montgomery.

Generation Two:  Robert McCorkle & Margaret Morrison McCorkle. 

Generation Three: Robert Andrew Hope McCorkle & Tirzah Scott.

Generation Four:  Sarah Elmira McCorkle (Mrs. Jonathan Algea).

The Algea is the “al” in the Lemalsamac family church as named by RAH McCorkle. And the “sa” is for “Sarah Elmira McCorkle Algea.”


The following Affidavit was sent in the summer of 2006 by Carol McCorkle Branz of Spokanne, Washington, a great-granddaughter of Joseph Smith McCorkle, Joe having been a brother to Sarah McCorkle Algea.  My father Ewing Huie and Aunt Beth Huie's “Uncle Joe” lived in Yorkville, Tennessee. I’ll use just one overall “sic” here, at the beginning, and ask the reader to understand that Uncle Joe's misspellings were most likely because of  advanced age.  My father Ewing Huie was a pallbearer at Uncle Joe McCorkle's funeral, as was Carol McCorkle Branz's father Robert.

 J. A. Wharey seems to be the villain in the following Affidavit.


I Jos. S. McCorkle, being old and knowing I am liable to die at any time.  As I am threatened with a lawsuit, for the maintenance of [my niece] Carrey Algea , I wish to make a few statements which I am willing to make affidavit to.  I will be unable to give dates exactly, but will approximate.  Between 1851 & 4 Dr Algea married sister Sarah.  He was located at a little place between here and Memphis [but, Uncle Joe, that’s about a 90-mile distance!].  The Dr had a good practice, but became dis[s]ipated to the extent that he lost his practice.  Cant tell just when they [to Uncle Joe's page 2] came to my father[’]s nor how long they stayed, but they were there when Fannie [Fannie Algea, later a Mrs. Wharey] was born.  The Dr  had a home, he was in and out from one day to 50, we never knew where he was or what he was doing.  After while he located in Union City, in a shoe shop.  He then moved his family thbere. (I visited them while there)  He was there charged with a very ugly crime, which was very serious, so much so he left there, while Carrey was born, then they came back to Father[‘]s, while Carey was [to Uncle Joe's page 3]  an infant.  They never left any more, as before the Dr  was in and out as he saw fit.  From this time on as before, Jos. & William [that is, the affiant Joseph Smith McCorkle and his brother William Leander A. McCorkle] made the bread & meat, cut the wood for all the fires, while the Dr done [ did, Uncle Joe! ] nothing.  Sister Sarah done all she could but being a weakly woman & having two little girls to see after she could do but little.  I give her credit for what she could do, for she was a noble good woman.  It was impossible for her to support her family.  time  

 [to page 4] went on, the Dr being no good but in and out, till my father [Robert Andrew Hope McCorkle] got tired of that.  Well do I remember the day when my father & sister past by me in the back yard, with sad faces, on their way to the garden where they sat with there hearts bleeding for a long time, talking over the situation, it was a serious time with both.  My father did not force her to leave him, but showed her the consequences if she remained with him, it would be distress and [to page 5] almost starvation to remain with him.  He [RAH McCorkle] told her he would not keep them, and let the Dr rais[e] another family there on him, but if she left him he would take care of her and the two children, so she chose to leave him & stay where she could be taken care of.  We all loved them, and our sympathy ran out for them, so much so we would have divided the last morsel of meat with them, had it been necessary.  Time went on they [to page 6] were fed and clothed comfortable.  Time went on my father made his will being so desirous and sympathising with Sister Sarah, (and being influenced [by his sister] Aunt Elmira Roache, so we think) he over done the thing, for we had not only raised them, but cared for them, in sickness, and in health.  He then gave her [Sarah McCorkle Algea] more than he did brother Jim [James Scott McCorkle, M.D., Newbern, Tennessee] or Sister Sue [Susan McCorkle McNail, Mrs. Will McNail].  He gave us all about equal amt of land value, he then gave Bro William  [WLA McCorkle, buried in the McCorkle cemetery with his wife Alice J. Wells McCorkle and daughter Eudora McCorkle Robertson] & I  [me, Uncle Joe !] the home  [to page 7] place, with the understanding that we were to take care of Sister Sarah & family, give Fannie an english education.  He then gave Jim[,] Susan[,] & Sarah over $1600 in cash.  I got no money, William [WLA McCorkle] got one house & lot in Yorkville & all the house hold & kitchen furniture, more than I got, but I never grumbled.  I knew he would have the trouble of the family.

We were a happy family, hightoned, and thought it a shame and a disgrace to have a family trouble, so we let it go, would rather [to page 8 of handwritten affidavit] suffer wrong than be disgraced.   to show you what Bro Wm throught, he offered me his interest in the farm for $750 less than half what Sister Sarah got in cash.  Besides we sup[p]orted her for 15 long years.  We were working hard to sup[p]ort our familys, and then sup[p]ort hers, while she had her money out at int. at 10 per c for I gave her that for $1,000.  Where is the justis:  Sup[p]ose Sister Sue[’]s husband [Will McNail] had died, we would have been under just the same obligation to have sup[p]orted [to page 9 of affidavit]  her as we did to sup[p]ort sister Sarah.

After Bro William[’]s death in 1889, Bro Jim [James Scott McCorkle] in talking to Sister Sarah, showed her that it was just and right that she release brother Wm and myself, that it was unjust and an imposition on us.  She at once saw it, and said yes, we had done enough for her and her children, and she like a good woman, she gave us both deeds of releasement, thereby releaseing not only her claim but her children[’]s claim, in evidence [to page 10] and of this, she bound in her will, Fannie and property to take care of and support Carrey, nothing can be plainer.  Further evidence of this Sister Sarah moved to J.A. Wharey[’]s her soninlaw[’]s  releasing all claim on us, they lived together & were a mutual help to each other in many ways:  For about 26 long years this has never been mentioned.  Now since sd Wharey & wife have become offended at me thinking they could worry me in my old age and if possible to [w]ring some [to page 11] money out of me, they are talking this matter.  This will be the first family trouble we have ever had in our family, if it comes to pas[s], I can hardly think it will come, I have ever held Fannie in higher esteem, I think she is to[o] good a woman to do such a thing. (shal[l] I be decieved?) 

“I say no man of reasonable intel[l]igence that wants to do justis to all, can take these wills and deeds & facts and consider them and then say I am due them "


[I do not have a Page 12 so presume this is the end of the affidavit of Joseph Smith McCorkle.] 



Obituary of “Uncle Joe” Joseph Smith McCorkle, a son of the above RAH McCorkle & Tirzah Scott (McCorkle)


Mr. Joseph Smith McCorkle passed away Sunday night at 9 o’clock at his home in Yorkville after a serious illness of several days duration.  The deceased had reached the four-score milepost on life’s journey.  He had been a devoted member of the Christian Church for more than fifty years.  Services were held at his home congregation where he had labored so faithfully for many years.  Elder C.E. Norred, of Florence, Ala., made a most impressive talk of the grandeur and beauty of the Christian Life.  The large crowd attested to the esteem in which the deceased was held.  The body was brought to the McCorkle Cemetery [in Dyer County] and laid to rest by the side of his wife who preceded him many years ago.  The grave was covered with the many beautiful floral offerings of friends and loved ones.  Mr. McCorkle is survived by three children, Walter, Robert and Miss Annie McCorkle; also by several grandchildren and one great-grandchild.  All except one of the number were present when the end came.  The pallbearers were Robert Daniel McNail [from the deceased’s sister Susan McCorkle McNail], Robert Frazier McCorkle [the deceased’s grandson and the father of Carol McCorkle Branz of Spokane, Washington], [Howard] Ewing Huie [born 1907-died 1971, son of Sophie King McCorkle Huie], Allen Blaine [Karnes] and Oscar Karnes [two sons of Eulalia McCorkle Karnes], the latter four being his grandsons. [That is incorrect in that Ewing Huie was not the deceased’s grandson but was a grandson of John Edwin McCorkle, John E. being a 1st cousin to Joseph Smith McCorkle.]






Now, switching gears, we must find the old, preserved letters of Robert McCorkle's sister who remained in North Carolina, viz., Agnes "Nancy" Ramsay (Mrs. Robert Ramsay), for then we shall no doubt find letters from our own direct ancestors who had removed westwardly to Tennessee.

To re-orient the reader: 
I.        Alexander McCorkle and 1st wifeNancy” Agness Montgomery
II.  Nancy McCorkle (Mrs. Robert Ramsay)  ... Male siblings... Samuel Eusebius...
William...Robert...Alexander Jr... James... John married Catherine Barr...
and Joseph McCorkle.  Sisters: Mattie McCorkle Archibald;
and Elizabeth McCorkle Barr.
McCorkles in North Carolina
Well, somebody has to find and read these old letters coming to NC from McCorkle relatives
who had moved west to Tennessee.
I hereby charge someone in the coming generations to do so:
“Holdings of the University of North Carolina Libraries:  Correspondence and Related Items beginning circa 1790
 “Largely letters to Nancy McCorkle Ramsay and [her husband] Robert Ramsay, paternal grandparents of 
James Graham Ramsay, from various family members.
[Nancy Ramsay is a sister to our ancestor Robert McCorkle, the Robert who died in 1828.]
   “The earliest letters are from Betty Andrews to Nancy McCorkle
Ramsay and address personal and religious issues.
  Early letters to Robert Ramsay are from friends and family in Tennessee, notably Thomas Knox 
and Hugh and Hannah Robinson.
Letters from 1813 on are almost entirely family missives from 
various male and female McCorkles to their Ramsay counterparts.  
All of these originate in Tennessee or Ohio and include descriptions of life 
on the western frontier and family relations.
There is one letter from Robert Ramsay to [his brother-in-law] Alexander McCorkle
 in Tennessee. [This would be Alexander McCorkle Jr., Mrs. McCorkle-Ramsay’s brother. 
Elmira, a niece, said Alexander McCorkle Jr. was “emotional in character and
joined the Methodists.”  
James Graham Ramsay is a McCorkle descendant:
        “James Graham Ramsay was born on 1 March 1823 on his father's small plantation in Iredell County, N.C.
 His parents David (d.1857) and Margaret Foster Graham Ramsay (d. 1855?) were both of Scotch-Irish descent. 
The Ramsays had emigrated in 1695 to Pennsylvania, and John Graham Ramsay's grandfather
 had moved toIredell's Coddle Creek community in 1766.  Ramsay entered Davidson College in 1838 
and was graduated three years later.  He taught school for a year, then studied medicine with his 
brother-in-law before entering the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, from which he was graduated in 1848. 
...  Ramsay spent his last years in Salisbury, N.C., with his son
James Hill Ramsay.  He died on 10 January 1903 and was buried in the cemetery of the 
Third Creek Presbyterian Church near Cleveland, where he had been a ruling elder for 49 years.”
“Subseries 4.2.  Genealogical Notes
   “About 160 items.
   “Arrangement:  alphabetically by family 
   “These are miscellaneous notes and a few clipping relating to family history
collected by James Graham Ramsay and his son James Hill Ramsay
They are organized by family; notes including information on more than one family are filed with the miscellaneous materials.
“Folder 176-177     Graham family.  [William McCorkle, brother to our Robert McCorkle 
who died in Dyer County, Tennessee, in 1828, married as his 3rd wife a woman née Graham, 
Jenny Graham (McCorkle).] Next: McCorkle family. 
[END of quoted material from UNC]
[End of quotation from University of North Carolina archival records]