yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee

Clarifications to David Donahue's Essary Genealogy

from the research of Gary Essary

Gary Essary is the great great grandson of John H. (ca.1782) Essary.  He has compiled these clarifications and comments on the David Donhue research of the Essary Family.

1) The father of the Essary brothers who migrated to western Tennessee in the early 1820's was indeed named James; his traditional date of birth is 1755, though there is no contemporary record to document his name or date of birth. They were from Virginia according to family tradition. The James Essary born 1779 (identified as father in Mr. Donahue's text) was actually a brother to the Henderson County Essarys (John H., Joseph, and Benjamin), and James (1805) Essary was indeed his son. [In 1856 James (1779) Essary wrote a letter naming John H. (ca.1782) Essary the uncle of the son he was writing to (and therefore himself a brother of the Henderson County Essarys).]

2) The records of James (1779) Essary and James (1805) Essary were in Cannon County (Warren before 1837) rather than Carroll County. James (1779) Essary's birth place was recorded as Pennsylvania in the 1850 census; the source for stating his birth in Natches, Mississippi, is unknown.

3) John H. (ca.1782) Essary died 31 May 1872. It is true that his grave marker in Union Church Cemetery records his death as 1869, but it must have been erected some time later, after his actual date of death had been forgotten. John H. Essary wrote several letters to sons of his second wife between 1870 and 1872, from his home in Alcorn County, Mississippi; they were followed by a letter from his son Nathan Cosby (1822) Essary announcing their father's death as May 31, 1872. John H. lived most of his later years in Alcorn County, Mississippi, and his son David had very recently returned him to Henderson County when he died.

4) Benjamin (1812) Essary settled in Hardeman County, where he founded Essary Springs. His records there are sometimes confused with a younger, unrelated Benjamin Ussery.

5) The traditional Henderson County Essarys also included a brother Dave (ca.1790) Essary. His widow Sarah migrated to present day Alcorn County, Mississippi, after 1840, with their children.


The Story of Chesterfield, Jane Walker Anderson and Eula Essary Scatterday, 1980

Logan Esarey, His Ancestors and Their Descendants, "1960 letter from Ernest Washington (1870) Essary [of Henderson County]," Myra Esarey Evans, 1968.

U.S. Census Records

Letters from John H. Essary

Letters from James Essary

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