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Proving or Disproving the Family Tradition: “Is American Revolutionary War Captain Thomas McCory the Ancestor of William Patrick McCrory born in South Carolina in 1822?

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Example of the Process of Client requested discovery in a 10 hour block of time conducted at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The objective of this project was to attempt to identify the parents of William Patrick McCrory, and then to extend his ancestry. According to family tradition, the client’s ancestor, William was born in South Carolina in 1822. Between 1822 and 1847 when he was married, he had moved into the area of Alabama around Butler Springs, and then on to Clarke County. It was also traditional that he was a direct descendant of Captain Thomas McCrory, who fought in the Revolutionary War.

The International Genealogical Index and the Ancestral File are two computerized indexes which contain over 200 million names of people which have been submitted to the Family History Library. These computerized indexes were first searched for any information about the client ancestor, William Patrick McCrory, but nothing concerning him was listed.

According to client records, William Patrick McCrory, was married to Susan Jackson in Clarke County, Alabama, sometime in 1847. According to marriage records from Clarke County, this marriage took place on 16 September 1847.

The early Federal Census records of Alabama were next search for information about William Patrick McCrory and his family. He was listed in the 1850 and 1870 census records, but for some reason he was not listed in the 1860 census. The 1850 Federal Census record indicated that he was living next to his father-in-law in Clarke County. It provided the following information:

1850 Federal Census, Clarke County, Alabama, p. 205

Names Color Sex Age Occupation Birthplace

McCrary, W. P. W M 25 Farm South Carolina
Susannah W F 19 Georgia
Mary W F ½ (born:8/1850) Alabama

Jackson, Benj. W M 55 Farm Georgia
Cassandra W F 45 Alabama
Caroline W F 18 Alabama
Benjamin W M 15 Farm Alabama
Alexander W M 12 Alabama
Burtle(?) W M 11 Alabama
James W M 7 Alabama

The above census record confirmed the family tradition that William Patrick McCrory was born in South Carolina, and also provided information about a previously unknown child, Mary, who may have either died or had married before the 1870 Federal Census was taken.

By 1870, the client’s McCrory ancestors were living in Butler County, Alabama, where the census provided the following:

1870 Federal Census, Tp. #7, Butler County, Alabama, p. 359

Names Color Sex Age Occupation Birthplace

McCrory, Pat W M 45 Farmer Georgia
Susan W F 35 K. House Alabama
Amanda W F 17 At Home Alabama
Charles W M 13 At Home Alabama
Aleck W M 11 At Home Alabama
William W M 7 At Home Alabama
Franklin W M 5 At Home Alabama
Callie W F 1 At home Alabama

The above census record agreed fairly well with information in the 1850 census, except for the fact that it listed “Pat” McCrory’s birthplace Georgia instead of South Carolina and “Susan” McCrory’s birthplace as Alabama instead of Georgia.

It appeared from the above census records that we might be able to find information on the parents of William Patrick McCrory either in the records of Clarke County, Alabama, or in Butler County, Alabama. Clarke County, Alabama, had a good set of records, but, most records in Butler County, Alabama, prior to 1853, had been destroyed in a courthouse fire.

One of the primary record sources in the early South is land records. We searched those of Clarke County, Alabama, and found that Chapman L McCrory and his wife, Malinda, Andrew Jackson McCrory (“Pat’s” brother) and his wife, Mary, and William P. McCrory and his wife Susan Elizabeth, all sold land in Clarke County in the 1850’s. William Patrick McCrory was the last to sell his land apparently leaving the county after this land was sold on 7 April 1859.

The deed indexes of Clarke County, Alabama, did not reveal when the McCrorys bought their land, or if it was inherited. We therefore checked the old St. Stephan’s Land Office records and found that a James McCrory, of Washington County, Alabama, and a Thomas McCrory of Tennessee, purchased land through that office in 1811, but it did not match the description of the land sold by the McCrorys in Clarke County. In addition, the client’s ancestor, William P. McCrory purchased land in Clarke County, Alabama, on 4 April 1859, just three days be fore selling it.

Family traditions held that William Patrick McCrory had moved west to Clarke County, Alabama, from the Butler Springs area. An examination of the 1840 Federal Census Index for Alabama revealed no McCrory families in the Clarke County area in 1840, however, there were three McCrory families in Butler County, headed by John, Thomas, and Hugh McCrory. An examination of the 1840 census for Butler County, Alabama, revealed that HUGH MCCRORY HAD A SON OF THE RIGHT AGE TO HAVE BEEN THE CLIENT’S ANCESTOR, WILLIAM PATRICK MCCRORY. John McCrory was of the right age to have been a brother to Hugh McCrory, and Thomas McCrory was probably Thomas Elmore McCrory, the brother of William Patrick McCrory.

An examination of the 1850 and 1860 Federal Census Records revealed that Chapman L. McCrory was of the right age (born:1818) to have been a brother to William Patrick McCrory, and that he was born in South Carolina. If this were true, the, Hugh McCrory should show up in the 1820 Federal Census for South
Carolina.

The 1820 Federal Census for South Carolina revealed that Hugh McCrory, and John McCrory, were both living in Lancast4er County at the time the census was taken. They were still there in 1930, but by 1840, they were no longer listed. It is probable, then that these were the same people who were listed in the 1840 census of Butler County, Alabama.

Hugh McCrory, who was born sometime between 1780 and 1790, was apparently dead by the year 1850. Since there were no probate records which mentioned him (due to the 1853 fire), we turned once again to the land records to see if perhaps they might prove that he was the father of William Patrick McCrory. These records listed the following McCrorys living in Butler County, Alabama, after 1853, along with the years they bought or sold land:

Thomas McCrory: 1856, 1876.
John McCrory: 1858, 1863, 1865, 1869.
William Patrick McCrory:1860, 1867, 1868, 1870, 1871, 1872, 1873.
E. E. McCrory: 1864.
William M McCrory: 1867.
A. J. McCrory: 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1871.
J. E. (A) McCrory: 1864, 1868.
Chapman McCrory: 1866.

It appeared from the above records, that the client’s ancestor, William Patrick McCrory, and his brother, Andrew Jackson McCrory (and probably Chapman L. McCrory), moved from Butler County to Clarke County, Alabama, in about 1845, and then in the 1850’s and 1860’s,they moved back to their old home county of Butler.

The above land records indicate that the client’s ancestor, William Patrick McCrory, moved back into Butler County, Alabama, as early as 3 October 1859 after selling his land in Clarke County, Alabama in April of 1859. It may be that he was actually on the move between the two counties when the 1860 census was taken, and this is the reason he is not listed in that record.

At this point, our allotted research time had expired and we had to terminate this project. However, we have been able to identify, Hugh McCrory (born: 1780-1790), probably of Lancaster County, South Carolina, as the probable father of your ancestor, William Patrick McCrory. Due to the destruction of Butler County, Alabama, records before 1853, however, we have not been able to obtain direct proof of this. Further evidence may be found in the Lancaster County, South Carolina, records, which will need to be searched during our next project.

If Hugh McCrory is ultimately proven to be the father of William Patrick McCrory, his undoubtedly a grandson of Captain Thomas McCrory. But, further research will be needed to determine which of Captain McCrory’s sons, is his father.

Submitted by Mary E. Petty, BA (History), BA (Genealogy)
Ancestors are the People of History.● Do you know who yours are? ● Let the Professionals at HEIRLINES FAMILY HISTORY & GENEALOGY find your ancestry! ●1-800-570-4049 ● www.heirlines.com ● PO Box 893 ● Salt Lake City, UT 84110

Written originally by James W. Petty, AG, CG. 09/29/1997

© 2008, Heirlines Family History & Genealogy, Inc. All rights reserved. Sept 25, 1997

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