JENNINGS AND ALLIED FAMILIES' HISTORY
ANNA SUSAN JENNINGS BRANAMAN
This page traces her ancestry back to the mid 1700's, following several allied maternal lines as well as the Jennings line. All lines seem to be English. Surnames included in this history include:
The flow chart below illustrates the linkages of the various ancestors of Anna Susan Jennings.
This ancestor chart shows the relationships of the Jennings Family of Virginia and Kentucky; the Nix Family of South Carolina and Illinois; the Miller Family of Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky and Illinois; and the Finley Family of South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky and Illinois. Anna Susan Jennings parents had settled in Texas between 1845-1855.
JENNINGS OF VIRGINIAThe Jennings immigrated to Sussex County, Virginia, before the American Revolution. Most immigrants to Virginia came from the southwestern counties of England and most came as indentured servants. Many were very young so that most were still in their 20's when freed. (A typical indenture ran for 7 years.) When the contract was fulfilled, each received 50 acres of land as a headright.
PETER JENNINGS - GENERATION #1
The earliest record located of a direct Jennings ancestor is a deed issued on February 28, 1783 for 26.5 acres in Surrey (now Sussex) County, Virginia, to Peter Jennings.
Peter Jennings was born before 1750. His wife's name was Selah. They were married about 1765.
Prior to the Revolution, the Jennings attended the established Church of England, registering their children's births and frequently standing as sponsors. Sponsors were usually members of related families. The register included a "Selah" born in 1755 to William and Anne Hight. The register also shows that Peter and Selah Jennings stand as sponsors to children born to Thomas and Sarah Hight and John and Elizabeth Hight in the early 1770's. Peter's wife's maiden name, therefore, may be "Hight."
Genealogist Eugenia Butler Toland researched Virginia records in the 1960's. She identified 7 children of Peter and Selah Jennings. Rootsweb.com has some additional children. The 7 children confirmed by Mrs. Toland are:
Peter Jennings signed his will with an "x" on February 20, 1798. His widow presented it to the court on April 3, 1800 in Sussex County, VA. The Jennings estate was not appraised until November 18, 1803, after his wife's death. The estate was valued at 99 pounds t that time and included: 1 cow, 1 heffer, 1 cow, and 4 hogs. The most valued item was 22 barrels of corn worth 11 pounds.
LABON JENNINGS OF KENTUCKY - GENERATION #2
The Labon Jennings family first lived in Barren County, Kentucky, where they are listed as members of the Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in 1817. The final move was made about 1820 to nearby Simpson County, Kentucky.
Tabor Baptist Church, 6 miles NW of Glasgow, Kentucky
Labon and Elziabeth Freeman Jennings had 2 children: Lucy W. Jennings and Henry William Jennings.
1) LUCY W. JENNINGS
Lucy was born 10/11/1799 in Sussex County, VA. She married Rev. George W. Butler, son of Joseph Butler, in 1818. Lucy was the first family member to marry a non-Englishman. Her marriage to Rev. Butler--a Scotch-Irishman--was not well received by the rest of the family.
The Butlers founded the Shady Grove Baptist Church in 1841, which was attended for many years by Jennings descendants.
Most of the Butler family moved to Texas between 1851 and 1861. Three sons--Joseph J., George W., and Robert Fabius Butler became Baptist ministers in Texas.
Grove Baptist Church, Simpson County, KY
Founded by Rev. George W. Butler (husband of Lucy W. Jennings)
2) HENRY WILLIAM JENNINGS - GENERATION #3
Henry Jennings [View portrait.] was born 1/19/1802 in Sussex County, VA. He married Lucy Smith [View portrait.] prior to 1821 in Kentucky. Lucy's parents may have been William Smith and Elizabeth Howerton. A Virginia marriage record has been identified, but the researcher was unable to connect this couple with Lucy Smith of Kentucky - other than the fact that one of the children of Henry and Lucy included the name "Howerton." Lucy Smith was born about 1805 and died in 1843 in Simpson County, KY. Lucy bore 6 children. Henry married Elizabeth Cassell after Lucy's death, and they had 8 more children.
Children of Henry and Lucy Jennings:
Children of Henry and Elizabeth Jennings
The family prospered in Kentucky. Henry Jennings bought and sold several pieces of land. He also worked as a stonemason, sheriff, and teacher of adult education (reading and writing).
The Jennings family lived a number of years on the Lewis Farm. The Lewises and Jennings were related by marriage. Henry Jennings died 10/12/1885 in Simpson County, KY.
Lewis Farm, Simpson County, KY
The current owner still plows around the small graveyard of about 25 headstones--including Labon and Elizabeth Jennings. The Old Lewis Farm is located 4 miles east of Franklin on Brown Road near the interesting with State HIghway 100.
TEXAS JENNINGSSeveral wagon trains of settlers came from Simpson County, Kentucky in the 1850's and early 1860's. The trip took eight weeks. One account of the trip mentions that a blacksmith made "ice shoes" for the horses to pull the wagon train across a frozen river.
"Simpson County, Kentucky: Families Past and Present" mentions the following families as having joined the migration to Texas:
Butler Heffington Skile
Coughty Huffine Strait
Drake Jennings Stratton
Fisher Kirby Stultzer
Floyd Laney Thomas
Frank Rowland Wright
Most of these families were members of the Shady Grove Baptist Church. Most settled around Richardson, Texas (which was originally called "Breckenridge" after the Kentucky governor) supplying the membership for Mt. Calvary Baptist Church.
Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Dallas County, TX
The church has been relocated. Graves of Dallas pioneers--most from Simpson County, KY--are now protected by a barbed-wire fence in the midst of the sprawling Dallas urban area.
JOHN PLEASANT JENNINGS - GENERATION #4
John Pleasant Jennings joined the 1857 wagon train along with his sister, Elizabeth Howerton Jennings Butler and her husband, Robert Fabius Butler. John Pleasant was only 19 and left against his father's wishes. According to oral family history, he was unhappy with his step-mother in Kentucky.
John Pleasant married Nancy Ellen Nix, daughter of John Nix and Sarah Miller on 7/13/1860 in Dallas County, TX. Nancy came to Texas with her parents from Illinois in 1846. As the Nix and Miller family histories indicate, her Illinois cousins fought for the Union. [See photo of couple.] [Go to Nix Family History.] [Go to Miller Family History.]
John Pleasant served in the Confederate Army in the Civil War. He fought with the 34th Texas Cavalry Regiment Company A (also called "Col. Alexander's Regiment.") Although called "cavalry," this unit was "dismounted in November 1862. According to family stories, on one furlough John Pleasant had to carry his saddle home all the way from the Red River--about 100 miles.
John Pleasant was elected Sergeant late in the war. During part of the time, he served the unit as cook and is quoted as saying, "I didn't ask them what it was. I just cooked it."
He served until the Confederacy surrendered and his unit was discharged on May 20, 1865 near Hempstead, Texas. He applied for a pension in 1920 in Frisco, Collin County, TX.
Photo is from a 1991 re-enactment of the battle at Mansfield (35 miles south of Shreveport), Louisiana. Jennings' unit--Polignac's Texas Brigade--distinguished itself at the Battle of Sabine Crossroads in April 1864. During two days of fighting nearly 7,000 American men (3604 Union and 3226 Confederates) were killed or wounded. The Union did retreat after the battle, and as a result no Civil War battles were actually fought on Texas soil. For more information on Polignac's Brigade, see "Polignac's Texas Brigade" by Alwyn Barr, 1964. This very honest--and inglorious account--captures the reality of every day life in an under-supplied, inadequately-led Southern army unit.
Nancy Ellen died about 1920; John Pleasant died 2/3/1924. They are buried in the Bridges Cemetery, Denton County, Texas near The Colony. James Aden Branaman and Anna Susan Jennings child, Eston Lee, who died at birth in 1908 is also buried in this cemetery.
An Official Texas Historical Marker was dedicated at the Bridges Cemetery on June 16, 1988 sponsored by the Bridges Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 1441, Denton, TX 76202. The cemetery is located on a private road where South Colony Boulevard dead ends just east of Page Road.
Bridges Cemetery, Denton County, TX - near The Colony, TX
CHILDREN OF JOHN PLEASANT AND NANCY ELLEN NIX JENNINGS
John Pleasant and Nancy Ellen Nix Jennings had 8 children. [View family photo.] All the children were talented musicians. Several religious songs written by their son Charles Jennings were printed by the Quartet Music Company in Ft. Worth about 1915. The Jennings boys did not restrict music-making to religious music and were censored by the local Baptist church for playing at local dances (a Baptist sin).
Their 9 children were:
William Franklin Jennings. Born 1865. Married
Martha Alice Meason 9/25/1880 in Illinois, daughter of Dr. Fred Mirus, who
was born in Germany. Franklin died in 1895 and is buried in the
Hilltop Cemetery, Carrollton, Texas.
Henry Andrew Jennings. Born 11/7/1867 in Dallas
County. He married Lonna Bell Camp 12/6/1898. Lonna Bell died
when the children were very young. Henry Andrew died 5/8/1938 and is
buried in Bluett Cemetery, Richardson, Texas.
George Butler Jennings. Born 1869, Dallas
County. Died in 1937 and is buried in Little Elm, Denton County,
Texas. Married Elizabeth Meadows (1877-1960).
Charles Jennings. Born 12/24/1877 in Dallas
County. Died July 1974. Married Bertha May Spann (1898-1976) on
9/21/1918. Berta May was the daughter of John Franklin Spann and Lucy
Catherine Meadows Spann.
John Robert Jennings. Burn 3/24/1876 in Dallas
County. Died in infancy on 12/25/1876. Buried in Cranford
Cemetery in Dallas or Denton County.
Mary Edna Jennings. Born in 1871 in Dallas
County. Died in 1929. Married Jess Gideon Hoskins 9/27/1908.
Sara Eva Jennings. Born 2/14/1880 in Dallas
County. Died as a child on 3/29/1886. Buried in Cranford
Cemetery in Dallas or Denton County.
Anna Susan Jennings. Born 3/17/1883 in Dallas
County and died 11/2/1967 in Panola, Texas. Anna Susan liked sewing, reading, and music. Her son,
Dale Branaman, remembers often hearing his mother chording with great
enthusiasm as he approached the house coming home from school. But she
never played with others were around--not even the children. Anna
Susan was the wife of a Baptist minister. She married James Aden
Branaman. [Go to Branaman page for children's
names and additional information.]
Oscar T. Jennings. Born 1/13/1886 in Renner, Dallas
County, TX. Died 11/21/1955. Married Lillian Clara Meadows
7/23/1917 in Holdenville, Hughes County, Oklahoma. Lillian died
10/31/1977. The couple is buried in Little Elm Cemetery in Denton
NIX FAMILY HISTORYThe Nix family migration can be traced as follows:
1763 Camden District, South Carolina,
1790 Central South Carolina
1813 Southern Illinois
Many of the early settlers in South Carolina originally lived in Virginia or Barbados. No early Nixes have been found in Virginia records. A 23-year-old John "Nicks" is listed as a passenger to Barbados in 1634 "Original Lists of Persons of Quality - 1600-1700". This John Nicks could have been the grandfather of Edward Nix of South Carolina.
Like the Jennings family, the South Carolina Nixes followed the general pattern of early southern immigrants:
The wills of Edward and Ambrose Nix confirm that the Nixes owned several slaves in South Carolina. Upon entering the "free" territory, the status of the Nix slaves changed to that of "indentured servants."
Within 30 days of moving into Illinois, the slaveholder and slave were required to appear before the court of common pleas. The slave was asked to agree to an "indenture" of a set number of years, after which he would be freed. If the slaveholder and slave could not reach agreement, the slaveholder was given 670 days to remove the slave freom the territory--"sell him down river."
The "History of Madison County" includes a 1816 court record in which David Nix, oldest son of the first John Nix, purchased an indenture for $500 of "one negro woman named Frankey and one negro girl named Faney."
The Illinois immigrant, John Nix, served in the Revolution in South Carolina. His descendents have served in subsequent U.S. wars.
Although of southern heritage, the Illinois Nixes rallied to the Union cause during the Civil War. At least three nephews of the Texas John Nix fought for the Union:
John Pleasant Jennings, husband of Nancy Ellen Nix, served the Confederate cause throughout the war. His brother-in-law, David Harrison Nix, also fought for the Confederacy. Jennings/Nix descendants have always thought of themselves as "patriotic" and "southern."
Unlike the Baptist Jennings family, the early Nix pioneers in Illinois were Methodists. The Jennings/Nix family in Texas--although Baptist in faith--had a more tolerate attitude than many of their co-religionists. The Nix Methodist background very likely softened the family's religious feelings.
Related Nix Families
Maiden names of early Nix wives were not recorded. Nix children, however, are repetitively given "first" names that appear to be mother's maiden names--a common practice at that time. Possible unconfirmed family links include:
Another interesting Nix trait is the large number of twins in the family. John Nix and his wife, Sarah Miller, had two sets of twins--including our direct ancestor Nancy Ellen Nix Jennings.
NIX ANCESTORS - EDWARD NIX - GENERATION #1
EDWARD NIX is the earliest Nix ancestor identified. Thomas Boone granted 125 acres north of the Santee River, Camden District, to Edward Nix on 8/18/1763. He also owned a larger tract of land south of the Santee River. The Camden District is on the eastern coast north of Charleston.
Edward Nix's will is recorded in "The South Carolina Will Book 1774-1779" (page 418). Named in the will are:
Daughter who married a Lyon
Grandson: Ambrose Nix - This is line followed by this website.
AMBROSE NIX - GENERATION #3
It is unknown which of Edward's sons was Ambrose's father. It is possible his father was already dead when Edward wrote his will in 1776.
Ambrose was born about 1756 in South Carolina. His wife's name was Hannah.
Ambrose is documented as having provided provisions to the Revolutionary Army in South Carolina.
His will was probated May 1820 in Chester County, South Carolina and is recorded in Book G, p. 174. Children named in the will are:
Considerable information regarding descendants of Ambrose Nix is available at the Greene County Historical Society. This website will only list descendants of the son, John.
JOHN NIX - GENERATION #4
John Nix was born in 1756 in South Carolina. He fought in the Revolution from the Camden District in South Carolina. Three tours of duty are documented: on March 3, 1779, John Nix was paid for 28 days duty; he served another 28 days in Corp. Rich Wenn's Regiment under Captain Thomas Baker ending in 1782; and he served again in 1784 at Broad River.
John Nix moved to Madison County, Illinois about 1813 with his wife Winifred (born 1761 and died 3/12/1821), his large family, and several South Carolina neighbors--including Henry Cook and the Gillhams.
The Nix property was in Edwardsville township--about 30 miles west of St. Louis. Nix's Ford, a crossing of the Cahokis Creek at the foot of the bluff, was well known in the early history of the county. The ford was about one-half mile from the Nix homestead.
The Illinois Nixes were Methodists. The John Nix home was one of the first-formed Methodist societies. The circuit preacher met with Nix, Cumings, and Gillham families regularly.
John Nix died 7/12/1822 and is buried, with his wife, in the Nix Cemetery at the foot of Sunset Hill in Madison County at the intersection of Interstate 170 and Illinois 157 in Glen Carbon. Their common stone, though broken, still exists.
Local historical societies have confirmed seven children of John and Winifred Nix. Another six have been identified as probable children--but documented proof is missing.
Some of the children of John and Winifred Nix are:
JOHN NIX, JR. - GENERATION #5
John Nix, Jr. was born about 1810 in South Carolina. He was known to have been red-headed. John Nix married Sarah Miller, daughter of James Miller and Mary Finley, on 9/16/1826 [Go to Miller Family History.] [Go to Finley Family History.]
He was elected Justice of the Peace on 8/7/1843. He resigned 8/3/1846 when the family moved to Texas--the same year that Texas became a state.
John Nix and his family were a part of the Peter's Colony on a land grant in north Texas that was given to a group of small business men from Louisville, Kentucky, contingent upon their attracting new Anglo settlers. Most of the early settlers came from the "border" states of Kentucky, southern Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee--where the agents aggressively promoted the enterprise. An 1844 promotion promised:
"to all families who proceed to the colony, make their selections, build their cabins, and occupy same, on or before the 1st day of June next, 640 acres or one section of land will be given--and young men over 17 years a half section....Mere visit and selection without improvement will secure no rights--actual settlement and improvement is indispensable."
The colony, however, was poorly managed. In 1846 (the year the Nixes arrived), the colonists began to organize local governments in the counties of Collin, Dallas, Denton, and Grayson. Peters Colony continued to serve as a land agent until 1850. During its brief 9-6ear history, Peters Colony attracted more than 10,000 settlers to north Texas and established a migration pattern that continued to attract large numbers of settlers from the border states throughout the 20th century.
John and Sarah Nix are included in the 1850 and 1860 Dallas County censes. John Nix died in 1881; Sarah, 1888. They are buried in Keenan Cemetery in Farmer's Branch on Valley Lane.
The Nix homestead, circa 1900. (Photo courtesy of Hal Simon.)
John Nix and Sarah Miller's grandson, Harrison Arthur Nix (son of David Harrison Nix) owned the house in 1900. Family members in the photo are: left-to-right James Miller, Jr. (brother the Sarah Miller Nix and father to Minnie Miller Nix); Minnie Miller Nix (Harrison Arthur Nix's wife); unidentified woman; Harrison Arthur Nix; his daughter Fannie Mae Nix is on the horse.
Children of John and Sarah Nix
The 8 children of John and Sarah were:
Mary Letitia Myers Nix (David Harrison Nix's wife) is pictured above surrounded by their children.
Photo courtesy of Hal Simon, circa 1895.
Front row: (left-to-right) Julia Nix Bryant (1858-1921); Mary Letitia Myers Nix, the mother; Adelia Nix Good (1860-1929). Second row: Ida Nix Handley (1866-1963); Sarah Minnie Nix Moore (b. 1870); Harrison Arthur Nix (1862-1942); Myrtle Nix Southerland (1874-1958); Ethel Nix Fisher (1881-1982).David Harrison Nix inherited his parents' original land grant farm in Carrollton. This property remained in the Nix family until 1960 when it was sold to a developer. This once rural area is now filled with suburban tract houses but the old cedar trees remain. Descendants continue to live in the Dallas area and are active in local history activities. [See Dallas Heritage Village information.]
NANCY ELLEN NIX - GENERATION #6
Nancy Ellen Nix married John Pleasant Jennings. She died about 1920 and is buried at Bridges Cemetery in Denton County, TX.
MILLER FAMILY HISTORY
Like the Jennings and the Nixes, the Millers are of English descent. Pioneering movements of the Millers are traced as follows:
1753 Moved from Philadelphia to
1775 Mecklenburg County, NC
1810 Southern Illinois
FRANCIS MILLER - GENERATION #1
Francis Miller was born 10/16/1753 "at sea" en route from Philadelphia to Charleston. Francis Miller enlisted in 1775 was a private in Mecklenburg County, NC. He served until 1781, advancing to the rank of captain of the Rifleman Rangers under Col. Robert Irwin. He fought in the battles of Hanging Rock and Guilford Court House.
His wife's name was Jane; they were married on 9/19/1775 in North Carolina. Francis and Jane Miller are buried in Oakland Cemetery just north of Greenfield, Illinois. An historical marker notes his service during the Revolution. He died 1/19/1843; Jane, on 10/24/1845.
A newspaper article indicates that the history on Francis Miller came from Mrs. H.W. Hamilton of Greene County.
This researcher has only confirmed one son of Francis and Jane Miller: James.
JAMES MILLER - GENERATION #2
James Miller was born 6/10/1778 in Mecklenburg County, NC. He met his wife--Mary Finley--in Kentucky; they married on 9/25/1805. Both of their extended families--the Millers and the Finleys--then, moved on to southern Illinois before 1810. [Go to Finley Family History.]
James Miller's signature appears on a document granting permission for his daughter to marry in 1826.
According to a local history book, James Miller was a Baptist and "a very singular man, hardly, if ever, seen away from home, as he made almost an entire recluse of himself."
James Miller died in October 1852 in Greene County. His wife, Mary, died 9/2/1871 in Greene County. There were several children. Those identified include:
The text of a letter written by James Miller, Jr. of Illinois to his sister Sarah Miller Nix and her husband in Texas is reproduced below. This letter was written at the beginning of the Civil War. It captures the spirit of the times and gives some understanding to how brothers came to fight against brothers. It is not known if any of the Miller cousins fought for the Union - but Nix cousins have been identified. Sarah Miller Nix's son David Harrison Nix and her son-in-law John Pleasant Jennings fought for the Confederacy in Texas units.
March 3rd 1861
Dear Brother and Sister:
We received your letter of the fourth of Feb. last night, which was a source of great satisfaction, with the exception of your illness from which we hope you have entirely recovered.
We also regret very much to hear of the course your state has taken. Not that I am an Abolitionist or in favor of Abe Lincoln. I voted for Douglas as a true Union man which I think all well wishers of our nation should do. I am ready now to bid farewell to our Glorious Republic. This is what all the combined powers of Europe have sought for from its very first existence, to get us divided among ourselves, and they have well nigh accomplished their ends. Did not their ministers in the council after the war of 1812 declare that they would overthrow our government by Conquest? That council was held in Canada. But for me to say that the South is altogether in the wrong, or that the North is altogether in the wrong I cannot.
The North perhaps is and has been trying to and has been infringing on Southern rights, but what can the South do to better the matter by withdrawing from the Union. There cannot in my opinion any good result from such a procedure. I do believe if persevered in as I said before that it will end in the destruction of our Republican Government and what else God only knows. Civil War with all its horrible consequences. I have been studying the matter over from last March, a thing which before I never expected to do, to turn my attention to politics, but this is a great thing that is now taking place--enough to arouse the most sluggish to thought and from what little I can gain our nation is going to be pretty well divided and that the matter will not be decided in a few days as some think or rather say. When the North sends men to subdue the South they are not sending men to fight the Mexicans, but to fight men in every respect equal to themselves.
Our State has held a convention which decided that they would not take any part in the matter. But our Governor is a Republican and no doubt if needed will endeavor to raise troops to go South and if so, I believe that there will also be troops raised to stop them, so we will have it at home. I will say no more on the subject. I have said much more than I expected to say.
Signed: James Miller (Brother to Sarah Miller Nix in Texas)
FINLEY FAMILY HISTORY
The Finley family is believed to have lived in Virginia during the Revolution. As the west opened up for settlement after the Revolution, the Finleys followed the trails to:
Carolina, Pendleton District, where daughter Mary was born.
1792 North Carolina, where son Thomas was born.
1806 Kentucky where Howard was born.
JOHN "FIGHTING JACK" FINLEY - GENERATION #1
John Finley was born about 1760 in Virginia or South Carolina. his wife's name was Mary, born in Virginia in 1761.
The Finleys, first, lived in Madison County, Illinois, where John Finley served as the Justice of Peace of Libertyville Township in 1810. The family moved on to Greene County, Illinois, about 1826.
Very soon after Kincaid's Point in Greene County was settled, John Finley erected a horse mill south of the present site of Greenfield.
John Finley died 2/11/1840. His children are mentioned is will in 1840:
Mourning Finley. Married David Miller.
Mary Finley. Married James Miller. - GENERATION #2 on this website
Prudence Finley. Married Shadrack Jackson.
Rebecca Finley. Married John Cook.
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