Leroy Perkins is the child of Joshua and Mary Sherrill Perkins?
Copyright Aug 2011 by LaRae Free Kerr, M ED. Not to be duplicated or published.
A few days ago, I wrote this about Leroy Perkins b about 1780:
Previous Hypothesis: Leroy Perkins b abt 1780. There are two connections leading some researchers to attach this Leroy to this Joshua and Mary Perkins. 1. He shared a spring with Absalom Pennington in Rutherford Co TN, and 2. His daughter married William Pennington, a supposed cousin of Absalom. Further, as noted above, he lived near the Joshua Perkins family. I really doubt he was the son of Joshua and Mary Perkins as there were many Perkins cousins in the area. Can anyone help with this?
Sources: When I asked for this help, Jill and I had exhausted the sources in Rutherford County for the right time period for Leroy and other Perkins. Rutherford County, TN at the turn of the 19th century was the wild frontier with few records, though the State Historical Society holds a great Perkins collection. However, it concentrates on a Nicholas Perkins rather than our line. In other words, there were fewer records in Rutherford County we could access than there had been earlier in North Carolina. And there were few enough of those. So almost certainly, any clarification of the children of Joshua and Mary Sherrill Perkins would have to come from researchers and their family documents such as Bibles, letters, journals, etc.
More Background: Please go to www.alfreefamily.blogspot.com and look at the 1 Aug 2011 blog to see the sources of the family chart. It is entitled ”True Children of Mary Sherrill and Joshua Perkins.” For more background see “Who Is Absalom Pennington’s Father?” 22 Aug 2011 and “Penningtons of St Clair Co IL” of the same date.
So who are the children of Mary Sherrill and Joshua Perkins? And is Leroy Perkins one of them?
In the 1790 census of Morgan District, 2nd Company, Burke Co NC, we find a Joshua Perkins born before 1774 with a wife born before 1774 and 5 sons and 1 daughter. Since both of the oldest daughters, Margery and Sarah, perhaps Jesse, and certainly Joshua who was in St Clair Co, IL, were already married and enumerated in their own households, this meant there was a maximum of 9 children living in 1790. [The Joshua Perkins entries in Buncombe Co are claimed by Joshua Perkins and Mary Black descendants. These men are probably cousins, ours born 1728 the son of Elisha Perkins and Margery Sherrill; the other born 1732 the son of Esther Perkins. Esther’s son was a Melungeon, and the records of the two families have recently been pretty much sorted out. [See Waak, Patricia Ann. My Bones Are Red: A spiritual Journey with a Triracial People in the Americas. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press. 2005. Do remember that Mary Utie married Anthony Drew NOT Richard Perkins.]
I had understood Jesse b abt 1764 died as a child or youth, but W. E. White in “"History of Alexander Co NC" in The Landmark 22 Mar 1926 says: "He(JP) had three sons: Jesse, William and Benjamin, and one daughter - perhaps more - but this daughter, Sarah.... " which certainly implies Jesse grew to adulthood. He is NOT the Jesse Perkins enumerated in the 1800 census of Burke Co, NC. That Jesse was born before 1755, but there are plenty of other Jesse Perkins around, including one in Rutherford Co TN. But in 1790, Jesse would probably have been either dead or in his own household, no longer in the Joshua Perkins household. Does anyone know more about this Jesse Perkins?
In the 1790 census there is a Joshua Perkins in Morgan Dist 2nd company, Burke Co, NC. At that time there were 3 males 16+ including head of household, 3 males16- and 2 females. So the family could look like this:
Head of household b bef 1774 Joshua Sr b 1728 b by 1755
1 female Mary Perkins b 1744 b by 1755
1 male b bef 1774 William b 1769
2 male b bef 1774 Benjamin b 1771-1774
3 male b aft 1774 Leroy b abt 1780
4 male b aft 1774 John b abt 1783 b 1785-1794
5 male b aft 1774 Absolom b aft 1774
6 female Jane b 1767 md 1792?
1800 census. Though there are several Joshua Perkins in the 1800 census, none fit this family. This is not too surprising. Censuses get lost; pages from censuses get torn off; people do not get enumerated, etc. The Buncombe JPs are the Joshua Perkins/Mary Black family; the Joshua Perkins in Chowan Co NC was born between 1756 and 1774, too late to be this Joshua Perkins. But the 1810 entry is the same family. See blue additions to the chart above. Note some divergence here between this document and the earlier blog.
Well, I’ll be. This may be more secondary evidence that Leroy, John and Absolom are indeed Joshua’s sons. Of course, in 1790, Joshua was 62 years old. But Mary was only 46 so could well have mothered these children. It also solves one of my main botherations: that Leroy and John were born so much later than the other children. Margery and Sarah were married and in their own households. Jesse was either dead or if he did grow up and have a family, he was probably married and on his own as well. Joshua was in Illinois. Of course, these younger boys could conceivably be grandchildren. But who would be their parents? Someone born by 1754. So no, they are too old to be grandchildren.
Children of Mary Sherrill and Joshua Perkins, then, include Margery and Sarah; three named by both White and Kitchens: William, Benjamin and Sarah; Jesse mentioned only by White; Jane mentioned only by Kitchens. But this list of children only accounts for three of the 6 children in the 1790 census [because Margery, Sarah, Jesse, and Joshua are in their own households or dead]. So who are the other children?
Joshua Perkins seems to belong in this family. Joshua Perkins b abt 1765, died 6 Oct 1839 md Rebecca Sherrill. At about age 55, he moved into St Clair Co IL as one of its first settlers. Margery Perkins who married Absalom Pennington and who followed Joshua Perkins into St Clair Co in 1818 at age 60 is almost certainly his sister. Please note that Jennie Nobles in her 6 Jul 1968 and other letters also maintains the Joshua Perkins who married Rebecca Sherrill was the son of Joshua and Mary Sherrill Perkins. Can anyone add to this?
So who are the younger sons?
According to Jill’s Perkins research, John P Perkins [could his name possibly be John Page Perkins?] is first into Rutherford Co TN. If he was born about 1783, he would be 20 when he went into TN and
was the first to buy a lot in what would become Jefferson City.
Only 3 years after John P Perkins arrived, three Perkins were assigned to
work on the road from Gibson Burtons to the Spring in Stewarts creek on Colo
Weakley's plantation: John, Leroy and Absolom.
So the very earliest Perkins in Rutherford Co TN were John P Perkins, John,
Leroy, Absalom and Thomas H Perkins. Were any of these men sons of Mary Sherrill and Joshua Perkins?
[Some folks have assigned Reuben Perkins to this family, but I suspect he is the son of Robert Biggen Perkins. Reuben does not appear in Rutherford Co TN early.
Who is Absolom Perkins? Wanda Clark believes Absolom and John are Joshua Perkins’ children. I have two in my database. Do they fit? I’ll have to work on it. Looks like I’ll have to analyze each Perkins in Rutherford Co 1800-1820. But not today.]
Thomas is NOT their son, but could John, Absalom or Leroy be sons of this Thomas?
That same year there is a Thomas H Perkins who had 1290 acres of land and
could not be found to pay 1805 taxes. This implies to me that Thomas H
Perkins is a mature adult and therefore NOT a child of Joshua. It also implies that he had come and gone by 1805. I have four Thomas Perkins in my database born early enough to be this Thomas but not enough information about any of them to identify them. Is this Thomas the father of John, Leroy and/or Absolom? HELP Does anyone know more about him?
From then on, in the Rutherford Co records, Absalom and especially Leroy
Perkins show up from time to time. But there is never a Reuben Perkins.
If we are willing to accept John Perkins and Leroy Perkins as Joshua Perkins’
children simply because they live near him and appear in some records
together, it seems we should use the same criteria for the third son who
would be Absalom. But still, is it possible for John, Leroy and/or Absalom to be Joshua Perkins’ sons?
Actually, it is possible: “…probably 1810, Nathaniel Hill, Joshua Perkins, Reuben Stubblefield, James and Reuben Lively and Richard Beasley, Senior, located in the same neighborhood “[Athens Precinct, St Clair County, Illinois] History of St Clair County, Illinois. Philadelphia: Brink, McDonough & Co. 1881. Reproduction by Unigraphic, Inc. Evansville, IN 1975. P 261.
As shown by the quote above, several of Joshua and Mary Sherrill Perkins’ children, including Joshua Jr, had left the home by the time the 1790 census was taken including:
Margery who was enumerated with her husband Absalom Pennington in Morgan, Burke, NC next door to her sister
Sarah who was enumerated with her husband Jonas White
Mary [Polly is the standard nickname for Mary] who died in infanthood. Does anyone have a source for Polly?
Jesse Perkins who may have died as a youth but may have lived and been married by 1790 [see below]
Joshua Perkins who was probably in St Clair County, IL by 1810. [There is no 1810 IL census, too early; but Joshua appears in the 1820 census next door to his sister and her husband, Absalom Pennington.]
As you will see, the 1790 Joshua Perkins census includes 6 additional children. Who are they?
Leroy is connected to the Joshua Perkins family in several ways:
1. He shares a spring with Absalom Pennington and Andrew Free on Stone River in TN.
2. His daughter Mary marries William Pennington, postulated to be a relative of Absalom Pennington.
3. He has three great nephews named Leroy Free: sons of Andrew Free, William H Free and Joseph A Free. In this family, naming patterns are extremely important, and there is no other Leroy in the earlier families.
4. 1810 census of Nashville, Rutherford, TN shows only one Leroy Perkins who was born 1766-1784 in a household of 8. Leroy was born about 1780.
New Hypothesis about Leroy Perkins
In correspondence in the 1960s and 1980s, Jennie Nobles said she descended from a son of the Joshua Perkins who married Mary Sherrill and that son’s wife whose name was Elizabeth Owens. She could not remember the son’s name. I therefore hypothesized Elizabeth Owens married either Benjamin or William Perkins since Leroy was as yet unknown to me.
At first it seemed that Benjamin fit the bill, but then records showed William Sherrill Perkins’ wife’s name was probably Elizabeth. But no evidence was conclusive. At that point, proving which of Joshua Perkins’ sons married Elizabeth Owens seemed an unsolvable mystery. I am not the one who posted Benjamin Perkins as the husband of Elizabeth Owens on the web, however. But I am the first to put Elizabeth Owens as the wife of Benjamin Perkins on the family group record. And because of that, I am setting the record straight now that I have this new information.
Enter a very important family letter:
A kind researcher sent me a copy of an ancestral letter indicating Leroy Perkins married Elizabeth Owens, but he wishes both the quote and himself to remain anonymous. Still, I thank him so much for sharing his information and recognize his right for his document to be treated as he wishes. However, this is the telling information from the letter: "Leroy's wife was Lizzie Owens...They were the parents of Jesse Perkins" who married Moriah Williams who "came from Rutherford County, Tennessee." [I have the full text of the letter but have agreed to keep the source confidential, so please do not ask for it.]
So here in this letter from a father to his descendants, is the clear statement that it was Leroy Perkins who married Elizabeth Owens in the right place and time.
This information led me to this conclusion:
If it is true that Elizabeth Owens married a son of Joshua Perkins, and if it is true Leroy Perkins married an Elizabeth Owens, then Leroy Perkins is a son of our Joshua Perkins.
Is there any additional evidence this is true?
If the information Jennie Noble provided about Elizabeth Owens’ family matches the information provided by Internet family trees and by the letter, it would indicate Leroy is indeed the son of Joshua Perkins and Mary Sherrill Perkins and the husband of Elizabeth Owen.
Jennie Nobles’ description of the unnamed son of Joshua Perkins
The original 1968 letter from Jennie Nobles was written when she was in relatively good health and from documents she had at home. There are limitations to the information Jennie sent me in the 1980 letters after she was in a nursing home and wrote primarily from memory. In fact, at one point, she had family members write the letters for her as her ability to write deteriorated. Nevertheless, the compilation I’ve done of her memories held together and made sense.
This is what she wrote about the unnamed son:
- “William [Sherrill] married Agnes White perhaps about 1745. Their daughter Mary, married Joshua Perkins. Joshua Perkins’ son (name don’t have) married Elizabeth Owen in Kentucky. Elizabeth Owen Perkins’ son, John, was my great grandfather and lived in Lebanon, Tennessee. John Perkins left a letter in which he did not mention his father’s name (because his daughter knew her grandfather). I believe that John Perkins’ father owned land on the Stone River near Nashville in the late 1850’s [6 Jul 1968]. This is all true.
- “Joshua Perkins, Sr. had a son, Joshua Jr. who married Rebecca Sherrill, and he also mentioned an Uncle John, consequently I am very anxious to know the name of John Perkins’ father…John Perkins married Rhuanna Sherrill and his second wife was Polly Sherrill (a cousin)…[6 Jul 1968].
This is true.
- “____Perkins married Elizabeth Owen. Their son, John Perkins born July 15, 1806; died April 11, 1880; married Rhuey Anna Sherrill Feb 8, 1827. She was the daughter of Samuel Wilson Sherrill, son of Jacob, son of Adam Sherrill Sr…” She then gives their children with more data than I duplicate here: William, Margaret, Andrew Mason, Julia Emeline, Mary Jane, Serena, Lee W. Perkins. And Lee apparently had a son John who md Polly Sherrill who had a child Eliza; then John md Mrs Matilda Moore Neal and had these children: John Etta, James Fite, Alice, Mattie Florra who md a Campbell? And had Amzi, James, John, Francis and John [12-7-1982]. The only child of Leroy Perkins and Elizabeth Owen on the Internet site is Jesse Perkins, so I can’t compare from there down. But from there back in time, the pedigrees do match.
Therefore, Leroy Perkins who married Elizabeth Owens, is almost certainly a son of Joshua Perkins born 1728 and his wife Mary Sherrill and should be added to the family group record with his various children.
So then, who are the other sons of Joshua found in the 1790 census?
If we accept Leroy Perkins who lived in Nashville, as a son in this family, how can we not at least look at John Perkins who also lived in Nashville at the same time? Are John Perkins and John P Perkins the same man? Who is Absalom Perkins? But those are subjects for another report.
Well, this was really fun. What a break through. Thank you to Jennie Nobles, the anonymous researcher, and others who posted this information. Please send additional information.
More Information about Leroy Perkins from research done by Jill Shoemaker and myself.
Extremely primary information. Do any court records name Leroy’s wife?
Court and Legal Records for Leroy Perkins in Rutherford Co TN: a Timeline
1806 Jan. a John, Leroy and Absolom Perkins assigned to work on road Rutherford Co TN 307l
1806 Oct. a Leroy and John Perkins work on road Rutherford Co TN 307l
1807 Jan a Leroy and Absolon Perkins discharged from working road Rutherford Co TN 307l
Three Perkins are in the 1810 census of Rutherford Co TN: Joshua Perkins is in Jefferson, Rutherford, TN, John and Leroy Perkins are in Nashville, Rutherford, TN.
1810 census Nasvhille, Rutherford, TN. with wife and 4 boys and 2 girls under age 10b 1765-1784 1810 United States Federal Census
about Leroy Perkins
Name: Leroy Perkins
Free White Males Under 10: 4
Free White Males 26 to 44: 1
Free White Females Under 10: 2
Free White Females 26 to 44: 1
Number of Household Members Under 16: 6
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2
Number of Household Members: 8
1810 tax list a Leroy Perkins 1 poll $.18 3/4 Rutherford Co TN 307l
1810 18 Jan. a Leroy Perkins is witness for Absalom Pennington deed Rutherford Co TN 307l
1810 19 Jan. he is witness again
1811 tax list Leroy Perkins 83 acres 1 poll $.46 307l
1812 tax list Leroy Perkins 307l
1812 tax list Leroy Perkins 307l
1812 Apr Leroy Perkins works on road 307l
1812. LP signed petition for the Assembly to determine county seat.587l
1813 tax list a Leroy Perkins Rutherford Co TN 307l
1813 Jan Leroy Perkins, Jno Perkins, Andrew Free work on road Rutherford Co TN 307l
1813 Apr same
1817 4 Nov dau Mary md William Pennington Rutherford Co TN. Coggeshall, Robert Walden, Ancestors and Kin, The Reprint Company, Publishers. Spartanburg, SC. 1988, 335,
1820 census image, ancestry.com. Hickman, TN. a Leroy Perkins and wife, both 20-30, so not this one.
1820 census image, ancestry.com. Murfreesboro, Rutherford, TN. Elizabeth Perkins age 45+ with males: 3 under 10, 3 10-6; females: 1 -10, 1 16-26 and herself, over 45. So this could be Leroy's family. However, there are many Elizabeth Perkins.
no Elizabeth Perkins in TN in 1830.
There is probably more than one Leroy Perkins, certainly more than one Joshua Perkins in the world, but not on the Stones River in Rutherford County, Tennessee between 1800 and 1820. Elizabeth Owens is a pretty common name, but there is only one Stone River in Rutherford County, TN. So do the dates and places match? Are there two Leroy Perkins in Rutherford County at the right time? In other words, if we can’t prove these letters refer to the same people, can we prove they don’t?
- Were the supposedly two Elizabeth Owens and their Perkins husbands living on the Stones’ River at the same time? Please see the timeline shown above. Elizabeth Owens and her husband did live on Stones River from at least 1806 to 1813.
Jesse Perkins the son of Leroy Perkins was born in 1808 near the Stones’ River in Rutherford County, TN and moved to Shelby Co IL about 1840. Thus this Leroy Perkins lived on Stones River in Rutherford Co TN from at least 1808 until Leroy died. So Leroy Perkins the father of John and Leroy Perkins the father of Jesse were in the same place at the same for at least a decade.
- Is there any evidence there were two Leroy Perkins on the Stones River in Rutherford County, TN between about 1800 and 1820? As you can see by the timeline above, all the Leroy Perkins entries could easily belong to one man. In addition, there is only one Leroy Perkins in the 1810 census.
- Have we found any land or court records in that time period that name Leroy’s wife? Not yet.
[P/S 1 does not give a wife’s name. See P/S 203, 282l, 342l, 852l, 887l and 2030l.]
- Are the two sons of an age that they could be brothers? Yes! John Perkins was born 15 Jul 1806 and Jesse Perkins was born 1808.
Does this Leroy Perkins family, as we know it so far, match the 1810 Leroy Perkins census entry of Nashville, Rutherford, Tennessee?
1 male 26-44 born 1766-1784 Leroy Perkins born abt 1780
1 female 26-44 born 1766-1794 Elizabeth Owens born 1780-1784
1 male -10 born 1800-1810 John Perkins born 15 Jul 1806
2 male -10 born 1800-1810 Jesse Perkins born 1808
3 male -10 born 1800-1810
4 male -10 born 1800-1810
5 female -10 born 1800-1810 Mary [Polly] born 17 Feb 1802
Well, as Tevya would say, it’s a perfect match. Can anyone supply the names of additional children? Those three missing from the chart above and any later children?
So we have overwhelming evidence that the Leroy Perkins who married Elizabeth Owens is indeed the son of Joshua and Mary Sherrill Perkins. We have secondary evidence, circumstantial evidence as well as primary evidence in an astounding volume for the time and place. But as is so often the case, the relationship evidence from the two letters kept by families other than my own, is the clincher. Thank you dear brilliant Jennie Perkins Nobles, the anonymous donor and Ruth Dickey, Helen Lane Call and others who have insisted over the years that Leroy Perkins was indeed the son of Joshua Perkins.
For still more information see:
Dickey, Ruth. The Penningtons of Big Buffalo. Columbia, TN. 1979
Now, who are the Absalom and John Perkins who worked on the Rutherford County, TN road with Leroy in 1806? And did Jesse die as a young man, or did he grow up and marry? HELP please.