Joseph M. McCammack was born ca.1804 in Spotsylvania or Wythe Counties, Virginia, to Mary "Polly" Cammack and an unknown man. Joseph married (1) 7-9-1827 to Mahala Shumate, daughter of Nimrod and Peggy (Smithers) Shumate, in Washington County, Kentucky, born ca.1811, Kentucky; (2) 6-7-1832 to Susanna Hurst, daughter of John and Elizabeth Breedwell Hurst, born in 1806, Claiborne Co. Tenn., died about 1847, Putnam Co. In.
Present day descendants of Joseph state that their McCammack ancestor came from Virginia to Kentucky and then to Putnam County. This is correct, as Joseph came to Mercer County, Kentucky when he was about 9, in 1813, along with the rest of the family, from Wythe County, Virginia.
Joseph Cammack married Mahala Shumate in Washington County, Kentucky in 1827.
On July 20, 1831 in Washington County Circuit Court, Joseph filed a suit against his own mother Polly Cammack. His complaint was over a gift of $200 that was given to him he claimed, by his grandfather John Cammack, father of Polly. He stated that the $200 was loaned by himself and Polly to a John B. Jones and Joseph entrusted Polly to collect the money, which she did. However, she then loaned the money to Joseph Shantey, who was a neighbor and considering the close contact he had with Polly Cammack, might conceivably have been the father of Joseph Cammack. Joseph Cammack further claimed that after Polly collected the debt, she refused to pay Joseph his share ($100). Although the Washington County Circuit Court records don't show a disposition, it would appear that the court found in favor of Polly Cammack, as Joseph later filed a chancery suit against her.
Joseph Cammack left Kentucky shortly after not getting his money. His wife apparently divorced him although no record has been found. Joseph most likely left Washington County in the spring of 1832, joining his Uncle John McCammack's family that was passing through on their way to Putnam County, Indiana at that time.
On June 7, 1832, he married Susanna Hurst in Putnam County, Indiana. Susan Hurst was the daughter of John "Mill Creek" Hurst, born 1735 in Shenadoah County, Virginia and soldier in the American Revolution. He was married twice, having 17 children. Susan was the last and one of 8 born to John Hurst's 2nd wife, Elizabeth Breedwell, born 1756 in Orange County, Virginia.
The Hursts settled on the New River in Wythe County, Virginia about 1792. About 1802-04, they moved to Claiborne County, Tennessee, where Susan was born in 1806. "Mill Creek" John died December 18, 1817 in Claiborne County. Elizabeth his widow moved to Putnam County, Indiana about 1820-24. She entered land there on October 27, 1829. She died on October 3, 1840 and is buried in the Deer Creek cemetery.
Joseph Cammack filed a chancery suit against his mother in Washington County Circuit Court. Polly Cammack was ordered August 30, 1835 to appear in court November 1, 1835. Polly Cammack's counsel gave satisfactory evidence that Joseph was no longer a resident of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The court ruled that Joseph was to give security for the costs of the suit, on or before the calling of same, at the next May term of the court and on his failing to do so, the case is to be dismissed. A notation on this document said "Joseph Cammack not found".
Joseph's name was spelled as "McCormac" on the 1832 marriage bond. Joseph himself was illiterate, so the name was spelled the way the clerk thought Joseph pronounced his name. A story told by his great-grandson Charles V. McCammack a century later stated that Joseph had to bribe the local Indians when clearing his land. The Indians wouldn't let Joseph clear the land, sitting on the log he was trying to chop. When Joseph gave them some chickens, they'd get off the log and allow him to work. Then if he wanted to chop another log, he'd have to repeat the process. This was presumably in Putnam County in 1832.
Joseph "Cammack" was granted 40 acres in southwestern Jefferson twp. On August 3, 1836. Located in Jefferson township, this land was sold October 9, 1838 for $125 to Bennett Ouslay. In 1840 Joseph moved his family from Jefferson to Warren township in Putnam County. In October, 1840 the last record of Joseph McCammack is found in the administration of his mother-in-law Elizabeth Hurst's estate. Joseph had loaned Elizabeth money on several occasions and was owed about $50. He was not on the 1841 Putnam County tax list and is said to have deserted his wife.
Susan McCammack seems to have died in 1847. Her brother William Hurst was appointed guardian of her four children on August 9th of that year. He sold the remaining 10 acres of the 80-acre plot in Marion township of Putnam County that Susan's mother Elizabeth Hurst had patented in 1829 on the children's behalf. William Hurst died October 8, 1849 and another guardian had to be appointed. The children were placed in foster homes. Susan is probably buried in the Deer Creek cemetery near her mother, in Putnam County.
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