Dennis Carrell was born about 1766 in the Swift Creek area of western Johnston County, NC. All of the circumstantial evidence suggests that Dennis Carrell was a brother to James Carrell (b. about 1765 Johnston County, NC, d. May 16, 1834 Johnston County, NC; md. February 1, 1792 Johnston County, NC, Rhoda Stephenson, b. about 1778 Johnston County, NC, d. September 11, 1861 Dale County, AL, daughter of Solomon Stephenson, Jr. and Anna Johnson); and to William Carrell (b. ca. 1765/70 Johnston County, NC, d. after August 29, 1832 Johnston County, NC; 1md. February 8, 1790 Johnston County, NC, Sarah Stephenson, daughter of Solomon Stephenson, Jr. and Anna Johnson; 2md. March 18, 1797 Johnston County, NC, Piety Fluellin, d. August 9, 1832) of Johnston County, NC.
These three brothers (James, Dennis, and William) appear to be the children of James Carrell of Johnston County, NC and later Cumberland (present day Harnett) County, NC. James Carrell appears as early as 1755, when he acquired land in Johnston County from John Carrell. John Carrell first appeared in Johnston County, NC in 1752. On On May 1, 1752, John Carrell obtained a land grant from John Carteret, Earl Granville, consisting of 640 acres of land in Johnston County on both sides of Swift Creek near the mouth of White Oak Swamp. John Carrell apparently died intestate in Johnston County, NC in 1762. On October 19, 1763, Elizabeth Johnson entered Johnston County Court, and submitted the will of her deceased husband Sill Johnson for probate. That very same day, she assumed the guardianship of the orphans of John Carrell, namely, William, Susanna, Lucy, John, and Benjamin Carrell. It is believed that Elizabeth Johnson was a Carrell, and was likely the younger sister or elder daughter of John Carrell. On January 22, 1767, James Carrell became the guardian for Lucy Carrell, John’s orphan daughter. It is believed that James Carrell was already married to his ward Lucy Carrell at that time. They were probably cousins or related in some fashion. Lucy was probably very young (about 12-16 years of age) at the time of her marriage, which was not uncommon in the 18th century.
John Carrell’s widow was Standley Carrell. On August 26, 1772, a grand jury of the Johnston County Court reported that Standley Carrell, "a widow woman," had a base-born (i.e. illegitimate) child, and directed the Sheriff to bring them both to the next court. The base-born child, Absalom Carrell, who was "ten years old last May (i.e. born May, 1762)," was bound as an apprentice to David Lee on November 26, 1772. It is probable that Absalom Carrell was actually a posthumous child of John Carrell, which is why he was termed base-born. Johnston County Court minutes indicate that Absalom Carrell's apprenticeship as a cooper was reassigned twice by the court. On September 2, 1778, he was bound to Levin Cole; then on February 28, 1780, Absalom Carrell was placed under the care of his older brother John Carrell (1754-1816).
Prior to 1772, James Carrell had removed to Cumberland (present day Harnett) County, NC. On December 19, 1772, John Morris of Cumberland County, NC executed a bill of sale to James Carrell for various items of personal property which he had conveyed to Carrell. The bill of sale was witnessed by Lucy Carrell, and proven in Cumberland County court in January, 1773 [Cumberland County, NC Deed Book 6, pp. 63-64]. James Carrell was deceased by November 14, 1777, when Abraham Perry compiled an inventory of his estate. The following July 30, 1778, Abraham Perry posted an administration bond in Cumberland County on James Carrell’s estate [Cumberland County, NC Original Estate Papers, NC State Archives, Raleigh, NC; also, Cumberland County, NC Court Minutes, 1755-1779, pp. 302, 308]. James Carrell’s estate records make no mention of a widow nor children. However, it is believed that Perry married the widow of James Carrell (probably Lucy Carrell) and became the step-father of James Carrell’s children.
By 1790, Abraham Perry and his Carrell stepsons were residing in Johnston County, NC. Perry’s household was enumerated with 2 males 16+, 3 males 16-, and 3 females. Dennis Carrell served a witness to the will of Solomon Stephenson, Sr. dated November 4, 1788 (Proven August 25, 1794). Solomon Stephenson, Sr. was the grandfather of Rhoda and Sarah Stephenson, who had married Dennis’ brothers James and William Carrell respectively. Dennis Carrell married Elizabeth Johnson on May 23, 1795 in Johnston County, NC, with his uncle John Carrell (1754-1816) as his bondsman. Elizabeth Johnson was the daughter of John Johnson (b. about 1700-1710 Isle of Wight County, VA; Johnston County, NC will devised February 26, 1779, Probated November 28, 1780) and his second wife, Elizabeth ___ Johnson (Johnston County Will devised April 25, 1790, Probated November 29, 1780). On March 18, 1797, Abraham Perry served as bondsman for stepson William Carrell when he married his second wife Piety Fluellin. Abraham Perry and Dennis Carrell were residing in Buncombe County, NC by March 18, 1812. On that date, Dennis Carrell conveyed land to his stepfather Abraham Perry and his mother (not named in the deed) [Proven July Term, 1815; Buncombe County, NC Deed Book H, p. 73].
Dennis Carrell of Shelby County, AL applied for a Revolutionary War pension (File Number R1724) in October, 1834 [http://southerncampaign.org/pen/r1724.pdf]. He indicated that he had been born in Wake County, NC in 1766 [Note: Wake was not formed until 1771, and he would have actually been born in Johnston County in 1766]. Dennis Carrell stated that he had resided in Cumberland (present day Harnett) County prior to his service in the Revolutionary War. Dennis Carrell further stated in his affidavit that following the war, he had resided in Johnston County, NC. He had subsequently moved to Buncombe County, NC, Claiborne County, TN, and finally Shelby County, AL, where he had resided for 17 years [i.e. since 1817]. In addition, he stated that he had brothers who had served in the war (a possible reference to his brother James Carrell). It should be noted that James Carrell also stated in his Revolutionary War Pension Application (File Number W6899) that he had resided in Cumberland (Harnett) County prior to the war.
The ancestry of John Carrell (d. ca. 1762) of Johnston County, NC and James Carrell (d. 1777) of Cumberland (Harnett) County, NC has not been firmly established. In the infancy of my research many years ago, I suggested in some compiled material that John Carrell of Johnston County, NC might have been the son of John Carrell [Isle of Wight County, VA will devised May 14, 1710, Proven August 23, 1714] and his wife Elizabeth Vasser, since so many early Johnston County families originated from Isle of Wight County, VA. Some of this information is on file at the Johnston County Heritage Center in Smithfield, NC. Unfortunately, many researchers have canonized that purely theoretical connection into established fact, which it is not. DNA testing may possibly one day prove or disprove a connection to the Carrell family of Isle of Wight County, VA. The precise genealogical relationship between John Carrell and James Carrell is uncertain, although they were probably related in some fashion.
In summary, it does appear very likely based on the circumstantial evidence that James Carrell married John Carrell’s daughter Lucy, and that she subsequently remarried to Abraham Perry. James Carrell and Lucy Carrell were the likely parents of Dennis Carrell (ca. 1766-aft. 1834) of Shelby County, AL, as well as James Carrell (ca. 1765-1834) and William Carrell (ca. 1765/70-aft. 1832) of Johnston County, NC.
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