James Carrell (ca. 1765-1834; md. Rhoda Stephenson) of Johnston County, NC was not born in Ireland. All circumstantial documentary evidence suggests that his father was probably James Carrell (d. 1777) of Cumberland (Harnett) County, NC. The elder James Carrell was living in western Johnston County, NC in the vicinity of Swift Creek as early as 1755, and was associated with John Carrell. In 1767, James Carrell became the guardian of Lucy Carrell, an orphan of John Carrell (d. ca. 1762) of Johnston County, NC. John Carrell was residing on Swift Creek in what is present day Clayton/Cleveland Townships as early as 1752. His wife was named Standley ____. He appears to have died intestate in 1762. In October, 1763, Elizabeth Johnson, widow of Sill Johnson (d. 1763), became guardian of the children of John Carrell on the very same day that she probated her husband's will. It is believed that Elizabeth Johnson's was originally a Carrell herself, perhaps a sister or elder daughter of John Carrell (d. 1762). Elizabeth Johnson was deceased by 1765. James Carrell became Lucy Carrell's guardian in 1767. It is believed that he became her guardian because he had married her (i.e. Carrell married Carrell), but she was still underage. It is possible that James and Lucy may have been cousins or related in some way.
James Carrell left Johnston County and was living in what is today eastern Harnett County (Cumberland County at that time) by 1772. It appears that James Carrell had at least three sons:
1. James Carrell (ca. 1765-1834; md. 1792 Rhoda Stephenson, daughter of Solomon Stephenson, Jr. and wife Anna "Nancy" Johnson of Johnsotn County, NC) of Johnston County, NC.
2. Dennis Carrell (ca. 1766-after 1834; md. 1795 Elizabeth Johnson, daughter of John Johnson and 2nd wife Elizabeth) of Johnston County, NC and Shelby County, AL.
3. William Carrell (ca. 1765-1770, d. after 1832; 1md. 1790 Sarah Stephenson (sister of Rhoda, James' wife); 2md. 1797 Piety Fluellin) of Johnston County, NC.
The elder James Carrell died intestate in 1777, and Abraham Perry became his administrator in 1778. Abraham Perry married James' widow (believed to be Lucy). After the conclusion of the Revolutionary War and before 1790, Abraham Perry and his stepsons James, Dennis, and William moved into present day Pleasant Grove Township of western Johnston County, NC. Before 1810, Dennis Carrell and his step-father Abraham Perry had left Johnston County, NC. By 1812, they were residing in Buncombe County, NC where Dennis Carrell sold his step-father Abraham Perry some land. Perry is called step-father in the deed. Dennis Carrell subsequently migrated to TN and later to Shelby County, AL. He applied for a federal pension for his Revolutionary War Service in Shelby County, AL in 1834.
James Carrell (ca. 1765-1834) and his brother William remained in Johnston County, NC. They both held land on Camp Branch, which is located on the North side of Black Creek in Pleasant Grove Township of western Johnston County, NC. It is west of Highway 50 near McGee's Crossroads. James Carrell applied for a Revolutionary War Pension in 1832. His brother William is mentioned in the pension application. James Carrell died May 16, 1834. Some of James Carrell's sons had migrated back and forth between NC and AL as early as 1828. In late 1836, Rhoda (Stephenson) Carrell and several of her children migrated from Johnston County, NC to Dale County, AL. Lazarus Matthews's family and a number of other inter-related Johnston County families also migrated there during this time period. Rhoda (Stephenson) Carrell applied for a Revolutionary War Bounty Land Warrant based on her husband's service in 1855. She died in Dale County, AL on September 11, 1861.
The burial tradition in eastern North Carolina was quite different from that of piedmont and western North Carolina, due to the differing ethnic backgrounds of early settlers in those regions. In general, there are very few marked, identifiable graves prior to the Civil War era in rural eastern North Carolina. Those which do exist are rare, and usually tend to be only in larger towns and cities. Church and community cemeteries in rural areas did not become common until the late 19th century. Most rural families buried their family members on their own land, usually marked with merely a fieldstone or wooden board. Only wealthier and more affluent families afforded inscribed gravestones. Most small family cemeteries in rural counties like Johnston often succumbed to agriculture and neglect. Therefore, it is very difficult to find the burial places of most earlier ancestors in Johnston County. Even when a cemetery is known, it is often impossible to positively identify a specific grave if it is unmarked. The grave location of James Carrell is completely unknown, other than it would be located on his former lands in the vicinity of Camp Branch, not far from McGree's Crossroads in Pleasant Grove Township, Johnston County, NC.
Descendant of James and Rhoda (Stephenson) Carrell through their eldest daughter, Margaret "Peggy" (Carrell) Langdon.
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