Letter of Susannah Virginia Anthony to Mary Lou White
Miss Mary Lou White Franklin Tenn.
My Dear, though unknown Cousin April 23, 1900
I am sorry the circumstances have been such that I could not write this letter sooner. I hope it contains something interesting to you – something you do now know. It is quite the fashion now to trace – or try to, genealogy, and I hope this may be of some service to you in your effort. We have received several letters and visits on this subject.
Sue V. Anthony
In early Colonial times, three, some say four, brothers named Anthony emigrated from London to America, landing at New York City. One or two remained in the North, and descendants are scattered over the North and West. The others came to Virginia and their descendants are scattered over the Southern States.
Five years ago, I received a letter from a Mr. Anthony residing in Franklin Grove, Illinois who was getting up his genealogy of the Anthony family. He said there were 12 generations from ____English _____up to present time and _____knowing the names of their ancestors could very easily trace their genealogy back to the first emigrants. He also said the Anthony family was originally from Germany, coming to London some centuries before these brothers came to America – long enough for them to become completely Anglacized.
In religion they are Primitive Baptist and Old School Presbyterians.
In the Confederation all I ever heard of were ____to the south, all going out, making good soldiers, many giving their lives to “our lost cause.”
My grandfather, William Anthony, of Williamson Co., Tennessee was a son of John Anthony, and his father was also named John Anthony and your great grandmother Mary Elizabeth Anthony and all those of his children except Joseph the youngest were born in Albemarle Co., Va., emigrated to Caswell., North Carolina during the Revolutionary War. John Anthony my great grandfather raised a family of ten children, six sons and four daughters, my grandfather next to the youngest child. He was born August 20., 1773.
My grandfather’s brother John was a great Indian fighter and when the Wars with the Indian tribes were over he emigrated to one of the more Southern States, married and raised a family of elegant ladies and gentlemen. James Anthony came to Tenn. In early time, bought a fine tract of land near Murfreesboro, raised a crop of corn, then returned to North C. to bring his family. My grandfather William Anthony was then a lad of 17 years old. Uncle James wished him to come to Tenn. With him to help along the then dangerous journey. They left North Carolina in the fall of the year, the party consisting of my grandfather, Uncle James, his wife and three small children, and a few other emigrants who were not related to them, but traveled together for mutual protection. They got on well until they reached the wilderness, when a roving band of Indians came up with them. The Indians attacked the party and dispersed them, mortally wounding Uncle James. My grandfather was with him and wished to remain by his wounded brother, but Uncle James said, “Fly, William, fly for your own life, put your own saddle and bridle on my horse, mine is faster and stronger than yours, and fly to try and save your own life.” Grandfather was greatly distressed to have to leave his brother alone, but he made soft bed of autumn leaves against a log near and placed him in as comfortable a position as possible, exchanged trappings and rode away, as he was having a shower of arrows fall around him, but fortunately none wounded him or his horse.
Uncle James’ wife and children were taken prisoners; Aunt Pamela, (Uncle James’ wife), had her baby in her arms and could not walk as fast as the savages. One of the Indians took the babe from her, and knocked it’s brains out against a birch tree. Aunt Pamela fainted; when she revived they hurried her on. Her little girl two years could not keep up and her mother carried her in her arms for awhile. The Indian Chief said, “pale face squaw cannot walk fast and carry Papoose,” so they compelled her to put the child down, and go on and leave her. She never saw or heard of that child any more. She always felt sure they killed it after she was out of sight and hearing. The Indian captors were kind to her and her little son Lewis – in their way.
She remained with them several years, but finally succeeded in making her escape and made her way to the river, got on a boat, bathed herself, and put on a suit of the Captain’s clothes, had her hair cut short & put on a hat. Soon the Indians came on the boat to search for her, but her disguise was so good they did not recognize her. She finally made her way to her friends. When the treaty of peace was made, my grandfather went to Kentucky and brought his nephew Lewis Anthony; he was then 14 years old. Lewis remained with grandfather till he was a grown man. He then removed to Mo. Where his descendants now live.
My grandfather did not meet with any more Indians on his way back to the settlement at Nashville. He stayed there till spring; then taking his trusty rifly, made his way to his mother’s in North Carolina. When he reached home he was greatly surprised to see such a great crowd of vehicles and saddled horses on the front lot. He was alarmed and distressed, fearing his mother was dead, but when he came nearer he discovered the minister was preaching his funeral. Grandfather used to tell us grand children and close his story by saying he did not _____ any of them would ever hear their own funeral preached as he had done. And they have not to date and I ___will not.
When he went up to his mother she was over joyed and shouted aloud, thanking God for William’s return to her. There was no more preaching, nothing but greetings and rejoicing.
Elijah Anthony, Joseph Anthony and Mrs. Gooch, their sister, (Was Mary Elizabeth Anthony and died 1872). All settled in Giles Co., Tenn. Ginnie Anthony married a Mr. Corder; they with their two children were of the emigrating party attacked by the Indians, of which I have herein written you.
Mr. Corder was killed when Uncle James was, and his wife was taken prisoner. Their two children, the boy 7 and the girl 5 years old were on a good horse and made their escape with those who returned to North Carolina. Sarah and Nancy Anthony both married (berry0 ? I do not know whether they were brothers or cousins.
Your Grandfather Thomas Gooch and Uncle Jonathan Anthony’s wife were first cousins of Thomas H. Benton. None of the other Anthony families are related to the benstons.
You wanted to know some of the characteristics of the Anthony family. They are truthful, honest, temperate, pleasant, cheerful and honorable. In Virginia, the family is proverbial for making the best wives and husbands. All I have know of in Tennessee are entitled to the same complimentary distinction. Both gentlemen and ladies are handsome, fine looking persons.
I would be pleased to know something about your aunts. Who were Mary and Margaret White? They visited us when I was a little child, but I can remember them and would like to know something of them and their families (If they have any).
In your letter you spoke of the deed given to Elizabeth Anthony Gooch who died 1772 (1872). This was Before my grandfather was born. That Thomas S. Anthony may have been her father. I never remember to have heard of either of these persons before. I presume they were an Uncle and Aunt of my grandfather. My father was named Thomas Simmons Anthony, but he was named for his mother’s father; she was Sarah Simmons but in 1793 my grandparents had not married.
Cousin James was correct in stating that the Anthony family were tall, large, handsome people, my grandfather and father were the fairest, handsomest men I ever saw, the gentlest, loveliest, good as could be, so were my brothers. Another peculiarity with the Anthony family is so many of the men have bible names.
There is nothing more in the way of family history that I can now think of to tell you. If there is anything more you would like to ask me, I will take pleasure in answering to the best of my ability. When you have finished your genealogy I would be very glad to see it, and get a copy of it.
Susannah Virginia Anthony
(Comment: This letter of Susannah Virginia is based on her memories. It is interesting & valuable but does contain at least two errors: John of Caswell Co. N.C., was son of James not John: James’ wife was Elizabeth not Pamela).
(Additional comment: Further research needs to be done to actually rule out any statements or beliefs Re the wife of James Anthony. It seems possible that he may have married twice, thus the possibility of Elizabeth Corder and Pamela both as a wife. [Maude N. Sousley]
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