For Robert Abernethy, in early Lincoln County, there are mentions in "Annals of Lincoln County North Carolina" by W.L. Sherrill, 1937 [UGA library; F262.L6S553], which I have transcribed for you below. There is a very lengthy tribute to Dr. Robert L. Abernethy, "the great educator", on the occasion of his death, also. There are many entries for this surname in this volume, but these seem to pertain to your question. ;-)
"1783. Robert Abernethy was married to Sarah Nicols on June 23, 1783. He was a member from Tryon County to the Halifax Convention of 1776 and grandfather of Rev. Dr. Robert L. Abernethy, the great educator who founded Rutherford College." [p. 54]
"Peter Forney was married to Nancy Abernethy February 27, 1783." [p. 54]
"Robert Laban Abernethy, the great educator, was born in Lincoln County, April 3, 1822." [p. 86]
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