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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Tennessee: Franklin County

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Headstone for Esther KELLY O'Rear in Abandoned Cemetery Dist 9, Franklin Co., TN
Posted by: Toni Linn (ID *****4450) Date: November 04, 2010 at 17:11:08
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I am hoping that someone who lives in Franklin County, Tennessee will be willing to find this abandoned cemetery and take a picture of Esther KELLY O'Rear's headstone. Hopefully, it is still there and not buried.

I learned where Esther was buried from a GenForum posting (GenForum users are so great!). These messages give the location of the abandoned cemetery. I did try contacting these individuals, but their email addresses are no longer working.

Someone posted a notice about having found an old headstone for Ester Orear (Esther KELLY O'Rear). Under a message heading for "Mary O'Rear b.1868 Tennessee":

"In an unlisted cemetery in northern Franklin Co., TN, (Alto) there are several stone markers but only one with a legible name. It reads: To the sacred memory of Ester Orear daughter of Mary W..... & wife of ....... Orear b. 1770, Jun 16, d. 1883 (1833?)" **we have died in 1823

Someone else saw the above message and responded with:

"I was googling the name on a tombstone that is located in a small cemetery located in the back of our property & found this posting. Esther is the only tombstone in the cemetery that has inscription. All the others are stones only. Please feel free to email me if you are interested in more info. I have been very interested in who Mrs Orear was & her family. Looking forward to hearing from you." Bobby Henley

Another person responded with this message:

"Jim: To the best of my knowledge, I am not related to the Orears. I used to chop and pick cotton in a field adjacent to the old cemetery that I mentioned. It is in the old 9th Civil District, and it is not in the Franklin County Cemeteries book. Not even the "old folks" knew who had been buried there. When I asked my uncle about it, he said that the families of those buried there moved "back over the mountain" - I assume to Crow Creek (Sherwood), where some Orears lived in the late 1880's. At that time, there were also some Orears living in the 8th Civil District, about 5-8 miles away. I understand that some moved to Texas.
About 10 years ago, I went back to the cemetery and found only the one legible tombstone (Ester Orear).
The cemetery is located near the Elk River, which is the boundary between Franklin and Coffee Counties. It is on land that was given by the government to John Rutledge, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Is it possible that the Orears came from South Carolina with with Rutledge family?"

Esther KELLY O'Rear was born on January 5, 1779 in North Carolina and died in 1823 - probably in Franklin County, Tennessee.

She married William Sterling O'Rear about 1798 (one researcher indicated they married in Talladega Co., Alabama). William was born in 1777 in Fauquier County, Virginia (son of John O'Rear and Sarah STARKY).

William S. O'Rear served in the War of 1812 as a major in Russell's Separate Battalion, Mounted Gunman of the Tennessee Volunteers (per the site

In 1820, William and Esther and their children were living in Franklin Co., Tennessee (1820 federal census). After Esther's death in 1823, on Mar 8, 1824 William married Nancy Durham (unk if this is her married name or maiden, but probably married).

Esther KELLY and William Sterling O'Rear had the following children:

Sarah 'Sally' (1804- )
Mary 'Polly' (1806-1872)
Benjamin Starky O'Rear (1807-1856)
Matilda (1812-1861) and
Margaret 'Peggy' O'Rear (1814-1893) **

**Margaret was my great-great-great grandmother. She married Isham B. Newman

Esther and William's children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were listed in a court case involving land that William left to his and Esther's children. The land was put into the hands of a trustee to act on behalf of the adult children. The trustee sold the land and Margaret O'REAR Newman and her husband used her share of the money to purchase other land which they later sold.

Somewhere along the way deeds were not filed by the trustee which created a mess that was finally addressed in a Franklin County court on 9 April 1908 and 6 Jun 1908. Margaret O'REAR Newman's granddaughter (Sallie Larie JAMES Corder Reeves) testified in court regarding this issue and about those still living who were affected by the case. Sallie was the daughter of Margaret's daughter, Sarah NEWMAN James.

Sallie named names including her grandmother, Margaret, and Margaret's parents which is how my sister and I were able to find our O'Rear family line.

This court document in found in
Box: Court Records 1900-1915, Morris
Folder: Morris, Bob et al vs Dave Cobble et al 1907


#1229, 1908
Bob Morris, et al ~vs~ Dave Cobble, et al
depositions of Mrs. A.W. Reeves [Sallie Larie JAMES Corder Reeves]
J.W. Roney for the complainants ... filed Jun 12 1908

Unfortunately, we do not have any further information on Esther KELLY O'Rear. There is a lot of information regarding the O'Rear family online, including the site referenced above.

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