Harrell Families

of Early

Hertford County, North Carolina

   

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 (The Early Harrells in America)

Chapter 2 (Harrells in Chowan County & the Gates area)

Chapter 3 (Harrells in Bertie & the Hertford County area)

Chapter 4 (Hertford County's 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Generations)

Chapter 5 (John T., Eley, Elijah Two, Elisah, Thomas Two & their descendants)

Chapter 6 (Nathan & Elizabeth's Known Descendants)

Chapter 7 (John [b. c. 1794] & Winnifred Harrell, 3rd Generation)

Chapter 8 (Josiah & Anna Harrell, 3rd Generation)

Chapter 9 (Elizabeth Harrell & Silas Parker, 3rd Generation)

Chapter 10 (Immigrants to the 3rd Generation of Hertford County Harrells)

Chapter 11 (Immigrants to the 4th Generation of Hertford County Harrells)

Introduction

  

For those people who may not yet have spent much time doing family research in Hertford County, it is important to keep in mind that there are at least two special problems we must deal with. They stem from the time as well as the place. The first problem is associated with the time period. The first three generations of Hertford County Harrells roamed the area from before the county was formed in 1759 until well into the 1850s, and in some cases beyond. As you know, there were no censuses in the area before 1790—except for the State censuses of 1784-1787 (these might best be described as tax lists). In addition, U. S. censuses from 1790-1840 only named the head of household and all others in the house were grouped into broad age categories. This makes it hard to determine names of wives and children, as well as the ages for all of them. This brings us to the second information problem—the one associated with the place.

            The second problem is related to the lack of information available in Hertford County for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generations. The unusual lack of information results from the fact that Hertford County records were burned on two separate occasions, first in 1830 and then in 1862—virtually all records from the formation of Hertford County in late 1759 through 1862 were destroyed by the fires (actually due to the circumstances of the War and its aftermath, systematic records were not made in most cases until about 1867). The major losses, from the stand-point of reconstructing family histories, include marriage records, property deeds, and wills. That is why most of what is known about the early Harrells in Hertford County is based on the incomplete snap-shots we get once every ten years from the censuses.

In addition to the censuses, some of the most valuable information we have comes from privately held sources such as family Bibles, letters, diaries, and privately produced and held family histories. Much of these sources, of course, are not available to most of us at this time. As I have indicated previously, a major purpose of this preliminary volume is to draw out privately held information, and to share and compare it in a common and public place—keeping in mind that knowledge is acquired when research is cumulative.  

            Before we get to the information I have included here, I would like to say a few words about the organization of this preliminary edition of The Harrell Families of Early Hertford County. In the “Note to The Reader” at the beginning of this volume, I mentioned my purpose in making this preliminary edition available. Because it is a preliminary edition, I have included and excluded some things that might be omitted or added to the final edition. One of the items not included in this edition is a full index of names. Such an index would be premature at this point. In its place I have included a very detailed Table of Contents. It includes most of the major players in this history, and as many of their descendants as I know at this time—the Table of Contents includes their names, their year of birth, and their generation.

Because the major focus of this volume is on the Harrells of early Hertford County, I have numbered the generations starting with the formation of the county in 1759, rather than attempting to start with the first generation of Harrells to arrive in America. The latter approach is impossible at this time because there is no certain way to determine from which immigrant Harrell (regardless of the spelling) ancestor the current Harrells descend. Ideally, research progresses one step at a time—the first step is the [page 2] generation of Harrells who were living in the area of Bertie county that became Hertford County in 1759. Of course, eventually I want to know where they came from, as well as who they were and what they left behind. That is why in the early chapters, I attempt to sort through the information available on where they came from. Then, as much as possible, I have described who the members of Hertford County’s 1st Generation of Harrells were; and finally what they left behind. A minimum goal here is to increase our knowledge of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Generations of Hertford County Harrells.

            In the first chapter, I have provided a survey of the first Harrells to arrive in Virginia and settle in North Carolina. This survey is, of course, sketchy because most of the Harrells settled in the area of Nansemond County, Virginia—most of the records there were also burned on various occasions. Nonetheless, a secondary purpose of this preliminary edition is to gather more information about the early Harrell settlers in Nansemond County in order to, some day, connect them to the 1st Generation of Hertford County Harrells.

            Any connections that might be made between the early Harrell settlers in Nansemond County and the Hertford County area, between say the 1660s and the 1760s, had to flow through the Harrells who settled in the early Chowan and Bertie Precincts/Counties of northeastern North Carolina. In Chapter 2, I have included what I know, and think I know, about the early Harrells in Chowan County and the Gates area. Then in Chapter 3, I discuss the Harrells who settled in early Bertie County and the Hertford County area. In these two chapters, I have sought the possible and probable roots for the first Hertford County Harrells—perhaps someday, if research is truly cumulative, we will connect back as far as the immigrant ancestors.

            In Chapter 4, I have made an attempt to describe and connect the first three generations of Harrells in Hertford County—from those who were there when the county was formed in 1759 through the early 1800s when the 3rd Generation of Hertford County Harrells was in place. A good deal of the energy expended in this chapter results from trying to identify the possible, as well as the most probable, relationships among the Harrell households in and across the three generations. Chapter 4 is the core of this preliminary edition. If someday, some of the possible and probable relationships within and across the three generations described in Chapter 4 can be known, then the goal of this preliminary edition will be fulfilled.

            I have described, in chapter 5, the probable sons of 2nd Generation Willis and Jesse Harrell. Their probable sons were John T., Eley, Elijah Two, Elisah, and Thomas Two—all, of course, part of the 3rd Generation in Hertford County. When possible, I have also included information on their 4th and 5th Generation descendants. In this and other chapters, my reason for including many of the Harrells from generations after the first three is to make it a little easier for readers to connect their families to one of the Harrell lines, and hopefully recognize that they know something that will help complete this story.

            In Chapter 6, I have included the only 3rd Generation Harrells whom I have been able to connect with their parents. That sets these 3rd Generation Harrells apart from those discussed in other chapters. They were Nancy Harrell Smith Yancey, Sally Harrell Bond, Celia Harrell Morgan, and the first Starkey Sharp Harrell—these are the only children of Nathan and Elizabeth Sharp Harrell for whom we have names.

[page 3]

            A discussion of John and Winnefred Harrell, of the 3rd Generation,  is the starting point of the seventh chapter. This John Harrell was born around 1794, and he is special among the 3rd Generation because we have a pretty good idea of who his grandfather was—there is evidence he descended directly from 1st Generation, John Harrell Esquire. Unfortunately, we are much less sure of exactly who his father was. There is a good probability he also was a son of Nathan and Elizabeth Harrell, but the uncertainty of that connection is why John and Winnefred have a separate chapter and are not part of the previous one. John and Winnefred are also special because they left so many descendants in Hertford County.

            Chapters 8 and 9 begin with a brother and sister of the 3rd Generation—Josiah Harrell and Elizabeth Harrell Parker. The relationship between them, and the fact that we know much about their conditions, as well as their descendants, makes it useful to have separate chapters for them. There are numerous descendants from these two Harrells—many of whom are listed in this volume, and they run from the 4th through the 8th Generations. If information comes forth that permits us to connect either Josiah or Elizabeth to a set of parents, then, of course, the other will be connected also.

            There are several important Harrell families that joined the 3rd Generation of Hertford County from adjacent counties. Four such Harrells get special attention in Chapter 10 because they have known roots in neighboring Gates County, and because they played a very important role in populating Hertford County with Harrells. The first was David Harrell. He was followed by Abner, Mary, and then James Harrell—these three were siblings.

            The last chapter in this volume includes discussions of Hertford County Harrells who were of the 4th Generation; some of whom were born in the county, while others immigrated to it. Some of the 4th Generation Harrell families included in Chapter 11 were born in the county and should connect to a 3rd Generation family once more information is found. Other families in this chapter include Harrells who settled in the county later than many, but who nonetheless made a contribution to the Harrells of Hertford County. It is also possible that if descendants of these families know something of their ancestors, they may well know something of the earlier generations of Hertford County Harrells. For this reason it is important to identify them in this volume.

            There are a couple of additional points I should mention here. First of all, I have tried to fully document my sources, with one obvious exception—my use of the U. S. censuses. I have provided the names of the people, county, and state; as well as the census year. This information allows the reader to trace any census entry used in this volume to its source. The availability of census information today makes it unnecessary to indicate which library a particular census reel was in when used.

            Also, I should mention, when using the names of places and people, I have not encumbered myself with the often desirable convention of consistency in spelling. Rather, I have used the spelling of names contained in the document under discussion at the moment. This means often a person’s name will vary in spelling from one paragraph to the next. That helps retain some of the “flavor” one gets when looking at the documents—and incidentally drives my spell-check program nuts.  

A Special note for the readers of this internet presentation: in the Table of Contents, I have highlighted in bold letters the family names of people who married into the Harrell lines when known; from the Introduction through Chapter 11, I have inserted page numbers in [brackets] which correspond to the numbers in the printed version of this history and thus to my references in the text to Tables and sub-chapters in various locations; and finally, in this internet version, the numbered notes in the text also appear in [brackets].

To move about in this site, click on one of the following sections:

HarrellFamilies (Home Page)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 (The Early Harrells in America)

Chapter 2 (Harrells in Chowan County & the Gates area)

Chapter 3 (Harrells in Bertie & the Hertford County area)

Chapter 4 (Hertford County's 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Generations)

Chapter 5 (John T., Eley, Elijah Two, Elisah, Thomas Two & their descendants)

Chapter 6 (Nathan & Elizabeth's Known Descendants)

Chapter 7 (John [b. c. 1794] & Winnifred Harrell, 3rd Generation)

Chapter 8 (Josiah & Anna Harrell, 3rd Generation)

Chapter 9 (Elizabeth Harrell & Silas Parker, 3rd Generation)

Chapter 10 (Immigrants to the 3rd Generation of Hertford County Harrells)

Chapter 11 (Immigrants to the 4th Generation of Hertford County Harrells)