Sunday, August 19, 2012

South Carolina Roots: G4 Lewis Chamblee & Sara Mary Polly Burriss (Bouroughs)

Researching my 3rd Great-Grandmother, Rina Chamblee, I found that she married at 12 years old. Why would her parents allow her to do that? Hopefully, delving deeper into their lives will help me come up with an answer.

Lewis Benjamin Chamblee was born in 1776 in Anderson, South Carolina. How interesting to find a family connection there as I lived near there from 2008-2009 while teaching at Clemson. Lewis was born to Irish-born Isaac Chamblee and Lucretia Jones, which makes him a first generation American.

In 1803, at the age of 27, he marries his niece, Sara Mary "Polly" Burriss in Charleston, SC. She was 25, and the daughter of his much older sister Sara Mary Chamblee and Joshua Burriss or Boroughs. Immediately, they began having children and did not stop for 30 years. They had at least 12 children in total. My g3 grandmother was the youngest. Perhaps the reason they married her so young was that they were ready to retire from child-rearing.

In 1834, Lewis buys 40 acres of land in Pickens County, Alabama.



However, in 1840, they are still living in Anderson, SC, Lewis's hometown. Lewis was a farmer and he owned 3 slaves. Two years later, Sara Burriss was dead at age 64. Rina would have been 10 years old when her mother died.

This is, I'm sure, why her father married her to Pleasant Moorehead at age 12.

But first, Lewis would move his family to his 40 acres in Pickens County, Alabama. There, they engaged in farming in what is called the Black Belt, a region of fertile black topsoil. In 1850, at the age of 74, Lewis was still farming and his estate was worth $7800. Quite successful!

However, after that census, he would not live long to enjoy his wealth and success. Lewis died at age 79 in 1855. The date is not known and his gravesite has not been found. What is known is that he died before his way of life was changed forever by The Civil War. He died not knowing failure and hardship, unlike the fate of his children.

Lewis and Sara Mary Polly's legacy is a long one and impressive in scope.


Their first child, James Burriss Chamblee was born on January 7, 1803. He married Nancy Agnes Watson and they had 8 children, mostly boys. He fought in the Civil War. He was a farmer and owned slaves. After the war, a black farm laborer, a domestic servant and her 1 year-old baby lived with them. He died in 1880.

John David was born the next year on June 23rd. He married Sarah Fergusen. At some point before 1850, they moved to Leake County, Mississippi. This is quite possibly why his sister Rina moved to Leake County with her husband Pleasant Fortune Moorehead at that same time. He and Sarah had 9 children.

Then came Jane in 1807. She married an A. Gilmore, according to another researcher, but that has not been confirmed. It is not known when she died or if she children.

Next came Malinda in 1808. She married a Strickland and had at least 3 daughters, Malinda, Nancy, and Lina. I believe Malinda and her husband must have died before 1850 because in 1850 the three girls, 16, 11, and 8, and living with their grandfather Lewis.

Sarah was born in 1816. She married Reddin Eatman and they had 10 children. They lived in Greene County, Alabama all their lives. She died in 1878.
There might have been a daughter Martha next, but no records can be found.

Elizabeth "Betsy" was born in 1820. She married Matthew Snipes and together they had 14 children. Unlike many of her brothers and sisters, she did not move to Alabama. Rather she stayed in Anderson, South Carolina her whole life. She had her first child at age 13, so marrying early takes precedent in this family.

Rachel was born in 1822. No information has been found, so she may have died young.

Sallie was born in 1824. When she was 20, she married James C. Langdon. They moved to Leake County, Mississippi and had 10 children over the span of 20 years. She died in 1880 at the age of 56.

Next born was Isham or Isam, or he and Sallie may have been twins. Isham married Isabella Elizabeth Cochran at age 22. They had 8 children together and lived most of their lives in Alabama and then they moved to Freestone, Texas in 1870. They lived there until he died at the advanced age of 96 in 1920. Isham was a soldier in the Confederate Army and a stone mason.
Jacob was born in 1825. He married Charity Cockrell and they had 10 children. They lived in Alabama all their lives. I have not found anything which states he fought in the war, which is unusual. If one brother did the others usually did.

Lastly, my g3 grandmother Rina Theresa was born in 1832. She married Pleasant Moorehead when she was 12 years old. They had 8 children and lived most of their lives in Mississippi. Much more about her can be found in a separate post.









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