Previous Next  

A History of the Myers Overstreet and Gray Families — Part II

The family legend and the Memoirs of Thomas Rawlings Myers say: Pieter Myers and family came to Pennsylvania in July or August of 1862. They were in New Castle as a part of a group waiting when William Penn arrived.

It was a long way from Amsterdam to the Delaware River back in 1682. The voyage could be made in as little as six weeks but if headwinds and storms were adverse, the voyage could take up to three months. There is a very good description of such a trip written by Francis David Patorius in “Positive News from Pennsylvania”, Philadelphia 1684:

“The passage was an ordeal, as voyages in small ships under sail invariably were. Men and women crowded together in small and stuffy holds swealtered in the heat of the tropics at night and had but slight chance of air and exercise by day. Rations were small, the ordinary fare being peas and salt meat for four days of the week, while on the other three a piece of raw fish was given each passenger to cook for himself with the quarter pound of butter he was allotted weekly. Drink was more generous, four post of beer and two jugs of water daily.”

Harry Emerson Wildes in his biography of William Penn lists what one passenger on the Welcome carried of his use on the voyage to Pennsylvania. He carried “live food such as thirty-two chickens, seven turkeys, eleven ducks, and two hens. He also carried six dried codfish, and a box of eggs. He brought a box of spices, another of dried herbs, and a ‘pot’ of tamarind. In the absence of fresh vegetables, something had to be done to prevent scurvy, so he shipped a barrel of Chinese oranges, five of those pear-shaped grapefruit just recently imported from Polynesia by Captain Shaddock, and six bottles of citrus water. For desert or between meals, he had eighteen cocanuts and a large keg of candied fruit and nuts. And since drinking water would certainly go bad, especially if the ship was blown into the tropics, he provided himself with a keg of rum, a larger keg of wine, four bottles of madeira, five dozen of ale, nine pints of brandy, and six balls of chocolate.” In the discussions of what Penn himself carried on the Welcome, there is mention of three thoroughbred mares and a fine white riding horse. Since these animals had to be carried on deck, that would limit space for the passengers to use in their daily exercise. One of the perils of any such trip was smallpox or other highly contagious diseases in such an environment. There was an outbreak of smallpox on the ship carrying William Penn. This outbreak killed about one third of the passengers. According to the Memoirs of Thomas Rawlings Myers, Pieter Myers and family (a Swedish wife) arrived in New Castle in July or August of 1682. New Castle was a very very small settlement just above the head of the bay on a sharp bend in the Delaware River. To most of the arriving Europeans it must have seemed a strange looking town but to the Myers family it looked like home. It had dikes and windmills and really was authentic Dutch. It had been a settlement of the combination of Dutch and Swedes, but at this time it was largely settled by a group of English from Jersey. It was the largest and best port on the Delaware and William Penn realized its importance and knew that the papers from the Crown that he carried certified his ownership. Penn also knew that he would have a fight with Lord Baltimore on his hands about the ownership of the port. Penn sent Lord Baltimore his regards and suggested a meeting. Since Baltimore did not know that Penn had deeds signed by the Duke of York giving Penn possession of the west bank of the Delaware, his reply to Penn was polite. He considered the meeting a social one. After a short visit to the Duke of York’s governor in New York, Penn ad a short visit to New Jersey. Penn had helped found New Jersey and still owned some property there. On his way back to New Castle, Penn inspected the site that Markham had selected for building Penn’s country estate. It consisted of twenty-five hundred acres. Penn also inspected the site that had been chosen for the city of Philadelphia.

Penn had wanted the city located as far up the Delaware as it was possible for a ship the size of the Welcome to sail. This site was at the confluence of the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers. Penn described the site as being very pleasing for it was high, not too heavily wooded, and accessible to the sea; the channel being deep enough for ships of the day to tie up to piers.

The response to the prospectus of William Penn was remarkable; it was greater than the migration to any of the other colonies. The migration came in three streams: First the Quakers (there we a few Dutch and Germans who came at the same time); second came the Germans from the Palatinate and finally there was the group of rather aggressive Presbyterians, who came from the border of the Scottish Lowlands and the North of England. The group had lived in Ulster for a generation or son. They become erroneously know as Scotch-Irish, (they should have been called Scots and Irish).

These migrations of people can be roughly dated as follows: The Quakers and a few Dutch, Germans and Swedes came in 1682: the Germans from the Palatinate came around 1710: and the Scots and the Irish around 1722. The degree of primitiveness of living fanned out with Philadelphia as a center. Philadelphia developed rather quickly into an urban area with all of the advantages of urban living at hand, although there were disadvantages. The Pennsylvania-German (or  as they became known Pennsylvania-Dutch) were the large farming group neat the Susquehanna River. This left the forest of the Allegheny Mountains to the Scots – Irish group. Hence the latter group would have been the most primitive as it was the furthest removed from Philadelphia.

The first winter was spent at Chester (formerly Upland) by Penn and his followers. They lived in bark house, cave house and any other type of temporary shelter that they could quickly construct. The arrivals to Philadelphia came swiftly. By summer of the following year Penn reported that 50 sailing ships had arrived, that 80 houses had been built in Philadelphia, and that about 300 farms had been laid out round the seaport town. Compared to what the other colonists had experienced, the founding of Philadelphia was a summer picnic. The climate was friendly; the Indians were kind and helpful, there was an abundance of fish and game, and relatively little sickness.

When Penn returned to New Castle from his trip visiting the Governor of New York etc., he found that he had a mild revolt on his hands when he tried to open his first assembly. Only about 50% of the elected members were on hand. They had been told by Nicholas More, who was head of the Free Society of Traders, that they were only to approve of laws already agreed upon some six months before in England. This lead to two problems: the delegates did not want to rubberstamp laws without discussing them and about 99% had not seen a copy of the laws anyway. It is also possible that the delegates did not understand what they were supposed to do. Regardless, both the Quakers and the members dominated by the Free Society of Traders were not at all happy with the idea of having traveled to New Castle merely to approve something they couldn’t debate, and to arrange for a full meeting of the Assembly the following March. Penn took a flyer and said that since this Group was merely a group to help set up the full Assembly, the rules of no debate should not apply. Giving them permission to debate was like giving a child a highly complicated machine. They didn’t want to debate anyway, they just wanted the right to do so. The delegates first went through a complicated discussion about the wording and interpretation of certain theological things such as : “Was Penn correct in asserting that Almighty God was the only Lord of Conscience, Father of Lights and Spirits and the author as well as the object of all divine knowledge, faith and worship?”

Once these weighty matters were settled, they moved on to the forty “Laws Agreed Upon in England” and to the twenty-nine additional sections added thereto. Their debate must have been rather elementary as they debated all of it for only four days. This so called ‘Great Law’ is very extraordinary for its time. It sets forth a set of rules and principles that were far ahead of any of the other colonies. The Great Law required each resident to swear (not by formal oath) his allegiance to both the King and to his representative, William Penn. It stated that all residents of the colony of Pennsylvania and of the Lower Countries were herby admitted to citizenship. The right to vote was extended to all freeholders of 100 acres, to all indentured servants who had served their time, and to all urban taxpayers. (With the above we assume it gives the same people right to hold office.) All of England’s basic civil liberties were guaranteed to everyone in the colony. The right of free speech, however, was not to extend to those who “speak slightingly or carry themselves abusively against any magistrate in person or in office under penalty of 20 shillings fine or ten days’ hard labor.” The assurance that the legislature would always hold the control of the executive was guaranteed by forbidding any tax to be levied for more than one year at a time.

This Great Law gave the colony the most benevolent code of any colony in the new world. For instance, England had a list of two hundred capital offenses; the Duke of York’s laws had listed eleven, the Great Law listed only first degree murder (treason was later added). The Great Law also transferred all suits involving domestic relations and disagreements from ecclesiastical courts to regular courts. It also abolished the much hated law of primogeniture which was a feudal system hangover. It recommended the establishment of trade schools to train prisoners to lead useful lives after they had served their terms. It also established schools of the same type for children over twelve. Court proceedings were to be conducted in plain English and the right to trial by impartial jurors was guaranteed. County courts were to manage roads and bridges; provide charity to widows, needy elders and the poor; levy taxes; and to have some control over prices to prevent the too rapid rise of cost. The above provisions were not perfect but they were certainly a step in the right direction and served as a guide to future legislative bodies.

Penn was determined to have a colony in which no person would suffer discrimination or persecution because of race, background or religion. He was a member of a minority group that had been sorely persecuted in England and as a result was willing to bend over backwards to see that it did not happen in his colony. All Pennsylvanians must be equally protected by laws passed by their peers that had been elected to a legislature by a democratic vote. He was determined that a black person who was equal to a white person in all counts except color would receive the same treatment as the white. The same was true that a Frenchman or German should be equal to the English. One of his best cases in point was his treatment of the Indians. It was his personal opinion that if Indians were treated fairly then he could expect the same treatment in return from them. All the various colonies had taken advantage of the Indians—terming them as rude, barbarous, and probably subhuman. Penn found that an Indian was never rude to another Indian as Europeans are rude to each other. Penn was will to believe that his fellow country men were decadent and that they had been led astray by the institutions of their day. He felt that his peers had strayed from the simplicity of the teachings of ancient days. But he was not willing to think that the Indians had as yet been spoiled by civilization. The Indians did not cheat each other, nor did they seek public office in order to gain worldly goods. They did not make contracts which were broken if it was to their advantage. Penn insisted that in any dealings with the Indians that there must be a translator at hand so that many of the errors of past dealings could be avoided. He insisted also that the understanding of a few phrases did not constitute an understanding of a language. Too often the Indians were too polite to admit that they did not understand the white man.

There is a speech quoted by John Oldmixon, English historian, which may or may not have been made by Penn, but he certainly would have approved of every word:

“The Great Spirit who made me and you, and who rules the heavens and the earth and knows the inmost thoughts of man, knows that I and my friends have a hearty desire to live in peace and friendship with you. It is not our custom to use weapons… We are met on the broad pathway of good faith and good will… all is to be openness, brotherhood and love… I will not do as the Marylanders did, that is, call you children and brothers only, for parents are apt to whip their children too severly, and brothers sometimes will differ. Neither will I compare the friendship between us to a chain, for rain may rust it, or a tree may fall and break it, but I will consider you as the same fresh and blood with the Christians and the same as if the one body were divided into two parts.”

It is not important if Penn made the speech or not—what is important is that he concluded a solemn treaty with the Indians and Quakers saying basically that they would remain forever friendly. One of the former citizens of Holland wrote to relatives in the Netherlands saying:

“We (the Quakers and Indians) live together with them very quiet and peaceful. We travel day and night through the forest without the slightest fear… the so-called Indians or savages are kindhearted, honest folk, who,… shame the false-mouthed Christians”.

If criticism of the relationship is to be made, it would be the whites who are shown to have treated the Indians very badly. The use of the bottle to make a good deal was an ancestor of our six martini lunch.

Penn’s dream was really to found a great Quaker territory/state filled with many people. He wanted to fill up that big region that Charles II had given him that extended from the seaboard to the distant mountains. In order to do this he had to transport colonists to the  New World wholesale. During the first year of the existence of Philadelphia, some sixty ships called at its port. That is more than one each week. Penn knew that this was only the beginning. He had anticipated this when he advertised in places like Amsterdam for colonists. He was hoping to attract people who had worked a shipbuilders and ship carpenters—people such as the Myers family.

William West arrived with Penn on the Welcome. He was the first to establish a shipyard in Philadelphia. He built at least one ship for Penn there in the yard at the foot of Vine Street. By 1690 Richard Norris wrote that “We have wharfs that a ship of 100 tons may lay her side to.” When one has these sorts of facilities to offer, it follows that shipyards of some stature would soon appear. The shipyard founded by Bartholomew Penrose (1674-1711) was one of the most important. His family and Penn’s family had been friends in England. By the time Penrose was 24 years old he wanted and was ready to come to Pennsylvania. Not only had he inherited sufficient money to be certain that the enterprise would be a successful one, but he also had investors such as William Penn Jr., James Logan (secretary to Penn), and William Trent. Such sponsors as these could only assure success.

Penrose was a very capable man who started acquiring land on the waterfront. It is likely at first that he built very small boats and started acquiring a stock of oak and other special lumber needed in his yard. The first ship of major importance was launched on 4 May 1707. In spite of the fact that Bartholomew Penrose died when he was only thirty-six, he started a dynasty of Penrose shipbuilders who continued for the next 200 years as one of the most outstanding in the field.

The cost factor has a great deal to do with the huge success of the Philadelphia shipyards. A ship could be built in America for about $24 per ton, while such a ship could not be built anywhere in Europe for less than $60 per ton. This was partially due to the fact that the oak in America was not only superior to that in Europe, it was also much more plentiful. There were not many virgin forests left in Europe at this time. One third of the total tonnage of Great Britain was of colonial origin. From the time of the arrival of William Penn in 1682 until the start of the Revolution in 1776, more than 900 major ships were built in the Delaware River yards. Charles Lyon Chandler says that: “One of the largest ships built in Philadelphia up to 1743 was the Westmoreland.” The largest ship built there prior to the Revolution was the Delaware which was built in 1773 and was listed as 300 tons. It was jointly financed and owned by investors in London and in Philadelphia.

Tench Coxe (1755-1824) was the director of the first three censuses taken in the United States. He was a very well known economist and the following quite is taken from a series of papers that he published in 1794. The paper was entitled: A View of the United States of America. “Shipbuilding is a business in which the part of Philadelphia exceeds most parts of the world. Masts, spars, timber and plant, not only from our State (Pennsylvania) and the other states of the Delaware, are constantly for sale in our markets; but the mulberry of the Chesapeake and the evergreen, or live oak, and the red cedar of the Carolinas and Georgia, are so abundantly imported that nine tenths of our vessels are built of them. No vessels are better than these… This fact (that a ship can be built so much cheaper in the United States than in Europe) may appear doubtful or extraordinary; but it is certainly true: and it is greatly in favor of our ship carpenters and other tradesmen employed in fitting ships; as well as our merchants and farmers, whose interests are so much connected with navigation… it is supposed that it (the population) of Philadelphia will not fall much short of four hundred thousand when the present enumeration shall be completed.” Actually the census of 1790 showed the population of Philadelphia to be 434,000.

The Quakers, who had been treated as dogs in England, were all of a sudden proving that in Pennsylvania they were capable of achieving success and order. Remember that only a few years before they were thrown in prison, heavily fined, and driven into bankruptcy by the same English how were now content to let them run the state. The Quakers did not maintain their numerical superiority that they had in the late 16th century. The influx of other groups always kept the ration to about one third Quaker. At any given time they could have, by a coalition movement, been voted out of office; but the rest of the state was content to let them run the legislature. They did run the provincial legislature up to the time of the Revolution. The Quakers were simple, thrifty and capable. These qualities made their success a foregone conclusion. These qualities may have been the reason that the rest of the state was perfectly willing for them to run the government.

Housing in Philadelphia from the beginning was much better than it had been in Europe. There was a very adequate supply of clay for brick making and at least in the beginning, door frames, doors, etc., were shipped over from England. An early example of the type of housing built in Philadelphia is the Letitia Street House. It is an interesting house, small in size but very compact and certainly adequate. The brick is laid in Flemish bond. Like many of the houses in Amsterdam, this house has a vertical appearance, since it is tall in proportion to its width. It is definitely a town house and has two rooms on each floor.

The Myers family seemed to have the knack of picking the right place at the right time. Living and working in Philadelphia at a very skilled craftsman trade, may not have made them wealthy but it must have allowed them to live well. The type furniture they purchased for their house was well designed and executed in excellent woods. They were also living in an area free of Indian attacks which allowed them to develop a life style to their liking much faster than the residents of many of the other colonies. It must have been most exciting to have lived in Philadelphia in the year when the Continental Congress was meeting there and such people as Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin were working on writing the Declaration of Independence.

To have actually been in the city when the formal statement of separation from Great Britain was signed, must have been thrilling. Here was one of the great documents of the world being created, signed and proclaimed in one’s home town. But most important, here is a document saying that it is government’s job to give man liberty, safety and a chance a happiness. The declaration also gave the people the right to change a government if they were not satisfied with it. The statement was new as to an idea of government and it is used as a model until today. Suddenly here was a paper signed by some of the influential people the colonies saying in essence that Henry Myers, shipbuilder, was as important as Lord Whoever in England.

We all tend to focus on the date 1776 as the American Revolution; but most of us do not remember actually when the Revolution started or when it concluded. The revolt actually started in 1774 in Massachusetts and ended in the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783. It was actually the aid of France, Spain and Holland in their fight vs. England that forced England after the defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown to ask for peace. After eight years the American Colonies were an independent group anxious to occupy territory to the South and West. The so called ‘Great Leap Westward’ (Title of a book by Walter T. Durham) was a desire to be able to finally occupy territory formerly owned by the French which the British, with the help of the Colonies, had won in 1763. This movement further from the eastern seaboard was a result of several things: first one must consider that cheap land was available; then there was the bounty land claims given by the government to Revolutionary War soldiers; and most of all it was the settling of the original colonies all over again. Here was a chance to see and own land never owned by white men before and a chance to make ones own fortune. It’s the carrot in front of the donkey story with great reward and the tendency to forget all the trials and tribulations of getting there and keeping the land after one got there.

Thomas Rawlings Myers, in his Memoirs says: “… The two sons, Samuel and Daniel (Myers), in the great exodus at the close of the Revolutionary War, moved to Kentucky and settled on the Ohio River where the city of Covington now stands. Later Daniel Myers moved from there to the territory of Indiana and settled near where the city of Crawfordsville now stands…”

The most likely route they would or could have taken would have been the so called Great Philadelphia Wagon Road west from Philadelphia and then southwest through Virginia down until the Great Wagon Road intersected the Wilderness Road in southern Virginia. The Wilderness Road would have led them west through the Cumberland Gap into central Kentucky and then north to the Ohio River. The others two sons of David Myers were Christian Myers and Abram Myers I. They moved south in the early part of 1790. We are able to date the move by the following information. Abram Myers I is on the 1790 Pennsylvania Census. Then Abram’s oldest son, David, was born in March of 1790 in North Carolina. This means that Abram I and pregnant wife, Mary Charity Schell Myers, moved in February or March of 1790 from Philadelphia to North Carolina. Christian Myers (whose wife was also named Charity) evidently did not plan on moving west. He settled in Rowan County and died there on 23 August 1799. His wife died there on 19 March 1812.

The youngest son of Abram Myers I and his wife, Mary Charity Schell Myers was John Myers, and he was born in Rowan County in 1807. Abram Myers I is on the tax rolls in Jackson County, Tennessee in 1810. So sometime between 1807 and 1810 they moved west from Rowan County, North Carolina to Tennessee. As I said above, it may have been possible that Abram Myers I and family intended staying in Rowan County rather than moving either south or West. I personally can see no reason for them to have by-passed the Wilderness Road by many miles if they did not intend to stay there. But there are other factors to consider in that the so called Knoxville Road which led off the Wilderness Road was not built until 1795 and the danger of Indian raids greatly decreased between 1790 and 1795. As a result the move to Tennessee became much more attractive in the years between 1800 and 1810. Readers of the Knoxville “Gazette” were told on 29 July, 1795 that “a wagon road is no opened so that families may take through their wagons and baggage to the Cumberland settlements in safety.” This increased the safety and welfare of the entire group. Walter Durham in his The Great Leap Westward says: “The emigration to Cumberland, Mero District, still continues in great numbers. Upwards of 100 persons passed through this town (Knoxville) on Wednesday last.” This was a quote from the “Gazette” of November 20, 1795.

The Upper Cumberland up to the beginning of the 18th century had been the hunting grounds of the Shawnee tribes and the name they gave the Cumberland River was “Shanvanon”. The Cherokees drove out the Shawnees and took over the very choice hunting grounds—they changed the name of the river to “Warioto”. The name Cumberland was given to the river after discovering its headwater in Kentucky. The name was to honor the Duke of Cumberland. The Cherokees thought they had a secure right to the hunting grounds and were prepared to defend their right. The vastness of the territory and the rough terrain dictated a slow migration from North Carolina and Virginia. Fort Blount was established in 1790 or 1792 at the order of William Blount who was territorial Governor. A Captain Sampson Williams of French Like (Nashville) and a group of eighteen federal soldiers were charged with the protection of the Fort. The most colorful of his men was a fellow Nashvillian named, Edmund Jennings. Jennings Creek is named for this gentleman. A history of Tennessee written by Phelan evaluates Jennings and a few of garrison mates as being worth a hundred men. For Blount was a very short-lived fort. It was discontinued about 1796.

Sampson Williams, who once served under Andrew Jackson in the Indian fighting, became county clerk of Smith County when it was organized in 1799. About 1801 he ran for and was elected state senator from Smith County. He succeeded in getting an act passed creating Jackson County. It was created from several surrounding counties. He then succeeded in getting a bill passed naming Williamsburg as the County Seat of Jackson County. He had an eye for his own property as Williamsburg was built on a farm which he owned. A brick courthouse was built at Williamsburg. Only a few brick walkways remain of this courthouse. There was another act passed by the General Assembly of Tennessee on 11 September 1806 to act passed by the General Assembly of Tennessee on 11 September 1806 to reduce Jackson County to the constitutional limit of 625 square miles and to establish a county seat which was more centrally located than Williamsburg. It was ten years before a vote was held and Gainesboro was chosen as the county seat. It was a bitter fight. Williams remained very active in the county and finally bought the court house at Williamsburg. He tore it down and used the brick to build a house.

Thomas Rawlings Myers, in his Memoirs says: “Near the beginning of the last century (the 1800’s) my great grandfather, James Dunbar Henley, with his large family of ten sons and two daughters and the husbands, together with many others, left North Carolina, crossed the mountains and settled in Tennessee. My grandfather, Thomas R. Talbert, with his family settled in Jackson County on Roaring River, a small tributary of the upper Cumberland River, and had for neighbors, William Gray (who married James Dunbar Henley’s other daughter [Polly Henley]), my grandfather (Abram I) Myers, and others. My mother and father were reared as neighbor’s children and on the 23rd of September 1827 they were married… In the meantime, my mother’s oldest brother, William Talbert, unmarried, pushed further West and located in the fertile Duck River Country, that is now Bedford County, Tennessee. William Talbert took up large tracks of fertile land in this section, and became associated in business with Andrew Erwin, a prominent man of the section. William Talbert never married. He died from Yellow Fever in New Orleans while there on a business trip. (His sisters) moved from Jackson County to Bedford County, Tennessee to look after and close up his estate. In the division of the estate with Andrew Erwin, my parents, Abram Myers II and Martha L. Myers, got the old Mt. Reserve farm of 400 acres on Knobb Creek…” In addition to Abram Myers II and wife moving to Bedford County, his brother, Jonas Myers, moved to Bedford County and married Prudence Hall there.

A daughter of Abram Myers I and Mary Charity Schell, Caroline Myers, married Ennis Mayfield and moved to Alabama; and another daughter, Mary Myers, married William Allard and moved to Missouri. This left only David Myers and John Myers, the oldest and youngest sons of Abram Myers I living in Jackson County, Tennessee. John Myers and wife moved to Texas about 1855. So by the time of the Civil War, we have only David Myers and his descendants left in Jackson County, Tennessee.

From 1530 when the family left Switzerland until they left Philadelphia in the late 18th century each move had been one in which the living conditions were better. Holland was much better than Switzerland; Pennsylvania was much better than Holland; and Rowan County, North Carolina must have been about equal with Pennsylvania. The moves the family made from 1790 until 1875 were in most instances from a rather highly civilized area to a relatively primitive area. For example: Jackson County, Tennessee was much less civilized than Philadelphia. Bell County, Texas would have been a frontier in 1855 in comparison to Jackson County, Tennessee. Children of David Myers moved from Jackson County, Tennessee to Missouri in the 1860’s. They were moving into an area ravaged by the Civil War; they were not faced with an Indian problem but they were faced with guerillas, outlaws, and so forth. Granted that the lure of cheap land and the chance to own much more and in the long run to be much wealthier was some compensation for the lack of communications, schools, protection, and transportation.

Three of the children of David Myers and Elizabeth Gray Myers moved from Jackson County, Tennessee to Newton County, Missouri. Jonas Myers moved prior to 1858; Sarah Sallie Myers, he daughter, Conzada and son-in-law, Henry W. Hamilton, were living in Newton County prior to 1870; and William Gray Myers and his wife, Martha Elizabeth Cox Myers, and family moved to Newton County in September of 1877. We have an account of the move of William Gray Myers and the description sounds very much like the descriptions that one reads about the moves from Philadelphia south and west on the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road. We have just skipped a generation and we are back to wagons being pulled by oxen at the high speed rate of eight to ten miles per day. They took a total of 68 days from Jackson County, Tennessee to Newtonia, Missouri.

One of the children of Jonas Myers, Martha Jane Myers, married a Delaney Sweeney Rayburn and they moved from Missouri to Colorado in 1878. This would have been another long trek via wagon. This is a 600 mile trip west and must have taken another 65 to 70 days. To the long trip we have to add the tragedy of having one of their children, Ethel, run over and killed by a wagon in Florence, Colorado. (Ethel rhymes with lethal). One of the daughters of William Gray Myers, Eliza Jane Myers, married Enoch Arnold Arnall and their children moved into Indian Territory. They did not move as far afield as Colorado. Only next door to Oklahoma when it was still Indian Territory.

It is into the twentieth century before members of the family start living and working all over the world. Thomas Myers, son of Thomas Myers and Rebecca Overstreet, spent most of his life in the south Pacific working in Singapore, and Borneo. One of the granddaughters of Henry Clay Myers, Gladys Myers Caughran, worked and lived in Korea for many years. One of the Arnall descendants, Harold Dean Arnall, had lived and worked over most of the world and at the present lives in Singapore. One of the descendants of Conzada Myers Hamilton, Beverly Hamilton, was married in Indonesia, she has children born in Bermuda and Louisiana and currently lives in England.

One of the daughters of Thomas James Myers married a Charles Alden Rowland; and their daughter, Agnes Davidson Rowland, married Robert Price Richardson. They spent their lives in China as Presbyterian Missionaries. Their children were all born in Taichow, Kaingsu, China. The above are just examples. I could site many more who lived in various parts of the world as members of our armed forces.

When Thomas Rawlings Myers asked his elderly uncle, David Myers, if the family had had soldiers in the Civil War (other than TRM himself) David Myers replied: “Yes, the Myers family had had soldiers in every war this country ever had.”

I have referred above to Thomas Rawlings Myers and his Memoirs several times. He finished writing these Memoirs on 11 March 1919 and signed them. In addition to the biographical/genealogical material gained from his interview with David Myers, he added other material through the years. This material is integrated in the following pages which I refer to as the “Begats”. But in addition to the genealogical material Thomas Rawlings Myers has written the story of his own life which is for the most part the story of his life in the Confederate Army. For that reason, I feel that these Memoirs should be included as an ending to the history of the Myers Family. These Memoirs were copyrighted on 27 December 1983 by Jourdan G. Myers to protect their being used in toto by some Civil War writer.

The original of these Memoirs was written in long-hand. They were copied and typed by the writer’s daughter, Ethel Myers Bates, of Shelbyville, Tennessee in 1919. A Photostat copy of the typed pages was made in 1955 and is in the possession of Mary Lytle McCravey Triplett, Jr. of Forest, Mississippi. The original hand written copy is in the possession of Thomas Myers Bates of Winchester, Massachusetts. The original typed copy has been retyped twice as far as I have been able to determine. Mr. Hu B. Myers, Jr. of Baton Rouge,  Louisiana had the Memoirs copied and reproduced privately in the 1940’s. In November of 1979 the Photostat copy was typed under the direction of Alan Telkes Myers of Dallas, Texas. An index of names was prepared at that time by Mary Lane Stain and the pages were numbered for the first time. A very limited number of copies were produced. The copyrighted version was a combination of the previous efforts. The pages of the Hu B. Myers edition were taken apart and numbered. Obvious errors in typing and syntax were corrected and a complete index was prepared and included. A genealogical chart was prepared and inserted to clarify the lineage of the writer, Thomas Rawlings Myers. All of the people mentioned above are collateral Myers decendants.

Validated by HTML Validator