Colony Research Group
Genealogy ~ DNA ~ Archaeology
Dawn Taylor was asked by the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society to write something for their newsletter, as her Jennette ancestors were lighthouse keepers.
Dawn and I tag teamed this request for an article. Dawn's article is first, with mine following.
You can find more about the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society at: http://www.outerbankslighthousesociety.org
Lighthouse Keeper - Devaney "Pop" Jennette
By Dawn Taylor
It all started with a photograph found in my Aunt Terah Jennette Bailey's attic. An image that appeared to look as if it had stepped right out of the late 1800's.
An image of a man dressed in a black suit and donning a bow tie. He looked anything but Caucasian. His hair was jet black.
His skin, the color of the richest brown. His eyes, piercing. He looked Native American. The surname Jennette, was penciled across the bottom. Who was this Jennette man who no family
member could identify ?
My Grandfather often told my Father that there was Indian blood in our Jennette line. Sometimes, I wonder if it's true. With each generation, one can look back and see the
traits. Black hair. Dark eyes. Even I have the shovel teeth that I've heard are a Native trait. And still, those
traits continue to run through our family, generation after generation. My son and I are both a testament to that.
Over two years ago, Anne Poole of the Lost Colony Genealogy and DNA Research Group, found me. She is the group's Co-founder, along with Roberta Estes and several others. Since that time the direction of my research has changed. Until that point,
my focus was mainly on those family members who were from Cape Hatteras and Hyde
County, North Carolina. Little did I know, that there just may be the blood of one or more of Sir Walter Raleigh's Lost Colonist, running through my veins. Surnames such as Gibbs and Brown, were both listed on the colonist roster. And they both have their own branch on my family tree. With the use of science and DNA testing, I'm hoping that more than one genetic mystery in my family may be solved.
Two of my Jennette family members have been DNA tested. Their results came back proving that indeed, they share a common ancestry. An ancestry which is also rich in maritime history. That of one which shows kinship to at least thirteen lighthouse keepers and multiple ties to those whose heroic efforts while serving in the United States Life Saving Service, led to them being awarded medals for their honor and bravery.
Even with all this said, our family is still missing a piece of the puzzle. Do we truly connect to the Jennettes across the sound in Hyde County ? We hope to solve this mystery by using both DNA testing and genealogical research. Through documentation, we are led to believe that our line descends from John Jennette and Ann Alexander. John and Ann had a son, also named John, who married Sarah Gibbs. Sara was the daughter of Henry Gibbs of Hyde County. Once again, Gibbs being a surname on the colonist roster. This is my line.
Jump on down a few tree branches and you will find Gladys Winifred Jennette. She was my Grandmother and daughter of Devaney and Ella Gray Jennette. Devaney "Pop" Jennette entered into the United States Lighthouse Service in 1908. Many years later in 1932, he died of a heart attack in the lantern room of the Cape Fear Lighthouse.
So there are the clues. An old unidentified photograph. Three ancestral lines of Brown, Gibbs and Jennette, each with a possible link to the Native Americans that once inhabited Hatteras Island and also to Sir Walter Raleigh's Lost Colony...which by the way, we don't believe was ever actually lost.
For those out there who are interested in obtaining more information on the Lost Colony Genealogy and DNA Research Group and it's Hatteras Families or Lost Colony DNA projects, please visit their website.
And for those who would have Hatteras Island ancestry and would like to learn more about their unique heritage, please visit their site at :
You can even join our genealogy societies active Facebook group at:
Jennette Family DNA Results
By Roberta Estes
One of the goals of the Hatteras Families Reconstruction project is, aside from documenting the genealogy of the various early Hatteras Island families, is to see, genetically, how they fit together.
With the prevalent oral history of both Native ancestry as well as that of the Lost Colonists, we expect that everyone with the same surname might not share the same ancestors. Obviously, by the time John Lawson arrived in 1701 and spoke with the Hatteras Indians about the Lost Colony, they knew their ancestors were white, but they weren't using surnames any longer. Ironically, the remnants of the Hatteras as well as the other remaining eastern North Carolina Indians would adopt English style surnames by the middle of the 1700s, but they weren't colonist surnames, but surnames of their choosing.
By testing the Y chromosome through our Hatteras Island project at Family Tree DNA, we can see who matches whom, as the Y chromosome is passed from father to son, unmixed with any DNA from the mother, in every generation. There, a son matches the father, the father matches the grandfather, and on into perpetuity. The Y chromosome matches the surname path as well, from father to son.
You can see or join the Hatteras Father's project here: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/HatterasFathers
We have a separate project for anyone descended from Hatteras families maternally:
In the Hatteras Mother's project, mitochondrial DNA is passed from a mother to both genders of her children, but only females pass it on. So if your mother, and her mother, and her mother were from Hatteras Island, we'd love to have you join that project as well.
In our Hatteras Neighborhood project, we've been assembling the oldest available records in an effort to reconstruct the early families genealogically.
The Jennette family is quite interesting. They are, of course, found on Hatteras Island quite early, but before we find them on Hatteras Island we find them on the mainland in the counties that fed what was then Currituck County. They are not found on the Albemarle Rent Rolls of 1694-1696 nor on the early Hatteras Island tax lists beginning in 1714 and which exist in some form for many years through 1735.
In the Lost Tribes of NC: Part 1 - Index and Digest to Hathaway's NC Historical and Genealogical Register - by Worth S. Ray, he tells us that in 1738 a John Jennett of Terrell county left a will. His wife was Dorothy and his children were named, but Ray neglects to transcribe the names of the children. Ten years later, in 1748, a John Jennett Sr. of Terrell also leaves a will and names his children. Worth Ray only mentions one, "among others", Abraham. Sure enough, Hubert Price lists Abra Jennett as an early settler of Perquimans County.
The next mention of the Jennett family is in 1751 on the Currituck County tithables tax list where we find Jabez Jennit who paid tax on 2 tithables. This normally meant males over the age of 16. Those males could have been black or white. In 1752, he is recorded as Jabe and he was also taxed on 2 tithables.
In 1755, we find a very interesting deed in Hyde County where John Jennett is a witness to a deed where George Squires, a Mattamuskeet Indian, sells part of the reservation to John Linton.
8 Sept. 1755 - George Squires of Teril County to John Linton, planter of Hyde County, for £10, 100 acres on the head of Middle Creek binding on Capt. Henry Gibbs line west
northwest "including the said land in Equal length and breadth as doth by law require". /s/ George [cS] Squires, John [x] Mackey, Charles [S] Squires. Witnesses: David Duncan,
Thomas Jones, Morris Jones, John Jennett. test: Stepn. Denning, Reg.
A few days later, several of the Mattamuskeet sell land directly to John Jennett.
27 Sept. 1755 - George Squires, Charles Squires & John Mackey, Indians of Arromuskeet. to John Jennett, all of Hyde County, for £50 proclamation money, 300 acres between
Samuel Smith and Joseph Gibbs binding on Bedmons line, beginning in the upper corner on the East side of Bedmons line, then along Samuel Smiths line till it turns East to the head of
Middle Creek, then to Joseph Gibbs line, then along his line to the north corner, then north along the swamp bearing west to the 1st station. Said Indians are firmly bound by these present
to pay Quit Rents that is due on said land unto John Jennett and doth warrent bargain free and clear of all incumbrances. /s/ Charles [C] Squires, John [x] Mackey, George [S] Squires.
Witnesses: John Lockhart, John Linton. Test: Stepn Denning, Reg.
These transactions with the Native people may have been part of what fueled rumors for decades of
the Jennette's either being Native or having Native blood. Indeed, after John purchased the land,
he lived among or beside the Native people. The Native people didn't leave. Perhaps these rumors
were fueled because the Jennette family did intermarry with the Native people, or perhaps a native
male adopted the Jennette surname. Generally Native people adopted the surnames of white people they
were either related to or respected and viewed in a kinship capacity.
The 1779 Currituck County tax lists shows us that there were 4 male Jennetts living there at that time, Joseph and then three men who were listed under the single male category; Jabez, Jesse and John.
By the 1790 census, in Currituck County we only show two families, Jesse and Joseph Jinnett. Both of these men are living on Hatteras Island in the Frisco or Trent areas, judging from the families who are surrounding them.
There is also an Abraham and Joseph in Tyrrell County and Robert, Sarah and Joseph side by side in Carteret County living among familiar surnames like Gibbs and Spencer. The Carteret group is likely the Mattamuskeet contingent.
In 1785 Thomas Miller who lived on Hatteras Island, dies, and mentions his daughter Fanny Jennett in his will. He also lived in the Frisco/Trent area.
In 1794, Jesse Jennett who lives on Hatteras Island leaves a will and mentions his wife Fanny and his children, unnamed. William Miller is his executor and the will is witnessed by Hezekiah Farrow and George Williams. This Fanny Jennett is likely the daughter of Thomas Miller.
We know that the Jennett family was on Hatteras Island by 1768 because two separate entries, the same day in 1769, plus a third in 1768, mention their property lines.
Page 137, pat 1783, page 473, bk 20, Jacob Farrow Jr, May 5 1769, 70 ac in Currituck at Cape Hatterass including the vacant land between Farrow's own land and his fathers
and the sea, joining Jennets line, the sea beach, and Hezekiah Farrow.
Page 137, pat 1784, page 473, bk 20, Thomas Robb, May 5 1769, 250 ac in Currituck on Hatterass banks near the cape, joining Jennett's corner, Hezekiah Farrow, the marsh and the
Page 517, pat 6889, p 307, bk 23, Hezekiah Farrow, April 29 1768, 640 ac in Currituck on Hatteress bank including the vacant land between Wahab, Jennit, Robb and Farrow joining
the great ditch marsh and Thomas Robb.
All 3 of these properties adjoined the old Indian Town. So we find the Jennetts again living adjacent Indians.
Three Jennette men have participated in the Hatteras Families DNA project.
The first participant's oldest known ancestor was Joseph W. Jennett born in 1816 in Hyde County. He reportedly had a brother named Robinson. Joseph married Elizabeth Nickens and died in Franklin County. Tennessee. We have been unable to determine
the parents of Joseph, but the 1830 census shows only two Jennette men in Hyde County on the mainland, a Pembrook and a Robert. Joseph Jennette's family could have migrated before then. The 1820 census does not exist for Hyde County. In 1823, Hatteras Island went from Currituck County to Hyde. The 1810 census for Currituck does not exist, but in Hyde County that year, we find John, Nathan, Robert (2 of them) and Solomon Jennett.
The second participant's oldest ancestors are Isaac Littleton Jennette and Hosannah Williams, both from Hatteras Island. Further research accumulated by our Hatteras Families project shows that the parents of Isaac were William Bateman Jennette born about 1820 on Hatteras Island (probably Buxton) and Sabra Fulcher. In the 1830 census, one Jabez Jennette lived by one Sabra Fulcher, so I'm betting that Jabez was the father of William Bateman Jennette. Jabez died in 1839 and his children's names were taken from his estate papers. William Bateman Jennette's name was not among them. In the 1830 census, another Will Jennette also lived on Hatteras Island. So the father of William Bateson Jennett might well be revealed with a thorough evaluation of deeds, will and court records.
The third participants oldest ancestor was John Jennette 1685-1749 who married Ann Alexander. His son, John married Sarah Gibbs and died in 1785. His son Joseph born in 1740 married Christian O'Neal, and their son William 1783-1862 married Nearsy (Naomi?) Farrow. This is clearly the Hatteras Island line.
Now for the twist of fate. The first participant does not match the second and third participants, who do match each other.
This confirms the genetic profile of the Hatteras Island line. It appears all records that the mainland Jennettes and the Hatteras Island Jennettes are from a common ancestor, but the DNA results introduce doubt. Both lines are of European origin.
The first participant whose ancestor was from Hyde County in 1816 doesn't match any other Jennetts, but does match a Carawan and a Calloway. One possibility is that since the ancestor's birth in 1816, an undocumented adoption, or perhaps an illegitimate birth has occurred. Some step-children take the step-father's surname. There are lots of possibilities.
The second and third participants not only match each other, but they also match one other Jennett male not in our project, but whose ancestors are from Hyde County. The only surname they match that is similar to a colonist surname is Brown, and Brown is an extremely common name.
We would certainly welcome additional Jennett males in the project and would especially like to have some from the Hyde, now Dare County mainland lines.
Wallises, Wallaces, Quakers and Commerce
By Baylus Brooks
For the longest time, we have only known that Valentine Wallis existed because of a
single, solitary entry in the Currituck County Deed Records:
Currituck Deed Book 3 deed 635 p 24 April 2 1740, Aug 22 1740 Jacob Farrow
to Charles Squires, Indian, of Arromuskeet in Ct, 100#, 200 acres on Hatteras
Banks beginning a the north side of Cutting Sedge Marsh, by a house that
Vallentine Wallis built, the sound side, Callises Dreen, sea side, wit Cornelius
Jones, Thomas Dudley, signed Jacob Farrow.
Slowly, our knowledge of this man grew… James R. B. Hathaway’s North Carolina
Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 1 had this to add:
of Perquimans, Wife Ann, son Richard, daughter Ann Grey, Louis
Markman; October 6, 1729; and probated November 25, 1729
Ann Gray, March
4th 1731; April Court, 1732; son William Wallace, daughter Sarah Wallis,
son Valentine Wallis, daughter Jane Wallis, daughter Ann Kinnecum,
daughter Mary Wallis; Wm. Wallis executor.
showed the wife's name:
1722-1723. March 12, 1722. "Late of Long Islan in the provance of New
James Bullin of Chester, in "Penselvany." Executor: James
Newbi. Witnesses: Valentine Wallis, Ann Wallis, proven before Wm. Reed.
So, Valentine Wallis had brothers and sisters, step-brothers and step-sisters, a stepfather,
a wife named Ann, and probably a lot more. Still, what was his origin? Who was
the mysterious Mr. Wallis who sired these many children before disappearing? Where
was he from? How did Valentine wind up on Hatteras Island, building a house that he
would then abandon and where did he go?
Well, "the where did he go" part was not so hard… it seems that the North Carolina
Colonial Records could provide that information: Carteret County. Court Minutes reveal
that he died there about 1754. Valentine Wallis Jr., his son, left an estate inventory in 1784 that told of a wealthy man, probably a blacksmith and cobbler, with many tools of those trades, including state-of-the-art equipment for the times, like a scale to weigh produce or lead. ―Two looking glasses‖ revealed a man familiar with the sea and ―two guns‖ told what a dangerous occupation that it was in the eighteenth century. This man probably followed a similar type of work as compared with his father, since the choice of occupation was not as diverse as those of today.
Still, we are learning about Wallis or Wallace, as they called the family in Carteret County, after the fact. The focus of the Lost Colony Research Group is primarily Hatteras Island because that is where the Lost Colony, or ―Abandoned Colony,‖ depending upon which theory you subscribe, went.
Origins… origins… I found a Valentine Wallis, labourer in 1691 the ―Wills of the Hundred of Armingford,‖ Cambridgeshire, England… Too old. Uncle, maybe… at best… if even related… and oh, how far away!
I exhausted the internet, Ancestry.com, the archives, every source I could think of… except Pasquotank County. Why look in Pasquotank? Pasquotank is seldom considered in such an analysis. I did not know why… I just never thought to look. Quakers lived there. What did they do? Well… New Begun Meeting House was the oldest Quaker congregation in North Carolina. The second oldest was Carteret County. Wait… Carteret County? The place where Valentine Wallis died? The place where so many people, including New Englanders who had a lot to do with Hatteras Island lived? Like the Pinkhams, Joseph Midyett, Gaskins, Wahabs, etc.?
I then remembered that Hatteras Island and its sister county at this time, Hyde County, had a heavy Methodist population in the mid to late eighteenth century. These were a devout people of a faith not so prevalent in the rest of the colony. Well, you don’t see many Quakers there today… maybe most of them converted to something like Methodism after John Wesley (seen here) came riding by after the Revolution.
Methodism had its start earlier in North Carolina and the Brooks family from Hatteras/Hyde Counties were some of the most prolific ministers of the faith.
There’s no hard connection between the Quakers of William Penn’s brand and the Methodists that populated Hatteras and Hyde County… but, Quakers did dominate in the early eighteenth century while Hatteras and Hyde split off during the latter half. It was a subtle transition and a detail that hides so many clues as to Hatteras’ development.
Turning the pages of a Pasquotank County Deed collection burst forth in a literal shower
of many early Hatteras names… Davis, Quidley, Whitby, Robb, Oliver,
Rawlinson/Rollinson, and, of course… Wallis.
Valentine Wallis was the son of William Wallis, who died circa 1720 and left his property
to his eldest son, Valentine. William Wallis Jr. was bound to Jonathan Jacobs until he
came of age. Jonathan Jacobs, it turns out lived next to John Boyd, probably related to
Col. Thomas Boyd who died in the Tuscarora War after being shot in the head in 1712.
Boyd’s home was the location that the Hatteras Indians escaped to toward the end of
the war. Puzzle pieces were falling into place… The Boyds, Jacobs, Wallises, and
other families were all somehow connected to early Hatteras Island. The Wallises were
married to Blounts, also a family with heavy interests in Hatteras Island by the late
1700s. A 1727 deed explains when and where their father, William purchased his
Albemarle land in 1707:
of Currituck County, North Carolina, Deed Books, , 1-3 by John A.
Brayton, deed book 4, shows:
166, deed 897, p 207, Sept 17 1706, April 23 1707, July 17 1707, Noverint,
William Wallis of Norfolk Co. Va. to Thomas Brint of Currituck, all his
right in above pat, wit Thomas Davis, Thomas Miller, Elizabeth Davis,
signed William (up arrow) Wallis…
Wallis had lived in Norfolk before coming across the Dismal Swamp to North
Carolina. From there, we
learned that Valentine Wallis was baptized March 27, 1699 in Middlesex
County, Virginia. It’s
utterly amazing how this Wallis story takes on a life of its own and grows
organically from the tiniest bits of information.