John Amory (d.1746) was an Indian trader associated with William Elder(s), Thomas
Nightingale, and John Watts. John Amory was the uncle of Robert Emory (d.1790)
and the father of William Emory (d.1770), both of whom married daughters of
Ludovic Grant and resided with him in the Valley town of Tamah’li in North Carolina.
Ludovic Grant was associated with old trader Cornelius Daugherty who was in
nearby Hiwassee. Ludovic Grant’s Cherokee wife was Elizabeth Gouedy (pronounced
and spelled “Coody”), the daughter or ex-wife of another old trader, Robert Gouedy of
Ninety Six. Thomas Nightingale and John Watts had land transactions with Robert
Gouedy. David Hembree (father of Rev. James Hembree) had land adjoining some land
of Robert Gouedy in 1771. John Amory fathered a son by a Cherokee woman; the son
was named John Emory (b.1744) and is better known as Old John Hembree.
John Vann entered the Indian trade as a packhorseman for James Maxwell by 1746
and later became associated with Bernard Hughes, Robert Gouedy, and John Downing.
John Vann’s Cherokee wife was probably Wah-li (War-le in the Lower dialect) and
she was the sister of chief Sour Mush and the half sister of Jenny Daugherty, the
daughter of Cornelius Daugherty. She may have been the daughter or ex-wife of
John Vann had a brother Edward Vann (perhaps Edward Clement Vann) and perhaps
Joseph Vann, both of whom lived near or next to John Vann. (This Joseph may just
be a son of Edward.)
The children of John Vann are not known for sure (nor is the date of his birth or
death) but include John Vann, Betty Vann, and Wah-li. His daughter Wah-li
married a Joseph Vann (b.c.1737 d.bef.1800) who seems to be the son of Edward
Vann. Wah-li and Joseph were the parents of James Vann (b.c.1766 d.1809), the
notorious Chief James Vann of Georgia. This Joseph Vann moved to GA in 1763
with a wife and three children and resided on the Savannah River below Cagg
Creek, at the mouth of the Little River. [Candler, GA Col Recs, IX, p.256].
(This therefore is the likely birthplace of James Vann.) Edward Vann had land on
the SC side of the Savannah River.
Daughter Wah-li then married Clement Vann (b.c.1746 d.c.1830) who had no
children of his own but is referred to as the step-father of Chief James Vann.
Clement Vann had a younger brother Avery Vann Sr.
In Parts Two & Three I will try to unravel the connections between the Vanns
and the Hembrees (Emorys). Please do not send me info on the ancestry or
exploits of Chief James Vann – I have all that I need. Thank you.
John Vann entered the Indian trade as a packhorseman for James Maxwell
by 1746. [SC Commons Journal of 11 June 1746]. In May 1747 he was
sent to the Choctaw Nation. He returned to SC by 1749 and resided at the
trading post at Ninety Six. He was associated there with Bernard Hughes
and Robert Gouedy.
In 1751 the Lower Cherokee (SC) began attacking the English traders.
Bernard Hughes Sr. was reportedly killed in April 1751. (Turns out he
escaped and left his post at Stecoe on the Tuskasegee River in NC (by
order of Chief Raven) and retired to Ninety Six.) [SC Commons Journal
of 7 May 1752] Daniel Murphy (a son-in-law of Hughes?) was killed
farther north. The Indians attacked Ninety Six and John Vann fled with
his wife and children to Augusta, GA in May 1751. [SC Commons Journal
of 13 May 1751] When he returned to Ninety Six he operated a trading
post with Bernard Hughes. He was accused of allowing runaway slaves
safe conduct past his post and he was summoned to Charleston to answer
these charges in Dec. 1751.
In 1752 the Creek Indians attacked the Lower Cherokee and plundered
three packhorsemen at the Keowee village: James Welch, John Downing,
and William Bailus. [SC Doc Ind Affairs (2) 1750-54, p.247-9]
By 1753 many families came down from the Cherokee to live at Ninety
Six. Among these were William Emory (who fathered two sons there:
Drury Hembree b.1755 and Abraham Hembree b.1757), John Watts
(who fathered John Watts Jr. there in 1753), the Cherokee widow and children
of William Elder(s), the widow and children of Daniel Murphy, and James
Welch, John Downing, and Robert Emory (who left his Cherokee daughter
Susannah with the family of William Emory and went off to trade with the
Creeks along with Richard Smith of Keowee).
By 1756 Ludovic Grant came down from the Cherokee and soon
Suspicions and complaints about John Vann (similar to those lodged against
Bernard Hughes) caused him to move to Georgia by 1757. In a deposition
in SC he gave his full name as “John Charles Vian”. [SC Ind Docs (3) p.442-3]
In Georgia, in 1757, John Vann was commissioned as a captain in the
militia and as a justice of the peace. [Candler, GA Col Recs VII, 691]
On 7 Feb 1758 Ezekiel Harlan (uncle of Ezekiel Buffington who married
2 daughters of William Emory) petitioned for 100 acres on the Broad River
in GA at Pistol Creek, next to the lands of John Vann. [Candler, Col Recs
GA Vol VII, 723]. On 4 Apr 1758 Edward Vann was granted 200 acres on
the SC side of the Savannah River, next to John Vann’s plantation (which
was soon to be seized in a lawsuit). On 23 Oct 1758 Robert Gouedy sued
Vann for business debts totaling
In 1758 with the completion of Fort Loudon, many of the families at Ninety
Six returned to the Cherokee Nation. Susannah Emory (the daughter of
Robert Emory) at the age of 14 bore a son to John Stuart, one of the
occasional captains at Fort Loudon (he was a Charleston politician, not
a soldier). This son would be known as Bushyhead.
Also in 1758 and 1759 the Cherokee were recruited by Virginia to help
fight French-armed Indians in the north. Richard Pearis of Virginia and
Richard Smith of Keowee were the white leaders of the Cherokee but
Warhatchie (Wauhatchy) of Keowee was the war chief. (Warhatchie was
a half brother of Old John Hembree’s mother). Young Will Emory
(b.1744 d.1788), son of William Emory, was among the young warriors
who went north.
The tragic Cherokee war of 1759-1761 wiped out the Lower Cherokee
but family bonds remained strong. The half breed clans at Ninety Six
would have the option later of living as whites or living among the tribe
(sometimes doing both). In 1760 John Downing and Bernard Hughes
fled the Cherokee and stayed at John Vann’s house on the Broad River in
GA. These type of events formed family ties that endured.
The extermination of the Cherokee in SC ended Charleston’s control
of the Indian trade. Georgia, Virginia and North Carolina took on
greater roles. Virginians such as John Rogers and William Ephraim
“Rim” Fawlin (Falling) moved in among the tribe. The Cherokee
repopulated the SC backcountry but tribal power moved to the Overhills
(in TN). The Buffingtons and Harlans married among the Cherokee, and
Charleston businessman William Dewes established a trading post on
the path between Ninety Six and Keowee. Ellis Harlan, Ezekiel Buffington,
Richard Fields and Robert Dewes (Due) worked for William Dewes, whose
SC post was called Dewes Corner, then Due West (a corruption of the
pronunciation of his name). Richard Pearis also established a trading post
on the trading route. Joshua Pettit, a young import from New Jersey, worked
for Pearis briefly.
The Revolution found many of these families together as Tories who
traveled with the Cherokee but early crushing defeats brought the Cherokee
(and the half-breeds) to a position of neutrality. An unofficial warrior class
formed among the Cherokee (and later included other tribes) called the
Chickamauga. Will Emory, John Watts, William Elder, James Vann were
among these warriors. White Tories often took Cherokee wives and lived
among the tribe for safety. Some of these put on war paint and ran with the
Chickamauga. Richard Roe, John Emory, Charles Hughes, James Murphy,
Richard Fields, Joseph Vann and James Welch were among the mixed blood
or white Tories.
In Part Three the connections will become crystal clear (yeah, right).
I have not discovered a major connection between the Hembrees and the
Vanns but there are many little connections which imply a long affiliation.
Here are just a few.
The Joshua Pettit Connection:
Joshua Pettit (who has connections to every branch of the Hembrees) witnessed
the illegal land cession of 150,000 acres from the Cherokee to Richard Pearis
(via his Cherokee son George Pearis) on 21 Dec 1773. Joshua fathered a son
by Cherokee Nannie Downing. His time with the Cherokee was brief (his white
wife and children moved down to SC) but his consort grew to be an important
woman in the tribe. The children of Nannie Downing were:
1. Thomas Pettit Sr. m. Catherine Hughes
2. James Crittenden m. Nancy Hughes
3. Jennie Crittenden m. John (Jack) Wright
4. Margaret McSwain m. Avery Vann
5. Elizabeth McSwain m. David Welch
A half-breed Joshua Pettit lived close to a half-breed James Emory in Sevier
County, TN, 1840 – 1850. Other Cherokee Pettits can be found east and west.
The Hughes sisters were kin to Charles Hughes, the uncle of Chief James Vann.
Charles Hughes was a grandson of Bernard Hughes Sr. James Vann shot Charles
Hughes c. 1792 (or c. 1806?).
John (Jack) Wright was a trader who lived among the tribe in TN in 1797. His
brother, Josiah (Joe) Wright owned land on Martin’s Creek (Pendleton District)
which was part of Cherokee countryman Alexander Drumgoole’s grant and close to
lands of John Ross, father of the Cherokee chief. In the 1830’s the Hembrees lived
on this land. (My Hembree/Emory ancestor died on this land in 1863.)
An Al-sie Wright, widow of J. Wright (probably Josiah) was associated with the
Hembrees, Rainwaters and Vanns in the Baptist Church.
Avery Vann was a cousin of Chief James Vann. Charles Hughes Vann, a tribal
member in 1835, was probably a son of Avery Vann (there were two).
David Welch (c.1782 – c.1835) was a grandson of Old John Hembree through
his first wife (more on this below).
Old John Hembree’s first wife was a Cherokee mixed blood of Ninety Six, SC,
who died very young (c.1768). His second wife was the white widow of John
Cantle (d.1768), Mary Elizabeth Cantle. [SC Hist Mag xi, 36]. She died 9 Nov
1769. [Ibid. x, 166] The only child of his first marriage was Elizabeth Jane
Hembree (b.1765 SC d.c. 1798 NC). She married John Welch who was b.1753
at Ninety Six (son of packhorseman James Welch). John Welch was a mixed-blood
Tory under Richard Pearis (along with Old John Hembree) and eventually settled
on the Valley River in NC near Tamah’li (Tomatley), the birthplace of the
Cherokee children of William Emory (d.1770) and Robert Emory (d.1790). Some
of the Welch children lived as white but others remained connected to the tribe.
There is a slim chance that Elizabeth Jane Hembree did not die c.1798 but
remarried a William Welch; her children, though, remained with the father and
his Cherokee wife. A daughter of his second marriage was Al-sie Welch, wife of
Johnson Murphy, Cherokee grandson of the Widow Murphy who resided at
Ninety Six. (Mixed blood Murphys also resided close to the Joshua Pettit and
James Emory mentioned above in Sevier County, TN.)
See below for the Nicholas Welch who married Margaret Hembree.
On any Cherokee list, east or west, you are likely to find Welch, Murphy,
Downing, and Bushyhead names or descendants close together. John
Downing partnered with James Welch when they worked for James Beamer
in the Lower towns. Bushyhead, of course, descends from John Stuart and
Susannah Emory (b.1744), daughter of Robert Emory. The Downings were
closely related to the Vanns by intermarriage.
Chief James Vann killed his brother-in-law John Fawling in a duel in 1807.
A Cherokee court ruled it was murder. (James Vann was also part of the
conspiracy to kill Chief Doublehead in 1807.) John Fawling was a grandson
of William Emory (d.1770), the half –brother of Old John Hembree.
Emory Vann was b.c. 1815 in Abbeville District, SC and was the son of
Edward Vann (1763-1854) and Elizabeth Walls (d.1863). Emory Vann was a
cousin of Avery Vann, therefore a distant cousin of Chief James Vann. He was
named for an Emory, but which one?
Ezekiel Buffington married two daughters of William Emory and the close
relationship between the Buffingtons and the Vanns is well-established. Chief
James Vann was killed at Buffington’s Tavern in north Georgia.
William Hembree (b. 1774 SC d.c. 1811 SC) was the oldest son of Old John
Hembree. William’s wife was Selah Hughes, daughter of Charles Hughes, who
d.c. 1806 (the same Charles Hughes who was shot by Chief James Vann?)
“Selah” (SEE – lah) is a common Cherokee name often rendered “Cela” in
English and the phonetic reverse is also a common Cherokee name: “Al – SEE”.
William had 6 children including William Hembree Jr. (b.1796) who married an
Alsie (or Alerz) and Uriah Hembree (b.1805) who married Elizabeth Dolly Murray.
(Uriah was raised by his uncle Edward Hembree (1780-1863) and is often shown
as his son.)
William’s sons William and Uriah traded lands between the various Hembree lines.
Uriah signed the mortgage note of 24 Jan 1831 that allowed Simeon Hembree, son
of Edward Hembree, to buy land on Martin’s Creek that was once owned by Cherokee
countryman Alexander Drumgoole, then Thomas Carradine, then Josiah Wright (see
William Hembree sold land on 26 Mile Creek to Edward Hembree and to David
Hembree and later Edward Hembree bought some of David Hembree’s land.
The Virginia Hembrees, Heatons, Rainwaters, Fowlers, Moselys, Kings, Days, and
Meadows all resided in Granville County, NC, during the Baptist migration. So did
the Welch family of Nicholas Welch (b.1761 NC d.1822 TN) who married Margaret
Hembree (d.bef.1810), daughter of David Hembree. These Welches are no relation
to the mixed-blood family of John Welch, though they both had brothers Thomas
and William Welch. In the 1754 militia rosters for Granville County, all these names
On 12 March 1831 John Hembree (father of Mahala Hembree) sold 75 acres on 26
Mile Creek to Uriah Hembree for $300. This John (b.c. 1783 d.aft 1853) was a son
of Rev. James Hembree. John Hembree married Anna Heaton and acquired the 75
acres from Smith Heaton, who married into the Cherokee tribe and made tribal claims
in Georgia and Tennessee. Rev. James Hembree was the executor of the estate of
Anna Heaton’s father. The Heatons (Eatons) moved with the Hembrees from Virginia,
through North Carolina, to Spartanburg District, SC then to Pendleton District, SC.
William J. Vann was b.1828 in SC and d. during the Civil War. He was the grandson
of William Vann (d.bef 1795) and Martha (whose will was probated 25 Oct 1820 and
published by Rev. James Hembree). These Vanns owned land on 26 Mile Creek close
to lands of Charles Hughes, William Hembree and Edward Hembree (sons of Old John)
and the family of Rev. James Hembree (1759-1849). William J. Vann m. Mahala
(Hallie) Hembree (b.1824 d.1888) a daughter of John Hembree (b.1783). Although this
Vann lineage is incomplete, it is no doubt part of the family of John Vann, the Indian trader.
William J. Vann moved to Cumming, Forsyth County, GA, where he appears in the 1860
census. He was not the William Vaugh(a)n associated with the Haw Creek Baptist Church.
The Vaughan family of Forsyth County is an unrelated and well-documented family.
The Haw Creek Baptist Church was founded by Richard Phillips in 1841. He was b.1791
in NC and resided for a time on 26 Mile Creek in Pendleton District, SC. He married
Delilah Rainwater, a sister of Job Rainwater. Al-sie Wright was a charter member of this
church. She was a widow (age 56) in 1832 when she drew land in Forsyth County and
was still part of the church in 1856 at age 80. She thus was the correct age to be Josiah
Sgt. Kedar Heaton served with other North Carolinians in the Cherokee Expedition under
Col. Richard Richardson in 1759-1760. Kedar (Cader) Vann served with Joseph Vann and
Clement Vann in the Georgia Rangers patrolling the lands ceded by the Creeks in 1773-1774.
Far from complete, an examination of the Hembree – Vann connection helps us to figure out
the Hembrees connection to the Cherokee and the Hembrees connection to each other. Much
is missing, but persistence and sharing has greatly improved our understanding of these
complex families. I look forward to your replies and, as always, I reserve the right to
misquote my notes and garble the facts (a sign of advancing age). With your help we can get
1. There were Coody AND Gouedy / Goudey families in SC and these are not the same
names. The wife of Ludovic Grant, though, was NOT a Coody but probably a Gouedy.
Robert Gouedy’s Cherokee descendants seem to have adopted the Coody spelling. The
estate of Arthur Coodey of 96 District was administered 24 Mar 1783 by Edward Vann,
Drury Murphy, and widow Edith Coodey. Arthur was a Coody, not a Gouedy.
2. Bernard Hughes was reported to be killed in 1751 and his death was often noted but Gov.
James Glen clarified the issue in 1752: only Daniel Murphy was killed, Bernard Hughes
was plundered but not killed. By order of Chief Raven of the middle towns and Gov. Glen,
Hughes retired from his post at Stetcoe (on the Tuskasegee River in NC) and went down to
3. It was on 21 Dec 1773 (not 1775) that Joshua Pettit witnessed the illegal land cession of
150,000 acres from the Cherokee to Richard Pearis and Jacob Hite via Cherokee George
Pearis. [George Pettett, Pettett & Pettit – This Family Business, (Dallas: 2001)] Joshua
Pettit and Old John Hembree got a grant of land together in Spartanburg District in 1788.
John Hembree and John Elder joined in a civil suit that year in Spartanburg as well. (A
bastardy suit chased John Hembree out of Spartanburg.)
4. Although our William J. Vann moved to Cumming, Forsyth County, GA, he was NOT
associated with the Haw Creek Baptist Church in that county. The William Vaughan,
Willis Vaughan, and Delilah Vaughan shown there are a different and unrelated family.
The Vaughan family of Forsyth County is well-documented.