†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Transcribed by Janette West Grimes
This Article Appeared In The Times
But Was Not Actually Titled Calís Column
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† August 13, 1953
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Plans For Reunion Largely Completed
†† Your editor went down to Sycamore Valley Saturday afternoon, the church with which the Gregory reunion is to be held on the coming Sunday, August 16th. The church made necessary arrangements for furnishing good drinking water to the crowd expected, and also arranged for the handling of the traffic and the parking of cars. A loud speaker system has also been secured. A long wire table on which the lunch brought to the reunion may be spread, is to be erected near the close of this week. The church was very, very nice to make all these arrangements and their willingness to accommodate the crowd expected Sunday is something for thanksgiving on the part of members of the Gregory family.
†† We will try to give some facts in connection with the history of this family. It originated on the shores of Loch Lomond, in Northern Scotland, in the ninth century, the founder having been Gregorious III, son of Alpine King of Scotland from 832 to 836. However, we might add that it is our honest opinion that all the royal blood in the veins of the Gregory family has long since "run out."
†† For about 500 years we were called MacGregor, and are related to Robert MacGregor, known as Rob Roy, Scott's hero in his "Rob Roy," a novel whose scene was laid just to the east of Loch Lomond, above mentioned. This section has long been called the "Rob Roy Country." Rob Roy or Robert MacGregor was born in 1660 and died in 1734, and was a rather wild character in some ways.
†† In the year 1332 the MacGregor clans were at outs with the King of Scotland, who sought to destroy all their leaders. He went so far as to outlaw the MacGregor clans and hunted down some of the leaders with bloodhounds. In the year just given a large number of the MacGregor chieftains met secretly and decided to lose their identity by dropping the "Mac" and adding a "y." This was done by the greater part of the family, although some of them retained the old original MacGregor name. However, we would estimate that at least ten times as many Gregorys are now in the world as† MacGregors.
†† After remaining for hundreds of years in Northern Scotland, the family migrated in part at least, to North Ireland, and later to England and then to America. The first of the family to arrive in America was Richard Gregory, who reached Jamestown in 1620, who, if our memory serves us aright, came on the good ship "Anne." This was 333 years ago and our own records of fathers and sons go back to about 1725, approximately 100 years this side of the coming of the first of the family to America.
†† Perhaps the first of the family that we know to have been an ancestor of the editor was John Gregory, born perhaps about 1725 and supposedly born in Halifax County, Virginia. He is thought to have married Judy Morgan, said to have been a relative of the famous John Morgan, the confederate leader of Civil War times. She was frequently referred to as Jude Gregory. John Gregory and his wife lived for a number of years in Chatham County, North Carolina. There Judy came near to losing her life when she was struck on the head with a heavy piece of wood in the hands of a Negro slave named "Zip," when our great-great-grandfather, Jeremiah Gregory, was an infant. Jeremiah was born in North Carolina in 1764**, and his wife, Jude Gregory. He died on the waters of Nickojack Branch of Peyton's Creek in November, 1854, at the age of 90 years.
†† The story of the near fatal blow that Judy received is as follows: When Jerry was perhaps a year old, about 1767, John Gregory left home one day to go to mill, which was perhaps some miles away. He was delayed for perhaps two daughters, whose names we do not know, and little Jerry, were left at home. The faithful wife sat up and waited and waited for hours for her husband's return. He was said to have been, very fond of "mush," an early American food made of meal fried in grease. So the wife had prepared a bowl of the kind of food that her husband enjoyed and had left it sitting on the hearth of the home. She had retired in the little one-room house in which they lived in central North Carolina. About the break of day next morning, she was awakened by the sound of someone eating the "mush." She called out and said, " John, you nearly scared me to death." A voice, that of "Zip," answered in these words, "I will scare you worse than that in a minute." The slave had come down the chimney in the absence of his owner. The frightened wife and mother leaped out of bed, with her infant son, little Jerry, in her arms and flew to a door which she opened and dashed out. "Zip" followed her with a club in his hands. Around and around the house, she ran, clinging to her child until finally the slave felled her with a blow of the club he carried. Thinking he had killed his master's wife, fear took hold of the Negro and he fled from the scene, not doing her any other physical harm than the blow on the woman's head. An older child, a daughter, being aroused by the cries of her mother, seized our great-great-grandfather, Jerry, in her arms and set out to try to locate her father. She soon came to the creek near the home and was on the point of wading into its rolling waters when her father's voice, from the other side of the stream, stopped her. She cried out, "Zip has killed mammy." John Gregory, rushing home with his older daughter and little son, found his wife lying in the "drip of the house," the falling water having somewhat revived her. He secured the services of the best physician in that section, who raised the crushed skull and placed a Spanish silver dollar over the brain. She recovered and bore our great-great-great-grandfather at least three other sons, Little Bill, Major and John, Jr., commonly known as Joe Gregory.
†† As soon as the injured woman had proper attention, a search was instituted for "Zip," who was tracked to a "clearing" in the forest and located in a huge pile of logs which had been thrown together for the purpose of removing them by burning. He was ordered to come out of the log pile and would not for a time. Finally a fire was built at one end of the logs and "Zip" was "smoked out." He emerged from his log hide-out with a huge knife in his hand. He was quickly overpowered and carried to the Gregory home where he was hanged up by his big toes and left to die. He hanged thus for many hours, during part of which the little girl, our great-great-great-aunt, would stick splinters of wood into the fire, hold them there until they were burning and then stick them into the body of the slave, as she said, "You killed my mammy," the life of Judy hanging in the balance for days. In the seventeen nineties John died, perhaps in 1794. Later his widow and her children came to Nickojack Branch of Peyton's Creek. She is buried on part of the present Lester Earps farm, not far from Piper's school house on Nickojack. A large weeping willow stood for many years on her grave.
†† John Gregory had a brother, Thomas Gregory, from whom a larger number are descended than from John Gregory. In fact those expected to gather Sunday will be largely descendants of Thomas Gregory. This man died about 1817, at a ripe old age. He was born perhaps as early as 17** and died in Smith County, Tenn. His wife was Elizabeth, but we do not know her last name. Their children were: Hardin Gregory, removed to Giles County, Tenn.; William H. Gregory; Abraham Gregory, supposed to have removed to Robertson County, Tenn., at an early date; Bry Gregory, one of the writer's great-great-grandfathers; Elizabeth Gregory, married Isaac George; Sina Gregory, married a Douglass; and Thomas Gregory, married Phoebe Hawkins. We have no record of the offspring of Abraham or Hardin Gregory. We have a fairly complete list of the descendants of William H. Gregory, Bry Gregory and part of the descendants of Thomas Gregory, Jr. If Isaac George and his wife, Elizabeth, had any children, we have no record of them.
†† Bry married Elizabeth_____, the last name not being known. His children were: Ambrose Gregory, married Jemima Willis and died in 1827, and left numerous offspring , and we might add this line is known to the writer and can be easily traced; Ansil Gregory, killed at age of 16 years by a falling tree in 1814, at Cave Point just above where we are to meet Sunday in reunion; Laban Gregory, to Crawford County, Indiana, in 1825, and of whom we have a partial list of descendants; Mila or Miley Gregory, a son , of whom we know nothein whatever; Bettie Gregory, married her first cousin "Big Tom" Gregory, and left an offspring perhaps more numerous than that of any other person in this part of Tennessee, numbering about 2,000 persons at the time of the death of the last of her 14 sons and daughters; Sina Gregory, married Neal Goad and left no issue; Thenie Gregory, married Neal McDuffee, and left quite a lot of descendants; Delainie Gregory, married John McKinnis, and left a numerous offspring; Polly Gregory, married Malachi Shoulders, and became the ancestor of hundreds and hundreds of descendants; Sabrina Gregory, married a Dycus and removed to English, Indiana, we understand, but we have no knowledge of any of her descendants; and Tapley Gregory, married Sarah Piper, and left many descendants, largely in Southeast Tennessee and Georgia.
†† William H. Gregory, commonly known as Squire Bill, was a prominent citizen of Smith County for many years. He and his father, Thomas Gregory, and his brother, Bry Gregory, were all soldiers of the American Revolution. He was the first of the family to leave Chatham County, North Carolina, for Middle Tennessee, arriving on Peyton's Creek, in the present Smith County in 1791. He married, so we are told, Miss Martha Bledsoe, although we have not been able to learn, as yet, whose daughter whe was. His sons and daughters included Smith Gregory, married Becky Kemp; James Dobbins Gregory, married a Matherson; George O. Gregory, removed to Illinois and left a numerous offspring; Deltha Gregory, married John Willis, and left many descendants; John Gregory, no further information; Henry Gregory, no further information; Little Tom Gregory, no further information; Polly Gregory, married a Davis; and Joseph B. Gregory, married Harriet Cleveland, and left many descendants, part of whom are known to the writer. Squire Bill Gregory died on Peyton's Creek, at his home in what is now known as the Nixon Hollow, in 1852, esteemed and honored as few of his fellow citizens were. He was buried with military honors, with a salute fired over his grave, which is at the back of a bottom in the valley of the Nixon Hollow, and is now overgrown with weeds and bushes. We sought to find it early in July, but did not succeed.
†† Bry likewise lies in an unknown grave. However, we know the cemetery in which his remains lie. It is called today the Betty Earps graveyard and is located on the farm of Robert A. Earps, on Nickojack Branch of Peyton's Creek.
†† We know that Thomas Gregory, Jr., died a number of years before his father, Thomas Gregory, Sr., passed away; but we have not the least idea as to where Thomas Gregory, Jr. is buried, nor do we know positively where Phoebe, his wife, is interred. We suppose that she is most probably buried on the North hillside above the old home of her son, "Big Tom," which is about 150 yards above the present home of Richard Stafford on Nickojack Branch of Peyton's Creek. "Big Tom" and his wife, his own cousin, Betty Gregory, the daughter of Bry and Elizabeth, were the parents of four sons, and 10 daughters. The old house in which they lived is still standing and is in a fair state of preservation. The old family kitchen stood to one side has long since disappeared, but the main house of logs, with second story or upper floor stands on long after its early inmates have "gone the way of all the earth." The old spring flows on, just as it did 120 years ago when Sina, one of the daughters, and one of our grandmothers, was born there. The sons and daughters of "Big Tom" and Betty were: James Gregory, married Lethia Oldham; Robert Hawkins Gregory, married Mary, the daughter of Pitts Gregory; Ambrose Gregory, married a Cleveland and later a Coons; Gabriel, died in the Mexican War and never married; Sina Gregory, married her third cousin, Stephen Calvin Gregory, the writer's grandfather; Sina's twin sister, Betty Gregory, married a brother of Stephen Calvin Gregory, Dink Gregory; Sallie Gregory, married Tom Gregory, a half-brother of our grandfather; Amanda Gregory, married her first cousin, Gion Gregory; Polly Gregory, married her first cousin, Lincoln Shoulders; Kate Gregory, married John Mitchell; Sunsan Gregory, married Calvin Beasley; Letitia Gregory, married† a Beal; Lucinda Gregory, married a brother of Letitia's husband; and Jane Gregory, married first a Shoulders and later to George Bennett. These 13 sons and daughters who married, were the parents of 143† children. The 143 children became the parents of 765 children, and today the offspring of "Big Tom" and Betty number perhaps 4,000 persons. We believe this to be a record for descendants.
†† On Sunday, we plan to give more of the history of the family. But space does not permit the writer to give any additional information here. Anyway, we have no desire to present the idea the the Gregory family is above the average run of humanity. We have had some grand men and women in the family and also some that were not what they could have been. Over the mistakes of those of the past, we would place kindly and gently the broad mantle of Christian charity and forgetfulness; for those who have wrought well, we would say, "You have given us good examples. May we walk in them." Till next Sunday morning, this is the editor of the Times "signing off" and saying: "Meet us at the reunion."