© April 2001
James Guthrie was born ca 1739, probabably in Ireland. He reportedly lived first in Maryland, then went to Orange Co North Carolina. (1) A James Guttrey appears on Caswell Co records beginning in 1782, and others of this surname also appear here such as John, Jacob, and Will Guttery. On 10 Feb 1791 James Guttery and John McMinnamy were present together at an estate vendue; we shall see that John lived in Caswell Co. in 1790 next to Alexander McMinnamy, who in 1798 married Mary Guthrie, James' daughter. The 1790 census does show a James Godfrey. There are several land grants for a James Guthrie (Guttry, etc) on the South Hico on the border between Orange and Caswell Co NC. James Guttery was a chain carrier for various surveys in this area. In addition a State grant for a tract on Varnal's Creek, a tributary of the Haw River, was issued in Nov. 1784 for 225 acres (entry no. 973). A James Godfrey was sworn chain carrier for various surveys along the Hico as well as Varnal's Creek at the time, leading one to the conclusion that we are dealing here with a single individual who was engaged in land speculation and had tracts in two diffrerent areas of Orange County. A James Guttery was paid from an estate sale in July 1800 in Caswell Co.
James Guthrie Sr wrote his will on 1 Nov 1800 and it was recorded in Orange Co. N C in May 1801, so he died about April 1801. (Will book D: 40, original at NC Archives) He would have married about 1764; his widow and other heirs sold a tract of some 323 acres on the South Hico River, on the Orange- Caswell border, in 1810 (DB 13 p 448- details below.) Most of his children had married and left the home by the time of his death; his two sons had already gone to Tennessee. James' wife was named Elizabeth; she lived for a time with her son-in-law Alexander McMinnamy after her husband's death. McMinnamy moved to Tenn not long after 1810.
The following children were mentioned in his will; additional data from other sources.
a. James Guthrie Jr, born ca 1765. A James Godfrey appears in the 1800 federal census in Orange Co, born between 1755-74, surely this man [?]. James Jr was taxed on 100 acres, Middle Fork Red River in 1799, indicating he was resident in Tenn by this time. James Jr received 100 acres of land "on the North side of the Creek adjoining Wm McKee" according to his father's will; this tract was located in Caswell Co. He sold this in 1805 at the same time his brother Robert sold his Caswell land. Both were residents of Sumner Co Tenn then. James purchased 560 acres on the ridge and waters of Red River and Station Camp Creek in NW Sumner Co TN in Aug 1807, although he was likely here prior to this. (Sumner deed bk ___, p 359). This land could be the Dry Creek area. In Nov 1807 James Godfrey of Wilson Co TN sold 333 acres in the same area to Robert Guthrie (4: 354). Need these deeds to see if it is the same property! James married Jean Smith, dau of Andrew and Elizabeth Smith, in Orange Co NC in 1791. He was on the 1820 Sumner Co census.
b. Robert Guthrie, b 3 Nov, 1770 near Hillsboro NC, married Mary Smith in Orange Co NC on 29 Jan 1791, died Sept 1843 in Keytesville, Chariton Co Mo. He was the first of the family to move to Tenn. "In 1792 Mr. Guthrie left North Carolina for the West, and spent one year in East Tennessee, near Jonesboro. The next year he left East Tennessee, and after spending some time in the neighborhood in which Gallatin, Middle Tennessee, now stands, settled finally on the Ridge, near the Old Ridge Meeting House. One of his sons now has in his possession a letter of dismiss[al] a letter of recommendation granted to Mr Guthrie and his wife by the session of the Presbyterian congregation of which they were members in North Carolina, and signed by their pastor, Rev. James Bowman." (4) [The author of this quote, Rev Richard Beard, was a nephew of Mary Smith Guthrie and lived for a while with the family.] In Oct 1799 Robert witnessed a deed for land on Arington Fork of the Red River lying partly in Sumner and part in Robertson Co TN (Sumner deed 2:520). Robert was a grand jury member in Robertson Co Tenn in July and Oct 1800; in 1803 he purchased 150 acres of land in Sumner on Red River from Jos Latimer of Robertson Co, being part of a tract of 1000 acres originally granted by the State to James Godfrey. (Sr) Robert lived on the ridge of high land on the Red River watershed, near the old historic Ridge [Cumberland Presbyterian] Meeting House. The history of this church is given in the "church" section of the Sumner Co TNGenWeb website, and we know that the church was located west of Cottontown very close to the Robertson Co border. His son Robert Wesley Guthrie (b 1799) settled on a farm adjacent to that of his cousin Robert Guthrie (son of James) near the Dry Fork Creek Presbyterian Church (Durham: "Old Sumner"). The 1878 map of Sumner clearly shows Guthries living next to the Dry Creek Church.
c. Ann Guthrie, b ca 1766, married John Shannon 17 Aug 1784 in Orange Co NC. John
purchased 320 acres in Sumner Co (on Drake's Creek) from John Purdy on 6 Nov 1805. This
deed wit. by James and Robert Guthrie, probably neighbors. (Sumner db 4: 115). John was
enumerated in Robertson Co Tenn by 1812 in the company of Robert and Elizab Guthrie
PATTON. No trace of John is found in 1820. John Shannon reportedly wrote a will probated in
1) Samuel Marion Shannon, b ca 1787 NC, d ca 12 Nov 1834 Robertson Co Tn. Samuel is named in a deed in Sumner in Sept 1806 (DB __, p. 180) He is on the 1820 Sumner census.
d. Mary Guthrie, b. ca 1774, md Alexander McMennamy on 9 May 1798 in Orange Co NC. Alexander is on the 1800 census, Caswell Co NC p. 131. Alexander was a party to a deed disposing of James Guthrie's land in 1810. His wife died prior to 1840 Wilson Co TN.
e. Margaret Guthrie, b ca 1776 Orange Co NC, marr. [John] Forrest. No marriage record found, nor other records, but Ann Guthrie says she appears in Sumner and Robertson records.
f. Martha Guthrie, b ca 1778 Orange Co, NC, marr. ___ Barnett by 1801.
g. Jean Guthrie, b. ca 1780, md John Madden in Orange Co on 10 Dec 1801; living in 1810.
h. Elizabeth Guthrie, b ca 1782, married Robert Patton in Orange Co N C on 8 July 1803. The
Orange Co deed disposing of the dower land of her mother (13: 448) executed in 1810 does not
mention either Robert Patton or John Shannon since they had already left for Tennessee. A single
record for Robert Patton is found in Robertson Co records, an enumeration, perhaps of men of
militia age, dated 1812. [War of 1812 records?] We know he was in Robertson Co Tenn in
about 1815 as a son was born there (Bible record, cited by Wanda P Reed on Robertson website).
It is of interest that James and Robert Guthrie and John Shannon all lived in Sumner Co near the
Robertson border but on rare occasion appear in Robertson records. Was the same true
of this Robert Patton?? By 1817 he had moved to Illinois.
(1) Guthrie, Lawrence R., "Guthrie Family", 19--, includes "Sketches of Tenn and Missouri Guthries" by Rev Allen Washington Guthrie,
(2) Guthrie, Ann: "Guthrie Family History", (2000) [Ann has contributed much information and has far more on this family than I do. She has graciously consented to let me post the above as a starting point for discussion of the Guthrie family.]
(3) Snider, Margaret, "Sumner Co. Cem Records" (1981)
(4) Beard, Rev. Richard, "Sketches of Cumberland Presbyterian Ministers", (19--) [See www.cumberland.org/hfcpc/Churches/RidgeTN.htm]
(5) James Guthrie LWT, Orange Co NC (Will book D: 40).
(6) Orange Co NC deeds (cited in text)
(7) 1812 Robertson Co."enumeration", copy at Allen Co Library, Ft Wayne Ind.