One factor that must be considered when delineating the early ABNEY families is their closeness to each other. In the past few years, the author has shown that many times, the issue of these Generation One ABNEY’s have been confused. Dr. Abraham ABNEY has been a focal point of much of this “kidnapping”. Children, and sometimes grand-children of George, Dannett Jr., and Paul, have been, and often still are shown in Dr. Abraham ABNEY’s family. The author has taken these ABNEY’s, and placed them in their proper families, oftentimes to the dismay of many readers.
The author, being descended from Dr. Abraham ABNEY, understands that many consider it an honor to be so descended. However, every ABNEY descendant must be proud of his/her own ABNEY ancestor, no matter which one it is proved to be.
The fact remains that the only issue of Dr. Abraham ABNEY, proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, is Dr. Nathaniel ABNEY. However, in “tearing down” the fictitious family of Dr. Abraham ABNEY, the author also realizes that a man who lived to a ripe old age (about 84 years) in early Virginia & South Carolina, surely had more than just one child. The author believes he did, and is prepared, in this article, to once again shock the genealogical world of ABNEY researchers. This information will change decades of beliefs of “accepted but incorrect” ABNEY history. The reader should be prepared to look at his/her family history in a new light.
In future issues, we will refer to this problem as #61, “the issue of Dr. Abraham ABNEY”.
The first clues to the discovery of Dr. Abraham ABNEY’s children are found in the studying of the will of his brother, George, and in geographical evidence. George ABNEY’s will mentions only four sons, to wit: Samuel, Michael, Dannett, & William. He mentions no daughters, yet, we insist on giving him a daughter, Rebecca ABNEY who m. Edward DEAN, simply because Edward calls Dannett ABNEY (s/o George) his brother-in-law. However, there are other ways to be a brother-in-law. Therefore, we cannot accept this conclusion as fact based on a tunnel-view translation of this phrase.
So is the author writing that George had no daughters? No, but it certainly is possible. Or, perhaps he had no “surviving” daughters. Either way, the author isn’t easily convinced that persons not named in a will should be readily added to a family group.
Therefore, the possibility remains that Rebecca ABNEY who m. Edward DEAN was not a daughter of George ABNEY. So whose daughter could she have been? Dr. Abraham ABNEY’s daughter, of course! How so? An excellent clue appears in a deed in Hanover Co., Va. of Dr. Abraham ABNEY to Isaac BREEDING dated 04 Oct 1745 and recorded 1st Mon. Nov 1745. as follows:
Abraham ABNEY of Hanover Co. to Isaac BREEDING of Blissland Par., New Kent Co., for £27/10, all that plantation which Edward DEAN now lives on, part of a greater tract formerly belonging to said ABNEY, 172 a. bounded by Gilleys Creek. /s/ Abra. ABNEY, Casan ABNEY. /w/ William BRUCE, Edward (his + mark) DEAN, William (his g mark) GADBRY. Casana, wife of Abraham, relinquished her dower right.
Why was Edward DEAN living on Dr. Abraham ABNEY’s land? If he was a son-in-law of George ABNEY, why wasn’t he living on George’s land?
It is well known that George owned land in Hanover Co., Va. However, in 1745, George lived in Henrico Co., Va., having had removed from Hanover by 1735.
So here we have Edward DEAN living on Dr. Abraham ABNEY’s land, and witnessing the deed to sell that land, as well. So where would Edward DEAN live after this land was sold? Simple answer: Lunenburg Co., Va. That’s right! At this time, he migrated with Dr. Abraham ABNEY to Lunenburg Co., Va. Also going to Lunenburg around this time was George ABNEY and shortly thereafter, William SPRAGGINS, brother-in-law of Dr. Abraham & George.
So, although these ABNEY’s migrated to the same area around the same time, Edward DEAN, who was living on Dr. Abraham’s land, seems to have migrated “with” Dr. Abraham (as we can assume that since Edward DEAN’s home was being sold, he must also need a new place to live). These ABNEY’s & Edward DEAN are proved to have migrated to Lunenburg Co.
Okay, suppose we think there could be some credence given to this theory. If Edward DEAN was son-in-law to Dr. Abraham ABNEY, then Rebecca ABNEY was Dannett ABNEY’s first cousin. How then did Edward DEAN refer to him as “brother-in-law”. There is circumstantial evidence pointing toward a simple answer to this question.
Dannett ABNEY (s/o George) m. Cassandra. Her surname is not known. However, is it purely coincidental that Dr. Abraham’s wife was also named Cassandra? Suppose Dr. Abraham and his wife, Cassandra named a daughter Cassandra. Further suppose that she married her cousin, Dannett ABNEY. Since this Cassandra ABNEY would be a daughter of Dr. Abraham ABNEY, she would also be a sister of Rebecca ABNEY, hence a sister-in-law to Edward DEAN. Therefore, her husband (Dannett ABNEY, s/o George) would also be a brother-in-law to Rebecca ABNEY and to Rebecca’s husband, Edward DEAN! Here, we have the pieces to the puzzle fitting perfectly into place!
If we use the great weight or preponderance of the evidence, we have to go with this theory, as opposed to the theory that Rebecca was a daughter of George. Why? Here’s the greater weight of the evidence:
Edward DEAN as a son-in-law of:
Dr. Abraham George
living on his land
wife not in George’s will
called Dannett bro-in-lawditto
migrated with him
The only evidence we have that Rebecca was a daughter of George was that Edward DEAN called Dannett ABNEY his brother-in-law! However, that statement still holds true in the author’s theory!
Is there additional evidence? Perhaps. In his book “ABNEY Supplement” by Cousin John R. HENSELL *1988, Cousin John writes (on page 109) “Edward DEAN…In a deed he mentions Nathaniel ABNEY as his brother-in-law”. Does such a deed really exist or is this a typographical error? Perhaps Cousin John can shed some light on this subject.
Nevertheless, without this deed, the greater weight or preponderance of the evidence is very much in favor of accepting this theory above the older theory.
The author believes, therefore, that our research should be geared toward proving the children of Dr. Abraham ABNEY, of whom it now appears that Rebecca and Cassandra are in that category!
We can further prove a closeness between Dr. Abraham ABNEY & Dannett ABNEY, George’s son. They were neighbors (their land adjoined) in Lunenburg and Halifax Counties, Virginia together. After George’s death, Dr. Abraham ABNEY & George’s sons migrated to South Carolina, albeit different areas.
However, Cassandra ABNEY (widow of Dr. Abraham) was granted land in Orangeburg Dist., S.C. on 01 Jan 1787. Dr. Nathaniel ABNEY had removed to Orangeburg District shortly before, where he lived in Old Winton County (now Barnwell County). Dr. Nathaniel was a Magistrate in Winton County. However, a certain entry in the Winton County Minutes declares, “appraisement of Dannett ABNEY, Esq. was returned by order to be recorded”. This proves that Dannett ABNEY owned land in Winton County. He may not have lived on this land, but he certainly owned it. Why?
Cousin Margaret HARLOW presents a possibility: Suppose Cassandra (widow of Dr. Abraham) died and left a portion of her land to Cassandra (wife of Dannett ABNEY). In this wise, Cassandra (wife of Dannett ABNEY) as an heiress of Cassandra (widow of Dr. Abraham) would show her to have been the elder Cassandra’s daughter, hence this theory would become fact. Since Dannett ABNEY was Cassandra’s husband, her land is his land. Finding a deed of this land could prove this theory.
Descendants of Dannett ABNEY & Cassandra, as well as those of Dr. Abraham ABNEY & Cassandra, should search the records of Orangeburg District, and Winton & Barnwell County, S.C. to find a will of Cassandra, or deed of Cassandra and/or Dannett. The proof must lie in Orangeburg District, S.C.
Proving this theory may also provide us with clues to another mystery of both the ABNEY & the DEAN family. That mystery is: the parentage of Elizabeth Malonia “Charity” ABNEY who m. Absalom DEAN.
Simeon Cobb DEAN was a son of Absalom and Charity. When in his 90’s, he wrote that his mother was a daughter of a British doctor. The author and other researchers of this line, have deemed it impossible for such a relationship to exist. However, as with most family tradition, there is a degree of truth which has to be extrapolated from the tradition. So what is the truth of Simeon’s statement?
He obviously must have known that his mother was an ABNEY. Might he also have known, from family tradition, that his British doctor ancestor was an ABNEY? Therefore, isn’t it fairly easy to realize that he could have put two-and-two together and assumed that his mother was descended from the British doctor, when in reality, his father was the one descended from the British doctor? Of course, that would be an easy mistake to make. However, if the theory presented above is true, than Absalom DEAN might descend from Edward DEAN and Rebecca ABNEY; therefore Absalom DEAN would be descended from the British doctor, Dr. Abraham ABNEY who was a doctor in the British Colony of Virginia as early as 1742!
The ancestry of Absalom DEAN is still a mystery. However, the theory as presented above would give some credence to Simeon DEAN’s statement; as well as to virtually the same statement made by his nephew, Emory Franklin DEAN.
This theory is based purely on circumstantial evidence! However, as previously stated, the evidence is much more in favor of this theory, than of the older theory.
In order to discover the ABNEY history, and put that history into a logical order, we must be willing to change those beliefs that we’ve had for many decades. We must be willing to be flexible, to try new theories, especially if the new theories make more sense; and logically delineate a particular family line without discrepancy.
Please feel free to make any comments about this theory, and provide any supporting documentation available. Furthermore, in your South Carolina searches, please look for a will of Dr. Abraham ABNEY. This will should have been filed in that part of Camden District (around 1784-1787) which later became Chester County.