The McCrary Family

The McCrary family was at one time a major family in Fairview, but now I do not know of a single McCrary here. They can still be found in Transylvania and western Henderson counties. The McCrary family, like most older families in Fairview, came from the section of Rowan County, NC, that is now Davidson County. They lived south of Lexington in the Jersey Creek and Swearing Creek area. The families descended from Hugh McCrary (1720–February 14, 1785) and Susannah Whitaker (1727–1800). Susannah was a sister of Jane Whitaker Reed, Joshua Whitaker and Peter Whitaker, whose descendants were among the first Fairview residents. Hugh and Susannah Whitaker McCrary are buried at Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery in Linwood, Davidson County, NC.

Boyd McCrary, born around 1755, was the son of Hugh and Susannah. He married Nancy Anna Merrill, a relative of the Merrill family, also early settlers of Fairview. They moved to Fairview in the late 1790s, as did his Whitaker and Reed cousins. Boyd and Nancy were listed on the 1800 Buncombe County census. The family had one male over 45, one female over 45, two males from 16–26, two males from 10–16 and two females from 0–10.

I believe Gravelly Branch was originally known as McCrary’s Mill Creek. Boyd McCrary had a mill on the creek. It appears that Boyd and his wife separated. Boyd’s will was written on October 15, 1815 in Buncombe County, witnessed by John Whitaker, Andrew Merrill, Benjamin Merrill and Joseph Henry. The will was probated on November 8, 1838, in Howard County, Missouri. Boyd had two sons who moved to Howard County, Missouri, and two sons who moved to Davies County, Missouri. It appears that Boyd moved to Missouri and lived with his sons.

Boyd and Nancy Anna McCrary had 11 children, all born in Rowan (now Davidson) County, NC.

1. William, born around 1775, died by 1815. He had three sons and three daughters. Apparently, they and their mother left Buncombe County. There is no record of them.

2. Joseph ”Joel,” born around 1776 and listed on the 1810 Buncombe County census. He was dead by 1815, per his father’s will. He had two children. (Joel’s son, Silas, was the last McCrary in Fairview. He was born in Fairview on October 29, 1806. He married his father’s second cousin, Malinda Whitaker, daughter of William Whitaker and Susannah Sumner. They lived on what is now called Gravelly Branch. They had 12 children. Two children that died as infants are buried in Cane Creek Cemetery. Silas and Malinda moved to DeKalb in Bowie County, Texas, in 1850. Silas died there on January 7, 1886. Malinda died there on September 22, 1852.)

3. Hugh, born around 1777. He moved to Buncombe County by 1802. He married Elizabeth Burton Clark. His second wife was a woman named Jones. It is said his three sons detested his second wife and ran away to Duck River, Tennessee. One son married a Cherokee girl. Hugh moved to Strawberry Plains, Tennessee. He is said to have died in Monroe County, Tennessee, between 1831 and 1839.

4. Elijah, born around 1778 and moved to Howard County, Missouri. He was said to have had 14 children.

5. Phoebe, born in 1780. She married Thomas Burton (1771–1802), who was the son of John Burton (the founder of Asheville) and Jane (or Jean) Forester. After Thomas died, she married Zebulon Brevard. Phoebe died in Miami County, Ohio.

6. Eleanor, born around 1782 and married John Mackey.

7. Nancy, born around 1783. She married William Merrill, who was born in October 1785 to John Merrill and Catherine Rhodes. Nancy and William had one son. After William died, Nancy married Eli Merrill. Eli was born on October 29, 1777 to Benjamin Merrill (1752–1836) and Penelope (1760–1830). They moved to Merrillsville, Missouri, which may now be in Davies County, Missouri. The McCrary Cemetery there is full of Fairview last names. Nancy died in Merrillsville in 1837. Eli moved to Dallas County, Texas, after his wife’s death and died there on December 26, 1849.

8. Susannah. Nothing known except name.

9. Benjamin, born November 12, 1785. He married Mary “Polly” Coleman on March 13, 1808. They moved to Howard County, Missouri. He next married Harriet Emandy Wilson. He died on September 14, 1878.

10. John, born April 9, 1793. Married Sarah Sumner, born March 27, 1798, to Richard Sumner of Fairview. John died between 1850 and 1860. Sarah died on October 5, 1883. They are buried in the Carter Cemetery in Gentry County, Missouri.

11. James, John’s twin, also born April 9, 1793. Married his second cousin, Margaret Whitaker, born on December 25, 1793 in Fairview. Daughter of William Whitaker, Sr. (1772–1860) and Mary Canady (1772–1848). When Davies County, Missouri opened up, they moved there to Sheridan Township. James is said to be the first person to die in Sheridan Township, on August 22, 1835. He was the first person buried in what became the McCrary Cemetery. Margaret died of typhoid fever on May 13, 1858. Typhoid fever was so widely spread among the McCrary family that it became known as McCrary fever.

Bruce Whitaker documents Fairview-area genealogy. To get in touch with him, contact the Crier at [email protected] or 828-771-6983 (call/text).

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