George Gaddy


Mary Etta’s Scottish ancestry can be traced back to George Gaddy of Virginia. Family history maintains that his father, William Gaddy was born in Cupar, County Fife, Scotland in 1695. Sixteen-year-old William (Gaddyn) boarded a ship in Bristol, England. He disembarked fifteen days later in the Colony of Carolina.  From there he traveled to New Kent County, VA.

William’s future son, George lived to see Virginia transform from a British province into an independent state. His wife and children witnessed Kentucky County, Virginia attain its own statehood in 1792. Over two hundred years later, Gaddy descendants continue to call central Kentucky home.GeoGaddieDescendancy

Mary Etta Hazlewood of Hart County, KY descended from George’s eldest daughter, Mary Gaddy. (Click here to read of Mary and her daughter RUTHA PARRISH MEARS.) Please note that the Gaddy name has multiple variant spellings: Gaddie, Geddy, etc.


The Gaddy Family of Virginia

Eighteen-year-old Mary Ann Sherwood of Goochland was born and raised in the Virginia Colony. Her parents likely preferred her to wed an Englishman. Instead, a Scottish newcomer named William Gaddy won Mary’s heart. On a cold January day in 1725, she gave birth to George, one of their seven children. The Gaddy clan grew as the siblings each established families of their own.

George celebrated the Christmas of 1752 with his newlywed wife Anna Stovall. In 1770 the couple settled in Bedford County (near present day Lynchburg) raising their family on Fleming’s Mountain. The cold water of Ivy Creek ran through the farm on its way downstream to the James River. IvyCreekVATwo hundred acres of ridges and hollows boasted plentiful game. Walnut groves provided an annual nut harvest. George kept apple and peach orchards for fresh fruit, hard cider, and maybe a bit of peach brandy.

Anna managed a comfortable household, which included the luxury of feather beds. A nearby barn sheltered their horses and dairy cows. She tended the garden, while her daughters helped with the cooking and cleaning. The boys fished and hunted the mountainside together. But not all was idyllic.

By the time Anna gave birth to their last child in 1772, Virginia and the other colonies were tiring of British oppression. The Gaddys sided with the Patriot cause. Son George, Jr. volunteered towards the end of the Revolutionary War, returning to Bedford County in 1781 after a six month tour of duty.ordinary

In March of 1785, George Sr. was ailing. He drew up his last will and testament in the presence of his neighbors, Reuben Cobbs and Baptist minister John Anthony. Sometime that spring/summer George died at the age of sixty.

Six sons and three daughters survived their father. Most of them remained in Bedford, yet nearly half headed west into Kentucky: George, Francis, and Mary moved to Green County with their respective families. Elijah relocated to Madison County, KY. Even George’s widow, Anna moved to Nelson County, KY where she married her second husband, Abraham Uncil in 1793.

Sources Nelson County, Kentucky, Marriage Index, 1785-1815 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2001.

Bailey, Chuck. “Ivy Creek, the Old Stomping Ground.” The William & Mary Blogs. N.p., 24 June 2014. Web. 16 July 2017. <;.

Earle, Alice Morse. “Taproom of a Tavern,” Project Gutenberg. Stage Coach and Tavern Days. New York: MacMillan and Company, 1900, (accessed May 2, 2012).

“George E. Gaddy, Sr.” Genealogy. N.p., 01 Dec. 2007. Web. 16 July 2017. <;.

The National Archives; Washington, D.C.; Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 – ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 – ca. 1900; Record Group Number:15, Pension Number R. 2778.

Whitten, Joida. Abstracts of Bedford County, Virginia, wills, inventories, and accounts, 1754-1787. Dallas: n.p., 1968. Print.

John Ashley

(1625- after 1671)

Mary Etta’s ancestry traces back to Colonial America. John Ashley and his wife Jane Cooper emigrated from England to Lancaster County, Virginia by 1652. The previous blog post featured their son Isaac’s daughter, Anne Ashley Forrester. (See the descent line pictured to the right.)johnashleydescendants

The following sketch is fictionalized. Nevertheless, the year 1667 was probably talked about in the Ashley household long after the event. Young Isaac no doubt heard stories about the year he was born. And they may have sounded something like this.


”On the 27th of August followed the most dreadful Hurry Cane…”

The Great Storm of 1667 slammed into the coast. Historically one of the worst hurricanes to hit southeast Virginia, the massive storm delivered torrential rains driven by powerful winds. For twelve days, wild weather battered coastal settlements such as Jamestown and caused extensive inland flooding.

John had known that the northerly wind boded ill that morning. A wall of dark clouds loomed across the bay. A storm was coming. But never in his forty-two years could he have anticipated how much havoc was headed his way.

The Ashley home sat at the head of Antipoison Creek. ashleyplantationlancasterva John had obtained the 240 acre plantation only five years earlier. Sandwiched between the Rappahannock River and the Chesapeake Bay, the farm may as well have been an island. While he battened down the outbuildings, his wife Jane gathered the children inside the main house. And then it hit.

The wind roared continuously. Rain swept against the wooden house in wave after wave. Water leaked in. Shingles blew away. The fearful cracking of falling trees and the groaning of the house throughout the night kept the Ashleys on knife’s edge.

At daybreak, John ventured outside. The decimated corn and tobacco crops lay flattened in the field. One outbuilding was missing its roof. Another was missing entirely, literally blown away by the hurricane in the night. He and the family salvaged what they could from the tangled mess. And then the rain began to fall – again.

By the second day, the ground was muck. The creek rose quickly. Flooding waters swept livestock away. Seepage in the root cellar threatened the family’s food supply. And still it rained.

After several days, the atmosphere inside the home was almost as intense as the weather outdoors. The late summer heat and humidity grew stifling. Everything felt damp. Sweat soaked clothing clung to skin. John’s children, at first frightened then bored, spent hour upon hour listening to the storm. Cabin fever was setting in. And still it rained.

johnashleytimelineJane tried to feed the family as best she could.  She had some vegetables picked from the garden patch before the storm. A butt of salt-cured meat had been recovered from the smokehouse. But the family consumed all the eggs and milk early on and there would be no more. (The cow and most of the chickens had been missing for days.) Eating little food herself, Jane breastfed baby Isaac. She was as relieved as everyone else not to hear his cranky crying. And still it rained.

By this time, John accepted the worst. His plantation would take years to recover. It was unlikely that any Ashley cattle would return. Downed trees blocked the muddy road and littered the fields. The remaining outbuildings like the house itself required extensive repairs. Autumn labor would be spent rebuilding instead of harvesting. The family might even face a food shortage going into winter. How low his spirits must have been.sunclouds

But on the thirteenth day, the clouds parted. The sun shone bright. And John Ashley gave thanks to God that the rain had finally ceased.

Post Script

While the Ashley family account is fictionalized, the hurricane that struck in 1667 was very real. An excerpt from a London newspaper read:

Sir having this opportunity, I cannot but acquaint you with the relation of a very strange tempest which hath been in these parts … it overturned many houses, burying in the ruines much goods and many people, … blowing many cattle that were near the sea or rivers, into them., whereby unknown numbers have perished, … much corn was blown away, and great quantities of tobacco have been lost, to the great damage of many, and utter undoing of others. Neither did it end here, but the trees were torn up by the roots, and in many places whole woods blown down so that they cannot go from plantation to plantation. The sea (by the violence of the wind) swelled twelve feet above its usual height drowning the whole country before it.

An estimated 10,000 houses were lost. The Ashleys (like the majority of other affected colonists) faced the prospect of starting over. Two years later, John obtained a second property about 10 miles north of Antipoison Creek. He apparently doubled-down instead of giving up.


Roth, David. Seventeenth Century Virginia Hurricanes. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 June 2017. <;.

Nugent, Nell Marion. Cavaliers and pioneers: abstracts of Virginia land patents: volume two 1666-1695. Richmond, VA: Virginia State Library, 1977. Print.

Nugent, Nell Marion. Cavaliers and Pioneers: Vol. 1 1623-1666 Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents. Richmond: Virginia State Library, 2004. Print.

Yates Publishing. U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.

Ann (Ashley) Forrester



annashleydescentAnn (Ashley) Forrester’s life spanned the first three quarters of the 18th century. Her world was that of an American Colonist. Shortly after she died, her youngest son Thomas Forrester joined in the Revolutionary War. 

Fast forward another 111 years on the family tree timeline: In 1891, Ann’s great-great-great-great-granddaughter, Mary Etta Hazlewood was born. While Mary was going through her “terrible twos,” a church official in Maryland was re-recording her Great Grandmother Forrester’s birth…


“Ann Ashly dau of Isaac and Elizabeth Ashly b Jan 2 1701”

St. Paul’s Church

On a July day in 1893, the Reverend Denroche began copying the original manuscripts of St. Paul’s Parish. When completed, the archival project would preserve early vital records for Kent County, Maryland dating back to circa 1690. Ann and her seven siblings were listed in birth order: John, Isaac, Mary, Thomas, Elizabeth, William, Ann, plus little brother Abraham.


Isaac and Elizabeth Ashley raised their children on farmland near the Chesapeake Bay:“There was the magnificent expanse of the Bay; …there were mighty forests stretching as far as the eye could reach, unchoked by briers, and containing ‘strange and beautiful trees’; there were banks and groves dotted with the early flowers of spring ; The bay and rivers were teeming with fish and covered with water fowl, while the forests held multitudes of wild turkeys, deer, bears and small game. (Usilton, 1997.)” Yet the fauna was not entirely native.

Early Kent settlers brought domestic stock with them when they crossed the Atlantic Ocean, including Sussex cattle. The dark red cows were docile despite their horns. Farmers even employed the robust bulls as draft animals, similar to oxen. However, Sussex cattle were primarily bred for beef production.

sussex bull
Sussex Bull

Whether Sussex or another breed, cattle roamed the Ashley farmstead. Ann likely enjoyed various dishes prepared by her mother such as fresh rump roasts, brisket stews, fried steak with gravy, calf’s brains patties, roasted tongues and udders, marinated liver, cow heel pudding, and kidney pie. Her father would have sold/slaughtered cattle as payment for debts, or traded in kind for other goods or services.

Cattle farming must have proven profitable. In the spring of 1707, Isaac Ashley secured a grant for 300 acres of land at the head of Worton Creek. This expansion of the family plantation was known as “Ashley’s Lott.” Two years later, tragedy struck.

Isaac died in the late winter of 1708/09. The next summer, his widow Elizabeth also died leaving their neighbor Mrs. Twigg as executrix of the Ashley estate. Ann’s mother left instructions that the cattle be distributed equally among the Ashley children when they reached age 21. Her brothers would inherit the various farms. Ann being a daughter was expected to marry.

 North Carolina

At age 8, Ann was an orphaned minor. Where and with whom she and her siblings were raised is uncertain. Her two oldest brothers married into the Wroth family and remained in Kent County, MD. Her uncle (Isaac’s brother, Thomas Ashley) had moved to North Carolina before 1720. His niece eventually settled in the same southern colony marrying a James Forrester.

Ann and James Forrester lived along the Eno River in what later became Orange County, NC. The Forresters were early settlers in old Indian Territory. Named after the Eno Indian tribe of the 1600s, the river country became Ann’s new home. About 1726, she gave birth to a son named William. Other children followed: James, Benjamin, at least one daughter, and finally Thomas about 1737.

As the family grew, so did the surrounding population. More farm families moved in from Virginia, Maryland, and South Carolina. Towns established nearby.hillsboroughmap

The county seat of Hillsborough sat at a crossroads with its own saw mill, grist mill, courthouse, stockade jail, market house, church, inns, general store, taverns, and “race ground” for Saturday horse racing. The Forresters may have hauled logs or corn to the mills four miles away in Hillsborough. Maybe they patronized Johnston & Thackston’s General Store for items they couldn’t manufacture themselves.

In 1755, Ann’s husband of almost thirty years died. Their grown sons each received portions of land bordering the Eno. Ann in her mid-fifties remained on the Orange County farm near her children and grandchildren. Her youngest son Thomas eventually moved west to Surry County perhaps to escape the violent political upheaval brewing in Orange County.

In September 1770, riots broke out in Hillsborough. The majority of the county’s 8,000 residents supported the Regulators’ cause against British tax corruption. But the governor of North Carolina, William Tryon, was incensed. He described the riotous behavior in a proclamation issued two weeks afterwards:

“…a great number of outrageous and disorderly Persons did tumultuously assemble themselves together in the Town of Hillsborough… audaciously attacking his Majesty’s Associate Justice… committing the most violent Outrages on the Persons and properties of the Inhabitants of said Town, drinking Damnation to their lawful sovreign, KING GEORGE…( USGenWeb Archives.)”

Ann surely would have heard of the incident. A mob numbering about 150 descended on the wooden courthouse beating and whipping attorneys, dragging officials by their heels into the street, setting houses afire, damaging businesses and beating Hillsborough residents. The next year, six Regulators hung from a large tree at the edge of town- the sentence for treason.

Citizens of Orange and bordering counties could presage the inevitable conflict soon to follow. Ann did not live to see the war. She died in 1775, one year before the American colonies declared independence from the English Crown.


Sources, Maryland, Calendar of Wills, 1635-1743 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA; Operations Inc, 1998.

Barnes, Robert William., F. Edward. Wright, and Henry C. Peden. Colonial families of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Westminster, Md. (Rear 63 E. Main St., Westminster 21157): Family Line Publications, 1996. Print.

“Breeds – Sussex.” The Cattle Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 May 2017. <;.

Cameron, Annie S. Hillsborough and the Regulators. Hillsborough, NC: The Orange County Historical Museum, 1964. Print.

Kinsman, D. M. Meat Preparation and Preservation in Colonial America. Thesis. University of Connecticut , 1976. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Web. 28 May 2017. <;.

Orange County, North Carolina historic information cache – maps – cities and towns. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 May 2017. <;.

USGenWeb Archives – census wills deeds genealogy. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 May 2017. <;.

Usilton, Fred G. History of Kent County, Maryland, 1630-1916. Salem, MA: Higginson Book Co., 1997. Print.

Wright, F. Edward. Maryland Eastern Shore vital records, 1648-1725. Lewes, Delaware: Colonial Roots, 2011. Print.


Farm Life Friday

Cow versus Hog

The next biography to be posted (Ann Ashley Forrester) describes a Maryland cattle farm from the 1700s. Today in Hart County, KY you’ll see beef cattle grazing the hillsides, but in the early 1900s farmers typically raised hogs.

Mary and Claud slaughtered three or four hogs each year. That equates to three quarters of a ton of live animal for a big farm family. It wasn’t just about the ham and bacon either. A hog provided all important fat as well as meat.

(Rendered hog fat becomes lard. Any of you old enough to recall life before Crisco shortening remember lard.)

Mary used lard for baking and frying. She cut lard into flour when making morning biscuits. She prepared that southern staple of fried chicken (freshly killed that day) in a cast iron skillet with lard. She packed homemade sausage balls in canning jars and topped them with melted lard to preserve the meat without refrigeration. (The Jaggers had no electricity, remember.)hogring

There’s another reason farmers preferred hogs over cattle: Pigs are efficient garbage cans. They eat nearly anything you feed them. Hogs will also root and tear up the ground foraging for food. That’s why farmers clipped rings into the hog’s nose. The metal ring causes the pig pain when rooting around damaging the yard or field.

So never try to pull a great big 500 pound hog by his nose jewelry. It won’t work and you’ll make him mad. He’s a pig, not a cow.


Thomas Forrester (c.1737-1777)

2017 Memorial Day Dedication: To Thomas Forrester and all of the service men and women who died while wearing a uniform of the United States of America.

Mary Etta’s great-great-great-grandfather Forrester had a daughter, Elizabeth or “Betsey” as she was called. Betsy married Thomas Mears’ son, Moses. (I invite you to also read the 3-part biography of Moses Mears that I posted in March 2017.)

Like his teenage son-in-law, Thomas Forrester served in the Revolutionary War. This blog post concerns his final six months. Of his early life I know little. His parents were James Foraster (Forrester) and Ann Ashly (Ashley) of Orange County, North Carolina. When his father died in 1755, Thomas and his brothers inherited family farms. Twenty years later Thomas “Forester” appeared in early census records as a resident of Surry County, NC, which is where this story begins.

“Being sick and weak of body…”

The early spring of 1777 troubled Thomas Forrester. Perhaps his health had failed him. Perhaps the uncertainty of life during wartime plagued his mind. On April 8th, Thomas called upon Alexander Hawkins, Charles Roland, and Thomas Meers to witness his last will and testament.mcree3

That same month Continental recruiters scoured the western counties of North Carolina. Captain Griffith John McRee needed more men. On July 8, his 6th NC Regiment was reassigned to the Northern Department of the Army. Just one day prior, a nearly forty-year-old farmer enlisted to fight. Thomas Forrester was now a private.

One midsummer day he said his last goodbyes to his wife Milret. Then he fell into line, marching north to join the NC Continental Line forming in Virginia. He never laid eyes on his Ararat River farm again.

The Philadelphia Campaign

The British intended to take Philadelphia. In order to block their advance, General Washington assembled his troops along a creek to the southwest of the city. On a foggy morning in September, the Battle of Brandywine began.

The North Carolina Line under General Francis Nash was one of three units held in reserve. By 4:30 that afternoon, Washington received news that the British had achieved a distinct advantage over the Continental forces. The Commander in Chief engaged his reserves to save his army.


Thomas Forrester’s regiment was ordered to march double-time down Chester Road toward the sound of gunfire. Nearly four miles later, the 6th NC Regiment reached the battlefield.  By 7 pm Thomas and the other survivors retreated back down the same road again. Lord Cornwallis occupied the Colonial capital on September 26th.

The Battle of Germantown

The Patriots’ defeat at Brandywine Creek was a narrow one. When British General Howe spread his army between Philadelphia, Germantown, and other forts in Delaware, Washington saw a second opportunity to strike back. In early October, he prepared a pre-dawn attack on the hamlet of Germantown. All Continental soldiers were issued two days of food rations, fresh ammunition, and a change of clothing. It would be the last set of clothes Thomas Forrester would wear.

General Washington again held the 6th NC Regiment in reserve. On October 4th, the North Carolina Line conducted a repeat performance of Brandywine. Another near success for the Rebels ended in retreat.


General Nash became legendary for encouraging his North Carolinian soldiers to leave him behind, blinded and bleeding to death on the road leading out of Germantown. Instead his men carried him away to safety. Nash died from his wounds a few days later. Private Thomas Forrester died on the Pennsylvania battlefield along with 121 other enlisted Patriots. His surviving comrades marched on to Valley Forge.

The sacrifice given by Thomas and the other American soldiers was not in vain. Washington and his men had fought the good fight. Twice they had nearly won. The Battle of Germantown convinced France to lend support to the United States, turning the tide in our young country’s fight for independence from Great Britain.

Post Script

James Forrester followed his father into the army in 1780. (He spent three months transporting lead from Virginia mines, after which he received a disability discharge.) Moses and Betsey (Forrester) Mears moved their family to central Kentucky in 1800-1805. Thomas Forrester’s eldest son Hezekiah relocated his family to Harlan, KY sometime after 1810.

Thomas Forrester Family Descendants

Sources North Carolina, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index 1790-1890 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 1999. North Carolina, Revolutionary War Soldiers, 1776-1783 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 1998.

“Battle of Brandywine.” HistoryNet. N.p., 03 Aug. 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2017. <;.

Lewis, J. D. NC patriots 1775-1783: their own words. Vol. 1. Little River, SC: J.D. Lewis, 2012. Print.

Lewis, J. D. The American Revolution in North Carolina – The 6th NC Regiment. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2017. <;.

Lewis, J. D. The North Carolina Patriots – Capt. Griffith John McRee. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2017. <;.

North Carolina Wills and Court Records, 1679-1775; Author: North Carolina Secretary of State; Probate Place: North Carolina.

Wills and Estate Papers (Surry County), 1663-1978; Author: North Carolina, Division of Archives and History; Probate Place: Surry, North Carolina.

Farm Life Friday

Family Cemetery

In the bend of a rural Kentucky road sits a small church. I remember it as a white clapboard chapel, but now it sports white vinyl siding and new air conditioning units out back. Behind the church are the graves of Centerpoint Baptist Church Cemetery.

Years ago Mary’s father, William B. Hazlewood donated land for the cemetery. According to his daughter Gracie Hazlewood Gipson, Willie never transferred the deed out of his name: “He said he didn’t intend to bother the dead people and they sure weren’t going to bother him.” When Willie and his wife Alice May Tennison passed, they were buried side by side. Daughter Mary and her husband Claud Jaggers were also interred nearby.wbhazlewoodmedsz

I visited Centerpoint earlier this spring. The sun was shining. The grass was green. The cemetery grounds were neatly kept. Artificial flowers and sentimental trinkets were left at several headstones.

It was a carbon copy of the day we buried my grandmother Alice May Jaggers Smith. Mary named her first daughter after her own mother, Alice May Tennison. They are all together now, behind a little white church surrounded by farmland as far as you can see.

Farm Life Friday

Nothin’ But a Hound Dawg

Mary’s son-in-law (Hillard) Clay Smith once told me a Depression Era story. As I mentioned in the previous post, Mary’s husband loved dogs. He particularly favored a special coonhound.

blue tick

The Jaggers’ farm was situated in the backwoods of Logsdon Valley in central Kentucky. In the country, everybody knows (and is probably related) to everyone else. Someone must have mentioned that hound dog to a “city slicker” passing through the nearest town, because the man drove his fancy car all the way down Logsdon Valley Road to find Claud Jaggers.

Now Mary’s husband was a tall, rangy sort of fellow. He kept his shotguns standing in the corner of the living room next to his rocking chair. When he caught sight of a new car pulling into his yard, I bet he was curious as to why.

Most people struggled to get by in the 1930s. This man from “the big city” wasn’t one of them. He offered Claud $200 for the dog. Mary’s husband told him, “No.”

I’m sure the man was stunned at the outright refusal. He’d made a generous offer to a farmer whose family lived modestly to say the least: No electricity. No running water. No tractor, truck or car. But back down the road he drove — without that dog.

Reading between the lines, I think it was a matter of stubborn pride. Claud owned something that a rich man wanted. Maybe he was being spiteful? Or maybe the animal meant a whole lot more to him than money.