More early area settlers / The McBrayer Family


For the last few weeks, The Vagabond has been discussing some of the folks who settled in the area west and north of Attalla before the Cherokee Indians were removed.
This area was located from around Highways 77 and 431 and all the way up to Sand Valley Road and over to Reece City.
The Vagabond last week discussed the Gilliland family that lived around the Keener area.
This week the Vagabond is discussing about the McBrayer settlers in Etowah County before the Cherokee were removed.
All the names in the past few weeks are listed in the old Avery Store ledger book in the Cherokee Nation of 1835.
The McBrayer Family
The McBrayer family is well represented today in Etowah County.
This family originally came from Galloway, Scotland, to Pennsylvania in the early 1700’s. The family lived in and around Chester County.
Two brothers, William and David, were the only early members of the family to be located.
William died without leaving any sons to carry on the name, but David had married in Scotland and he and his wife Rebecca were the parents of a large family of both sons and daughters.
The name is sometimes spelled “McBrier” in the early records, and even now one branch of the family still uses this spelling.
David and Rebecca’s son, Samuel, left Pennsylvania about 1750 and came to Rutherford County, N.C.
He later moved over the Blue Ridge Mountains to Buncombe County on the French Broad River, to the area that is now in Henderson County.
The old McBrayer plantation is now a part of the town of Hendersonville.
Samuel had probably married in Pennsylvania and had at least one son by this marriage.
This son, named David, was the first of the name to settle in this area.
During the Revolutionary War, Samuel married Mary Young, a widow with at least two children.
Her daughter, Mary Young, married her stepbrother David McBrayer.
David and Mary McBrayer, along with their children (some who had already married), left North Carolina in 1820.
The family spent one year in Tennessee, where they obtained supplies for their journeys to Alabama.
The family traveled down the Tennessee River on flat rafts and landed at Guntersville.
They then came down the mountain to Bristow’s Cove in 1821-22 and settled land in that valley.
The family lived in the area until the Cherokees were removed to the West in 1838, after which they settled in Little Wills Valley, in what is now Reece City.
Built on the side of the ridge separating the two valleys, their cabin was standing years ago, although it was in a bad state of repair then.
The cabin is located on the old Weaver Farm.
David was born on Feb. 14, 1772, and died in 1854. Mary was born on Feb. 2, 1779, and died in 1858, with both having reached an old age.
The couple left a large family to carry on the pioneer spirit which they represented.
The couple’s children were: Rebekah, born March 5, 1794 married John Gilliland; Elizabeth, born Oct 7, 1796, married William Blythe; Nancy, born Nov 15, 1799, married Louis Edwards and moved to Missouri; John Young, born April 5, 1801, married Jane Pearson; Thomas Justin, born May 14, 1803, married Naoma Barnes; Jane F, born March 10, 1805, married Elijah Wilson; Peggy, born Dec 2, 1807, and died while young; Sarah, born Sept 3, 1809, married Allen Avery; Samuel, born May 2, 1812, first married to Rebecca Littlefield and then to Mary Adeline Barnes.
This Samuel moved to St. Clair County and lived close to his cousin Samuel, who had married a sister to his wife.
This Samuel was known as “Dog Sam” because he owned so many dogs, while the other one Samuel was known as “Honest Sam.”
The next child of David and Mary was Joseph Tally, born May 30, 1815, and married Rebecca Gilbert; Dulcena was born Sept 27, 1815 and married Andrew Rink.
From these McBrayer children have descended some of the best-known families in the county.
City of Gadsden mayor Lesley Gilliland and City of Attalla mayor Charles Wood Burke are both descendants of this family, as is The Vagabond.
About 1832, David’s brother Andrew settled near Springville in St. Clair County.
His oldest son Humphrey McBrayer, lived on Lookout Mountain for many years before moving to Rainbow Drive.
Humphrey married Elizabeth Sitz, the daugh-ter of Andrew Sitz.
All of the McBrayers and many allied families are descendants of these two brothers.

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