Our Guthrie

Family Heritage

Our Guthrie family origin comes from Scotland.  To begin with, we will insert a quotation from American Guthrie and Allied Families, compiled by Laurence R. Guthrie, and reprinted by Mabel Guthrie Lee, by Gateway Press, Inc. Baltimore, 1985, beginning on page 77, with a brief history of John Guthrie, believed to be a brother of our Robert Guthrie.  [The indented paragraphs below are direct quotes from this book; whereas paragraphs that are not indented are this compiler’s -- Lionel Nebeker’s -- own comments.]

    John Guthrie, is generally credited with having migrated to New England about the year 1700.  Hughs in             American Ancestry Vol. 5. p.165, under head of “Seymour Guthrie of Chicago” says, “John Guthrie, who was in the iron business in Edinburgh, Scotland, with three brothers, went to Ireland in 1680; emigrated to America (Connecticut) 1700.  Started a foundry at Litchfield, Connecticut, 1730.”

    Seymour Guthrie, himself says in his book, “A Brief History of a Branch of the Guthrie Family.”-- “The earliest traditional knowledge of the family is in 1680 in Edinburgh. Scotland, where they were of the best middle class and interested in the manufacture of iron.  

     “About this time John Guthrie severed his connection with his partners and brothers, Robert and James, and with a small capital sought his fortune in Ulster County, Ireland.  It is not known what business he embarked in while there, but it is probable that his knowledge of the iron industry led him to take up some branch of it.  He had not been there long before he married a Protestant lady of good family.  At that period the Protestants were unpleasantly situated in that country, and naturally his mind turned to the New World where religious oppression was unknown--where a man could worship his Maker as his heart dictated without risking his life or jeopardizing his chances of gaining a livelihood.  It was about 1700 when he bade farewell to his friends in Ireland and set out to seek his fortune in the new world.

    “After a weary some voyage of two months he landed at Boston.  Remaining here but a few years, he moved to Washington, Litchfield County, Connecticut, and engaged successfully in the iron business, running a forge and furnace on the Housatonic river.  There he died in 1730, leaving four sons who carried on the business. 

    “About the time that John emigrated from Ireland, his two brothers, Robert and James, came out from Scotland and settled in Pennsylvania.” 

    Harriet N. and Eveline Guthrie Dunn in “Records of the Guthrie Family,” give virtually the same as Seymour Guthrie and will not be quoted here. 

    The Ancestry of William Dameron Guthrie gives,--

    “John Guthrie was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he kept an iron foundry.  He left there in 1670 and went to Ulster County, Ireland.  In 1700 he emigrated with his brothers, James and Robert to America and settled in Washington, Litchfield Co., Connecticut, where he established an iron foundry.  He died there in 1730.” 

    Mrs. Amy L. Peoples, of Los Angeles, Calif., a descendant of John Guthrie says,--

    “Sometime about the year 1700, two brothers, Robert and James Guthrie came from the North of Scotland and settled in Pennsylvania, and soon after a younger brother John Guthrie came to Connecticut and married a woman by the name of Cone and raised a family of ten children.”

    Mrs. Peoples also quotes Truman Guthrie of Newbury, Ohio, as stating,--

    “Previous to the Revolutionary War three brothers of the Guthries emigrated to the Colonies from Scotland.  Their names were Robert, James and John.  Robert settled in Pennsylvania; John settled in Connecticut, in or about the county of Litchfield, where he married and raised a large family of children, consisting of six sons and four daughters.” 

    A comparison of these statements shows that all save the last one gives 1700 as the approximate date of emigration.  There is a general agreement about the brothers coming at about the same time.  There is a confusion as to whether the emigrant, John was the father of a large family in Litchfield County, Conn., or the grandfather.  No one gives any account of the emigrant between the years 1700 and 1725.  No records in New England have been found to prove that there was a John Guthrie in the colony during that period.  The writer does not believe that he was in American during all that period.  If it be true that John migrated at about the same time as Robert and James to Pennsylvania, it is quite certain that he did not come before 1718.  Furthermore in view of of the fact that the Ulster movement to New England took place in 1718, it would seem likely that John came at about that time and that he was the father, not the grandfather, of the family of children born in Connecticut.

    Mr. William K. Jewett, of Pasadena, Calif., a descendant who made investigation of the early Guthries in New England says--

    “I am not satisfied that John had brothers Robert and James, nor am I satisfied that he ever settled in Boston, nor do I know when he arrived in America.” 

    With these statements pro and con before him, the reader is left to his own conclusions.

    This family has a tradition that there were seven Guthrie brothers in Scotland, that owing to religious persecutions they left there, some going to Ireland, others to America.  One version is that of those who went to Ireland, some returned to Scotland after the oppression had eased.  A tradition among some of the Pennsylvania Guthries was that there were seven Gurthie brothers in Ireland who migrated to American.  It is not possible to show who they were nor to determine which version is the correct one. 

We will now continue quoting this same source, but skip forward to page 169 and beyond, to follow the family of Robert Guthrie, one of the original immigrants from Scotland, who is believed to be a brother of the John Guthrie discussed above. This Robert came directly from Edinburgh to Pennsylvania.

    “Rob’t Guttery,” a taxable in 1732 in Fallowfield Township, is presumably the same as “Robert Guthrie” a taxable in Nantmeal Township, 1734 and 1735 (no later appearance).  Fallow field Township, Chester County, PA., bridged the distance between Nantmeal in the norther part of the county bordering on Berks and old Oxford in the southwest.  Robert when first noted lied at no great distance from John Guthrie in Oxford.  He is supposed to have been the Robert, who with his brother James, moved from Connecticut to Pennsylvania, (see p. 78 and 215).

    Nothing more is known of this Robert.  He seems to have moved out of Chester County about 1735; may have gone to that part of Lancaster which in 1750 became Cumberland County, PA.  He is not however to be confused with Robert Guthrie of Carlisle, 1750, and later. 

    We shall take Robert of Fallowfield and Nantmeal Townships, as the head of a hypothetical family, consisting of wife, _______ (Darlington) Guthrie, four sons--Adam, James, John, and William and perhaps as many daughters, names unknown.  In so doing no violence is done to the known facts.  Usually the Scotch Irish families who settled together in a locality were connected by ties of consanguinity, and not infrequently when a man of past middle life migrated with grown sons, the land was taken up in their names, while the patriarch passed away leaving no records of himself, not even a tombstone in an ancient Presbyterian cemetery, for nearly all the first graves were marked only by rough unlettered native stones or by wooden slabs of walnut or locust. 

    Were not Adam and James grouped under Robert, they should be arranged under the seventeen forties and fifties; John and William at a decade or so later.  This group hangs together pretty well. Adam and John Guthrie seem to have both been related to the Darlingtons and connected with the Marshalls.  John, James, and William were associated one with the others as brothers might have been.  Each of them lived for a time on Back Creek, in Hamilton Township, Cumberland, now Franklin County, Pa., and may properly be referred to as the Back Creek Guthries.

[Now, skipping ahead to p.195, and beyond to follow William Guthrie, the son of the Robert Guthrie immigrant discussed above, we read--]

    William Guthrie, a presumptive son of Robert Guthrie, of Chester County, Pa., (see p.170) was more or less closely associated with the Guthries, James and John, who lived along Back Creek in Hamilton Township, Cumberland (now Franklin) County, Pa., during the Indian wars.  The first mention of him so far discovered is in a list of taxables of Lurgan Township, Cumberland County, Pa., 1751-52.

    He was the William Guthrie, we are quite sure, who married a daughter of Thomas Barnett, who was a neighbor to James and John Guthrie on Back Creek.  Of course there is the possibility that it was a young William, the son of James, who married the Barnett girl.  The indications are that it was an older man who married her.  William, son of James was scarcely twenty years old at the time Thomas Barnett made his will.  The latter was then an aged man and the probabilities are that his daughter had been married to Guthrie for a number of years when he made his will.  The fact that some of the Barnetts were neighbors to William in the south strengthens the above representation.  A tradition handed down by some of the descendants of this William is to the effect that there were three brothers--one remained in the east, one settled in the north and one, (William) went south.

    There is no other known record of this William in the Cumberland Valley.  His name is not found in the list of volunteers under Joseph Armstrong in 1755 and subsequently.  It is certain however that that list was incomplete and very probable that he served in the Indian wars.  Like the other settlers of the valley he no doubt removed his family to the east for safety during those harrowing times.  Toward the close of this period there was a strong movement of settlers from the Cumberland Valley to the south along the route which has already been indicated [through the Shenandoah Valley, over the Blue Ridge, and down the Catawba River through North Carolina to the Waxhaw River Valley on the North Carolina/South Carolina boarder.--by LN]  It was said in 1746--”809 families of our northern boarders went to North Carolina.”  This migration included a large number from the vicinity of Rocky Spring Meeting House and Falling Spring at Chambersburg.  Tradition says that William Guthrie, who settled in the Waxhaw settlement, South Carolina, had lived prior to that in Pennsylvania.  With no further proof we proceed on the assumption that William Guthrie of the Waxhaw Settlement was identical with William Guthrie of Back Creek in the Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania. 

[Note from LN: It is interesting to note that the three counties in north-central South Carolina, along the Catawba River, are named: York, Chester & Lancaster, names taken from the area in south-central Pennsylvania, where most of the early Scottish settlers came, bringing with them the names of their former counties in PA.  In one of these, Lancaster, we find the small village of “Guthrie” still today, presumably named after our Guthrie family.  But, if so, they did not stay too long in this community, but moved eastward into the Waxhaw Valley by the time any written records were kept.  We now continue with the quote.]

    “William Guthrie was a prominent planter and slave-owner of South Carolina and one of the first settlers in the Waxhaw district.  He was a man of learning and his children had the best educational advantages that the times afforded.”

    Lancaster County, South Carolina Deeds, Liber A-216.  Oct. 2, 1787--”James Guthrie and Jane his wife of Lancaster, S. C. to Richard Wright, 194 acres in the Waxhaw Settlement, Lancaster County, adjoining lands of Robert Guthrie, part of the tract granted May 4, 1771, to William Guthrie, who devised it in his will to his son James Guthrie.”  Witness--Robert Guthrie. 

    Id, id, id:--liber B-70: “Feb. 10, 1789:--William Guthrie, planter, and Eliza Guthrie, spinster, of Lancaster County, S.C., to William Sprunt, for 89 pounds, 10 shillings, 5 pence, 229 acres devised to his wife Elizabeth and his son, William Guthrie. 

    Filed with these deeds is the following valuable family record, which gives the children of William, Sr. and Elizabeth Guthrie:

  1. 1. Margaret,      b. Oct. 30, 1753

  2. 2. Robert,       b. Oct. 22, 1756     (below)

  3. 3. Elizabeth,      b. Dec. 2, 1761

  4. 4. James,           b. March 21, 1764, d. _____, 1827 (p. 211)

  5. 5. William,        b. March 22, 1767   (p. 215)

  6. 6. Adam,           b. Oct 1, 1769   (p. 215)

  7. 7. Ann,              b. April 7, 1773

  8. 8. Mary,            b. April 8, 1776.

    Fortunately the old family Bible of William Guthrie, Sr., is still in existence.  The family record contained in it is a duplicate of that furnished above with the exception that after the date of birth of James, is written -- “died June 9, 1827.”  Concerning this Bible record, James Berry Guthrie, of Perryville, Ky., wrote May 20, 1902, to Mrs. William A. Guthrie, of Dupont, Ind.:

    “I feel confident that the above is correct.  The old Bible has no backs, no date, and many of its pages are gone.  Judging from its looks, I will say that it is one hundred and fifty years old. Said Bible is now in the possession of Mrs. Claud May, Danville, Ky., who is a great-great-granddaughter of William Guthrie, whose name is written above.”  That is of William Guthrie, Jr.  At last report Mrs. May was living in Florida.

    The date of death of William Guthrie, Sr., is unknown, but it was of course prior to the first deed referred to above, which was dated Oct. 2, 1787.  The date of his wife Elizabeth’s death is likewise unknown.  She seems to have survived him by several years. 

    Robert Guthrie, (above) second child and eldest son of William Guthrie and wife, Elizabeth, is mentioned as having lands adjoining those inherited by James, his brother, from their father William.  Doubtless Robert was heir also to the lands he held though we do not have a deed relating to it.  He served 55 days in the Revolutionary War under Capt. Henry Coffey, Gen. Simiter’s cavalry.  1st--June 25, 1780; 2nd--April 24, 1781.

    Robert Guthrie married March 9, 1780, in South Carolina, Mary Taylor, who was born Dec. 2, 1760.  She had a sister, who married a Mr. Blair and lived in Louisiana.  Robert Guthrie was induced to move to Kentucky by Daniel Boone.  He migrated in a great caravan, which proceeded into the wilderness after the establishment of Boonsboro, between the years 1780 and 1785 [LN note: Robert and his wife actually moved there in 1788.]  He settled in Madison County, where most of his children were born.  The date is not definitely recalled but about the year 1798 [LN: actually 1799], he removed with his family to Williamson County, Tenn., being attracted by the opening up to settlement of rich lands in that region.  He took up lands near Franklin, Tenn., and lived there nearly forty years, his death occurring April 13, 1838.  His widow, Mary Taylor Guthrie died Jan. 5, 1845.  Both are buried near Franklin, Tenn.  Children:

Elizabeth Guthrie  b. Feb. 20, 1783; m. John M. Guery  [John Geery] lived in Pike Co., MO; d. Sept. 2, 1820

William Forguison Guthrie       b. Sept. 14, 1785.

James Guthrie                            b. Dec.   4, 1787;         d. July 9, 1804

Robert Guthrie                           b. Mar.   2, 1790

Samuel Taylor Guthrie              b. June   3, 1793.

David Houston Guthrie             b. Oct.  19, 1796

Sallie Guthrie

Jacob Findley Guthrie               b. Sept. 15, 1803


At  this point we will discontinue quoting from Laurence R. Guthrie’s American Guthrie and Allied Families, and back track just a bit to add more information about the progress of this family, that was not contained in the above account, or that was quickly skimmed over.

William Guthrie--

William Guthrie moved his family from Pennsylvania to South Carolina.  They eventually settled in the Waxhaw Valley. The date of that move is unknown and would have been sometime between 1752 and 1771.  No document for him has been found in either location during that span of time.  That is also the time in which most of his children were born, so while we know their names and dates of birth (from his family Bible) we do not know the place of birth for those children, other than the two youngest who were born after their arrival in South Carolina.

The Waxhaw is a westward flowing tributary of the larger Catawba River.  It derives it’s name from the former residents, the Waxhaw Indians, who were displaced by the coming of the whites.  Immigrating Scottish settlers lined the banks of this small stream for several miles, but all joined together to form a single community with one school and one Presbyterian Church.  The stream, and the valley, stretched eastward for several miles with the upper (east) portion falling across the line into North Carolina, whereas the main part, or lower (west) part of this valley was in South Carolina.

Land records were not well kept for the earliest settlers, but in the book: Scotch-Irish Migration to South Carolina, by Jean Stephenson, Shenandoah Publ. House, Inc. Strasburg, VA, 1971, p.63; lists the description of a Mr. Dan’l Wilson with his 100 acres, as follows: “(b) P.F. 2027;   6 Jan. 1773; on Rising Springs waters of Kane Creek, Waxhaw settlement; bd’d (bounded) by William Guthrie; sur. 29 Feb. 1773. (c) Lancaster.”

This reference notes that William Guthrie was already a land owner in the Waxhaw prior to 1773, (and as mentioned above, he actually had a tract granted to him in 1771, so was there by that date.) 

Several years after William settled in this valley, he was joined by another Scottish family that had just arrived from Pennsylvania, where they had stayed only long enough to fit out some wagons and move down the same trail to the Waxhaw, as did the Guthries.  This family, of a man named Andrew Jackson, was fresh from Scotland.  He and his wife had two sons born to them in the old country, and his wife was pregnant with a third child when they arrived.  Mrs. Jackson already had two sisters who lived in the Waxhaw valley with their families and this had always been their family destination when sailing to America.  They found a place to claim as their own, but sadly, the father, Andrew, died shortly after their arrival, and just prior to the birth of his third son--Mar. 16, 1767--who was also named Andrew Jackson, in honor of his deceased father, and who grew up to later become the President of the United States. 

Robert Guthrie--

Our Robert was born 22 Oct 1756, and as mentioned above, we are not certain where his birth occurred, but it is believed to have been back in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.  (He was about eleven years older than this new little neighbor baby--Andrew Jackson.)  [Coincidentally, Robert Guthrie’s mother also gave birth to a little baby boy less than a week later than Andrew Jackson, William Gurthrie, Jr., on March 22, 1767.  These two baby boys would grow up going to school and church together, while Andrew Jackson’s older brother Hugh Jackson, was closer in age to our Robert Guthrie.]

Eventually, as the Revolutionary War came to South Carolina, Robert joined on the side of the American Patriots, and so did the three Jackson boys.  The British sent a sizable army, including a ruthless cavalry, into the Waxhaw District and the local residents struggled to protect themselves.  Robert Guthrie survived two tours of duty as a soldier--first against the Indian allies of the British, and then against the Tory allies (see a transcript of his pension application in the Military Honor Roll in the Memorial Chapel on this web-site for more details.)  However, the two older Jackson boys both died, as well as their mother, leaving only young Andrew alive in  the Jackson family, and he was almost starved to death in a British prison camp where he was sent when caught “spying” for the Americans.  We will not linger too long on young Andrew Jackson, other than to say that he eventually grew up to become a lawyer, and moved to the young town of Nashville, Tennessee to become a judge, a General, a US Representative, a Senator, and eventually President of the United States of America.

While a transcript of the complete application for the widows pension of Mary Taylor Guthrie, can be read in the other part of this web-site, a brief recap of the basic information can be had in the Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution, by Bobby Gilmer Moss, Genealogical Pub. Co.. Inc., Baltimore, 1985, p.394; and appears as follows:

Guthrie, Robert                               W293

  1. b. 24 October 1757

  2. d. 13 April 1838

  3. m. Mary Taylor, 9 March 1780

While residing in the Waxhaw settlement, he enlisted under Capt. James Adams during 1776 for a three-month tour against the Indians.  In 1778, he was under Capt. Montgomery and Col. Joseph Kershaw.  On 11 May 1780, he enlisted under Capt. Hugh Coffee and Colonel Kershaw and was in the battles at Rocky Mount and Sumter’s Surprise. After this tour, he was often called out on scouting parties under Capts. Hugh Coffee, William Nesbitt and Kimball (?).  (Moved to Ky. and Tenn.)  A.A.3187; 0327

The summary of his military history, given above, also includes the name of his wife and their marriage date.  Since this information was provided by his wife, we can assume that it is correct. At the time of their marriage, Robert and Mary were living in Chester County, SC.  While the county did not keep (or preserve) marriage records from that time period, a later record was compiled from other sources, that lists person who were married in Chester County.  In the book: Chester County Marriages, 1778-1879 Implied in Probate & Equity Records, by Barbara R. Langdon & Shirley P. Langdon, 1985, Langdon & Langdon Genealogical Reserach, Columbia, SC, p.25; lists, among others, “Gutery, ________ and Marey Taylor” in a 1795 document showing them to have already been married some time prior to this date.  We believe this refers to our Robert Guthrie (spelling was incorrect) and Mary Taylor. 

Not only was Andrew Jackson a close neighbor of the Guthries from their early childhood, but during the war, there was some excitement in the local community caused by another famous man.  Daniel Boone, who lived just to the north of the Guthries, on Yadkin Creek, in North Carolina, had been wandering and hunting in the backwoods of the Appalachians and found a place in the western wilderness that was to his liking.  He had actually made the settlement of Boonesborough, Kentucky, but had been chased out by the hostile Indians.  The area was still claimed by the Shawnees as their hunting grounds and they were extremely reluctant to give it up, but Daniel had spent some time there and was now prepared to lead another group of people back to rebuild his fort and settlement.  Boone began recruiting settlers in 1779, and returned again to the Carolinas in subsequent years to solicit additional families to follow.

Robert and Mary (Taylor) Guthrie, were married on March 9, 1780, during the Revolutionary War and almost immediately Robert was called away to fight the British (June 25, 1780; and again the following spring, on April 24, 1781).  Their first child, Elizabeth Guthrie, was born on Feb. 20, 1783, and while family lore indicated that she had been born in Kentucky, it now seems more likely that she was born in Wasxhaw, South Carolina, as Robert was still there and witnessed the sale of the land of his brother James in 1787, and made a court appearance on 14 April 1788 to record an oath as to the signatures of his brother and wife on that document.  These records seem to indicate that Robert and his family had probably not departed for Kentucky until about this time.  Additionally, on his military papers, Robert says that he moved to Kentucky in 1788 and lived at first in Lincoln County, and then in Madison County, Kentucky.  By the time of their move, this young family had three children:

Elizabeth Guthrie                       b. Feb 20, 1783

William Forguison Guthrie        b. Sep 14, 1785

James Guthrie                             b. Dec  4, 1787

Times were not easy in the wilderness settlements of Kentucky so far from civilization.  Families had to tend their crops with a gun in one hand and their plow in the other, and with several friends working together to keep a constant eye out for danger.  Many fearful incidents occurred, including the capture of one of Boone’s own daughters, the death of two of his other children, and one of his brothers during the frequent Indian raids, but still the small community hung together to survive.

It was while living in the area of Madison County, KY that either 3 or 4 more children were born:

Robert Guthrie                           b. Mar   2, 1790

Samuel Taylor Guthrie              b. June   3, 1793

David Houston Guthrie              b. Oct  19, 1796

Sallie Guthrie                             b. (date and place unknown)  

By 1792, so many people had come into the Kentucky region that they were able to petition the US congress, and were granted statehood, as the 15th state of the Union.  It didn’t take the government long to follow the new settlers into Kentucky, and in the first recorded tax list for the new state in 1796, we find the name of “Robert Guttery.”  His name was also found on the tax list of 1799.

Immediately following the Revolutionary War thousands of Americans began flowing westward to claim new lands in the trans-Appalachian wilderness of Kentucky and Tennessee.  From the east many speculators claimed and sold thousands of acres of un-surveyed, or poorly surveyed land.  Often these titles granted land that began measuring a parcel from a large oak on one creek, up and over a ridge to some rock and thence down a holler to some spring, and back again.  Various claims overlapped one another and many disputes arose over such titles.  The courts normally found in favor of whoever had registered their title first.  Thus, many of the original settlers, who assumed everyone knew where their land was situated, and who didn’t bother to register it, soon found themselves dispossessed.

By 1799, many of the very earliest residents had spent all their means trying to defend their land titles, and had lost.  By this date Daniel Boone, himself, had lost all of his land, which included thousands of acres.   Like others, he left Kentucky to make a new life in the Missouri Territory.  It is not known whether this same problem also enveloped Robert Guthrie, but, coincidentally, this is the same time period in which he too left Kentucky.

For whatever reason, in about 1799, Robert decided to make another move to Tennessee.  The town of Nashville was a small, but growing village surrounded by a great amount of good farm land.  The Guthries made their way south and, at the age of about 43, he and Mary started all over again with a new life, in Williamson County, just a bit to the south of Nashville.  Here, the last of their eight children were born:

Jacob Findley Guthrie               b. Sept. 15, 1803 (and perhaps Sallie too.) 

In time, Robert and Mary made one last move, not far away, to a place near Paris, Henry Co., TN, where they lived out their remaining years.  Robert died there on 13 Apr. 1838 and Mary survived him by almost seven years, passing away on 5 Jan. 1845.  After Robert’s death Mary applied for the Revolutionary War widow’s pension benefits and her statement gives many dates and much information regarding their family, including her maiden name of “Taylor”. 

Will of Robert Guthrie--Williamson Co., TN May term of 1838.  p.492-493.

“Williamson County Tennessee, March the thirtieth, one thousand eight hundred & thirty eight.  In the name of God Amen.  I Robert Guthrie being of sound and discerning mind and knowing the uncertainty of natural life and the certainty of death do make my last will and testament revoking all others.  1st, I will and bequeath that my beloved wife Mary Guthrie shall have during her natural life for her use and benefit the following Negroes viz Mariah, Jack, and Patience, also I will that she shall have as much of my household furniture as she may think proper and I will further that she shall have one of my horses of her own choosing and one cow and that my wife Mary shall have her support out of my effects for twelve months after my decease and I will and bequeath that after the death of my beloved wife Mary that all the above named property viz three Negroes Mariah, Jack and Patience together with the household furniture and stock shall be sold to the highest bidder as the law directs in [______] sails and to be equally divided between my lawful heirs viz my daughter Elizabeth or her bodily heirs, my sons William H., Robert, Samuel T., David H. or his heirs and Jacob F. Guthrie.  Further, I will that the plantation upon which I now live supposed to be one hundred and ten ares be sold to the highest bidder on a credit of twelve months excepting what I have given above to my beloved wife and my will is further that after my just debts are paid and funeral expenses that the money arising from the sale of my land, stock, farming utensils and household furniture be equally divided between my above named lawful heirs.  My will is further that my friend and confident James N. Rees execute my last will and testament as above directed.  The above is my last will and testament acknowledged and signed by me in the presence of these witnesses: Robert Guthrie.  Attest:  Robert R. Hughes, William Wall”

Note that in the above will, Robert, after mentioning two of his children by name (i.e. Elizabeth and David)  qualifies their names with the added statement “or her/his bodily heirs”.  That is because both of these children had predeceased him, but he wanted to acknowledge their children as heirs, entitled to their portion.

Elizabeth Guthrie--

The oldest child of Robert and Mary (Taylor) Guthrie, Elizabeth, was born 20 Feb. 1783 in Waxhaw, South Carolina.  She was only five years old when the family moved to Kentucky--first to Lincoln County and then to Madison County--where she spent her youth.  While living here in the “wilderness” she met a young man from York Co., PA, by the name of John Geery, whose family had recently moved there, and they became very close friends.  In fact, they were so close, that when her family moved to Tennessee in 1799 John Geery, who was her same age, followed them, not many years later.  While his parents and siblings remained in Kentucky, John struck out on his own and made his way to Williamson Co., TN where he and Elizabeth were married on 9 Dec. 1805, when both were about 22 years old. 

While living near her folks, in Williamson County, the John and Elizabeth Guthrie Geery had all six of their children:

William Geery                               b.  22 Sep 1806

Robert Geery                               b.    1 Dec 1808

Mary Geery                                   b.    4 Feb 1811

Catherine Geery                            b.  27 May 1813

Margaret Geery                             b.  16 Jun 1815

John Gideon Blackburn Geery      b.  25 Sep 1817

At the age of ten, their oldest child, William, became ill and died in Nov. 1816.  This was a terrible ordeal for the family, but the birth, the following year, of anther little boy helped to heal the sorrow. 

In about 1820, John and Elizabeth had heard of new lands opening up in a portion of what had previously been known as “Louisiana Territory” (from the purchase Thomas Jefferson made from Napoleon) but had just recently been made the newest state of the Union--Missouri.  John and Elizabeth were bold and decided to move from Tennessee and claim new lands in Ralls Co., Missouri, right on the boarder of Pike County.  Here they began clearing land for a nice farm, but tragedy struck the family when Elizabeth caught one of the many illnesses that plagued the Mississippi River valley, and she died there not long after their arrival, on 2 Sep. 1820.  John had just built a cabin near a perpetual spring, and marked out a space on the hillside behind his home for a private burial ground for his dear Elizabeth Guthrie Geery.  {His cabin, while still partially standing, is now in a collapsed condition, but still visible, and his Geery Family Cemetery is very much over-grown with trees and foliage with most of the grave markers broken and eroded--as of this writing--2009.}

Two years later, John married again, Elizabeth Hicklin on 21 Mar. 1822.  She died in 1830; and he married a third time, Elizabeth Costley (or Causton) on 11 Oct. 1831.  This wife also preceded him in death on 19 Oct. 1842; after which he married a 4th time, Jane Pittman, who was about 17 years younger than the aging John, and she outlived him.  John was buried in his family cemetery next to his other wives.

Headstone of Elizabeth Guthrie Geery

Located on a hillside on the Geery family farm in Ralls Co., MO.   Photo taken in 2003

Stone was broken, lying flat on the ground in an overgrown area, about 300 feet SW of John Geery’s home.

John Geery Headstone

Located on the John Geery family farm in Ralls Co., MO -- photo taken 2003

Top portion of the stone is broken and the writing is very difficult to read.

Bette Nebeker (a descendent) holding a chip from the top of John Geery’s headstone

Geery family cemetery in Ralls Co., MO -- 2003.

Map of Pike County, MO

Ralls County lies just to the north of Pike and the Geery/Guthrie farm (noted as #1 on the northside of this map) shows that the Geery farm, while in Ralls Co., was very closely associated with Pike Co., being right on its boarder and only a very few miles north of Frankford, Pike, Mo.