Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Unusual Benajah

One of the more common names in Pennington research in the Ashe Co., NC region is the name of Benajah.  I have three of them in my database that I am relatively sure of.  The first was born about 1720 and may the progenitor of all of the Ashe Co., NC Penningtons or at the very least the brother of the progenitor.    The next one is a son of Micajah Pennington and Rachel Jones and is born 15 Jun 1782.  The last trace of him is a legal document concerning his father’s estate in 1813 in Barren Co., KY. The third Benajah stands almost alone.  He is most assuredly connected with the other Ashe Co., NC Penningtons because of the genetic testing that has been done…but how he fits in the puzzle is an ongoing mystery.

Benajah Pennington was born 18 Aug 1770 probably in Grayson Co., VA (a neighboring county to Ashe Co., NC).  He died in Stockton City, Cedar Co., MO on 12 Oct 1855.  Benajah married Matilda Emery Hembree on 26 Jul 1814 in Roane Co., TN.  Matilda was a widow with a young son.  Benajah is a unique figure to me because he took a different geographic trek during his lifetime.  He is married in Roane Co., TN in 1814.  That is quite some distance from his birthplace in Grayson Co.  VA.  He has no other recorded wife and would be 44 years old at his first marriage.  Benajah is in Morgan Co., TN in 1830 and in Jackson Co., AL in 1840 and also in 1850.  At the time of his death on 12 Oct 1855 he is in Stockton City, Cedar Co., MO.  The locations of Roane Co., TN, Jackson Co., AL, Marion Co., TN, Ripley, Butler and Cedar Co., MO show up in the locations of all eight of his children…but I have a hard time finding any true logic as to why he made so many moves in his lifetime.  This alone makes Benajah unusual.  The intervening years from his birth to his marriage are also a curiosity for me.  I do find a record of a Benajah Pennington listed as being a private in the War of 1812 and listed as a member of the Rangers, United States Volunteers. 

Benajah and Matilda were the parents of the following children:
  • Joel Harrison Pennington b. 13 May 1815 TN d. 24 Jun 1897 Jackson Co., Al m. Hannah Caroline Hembree on 7 Feb 1839 (she was his first cousin)
  • Sarah S. Pennington b. abt 1817 TN d. abt 1892 MO m. abt 1834 William Griffin Blake, Sr
  • Isaac Washington Pennington b. 14 Oct 1819 TN d. 5 Mar 1908 Butler Co., MO m1 abt 1836 Martha Patsy Ryburn m2 24 Dec 1871 Nancy Williams m3 11 April 1875 Nancy Caroline Rogers   (I have 22 children listed for him with his three wives)
  • John Barton Pennington b. 25 Apr 1820 Blue Springs, Roane Co., TN d. 4 Oct 1910 Fresno, Fresno Co., CA m1 7 Apr 1841 Sarah Elizabeth Hembree (his first cousin) m 2 25 Feb 1853 Elizabeth Jane Sportsman m3 26 May 1875 Margaret J. Fisher
  • Andrew Jackson Monroe Pennington b. 30 Oct 1824 Jackson Co., AL d. 11 Feb 1863 Winchester, Franklin Co., TN m. abt 1846 Roseda Elizabeth Tankersley
  • Newton Pennington b. abt 1825 TN d. abt 1875 TN m. abt 1847 Elizabeth
  • William Jordan Pennington b. Aug 1826 Marion Co., TN d. abt 1911 Ripley Co., MO m1 abt 1847 Nancy Clark m. 10 Jan 1858 Camilla Carmeline Wyatt

You can find a photo of Benajah’s gravesite at Find a  Benajah and his descendants are considered to be part of the Pennington Research Association’s Group 7 which was originally the descendants of Micajah Pennington. This assignment to Group 7 by members past was probably because of the similarity in the known age at the time to the Benajah, son of Micajah.  Through diligent research by Gene Pennington, the actual date of his birth and death are now known.  He is actually 12 years older than Micajah’s son – so the original assumption certainly doesn’t work.  The best proof we have that Benajah is related to the rest of the Ashe Co., NC Penningtons is based on DNA.  We all hope to sometime put together the pieces of these early Penningtons with documentation rather than theories.  However, among the Ashe Co., NC Pennington group, Benajah stands alone.   He seemed to take a unique trek through Tennessee, Alabama and Missouri.  His wife, Matilda, outlived him by 23 years and she is buried near him at the same cemetery that Benajah is buried in.  I would still like to know what happened in those intervening 44 years between his birth and marriage.  One never knows when another clue might appear…which is one of the fun and frustrating aspects of genealogy research.