Thursday, August 2, 2012

John Barton Pennington - Oregon Pioneer


Group 7 of the Pennington Research Association includes three distinct groups – those that descend from Micajah b. 1743, those that descend from Ephraim b.1769, and those that descend from Benajah b. 1770.  The only one of those groups that stayed in Ashe Co., NC is the descendants of Ephraim.  Micajah’s line mostly left and went to Lee Co., VA and Harlan Co., KY.  Benajah took a different route and ended up in TN and later Alabama and Missouri.  His son, John Barton Pennington traveled even father and was a pioneer in his own right.

John Barton Pennington was b. 25 Apr 1820 in Blue Springs, Roane Co., TN as the fourth child of Benajah Pennington and Matilda Emery Hembree.  On 7 Apr 1841 in Dade Co., MO, John married Sarah Elizabeth Hembree, his first cousin.  Their first child was born in Dade Co., MO in 1842 and on 21 May 1843, John, his wife and one year old daughter (Martha Matilda) left Independence, MO on a wagon train heading to Oregon.  Two of Sarah’s brothers traveled with them and in August of 1843, Sarah gave birth to another daughter (Mary Jane) near South Pass in modern day Wyoming.  In a time when many women were coddled during the last months of pregnancy, Sarah was heavily pregnant and traveling on a wagon train.  The wagon train arrived at Fort Vancouver in November and along with Sarah’s brothers, claimed land near McMinnville, OR with about 400 acres each.  Three more children were born in Oregon until Sarah’s death on 25 Feb 1851.

Two years later, John married Elizabeth Jane Sportsman and in the next 11 years, five more children were born, and in about 1865, John sold his land and moved his family to Visalia, Tulare Co., CA and is recorded there in 1870.  His wife, Elizabeth dies in 1872 and John marries Margaret Fisher, a widow.  In 1880, John and Margaret with her children and his daughter Clarissa Ann are found in Douglas Co., OR near Roseburg.  By 1883, John is back in California and his daughter Clarissa is marrying George Washington Hensley.  John’s third wife, Margaret dies in 1906 and John lives with his stepson, James Fisher until they moved from the Fresno, CA area when John moved in with Clarissa and her husband.  John died on 4 Oct 1910 when he fell from a wagon and broke his neck.

When you look at the history of the Oregon trail and those that first traveled west, one of the most important characters of history is Marcus Whitman.    He was a missionary who came out around 1836 with his wife, Narcissa.  He traveled back east to convince those in power to keep the missions open in Oregon.  I’ve grown up in Lewiston, ID which is just west of the Spaulding mission near Lapwai, ID.  Henry Spaulding and his wife came west with the Whitman’s to found their missions.  Henry Spaulding with his near Lapwai, and the Whitman’s with their mission near Walla Walla, WA. So, I’ve lived my whole life hearing stories about the Spaulding’s and the Whitman’s.  The missionaries came west in 1836 and started their missions.  

Whitman traveled back and helped lead the same wagon train that John Barton Pennington came west with.  He mostly likely delivered the child that John’s wife Sarah delivered near South Pass since he was a medical doctor.  Tragically the Whitman’s were killed by the Cayuse Indians after a measles epidemic in 1847 when about half of the Cayuse Indians and almost all of their children died. 

So John Barton Pennington not only was one of the first to travel the wagon trains west on the Oregon trail he also knew someone who was incredibly important in the settling of the west – especially in the region that I live in.  The life that these settlers encountered when they first came to Oregon couldn’t have been easy.  Fort Vancouver was a well-established trading post but once they left and headed down the Columbia, they left all civilization and had to build a new life.  There were no roads and the only settlements were in Salem and Fort Vancouver.  It wasn’t until after the Gold rush in 1849 in California when supplies were brought in more regularly. So the John Barton Pennington family had to live through a lot of hardship and were truly pioneers. (Special thanks to Stephen Crawford for telling me this story)

Descendants of John Barton Pennington


Generation No. 1

1.  JOHN BARTON4 PENNINGTON  (BENAJAH3) was born 25 Apr 1820 in Blue Springs, Roane Co., TN, and died 04 Oct 1910 in Fresno, Fresno Co., CA.  He married (1) SARAH ELIZABETH HEMBREE 07 Apr 1841 in Dade Co. MO, daughter of JAMES HEMBREE and NANCY PETTIT.  She was born 10 May 1816 in Warren Co., TN, and died 25 Feb 1851 in Yamhill Co., OR.  He married (2) ELIZABETH JANE SPORTSMAN 25 Feb 1853 in Yamhill Co., OR.  She was born Abt. 1827 in IN/MO, and died Abt. 1872 in Visalia, Tulare Co., CA.  He married (3) MARGARET J. FISHER 26 May 1875 in Visalia, Tulare Co., CA.  She was born Abt. 1833 in MO, and died 1906 in Fresno, Fresno Co., CA.

More About JOHN BARTON PENNINGTON:
Census 1: 1870, Visalia Twp, Tulare Co., CA, Pg. 4, #22
Census 2: 1850, Yamhill, Oregon Territory, Pg. 18, #116
Census 3: 1860, Lafayette, Yamhill Co., OR. Pg. 437, #3466
Census 4: 1880, Dist. 39, Calapooia, Douglas Co., OR, Pg. 25, #221
Death Cause: 04 Oct 1910, Broken neck sustained from fall from wagon.
Immigration: 1843, One of first to cross the Oregon Trail

More About SARAH ELIZABETH HEMBREE:
Census: 1850, Yamhill, Oregon Territory, Pg. 18, #116

More About ELIZABETH JANE SPORTSMAN:
Census 1: 1870, Visalia Twp, Tulare Co., CA, Pg. 4, #22
Census 2: 1860, Lafayette, Yamhill Co., OR. Pg. 437, #3466

More About MARGARET J. FISHER:
Census: 1880, Dist. 39, Calapooia, Douglas Co., OR, Pg. 25, #221
       
Children of JOHN PENNINGTON and SARAH HEMBREE are:
                   i.    MARTHA MATILDA5 PENNINGTON, b. 28 Jan 1842, Dade Co., MO; d. 26 Mar 1929, Mt. View, Santa Clara Co., CA.

More About MARTHA MATILDA PENNINGTON:
Census: 1850, Yamhill, Oregon Territory, Pg. 18, #116

                  ii.    MARY JANE PENNINGTON, b. 06 Jul 1843, Ash Hollow, North Platte, UT Territory; d. 05 Oct 1899, Yamhill Co., OR.

More About MARY JANE PENNINGTON:
Census 1: 1850, Yamhill, Oregon Territory, Pg. 18, #116
Census 2: 1860, Lafayette, Yamhill Co., OR. Pg. 437, #3466

                 iii.    MINERVA CAROLINE PENNINGTON, b. 1845, Yamhill Co., OR.

More About MINERVA CAROLINE PENNINGTON:
Census 1: 1850, Yamhill, Oregon Territory, Pg. 18, #116
Census 2: 1860, Lafayette, Yamhill Co., OR. Pg. 438, #3466

                 iv.    CATHERINE FRANCIS PENNINGTON, b. 27 Mar 1847, Yamhill Co., OR; d. 19 Apr 1929, Fresno, Fresno Co., CA.

More About CATHERINE FRANCIS PENNINGTON:
Census 1: 1850, Yamhill, Oregon Territory, Pg. 18, #116
Census 2: 1860, Lafayette, Yamhill Co., OR. Pg. 438, #3466

                  v.    MALVINA ANN PENNINGTON, b. 06 Mar 1849, Yamhill Co., OR; d. 01 Oct 1915, Joseph, Wallowa Co., OR; m. JAMES MADISON ISLEY, 16 Oct 1865, Yamhill Co., OR; b. 04 Jul 1825, Gwinnett Co., GA; d. 05 Apr 1893, Pendleton, Umatilla Co., OR.

More About MALVINA ANN PENNINGTON:
Census 1: 1850, Yamhill, Oregon Territory, Pg. 18, #116
Census 2: 1860, Lafayette, Yamhill Co., OR. Pg. 438, #3466

       
Children of JOHN PENNINGTON and ELIZABETH SPORTSMAN are:
                 vi.    LORINDA O.5 PENNINGTON, b. 1855, Yamhill Co., OR.

More About LORINDA O. PENNINGTON:
Census 1: 1870, Visalia Twp, Tulare Co., CA, Pg. 4, #22
Census 2: 1860, Lafayette, Yamhill Co., OR. Pg. 438, #3466

                vii.    SARAH ELIZABETH PENNINGTON, b. Abt. 1859, Yamhill Co., OR.

More About SARAH ELIZABETH PENNINGTON:
Census 1: 1870, Visalia Twp, Tulare Co., CA, Pg. 4, #22
Census 2: 1860, Lafayette, Yamhill Co., OR. Pg. 438, #3466

               viii.    STEPHEN PENNINGTON, b. Abt. 1859, Yamhill Co., OR.

More About STEPHEN PENNINGTON:
Census: 1860, Lafayette, Yamhill Co., OR. Pg. 438, #3466

                 ix.    JOHN BARTON PENNINGTON, b. Abt. 1862, Yamhill Co., OR.

More About JOHN BARTON PENNINGTON:
Census: 1870, Visalia Twp, Tulare Co., CA, Pg. 4, #22

                  x.    CLARISSA ANN PENNINGTON, b. 28 Aug 1864, Yamhill Co., OR; d. 03 Nov 1933, Fresno Co., CA; m. GEORGE WASHINGTON HENSLEY, 08 Jun 1883, Merced, Merced Co., CA.

More About CLARISSA ANN PENNINGTON:
Census: 1870, Visalia Twp, Tulare Co., CA, Pg. 4, #22