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History Corner By Pat Ross & Fran Snead

October 06, 2008
In the August 2007 blog, Pat wrote about the Davis and Hurd families, ancestors of Anne Copeland, Assistant Branch Manager at the Historical Center. In October 2007, she wrote about the Ross family. As we once again celebrate Family History Month in October, Pat has asked me to write about the search for the roots and branches of my family tree. Most of my ancestors lived in Pittsylvania County, but quite a few of their descendants now live in Henry County. Some of the names familiar to the area are: Hubbard, Walker, Fuller, Pigg, Aaron, Arnn, Wells, Shorter, Palmer, Martin, Marlow, Eanes, Shelton, Ramsey, Angle, Anthony, Ziegler and Woody. My husband is not local, but in researching his family I even found that they connected back to the area through the Fuller and Lawrence families.

For this blog, I have decided to share some information on the Aaron/Arnn family. I descend from Abraham Arnn, Sr. through two of his sons. Through the years, the descendants of Abraham Sr. have spelled the surname in an interesting variety of ways. One family researcher, Larry Aaron, found the name spelled no less than 16 different ways in court documents relating to the family. One of my branches from Abraham Sr. spells the surname Aaron today and the other spells it Arnn. There are also descendants who spell the name Aron.

As you conduct your own research, keep in mind that having a firm spelling of one’s surname is a fairly recent occurrence. As you can see from the Aaron/Arnn family, when it comes to old documents, spelling doesn't count, especially with names. In your research, you must be willing to look at all the different possible spellings of the surname of your ancestor and even some that don’t seem possible! Many people have lost out on a plethora of information simply because they were insistent they couldn’t be related to someone due to a spelling difference in the surname. Prior to the publishing of the first Dictionary of the English Language in 1755 by Samuel Johnson in England, there were no spelling rules. In the United States, there wasn’t a standard for spelling until Noah Webster published the first American dictionary in 1828. Since everyone spelled as they deemed fit prior to 1755, you should not worry about spelling in old documents and letters. There are at least three reasons for the spelling variations of our ancestors’ names: 1) They may have been illiterate, 2) someone else, such as a clerk or clergyman might have created the record, and 3) they may have had an accent which was unclear or unfamiliar to the person taking the information.

Now, back to the Aaron/Arnn family:

Abraham Arnn, Sr. was born around 1734. He is speculated to have married Judith Diehl. However, there are no primary sources to support this speculation. It is, also, theorized that he may have married a Philpott. There have been no legal documents found to date which mention his wife. Abraham and several of his children moved from Lancaster, PA to Pittsylvania Co., VA around the year 1771. On 6 Sept 1777, Abraham subscribed to the oath of allegiance in Pittsylvania Co., VA. During the Revolutionary War, he served on the jury several times and provided supplies for the troops. He is the first name listed in the Patriot Index published by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The birth order and some of the birth dates of his children are unknown. In addition to the children listed below, Abraham might have had a son named Moses who married Abigail Payne on 18 Sep 1782 in Pittsylvania Co., VA. However, there is no documentation to prove that Moses was the son of Abraham Arnn, Sr. Abraham died in 1815 or 1816 in Pittsylvania Co., VA. Children of Abraham Arnn, Sr.: Jacob Horatio married Judith Kearby, Catherine married (1) John Whitsell & (2) Harmon Cook Sr., Abraham Jr. married (1) Chloe Pearson (2) Nellie Purdue and (3) Seneth Regan, Mary married Tobias Kingery, George Washington married Sarah Walker, Isaac married (1) Polly Walker and (2) Elizabeth Fuller and Susannah married Joseph Fuller. My descent from George carries the surname Aaron. My descent from Isaac spells the surname Arnn.

Arnn Line:
Isaac Arnn was probably the youngest son of Abraham Arnn, Sr. He first married Polly Walker, daughter of Elisha and Judy Walker, on 7 Feb 1797. The only known child of this marriage was Susan Arnn who married Preston Edds on 12 Dec 1818 and moved to Saline, AR. Isaac’s second marriage was to Elizabeth Fuller, daughter of Zachariah and Letty Fuller, on 20 Dec 1802. Theirs was not a happy marriage. Records show that Isaac was brought into court and jailed a number of times. Most often, he was charged with failing to “keep the peace and maintain good behavior towards all citizens and especially his wife, Elizabeth”. Isaac served as a 2nd Lieutenant in a company of Artillery of the 1st Regiment in the state militia. The administrator for Isaac’s estate was qualified on 19 Aug 1844. He must have died shortly before this date in his late sixties. Children of Isaac Arnn Sr. and Elizabeth Fuller: Mary Ann “Polly” married Israel Fuller, Berryman married Joanna Amanda Blair, Asa married Sarah Mitchell, Frances married Philip Parrish, Letitia married William White, Isaac Jr. married Mary Clay Fuller, Sally married Henry P. Fuller and Zachariah married Martha A.E.M.J. Nuckols. I descend from Isaac Jr.

Isaac Arnn, Jr. was born around 1820 in Pittsylvania Co., VA. He married Mary Clay Fuller, daughter of Timothy and Elizabeth (Hundley) Fuller, on 17 Sep 1842. Isaac, Jr. lived less than 3 years after their marriage and died before his son, Isaac Clay, was born on 3 Dec 1844. Family history states that Isaac, Jr. made two requests of his wife, Mary, while on his death bed. One was that she never remarry and the other was that she make sure that their surname always be correctly spelled as Arnn. Most of their neighbors mispronounced their name as Aaron and spelled it that way. She kept both promises and lived as a widow for almost 64 years. Only child of Isaac Arnn Jr.: Isaac Clay married Mary Ann Hubbard.

Isaac Clay Arnn was born in the home of his maternal grandfather, Timothy Fuller, on 3 Dec 1844 after the death of his father earlier that year. He grew up in this household, also. He attended private schools in the community and is listed as a store clerk in the 1860 census. He enlisted on 4 Jun 1861 in Pittsylvania Co., VA as a private in Co. B, 38th Regt., VA Infantry, CSA. He was discharged in Nov 1861 as a result of a shell shot under his arm. At this time, he was described as 16 years old, 5'3" tall, fair complexion, gray eyes, light hair and his occupation was listed as clerk. On 25 Dec 1862, he re-enlisted as a private in the 2nd Co.E. 6th Regt. VA Cavalry CSA at Camp Ashby.. At this time, he was described as 18 years old, light hair, gray eyes, light complexion and his occupation was listed as farmer. He served with J.E.B. Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee and was at Appomatox Court House when Gen. Lee surrendered. Isaac Clay married Mary Ann Hubbard, daughter of John Fuller and Stella Clement (Mitchell) Hubbard, on 10 Dec 1867 at the home of her parents. She was a faithful member of County Line Christian Church in Henry Co., VA. Isaac Clay died on 13 Apr 1924 and Mary on 2 Jan 1929. They are buried in the Arnn cemetery located on Rd.811 off Rt.57 in Pittsylvania Co., VA. In 1987, Arthur Gauldin owned the farm on which the cemetery is located. Children of Isaac Clay Arnn: Annie Pearla married Henry Clay Hundley, Ashby Lela married (1) Mildred Ann Hundley (2) Myrtle Ethel Aaron and (3) Minnie Gertrude (Rogers) Hubbard Pastel, John Isaac married Ida Mayfield Fuller, Rosa Lee never married, Alva Marion was the second wife of Joseph Pinkney Hubbard, Grace Lenore married William Otey Allen, Raleigh Clay died as an infant, Hugh White married (1) Geneva Joseph Aaron and (2) Janie Lee Burch, Mary Stella “Dollie” married Horace Benson Price and Elizabeth Hamilton married Abel Lawrence.

Alva Marion (Arnn) Hubbard was my great great grandmother. Her grandson, Cecil Randolph Hubbard, was my paternal grandfather. He married Mary Gladys Wells who was a descendant of George Aaron, brother of Isaac Arnn.

Aaron Line:
George Washington Arnn was born in 1772 in Pittsylvania Co., VA. Some researchers list his middle initial as “M”. However, this is probably an incorrect transcription of “W”. He married Sarah Walker who was born to Elisha and Judith (Kirby) Walker around 1784. By 1830 they and most of their children had migrated to Henry Co., TN where she died in Jun 1849 followed by him on 11 Jul 1855. Most of the descendants of George and Sarah moved west and spell their surname Arnn. Children of George Arnn Sr.: Henry Clay married Mary Ann Robertson, George Jr. married (1) Frances Donaldson (2) Charlotte Lewry and (3) Louisa V. Lankford, Abihu married Margaret Blair, Anadab married Eleanor Alexander, Ann married John Walker, Judith married William M. Frazer, James Madison married Amanda Bond, Frances “Fannie” married John I. Crawford, John, Kitt and William. I descend from Henry Clay Arnn. Henry Clay Arnn was born around 1799 according to the 1850 census. On 26 Nov 1825, he married Mary Robertson who was born around 1800 according to the same census. Henry died after his father’s will was probated on 7 Jan 1857 and before the census was taken in 1860. Mary was living with her son Crispin in Henry Co., TN when the 1860 census was taken. She is listed as Mary D. aged 61 years born in NC. All of Henry’s family moved to TN except George Washington who lived in VA and NC. His descendants took the spelling Aron which later became Aaron. Children of Henry Clay Arnn: George Washington married (1) Julina Witcher and (2) Mary Frances “Fannie” Haley, David married Ann Babb, Edward H. married Letitia McFadden, Crispin married Mary Griffin and Anna/Frances “Ann” married James Parker. I descend from George Washington Aron.

George Washington Aron was born 2 Nov 1828 in Pittsylvania Co., VA. He first married Julina Witcher who was also born in Pittsylvania Co., VA on 12 Dec 1834 to Caleb and Frances (James) Witcher. They had eight children. Julina/Julia died on 23 Apr 1875. In 1877, George then married Mary Frances “Fannie” Haley with whom he had 6 children. He died 25 Jan 1902 in Leaksville, NC. Children of George Washington Aron and Julina Witcher: John James married Hattie Hicks, George W. Jr. married L.D. Gardner, Martha A. “Pattie J.” married J.P. Finney, Daniel Witcher “Witch”, Letcher, Bruce James married Susie Clay Marlow, Thomas married Aura Lee Shorter and Charles C. married Ida Aron. Children of George W. Aron and Fannie Haley: Julia F., Mary H., Mae, William J. “Willie”, Fannie “Kate” and Ezra W. I descend from Bruce James Aron.

Bruce James Aron was born 5 Aug 1864. His daughter, Elsie, wrote that her father was born on 5 Aug 1860. However, according to the ages listed for him in the 1900 and 1910 censuses, he was born in 1864 or 1865. Some researchers have listed his day of birth as the 15th. Since Elsie listed it as the 5th, it is assumed to be the day on which the family celebrated his birth. On 26 May 1888, he married Susie Clay Marlow. She was born to David Andrew Marlow and Nancy Elizabeth “Betty” Hall on 25 Mar 1872. They had eight children. Bruce lived his entire life in the Grady/Callands area of Pittsylvania Co., VA. He died on 4 Nov 1926 and Susie died on 3 Jan 1930. Children of Bruce James Aron: Henry Clay married (1) Ressie Ann Hundley and (2) Charlotte Clauze, Edward James married Claudia Seay, Elsie Elizabeth married Leslie Stone Wells, Bessie Julia died young, George Lester married Ellen Crocker, Mae Frances married Luther Seay, Susie Wilma married Smith Payne Gilliam and Evylene Truman married Claude Inman.

Elsie Elizabeth (Aaron) Wells was my great grandmother. Her daughter, Mary Gladys, married Cecil Randolph Hubbard, a descendant of Isaac Arnn.

I hope you find this information on the Aaron/ Arnn family interesting. As you do your own research, keep in mind that things are not always as they appear….especially the spelling of surnames.

Cindy (Hubbard) Headen
Bassett Historical Center
“The Roots that make Us One are Stronger than the Branches that Divide Us” -Author Unknown