Notes from a Farris reunion

Farris reasearcher Wanda Rabb had the following document in her files. It did not contain a cover page, so the authors are unknown. She suspects this was given to her at the same time the other Faris-Burton Reunion document was, but she has no way of knowing for certain since the individual who gave them to her has since passed away. Please note that some names and dates conflict with those found in other sources.

Before we begin our story we would like to direct your attention to the verse of Scripture on the cover. The Jews were a very proud people, believed in a close family relation and had great pride in their family histories. They kept very accurate records of the family lineage. The children were well versed in the stories about the family. Today when it seems that the family is breaking up and family life is no longer important perhaps it is good that we take the time and effort to study and learn more about Our Family. In the story that follows you will find no great heroes, no leading ladies, no great or catastrophic events, but a story of simple folk going about their every day lives.

It is our aim in preparing this paper to try to outline the history of our branch of the Faries family. Throughout the story an attempt will be made to spell the name as found on grave markers and other documents – thus there will be several spellings.

In compiling the data to prepare this paper it was necessary to consult a number of people. Credit is due to quite a few, but especially to William Theodore Faris of Clover, South Carolina. William, when we talked to him, was nearing his eightieth birthday. His mind was very clear and alert. It is to him that we are indebted for much of our information. “Little Will”, as he is known in his hometown, is a Faris from the side of his father and a Faries from his mother’s side. His father was Edgar Theodore Faris, who was born 27 July 1819 and died 11 February 1904. His grandfather was Samuel Faris who came over from Ireland and landed at Charleston, S.C. A story is told that when the ship reached Charleston there was such a storm that the passengers had to remain on board for six weeks before they could come ashore. We were unable to find any dates concerning his birth or death.

“Little Will’s” father was first married to a Miss Quinn. She died and he married Sarah Ann Faries, born 22 February 1842, the daughter of Robert M. Faires (handwritten beside this name is 1804). His father was along in years when he married Sarah. The Civil War was just over and most of the younger men had been killed so it was not unusual for a woman to marry a much older man. “Little Will” says his mother told him that she was born the night his father married Miss Quinn.

At the time of their marriage Edgar and Sarah did not realize they were of the same family but then sometime later someone discovered that their forebears (sic) came from the same family in Ireland. It is through stories told “Little Will” by his mother that we are able to record some of the stories herein.

According to the story, her grandfather came over from Ireland by sailing ship and landed in Virginia and from there he migtated (sic) to Miller’s Mill on Stices River, a few miles from Shelby, N.C., where he worked as a miller. His first name we have not been able to ascertain. For some reason he decided to take his family to Illinois, where he also worked as a miller. It is told that he was a great swimmer and was not opposed to showing his prowness (sic) in the sport. One day while swimming across the river to settle a wager he was accidentally drowned. Since he was no longer available to tend the mill, the landlord or owner informed his wife that she would have to vacate the house. One of the neighbors came by and took her into his house until she could make arrangements to go back to her people in South Carolina. We were not able at this writing to determine her name or who she was before she married great, great, great grandfather. It is believed that she may be buried in Bethany ARP Cemetery.

After settling her affairs in Illinois, she set out for her old home in South Carolina. This was quite an undertaking, even for a man, but for a woman with four or five small children it was well nigh impossible. There were mountains to cross, hostile Indians, little or no roads, no bridges, a scarcity of food and no transportation. We are told that the trip took three months. After settling her affairs we are told that all she had left was one old horse. She set out with this one horse, one quilt and the family Bible, letting the children take turns riding the horse, staying the night in the homes of settlers along the way and if none were available using the quilt to cover her brood. Finally she reached her destination and was safe with friends and kinfolk somewhere in the vicinity of Bethany, South Carolina. Following are the names of the children, Moses T. Faries, born 30 October 1806, John b. Faries, born 10 May 1800, Jane H. Faries, born 19 May 1809, and Robert M. Faries born 15 July 1804. The story is that there were five children but the births listed in the family Bible of Moses T. Faries lists only the above four. There is also listed in the same Bible the death of one Moses Faries who died 11 July 1812. This could have been the father but we have not been able to substantiate this. It is rather strange that Moses T. was so careful to record the births and deaths of his brothers and sisters but did not record the names, births and deaths of his parents.

While we hope sometime to be able to trace the other branches, for the present, we are mainly interested in the branch of Moses T. Faries. Sometime about 1830 he was married to Elizabeth L. Horton. To this union was born two children (as far as we have been able to determine) – John R. Faries, born 5 December 1833 in York County, South Carolina, and, Jane H. Faries, born 7 July 1835. Jane lived one year, dying on 14 August 1836. It is thought that Moses T. fought along with his son in the War Between the States. His wife, Elizabeth, died on 26 August 1878. He outlived his wife by many years. He died 26 November 1896 having lived to the ripe old age of 90 years and 27 days.

On 17 November 1853, John R. was married to Miss Nancy E. Barber, the daughter of George and Annie Neil Barber. George is buried in Beersheba Cemetery, a few miles from York, South Carolina. His marker shows he was born 19 October 1801, having died 26 December 1869 at the age of 68 years, 2 months and 7 days. Many Neils and Barbers are buried in Beersheba, but none could be identified as Annie. Very little information concerning her has been found other than that her sister Fannie Barber married a McCarter. It is through her that we claim kin with the McCarters. Another sister married a Hoover.

The stork was good to John R. and Nancy, bringing five children to comfort their lives. On 9 July 1854, Elizabeth Ann was born – later to become Mrs. William Barrett. John James was born on 12 January 1856, George T. was born on 21 December 1857, Margaret Jane was born on 7 July 1860. She became Mrs. Hugh Robinson. The last child was born on 27 April 1862 and was named William C.

As this is being written, although it is not documented, it is assumed that John R. served with the Confederate Army during the War between the States. The hand sword he presumedly carried is still in the family. From talking to those who knew him it seems that “Grandpa John R.” was a very strong willed person and if he thought he was right it was well nigh impossible to change his mind. He was well built physically, was very active and alert and was always willing to settle any argument with a balled-up fist. His strong will and his reluctance to change his mind often gained him the title of “Radical”. He was said to be a good neighbor, always willing to help those in need and greatly loved by his children and his grandchildren.

As mentioned above some of his actions gained him the reputation of being a radical and thereon hangs the following story. It seems that late one evening two Federal officers came by and asked to spend the night and John R. gave them lodging. This was during the Reconstruction Days just after the Civil War and Federal officials, if not hated, were looked upon with great suspicion,. So “Grandpa” had committed the unpardonable sin by succoring the enemy and therefore had to be punished. He was soon visited by the K.K.K., which by this time was no longer serving the purpose for which organized, but was becoming filled with riffraff and hoodlums, who delighted in harassing anyone upon whom they could pin a hint of wrongdoing.

It is said that he saved himself by climbing into the chimney and hiding. Until a few years ago the bullet-riddled door was still on the house where he lived. “Granny Nancy”, being the brave soul that she was, convinced them that he was not there and persuaded them to leave. “Grandpa John R.” had to move to Tennessee for a time until the situation cooled off. On 1 November 1900 beloved “Granny Nancy” died and was buried in Enon Cemetery just about a mile from the family home.

Sometime after her death John R. was married to Mary J. Faries. She was born in June 1833. She had the following brothers and sisters: James B. Faries, who died 14 February 1899, Rachel E. Cob, born 7 May 1830 and died 17 February 1905, Elvira J. Givens, born 15 October 1824, died 20 March 1905, and Sarah H. McCarter (Mrs. A. Jackson McCarter) born 1841. Her father is thought to be John B. Faries born 10 May 1800, died 20 June 1882 – a brother of Moses T. Faries.

A very interesting story is told concerning Elvira J. Givens. It seems that her husband died leaving her with one son. He grew to young manhood and went West to make his home. He left promising to return for his mother. It is said that she remained at the same home until her death waiting for him to come for her. She did not hear from him again, but never gave up hope that one day he would come and take her with him. Relatives and friends felt that he was killed. Elvira lived to be 80 years old. Recorded in John R.’s family Bible is the following statement: “Total number of descendants of John R. Faries and Nancy E. Faries up to the present date November 5, 1908, children 5, grandchildren 59, great grandchildren 21.” He died the next year on 5 June 1909, and was buried at Enon Cemetery, along with his first wife, Nancy, and his father and mother. “Granny Mary” lived until 30 April 1913. She is also buried in Enon Cemetery.

Several items that belonged to these great grandparents are still cherished by their descendants. One is a cut glass water pitcher belonging to “Granny Mary”. Another is the wedding certificate of John R. and Nancy Barber. It reads as follows: This Certifies that the Rite of Holy Matrimony was celebrated between John R. Faries of York County, S.C. and Nancy Barber of York County, S.C. on November 17, 1853 at George Barber’s Place, York County, S.C. by William Davis, a Presbyterian Minister. Witness: Nelson McCarter, Witness: Lizzie J. McCarter. These mementos are reminders of a bygone day.

Another interesting fact brought to light while gathering together the information for this story was that Robert M. Faries, brother of Moses T. Faries, was the great, great grandfather of the children of Ellenorah Mitchell Faries and John James Francis Foster on their father’s side. As was mentioned in the beginning, it is hoped that someday we can trace the other branches of the family, but for the present, we will concentrate on the line from which we are descended. In this respect, the next in line is John James Faries. He was married to Miss Nancy Catherine Martin who was born 22 September 1861, the daughter of R.L. and Artie Mincie Martin. Her father did not return from the Civil War. She had one sister, Rachel Martin Wallace, and one brother, Emanual Martin. “Granny Mincie” was born 6 May 1839 and died 29 May 1904.

“Grandpa John J.” and “Granny” were blessed with children. To their union was born James Franklin, Eliza Jane, Ellenorah Mitchell, John Pinkney, Rachel Elvessie, Nancy Ann, Robert Forest, Hosey Emory, and Artie Ardella. They were all reared to adulthood with the exception of Eliza Jane who died while a small child.

We have now traced the family to a living generation and would invite your attention to the family charts attached to the end of this paper. You will find listed there all births and deaths pertaining to the descendants of John J. and Nancy M. Faries. Also listed is the names of husbands and wives married into the family. (WANDA’S NOTE – I do not have these family charts with this document.)

Nothing has been said about the occupations of the Faries Family. As was mentioned in the beginning the earliest member of the family of which we have any record was a miller. From that time on up until the last fifty years it seems that farming was the predominant occupation. Members of the family are now found in almost all occupations. It is said that the family were farmers in Ireland and that the reason they came to America in the first place was because of the oppression of the Irish by the English. The chief crop in Ireland at that time was the Irish potato. The English found the Irish a hard lot to handle so they restricted the amount of potatoes they could plant hoping to weaken them by cutting down their food supply. A blight caused this reduced acreage to fail so to survive certain members of the family set sail for America.

It seems that something of the old Irish spirit still lives on. If you want to see a good example of a bull-headed person, just tell one of the family they HAVE to do so and so. At least that is what those who have married into the family say.

The family, as far as can be learned, has always been rather liberal in their religious views, always willing to go along with the other person’s beliefs as long as the other person would go along with theirs. Most of the older generations were Baptist, or so it would appear, since most of them are buried at Enon Baptist Church Cemetery. However, they intermarried with other denominations. John R. and Nancy Barber were married by William Davis, a Presbyterian Minister responsible for the organization of many of the Presbyterian churches in York County. Since her father and many of her family are buried in Beersheba Presbyterian Church Cemetery, it is easy to assume that she was a Presbyterian before her marriage. The family has now spread out and has members in practically all of the major denominations – with possibly a slight lead still held by the Baptist. As in the beginning we mentioned the Jew and his family stories and histories which make up most of the Old Testament, it seemed appropriate to end on the same note. In writing of anything in the past we must depend to a great extent on stories handed down by word of mouth from generation to generation.

We have tried to stay very close to these stories, at the same time, weaving them into what is known to be facts. Sometimes what is written may not seem complimentary but an historian must always forget his feelings and record the facts as he receives them.

This is not the end of Our Story by any means. We hope to continue our search and when we have sufficient new information to rewrite and revise Our Story.