Elisha Spence (1776-1835)–Part Five: Levi James Spence (1801-1843) and Elizabeth Gray (1804-1883)

Birth: May 1, 1804 Death: Nov. 28, 1883 Inscription: wife of Levi Burial: New Liberty Cemetery Woodville McCracken County Kentucky, USA Created by: susan quinn Record added: Sep 16, 2013 Find A Grave Memorial# 117184444

Birth: May 1, 1804 Death: Nov. 28, 1883 Inscription: wife of Levi Burial: New Liberty Cemetery Woodville McCracken County Kentucky, USA Created by: susan quinn Record added: Sep 16, 2013 Find A Grave Memorial# 117184444

When I first began my Spence research over twenty years ago and discovered the name of Elisha and Susanna Spence’s second child, I noticed only a “J” for his middle name on various records. I presumed Levi’s middle name was “John” since Susanna’s father was John Spencer. While recently updating my research on Levi, I discovered the name “James” more frequently among his children than “John.” And after changing his name on my records to Levi James Spence, I began making some remarkable discoveries!

Levi James Spence was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina on October 25, 1801–the second child and son of Elisha Spence (1776-1835) and Susanna Spencer (1785-1810). He joined his older brother, Samuel Perry Spence (1800-1859), who was born in Greenville, South Carolina the previous year. The Spence family had moved to Mecklenburg County during the fall of 1800. Susanna’s father John Spencer (1750-1801) died in 1801. At the time of John Spencer’s death, the young Elisha Spence family was in the process of moving to Randolph County, North Carolina, a move they completed as soon as Susanna and the infant Levi were able to travel.

Randolph County, North Carolina had been a second home for Elisha Spence, so he was really glad to get back there. Shortly after his father’s death, he moved in with his uncle, James Spence (1730-1804). James would only live for three years after Elisha’s return and would pass away in 1804. After his uncle’s death, Elisha often traveled back and forth between Randolph and Pasquotank and Camden Counties. Many of his friends and family members had already moved to Tennessee. Elisha planned to do just that, especially after the Jones families’ departure.

Young Samuel and the infant Levi were oblivious to all the excitement. Pasquotank and Camden Counties meant a great deal of fawning by family and friend admirers. While the men huddled in one corner of the porch talking about matters of importance to them, the women gathered in another area to talk about their interests. The children took Samuel and Levi under their care and entertained them in the yard. Then the fiddles came out at night, followed by singing and dancing. Levi would not remember those earlier times, but Samuel recalled many of them. For his part, Levi remembered a family who frequented those occasions. He was three years old when presented with a new infant member of that family.

“Look, Levi!” his mother told him. “See the new baby? Isn’t she pretty?”

Levi peered into the sleeping face of the baby.

“Her name is Elizabeth Gray!”

***

Elizabeth Gray was born May 1, 1804 in Pasquotank County, North Carolina to Thornton Gray (1775-1830) and Mary Frances Porter (1785-1819). Three years apart in age, young Levi Spence and Elizabeth Gray became inseparable whenever the Spences were in the area. This childhood romance continued to grow over the coming years.

The Pasquotank Gray, Russell and Porter Families

Finding this Gray family was like looking for a needle in the haystack. A number of Grays settled in North Carolina–some connected by blood while others were only connected by name. A major branch of the family settled in Stafford County, Virginia, many of whom relocated to Pasquotank, North Carolina. Another branch settled in Dobbs County in an area that became Lenoir County in 1791. Still another branch found lodging in Randolph County, while others settled in Mecklenburg. The only clues I had to this confusion consisted of two names: Thornton Gray and his wife Frances. Beyond that, I knew nothing more.

Neither did anyone else!

Then, finally, I experienced a breakthrough. The following is a brief summary of the early family.

This Gray story begins with twin brothers: Thornton Gray (1729-1776) and Griffen Gray (1729-1775). They appear to have been the sons of Alexander Gray (1701-1765) and his second wife Margaret Thynne (1707-1729), who died in childbirth with the boys(1). Alexander Gray was born June 1, 1701 in Melrose, Roxburghshire, Scotland to Alexander Gray and Elizabeth Porteous(2). His first wife’s name is unknown, but their son was Nathaniel Gray (1717-1777). Nathaniel’s line first settled in Stafford County, Virginia and eventually relocated to Pasquotank County, North Carolina and elsewhere. After the death of his first wife, Alexander married Margaret Tynne, by whom he had the twins. Margaret died in childbirth with the twins, and the following year, Alexander married Catherine Dabymple Wilson, who was born in 1707. They had a number of children:

1. Margaret Gray, b. 1732
2. Euphram Gray, b. 1734
3. Rachel Gray, b. 1734
4. Amelia Gray, b. 1735
5. Janet Gray, b. 1736
6. Alexander Gray (1736-1791)
7. Katherine Gray, b. 1737
8. William Gray, b. 1738
9. George Gray, b. 1740
10. James Gray, b. 1744(3)

My focus here is on the twins, Thornton and Griffen. I provide the rest of the information for background that represents the sum and substance of my current research. My research is by no means completed. So many of the Gray records have been jumbled, it is difficult to find two people who agree with one another. The absence of official or original records makes the process much more difficult. With this in mind, I will focus the rest of the Gray material on the twins.

Alexander Gray, the father of the twins, died October 5, 1767 in Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland, and is buried in Holyroodhouse, Midlothian, Scotland(4). It appears Thornton and Griffen left Scotland for North Carolina prior to their father’s death. To date I have only found one record with both names on it in North Carolina: the 1775 Militia List for Pasquotank County(5). Griffen may have died that year since that is the only record I have found bearing his name. Thornton Gray married Elizabeth (last name unknown). Thornton Gray’s 1776 Will Abstract identifies his children(6):

1. Julian (Julia/Juliana) Gray (1760-1804)–an important link with the Spence family. Julian first married a Williams (first name unknown.) Their children were: (a) Jean [Williams] Spence, b. 1785; and (b) Elizabeth [Williams] Spence (b. 1786). Her second husband was Samuel Spence (1760-1805)(7). Samuel Spence’s parents were Joseph Spence (1700-1783) and Louisa Sarah Rencher (1700-1783). Samuel descends from the Alexander Spence/Dorothy Truman line and Elisha descends from the James Spence/Esther Booth line, creating a cousin connection between them. According to my Ancestry calculator, this Samuel Spence is my 2nd cousin 7 times removed! Samuel and Julian Spence’s children were:

(a) Newton Enoch Spence (1788-1870). Newton would die in Rutherford County, Tennessee;
(b) Rencher Spence (1788-1870). Rencher would also die in Rutherford County, Tennessee;
(c) Joseph Spence (1790-1829);
(d) Brittain Spence (1791-1829). Brittain would also die in Rutherford County, Tennessee;
(e) Luckey Spence, b. 1800(8).

Newton, Rencher and Brittain would relocate to Davidson County, Tennessee with Elisha Spence. I have referenced them in my earlier article: “The Mystery of William Spence (1795-1869)”, which is the first article in the Spence series.

2. Thornton Gray (1775-1830)–the grandfather of little Elizabeth Gray. Thornton was born in 1775 in Pasquotank County, North Carolina, and he died before 1830 in New Hanover, Pasquotank, North Carolina(9). His wife was Mary Frances Porter (1785-1819). (She would be known as Frances). They would have three children:

(a) Thornton Gray (1802-1850). Thornton would marry Elizabeth Ann Russell (1829-1917). She was the daughter of William Russell (1800-1835) and Rhoda Elizabeth (surname unknown). [Note: This is the source of the Rhoda name in the Spence family!] Their children were:

(i) Mary Gray, b. 1844;
(ii) Thomas Russell Gray (b. 1848);
(iii) Elizabeth Frances Gray (b. 1850)(10)

Thornton Gray (b. 1775) died in McCracken County, Kentucky after the 1850 Census. His wife–Elizabeth Ann Russell–will reappear in the next entry.

3. Charles Porter Gray (1819-1890). Charles was born October 27, 1819 in Davidson County, Tennessee, and he died April 4, 1890 in Albany, Clinton, Kentucky. His mother died in childbirth while delivering him. After his mother’s death, his father Thornton Gray remarried. The name of his wife is unknown, but she may have been a widow with children. By 1820, Thornton moved his family to New Hanover, Pasquotank, North Carolina, where they appear on the 1820 Census. Thornton Sr. died before the 1830 Census was taken. Charles became a lawyer, and he settled in Albany, Clinton, Kentucky. Shortly after his brother Thornton’s death in 1850, Charles married Thornton’s widow that same year–Elizabeth Ann Russell (1829-1917). Their children were:

(i)Rhoda C. Gray (Tuggle) (1852-1921)
(ii) Lucy G. Gray (b. 1855)
(iii) Mary Frances Gray (1857-1937)
(iv) William N. Gray (b. 1860)
(v) Shel C. Gray (1862-1892)
(vi) Susan H. Gray (Noland) (1865-1935)
(vii) Nancy E. Gray (b. 1867)
(viii) Amanda T. Gray (b. 1871)
(ix) James McAllen Gray (1874-1953)(11)

Elizabeth Ann Russell Gray died December 26, 1917 in Celina, Clay, Tennessee.

The other children of Thornton Gray (1729-1776) and Elizabeth are identified in his will abstract. As yet, I have not discovered dates for them:

Name
Thornton Gray

Probate Year
1776

Estimated Death Year
Abt 1776

Full Abstract
1776 GRAY, THORNTON, Elizabeth (wife); Judah, Catherine, Julia, Barthema, Thornton(12).

Julia is Juliana/Julian, the wife of Samuel Spence (1760-1805)

***

Contrary to my presumption in Part Four, Levi James Spence did not go to Perry County, Tennessee in 1820 with his brothers, Samuel and Daniel. The Thornton Gray family, including Levi’s beloved Elizabeth, planned to head back to North Carolina. Levi wasn’t going to risk losing her to someone else. So he went to North Carolina with the Grays, where he appears on the 1820 Census in Lenoir County. Thornton set him up there with relatives, but Levi was back in Pasquotank County every weekend. He and Elizabeth were married in New Hanover, Pasquotank, North Carolina in 1824. After Thornton’s death, they returned to Tennessee and settled in Madison County.

The children of Levi James Spence and Elizabeth Gray follow:

1. James Russell Spence (1825-aft 1900). James Russell Spence was born May 16, 1825 in Pasquotank, North Carolina, and he died after 1900 in Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky. On April 15, 1852, he married Nancy Jane Moore (1831-1877) in McCracken County, Kentucky. Their children were: (a) Albert H. Spence, b. 1853; (b) Malcolm G. “Mack” Spence, b 1855; (c) Medora “Dora” Spence, b. 1857; (d) Eugene Spence, b. 1860; (e) William Spence, b. 1864; (f) James Samuel Spence, b. 1869. His second wife was Sarah Byard (b. 1846). They had one daughter: Flossie Spence (b. 1879). Sarah was a widow and had a son by her previous marriage: Henry C. Byard (b. 1872)
2. Thornton Spence, b. 1827. He may have died young. I can find nothing else about him.
3. Mark Spence (1829-1852). Mark was born May 17, 1829 in Madison County, Tennessee, and he died of cholera in St. Louis, Missouri on September 27, 1852. He appears to have remained single.
4. William W. Spence (1832-1910). William was born January 17, 1832 in Tennessee, and he died after 1910 in Paducah, McCracken, Kentucky. He married Mary Ann Moore (1833-1920) on October 26, 1859 in McCracken County Kentucky. Their children were: (a) John W. Spence (1861-1924); and (b) Thomas Duncan Spence (1865-1947).
5. Joseph Martin Spence (1834-1914). Joseph was born October 26, 1834 in Graves County, Kentucky, and he died June 13, 1914 in Oxford, Sumner County, Kansas. On August 27, 1856, he married Elizabeth Jane Browning (1836-1906) in McCracken County, Kentucky. Their children were: (a) William Henry Spence, who was born August 20, 1857 in McCracken County, Kentucky and who died in 1925 in Oxford, Sumner, Kansas; (b)Jacob A. “Jack” Spence, who was born November 1861 in McCracken County, Kentucky, and who died in 1925 in Sumner County, Kansas; (c) Thomas Spence (1863-1935), who was born March 24, 1863 in Paducah, McCracken, Kentucky, and who died December 13, 1935 in Arcadia, Oklahoma; (d) James Eli Spence (Eli James Spence–he used the name Eli), who was born September 1864 in McCracken County, Kentucky, and who died before 1910 in Guthrie, Logan, Oklahoma; (e) Mary June Spence, who was born September 1866 in McCracken County, Kentucky, and who died in 1942 in Oxford, Sumner, Kansas; (f) Deelan B Spence, who was born June 1870 in McCracken County, Kentucky, and who died before 1880 in McCracken County, Kentucky; (g) Lou Ella Spence, who was born about 1872 in McCracken County, Kentucky, and who died after 1880 in McCracken County, Kentucky; (h) Lottie Spence, who was born October 1, 1874 in Paducah, McCracken, Kentucky, and who died August 14, 1955 in Kansas.
5. Elizabeth Frances Spence (1836-1925). Elizabeth was born in Kentucky December 22, 1836, and she died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma May 31, 1925. On January 29, 1857, she married John William Wyatt (1829-1876) in McCracken County, Kentucky. Their children were: (a) Medora Mary Wyatt (1857-1884); (b) Virginia E. Wyatt, born 1860; (c) James Lewis Wyatt (1862-1935); (d) John Melvin Wyatt (1866-1949); (e) Allen A. Wyatt, b. 1873.
6. Thomas J. (James) Spence (1839-1928). Thomas was born May 9, 1839 in Tennessee, and he died April 15, 1928 in Sumner County, Kansas. His wife’s name was Malena. Their children were: (a) James C. Spence (1867-1947); (b) Thomas Levi Spence (1871-1930); (c) Fannie M. Spence, born 1879; (d) William P. Spence, born 1884.
7. Littleton F. Spence (1843-1876). Littleton was born about 1843 in Kentucky, and he died January 19, 1876 in McCracken County, Kentucky. His wife was Alice B. Crawford (1848-1916). They had one known child: Edward Spence, who was born in October 1869 in McCracken County, Kentucky(13).

Howard and I lived in Bowling Green Kentucky from 1969 until 1970. We drove through Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky numerous times while traveling between Bowling Green and Farmington, Missouri in order to visit Howard’s parents. I did not realize I had all these ancestors living in McCracken County! My Grandfather Spence once thought his father’s family originated in Kentucky. They didn’t, but a large number of family members certainly settled there!

***

When Levi and Elizabeth Gray Spence returned to Tennessee, they settled in Madison County, where they appear on the 1830 Censes(14). Elizabeth’s brother, Thornton Gray (1802-1850) had settled in Jefferson County, Kentucky, where he appears on the 1830 Censes. By 1843, Thornton moved to McCracken County, where he married Elizabeth Ann Russell (1829-1917)(15). Levi and Elizabeth’s first four children were born in Madison County, Tennessee but in 1834, the family made a sojourn into Kentucky, where Joseph Martin Spence was born in Graves County. From there, the family moved to McCracken County, Kentucky, where Elizabeth’s brother, Thornton, lived. Then in 1840, Levi and his family moved to Weakley County, Tennessee, where they appear on the Census that year. The youngest son Littleton was born in Weakley County in 1843. In 1840, Elizabeth Gray Spence’s younger brother, Charles Porter Gray (1819-1890) was living in Williamson County, Tennessee, where he appears as married with a young son and daughter under the age of five(16). This would have been his first family; I do not know their names, and I do not believe they survived. Levi James Spence moved to Weakley County because a younger brother (William) had settled there. He and his family had returned to North Carolina, and then moved back to Tennessee.

Levi James Spence died in Weakley County, Tennessee in 1843. His wife, Elizabeth Gray, returned to McCracken County, Kentucky shortly after his death. She appears on the 1850 Census with her children: James (age 24); William W. (age 18); Joseph M. (age 15); Elizabeth F. (age 13); Thomas J. (age 11); Littleton F. (age 7)(17). She appears on the 1880 Census for Woodville, McCracken, Kentucky, and she lived there the last three years of her life(18). She died November 28, 1883, and she is buried in the New Liberty Cemetery, Woodville, McCracken County, Tennessee(19).

To Be Continued in Part Six

References

(1) Alexander Gray in Scotland Select Marriages, 1561-1910 about Alexander Gray. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(2) Alexander Gray in Scotland Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1960. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(3) One World Ancestral Trees, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(4) Alexander Gray in the UK Extracted Probate Records, 1269-1975. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(5) Griffen Gray and Thornton Gray on the Militia Roster for 1775, Pasquotank County, North Carolina. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(6) North Carolina Will Abstract for Thornton Gray (1776), Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(7)Julian Gray/Samuel Spence Marriage Record, North Carolina Marriage Records, 1741-2011. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(8)Samuel Spence Last Will & Testament (1805), Microfilmed opy obtained from the North Carolina State Library and Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.
(9)1830 Census about Thornton Gray, New Hanover, Pasquotank, North Carolina. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(10)1850 Census about Thornton Gray (b. 1802), Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(11)1860 Census about Charles Porter Gray, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(12)North Carolina Will Abstract for Thornton Gray (1776), Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(13)Inman-Spence-Beall-Warfield Family Branches, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(14)1830 Census for Levi Spence, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(15)1830 Census for Thornton Gray, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(16)1840 Census for Charles P. Gray, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(17)1850 Census for Elizabeth Spence, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(18)1880 Census for Elizabeth Spence, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(19) Elizabeth Spence Find-a-Grave Memorial #117184444, Find-a-Grave.com Website. Date Accessed: 17 June 2015. Available online at http://www.findagrave.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s