Most, if not all, the children of Jechonias Yancey (????-1760) and his wife Hannah Yancey of Halifax County North Carolina, with their families, were deeply involved with the establishment of Methodism in America.  Chief among these families was that of the Rev. John Dickins and his wife Elizabeth "Betsy" (Yancey) Dickins (1759-1835).  Other's included Samuel & Sarah (Yancey) Yeargan (1754-1781), Frank & Frances (Yancey) Jones (1750-????), James & Grizell (Yancey) Alston (1752-1854), and William & Priscilla (Yancey) Hurt (1757-1790).



What follows is a collection of notes and citations concerning the establishment of Methodism in America and the involvement of these families in this religious movement.



          * History of the Methodist Church

          * John & Elisabeth Yancey Dickins

          * Samuel & Sarah Yancey Yeargan

          * William & Priscilla Yancey Hurt

          * James & Grizell Yancey Alston



**History of Methodist Church


[From the World Book Encyclopedia]


Methodists belong to Protestant religious denominations that trace their beginnings back to John Wesley, a church of England clergyman in the 1700's. In the early 1700's, John Wesley began trying to find ways to reform the Church of England.  He did not set out to found a new church.  The name Methodist first appeared in 1729 when Wesley was a Tutor at Oxford University.  While there he and his brother Charles became leaders of a small group called the Holy Club.  Other students noticed the strict, methodical way which this group approached their religious life and began calling them Methodists.  . . . Wesley became unwelcome in Anglican churches . . . He and his followers began to preach wherever people would gather to listen.  Wesley believed that salvation is free to all people, not just to a select few . . . such a doctrine appealed to many persons in England at the time, especially the poor and oppressed.  Wesley realized that this growing movement could not continue to work within the framework of the Church of England.  Wesley sent preachers to America.  - Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke became the first American Methodist Bishops.  In 1784 about 60 ministers organized the Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore.  The denomination grew quickly, as traveling preachers called "circuit riders" carried the Methodist religion to the frontier.   








Extracted from: The Encylopdia of Methodism


John Dickins [husband of Elizabeth Yancey] was born in London in 1747 and died in Philadelphia September 27 1798.  He was educated partly in London and partly at Eton.  He united with the Methodists in America in the year 1774, and was received as a traveling preacher in 1777.  During the Revolutionary War he traveled extensively in Virginia and North Carolina.  He was a man of more than ordinary education, being well acquainted with Latin and Greek, and well skilled in mathematical science.  In 1780 he planned with Bishop Asbury the establishment of a seminary, which subsequently was changed into Cokesbury College.  At the close of the Revolutionary War he was stationed for some years in the city of New York, where he superintended the publication of Methodist Literature.  In 1789 he was stationed in Philadelphia, and the publishing department  being established there, he remained at its head until his death by yellow fever in 1798.  "His skill and fidelity as editor, inspector, and corrector of the press were exceedingly great, conducting the whole of his business with punctuality and integrity".  He passed through the terrible epidemics of 1793 and 1797 uninjured.  In the awful visitation of 1798 he declined to leave the city, though friends earnestly urged him to do so, and continued so long as he had strength to visit those who were suffering. After he was taken severely ill he called his wife to his bedside and said "My dear, I am very ill; but I entreat you in the most earnest manner not to be the least discomposed or uneasy.  Tell the children I beg of them not to be uneasy, for divine wisdom cannot err.  Glory be to God, I can rejoice in his will whether for life or death!  I know all is well, glory be to Jesus!" with similar utterances he passed away.




Extracted from:

"A History Of The Rise of Methodism In America" By John Lednum. 1859


Page 172

In 1773, the preachers began to preach in North Carolina . . . Some of the first societies formed in this province were in Halifax County, and in this region Methodism had it's greatest strength in this state while in its infancy.  The following were the principal families among the Methodists in this state, in the beginning: The Ellises . . . The Yanceys; Mrs Yancey [Widow of Jechonias Yancey] was one of the most self-denying, holy women that ever was; The Rev. John Dickins married a Miss Yancey.

Page 198

[John Dickins] was one of the greatest and best men of that age, and a very profitable preacher.  As it was  said of Mr. Whitefield "He preached like a Lion".  Having passed through the malignant fever of 1793 and 1797, he fell in the third visitation of the yellow fever in 1798, in his fifty second year.  His daughter Elizabeth died of the same disease the day before his death.  They were interred in the cemetery of St George's, in Crown Street.  But when the ground was built upon some years since, the remains of many of the dead were put in a large vault under the basement entry of St George's Church; and whatever was found of the mortal part of this good man and his daughter, after dwelling about forty years in this narrow house, was put into this vault, while his headstone, with it's inscription, is in the burying ground of this church in Coates Street.

... Mr. Dickins married Miss Elizabeth Yancey, near Halifax, North Carolina.  She was in every respect a helpmeet for him.  She survived him until 1835, when she ended her days in Baltimore, at the house of her son-in-law, Dr Samuel Baker, who thus describes her meetness for heaven:


            With lamp well trimmed and burning bright

               And loins begirt around

            In waiting posture long she stood

               To hear the welcome sound

            Born from above, and thither bent

               And longing for the skies

            How sweet the voice, that charmed her ear

               And softly said 'Arise'.


She had been a Methodist for more than fifty years, and was past seventy years old at the time of her death.







Lord's day 5 November 1775

Rode about ten miles to Samuel Yeargan's Chapel, and met Brother George Shadford.  My spirit was much united to him, and our meeting was like that of Jonathan and David.


Lord's day 31 December 1775

Being the last day of the year, we held a watch-night at Samuel Yeargan's Chapel, beginning at six and ending at twelve o'clock.  It was a profitable time and we had much of the power of God.


[To the Rev. Francis Asbury

From John Dickins

29 July 1776 - Somewhere in Virginia]


Rev Sir,


On June 9th we had a large congregation.  I spoke on "No man can serve two masters".  Several appeared to be much distressed -- two women in particular.  We spent above an hour in prayer for them and they arose in peace.  When we met the class, we suffered all that desired it, to stay.  The leader only put a question or two to each member.  This was scarce ended, when the fire of God's love was kindled.  Praises hung on the lips of many; and several cried out "What must we do to be saved?' Thus it swiftly went on; every now and then one raising with faith in Jesus.  Surely this was one of the days of heaven!  Such a day I never expected to see in time.  While we were met, one Isham Whitehead was observed to be looking through the crack of the door; which being opened, he came with it, and being unable to stand fell on the floor quite helpless.  But in two or three hours he rose and praised a pardoning God; while one of the class who had been justified some time, received a blessing greatly superior to anything he had known before.  We have reason to believe that on this day fifteen were enabled to believe in Jesus.

Saturday, June 15th.  I was speaking to the class, and one found peace to her soul.  Sunday 16th.  I spoke from "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" to four or five hundred people.  This was also a day of Pentecost.  Convictions seized on numbers, who wrestled with  God till their souls were set at liberty.  A young women told me "She heard that many people fell down, and she would come to help them up".  This she said in scorn.  She came accordingly.  The power of God soon seized her, and she wanted helping up herself.  But it was not long before the Spirit of Grace helped her, by giving her faith in  Christ.  We believe twenty souls found peace this day.  Oh may we see many such days!

July 7th.  I spoke to a large congregation.  Afterward I was going to give out a hymn, when one was so powerfully struck, that he could not hold a joint still, and roared aloud for mercy.  I  immediately went to prayer; the cries of the people all the time greatly increasing.  After prayer, Benjamin Tycus, lately a great opposer, jumped up and began to praise God, with a countenance so altered, that those who beheld him were filled with astonishment.   Our meeting continued from twelve at noon, till twelve at night during which God raised up about fifteen more witnesses.

The Thursday following, six of those who wee convinced on Sunday, found peace in believing.  We hear of many other converted in the neighborhood, several of whom were strong opposers; and some hoary-headed ones, who had been strict pharisees from their youth up.

Sunday 21.  We had a large and attentive auditory and the power of the Lord prevailed.  The next day, I was much tempted to doubt, whether I was sent of God to preach or not.  I prayed earnestly to the Lord that he would satisfy me, and that he would keep all false fire from among us.  Afterward I preached.  While I was speaking, a mother and her daughter were so struck with conviction that they trembled every joint; but before I concluded, both found peace.  Glory be to God.  I am etc.

                                                                                    John Dickins





June 1780

Saturday 10 June.  Preached to about sixty people, was blest in speaking; rode on to my old friend, Samuel Yeargin's - as kind as ever, but a dissenter in heart.  I spoke at the chapel with great power on Isaiah iii 10,11.  Here I was taken sick, a smart fever, I could get no farther; was very bad on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Providence dark; my spirits much dejected.


Saturday 17 June. I am in peace, and much blest always when travelling.  Preached at Jone's barn to about one hundred people.  Spoke on Hebrews iv 11-15; was weak, but spoke long.  A few felt and understood.  The unawakened appeared unmoved.  My discourse was not for them.   I think my immediate call is to the people of God.  others seem in a hardened state; they have heard much, obeyed little.  Went to Mrs. Yanceys, an afflicted, distressed woman, sunk into rigid mortification, thinking she ought to fast excessively. 


Sunday 18.  I rode fifteen miles to Brother Bustion's* and preached to about five hundred people; was much led out on Isaiah iv 6,7.  The people were solemnly attentive.  I was tempted to think I had done well; but I opposed the devil and overcame him.  Brother Dickins** spoke on Charity very sensibly, but his voice is gone; he reasons to much; is a man of great piety, great skill in learning, drinks in Greek and Latin swiftly;  yet prays much, and walks close with God.  He is a gloomy countryman of mine, and very diffident of himself.  My health is recovered; thank the Lord.  Thus he makes my strength sufficient for my day; Glory to God!


Monday 19.  Rose about five o'clock, was a little disturbed in my rest with company.  Brother Dickins drew the subscription for a Kingswood School*** in America; this was what came out a college in the subscription printed by Dr Coke.   . . . I hope John Dickins will ever after this be a friend to me and Methodism.


[* Mr Bustion lived in Halifax County, not far from the home of John Dickins near the present town of Halifax]


[** John Dickins (1746-1798), preacher on the Roanoke Circuit and one of Methodism's outstanding leaders, was born in London and educated at Eton.  He came to America in 1774 and entered the traveling ministry in Virginia in 1778.  He had served the North Carolina, Brunswick, and Roanoke circuits.  In 1781 he located, presumably because of ill health, and lived in his own house near Halifax, North Carolina.  He was readmitted in 1783 and appointed to New York; in his church there Thomas Coke preached his first sermon in America on the night of November 3 1784.  and it was to Dickins that Coke first communicated Wesley's plan for the consecration of Asbury and the organization of the Methodists into a  church.  Dickins was a leading member of the Christmas Conference, where he was ordained a deacon  and suggested the name of Methodist Episcopal Church for the new body.  In 1786 while on the Bertie Circuit in North Carolina he prepared  The Discipline of 1786, the first in its present form.  When the Methodist Book Concern was organized in 1789, he became Book Agent, and continued in that post until his death of yellow fever in 1798]


[*** The plan for the first Methodist school in America was prepared at John Dickin's house on Fishing Creek near the Halifax and Edgecomb County Line.   . . . It seems that the school was to be in North Carolina, though the funds were later used for Cokebury College in Maryland.]


1793, Friday 15 November

I had a few serious souls at Roses Creek.  Here I received the happy tidings that John Dickins, that he, with his family, had been preserved during the late contagion in the city of Philadelphia.




The news of the death of John Dickins reached Asbury several days late while he was travelling in New Jersey.  On October 9 he was in Baltimore and Asbury Dickins was with him.  He records in his journal on that day "I had John Dickins son with me: we sketched out a  few traits of his father's life.  For piety, probity, profitable preaching, holy living, Christian education of his children, secret closet prayer,  I doubt whether his superior is to be found either in Europe or America"


Letter from Francis Asbury to Ezekiel Cooper:


My Very Dear Brother:

What I have greatly feared for years hath now taken place.  Dickins the generous, the just, the faithful, skillful Dickins is dead!  I have had but one day to deliberate . . . "

Mrs. Elizabeth Dickins was one of the elect ladies of early American Methodism.  Asbury referred to her many times.  This letter accompanied a letter which Asbury wrote to Mrs. Dickin's son Asbury, on the same day.


[To Mrs. John Dickins:]

Botetourt, Virginia

September 12, 1801


My Dear Sister;


I do not use lightness in my sayings and doings with any, and much less with you.  I have enjoyed you at a throne of grace to pray for the salvation of the souls of your dear children , in the conversion of whom  their, and your present and eternal happiness is greatly concerned.  Last Monday was a day to be remembered to my humbled soul. I hope always to recollect the first Monday in every month.  You will never!, never! lose sight of salvation from sin; ask it in every prayer, seek it in every means. 

Oh my sister it is your privilege now, by faith, tis this will sweeten every bitter cup, always holy, always happy, tis perfect love.  I am in a particular manner urged by the spirit to enforce it upon you.  when shall I hear you witness this good confession.  I hope in your next letter.  I must be made perfect in suffering, this the Lord hath shown  me.  I am called to do and suffer more than any others in America.  God hath done such great things for me.  The work of God is running like fire in Kentucky.  It is reported that near fifteen if not twenty thousand were present on one sacramental occasion of the Presbyterians; and one thousand if not fifteen hundred fell and felt the power of grace.  I remain your friend as ever. 

                                                                                    F. Asbury




Francis Asbury's Last Will and Testament:

June 6 1813


In the name of Almighty God, Amen, I, Francis Asbury, native of Great Britain, born at Great Barr, Handsworth Parish, Staffordshire County, Superintendant and Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America, in common health of body and firm exercise of mind, having deliberated upon the shortness of human life and the certainty of death, I make my Last Will and Testament . . .


Should Elizabeth Dickins survive me and continue in her widowhood, it is my will she should be paid, during her natural life, Eighty Dollars annually


Francis Asbury (SEAL)



Maryland, Monday 13 March 1815


Monday 13,  A cold ride brought us to Elk Ridge; and our old friend, widow  Honour Dorsey, gave us shelter and a welcome.  Tuesday, came in to Baltimore.  My kind inquiring friends, are coming in from morning till night.  I am with my old friend the Widow Dickins*.


[*This was Mrs. John Dickins, the former Elizabeth Yancey of North Carolina.  Her husband, the Rev. John Dickins, upon whom Asbury had placed heavy burdens as book steward, had died during the yellow-fever epidemic in Philadelphia on September 27, 1798.  When in 1784 Dickins was appointed to Wesley Chapel, New York City, Mrs Dickins became among the very first women to occupy a Methodist parsonage.  Following her husband's death she moved to Baltimore, where in 1835 she died in the home of her son-in-law, Dr Samuel Baker.  Her son Asbury Dickins (1760-1861) had a distinguished public-service career in Washington, his last office being that of Secretary of the Senate, 1836-61. ]




[To John Dickins:

June 19 1790]


My Dear Brother,

This morning I received yours of April 9, with Mr. Asbury's bill enclosed.  I was surprised when Lady Huntingdon absolutely forbade any preacher in her connection to marry.  All I can say in that respect is 'If thou mayst be free, use it rather'.  I married because I needed a home, in order to recover my health; and I did recover it.  But I did not seek happiness thereby, and I did not find it.   We know this may be found in the knowledge and enjoyment and service of God, whether in a married or single state.  But whenever we deny ourselves and take up the cross for His sake, the happier we shall be both here and in eternity.  Let us work on likewise, and in His time He will give us full reward.  I am  your affectionate friend and brother.

                                                                        [John Wesley]




Extracted from:  "Annals of the American Pulpit" By Sprague


[Letter from John Dickins to Francis Asbury - about 1798 ??]


My much esteemed friend and brother


I sit down to write as in the jaws of death -- whether Providence may permit me to see your face again in the flesh I know not.  But if not, I hope, through abundant mercy, that we shall meet in the presence of God.  I am truly conscience that I am an unprofitable servant, but I think my heart condemns me not, and therefore, I have confidance toward God.  Perhaps I might have left the city, as most of my friends and brethren have done, but when I thought of such a thing, my mind recurred to that providence which has done so much for me, a poor worm, that I was afraid of indulging any distrust.  So I commit myself and family into the hands of God, for life or death ..."





DATED:  1793            PROVED: 1798

RECORDED:  Will Book Y Page 36


In the name of God, Amen, I John Dickins of the City of Philadelphia, an unworthy preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, having at this time, through the amazing mercy of my gracious Preserver, possessed of the usual command of  my intellectual powers and considering  the great uncertainty  of human life, do make this my last will and testament.  It is to say:


First, I commend my immortal soul to the [___?] of Jesus Christ, who by the grace of God, tasted death for my salvation, and my body to rest in the earth till the general resurrection. 


Secondly, After all my just debts are paid, I will and bequeath to my affectionate and much beloved wife, Elizabeth Dickins, whose piety & prudence I have great reason to place the fullest confidence.  all my property and estate both real and personal, to be used at her discretion for the purpose of supporting herself and our dear children, and as they attain to the age of maturity, if she has anything spare, I desire that she may use her discretion to bestow upon them such portions as she thinks her ability will afford, though I am deeply convinced that all I now possess would not be sufficient, without improvement, to educate and support them till they are capable of acting for themselves.


I also hereby nominate & appoint my aforesaid, beloved wife, Elizabeth Dickins, together with my trusty friend Tho. Haskins of the city of Philadelphia, [Grocer?], my legal Executor & Executrix, to fulfill this my last will and testament.  And I further desire that no flaw which any law may find in this my last will and testament, may disannul my desire according to the letter thereof.  And disclaiming all others, I hereby declare this to be my last will and testament, in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this 16th day  of September in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred Ninety Three.


                                                                                                John Dickins



[Left Blank]




Lost Chapters Recovered from the Early History of American Methodism
 By Joseph Beaumont Wakeley


John Dickins Family Bible


**William & Priscilla Yancey Hurt





Page 11

William Hurt, who died in 1812 in Hancock County, Georgia, and his first wife Pricilla Yancey, had two sons, Henry and Joel, and two daughters.  One daughter, Sarah, remained in Georgia in Putnam County and enjoyed the benefits of handsome property, plantations, and slaves.   Her home was the popular resort for good people travelling that way, among them many Methodist ministers.  She was known far and wide as "Aunt Sally Hurt" and was universally beloved.


**Samuel & Sarah Yancey Yeargan





Lord's day 5 November 1775

Rode about ten miles to Samuel Yeargan's Chapel, and met Brother George Shadford.  My spirit was much united to him, and our meeting was like that of Jonathan and David.


Lord's day 31 December 1775

Being the last day of the year, we held a watch-night at Samuel Yeargan's Chapel, beginning at six and ending at twelve o'clock.  It was a profitable time and we had much of the power of God.


January 24 1782

Friday, February 1.  Brother S[amuel] Yeargan gave me an account of a light his former wife [Sarah Yancey Yeargan] whilst at prayer one day in a little thicket below the house; she said the light shone all around her "above the brightness of the sun" This remarkable circumstance she had resolved not to communicate even to her husband; on more mature reflection, however, she thought it most proper to tell him; he observed to her, "Perhaps you will die soon - are you willing?".  "Yes" was her reply; but at the same time expressed he fears of a long illness, "which ", said she, "will burden the family".  Within two weeks from this she died.  She was my kind nurse the last time I was in Virginia; and she is the third woman of my former kind friends, that I have heard of, who has died in the Lord during my absence.  Blessed be the Lord for the great things he has done!




THE YEARGAN FAMILY. By Leonidas H. Yeargan.  1891


Page 9:  The Rev. Andrew Yeargan came from Wales about the year 1735 and settled in Virginia, then a young man of fine appearance, of the purest Caucasian type, and more than ordinary educational attainments for that age, and as was the custom of that period of business and moral habits, sought the hand of Miss Oney Bowles and was married and went into business earnestly and successfully, carrying out the scriptural injunction "diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord".  . . . The Rev. Andrew Yeargan's field of labor as a minister was in the Roanoke and James River Valley of Virginia, where he and his sons filled many useful positions of trust and honor during the stormy period of the revolution of 1776.  We next find him with his horse and Bible as a minister nursing Young Methodism.  . . . About 1770 we notice the influence of the Rev. Andrew Yeargan having been exerted as probably a local preacher for some eight years in Virginia, and so impressed the builders, especially Mr. Wright, a minister who was appointed by John Wesley, who was working under the auspices of Francis Asbury, that the first Methodist Chapel ever built in Virginia was named Yeargan's Chapel.


[DJY:  Many genealogists and researchers have recorded Samuel Yeargan who married Sarah Yancey - as being a son of this Rev. Andrew Yeargan and wife Oney Bowles - but more recently sufficient proof has been found to prove that he was NOT a son - but more probably a brother (although Andrew DID have a son named Samuel) .  And it would seem that the Yeargan Chapel, above mentioned, may have been the chapel of Samuel Yeargan instead of Andrew.  Not much has been written concerning Samuel Yeargan, but it would seem quite possible that he was just as much a leader in the Methodist Movement as was Rev. Andrew Yeargan.]



Page 10:  We here pause to take a view of this wonderful movement of the human mind -- one of the most wonderful of all God's movements of the human mind in religious direction, resulting in the complete equipment and organization of the Methodist Episcopal denomination of Christians.  During these thirty or forty years, the formative period of the Methodist Episcopal Church, these early preachers traversed every neighborhood of every colony, discussing and claiming their right to administer the ordinances of the religion they preached, culminating in their meeting at Fluvanna, Va, where by a vote of 18 out of 27 (9 not voting) they called for a committee, who were to ordain each other, and so their successors, thus providing for religious independence, and preceding the signers of the Declaration of Independence, who severed the civil and political relations of the colonies and Great Britain. By this act they likewise deserve to be held in imperishable remembrance.  Prominent among these eighteen was Rev. Andrew Yeargan, twenty years in advance of the Wesleys, who followed them with their sanction after the establishment of an independent nation.  Thus was born into Time Twins, and on this Western Continent: the Methodist Episcopal Church and the United States of America.





If I may- regarding Sarah (Yancey) Yeargain, wf of Samuel Yeargain and dau. of

Jaconias Yancey.  


It is interesting that Sarah Yancey was the THIRD wf of Samuel Yeargain.  It

certainly appears that Samuel was ca age 48 when he married Sarah, and she

only about age 26. On 4 Feb 1778 Samuel and Mary (Gray) Yeargain witnessed a

Halifax Cty., N. C. deed.  So we know Samuel's 2nd wf still living, and he was

not yet married to Sarah Yancey. (See below)


I am a descendant of Samuel Yeargain and his first wife, Ann Booth, whom

Samuel married in Chesterfield Cty., Va.  bet. June 1753 and Jan 1754 when

their "marriage agreement" was recorded, thus probably married after Aug Ct of

1753.  That would place his birth yr at ca 1732, probably Wales.  They had one

child, Ann, who later married Lt. Col. William Alston, son of Joseph John

Alston and Elizabeth (Chancy) of Halifax Cty., N. C. 


Samuel is NOT a son of Andrew and Oney (Boles) Yeargain as latter married in

Goochland Cty., Va. in 1758, some four years AFTER my Samuel married Ann

Booth.  Both of these marriages occured in the 1750's.  It is interesting that

Hillary Yeargan wrote a little volume in 1880's and grouped every man whose

surname was Yeargain as children of Andrew and Oney.  Also interesting that

Andrew is said to have come to this country in 1735 (more likely that this was

his BIRTH yr.). He IS a proven early Methodist circuit rider in 1780's,

however.  Say if he were 20 when came to America he would have been 43 when he

married Oney and 65 when became a circuit rider!  The former certainly

possible but the latter highly improbable. Anyway Andrew was NOT Samuel's

father.  They were probably brothers, probably both b. in Wales.  The

Yeargain's are thought to have been of Wales, the name having originally been

spelled Eurgain. 


Samuel Yeargain had the first Methodist Chapel in NC, not in Brunswick Cty.,

Va., as per footnote in volume re Asbury Journal.  This has proven to be a

most interesting discovery.  He and his chapel were first mentioned by Asbury

in 1774.  Yeargain did not own any land in Brunswick but did own over 1100 a.

in Northampton Cty., NC, just over the state line.  His first Northampton deed

was 1759.  This wedge of land became Warren Cty. just a few yrs. bef. Samuel

died, thus his will probated in Warren.  Since his property was on the n. side

of the Roanoke River, on Pigeon Roost Crk., near current crossroads called

Elams, it is understandable that the compiler of the Asbury Journal would

think that Samuel probably lived in and had the first Va. Methodist chapel.

This area was included in the 14 county Methodist "Brunswick Circuit" which

extended from Petersburg, Va., to a short distance across the Roanoke into NC.

Compiler no doubt did not check Va. and NC land records, however. 


Samuel married as his second wife Mary Gray, dau of Gilbert Gray, and wid. of

Christopher Clinch of Brunswick Cty., Va.  This marriage occured bef. 1771 as

Samuel was named as Administrator of Christopher Clinch's estate in that yr.

Samuel was still married to Mary (Gray) Clinch in Feb 1778 as per above.  They

had no surviving issue but she had a dau Elizabeth by Clinch, who is noted in

Yeargain's 1784/5 will.


Sarah Yancey was the third wife of Samuel Yeargain.  They married after Feb of

1778 and she d. prob. ca Sept or Oct of 1781.  They had the one dau., Sarah

Yancey Yeargain, who m. Thomas Alston.  I have verified with primary

documentation all above with the exception of Thomas Alston.  Thomas Alston's

information came from The Alstons and Allstons of North and South Carolina by

Groves and is probable, though not yet checked out by me.


So Sarah (Yancey) Yeargain was stepmother to Elizabeth Clinch, who didn't

marry until 1784, stepmother to my Ann (Yeargain) Alston who was her elder by

5 or 6 yrs., and mother to her baby Sarah Yancey Yeargain.  Samuel, having

outlived three wives, wrote his will on Christmas Eve of 1784 and was dead by

Jan. Ct. of 1785.


The plantation on which Samuel and Sarah lived, as well as Yeargain's chapel,

or it's site, rests under Lake Gaston, made by the state of NC by damming the

Roanoke.  Jaconias and Hannah Yancey had lived on the s. side of the river.

Burnt Coat Swamp is in the general area of Enfield in Halifax Cty.




IDENTITY: Husband Of Sarah Yancey (Daughter Of Jechonias & Hannah Yancey)



In the name of God, Amen, I SAMUEL YEARGAIN, of the county of Warren, State of North Carolina, being of sound mind and memory,  returning thanks to the Supreme Being for his blessings bestowed upon me, holding to mind the mortality of my body and knowing its appointed for all men once to die, [hoping?] at the General Resurrection at the last day to be raised to life eternal through the [intercession?] and [mediation?] of  my blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and touching such worldly estate as it hath pleased God to bless me with in this life, after my just contracts are complied with - I [leave?] and dispose of in manner and form as  follows.


Imprimis.  I give and bequeath to my daughter SARAH YANCEY YEARGAN, the land and plantation whereon I now live with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging to her & her heirs to be at her disposal at the age of eighteen years or at marriage, and if she, my said daughter, should [she] depart this life before she arrives to the age of eighteen years, or before she marries, I desire that the above-mentioned land and premises may [descend?]  to my granddaughter ANN ALSTON, the daughter of WILLIAM ALSTON, to her and her heirs forever. 


Item.  I also give and bequeath to my daughter SARAH YANCEY YEARGAN elleven negroes named as follows: (Viz) Will, Charles[?], Daniel, Cate, Frank, Beck, Stafford, Milly, Charles, Tommy, & [Butcher?] and their future increase.  Also the feather bed and furniture and five of my [valuable?] horses and [the?] half of my cattle, sheep, and hogs and the half of my household and kitchen furniture and plantation utensils to her and her heirs forever. But if she, my daughter SARAH YANCEY YEARGAIN, should depart this life before she arrives to the years of eighteen or before she marries that four of the above mentioned negroes may [descend?] and be left  as follows: (Viz)


Item.  I will and bequeath to FRANCES JONES the wife of  FRANCIS JONES the negro fellow named Butcher to her and her heirs forever. 


Item.  I give and bequeath to PRISCILLA HURT, the wife of WILLIAM HURT, the negro fellow named Frank, to her and her heirs forever.


Item.  I give and bequeath to GILLY ALSTON, the wife of JAMES ALSTON, the negro named Stafford, to her and her heirs forever. 


Item.  I give and bequeath to ELIZABETH DICKINS, the wife of JOHN DICKINS, the negro named Beck,  to her and her heirs forever. 


Imprimis.  I lend to my daughter ANN ALSTON, the wife of WILLIAM ALSTON, my land and plantation  in Warren County on the south side of [Ronoake?] River, on Little Stone House Creek to her [___?]  during her natural life.  And after her decease, I give the said land and plantation to my grandson SAMUEL YEARGAN ALSTON to him and his heirs forever.   I also lend my daughter ANN ALSTON:  (Viz.) Tom, Nan, Butcher, Ceasar, Hampton, to her [____?] during her natural life, and after her decease, my desire is that my grand-daughter ANNE ALSTON may have the negro wench Nan and her future increase to her and her heirs forever.   Also I give and bequeath to my grandson, SAMUEL YEARGAN ALSTON,  after my daughter ANNE ALSTON's decease the negro man named Butcher, to him and his heirs forever. and if my daughter SARAH YANCEY YEARGAN should depart this life before she arrives at the age of eighteen years or marries, I give and bequeath to my grandson,  SAMUEL YERGAIN ALSTON four negroes (Viz.) Will, Dina, Cate, and Chole, and their future increase to him nad his forever, and also I desire after my daughter ANN ALSTON'S decease, that the negro named Hampton may descend to my grandson ORRIN ALSTON, to him and his heirs forever.  & [____?] after my daughter ANN ALSTON's deceased,  that the negro named Tom, may [descend?] to my grandson, JOHN JOSEPH ALSTON,  to him and his heirs forever. And furthermore my desire is that after my daughter ANN ALSTON's decease, the negro named Ceasar, may be set at  his own liberty as a free man for sixty five years. 


Item.  I give to my daughter, ANN ALSTON, the wife of WILLIAM ALSTON, two feather beds and furniture, and the other half of my household and kitchen furniture and plantation utensils to her and her hirs forever.  I also lend to my daughter ANN ALSTON, the wife of WILLIAM ALSTON, during her natural life, after my daughter SARAH YANCEY YEARGAN' s decease  if she should depart this life before she arrives at the age of eighteen years or before she marries, the three negroes: (Viz.) Charles, Tommy & Milly, and their future increase and after she, my said daughter, ANN ALSTON's decease  to be equally divided amongst my grandchildren the offspring of my daughter ANN ALSTON's body to them and their heirs forever.


Item.  I give and bequeath to my daughter-in-law, ELIZABETH JONES, the wife of SUGAR JONES, who was ELIZABETH CLINCH: two negroes: (Viz) Abram & Mary and their future increase to her and her heirs lawfully begotten of her body and for want of such heirs to return to my grand-daughter ANN ALSTON, to her and her heirs, forever. 


Also my desire is the meeting house & one acre of land, it being the part of the said land I now live on may be had to the use of preaching to the comfort of the Brethren and [to?] the good of the publick  and that MATTHEW [MYRUCK?], NATHANIEL MASON, and STEPHEN SHELLY, my trustees in that function do manage the said meeting [house]  or chappel, and receive such preachers as they think fit to preach therein.  Also to appoint FRANK JONES, JOHN DICKINS, NATHANIEL MASON, and STEPHEN SHELLY as whole and the executors of this my last will and testament ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament.  In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this 24th day of December in the Year of our Lord 1784.


Sealed, Signed & Declared  by the testator.                                 SAMUEL YEARGAIN


In presence of:





Warren County,  January Court, 1785


This will was produced and ordered and [proved?] by the oath of Andrew Yeargan and George Webb, witnesses thereto, and ordered to be recorded [ _____?] granted to the [____?] of the Executors therein named who qualified accordingly.


Teste [M. Duke Johnson??] CLC



** James & Grizell Yancey Alston



Exracted from:  The Alstons and Allstons of North and South Carolina.  By Joseph A Groves.  1901.



[Obituary Notice:]


Mrs. Gilly (Yancey) Alston.  "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord".  Died on the 8th of Nov. 1845, near Culloden, Ga, Mrs. Gilly Alston, relict of Mr. James Alston, in the 94th year of her age.  She became religious in early life in North Carolina, and was some of the first-fruits of the Methodist ministry in that state.  She and her husband cast their lots with them at a church twenty miles distant, but shortly afterwards their house became a place for preaching, and a society was formed there.  When they removed to Georgia, they brought their religion with them, and were among the first Methodists in Elbert County.  The venerable Bishop Asbury in traveling through the South used to find a home in their hospitable dwelling.  About thirty years ago did this venerable matron become a widow, but Providence seems to have kindly alleviated her bereavement by the assiduity and warm affection of a maiden daughter, who took upon herself all the burdens and cares of the household and was a truly excellent nurse.  Her last affliction was of seven weeks duration and extremely painful, yet she bore it with fortitude, and died as she had lived - a Christian.  Some of her last stammering accents were uttered in a soloquy which bespoke the triumph of her faith.  Just before her departure she said: "O, the joy, the glory, the richness of the inheritance of the Saints!"  She has gone to join the companion of her youth, and some of her children and grandchildren at God's right hand; and leaving behind her upwards of a hundred of her descendants, down to the fourth generation, most of whom that are come to years of maturity are members of the Methodist church and are trying to follow the footsteps of this veteran of the cross . . .


** James Alston Bible