The Feemster Family

The Feemster Family

Tue 20 Oct 2009 01:08:24 PM EDT

There is strong evidence of relationship between the Feemsters and the Leeches. There was at least one intermarriage in York Co. SC. My great grandfather James McGrady Leech had a brother named Minos B, obviously after Rev. Minos B. Feemster, who lived very close to the Leech family in York Co. SC and later in Franklin Co., Tenn. Although Rev. Minos B. Feemster had the closest documented relationship with the Leech family over a period of years, a daughter of David Leech in the 18th century appears to have married a cousin of Minos B. Feemster, named James Feemster--in York Co. of course. Evidence of other marriages between the two families has not been found.

The Feemsters were among the earliest families in sw York Co. From the beginning they were associated with Bullock Creek Church and its pastor Joseph Alexander. John and Joseph were among the original elders, and Mary Feemster, wife of John Feemster, was buried there in 1776 in the oldest existing known gravesite.

Mary Feemster had two sons: Samuel (1738-1816 Bullock Cr.) and John Silas (1771-1817, buried Bullock Cr. Samuel md Margaret Robinson (1733-1816 Bullock Cr.) (others say Margaret Jamieson)

1771 Feemster John Silas SC Chester born

1794 Feemster John Silas SC York md Margaret Alexander (1775-1827) (Although the Feemster family was active in the Bullock Creek Presbyterian Church in York Co., pastored by Rev. Joseph Alexander, the origin of Margaret Alexander is unclear.) 1817 Feemster John Silas SC York buried near his parents in the cemetery at Bullock Creek, near the Leech Family home place. Inventory included ten clocks.

Abstract of the will of John Silas Feemster: (roll 18 no 30 of York Co. wills)
extrx Margaret Feemster
I desire that no part of inventory be sold except such things as are not necessary for the use of the farm and clockmaker shop.
Negroes, stock, etc all to remain as they are until my son Samuel Waren arrives at the age of 21 for the purpose of raising and educating my children:
Ely, Adaline, Minos, Milissa, John, Milinda, Samuel, and ?Eliza.
NThe balance of my legacy out of my father's estate which I have not yet received be collected and appropriated to the purchasing of books and such things as are necessary for my sons going through their eduction and at the time above mention. viz. when Samuel Waren reaches 21.
I will that my whole estate be equally divided amongst my children exept the plantation on which I now live and any two negroes my dear wife Margret may choose with a sufficient portion of stock and furniture during her life if she remains a widow and at her death or marriage an equal division to be made amonst my children.
I further will that if my son Ely learn the clockmaking business so as to be a master workman, I allow him to have the tools over and above his divide otherwise the tools are to be divided in common with the rest of the estate.
I apoint Margret Feemster wife and my son Minos B. Feemster to execute this.... 29 March 1817
wit Wm Coker
Danl Kerr
Silas Feemster
signed Jno Feemster, probated may 8, 1817.

John Silas Feemster's widow Margaret started on the westard trek with bro-in-law William Feemster, who soon started an abolitionist colony near Columbus, Miss. Margaret stayed with her family in Franklin Co., Tenn (Cf Roy Feemster p 19)


In 1804 Feemster Minos Barzillai was born in York Co. SC., the son of John Silas Feemster and Margaret Alexander Feemster. This family belonged to the congregation of Rev. William Cummins Davis, an abolitionist who had left Bullocks Creek Church to form the Independent Presbyterian Church. Davis moved to Tennessee, and in 1819, two years after the death of his father, M. B. Feemster moved with his mother and siblings and his uncle William Feemster to Franklin Co. TN.

Minos and his cousin Silas Jamieson Feemster studied briefly with Wm C. Davis, but Davis soon returned to SC and the two boys went to the 'log college', which became Washington College in Greenville TN. There they won degrees and soon after were ordained.

Uncle William went on to Columbus, MS and "started an abolitionist colony there".

1822 Feemster M B Tenn A.B. degree (presumably at 'log college'.)

1825 Feemster M B married Matilda King (1803-1887) of York Co., SC. She was the daughter of Samuel and Anne Whitfield King. Later in Lafayette Co. MS it appears that four grandchildren of Samuel King married four grandchildren of John Leech, who had moved from York Co. to Lawrence Co. AL. In 1830 John Leech and Samuel T. King were very close neighbors in Lawrence Co. At least some of the descendants of both men moved on to Lafayette Co. MS.

In 1828 M.B.Feemster was ordained.

The 1830 census shows Minos B Feemster in Franklin Co. Tenn, living next door to David Leech, who named one of his children Minos B. (This David Leech was the writer's gg grandfather.)

1837 M B and two brothers John O and Sam W went to Marshall Co. Ala. Brother Eli may have already gone. He was shot that year.

Soon Minos went on to old Carrolville, now Baldwyn, Miss. (Uncle William had gone to northern Mississippi ca 15 years before.

1847-58 M B Feemster served Harmony Presby just nw of Shannon, Miss. In 1860 M B Feemster went to Fayetteville, Ark. and served as pastor of Central (Cumberland) Presbyterian Church until it was burned and was scattered by Federals in 1862.

From 1862 until 1884 M.B. Feemster was preaching in North Mississippi.

In 1884 Minos B Feemster of Pontotoc Co MS died. For many years his daughter, Jeannie had helped him with sermons Her mother died in 1887 and Jeannie married that year in Prescott,Miss. Her husband was Dr. George Washington Terry. (Some say that Mrs. M B Feemster was buried in Little Rock.)

(The writer has voluminous research files on the Feemster family. Write to if interested.)

In 1840 David Leech was back in Lawrence Co, Ala and adjacent to James Robinson. (The Robinson family has been illusive to this researcher. They were neighbors in York and later in Lawrence, but the connections remain unclear.)

Samuel and Ann King of York County had among their children three of particular interest to us:
Martha (or Matilda), born 1803, the wife of Rev. Minos B. Feemster, living in Pontotoc Co., Miss in 1850,
Benj F., born 1801, living in Lafayette Co., Miss in 1850,
and N.W., born 1805, also living in Lafayette Co, adjacent to Benj F. (Actually a younger man, S.W.King, lived between them, in all likelihood the son of one of them.)

The primary evidence for these conclusions is two-fold:
1. In 1850 Ann King, 80, was living in the home of Minus and Martha Feemster,
2. Benj F. of Lafayette Co named his first child Martha and his second Minos. Could it be that the F in his name stood for Feemster?)

Beside being near neighbors of the Leeches in York County for a number of years, Kings also lived fairly close to Leeches in Fanklin Co, Tenn and in Lawrence Co, Ala.

(The writer has voluminous research files on the King family. Write to if interested.

In 1787 Rev. Joseph Alexander, patriot pastor who had inspired the battle of Kings Mountain (according to local historians), conveyed 136a on the Broad to John Feemster. Hart tells us that John Silas Feemster was the son of Samuel (1734-1816) and Margaret Robinson (Roy said Jamison) Feemster and the husband of Margaret Alexander. (Hart does not account for a Revolutionary Capt. John Feemster; he gives the birth date of John Silas Feemster as 1771.)(This datum suggests that Margaret Alexander may have been Rev. Joseph's daughter; however lists of his children have been found which do not lead to such a conclusion.)

According to Hart Samuel and Margaret Robinson Feemster were the parents of John Silas Feemster (1771-1817), who married Margaret Alexander. Samuel's other son, Capt. Joseph Feemster, was married to Elizabeth Berry. They were the parents of James, whose daughter or granddaughter Jane married a Leech. (So Minos B and James were first cousins according to Hart, grandchildren of Samuel by John and Joseph respectively.)

K 244 Saml F etal to Minus B Feemster 1823/25 P/A I, Margaret Feemster in my own right and guardian of Minus B, Hester M, Samuel W, and Marg M Feemster, minors and orphans of John Feemster, under 21, children and heirs of said John Feemster, put in my place Minus B. Feemster of Franklin Co., Tenn. to be my attorney for me and them to act re estate. state of Tenn Franklin Co Aug term 1823
endorsed by Edmund Rudolph cc of Franklin Tenn and by Judge James Sharp presiding in Franklin recorded 1825 (presumably in York Co. Court)

M 409 MB Feemster etal to Wm Erwin 1838 I Minus B Feemster in my right and as agent for Elijah N Stoval and Adaline C Stovall his wife York Eli R Feemster John O Feemster Peter L and Margaret M Tidwell (the 1790 Chester Co. census shows 3 Tidwell families close to Samuel Feemster in the nw corner of the county.) Saml W Feemster John and Eliz L Johnston (James Johnston also in nw Chester in 1790) Rice G and Hester M Collins for $130.14 3/4 pd by Wm B Irwin sell 64 3/4a on Turkey Creek adj James B Davison, Wm G. Irwin, Elijah Landefer, James Lindsey re 1827 plat wit Robert M Lindsey and James Erwin 1838 before Jas Kuykendal Esq.

The 1850 census for Pontotoc Co. MS shows John A. Leech residing in the home of Rev. and Mrs. M.B. Feemster. John A. was obviously studying for the ministry because three years later he and Robert Alpheus King, a nephew of Mrs. Feemster, were both licensed as Presbyterian ministers. John A.'s younger brother was named Minos B. Leech, and it may be recalled that in 1830 M.B.Feemster and David Leech, father of John A., were living adjacent to one another in Franklin Co. TN. Feemsters, Leech's and Kings all moved to Arkansas before the Civil War, although M.B.Feemster returned to north Mississippi after his church in Arkansas was burned by Federals.

One may suppose that M.B. Feemster was an orthodox Presbyterian. However the two younger men became Cumberland Presbyterians. John A. Leech's brother, James McGrady Leech (the writer's great grandfather) was very likely named after the James McGrady who served as a spiritual father of the Cumberland movement.

2000 Larry Clayton
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