Family of Martin Pettry

The Family of Martin Pettry

Martin Pettry is most likely the ancestor of all those with this surname who are from the Coal River area of Boone and Raleigh County , and also in southern West Virginia around Mercer County. Much of what is known about Martin Pettry is from Revolutionary War pension applications he made. While he left no will there are enough records plus accounts made by his descendants to identify his family members,

This name is rendered today in various ways by his numersous descendants: Petry, Pettry, Petrey, and Pettrey to name the most common ones. We need not be dogmatic about the spelling since the name is actually derived from a more complex surname today rendered Peatross. Frontier living plus the unfamiliarity of the surname Peatross likely led to the assimilation of the name Pettry. The occurance of this name change seems to have been passed down to some present day Pettry's according to a brief interview I had with a teenage Petrey who played along my son in the all-county band concert here in Maryland.

The ancestry and descendants of Martin Pettry are well documented in a comprehensive book written by D.L. Petry. I found his book on a visit to the West Virginia Culture Center Library and I could not believe its size and all the information contained. I was looking for the ancestry of my mom's step-father and to my amazement found that both her natural parents are Pettry descendants! Ordering information for this valuable book is given below. The excerpt below is just a very brief summary of what is detailed in Mr. Petry's book.

According to his own account Martin Pettry was born in Orange County Virginia on January 19, 1757. His family originated in Caroline County where the name Peatross is still common today. Martin served in the Revolutionary War enlisting in a Rockingham County unit. Around 1792 Martin moved westward along with his father to what is now Montgomery County. After the death of his father around 1798, Martin moved his family to what is now the Pipestem district of Summers County, WVa (then Monroe County). Around 1824 Martin moved to the Coal River area and he died sometime between 1838 and 1840.

Martin's oldest son James remained in the Pipestem region and he is generally the ancestor of the Mercer, Summers and Braxton county Pettrys. Some of these moved to the Coal River area among the other Martin Pettry descendants. One of Martin's daughters Sally was married to a Fudge and they relocated to Preble County Ohio. Another son of Martin was named St. Clair Pettry and he relocated to Lawrence County Ohio. It is unknown where another son Samuel moved to after living in Kanawha County in 1820. Perhaps the internet will reconnect some of these "lost" connections not discussed in D.L. Petry's book.

My Pettry Links

Each of the natural parents of my mother are descended from Martin Pettry along with her foster father Luther V. Pettry. Each of her natural parents descends from John Pettry (ca. 1790-1870+) the fourth child of Martin Pettry. John lived at Shumate's Branch in Raleigh County where he lived from the 1820's until his death. Before this he served in 86th regiment from Giles County in the War of 1812. This company was mustered into service February 17, 1815 at Giles County Courthouse, marched about 75 miles toward Norfolk, and then finding the war had been ended returned to the courthouse on March 2. For this 14 days of service John was paid three dollars and 93 cents. Celia Pettry (1828-1910) was a daughter of John and the ancestor of my mother's natural mother Lula Mae Perdue. An interesting bit of trivia, she lived to see Halley's comet twice. Clarinda Pettry (ca. 1847-?) , a grandaughter of John married James W. Kirk who is the ancestor of Charles Ray Kirk who was my mother's natural father. Luther V. Pettry who adopted my mother was a descendent of a Jacob Pettry the seventh child of Martin Pettry.


Petry, Pettry, Petrey, Pettrey and Allied Families was available directly from the author D.L. Petry. This work published in 1989 is the result of many years of research on the ancestry of Martin Petry and a compilation of numerous descendants. It is 869 pages in length including an index of many hundreds of descendants. This very thick, attractively bound book is available for viewing in the WV Culture Center where I first discovered it. 

Send me a brief e-mail and I will see if your family is indeed covered in this book.

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