Our Gregory Family

Thomas Gregory & Sally Rash

The Gregory Surname

The Gregory surname is of Celtic origin and is associated with the MacGregor Clan. The Clan Gregor held lands in Glenstrae, Glenlocy and Glenorchy. Strife between the MacGregors and the Campbells began when Robert the Bruce granted the barony of Loch Awe to the chief of the Campbells. Some of this land included what had traditionally been MacGregor land. Gregor Roy Macgregor was refused his claim to the estates he should have inherited. For ten years he waged war against the Campbells and fell into being an outlaw, raiding cattle, and hiding in the high glens. In 1570 the Campbells captured and killed him, which only served to anger the MacGregors even more. A few MacGregors were hung for poaching and then the King's forester, John Drummond, was murdered as a result. The MacGregor Chieftan took responsibility and was condemned. He and eleven of his chieftains were hung. In 1603, King James VI abolished the MacGregor name, meaning those who carried the name must renounce it or suffer death.

Clan MacGregor grew scattered, some taking on new names, others were hunted down like animals. This mistreatment and injustice prompted the legendary Rob Roy MacGregor to assume his mother's maiden name of Campbell. Some of his adventures have been romanticized, however, many of his actions were no doubt a prickly thorn in the government's side.

This information came from the "Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia" by George Way and Romilly Squire, page 220-221.

Our Gregory Family

Joseph Gregory is the earliest known ancestor of our Gregory line. He was born before 1773 and was the first Gregory recorded in Wilkes County, NC who purchased land in 1805 even though he was already on the 1800 Wilkes County Census. One of Joseph's sons is listed as being born in Iredell County and another in Surry County. Based on the deeds Joseph purchased and those of his son James M. Gregory, our Gregory family lived on the borderline of what is presently Wilkes, Iredell and Yadkin Counties in North Carolina. In 1771 Surry County was formed from Rowan County. In 1777 Wilkes County was formed from a portion of Surry and the Washington District of Tennesse. Yadkin County did not exist until 1850 and it was formed from Surry County. In addition to these county formations, Surry was later annexed to Alleghany County in 1869, 1870 and again in 1875. Therefore, records on Joseph's descendants actually exists in all three of these counties, depending on their exact location and what was happening at the time.

Joseph's son, James Gregory was married at least three times. His first wife was Sarah Gray whom he married in 1828. She died shortly, and then he married Linday Curry in 1830. By the 1850 Census he was married to Jane, maiden name unknown. During the Civil War, several of his sons served in the Confederacy. One of them was my ggg-grandfather, Thomas Gregory.

Civil War Gregorys

Thomas Gregory served in the NC 55th Infantry of Co. B with his brothers, George, James, John and Lewis. On July 1, 1863, Thomas was wounded in the face while fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg. He was hospitalized in Richmond, Virginia and later returned to duty. He survived the war and returned home to his wife, Sally Rash. They most likely married either right before the war or during his absence from the war in June 1862. Thomas was a farmer and during this time he was home on a wheat furlough leave. In the 1870 Census, Thomas and his family were living with Daniel Rash, his father-in-law, and Daniel's daughter, Jincy Rash, who is listed as deaf and dumb. Five years later in an 1875 deed, Daniel Rash conveyed all of his real estate property to Thomas Gregory "for the care and maintenance of himself and his daughter, Jincy, for the continuation of their lives."

Apparently, Thomas Gregory and his family fell on hard times in 1902 when he and his wife Sally were forced to sell their land to pay a debt they owed. In this deed, it states that Sally was examined separately from her husband to determine her agreement of her own freewill without her husband's influence. This might have been because everyone was well accustomed to Thomas' character.

According to family stories, Thomas was not known to be necessarily mean, but strict and stern. He lived by strong morals and values and he expected everyone around him to do the same. Sally was a midwife and she tended to the needs of family and neighbors whenever she was needed. If she was not home by a certain time for supper, Thomas would climb upon his horse and go fetch her no matter where she was, or how badly she was needed.

Migration to Guilford County

The photo above is of Sarah Cathleen Gregory and her husband Michael Clingman Harris. Sarah was the daughter of Thomas Gregory and Sally Rash. She married Michael "Clingman" Harris in Wilkes County in 1884. They resided in Wilkes County until 1907 when they sold their land and moved to Guilford County, NC. Clingman traded farming for working at Cone Mill. They had ten children, in which the youngest two were twins. Their fourth daughter was my great-grandmother, Sallie Harris, who lived from 1900 to 2000. She married Judson Hersely Watkins in 1917. The last I heard the youngest of the family, and twin, is still living and would now be over 100. She was still driving at the ripe age of 96 when I last visited her in 2002. One of their older sisters lived to the age of 106.

This page was last updated January 18, 2009.

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