Kit # 23779. Mary, b. ca. 1764, of Orange and Burke Counties, NC + Job Pendergrass > Christian Pendergrass b.1801 Burke Co, NC, d. 1868 Carroll Co, AR + Martin Van Buren Beaver > Mary Ann Beaver b. 1821 Burke Co, NC, d. 1897 Barry Co, MO + John "Calvin" Dunaway > Nancy "Tennessee" Dunaway b. ca. 1853 + Christopher Columbus Beaver HVR1 Haplogroup H5  
HVR1 Mutations 16304C
HVR2 Mutations 263G

Copyright © April 2006, Revised 2007
Mary Fern Souder

In addition to a general interest in the maternal ancestry of Mary, born ca. 1764, wife of Job Pendergrass, this particular study was undertaken to further investigate the legend that the Pendergrass family had come from Macon County, NC, to Barry County, MO, on the "Trail of Tears," because they were of Indian blood. The source of the story about the Pendergrass family coming on the Trail of Tears has been traced to a descendent (now deceased) who was a teacher at Northeastern Oklahoma State University in Tahlequah (the headquarters of the Western Cherokee Tribe), where it is politically correct to claim ancestors who came to Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears.

Y-chromosome testing of several descendents of Job Pendergrass has shown no Native American ancestry. (See the Prendergast Y-chromosome DNA study at Prendergast DNA at Prendergast DNA Study.). Mitochondrial testing of a descendent of Margaret Mashburn, wife of Job and Mary's son, Moses Pendergrass, has shown that Margaret's maternal ancestry was uncommon, and European. (See the Mashburn MtDNA study at Mashburn MtDNA at Mashburn mtDNA Study ).

The next step in testing the Native American hypothesis was to go back one more generation to see if Mary, wife of Job Pendergrass, might have descended from a Native American through a maternal line that would have been recent enough to warrant removal on the Trail of Tears.

Generation 1: Mary was the second wife of Job Pendergrass. They had previously lived in Orange County, NC, but when Job applied for a Revolutionary War pension on 29 September 1820, they were residing in Burke County, NC. On his pension application, Job swore that he was about 66 years of age, and Mary swore that she was "not quite 57 years old." Family legend is that Job's previous marriage to Susannah Edwards had ended in divorce with him keeping their two sons, Titus and Charnal, while Susannah returned to England due to her strong Loyalist sympathies. The youngest son of Job and Susannah, Charnal Pendergrass, was born about 1787 in Orange County.

Job and Mary's first child, Jesse Reel Pendergrass, was born 22 July 1790 in Orange County. Based on the dates of the births of Job's children by his first and second wives, it appears Job and Mary were married about 1789, and that Mary was approximately age 25 at the time. This is rather old for a first marriage, and it has been speculated that Mary may have been previously married.

It has also been speculated the Mary's maiden name might have been Reel, because this is the middle name given to her firstborn son. The only other middle name that is known for her children is that of her fifth child, Henry James Pendergrass, born 23 August 1802. Henry James seemingly used both given names together, so James is also considered a possibility for Mary's maiden name.

Job was granted a Revolutionary War pension, which he received until his death on 15 April 1831. Since Mary did not apply for a pension as his widow, it is assumed that she predeceased him.

Generation 2: Job and Mary's daughter, Christian Pendergrass, was born 14 February 1801 in Orange County, NC. She married Martin Van Buren Beaver, son of William Martin "Willie" Beaver and Mary Rebekah "Polly" Hardcastle, on 18 August 1819, in Burke County, NC. Christian and Martin Beaver were enumerated as newlyweds on the 1820 Burke County, NC, census. They were still in Burke County in 1830, and lived near her brother, Moses Pendergrass.

Tragedy befell the family around 1839, when Martin died, leaving Christian with eight children between the ages of one and nineteen. In 1840, the widowed Christian and her children lived in Coffee County, TN, near her brother, Thomas Pendergrass. She was still in Coffee County in 1850, residing with her married son, Miles H. Beaver. In this census, her given name was spelled as Christianna.

By 1860, Christian had moved to Madison County, AR. She was listed as head of household with her son, William C. Beaver, age 31, who was farming, while Henry B. Ring, age 10, was a farm laborer. (William C. Beaver was killed by Bushwhackers in the mid-1860's during the Civil War). In 1860 Christian lived in the general vicinity of her brothers, Moses, Thomas, and Henry James Pendergrass, who had moved westward to Barry County, MO, on the Arkansas border. Sarah Stephens, the widow of Christian's half-brother, Titus Pendergrass, also came to Barry County, MO, with three of their sons. At about this time, the surname began to evolve into Pendergraft.

Christian died 17 January 1868 in Carroll County, AR, near the town of Beaver, which is named for her family.

Generation 3: Mary Ann Beaver was born 27 March 1821 in Burke County, NC. She married John "Calvin" Dunaway by 1847 in Tennessee, and they were enumerated with their young family on the 1850 Coffee County, TN, census. By 1860 they had moved to the area in and around Madison County, AR, along with her siblings and her mother, and several of her mother's siblings. Mary Ann and Calvin were the parents of seven children. Calvin died in 1865, and Mary Ann was a widow for the next 32 years. Mary Ann died on 6 October 1897 in Barry County, MO, and was buried in the Beaver Cemetery that is located southeast of Seligman, MO, in Sugar Creek Township. Calvin was originally buried elsewhere, but his remains were exhumed and he was reburied beside Mary Ann.

Generation 4: Nancy "Tennessee" Dunaway was born 20 May 1854 in Missouri. She married Christopher Columbus Beaver, known as "Lum" by family and friends. Lum was Mary Ann's first cousin, once removed. They farmed in Sugar Creek Township in Barry County, MO, and were the parents of nine children, eight of whom survived infancy. Tennessee died on 17 March 1919, but Lum lived until 18 August 1940, dying at age 90. They are buried in the Beaver Cemetery near Seligman, in Barry County, MO.

The arrival of the Pendergrass siblings in Barry County, MO, was staggered, and does not suggest a forced removal. Moses Pendergrass (1793) came to Barry County by 1839. His brother, Henry J. Pendergrass (1802) was in Missouri by 1838, but has not been located on a census in 1840. Thomas Pendergrass (1798) and his sister, Christian Pendergrass Beaver (1801), were in Coffey County, TN, in 1840 and 1850, with Thomas going to Barry County between 1857-1860, and Christian going to the adjoining county, Madison County, AR, by 1860. Half-brother Titus Pendergrass was in Blount County, AL, in 1830 and Blount County, TN, in 1840. Titus died between 1840 and 1850, and his widow, Sarah Stephens, took their three youngest sons to Barry County by 1850 and lived near her late husband's kin.

There have been six transmission events between Mary, wife of Job Pendergrass, and Participant # 23779. The results of this DNA test prove that Mary's maternal line was Caucasian and falls within Haplogroup H, the most frequently appearing haplogroup in Western Europe. Native American ancestry for this family, if it exists, is remote enough that it would not have required a forced removal from North Carolina on the Trail of Tears.

Matches as of July 2007:

Last Updated on 6/11/2007
By Wallace W. Souder