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Re: Pearis Family
Posted by: James Mahar (ID *****7303) Date: January 27, 2005 at 22:38:23
In Reply to: Re: Pearis Family by SAP of 102

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My survey of the materials show that Richard had one marriage to Rhoda, which occurred at least by 1748 (the year calculated off the tombstone of his daughter Sarah). Like many white traders among the Cherokee he had relations with Cherokee women, which may have been formal arrangements or not. One such relationship is documented by SC Trader Ludovic Grant in a letter where he references Richard's visit to a Cherokee woman living at the village of Toqua. I have not seen any credible documentation that states her name or further identifies her or links her to George Parris, though George is clearly of the Cherokee tribe.

Richard Pearis had three children by Rhoda. It is clear from the records and the fact that Rhoda appears in records of Virginia that she is white. Richard names in his will Sarah, Margaret, and Richard Jr. He names three grandsons John Pearis Cunningham, Richard Cunningham, and Robert Cunningham.

Sarah (1748-1795) married John Cunningham and both are buried at First (Scots) Presbyterian Church in Charleston along with several generations of John Pearis Cunninghams (at least 3) and Richard, and Robert. John Pearis Cunningham is also named executor to Maj. Christopher Neely in the Bahamas. Charleston records have not been searched, but I believe further evidence is there to prove her identity. John Cunningham's identity is not yet established, though he is no doubt kin to Gen. Robert Cunningham, but he is not the Gen. son. So far, I have seen no documentation that Sarah Teeter is Sarah Pearis.

Gen. Robert Cunningham married a "Margaret," but it is not Margaret Pearis. Rather, Margaret Pearis married a Judge in the Bahamas William Jones. Margaret was given land specifically by her father in Nassau probably as she was the only child to stay there. Margaret died in 1806 and left a will in Nassau appointing John Armstong (who married a Cunningham of SC) her executor - Armstong is also named in her father's will. I am waiting for a copy of the will, but if someone has it please put it out on the web.

Richard Pearis Jr. returned to the US and settled in Camden Co., GA. He married in 1790 to Margaret Cunningham (1773-1803) the daugther of Gen. Robert Cunningham. She died at St. Mary's in Camden and is buried next to her brother at Darien, GA. Before 1806, Richard married a wealthy widow, Catherine Howell "Kitty" the widow of Henry Osborne. She had issue by Osborn. Richard died before May of 1808, when Catherine married 3rdly John Robert Fitzgerald; she died in 1824 in Camden Co., GA. Oddly enough, though Richard clearly died, no probate has been discovered and no heirs are documented. Richard was a man of some wealth, so it is unclear what happened. It may be that he had large creditors and that the probate took place elsewhere. Also there is no obituary for Richard Jr. until 1810, when his widow advertises in the Bahama Papers regarding his estate.

As to Rhoda Pearis, she survived her husband, but there is no index of her probate, possibly because Richard's will is specific on how her share is to be divided. Richard's close ties with Maj. Christopher Neely (in SC and Bahamas) and Capt. Lewis Neely (in VA) may suggest that Rhoda was of the Neely family, though there is documentation the Neely's lived near the Pearis family in Frederick Co, VA and that Richard's sister Christian married a William Neely.

Christian Pearis sister to Richard married first William Neely as documented by a bond filed to administer his estate and securied in part by Richard Pearis (1757). By 1747, she had married a James Magill, who removed to the 96th District along with the Neelys and was a close friend of the Cunninghams as well. Neely may have died as early as 1752 as William is not mentioned in his father-in-laws will. James Magill wrote a will in 1779 proved in 1782; neither mentioning Christian or a wife or any of the Neelys, but leaves his estate to his three grandsons, children of Anthony Golding by Sarah Magill (married 1779 in 96th Dist). No probate has been found for William Neely or for Christian so we have no clear documentation of the children of Christian Pearis, though it is likely Sarah Golding is her daugther; named after her mother.

George Parris the Cherokee is documented as Richard Pearis' son by the law suit over the SC land deed. I have not found proof of who his mother was, but it is likely she was a high born Cherokee woman. George held a position of high esteem in the tribe as evidence with his relationship to James Vann and that he was awarded a fee simple reservation in the Treaty of 1819. Tribal records provide depositions of his grandchildren that state George married three times, though his wives are not named (Case of Dica Llewellyn, 1888). Five children are clearly document: Lucretia, Jim and John by his first wife and Robert and Moses by other wives; the latter are well documented by tribal papers. George removed to Indian Territory in 1832 on the eve of the Trail of Tears.

I am looking for any comments, edits, corrections that can be documented that people would like to share.

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