Frederick Mayberry of Bedford County, Virginia

Frederick Mayberry of Bedford County, Virginia

Was he German, Dutch, English or Scotch-Irish?

Descendants of Frederick Mayberry of Bedford County, Virginia have inherited conflicting "family traditions". Some say he was born in Germany. Others say he was born in Holland. Still others say that he was "of English descent" or "of Scotch-Irish descent". Some believe he came to New Jersey shortly before 1750. However, it is also possible that he was born in America and that he was closely related to the many English Mayburys/Mayberrys who lived in New Jersey and Pennsylvania at the time he was there. He is also said to have lived briefly near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania before moving to Bedford County, Virginia about 1765.

Frederick Mayberry was a Patriot during the Revolutionary War, furnishing supplies and ammunition to the troops. His three eldest sons served in the Virginia Continental Army as Soldiers, Drivers, Rangers and Scouts. One tradition states that Frederick was a Master Driver, responsible for other drivers delivering supplies and ammunition. As early as 1785, Frederick's children began leaving Bedford County, Virginia -- migrating to that part of the North Carolina Territory that later became the state of Tennessee.

On 31 July 1801 Frederick Mayberry wrote his will in Bedford County, describing himself as, "feeling very ill and weak in body". That he died a short time later is shown by the fact that his witnesses proved the will in court on October 26th, less than three months later. After Frederick's death, the last of his children left Virginia and tradition says that his widow, Barbara, also went to live in Jefferson County, Tennessee with their daughter Catherine. Barbara died in Tennessee about 1811. Some of Frederick and Barbara Mayberry's children settled near Knoxville, Tennessee, some went to Hickman, Maury and Fentress counties, and some later went to White, Hamilton and Clinton counties of Illinois. Later generations can be found in Missouri, Arkansas and other states.

An analysis of conflicting family traditions
along with genealogical research and DNA evidence

Here are the major traditions that have come down in various branches of the Frederick Mayberry family. Please note that some of them CONTRADICT each other and others are are clearly FALSE. If you know of other traditions or information about the origin of Frederick Mayberry, please contact Don Collins.
  1. Tradition: Frederick Mayberry was born in Wurttemberg, Germany about 1720-1730. (Source: This tradition has been found in some of the families into which Frederick Mayberry's children married.)

    Comment: This tradition is not documented; still it may well contain elements of truth:
    • Some of Frederick's children married into German families that had the Wurttemberg tradition and thus borrowed that tradition and applied it to their own family asa well.
    • If Frederick Mayberry did come from Germany, it is likely that his original German name was anglicized to "Mayberry" when he came to America.
    • On the other hand the "German tradition" could have come from Frederick Mayberry's close association with the English Maybury family in New Jersey and/or Pennsylvania -- a number of whom lived among and were closely associated with recent German immigrants. A number of these NJ and PA Mayburys/Mayberrys lived in German neighborhoods, married into German families; were members of German churches and were buried in the cemeteries of those churches.

  2. Tradition: "Frederick was a German Dutchman or Hollander who left Germany due to religious persecution and went to Scotland, from where he and Barbara sailed to America" (Source: notes of the Kinzer family on file at the Hickman County, Tennessee Historical Society).

    Comment: This tradition may include a mis-interpretation of the term "Pennsylvania Dutch" which refers to families in southeastern Pennsylvania who descend from German immigrants. "Deutsch" has often been misunderstood to mean "Dutch". It is very unlikely that Frederick came from Holland. Nor is there any evidence to suggest that Frederick Mayberry ever lived in Scotland. (See Tradition #9 below).

  3. Tradition: "Dr. Paulus was married in Hickman county, Tennessee, to Mary Mayberry, deceased. Her father was John W. Mayberry, a native of Tennessee, and whose father, a native of Holland, never became proficient in the English language."" (Source: A History of Texas and Texans, by Frank W. Johnson, Chicago and New York: The American Historical Society, 1916 - Lavaca County, Texas Biographies - excerpt from the biography of Hon. David A. Paulus.)

    Comment: Like tradition #2 above, this statement is probably a mis-representation of the term "Pennsylvania Dutch".

  4. Tradition: "our ancestors were Scotch-Irish and the migration was from Ireland to America..." (Source: a descendant of Solomon3, John2, Frederick1).

    Comment: This tradition, from a different branch of the family, says nothing about either Germany or Holland. Instead it says that the family was Scotch-Irish. We have to wonder what factors led to these conflicting traditions.

  5. Tradition: "Our immigrant ancestor was a stow-away on a ship that sailed from Germany to America". (Source: This stow-away tradition comes from a single branch of the family of Riley3, John2, Frederick1). Other branches of Riley Maberry's family agree with the Scotch-Irish tradition found among descendants of Riley's brother, Solomon3.

    Comment: With this we have two conflicting traditions in the same branch of the family. #4 says that Frederick was Scotch-Irish and #5 says that he came from Germany. Yet both traditions come from descendants of Frederick's son John2 Mayberry.

  6. Tradition: Frederick Mayberry was first married in New Jersey to a woman named Catherine Schleicher and Catherine was the mother of Frederick's older children. (Source: Early Germans of New Jersey, by Theodore Frelinghausen Chambers, originally published in 1895).

    Comment: This claim is based on the erroneous reading of a book, Early Germans of New Jersey, by Theodore Frelinghausen Chambers, originally published in 1895. A careful reading of the information on the Schleicher family found on p. 479f of the Chambers book disproves this statement. Catherine Schleicher was not even born until about nearly ten years after Frederick Mayberry died! Nevertheless, careless researchers continue to read this erroneous statement and pass it on to others without bothering to evaluate it. It can still be found several places on the internet.

  7. Tradition: There is Cherokee blood in the family. (Source: descendants of Solomon3 and Riley3, John2, Frederick1).

    Comment: Marriages between European Americans and Native Americans, particularly Cherokees, were not uncommon during this period. Many other families have similar traditions. So there could have been a real marriage or other relationship in an early generation of this part of the family.

  8. Tradition: "Frederick Mayberry was of English descent". (Source: Goodspeed's History of Tennessee).

    Comment: With this we have four competing traditions which say that Frederick Mayberry was:
    • born in Germany;
    • born in Holland;
    • of Scotch-Irish descent; and
    • of English descent

  9. Tradition: "Frederick Mayberry's parents were James or William James Mayberry, born 1704-1710, and Maria Shaw, born ca. 1708, both born in Wurttemberg, Germany, and his grandfather was Aldrin or Aldrini Mayberry, born ca. 1680, in England." (Source: We have traced this information back to two early researchers, Helen Gardner of Lund, Nevada (now deceased) and Margaret Blanche Mayberry (also deceased). This information is said to be in the possession of Mrs. Samuel Fletcher of Mesa, Arizona. A descendant of Mrs. Gardner tells us that her family has long ago decided that this statement was wrong.).

    Comment: This statement is not worthy of being called a "tradition". Clearly, someone manufactured this claim by altering information found a biographical sketch of a Maybury family in Passaic County, New Jersey. Those responsible apparently selected a few details from the article and then substantially changed them to fit their own purposes. We have located the original article in Vol. III of "History of Passaic and its Environs" by William W. Scott (published in 1922 by Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York and Chicago).

    The main focus of the article is on James Maybury (Jr.) "a venerable and highly respected citizen of the city of Clifton, Passaic county. New Jersey...." who was born in 1843 in Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland. But the article also provides some information about Mr. Maybury's father, James Maybury (Sr.). It is facts about the latter that have been altered to produce what can only be described as a fictional account of Frederick Mayberry's parents. Here is a quotation from the original article:

    He, James (Jr.) is descended through both his paternal and maternal ancestors from families both in Wales and in Scotland. His father, James (Sr.) Maybury, was a descendant of the Maybury family of England, from whence his early ancestors settled in Wales. James (Sr.) Maybury went to Scotland, and from the latter place to Muckross, where he was superintendent of a large estate at Lake of Killarny, Ireland. He died in 1872. He married Maria Shaw, whose father, William Shaw, was one of a family of seven sons, all of whom were commissioned officers and fought in the battle of Waterloo in France with the Seventy-fourth Regiment of Highlanders. Four of these sons were killed during this memorable conflict, and three returned to their native place in Scotland.

    Someone, desperate to provide parents for Frederick Mayberry, lifted James Maybury, Sr. and Maria Shaw from this paragraph and transplanted them, not just from Ireland to Germany, but even to a different century!! The fact is that James Maybury and Maria Shaw were not related to Frederick Mayberry. Here are some of the problems:

    • James Maybury, Sr. and Maria Shaw, both born between 1800-1810, are called the parents of Frederick Mayberry. The problem is that Frederick Mayberry lived and died before either of these so-called parents was born!
    • James Maybury was born in Ireland and Maria Shaw was born in Scotland, NOT in Wurttemberg, Germany!
    • The Passaic County article says nothing about the father of James Mayberry, Sr. But the new fictional account provides James with a father named "Aldrin or Aldrini Mayberry".
    • Not only is "Aldrin Mayberry" assigned as the father of James Maybury, someone apparently went to the trouble of giving "Aldrin" a birth date and then "submitting" that information to the International Genealogical Index (IGI). But when we checked the IGI we found there was no record of Aldrin Mayberry documented to a English parish register. There were only three partial records which had been "submitted" by an unnamed member of the LDS Church. These "submitted" records are problematic because they are often simply the guesses of sloppy family researchers who don't bother to document their work. It may be that Aldrin Mayberry never existed.

    Summary: James Mayberry and Maria Shaw were NOT the parents of Frederick Mayberry. Yet, this false claim can be found on a number of websites. Please help us contact those who still publish this bad infomation and ask them to correct it!

  10. Tradition: Frederick and his family "lived for a time near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania". (Source: A History of Hickman County, Tennessee by Jerome Spence & David L. Spence, 1900, reprinted 2000, 509 pages - excerpt from MAYBERRY-NALLS biography).

    Comment: This record needs to be checked to see if it contains any additional information that might help us discover more about Frederick Mayberry's time in Pennsylvania. This is an area of Pennsylvania where there were a number of descendants of the "iron worker" Mayburys, most of whom descend from Thomas Maybury who arrived in Bucks County by 1716. Some of his descendants are known to have intermarried with German families. For more information on the possibility that Frederick Mayberry was a descendant of one of the English Maybury families, see the discussion of the Maybury DNA Project below.

  11. Tradition: Frederick was married in 1744 in New Jersey. (Source: Noted on a webpage by Dr. Andrew W. Mayberry).

    Comment: No record of the marriage has been found in New Jersey or elsewhere. However, 1744 would be about the right time and New Jersey the right place, so it is probable that someone, writing a web page on their ancestors simply decided to turn this possibility into a fact!

The DNA evidence

In 2003 we began a DNA Project to learn more about the larger Maybury family. As of 2014 more than 120 Mayburys, Mayberrys, etc. from the U.S., England, Ireland and Australia have submitted DNA samples. Thirteen of these are descendants of Frederick Mayberry. Here are some of the things we have learned:
  1. Most participants have a common ancestor who lived in England about 400-450 years ago. Through conventional research, we have learned that that common ancestor was John Maybury who was born about 1540; married in Sussex in 1565; worked in Sussex, Staffordshire, Monmouth and Hampshire; and died in Shropshire in 1618.
  2. The descendants of Frederick Mayberry of Bedford County, Virginia have a different DNA signature and thus may not descend from the same ancestor as other participants.
  3. There are at least four possible explanations for the different DNA signature in Frederick Mayberry's family:
    1. If Frederick was born in Germany (or Holland, as some traditions suggest) he probably had a German surname which was changed (anglicized) to "Mayberry" when he came to America;
    2. Frederick may have been born in America and adopted into a Mayberry family, in which case his unique DNA signature came from his biological father;
    3. Frederick may have been born out-of-wedlock to a Mayberry mother, in which case his unique DNA signature would also have come from his biological father.

  4. The fact that the English Maybury family and the Frederick Mayberry family have different DNA signatures does not mean that one is more or less authentic than the other. The English family has existed for at least 500 years, probably more. The Frederick Mayberry family has existed for at least 300 years and perhaps longer. While Frederick's family may have been a part of the English family originally (see theory #2 below), they should now be considered two separate Maybury/Mayberry families with two separate DNA signatures.

  5. Two theories about Frederick Mayberry's origin

    Having examined the traditions and the DNA evidence, we have two theories, either of which could account for Frederick Mayberry's origins in a different way:
    1. Frederick Mayberry was born in Germany or Holland and came to America sometime shortly before 1750.

      If this theory is correct, Frederick would almost certainly have been born with a different surname and then anglicized or otherwise changed his name to "Mayberry" when he arrived in America. This scenario would explain why his descendants have a DNA signature that is different than the signature of those Mayburys/Mayberrys who descend from John Maybury of Sussex. However, this theory does not explain the persistence of the traditions that Frederick Mayberry was of English or Scotch-Irish descent.
    2. Frederick Mayberry was born in America and is closely related to the English Mayburys.

      This theory suggests that Frederick Mayberry was either adopted by a Mayberry family or that he was born out-of-wedlock to a Mayberry mother in America. Such "paternal events" occur in nearly every family. Our research has shown that there were members of the English Maybury family who lived in communities with German speaking neighbors in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania at the time Frederick Mayberry would have been born. We also know that a number of these English Mayburys married into German families and attended German speaking Churches. Therefore, it is possible that Frederick was part of a Mayberry family which had both English and German traditions and gave both English and German names to its children. This theory also helps to explain why some descendants say Frederick was of English ancestry and others say he was of German ancestry.

    We cannot say which of these theories is closer to the truth. Perhaps there is another scenario that might combine elements of both theories. Thus, we need to continue searching for new evidence using conventional genealogical research. We also need to find more descendants of Frederick Mayberry to participate in our DNA Project.

    The Children of Frederick Mayberry
    1. John "Henry" Mayberry, b: ca. 1753, New Jersey; d: 1832, Hickman County, Tennessee; m: 1778, Bedford County, Virginia, Mary "Polly" Magdalene Carnes (Cairns). He lived in Pennsylvania before moving to Bedford County, Virginia, then moved to Hickman County, Tennessee and settled at Lick Creek of Duck River, the first to settle in that location. He was a Revolutionary War Soldier, Mountain Man, Bear Hunter, Lay Preacher, Blacksmith and Farmer. Many of Henry's descendants are later found in Hickman, Williamson, and Maury counties in Tennessee; others went to Texas and Utah.

    2. Frederick Mayberry, Jr., b: 1756, New Jersey; d: 1842, Hamilton County, Illinois; m: 1792, Bedford County, Virginia, Priscilla Tennessee Yokum (Yoakum). He lived in Pennsylvania before moving to Bedford County, Virginia; went to Tennessee and lived in Greene, Cocke, and Franklin counties, moved to Union County, Kentucky; then moved to Illinois before 1818 and lived in White and Hamilton counties. He was a Revolutionary War Soldier, Ranger and Scout, and a Farmer.His descendants were in White and Hamilton County, Illinois, and some later went to Missouri.

    3. George W. Mayberry, b: 1760, New Jersey; d: 1848, Perry County, Alabama; m: 1782, Bedford County, Virginia, Christiana "Christine" Kimberline (Kuemmerle). He lived in Pennsylvania before moving to Bedford County, Virginia; went to Hancock, Cocke, Rhea and Jefferson counties in Tennessee; went to Bibb County, Alabama; and later to Perry County, Alabama. He was a Revolutionary War Soldier, Farmer, early Surveyor, Commissioner of Roads, and a Contractor who helped build the first "Permanent Seat of Justice" in Centerville, Alabama. Most descendants of this line went to Alabama.

    4. John Mayberry, b: ca. 1761, Pennsylvania or Bedford County, Virginia; d: 1836-1840, Ripley County, Missouri; m: 1793, in Knox County, Tennessee, Elizabeth "Eliza" Brock. He went to Tennessee with his brothers and lived in Greene, Knox and Anderson counties; moved to Clinton County, Illinois; then went to Ripley County, Missouri with some of his children.. He was an early Surveyor in Tennessee, and a Farmer. He had descendants in Anderson County, Tennessee, Clinton County, Illinois, and Reynolds, Shannon and Carter counties of Missouri.

    5. David Mayberry, b: ca. 1765, Bedford County, Virginia; d: 1840-1850, Pulaski County, Missouri or Benton County, Arkansas; m: 1789, Bedford County, Virginia, (1) Elizabeth "Betsey" Gilpin; m: before 1821, (2) Mrs. Elizabeth Williams (Maiden name unknown). He lived in White and Washington counties of Illinois, moved to Pulaski County, Missouri, and either died in that location or made the 1848 migration to Benton County, Arkansas and died there. Information for David's descendants is lacking.

    6. Jacob Mayberry Sr., b: ca. 1767, Bedford County, Virginia; d: 1833-1840, Fentress County, Tennessee; m: 1790, Bedford County, Virginia, Rhoda "Rhody" Womack. He lived in Jefferson, Overton and Fentress counties of Tennessee. Many of Jacob's descendants are later found in Washington County, Arkansas.

    7. Abraham Mayberry, b: ca. 1769, Bedford County, Virginia; d: 1850-1860, Henderson County, Tennessee; m: 1794, Bedford County, Virginia, Ann "Anna" Womack. He lived in Cocke, Wayne, Jefferson, McNairy and Henderson counties of Tennessee. He had descendants in Henderson County, Tennessee, some in Grant, Newton and Johnson counties of Arkansas; some in Marshall County, Mississippi, and some went to Fischer and Parker counties of Texas.

    8. Elizabeth Mayberry, b: ca. 1770, Bedford County, Virginia; d: after 1801. (Note: Many researchers have her married in ca. 1784 to John Frederick Price (Preisch), and dying in 1811, in Preble County, Ohios, stating that they lived in Blacksburg, Montgomery County, Virginia, where all their children were born, went to Indiana, then later to Ohio, but some researchers have that the Elizabeth Mayberry that married John Frederick Price (Preisch) was Hannah Elizabeth Mayberry, daughter of Richard Mayberry and (2nd spouse) Elizabeth Reeves, of Hunterdon County, New Jersey.)

    9. Mary "Molly" Mayberry, b: ca. 1773, Bedford County, Virginia; m: 1800, Bedford County, Virginia, William Garrett. Tradition is that in the early 1800's they moved to Montgomery or Dixon County, Tennessee. Information for descendants of Mary is lacking.

    10. Catherine "Caty" Mayberry, b: ca. 1775, Bedford County, Virginia; d: ca. 1812, Jefferson County, Tennessee; m: 1793, Bedford County, Virginia, John Frederick Pulsez (Boltz). Some of their children later moved to Knox County, Missouri, and some remained in Tennessee.

    11. Rachel Mayberry, b: ca. 1776, Bedford County, Virginia; d: 1821, Breckenridge County, Kentucky; m: 1802, Bedford County, Virginia, Bartlett Angel Basham (Baskune). Some of their children went to White and Hamilton counties of Illinois, and some remained in Kentucky

    August 2014