John Lennon, 1743
Contributed by DJ Peterson
January 2007

Brunswick County, North Carolina


John Paul Lennon was a descendent of the Lennons in Tidewater, Virginia.

In 1743, John Lennon sailed his boat down the Blackwater River in Virginia to North Carolina's Chowan River, down Albermarle Sound to Croatan Sound to Pamilco Sound; thence down Core Sound. He then sailed out Beaufort Inlet into the Atlantic Ocean and thence southward to the Cape Fear River. He then sailed up the Cape Fear River until he found a likely spot, put ashore and received a grant for 640 acres on White Oak Creek in Bladen County after 26 Jul 1743. He married Anne Moore, daughter of Joseph Moore.

Their children: John, Jr., married Hannah Jones; Dennis married Experience; Ephraim was in the Revolutionary War; and Phillis married Evan Ellis.

Dennis and Experience Lennon moved from the Cape Fear River to the edge of the "Big Swamp" (now Lennons Crossroads) during the Revolutionary War, built Lennon's Bridge and ran an inn. According to family legend Experience's mother had trouble during childbirth. Her mother exclaimed "after an experience like that there is only one name for her." Dennis died 8 Dec 1805.

Dennis and Experience's children: George Washington (6 Aug 1774 - 23 Aug 1823) married Abigail Bridgers and was the founder of the first Sunday School in North Carolina. They are buried in the Kelly Cemetery near Lennons Crossroads; Moore (1777 - 4 Feb 1857) married 1. Hannah Hayes, 2. Sarah Cross Watkins (14 May 1787 - 1867) a cousin of Robert E. Lee whom she held in her arms when he was a baby; Dennis, Jr. (11 May 1779 - 16 July 1842) married Sally Brown (29 May 1779 - 25 May 1858); Mary married Hardy Brown.

Dennis, Jr. was a Baptist Minister and gave land along with Epenatus Griffin for a Baptist Church at Lennons Crossroads. He became pastor of the Crossroads and Antioch churches. He also preached at Big Branch, Mt. Elam. Tatoms, Western Prong, Whiteville, Mt. Zion, Pleasant Plains, Porter Swamp, Hickory Grove and others. He and his brother Moore reportedly operated the first saw mill in the Crossroads area. They had the area's first houses made of sawed lumber. Dennis and Sally are buried in the Dennis Lennon Family Cemetery at Lennons Crossroads.

Dennis, Jr. and Sally's children: John Moore (6 Jul 1803 - 11 Jul 1876) married Elizabeth Singletary; George William (21 Aug 1805 - 28 Aug 1863) married Jane Roselin Formyduval (1811 - 1859), daughter of Dr. Jean Prospier and Penelope Baldwin Formyduval; Lott Brown (10 Nov 1807 - 1852) married Mary Eliza Stephens; Anne Jane was born 9 Jan 1810 and married Joshua Singletary; Experience (10 Oct 1811 - 11 Apr 1898) married Absolam Powell, Jr.; Elizabeth (18 Jul 1816 - 14 Apr 1900) married her first cousin Francis Lennon.

George William sold his inheritance in Columbus County and on 27 Feb 1837, received a grant in Brunswick County (now Ransom Township, Columbus County) for 640 acres of land on Livingston Creek and the Cape Fear River. He was listed as chaplain of the Black Rock Masonic Lodge in 1850 and was pastor of Cheerful Hope Baptist Church from 1846 until his death in 1863.

George William and Jane's children: Rufus Prosper (22 Mar 1830 - 26 Oct 1888) married Martha Marshall (30 Sep 1840 - 29 Mar 1901). Prosper and Martha moved out on the head of Livingston Creek where he became overseer on the James H. Pritchett Plantation. He served in the Eighteenth Regiment North Carolina Troops during the War Between The States. After the war, He purchased 1000 acres of the Pritchett Plantation and spent his remaining years there. The community of "Prosper" is on this land and was named in memory of him. The first deacons of Livingston Baptist Church were J. William Mintz, R. Prosper Lennon and Melton Montier Bordeaux. Prosper and Martha are buried in the Livingston Baptist Church Cemetery; Dennis was born in 1832 and married Jane Frances Pierce (1832 - 1906); John Paul (5 Sep 1836 - 25 Dec 1906) married 1. Sarah E. (Sally) Rowell (2 Sep 1839 - 11 May 1872) and 2. Mary Frances (Fannie) Woolard (29 Aug 1850 - 9 Jan 1931).On 30 Aug 1859, George William deeded " my son John P. Lennon ....a certain Negro girl a slave named Rhoda about twelve years old.." ; Elizabeth who was listed in the 1850 census as ten years old and apparently died young since no other records have been found for her.

George William, Jane, and their son Dennis are buried in unmarked graves in the Bill Lennon Family Cemetery near George William's homeplace.

John Paul was licensed to preach by Cheerful Hope Baptist Church, 18 Oct 1855 and was ordained 14 Dec 1862 by a presbytery consisting of Elders C. T. Anderson and George W. Lennon. He became pastor of Cheerful Hope after his father's death and was the first pastor of Livingston Chapel Baptist Church. He once traveled under the auspice of the Baptist Domestic Mission Board and his 1869 report shows that he labored 333 days, Preached 269 sermons, baptized 218 persons, and collected $184.55.

John Paul was married on 18 Jun 1857 to Sally Rowell by D. B. Ayers. She was the daughter of Benjamin B. and Zilphia Murrell Rowell (2 May 1810 - 5 Oct 1849). Benjamin Rowell's will probated the March Term 1843 gave Sally a "little Negro slave" and an equal share of his land.

John P. Lennon enlisted in the Fifty-first Regiment North Carolina Troops on 1 Apr 1862 and served sixty days. According to family legend he was given leave because of his nose bleed.

The children of John Paul and Sally Rowell Lennon: George W. (16 Nov 1858 - 22 Apr 1875); Josephine E. (24 Jul 1861 - 27 Jul 1936) married J. Lucian Russ (16 Nov 1855 - 7 Aug 1928); Exil Jane (23 Dec 1863 - 16 Oct 1865); Orietta Roanna (25 Oct 1866 - 18 May 1899) married Tom Simmons; Sarah Elwell (Rosie) born 14 Oct 1870 married Burgwin Sellers.

On 17 Dec 1866 John Paul and Sally purchased 5000 acres of the James H. Pritchett Plantation on the head of Livingston Creek. The plantation house burned shortly thereafter and the kitchen house became their living quarters. A lean to was added for sleeping quarters and it became known as the Manor House. Being a circuit rider preacher, John Paul was well known and would open his home to travelers needing food and lodging. Travelers would say, "If I can only make it to the Manor House before dark, I'll have a place to stay and food."

When the War Between the States ended, John Paul and Sally gave their slaves, Jacob and Rhoda Rowell, sixty acres of land on the Pritchett Plantation. "Uncle Jake" and "Aunt Rhoda" remained there and worked with the Lennons their remaining years. When Jacob died in 1904 he was buried in the Newell Cemetery near the Lennon home. Rhoda died in 1913 and was buried beside him.

When John Paul's first wife became ill, her cousin, Fannie Woolard, came to stay with them and care for Sally and the children. When Sally realized she was going to die, she requested John Paul to marry her cousin Fannie because Sally knew Fannie would care for her children. When Sally died she was buried at Livingston Chapel Baptist Church and John Paul honored her request by marring Fannie four months later (12 Sep 1872).

Fannie Woolard was the oldest daughter of Jordan (7 Feb 1819 - 24 Mar 1887) and Caroline Smith (4 Nov 1829 - 4 Apr 1892) Woolard. Caroline was the daughter of James Hugh and Betsy Rowell Smith.

John Paul and Fannie's children: Caroline Columbine (Carrie) (2 Feb 1874 - 14 Mar 1962) married Fred Atkinson; John Luther (27 Apr 1875 - 6 May 1948) married (12 Oct 1904) Ella Mae Grimsley (30 Sep 1878 - 15 Apr 1969) a daughter of Charlie M. (3 Oct 1843 - 14 Mar 1929) and Amanda Melvina Holton (9 May 1851 - 4 Aug 1930) Grimsley. Luther moved to Freeman, N. C., taught school and farmed; Jordan Wright (19 Mar 1877 - 27 Apr 1959) married Katie Peterson a daughter of Franklin (25 Apr 1849 - 3 Jun 1915) and Hester Ann Croom (22 Feb 1853 - 27 Apr 1947) Peterson. They moved to Wrightsboro, N. C. and ran a dairy; Andrew Haynes (12 Aug 1878 - 29 Aug 1957) married (24 Dec 1905) Georgia Agnes Grimsley (15 Jul 1882 - 18 Jul 1958) a sister of Ella Mae. They lived at Freeman, N. C., where he kept store and was postmaster; Rufus Stancil (12 Mar 1880 - 26 Dec 1954) married Meta Pickler (26 Nov 1883 - 7 Nov 1975) and was a Baptist Minister; Quincy McManaway (15 Sep 1883 - 18 Mar 1951) married Alice Pridgen (3 Nov 1886 - 10 Aug 1949) remained at the homeplace, was a farmer and a carpenter; Mary Lee (28 Sep 1888 - 7 Apr 1959) was married to William Hardie Croom (5 Mar 1883 - 17 Jan 1965) on 25 Dec 1906, the day her father died. He died before the wedding and someone asked should we go on with the wedding. Andrew was quoted as saying "If I know papa he'd want her to get married." Years later Luther was quoted as saying "Papa acted like he was afraid his daughters wouldn't get married and I've always been afraid mine would".

Josephine, Luther, Andrew, Quincy, and Mary Lee are buried in the Livingston Baptist Church Cemetery.

Several years after John Paul's first wife died his nephew, Dallas Lennon, started a Lennon Family Cemetery near their homes and John Paul was buried there. It was twenty-five years after John Paul's death before his second wife died and during this time the main road changed leaving the Lennon Cemetery about a mile from the main road.

Fannie requested her children not bury her "in those woods (Lennon Cemetery); just bury me beside cousin Sally." So, his wives are buried together at Livingston Baptist Church.

Sources: Grimes Abstracts of N. C. Wills; Columbus County History;N. C. Baptist Almanac; A Genealogical History of Irish Families by John Rooney; "Research on the Lennon Family " by Bruce C. Powell, Jr.; family knowledge; tombstones; Lennon Crossroads Baptist Church History; Cheerful Hope Baptist Church History; Livingston Baptist Church History; Experience Lennon Powell and John Paul Lennon Bibles; Bladen, Columbus, and Brunswick County Register of Deeds; and the "Biblical Recorder", March 27, 1907, p. 15.

I realize there may be errors in this history and if anyone has any additions or corrections please contact

D. J. Peterson
1484 Byrdville Road
Delco, N. C. 28436