JAMES TANNIEHILL McLAURIN & EMMA ELIZABETH ELMORE WHITAKER FAMILY
Laura Whitaker Contact
Revised February 12, 2010
James Tanniehill McLaurin, Sr. (b. unk - d. June 14 1920) was the son of Daniel Murdoch McLaurin
(b. - d. abt. 1870) and Eliza Fairly (b. abt. 1838 - d. about 1863) and whose ancestors hail from Clan
McLaren of Argylshire, Scotland that immigrated to Robeson Co., NC. His maternal grandparents were John
Laurin Fairly (b. 1805 - d. 1862) and Margaret McLaurin (b. 1820 - d. 1869). The Fairley cousins live
in Texas. James, Sr. married widow Mrs. Emma Elizabeth Whitaker (b. Jul. 31, 1878 in Duplin Co., NC -
d. Jan. 6, 1926 in Laurinburg, Scotland Co., NC) the daughter of George Washington Elmore and Emma Estelle
Wilson (of the Hollingsworth family of Sampson Co., NC, and of Quaker origins from Ballyvickranell, Seagoe,
County Armagh, Ireland, immigrating on the Antelope, to DE, she married a second time to Stephen Lanier).
Emma Elizabeth had three sisters that died in infancy and two that survived - Ada Estelle who married to
Matthew James Carlton and Margaret 'Pearl' who married E. L. Parker. Emma Elizabeth is the great grandmother
of the writer, who descends from her first marriage, abt. 1900, to Hallie Mortimer Whitaker (b. Dec. 1876 -
d. 1909) and their son William 'Bill' Justice Whitaker (b. Oct. 31, 1907 - d. Aug. 27, 1999). They also had
issue: Ora 'Clyde' Whitaker (b. 1904 d. 1926, her marker reads Ora 'Clyde' Whitaker-McLaurin, in Hillside
Cemetery, Laurinburg, NC), Linwood Whitaker (b. 1903 - d. 1904), and George Elmore Whitaker (b. 1901 - d. 1982).
The Whitaker's are of English descent and while Hallie was born in Hamlet, Richmond Co., NC, the family
predominately hails from early Halifax and Wake Counties - Hallie's grandfather, Wesley, Jr., was the Mayor
of Raleigh and Methodist Rev. Stimson Hines Whitaker of Whitaker Boarding School, his great grandfather Wesley,
Sr.'s signed, handmade piano forte is on view in the Ladies' Parlor of the North Carolina Executive Mansion and
Samuel Whitaker, High Sheriff of Wake Co., who was elected nine times to the House of Commons and five to the
Senate, and 2nd great grandfather Col. John Whitaker, Judge of Echo Manor Plantation and 3rd great grandfather
Samuel Pearson was the builder-owner of the NC Historical Landmark Yates Mill and descends from Lt. Capt. Jabez
Whitaker, of James City, VA whose half-brother Rev. Alexander Whitaker is noted for having written what's consider
to be the first American book entitled "Good News From Virginia," and having baptized and officiated over the
wedding of Pocahontas.
Mrs. Emma Elizabeth Whitaker remarried to James Tanniehill McLaurin abt. 1910 and had issue: James Tanniehill
McLaurin, Jr. (b. 1911 - d. 1975), Eliza Fairly McLaurin (b. 1913 - d.), and Mary Elizabeth McLaurin (b. 1917 - 19822).
James, Sr. ran their pecan plantation home and Emma Elizabeth ran a music program at Flora McDonald Preparatory School
(later turned college) and became widowed a second time when James, Sr. died in 1920. She remained in their home, which
was sold to St. Andrews's College shortly following her death in 1926 and leaving the closely-knit Whitaker-McLaurin
siblings orphaned. Bill, the writer's earlier mentioned grandfather, now in his late teens worked hard keeping the family
together, until the government stepped in. The children where then split up into boys and girls and moved in with Emma's
first husband's sisters. The sisters were Lula O. Whitaker who also taught music at Flora McDonald Preparatory School and
married Allen Eugene Frazier, DDS of High Point, Guilford Co., NC. and Ora C. Whitaker who married Leonidas Blackman
Williams, Esq. who was resided in High Point, Guildford Co., NC.
The eldest son, George, received a law degree from Wake Forest and removed to Baltimore where he was acting Judge and
an Admiral in the Navy - later moving to Hawaii, where he married a second time and is buried in the National Memorial
Cemetery of the Pacific. Bill had moved closer to the campus of North Carolina State University (NCSU), where he graduated
top in his class, in civil engineering, and received a full graduate scholarship which he turned down for employment in
Baltimore, MD, during the depression. Here he was reunited with his brother and met his wife (living) and had two daughters
(living) and a son (living). Bill took a promotion with National Distillers and removed the family to Cincinnati, OH, where
he is buried. The youngest brother, James Taniehill McLaurin, Jr., was given the opportunity to live with a Blue family
relative, but chose to join his Whitaker brother's at Aunt Lulu's and where he remained until he graduated with high honors
from NCSU. Brother's Jim and George were both members of the NCSU wrestling team and well recognized for their outstanding
abilities. James, Jr. married Sarah Henry of Richmond Co., NC and removed to Ashe Co., NC where he amassed a great amount of
land around the New River Horseshoe Bend River; worked as the county land agent; owned several international Christmas tree
farms; and taught ecology and preservation at the local level, and where they raised three girls (living).
The sister's who went to live at the Williams' home all graduated from nursing school, where their brother's were in Baltimore,
MD and returned to NC to work and raise families. Ora 'Clyde' Whitaker died young and unmarried, Eliza Fairly McLaurin married
Charlie Nolan and had two daughters (living), and Mary Elizabeth McLaurin married Kermit Oman and had three sons (living). In
the late 70s, Jim offered to assist Bill with the building of a Whitaker cabin in Ashe Co., for the family to return to NC and
enjoy the reunite the McLaurin, Whitaker, Nolan, and Oman cousins. In the 80's they held a family reunion and the Carlton and
Parker cousins were present too. It was at the Whitaker cabin the writer was first introduced to the McLaurin clan and all the
other NC cousins and spent many an wonderful summer learning about mountain culture, Christmas tree farming, fiddling music,
pig roasting 101, berry picking and canning, how to ride on the back end of a pick up truck up and up a mountainside et al.
While the writer's grandfather Bill Whitaker helped to keep the family together when they became orphaned, and periodically
returned to visit with family in NC, it was Uncle Jim McLaurin who later helped to reunite them and the extended families -
they gave the ultimate gift of family.
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