Birdsong Family History
The surname “Birdsong” goes all the way back to the 1600’s. John Birdsong started it. He came from England to America and his family may have come from Germany. This is thought because the name Birdsong is believed to have come from the German Vogelsang.
John had three boys and one girl. John Birdsong II, James Birdsong, Charles Birdsong, and Frances Birdsong. All of the boys married more than once. Charles was the youngest, and he married twice. He married a girl named Mary, (last name unknown) and Frances Bennett.
James married three times. He also married a girl named Mary, (last name unknown) and two different Elizabeth’s (last names unknown).
John was the oldest, born in 1701 and he married four times! His wife’s names were Hannah Freeman, Sara Bennett, Mary Bennet (Sara and Mary were not related), and Damaris Hancock. His only child when he was married to Hannah Freeman was my direct ancestor, James Birdsong. When he was married to Sara Bennett he had two children. While he was married to Mary Bennett, he had three children. And when he was married to Damaris Hancock, he had eight children.
James Birdsong was born on March 22, 1726, at York Co., Virginia, and only married once. He married to Frances Merritt. They had six children. My direct ancestor was the third born, Freeman Butler Birdsong.
Freeman Birdsong was born on January 4, 1765 at Dinwiddie Co., Virginia,
and married Frances Finn and they had eight children. My direct ancestor
there was James Birdsong. He was the first-born and he was a twin
to Lucy Birdsong.
James Birdsong was born on June 25, 1791, in Randolph Co., Virginia. He married Sarah Clayton McCoy and they had fourteen children! Talk about a full house! My direct ancestor was the fifth one born, Edmund Lowe Birdsong. James fought in the war of 1812.
Edmund Lowe Birdsong was born on October 5, 1825, Upson Co., Georgia. He married Sarah (Sally) Wickes and they had twelve children! Edmund was a farmer and veterinarian. My direct ancestor in that generation was the sixth born, Edmund Lowe Birdsong Jr.
Edmund Lowe Birdsong Jr. was born on January 24, 1860, in Georgia. He married Martha Priscilla Nichols and they had four children. My direct ancestor of them was the first born, Henry Walter Birdsong, my great-grandfather.
Henry Walter Birdsong was born in 1883, in Georgia, got a job as a doctor in Athens and married Bertha Elizabeth Smith. They had four children. My direct ancestor in that family was Henry Walter Birdsong Jr.
Henry Walter Birdsong Jr. was born 1918 in Georgia. He married Natalie Nunn West and had the typical four children. My direct ancestor in that family was my dad, Henry Walter Birdsong III.
Henry married Hannah Townsend Williams. Those two lovebirds had two children. And lastly, that comes to my direct ancestor, and self, Mark West Birdsong.
Croom Family History
Daniel Croom is the farthest back I can trace on the Croom tree. He owned plantations in Goochland County Virginia. Goochland later became Cumberland. His sons, Major and Abel Croom, moved to Lenoir County, North Carolina.
In 1743, Abel Croom bought a tract of land on the south side of the Neuse River and west side of Whitely Creek. It was probably on this land that the old Croom Church was situated. It was first built by Major Croom’s son, Lott Croom, near Lott’s house, in about 1850. He brought bricks from England to build the first brick house in Lenoir County. It is said that each brick had the Croom's initials on them.
Admiral Croom was born on June 12, 1810. He married Martha Rouse and they had four children. He lived in the house his father built. My direct ancestor is Lott A. Croom. Admiral died of on June 3, 1858.
Lott A. Croom lived on, though. He was born on October 20, 1839.
He married Christiana Rhem and they had two children. My direct ancestor
is Lottie Alexander Croom. Lott died of typhoid pneumonia while a
soldier of the Confederate Army
Lottie Alexander Croom was born on January 22, 1865 and died on July 28, 1949. She married George West and they had 11 children. My direct ancestor is Jacob West.
S. Parks Nunn was sheriff of Lenoir County once. His daughter was Isabelle Nunn, who married Jacob West. Jacob West became a large landowner and dairy farmer in Lenoir County. He was the owner of the West Machinery Company, Kinston, North Carolina. Jacob West Jr. entered business with his father, which was interrupted by Jake's call to military service. His father died before Jake was relieved from his military duties, but through a manager, the business was still operated until Jake was discharged from military service.
My paternal grandmother, Natalie Nunn West, was a teacher and her dad was Jacob West.
McBee Family History
Matthew McBee (pronounced MacBee) was born about 1675 in either Maryland or Scotland. He died in 1709 in Maryland. He married Jane Brock about 1694 in Maryland. They had five children, and my direct ancestor is William McBee.
William McBee was Born October 22, 1704. He married Susannah Vardry in about1725. He died March 1, 1759. He had ten kids. My direct ancestor was Vardry McBee.
Vardry McBee was born December 23, 1734 in Virginia, and died in 1805 in Kentucky. He married Hannah Echols in 1758 they had ten children. My direct ancestor is Vardry Echols McBee.
Vardry Echols McBee was known as "The Father of Greenville." He was a man of vision, and built cotton mills on the Reedy River. He also built Pleasantville, which soon had more than 500 inhabitants.
Vardry Alexander McBee was born April 17, 1818, married Mary Elizabeth
Sumner in 1847, and died in 1904.
Sally McBee married James T. Williams and they had one child, Sumner McBee Williams, my great-grandfather.
Sumner McBee Williams was in the military all his adulthood. He married Elizabeth Beattie. They had three girls, and their only boy is my direct ancestor, Sumner McBee Williams Jr. (see Bell Family history on next page).
Bell Family History
Joseph Bell is the farthest back I can trace on the Bell side. I don’t know much about him, except that he married Martha Harbeson.
Joseph Fleming Bell was married to Mary Harkness Pettigrew and they had 11 children. The Pettigrews traveled from Ireland, to The Grange to Pennsylvania. They then traveled to Chambersburg. Their next travels took them to Lunenburg County, Virginia, to Granville County, North Carolina, and finally, to Abbeville District, South Carolina.
Patrick Noble Bell was born on May 26, 1823. He and his wife, Phalby Minerva Pratt, had eight kids. Because of a deathbed promise extracted by his first wife, Minerva Pratt, Patrick Noble Bell married Minerva's younger sister.
Joseph Oscar Bell was born on December 26, 1865, married Lillias Durham on January 16, 1896, and died On October 18, 1939 in Tuxedo. He had four sons, two of which died in infancy.
My maternal great-grandfather, Frank Durham Bell, started Camp Mondamin
in 1922. Well what do you know! My maternal grandparents, Sumner
McBee Williams Jr. and Jane Durham Bell, started Camp High Rocks!
Presently, my parents direct High Rocks. Sumner McBee Williams Jr.
was also a bomber pilot in World War II.