Your information is great to have but James Abernathy was not mentioned in Robert Abernathy 3rd or 4th will.He, however, was a witness to both which hints that he may have been a brother to the Robert that married Mary.I do believe a James Abernathy married Elizabeth Cox but which James?There are so many Robert, James, and Miles that this has been a problem to all researchers. Nobody disputes that these Roberts went to Granville County, N.C.
You said James ran a ferry in Gaston County, N.C. I live in this area and there was a Rozelle's ferry (Rozelle's Ferry Road is still in existance) on the Mecklenburg/Gaston County line where the Catawba River Basin is today.The Abernathys/Abernethys married into the Rozelle family as well as the Cox family.You may want to check findagrave.com for Cook's Memorial Presbyterian church where many are buried.
Also, Mountain Creek is in Catawba County, N.C. on the border of Lincoln and Catawba County. From my research, the Abernathy/Abernethy family that lived on Hwy. 16 in Catawba County to Mecklenburg County, N.C. were all interacted.The John Abernathy that's grave was moved from Cowen's Ford Dam area (for construction of the dam on the Catawba River) was moved to Hill's Chapel Church on Hwy. 16 in Lincoln County, N.C.I believe he is the ancestor of Arvord Abernethy of Texas who wrote a book on his family from Lincoln County, N.C.A Robert Abernethy is believed to be buried at Unity Presbyterian Church off Hwy. 16 in Lincoln County, N.C about a quarter of a mile from what was once Abernethy Ford on the Catawba River.
There once stood a Methodist church at the Catawba River Basin that most of the early Abernathy's were members. I have a list of those members.