For many years, most researchers including myself were of the belief that James Carrell (b. about 1765, d. May 16, 1834 Johnston County, NC; md. February 1, 1792 Johnston County, NC, Rhoda Stephenson, b. about 1778 Johnston County, NC, d. September 11, 1861 Dale County, AL, daughter of Solomon Stephenson and Anna Johnson) was the son of William Carrell (b. about 1742, d. December 17, 1811 Johnston County, NC; 1md. Anne ___, 2md. Sarah ___ Penny, widow of Caleb Penny) of Johnston County, NC and Columbia County, GA.However, research has shown that the sons James and William mentioned in William Carrell's Johnston County, NC will dated November30, 1809 [Probated November 23, 1812; Johnston County, NC Will Book 1, p. 391] became residents of Columbia County, GA, and thus could not be identical with our ancestor James Carrell (1765-1834) and his known brother William Carrell (b. ca. 1765/70, d. after August 29, 1832; 1md. February8, 1790 Johnston County, NC, Sarah Stephenson; 2md. March18, 1797, Piety Fluellin, d. August 9, 1832) of Johnston County, NC.
Dennis Carrell (b. 1766) of Shelby County, AL applied for a Revolutionary War pension (R1724) in October, 1834 indicating that he had been born in Wake County, NC in 1766 [Wake was not formed until 1771, and therefore he must have been referring to the Swift Creek area of western Johnston County where the early Carrell family resided]. Dennis Carrell stated that he had resided in Cumberland (present day Harnett) County prior to his service in the Revolutionary War. It should be noted that James Carrell also stated that he had resided in Cumberland (Harnett) County before the war.Dennis Carrell further stated that following the war he had resided in Johnston County and had subsequently moved to Buncombe County, NC, Claiborne County, TN, and Shelby County, AL. In addition, he stated that he had brothers who had served in the war (a possible reference to James Carrell). Following the Revolutionary War, Dennis resided in the present day area of Pleasant Grove Township, Johnston County, and he witnessed the will of Solomon Stephenson, Sr. (Rhoda and Sarah Stephenson's grandfather) in 1788. It should be noted that Dennis, James, and William were the only Carrells living in the area of present day Pleasant Grove Township, Johnston County at that time. Most of the other early Carrell family were residing further north on Swift Creek in present day Cleveland Township, Johnston County, NC.
A deed in Buncombe County, NC in 1812 shows that Dennis Carrell sold land to his "step-father" Abraham Perry. This is undoubtedly the same Abraham Perry who had served as administrator of a James Carrell in 1777 in Cumberland County, NC.Perry was residing in western Johnston County, NC in the 1790s, and he served as a bondsman for William Carrell when he married his second wife Piety Fluellin in Johnston County in 1797.
Lucy Carrell, orphan of John Carrell (d. about 1762 Johnston County, NC), was placed under the guardianship of James Carrell on January 22, 1767 in Johnston County. James subsequently removed to Cumberland (Harnett) County, NC. On December 19, 1772, John Morris executed a bill of sale to James Carrell for various goods.The document was witnessed by Lucy (x) Carrell [Proven January Term, 1773; Cumberland County, NC Deed Book 6, pp. 63-64]. James Carrell of Cumberland County, NC was deceased prior to November 15, 1777, when Abraham Perry made an inventory of the estate.Perry was granted administration on Carrell’s estate on July 30, 1778 after posting a £400 bond.Perry returned an inventory of the estate to court on October 27, 1778 [Cumberland County, NC Original Estate Papers, NC State Archives; Cumberland County, NC Court Minutes, 1755-1779, pp. 302, 308].
All of the circumstantial evidence suggests that Dennis Carrell was a brother to James and William, and that Abraham Perry was their step-father. Thus, it appears clear that Perry must have married the widow of James Carrell (d. 1777) of Cumberland County, NC.Two possible scenarios exist. James Carrell was either the brother or the husband of Lucy Carrell (i.e. Carrell married Carrell). It seems more likely that he was her husband, and possibly a cousin of some kind as well.If so, James, Dennis, and William Carrell were probably the sons of James Carrell (d. 1777) of Cumberland County, and the grandsons of John Carrell (d. 1762) of Johnston County, NC through their mother (probably Lucy Carrell). The foregoing is speculative theory, but is the most likely explanation of their ancestry based on the available documentary evidence.