Copy of manuscript sent me by Judge James Fentress, Chief Attorney for Illinois Central R.R. Co., on Feb 15, 1892.He said it was furnished him by a man who claimed he had been connected with the Herald's College, & who said it was corrrect.
Judge Fentress said his grandfather was named Jame Fentress & was Speaker of the Tenn House of Rep for 19 years and for him Frentress County and also the county seat (Jamestown) was named.Judge Fentress said his father was named David Fentress.His grandfather lived in Robertson County , Tenn.
3/26/10Signed: J. A. Ventress
Of an ancient Anglo-Norman family originally named De Fentresse of hte demense De Fentresse, Val de Soire, Normandie.From the researches of the Yoeman John Thorpe, an authoritative Herlald and Chronicler ofDuddeston Manor, County or Warwick, we learn that this family were (Tempe Conquistories) Knights of the Val de Soire, near Cherbourgh, Normandie, and that a Knight of Armiger of this family passed over to England in the suite of William the Conqueror, who for gallant and valorous conduct Lord of the Demesne called the Cedarr Chace, upon the Warwick King's causeway of that day, where the family lived in opulence and high respect up to the time of the Commonwealth, mostly Military Commanders and in the Magistracy.Whence two or three branches of the family emigrated to the Colonial Provinces of America.One, the head of which family a gallant Cavalier, settled upon what was then called the Royal Grant of Fairfax, Loyal Virginia.One of the other branch, Jno. Fentress, Yoeman of Edgebastion, Bromicham, Warwickshire, immediately after the resoration of King Charles 2nd, a desperately brave Puritan, settled near Rexbury, Mass.The Virginia Fentress, James, left behind him in the Midland Counties, a name and a fame held in pious memory by the old nobility and gentry for he had fought under the standard of "Stuart and Independence" for old English laws and usages from Edgehill up to the Battle of Worcester with the noblest valor and resolution.
After the departure of those two branches of the old Fentresses of the Cedarrs there was but one Fentress family remained in England who retained the old spelling of the name, as the others fled to the North near the Scottish Border, there changing the spelling of the name to Fenis, in order to escape the persecution of the Cromwell Partisans, and although these subsequently became wealthy estated gentle folk, have ever since retained that spelling "Fenis".See the British Government Work entitled "Washburn's Distinguished English and Colonial Families", both book of Crests.This change of the name of this family at the time of the Commonwealth accounts for the rarity of the name of Fentress in England and of whom only one remains, the others having settled with many of their peasants and farmers on the great government grant in Tasmania, Hobart Division.
The family (James the head) which settled on the Fairfax Demesne, Virginia, had always from the Norman Conquest been notably honored for their high degress of military spirit, for legal acumen, and for purity in the Magistracy, one of whom, Guilliaume De Fentress, having signally distinguished himsellf at the Battle of Agincourt by the breaking and route of the French King's Genoise and gallantry of that Knight that at the close of the campaign in the presence of the army at Windsor speaking in terms of high bearing by the King's good will and pleasure the old family mottoe, latinized by his Majesty, from the Norman french, "Tourjours fidele, "Tourjours brave" to "Fidi et fortudine".The upper quartering of the shield bearing upon an escolloped curtain a "square" being the sign of family rectitude and the lower quartering a placine of Ermine, being the sign of purity in the Magistracy.
The old crest of the Fentress family was three arches of a bridge, Fentresse or Fenis, meaning "Defenders of teh Bridge", see Washburne's "Book of Crests".The name Fenis being a Breton whose name was thus changed during the regime of the Commonwealth, still retain the old crest of the bridge arches and also the ancient mottoe.
Outline copy of old manuscript records of the entress family fround by John Thorpe, Yeoman of Duddeston Manor, Warwickshire, in the Archives of Astor Hall, depositied from the time of Sir Lester Hold, old time friend of the American Colonial fentresses & subsequently held in keeping of Jame Watt, Lord of the Manor of Astor Hall with whom some 40 years back was also depositied Fentress family records by a literary gentleman named James, who for many years was Her Brittanic Majesty's Consul General at Norfolk, Virginia.
The following was added by J. A. Ventress
I have heard all my life and aas I remember from both Pa and Uncle William Ventress that our name was originally "Fentress".In order to confirm it, some twenty years ago I wrote to Tenn. from whence the family came and in reply received several letters from an old lady, (72 years old at that time) Mrs. Lucy H. Hallums of Wattsville, Roberston County, the daughter of James Ventress, the brother of Lovick Ventress, our grandfather.She wrote that her father said the change in the family name from Fentress to Ventress was not brought about by any legal authority but by the custom of the people when Lovick and her father came to Tenn.The people there in addressing them or in transacting business with them spoke and wrote their name Ventress instead of Fentress and that Lovick in consequence finally acquiesced by changing his signature from F to V because the was known better by the latter spelling and pronunciation & when James grew up he adopted the custom of his brother Lovick.This is the whole and ony reason they changed the name.There was at that time living near Mrs. Hallums a family by the name of Fentrss, whose father (James) was a second cousin fo Lovick & his posterity all spell their name with an F.
Pa's Uncle James, before mentioned, married Jeanette Stewart (daughter of Capt. Jock Stewart by his first wife) Dec. 25th, 1808, at the residence of Lovick Ventress (in Tenn.) where they were both living.She was born in Scotland.Her mother died when she was 6 weeks old & left the aforesaid daughter and one son who went to sea and was never heard from again.The daughter lived with Lovick Ventress from teh time she was 10 r 12 years old till she married his brother James.James had 3 sons and 5 daughters.Lovick's first wife was Mary Bryan, who had a brother Hardy Bryan at whose house he (Lovick) died and is buried on Sycamore Breek, Roberston County, Tenn., 13 mile south of Springfield by the side of his first wife.Jame Ventress (Lovick's brother) was a devout Methodist and lived to be 96 years old.
Lovick moved to Tenn. in 1796 with James and Hardy Bryan (Cousins).
The father of Lovick and Jame Ventress was named George Fentress & their mother was a Miss Mary Everett.They lived in Virginia near Norfolk and moved to North Carolina and died there.Lovick took James (the youngest) and raised him.George Fentress and his wife had five sons and one daughter: Lovick settled in Miss., Jame in Tenn., one son in Ohio, one son in Indiana, one in another state not known, one daughter named Polly who married a man named Yount.Lovick Ventress had a cousin in Tenn named James Fentress whose daughters told Mrs. Hallums that their father told them he and David Fentress (father of Judge Fentress) were cousins.This Jame Fentress lived to be 99 years old, when he was drowned.It looks like the family was a long lived one.
Lovick and Jame Ventress were second cousins to James Fentress (the father of the ladies with whom Mrs Hallums talked).
Lovick Ventress lived in Tenn from 1796 to 1809, ie, until after his brother James married in 1808.
March 29, 1910Signed:J. A. Ventress