The Case for Nancy Anderson Derrick as the Mother of David D. Anderson (With A Preponderance of the Evidence Supporting It)
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this is my case, as based on a preponderance of circumstantial evidence, for Nancy Anderson Derrick as the probable mother of David D. Anderson, Church of the Brethren minister of Hawkins County, Tennessee. (Father unknown.)
(1) A letter, with various Anderson notations, that I received, possibly as long ago as the 1970s, and that I still consider the “breakthrough” in my search for Great-great-grandfather David D. Anderson’s mother. It was sketchy and was from an elderly distant Anderson cousin (since deceased). The writer of the letter noted that David had one younger brother, who, at age eight, had been thrown from a horse, if I remember correctly, and killed. The letter named as David’s half-sisters, Polly and Rachel Church (and Derrick half-brothers, I believe) ... and I didn‘t know what to make of that! (Having moved three times in the past nine years, perhaps it’s not too surprising that I cannot, at the moment, find that letter -- even though I know I made several copies of it to share with other family researchers!)
The 1830 Census returns for Hawkins Co., Tennessee show, under Marvel Derrick, one male aged 10-15 (David D. Anderson?) and two males aged between five and 10. Andrew Jackson Derrick, son of Marvel and Nancy (Anderson), was born Dec. 14, 1823, and would have been about six at the time the census was taken. Andrew’s next younger brother, Marvel Derrick, Jr., was not born until Sep. 5, 1835. So, who was the other (male) youngster? As Marilyn Pulliam wrote to me in a letter dated Aug. 9, 1989 (the second of many letters to come over the next 15 years), she mentions a family group sheet she had received, from (the late) Eugene Peterson of Vacaville, CA, showing a “child born 1822 that could have been the 8 yr. old that was killed.” This unknown boy would have been eight in 1830 … and could have died that same year, after the census had been taken.
(2) A second letter from Galen Price of Ann Arbor, Michigan, dated Feb. 10, 1983 … who wrote, in part, as follows: “The task of sorting out the Derricks of Hawkins County is complicated by their habit of using the same names from family to family and from generation to generation. (Actually, whose ancestors did not do that?!) As far as I can tell there were two groups of Derricks -- possibly related in the dim past but even now descendants of each group refer to the other group as ‘the other Derricks.’
“I believe the family you are looking for belonged to the ‘other Derricks,’ and can be found in the 1850 Census of Hawkins County, Civil District 8, as follows:
Dwelling and family # 39
Dwelling and family # 40
Dwelling and family # 41
“These Derricks belonged to the Midway Church of the Brethren in Little Poor Valley.
“Now for some speculation.” Galen wrote.
“The Mary above seems about the right age to have married George Church in 1851. Since Polly often was a diminutive for Mary she might also be the Polly Church. Rachel might well have married a Church also.
“If these two girls, Marville, Andrew and Enoch were half brothers to David Anderson it had to be through their mother. Perhaps Nancy’s first husband was an Anderson, and Marville was her second husband. If so then David Anderson might well have been known as David Derrick (or the census taker might have been not too careful). It is interesting to note that the names and ages of this David Derrick family match your records, in the Simmons book, for David D. Anderson.”
The information regarding my mother’s maternal Anderson line had been supplied to me some years previously (in the 1960s) by my great aunt, Minnie Creech, who had received it in a letter(dated 1929) from Lucinda Anderson Creech, Mother’s great-aunt and, also, step-grandmother. For reasons of her own, “Aunt Lou,” as my mother referred to her, never, ever mentioned a Derrick connection and no one in the latter-day family even knew there was one.
Upon the receipt of Galen Price’s letter, I then could begin to piece together the family relationships connecting the Anderson and Derrick families.
(1) NOTE the proximity of the three families as shown in the 1850 Census.
(2) What other possible reason could David D. Anderson have for using the Derrick surname (from time to time, throughout his lifetime, apparently) if Marvel Derrick were not his stepfather?
(3) Notice the names of the 10 children of David D. Anderson and Lucinda Vaughan Anderson:
1. Marvel D. Anderson(named for his step-grandfather? What do you suppose the D. stands for? I, for one, do not know … but I could take a guess.)
2. Margaret C. Anderson
3. Benjamin Walker Anderson (named for Lucinda’s father, Benjamin Walker Vaughan)
4. Nancy Anderson (surely named for David’s mother?!)
5. Robert A. Anderson (named for Lucinda’s brother, Robert Arnout Vaughan, who was killed in the Civil War)
6. Martha Anderson (named for Lucinda’s mother, Martha Simmons Vaughan)
7. Rachel Anderson(another frequently used name in the Anderson family. I believe that Wells Jones’ wife, Rachel, was Rachel Anderson, one of the daughters of “old” David and Elizabeth [Hardy] Anderson; and, if so, an aunt to David D. Anderson.)
8. Samuel Simmons Anderson (named for Lucinda’s brother, Samuel Simmons Vaughan)
9. Lucinda Anderson (that one is self-evident -- and also was my maternal grandmother’s name, although she called herself “Lucy May.” She was Lucinda May Creech Grover.)
10. David D. Anderson, Jr. (Also self-evident)
(4) Included, all right together, in the Membership List from Cedar Grove Church of the Brethren (source: Jan Johnson’s book, “Cousins”), we find David D. Derric (sic), Lucinda Derric (sic), and Marvil Derric (sic). David D. and Lucinda were, in fact, David D. and Lucinda Anderson. There is no question in my mind about that.
An item from THE GOSPEL MESSENGER, dated December 20, 1887, p. 798, reads as follows:
“DERRICK, -- In the Cedar Grove church, Hawkins Co., Tenn., Oct. 4 (died) of typhoid fever, Eld. Davy Derrick, aged about seventy years.
“Deceased was a member of the Brethren church for about 40 years, and labored in the ministry about 36 years. He was appointed by Annual Meeting on several important committees. He represented the Tennessee District several times in Annual Conference, and spent a great deal of his time in traveling and preaching. The church has lost a noble worker, but we humbly bow in submission to Him who ruleth all things well to them that love Him. Abe Molsbee”
David D. Anderson actually died Nov. 4, 1887, of typhoid fever at his home in Hawkins Co., TN. He would have been 68 on Dec. 23, 1887. He was a “circuit rider,” who traveled the county on horseback.
In a letter to me in 1971, the late Murrell Creech Cochran wrote of him: “Mother’s dad was a Dunkard preacher. He rode horseback all over the hills & preached. They called them circuit riders. He had saddle bags and carried his Bible & song book, on one side, and a change of clothes on the other.”
The biggest mystery is: who was David’s father? “Aunt Lou” was not forthcoming. Margaret Catherine AndersonCreech (my great-grandmother and [older] sister to Aunt Lou) possibly was named for David’s Aunt Margaret, wife of his uncle, David Mitchell Anderson ... Strange that we know of no daughter named Elizabeth -- for David D.’s grandmother.
In regard to the family of the senior David and Elizabeth (Hardy) Anderson, I should like to point out some inaccuracies, that I have noticed on various related family web sites, that have been posted as facts. These are not facts unless or until they have been supported with primary documentation. What or who is the source?
For instance, we can assume that the elder David Anderson was born in Ireland; there is no proof that he “was born in Belfast, Ireland.” Aunt Lou wrote as follows: “Great Granfather (sic) Anderson was a soldier in the revolutionary war (sic) came from Bellfast Irland (sic) settled in the Valley of VaMaried Elizabeth Hardy that is all I can tell a bout the family.” (Did she mean that was all she wanted to tell?! Surely she must have known something about who her own grandparents were!)
We have neither bible record nor any other record stating where “old” David Anderson was born.His will is dated 1822 and we can presume that he died that year, but it is not a proven fact. We don’t know when he died. David and Elizabeth’s marriage bond was returned to the Amherst County Court or registry on 5 August 1782, but that does not mean that was the date they were married. I understand that ministers in those days sometimes waited until they had performed several marriages, then traveled to the county court to officially register the bonds all at one time. Nor do we have the exact years of birth and death for Nancy Anderson Derrick. One can speculate, based on census records, but unless you have a source, heretofore unknown to other researchers, those dates need to be noted as “About” (ABT.) or “Circa” (CA.).
If someone has additional facts on the David Anderson families, we hope they will be posted and shared with other researchers, some of whom have been working together for the past 15 years trying to solve some of these puzzles regarding the parentage of David D. Anderson … and learn the names of other Anderson family siblings of his parents’ generation.
I recently discovered the following interesting entries under Bedford County Marriage Bonds:
Nov. 29, 1802; James Payne & Sally Anderson, dt David; George Payne, Surety.
Aug. 22, 1803; Micajah Walker & Jenny Anderson, dt David; James Payne, Surety.
Aug. 3, 1813; William Payne & Peggy Anderson; James Payne, Surety; Married by Joseph Payne, Aug. 3, 1813.
Comments, please? I rest my case regarding Nancy Anderson Derrick as being the probable mother of David D. Anderson. What do you all think?
Naomi Long Hopperstad