I was privileged to meet Ewell Fly a few months before his death in a nursing home in Columbia, Maury Co., TN.He was a fountainhead of information on the Fly family in Maury County for several generations back.Consequently this "down-generation" information, in this branch of the family, is very good and I believe uncommonly accurate with regard to the people born in the 1820's and afterward. I have drawn on many people in this branch of the family for my information. I have before me a "truecopy" of the Capt. John Fly Bible in which his birthdate is shown as 28 Jan. 1802 (NOT 1801); and the Joseph Lawrence Fly birthdate is given as 1 January 1825 (instead of 1824).
I note in Ewell's account that he is using Marian (Prescott) Brown's early-Fly dates for John as "b. 1715" (instead of "b. ca. 1705/6)-It's what was thought by Marian, so everyone who didn't know ANYTHING about the early family simply accepted her views without question.The early confusion over the "too many unidentified Johns" shows itself in that Ewell thought that John Fly, b. 1/1/1772 was buried in Fly Cemetery, Santa Fe (near Fly's Store); and that the John Fly buried in Lawrence's Williamson County Cemetery was the old John that was said to have lived 112 years.Actually it is John Fly, b. 1772 - died 1855 that is buried in Williamson Co., Brentwood, TN. at 1647 Ragsdale Rd.
Please note that Ewell's text perpetuates the error, made by Marian P. Brown that Lawrence Fly was "Lawrence Clarence".THIS IS NOT CORRECT.The mistake was made by one of Ms. Brown's informants who misremembered the man as EITHER Lawrence or Clarence.She began to use BOTH names in her records.
The more I have studied the Fly records the more morally certain I have become that MOST of the Fly childrens' names were single names for several generations.I "see" these as examples: William, d. 1679, John b. ca. 1705/6, William, b. ca. 1726/7, John, b. ca. 1744, Elisha, sr. b. ca. 1746, Jeremiah, b. ca. 1748, Charles, b. 1750, William, jr. b. ca. 1753, Charles, Jesse, sr. Amelius (Emelius), b. ca. 1773, Enoch & Enos, b. 1776, William, b. 1802?, Elisha, jr. b. ca. 1767, John, b. 1772, Jeremiah, b. ca. 1773, Lawrence, b. 1791, William, b. 1794, Rev. David, b. 1799, Rev. Joshua, b. 1800, Capt. John, b. 1802, Caleb b. 1808?, John, b. ca. 1789, Elisha, sr. b. 1793, Micajah, b. 1796, Enoch, b. 1799,William, b. 1799, Elisha b. 1811. -- All of the foregoing are, I believe, individuals with ONE given name only.
The exceptions were John Dixon Fly, thought to be named in honor of a newspaper editor of the time (1765), John Boon Fly, b. 1800 & William Boon Fly (his brother),(named for Alsea's family name).The one was called John Fly, the other William Fly; and so the third son was named Boon Fly and CALLED "Boon Fly". - Asher Pipkin Fly, named for his grandfather, Asher Pipkin.
Capt. John Fly was NOT with a middle name "David"; for his Civil War records seem to indicate that he conjured up a middle initial for roster use, giving in "John J. Fly" in one instance and "John F. Fly" in another. The military was and remains requiring of a middle name or initial for its records and usually INSIST the soldier provide one.Apparently Capt. John Fly did so upon demand.
I have supplied the above names and birth-years largely from memory to try to point to the individual whose (single or double) name is my point in this discussion of the "vogue" of the day as to naming kids. I have supplied a "?" where I wasn't sure to the exact year, and didn't want to stop and look it up.The WHOLE point here is that many of the EARLY given names were just ONE NAME for the individual. (unfortunately for us, "John" was THE favorite.)As a consequence I feel that one MUST look at signatures and use the comparisons to establish identities, such as between William, (sr.) and Wm., (jr.) of the 1786 State Census, Northampton Co., NC and 1790 Federal Census. - Such as the John Fly, sen'r. signature on petitions used by John, b. 1744. (John Fly, sen'r.'s land was divided up and assigned to the heirs in 1808 - Northampton Co. Court Commission). Be prepared to see that the "John Fly" signature of John, b. ca. 1705/6 on Petitions is the same as on the FIVE pound Revolutionary Account Voucher.Be prepared to look at the signature of John Dixon Fly on the marriage bond, when Jesse Fly married Delana Whitford in 1808 (John Dixon Fly co-signed) and see that it matches the NINE pound payment to John (D.) Fly from the Revolutionary Accounts.Look at the UNIQUE capital F.Look at Wm., (jr) on the Pay voucher with a modest capital W; and compare with the flamboyant capital W on old William's petition signatures.
We researchers are NOT going to find a lot more in the way of documentation. THEREFORE, it behooves us to USE our WITS to wring out of the EXISTING documentation every nuance that is reasonable to use in skilled (you might say SHREWD) interpretation. The argument that, "Signatures don't mean a thing" is NOT necessarily so.
Enough comment for now.Again, Darlene, I commend you for bringing these postings up for review and comment by knowledgeable Forum participants.
James Whitney Fly