To the Fly Forum - VERY IMPORTANT DOCUMENT,
David Williamson Fly, born in 1819 in Williamson Co., TN. to Col. William Fly, b. 1794 and Mary (Mitchell) Fly. He was the author of a history of the Fly-family which was widely circulated among the descendants of Col. William, and commonly accepted as detailled and very accurate. For a lot of years different members of the family puzzled and speculated as to the actual author of the piece.That David Williamson Fly was the author is now proven without any shadow of a doubt.His son, David HARPER Fly, stated as much in a letter dated April 20 1948 to his cousin, Fannie Graves. He says:
"Dear Cousin Fannie,
Replying to your letter of the 24th, inst. will say I have been re-reading a family history commenced by my father, David William Fly, just when I do not know, but he died in 1892.He never finished this report, or it so appears.It was written with a pencil and is now dim and I am not sure that I have gotten the true meaning of same, but I will give you certain quotations and remarks of my own made thereon.
He says,"While Virginia was a colony two brothers by the name of Fly (Flye they spelled the name - typist comment) came from England and settled in the colony. From these two brothers have descended the numerous families of Flys that are settled over the Southern states.John Fly [Harper's typescript "John Fly" is underlined on the typewriter], a grandson of one of the brothers, married Miss Sarah Jane Trader and settled in Northampton Co., N.C.The Traders were from Scotland. About the year 1796John Fly moved to middle Tennessee and settled on Mills Creek in Williamson County.There he lived about 12 years and then moved to Maury (or Murry - typist) County and settled on Leaper's Creek.He lived on this place until his death which took place when he was nearly 90 years old.He was a local preacher in the M.E. Church, a good and useful man, etc."
"John and Sarah J. Fly had two children born in N.C., Lawrence and William.William was two years old when they moved to Tennessee.They had six children born in Tennessee, four sons and two daughters. Their names were: David, Joshua, John, Caleb, Mary and Sarah."
Skipping over some pages, relating to family events, quote further: "William Fly, the second son of Rev. John Fly was married___ 1810 to Mary Mitchell".----- "On the Mitchell side it appears, or rather was stated by my father that Andrew Mitchell married Mary Tate , and that they were the parents of Mary Mitchell, mentioned above as having married William Fly in 1810."
Skipping more pages, it is recited in said report, "After William Fly's marriage, he first settled on a tract of land given him by his father-in-law on Turkey Creek, Maury County.Here his three oldest children were born. Their names were Andrew Tate Mitchell (we know him as Uncle Mitchell) Sarah Jane, and John Dalton.He then moved to Williamson Co., Tenn. and settled on Leaper's Creek. Here his fourth child, David William (my father)(typist's father) was born.About 18 months after this event, he moved back to Maury Co., and settled near his father-in-law on Turkey Creek.On this place Elijah Madden was born.Mr Fly sold his place with the intention of moving to the Obion country in West Tennessee, but afterward bought James Doty's place on Beach Creek. On this place the town of Benton is now situated. It is ten miles north of Columbia, the county seat of Maury Co. While living on this place Sara Jane Fly died. A.T.M. was married to Miss Eliza Jones about 1830.While living on Beach Creek, William and Mary had four children born: Mary Malinda, Sophia Louisa, Benjamin Franklin (who were twins) and Elvira Josephine."
The typist, Harper, continues below -
This is the last sentence in the family report or history.I do not know who this last-named is unles it is Aunt Ella, who married a Mr. Catchings. You will notice that Uncle George is not mentioned.
The typist continues,
"I did not have time to copy all of this report, but believe I have given you the line of your ancestors as it appears from such report."
(Comment from Jim W. Fly - poster of the above, - The omission of "Uncle George" - read George Washington Lafayette Fly - MAY mean that the "Report" was written by David William Fly before his brother George was born in 1835)
This document is VERY important because David William Fly lives close to his Grandfather, Rev. John Fly, b. 1772 while his father, Col. William and family are living on Beach Creek, Maury County. When he, the author (David William Fly, b. 1819)says that his grandfather's grandfather was our immigrant ancestor, he KNOWS what the family KNEW in 1835, because the grandfather TOLD HIM SO. (Rev. John Fly lived till 1855, David William Fly lived till 1892)
This account has been accepted in this branch of the family from EARLY ON.
Combine this with the in-family story from Buena Vista Fly Lovelace Aubuchon of Selma, CA, daughter of Charles Wallace Fly, b. 1679.She assures me that her father told her on many occasions that her ancestor came from Pennsylvania and married a Cherokee Indian woman, and HIS father was born in England.I checked the number of greats in the grandfather chain; and it is telling us that Elisha, sr. b. ca. 1746 was her ancestor that married the Cherokee and that HIS father was William, b. ca. 1726/7 the one born in England.
Let's accept the family stories that FIT into place and don't contradict the documentation.Let's accept the interpretation of the documentation that FITS the stories.If the immutable meaning of a document is found that DOES contradict our hypothesis, THEN is time enough to change the hypothesis. The family stories should direct the WAY we interpret the documents when they are ambiguous of possible interpretation in more than one way.
Hope you print out this posting and read and re-read it.We are fortunate to have it.
I WILL point out that another version of the Fly early records, as appeared in the Goodspeed Biographies of Mississippi about 1885 made it "THREE BROTHERS who came over, - "and one was in Pennsylvania, - one was in Virginia, - and one was in Georgia."That's JOHN,b. ca. 1730, WILLIAM, b. ca. 1726/7 and JEREMIAH, b. ca. 1733.
Have a good day!
James Whitney Fly
P.S.Harper Fly, the "typist", closes his letter to Cousin Fannie, -
"With love and kindest regards to you and other members of the family in your connection, I remain