ERWIN, William, Jr, of Green Co KY

William Erwin Jr was born Green Co KY 5 Jan 1789, son of William and Susannah (Curry) Erwin, and died there after 22 Feb 1841.[1]

On 12 Jul 1812 in Green Co KY, he married Sarah Forbis. She was born in Green County in 1792, daughter of James Forbis Jr and his wife Phoebe Bryan. Phoebe was a daughter of Joseph and Aylee (Linville) Bryan and a sister-in-law of Daniel Boone. Sarah died between 1822 and 1826, when William married as his second wife her sister, Ann Forbis, on 6 Nov 1826 in Green Co KY.

It is stated in Rowan County North Carolina Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, 1773-1800, C.085.30004, Vol. 4, p 118: “Appeared in Consequence of a Citation James McMahon, Joseph Bryan, James Forbush, George Wilcockson, David Johnston, Joseph Wolfskill, Charles Vandivear and John Bryan upon Suspicion of being unfriendlay to this State and no positive charge appeared against them, The Court ordered that they take and Sign the Oath prescribed by Act of Assembly.” Signatures follow: James McMahon, David Johnston, Joseph Bryan, James Forbis, George Wilcockson, Joseph Wolfskill, Charles Vandivear, John Bryan.

Although Joseph Bryan’s oath has been accepted as Patriotic Service by the Daughters of the American Revolution, James Forbis’s was not. The stated reason is that although there may have been (and there certainly were) two James Forbises, one who signed in 1778, and that man’s son James Sr who went to Kentucky to avoid signing, it is not clear which man went to KY without signing. What is clear is that soon after that, Forbis, Wilcoxson, Bryan, and other names associated with this family appeared in Kentucky.

William Erwin Jr and his wife Sarah were members of the Little Barren Church Records.[2] On three occasions Erwin made land warrants, in 1818 and in 1820, p 543, “Little Barren and Green River.”

His census records are extant for 1810, 1820, 1830 and 1840, always in Green Co KY. The entries are as follows:

1810 Green Co KY, p 275: William Irwin, 20310/21010. This indicates three daughters and five sons.

1820 Barren Co KY, Barren Twp, p 17. William Irvin: 200010/11100/01. In ten years there were two new daughters, but still a total of five girls.

1830 Green Co KY, page 46. Irvin Will Jun, 1120001/00110001. This time there were 4 sons, and 2 daughters, possibly a few years older.

1840 Green Co KY, Southern Division, p 163. William Earwin: 010012001/01.

William and Sarah had the following children:

1. Phoebe ERWIN was born on 23 Feb 1813 in Green Co KY and belonged to the Little Barren River Church. In 1849 when Phoebe was 35, she married David FORBIS, son of Morgan FORBIS & Margaret LOGAN, in Green Co KY. He had been born on 1 May 1795. They had the following children:

i.            Margaret E (1849-)

ii.            Dorinda W (1854-)

iii.            William M (1855-)

2. Susan ERWIN was born on 24 Jan 1815 in Green Co KY. Susan died in Horse Cave KY, on 4 Aug 1893 and was buried in Rock Cemetery, Horse Cave, Hart Co KY. She was also a member of the Three Springs Baptist Church, having joined in Oct 1840. About 16 Oct 1833, she married Benjamin ATWELL, son of John ATWELL Jr & Anne LEWIS, in Green Co KY. Born on 24 Nov 1807 in NC, Benjamin died in Horse Cave, Hart Co KY, on 3 Feb 1895. They had the following children:

i.            William Green (~1835-1920)

ii.            Sally Ann (1835-1915)

iii.            John Thomas (1839-1925)

iv.            Margaret Jane (1841-1927)

v.            Joel B (1843-1862)

vi.            James Willis (1845-1926)

vii.            Phoebe Fannie (1848-1925)

viii.            Mary Lucretia (1850-)

ix.            Susan Elizabeth (1852-1903)

x.            William Rush (1854-1943)

xi.            Richard Job (1856-1905)

3. Liberty Green ERWIN was born on 14 Apr 1817 in Green Co KY and was a member of the Little Barren River Church. Liberty Green Sallie HOUK, who was born on 11 Aug 1823. They had the following children:

i.            Sarah E (ca1833-)

ii.            Mary E (ca1835-)

iii.            Martha F (ca1838-)

iv.            William G (ca1841-)

v.            Joseph F (ca1844-)

4. Willis ERWIN was born on 15 Jan 1819 in Green Co KY.

5. Joel ERWIN was born on 17 Mar 1821 or 2 Mar 1822 in Green Co KY. Joel died on 15 Oct 1877. Like the rest of his family, he joined the Little Barren River Church. On 15 Nov 1863 when Joel was 42, he married Martha L FORBIS, daughter of John FORBES & Elizabeth BUNNELL, in Green Co KY. She was born on 12 Jul 1844. They had the following children:

i.            John W

ii.            Dora B

iii.            Charles


[1] Erwin-Bunnell Family Bible, extract posted by Bob Kaufman, 11 May 1999, Erwin Family Genealogy Forum, <http://genforum.genealogy.com/erwin/messages/360.html&gt;, downloaded by Kathy Patterson, 11 May 1999.  Bob wrote, “ I have a photocopy of the Erwin-Bunnell Family Bible. It shows the following births. No places are mentioned. Susanna Erwin b. 2 Aug 1762; William Erwin b. 22 Oct 1764; The following is the names and births of their children: James Erwin b. 22 May 1787; William Erwin b. 5 Jan 1789; Robert Erwin b. 5 Dec 1791; Susanna Erwin b. 5 Oct 1793; Nancy Erwin b. 5 Dec 1795; Elizabeth Erwin b. 1 Oct 1798; John Erwin b. 7 Feb 1801; Rebecca Erwin b. 2 Apr 1805; Alexander Erwin b. 17 Oct 1807; Several Bunnell births and deaths follow. Also listed under deaths are the following entries: ‘Susanna Erwin died the 5th of February 1827.’ ‘William Erwin died the 19th of January 1840.’ The birth entries of all the Erwins and the death entry for Susannah Erwin appear to be written by the same hand. The death entry for William Erwin was definitely written by a different person, but it appears immediately under the entry for Susanna. I assumed that this entry was for William Sr, but that could be an incorrect assumption.”

[2] Surety at his marriage was Andrew Erwin. The man in Carolina Cradle, p 34, is not our William Erwin. Like George Forbush, the man in Rowan Co was also from MD and PA. He was also listed in  Jillson Land records.

Church records and censuses give much of what we know about this family.

Genforum has: In a book Sulphur Well History, compiled by Sulphur Well Homemakers, William Erwin is listed on the records of Little Barren Baptist Church with his family on the 1815 membership list. William is married to Suzannah Curry, they had 9 children: James (1787); William Jr (1789); Robert (1791); Suzanna (1793); Nancy (1795); Elizabeth (1798); John (1801); Rebecca (1805); and Alexander (1807). William Erwin was a herb doctor. The next 5 generations of Erwins have settled within a few miles of Sulphur Well. The list of six generations of William Erwin Sr are on file in the Green Co. Library, Greensburg, Ky.Page: II:280.va Coe Peden and Gladys Benedict Wilson, Minutes of the Little Barren River Church of United Baptist, Barren County, KY (now Metcalfe), 1841-1896, Glasgow KY, 1975. Page 3 describes a church meeting in Jan 1841 when the following issue was discussed: “Agreed that joining any of the benevolent Societies as they now exist in the United States, or contribute cutting into their funds, or refusing either to join or contribute shall not be made a bar to union… all in this matter shall be lett– to exercise their own free will.…” Certain brethren, including William Erwin were opposed to the resolution and withdrew from fellowship. William Erwin had been Clerk of the church and kept the church record book. The book copied in this volume started after this split and mentions efforts to get the book from William Erwin and finally a member going and copying lists from the book, almost splitting the church again over his action.

Published on September 4, 2008 at 9:51 am  Leave a Comment  

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