Friday, December 9, 2011

Alexander G. Forgey, Do We Have the Best Sources?

Is this proven I've written about Alexander G. Forgey in this blog before. I said I believed that he and Andrew Forgey of Maury County were likely brothers and could be sons of Alexander Forgey of Virginia. The Sawyers Harris Family history purports to document his family history. It was written in 1913 by Madison Monroe Harris and William Randolph Carter (I've embedded a copy below) .
I've been going through the info in this book regarding his early history. According to the book he is the son of a James Forgey who entered 500 acres on Flat Creek, in Knox County, TN and lived on that land from 1792. It is odd that I have not been able to find a James Forgey in Knox County, TN court records if he lived there from this early date? This is very unusual since every male at some point served on a Jury.
I immediately find more holes in this family history. As you can read above, James was said to have had four sons. Alexander, Hugh, Andrew and James. We know for a fact that Alexander and Andrew are closely associated. We find them witnessing documents, buying land next to each other on Flat Creek. There is never a James involved with any of them other than one described as living in Hawkins County, TN. There is never any evidence of a James Forgey living in Knox County, TN.  The authors conclusion that Alexander had a brother James came from the fact that a James Forgy family had also settled in Northern Indiana, like Alexander G. later did. There was no basis in fact for this. As it turns out this James Forgey family did not come from Tennessee at all. It was just a coincidence they settled in the same area. Lucille Wallace also came to the conclusion that the James mentioned by the Sawyers Harris author, as the son of James brother to Alexander, was not.
Another misidentification occurred regarding Hugh Forgey. Hugh Forgey was not Alexander G.'s brother at all. The Hugh Forgey living on Flat Creek was the son of Andrew Forgey and Margaret Reynolds. Hugh Crawford, grandson of Andrew and Margaret and born 1806 Knox County, TN, wrote in his Journal that his Uncle Hugh Forgey lived in Knox County, TN. 
At the face of it you would think the authors had a good sources for the family history. They tell us that James Forgey migrated early from Virginia to the Flat Creek area. Sounds like they knew what they were talking about? Actually since Alexander was said to have been born in Virginia this was likely the basis for that statement . It was just another assumption.
In 1802 James Forgey sold two equal portions of his 500 acre grant to Alexander G. and Andrew. This deed does not say anything about relationships. The land was sold to these men not given away to them. The price could not be called hugely discounted either. These deeds damage the circumstantial case that James was likely their father. The deed portion I copied above states that James Forgey of Hawkins County, TN is selling to Alexander Forgey of Knox County, TN. Well James Forgey of Hawkins County, TN brings to mind only one person that is James son of Andrew and Margaret. Not Alexander G.'s father at all. James was known to have purchased large land grants which he did not live on. He appears to have bought them for speculation. James being in Alexander G.'s age range seems to point to a cousin relationship.
The only source for the James Forgey as Alexander's father appears to be the Sawyers Harris book which Lucille Wallace later quotes. I have seen nothing else. The only source mentioned in the Sawyers Harris Family History is the 500 acre land grant on Flat Creek. More than this is definitely needed.
I can see where a circumstantial case might be built around the land grant, but this is not supported by the sales deeds. A family history is not a good source since they can be notoriously wrong when it comes to  early generations. Building a good foundation for a family history requires several primary sources. One deed just isn't enough. We need some proof that there were two James Forgeys living in the Eastern Tennessee area at the same time, and nothing points to this so far. However we do know that James Forgey of Hawkins County, TN uncle Alexander Forgey sold his property in Washington County, VA in 1796 and disappears? So does Alexander Forgey relocate to Knox County with two sons?
So has anyone proven who Alexander G.'s father is? No. Should we continue to search? Yes.

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