In searching for the family of origin for my ancestress, Mary Bright (b. 1760's--d. 1836), wife of Charles Bright of Currituck and Marlboro Co., SC, I have determined that she may have been a member of the Bennett family of Moyock District. Her husband was a veteran of the COntinental Army during the REvolution, and after a long term of service, he returned to Currituck where he was born and married her. Their first child was Arthur Bright born in 1788.
Very soon after this blessed event, Charles Bright purchased the former JOhn Bennett lands from the duo who had obtained them a few years prior--Samuel Ferebee (1761--1845) and Griffith Dauge. These lands had come up for sale because John Bennett was an active Tory during the Revolution and the property was confiscated to the use of the new state of North Carolina. It is assumed that Bennett either died in combat or was sentenced to death for his role as a counter-revolutionary. Sarah Ferebee, wife of Samuel, was the daughter of HEnry (d. 1794) and Mary Ballentine and Griffith Dauge had married Samuel Ferebee's sister Frances. Sarah Ferebee's sister Lydia, just happened to be the widow of the defamed Tory, John Bennett. In fact, their father, Henry Ballentine, was the person who purchased John Bennett's personal estate at the same time Ferebee and Dauge bought the land. He left all the household goods to his ill-starred daughter Lydia Bennett. It would seem that the family pitched in to rescue her from ruin following the disastrous consequences of her husband's Toryism. Lydia's father purchased the personal estate and her brother-in-law and a kinsman of his purchased the land. Perhaps, they let her continue to live on it and hoped that she could recoup the purchase money they had fronted at the auction, eventually. She still had several minor children to provide for.
That is where Charles Bright stepped in. I think he purchased the land Lydia lived on because he was her new son-in-law and wanted to secure her interests for the foreseeable future. He had to make considerable sacrifice to purchase the land--being forced to sell two slaves inherited from his father to cover most of the purchase price. These slaves were sold directly to Samuel Ferebee within a few months of the land deal and may have constituted a sort of partial swap. Samuel Ferebee continued to have a close association with Charles Bright. Bright authorized him to collect moneys due him from the nation for his service as a REvolutionary soldier. If he were the uncle of Mary Bright, this would certainly make some sense.
Lydia Bennett and her late husband, the Tory John, almost certainly had two sons who died in the 1790's with small families--John Bennett and Carter Bennett (d. 1799--wife Sarah.) Besides Mary, they may also have had a daughter named Drusilla who married twice, to John Townsend and to Dr. Hezekiah Purrington. CHarles and Mary Bright had children named Drusilla Bright and Purrington H. Bright. It is also significant that another of Henry Ballentine's daughters, Mary Ballentine married Henry Bright IV (d. 1801), the elder brother of Charles Bright. So according to my theory Henry would have married the daughter and his younger brother Charles, the granddaughter of Henry Ballentine.
Finally, there is the matter of what happened to Lydia Bennett during the 1790's. Charles Bright eventually sold the lands he bought from the Bennett confiscation. Some possibly to Carter Bennett. A clue to Lydia's fate may be contained in an affidavit made in the 1820's by both Charles and Mary Bright almost a quarter century after they had moved to Marlboro Co., SC. These are contained in Secretary of State military papers in North Carolina and concern Charles and Mary's knowledge of the service of one Clemegill Cherry, who died at the Battle of Eutaw Springs, SC, where CHarles Bright was also involved. Mary and Charles both testified that Clemegill had only one sister living--Miriam Ives (b. c. 1764), the wife of JEsse Ives (d. 1840). This couple originated in Currituck County but were living at that time in Guilford Co., NC. The purpose of these legal maneuvers was to show who was entitled to 640 acres to be granted by the state to Clemegill's heirs in view of his ultimate sacrifice. The question is, why would Charles and Mary Bright have special knowledge of this situation? And how did Jesse and Miriam Ives, who lived quite a distance from them, know where they were? They must have been in contact with the Brights.
The answer may lie in the will of Josiah Cherry of Currituck Co., NC (d. 1805.) In it, he mentions his wife Lydia Cherry and his two daughters, Miriam Ives and Abia Powers. Abia must have died without heirs, leaving Miriam the only surviving child. Could Lydia Cherry be Lydia BAllentine Bennett who may have remarried to Cherry in the 1790's? Could Miriam Ives thus be Mary Bright's step sister and probably one of her only remaining relatives in view of Abia's decease (other than her children?) Thus, one of the only people who could testify to relationships in the Josiah Cherry family? Since John Bennett had no land to leave to his children, this may be one of the few ways we have to get at Mary Bright's ancestry. I have done some research on the BENNETTs of Currituck and would like to correspond with others interested in the same. Also, anyone who has information on Henry Ballentine and early records relating to him--that would also be useful information for me. Thank you.