A: James Guthrie & Elizabeth (MNU)


James Guthrie c1720 IRE – 1800/01 NC & Elizabeth (MNU)
of Ireland, Maryland & North Carolina

The overall Origin Theory for GFG2A is that they descend from the GUTHRIES of PITFORTHIE. All of the Laird’s sons were men of religion, only one of whom did not become an ordained minister. GFG2A-Branch G’s story indicates a relationship with this line of men, but not the exact connection. If true, the Pitforthie link could apply to all of the group’s branches, or only some of them if the overall common ancestor is further back.

The progenitors of three branches of Guthrie Family Group 2A possess signs of inherited genetic changes indicating a close shared ancestry. They were most likely brothers. James Guthrie (A), Robert Guthrie (E), & John Guthrie (H) are believed to be the sons of JOHN GUTHRIE & JANE STUART.

This couple’s origin story is directly connected to John Guthrie’s Branch H line, and so is extended to Branches A and E. John Guthrie was reportedly a SCOTTISH COVENANTER who was forced to flee to Ireland due to religious persecution. Theoretically, he could be a son or grandson of the LAIRD of PITFORTHIE, which fits both G and H’s origin stories. Jane Stuart was said to be an Irish descendant of the ROYAL HOUSE of STUART. As far as I can tell, there is no documentation on either John Guthrie or Jane Stuart’s existence in Londonderry, but the YDNA supports the close ties between these three branches.

James Guthrie was born in Northern Ireland about 1720, the youngest of the presumed brothers. His age is an estimate based on information from his grandson, Rev. A.W. Guthrie, who wrote that James married late in life and was already about 50 years old when his son Robert Guthrie was born near Baltimore, Maryland in 1770.

James Guthrie is believed to have married in Northern Ireland. His wife Elizabeth’s maiden name remains unknown. Numerous online trees can be found that erroneously misidentify this couple. One or both of them are frequently replaced by James Guthrie & Elizabeth Dunlap who died at sea in 1774 on their way to America. Branch A’s James Guthrie & Elizabeth (MNU) were alive and well after the American Revolution.

The Guthries of GFG2A are theorized to descend from James Guthrie, Laird of Pitforthie. This origin story comes to the group through Branch G, which is another LONDONDERRY, NORTHERN IRELAND connection. There are several sons in that family whose lineages remain untraced, so the possibility is indeed there. More genetic and historical evidence must be collected to prove such ties.

The theme of Guthrie men pursuing the ministry of the church continues in Branch A as numerous descendants became ministers of the Presbyterian and later Cumberland Presbyterian Church.


Guthrie Family Group: GFG2A
Group Designation: Branch A – Cluster 5 (Guthrie-Stuart)

Haplogroup: R-M269
Confirmed Haplogroup: R-Z30233

YDNA Matches:
Kit 24607

James c1720IRE > James c1765MD > Robert 1793NC > James 1827TN > Robert 1868 TN (GGF) + more

Kit 84129
James c1720IRE > Robert 1700MD > Andrew 1797 > Robert 1839 TN > William 1885TN (GGF) + more

Kit 126536
James c1720IRE > James c1765MD > Robert 1793NC > James 1827TN > Robert 1868TN > Irvin 1901TN (GGF) + more

Family Finder / Autosomal DNA Kits:
Kit B1131
James c1720IRE > James c1765MD > William 1805TN > Samuel 1838YN > William 1865TX (GGF) + more

Kit 126536
James c1720IRE > James c1765MD > Robert 1793NC > James 1827TN > Robert 1868TN > Irvin 1901TN (GGF) + more

Kit 136959
James c1720IRE > Robert 1700MD > Elizabeth 1803TN (3xGGM)

Kit 168521
James c1720IRE > Ann 1766MD (4xGGM)

Kit 261903
James c1720IRE > James c1765MD > Sarah 1800TN (4xGGM)

Kit 27183
James c1720IRE > Ann 1766MD (5xGGM)

Kit 315716
James c1720IRE > James c1765MD > Robert 1793NC > James 1827TN > Robert 1868TN > Irvin 1901TN (GGF) + more

Kit 319668
James c1720IRE > Ann 1766MD (4xGGM)

Kit 317762
James c1720IRE > Ann 1766MD (4xGGM)

Kit 345349
James c1720IRE > Robert 1700MD > Anna 1791NC (4xGGM)

Kit 36912
James c1720IRE > Elizabeth 1782NC (4xGGM)

Kit 448989
James c1720IRE > Robert 1700MD > Anna 1791NC (3xGGM)

Kit 587303
James c1720IRE > Mary 1765NC (4xGGM)

James Guthrie had 2 sons: James and Robert.
Participants in the Y-DNA Project represent both descendant lineages.
All match the GFG2A genetic profile.

Cluster 5 (Guthrie-Stuart) is a project designation.
Branches A, E, and H share a genetic mutation at DYS534=14 (Group Mode=15).
This shared mutation shows a Pattern of Inheritance and suggest closer familial ties than with the overall group. Because all three branch progenitors are from Ireland or specifically the Londonderry area of Northern Ireland and have birthdates within the space of a generation it is possible that they are brothers having inherited the unique mutation from their father.


Parents: John Guthrie & Jane Stuart (Theory)
Born: c1720 (unproven estimate)
Location: Northern Ireland, probably near Londonderry
Marriage: Elizabeth (MNU) c1760-1763
Occupation: Farmer
Death: Nov 1800 – May 1801 (proven range)
Location: Orange County, North Carolina
Burial: Unknown location in Orange or Caswell, NC

ELIZABETH (Maiden Name Unknown)
Parents: Unknown
Born: 1743 (Unproven)
Location: Northern Ireland (unproven)
Sons: James & Robert
Daughters: Ann, Mary, Margaret, Martha, Jean, Elizabeth
Death: After 1810 (proven estimate)
Location: Orange County, North Carolina
Burial: Unknown location presumably in Orange or Caswell, NC


Before 1765IRE/MD – 1840TN

Mary Guthrie married Alexander McMenamy in Orange County, NC on 9 May 1795. They remained in NC until after the 1810 census, and were living in Murfreesboro, Rutherford, TN by 1820. Mary died in Wilson County, TN about 1840.

Children: 4
McMenamy Sons: William John, James H.
McMenamy Daughters: Sally, Mary Ann

Family Finder Participants: No
Note: AncestryDNA matches with site coordinator

Abt.1765IRE/MD – a1862TN

FARMER. The eldest of two sons, James Guthrie’s birthplace has been listed as Northern Ireland, but one daughter listed his birthplace as Maryland on the 1880 census. James married Jane Smith, daughter of Andrew Smith & Elizabeth Kerr, in 1791. They moved to the Robertson/Sumner County area in Middle TN soon after their marriage. 

Children: 11
Sons: James, David, Robert, Joseph, William H. Andrew H.
Daughters: Elizabeth M, Sarah ‘Sally’, Eunice Jane, Anna Martha, Lorena Lucinda

Y-DNA Project Participants: Yes
Family Finder Participants: Yes
Note: AncestryDNA matches with site coordinator

8 Mar 1766 IRE/MD – 1834TN

Ann Guthrie was born either in Ireland or Maryland. She married John Shannon in Orange County, NC on 17 Aug 1784. She moved with her husband to Robertson County, TN where they raised a large family. Her brothers James and Robert and their wives initially settled nearby on the Robertson-Sumner County line. Ann died in Robertson County, TN on 26 Jul 1834.

Children: 9
Shannon Sons: Samuel Marion, Hugh, James, William Marion, Jesse
Shannon Daughters: Elizabeth ‘Betsy’, Ann, Martha ‘Patsy’, Mary Ann ‘Polly’

Family Finder Participants: Yes
Note: AncestryDNA matches with site coordinator

3 Nov 1770 MD – Sep 1843 MO

CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN MINSTER. FARMER. JUSTICE OF THE PEACE. Robert was born near Baltimore, Maryland. He told his children that he could hear the cannon fire from the Battle of Guildford Courthouse, which occurred in 1781. The family had moved by that date to Orange County, NC. He married Mary Smith, daughter of Andrew Smith and Elizabeth Kerr, on 29 Jan 1791 in Orange County, NC. A religious man as well as a farmer, he was ordained as a minister in 1820. He also served as a Justice of the Peace. When one of his sons made the move to Missouri, Robert, his wife Mary, and several children moved, too. He died in Keytesville, Chariton County, Missouri.

Children: 11
Sons: James Smith, Andrew Harvey, Robert Wesley, Eli, Allen WashingtonDaughters: Anna, Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary Harriet, Jane, Nancy Kerr

Y-DNA Project Participants: Yes
Family Finder Participants: Yes
Note: AncestryDNA matches with site coordinator

Before 1775 MD/NC – After 1801 TN

Margaret Guthrie married John Forrest sometime before 1792 in Orange County, NC. We know little about Margaret except that she was mother to two children, and was buried in the Shiloh Cemetery in McKenzie, Carroll County, TN.

Children: 2
Forrest Sons: James Forrest 
Forrest Daughters: Elizabeth T

Family Finder Participants: Yes
Note: AncestryDNA matches with site coordinator

Before 1775 MD/NC – After 1801

Martha Guthrie married an unknown Barnett man, most likely in Orange County, NC. Their son, James Guthrie Barnett, was mentioned in her father’s will. The boy was reportedly born in Kentucky. No further information on Martha.

Children: 1 known
Barnett Sons: James Guthrie
Barnett Daughters: None

Family Finder Participants: No
Note: AncestryDNA matches with site coordinator

1776 MD/NC – Apr 1860 TN

Jean Guthrie was born near the start of the Revolutionary War, either in Maryland or North Carolina. She married in Orange County, NC on 10 Dec 1801 to John Madden. They moved to Humphreys County, TN.

Children: 6
Madden Sons: Samuel Morgan, William Morgan, John P, James W
Madden Daughters: Mary ‘Polly’, (Unknown)

Family Finder Participants: Yes
Note: AncestryDNA matches with site coordinator

1782 NC – Bet.1830-40 IL

Elizabeth Guthrie is the first of the children confirmed to be born in NC. Her year of birth is after the 1781 Battle of Guildford Courthouse, and her daughter’s census records also list the location. She married Robert Patton in Orange County, NC on 28 Jul 1803. They moved to Robertson County, TN, and later to Gallatin County, IL. She died there at about 48 years of age. The widower, Robert, remarried Harriet Brown.

Children: 10
Patton Sons: Andrew, William Dixon, Thomas, Robert Wiatt, John Allen, Samuel S.
Patton Daughters: Margaret Moline, Elizabeth Melvina, Nancy Jane, Mary Ann

Family Finder Participants: Yes
Note: AncestryDNA matches with site coordinator


According to our current theory based on YDNA findings, James Guthrie is the likely son of John Guthrie & Jane Stuart of Londonderry, N. Ireland. He was reportedly about 50 years old at the time of his son Robert’s birth in 1770.

Note that an alternate DOB of c1739 has also been circulated in the IGI and other databases of user-submitted information. This date is associated with a different James Guthrie, the son of Robert & Bridget (Dougherty) Guthrie, who is likely the nephew of this James Guthrie. The c1720 DOB comes from the writings of James Guthrie’s grandson who stated that James was about 50 at the time of his son Robert’s birth in 1770.

About 1760-1764: MARRIAGE to ELIZABETH (MNU)
Elizabeth’s identity is confirmed in James Guthrie’s will and probate records, but their marriage date and location remain unconfirmed. Presumably in Northern Ireland.

Also unknown is Elizabeth’s maiden name. Family Trees across the internet incorrectly list her as Elizabeth Dunlap, who was the wife of another James Guthrie. James & Elizabeth (Dunlap) Guthrie both died at sea on the way to America.

The 1810 census enumerated Mary as being born before 1765. The 1820 census as before 1775.

James is the eldest of the two sons in the family. He may have been born in Northern Ireland, but his daughter listed his birthplace as ‘Meriland’

1760-1770: MOVED to AMERICA
Grandson, Rev. Allen Washington Guthrie, wrote that “James Guthrie migrated from the North of Ireland to America before the Revolution and settled near Baltimore. He was then probably 50 years of age and had a wife and several children, though he was not married until late in life.”

Ann was born 8 Mar 1766, the first child whose birthdate has been documented. I had assumed Ann was the eldest daughter because of the order by which the girls are named in their father’s will …”Ann, Mary, Margaret, and Martha” being identified as the four eldest. However, census records for her sister Mary indicate she was born before 1765, while Ann’s recorded DOB is 1766.

Baltimore was one of the major ports for immigrants, so it seems possible that it was the entry point for James Guthrie and his family. No immigration documents have been found to date. The location was provided by James’ grandson, Rev. A.W. Guthrie.

Robert was born on 3 Nov 1770 near Baltimore, Maryland.

Martha was born before 1775 in either Maryland or North Carolina.

Margaret was born before 1775 in either Maryland or North Carolina.

Jean was born between 1775-1776. She was also known as Jeany.

This record could apply to this James Guthrie, who was known to reside in the Baltimore, Maryland are during this approximate time frame. A James Guthrie is listed as taking the Oath of Allegiance before the Hon. James Calhoun.

It is likely that the family travelled on one of the established colonial roads. The Upper Road began in Fredericksburg, Maryland and passed through Hillsboro, North Carolina.

The Upper Road (aka The Carolina Road or Rogue’s Road)

On 14 Dec 1779 James Guttry is listed as a chain carrier during a survey for Hugh Shannon on the Hico next to the Caswell County line. This is the earliest record placing James Guthrie in North Carolina.

James Guthrie appears on a list of ‘delinquent’ property taxes. This is prior to his 1785 purchase of 440 acres, so he must have owned a smaller property in the area.

Rev. Allen Washington Guthrie reported that his father, Robert, son of James & Elizabeth Guthrie, as a boy, remembered hearing the sound of cannon fire during the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.

Elizabeth was born in 1782 Orange County, North Carolina.

John Gibson of Washington County, VA to James Guttrie of Orange County, NC for L100, land in Orange & Caswell Counties on E side of county line, 440 acres on S. Hico adj. Forrest, Rawls. 11 Aug 1784. Wit: Thomas Douglass, Benjn Douglass. (Caswell DB C182)

Ann’s marriage to John Shannon took place on 17 Aug 1784 in Orange County, NC. It appears that John & Ann moved west about the same time as her brothers and their wives settling in Robertson County, TN prior to 1800 near the Sumner County, TN line.

Enters for 62 Acres, Hico River, Orange Co., NC neighboring own property. Warrant issued 29 Aug 1786.

James Gutery 62 Acres Registered 29 Aug 1786

Source: Abstracts of the Minutes of the Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions of Orange County, NC February 1787 through November 1795 Compiled by Alma Cheek Redden (SLC FHL) p.6
Tuesday Morning 9 o’clock 29th may 1787.Ordered Sheriff summons following persons as Jurymen, next county court:[includes] John Patton, Sr. and James Guttery[Note: The latter could’ve been James Guthrie’s son James who would have been in his early 20s by that time.]

A deed for William Muzzle dated 18 Nov 1788 in names “Guttery” as owning the neighboring property along the Hico, although it does not specify him as being “James Guttery”.

Source: “Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States taken in the year 1790 North Carolina”
The 1790 census for Orange, Caswell and Granville counties is not complete. The state itself was divided into 8 districts with several counties falling into each district. The HILLSBOROUGH DISTRICT was comprised of 6 counties: Chatham, Randolph, Wade, Caswell, Granville and Orange. The last 3 counties are listed as “missing” with the names being taken from TAX lists of the time. 

Therefore, the James Godfrey listed for At. Asaph’s District of Hillsborough District of Orange County, NC is a name taken from the TAX LISTS and not the actual census. The fact that James Guttry (Guthrie) is not listed is only significant because he was living in one of the ‘missing’ districts.

This also explains why there is no enumeration of those members of his household as with the many other counties.

Land Patent Book 75 Page 28 File No. 1992 Grant No: 1080 Entered 29 Aug 1786 Entry No 151 Issued 17 Nov 1790. “Granted unto James Guthra 123 acres of land in Orange County on the waters of the Hico.”

Robert Guthrie married Mary Smith, believed to be a daughter of Andrew Smith & Elizabeth Kerr. She is one of 9 Smith siblings, one of whom also married into this Guthrie family. This marriage took place on 29 Jan 1791 in Hillsborough, Orange County, NC. This couple moved to TN soon after their marriage along with their siblings James & Jane. Sister Ann & her husband John Shannon possibly made the move at the same time.

James Guthrie married Jane Smith, believed to be a daughter of Andrew Smith & Elizabeth Kerr. She is one of 9 Smith siblings, one of whom also married into this Guthrie family. This marriage took place on 25 February 1791, about a month after Robert & Mary (Smith) Guthrie were wed. The bondsman to the marriage was Andrew Smith, possibly Jane & Mary’s father. This couple moved to TN soon after their marriage along with their siblings Robert & Mary. Sister Ann & her husband John Shannon possibly made the move at the same time.

The exact date of Margaret’s marriage to John Forrest remains unknown. Based on the date of their daughter’s 1792 birth, it was likely before then. This couple moved to Tennessee prior to 1820.

Source: Orange County Deed Book Ten – 1742 (404).
Jan 10, 1794 Isaac Rayney enters 130 acres in Orange Co on GREAT BRANCH of HAW River; border: Joacob Holt, George Holt & Peter Brinkley, Sr

[Note: Isaac Rainey was James Guthrie’s (Guttry) ‘trusty friend’ and executor of his estate. This entry places Isaac as a property owner close to land owned by James Godfrey of the Haw River area.] 

Mary was married to Alexander McMenamy on 9 May 1795 in Orange County, NC. Her father (or brother) James Guthrie is listed as the bondsman. Alexander & Mary were still living in North Carolina in 1810, but had moved to Rutherford, Tennessee by 1820.

Martha apparently married a man by the surname of Barnett. Their son, James Guthrie Barnett was named in her father James Guthrie’s will, which was written in Nov. 1800. Little is known about Martha. Her son James Guthrie Barnett moved to Lawrence County, Arkansas by 1828.

James Guthrie wrote his will on 1 Nov 1800 in Orange County, NC wherein he named his wife, children, and several grandchildren. All but two of his daughters had married by that date.

Last Will & Testament, JAMES GUTHRIE, Orange County Courthouse, NC

Page 1 of 2
“In the name of God Amen. I James Guthrie of Orange County and State of North Carolina being in perfect mind and memory but finding the decline of life and my disalution fast approaching and calling to mind the certainty of death I constitute this my last will and testament making void all other wills and testaments heretofore made Committing my body to the dust from whence it came and my soul to the mercy of God who gave it and as to my temporal property it hath pleased God to bless me with in this life I dispose of as follows. 

Page 2 of 2
First I give and bequeath to my son James Guthrie 100 acres of land lying on the North Side of the Creek adjoining William McKee and also to my son Robert Guthrie, I give and bequeath 100 acres lying West of the land I give to my son James adjoining John Hulch, also, I give and bequeath to my four eldest daughters Ann, Mary, Margaret and Martha to each the sum of 10 shillings – also I give and bequeath to my daughter Jean Guthrie one feather bed and furniture and flax wheel and saddle which she now has in her possession and also one horse and two cows at her marriage or my wife’s death and also I give and bequeath to my youngest daughter Elizabeth Guthrie one feather bed and furniture and flax wheel and saddle and also a horse and two cows at her marriage or my wife’s death – I also give will and bequeath to my grandson James Guthrie son of James, and Robert Guthrie son of James each the sum of 10 pounds at my wife’s death to be taken care of for them by their parents with Interest, and also I will and bequeath to my grandsons James Shannon, James Barnett, James Forrest, James McMenamy the sum of five pounds at my wife’s death to be taken care of for them by their parents with Interest, also I will and bequeath to my well beloved wife Elizabeth Guthrie all my lands on the South side of the Creek and moveable property during her life or widowhood, and in case she should marry, the land and all the property to be divided equally amongst all my children, and further appoint my trusty friend David Mitchell and Isaac Rainey Executors of my estate nothing doubting their fidelity in the Execution of the same and in testemony of this being my last will and testement I have herunto set my hand and fixed my seal this first day of November one thousand eight hundred_________

Constitued ordained\\\published and declared in the presence of 
John Rainey
Wm McManamy
Jno Sanders

[Signed by James Guthrie]

Proved at the Orange County Court May Term 1801

The Execution of the foregoing last will and testament of James Guthrie dc’d was duly proved in open court by the oath of Wm McMenamy and Jno Sanders subscribing witnesses and ordered to be recovering at the same time Executors therin named qualified accordingly.”

[Note: James Guthrie, Sr. does not identify by name the creek which runs through his land. He gives the names of two neighbors: William McKee and John Hulch. He does not indicate any property which may have been transferred to his sons or daughters prior to his will.]

An inventory of his estate indicates that he owned 6 horses, 16 cattle, 15 sheep, 22 hogs and 4 geese. There were also 3 bibles, 8 small books and 3 pairs of spectacles among his belongings. At the time of his death he may have possessed about 523-1/2 acres of land on the Orange & Caswell County line and near the Person County border. The executors conducting the inventory were David Mitchell and Isaac Rainey.

Source: “Inventories and Accounts of Sales, 1800-1808” for Orange County, NC

July 5th 1801 An inventory taken of the Estate of James Guthrie Dec’d.

6 head of Horse
16 head of Cattle
15 head of Sheep
22 head of Hogs
4 Geese

Plantation tools: 1 cart, 3 bare shear ploughs and 2 shovel ploughs, 2 axes, 2 Mattocks, 4 hoes, 3 iron wedges, 1 iron tooth harrow, 3 clevises, 2pr. chains, 3 chissels, 2 augers, 1 gouge, 3 files and 2 hand saws, 4 bells, 1 pitchfork, 1 dung fork, shovel & spade, dawing knife, 1 cutting box & knife, 1 reap hook & hammer.

Household furniture: 4 bed steads & 2 beds & furniture, 1 chest and 1 trunk, 2 flax wheels, 2 cotton wheels, 1 check reel, 7 chairs, 1 black walnut table, 1 pine table, 2 lg pewter dishes, 6 basons, 5 pewter plates, 6 spoons, 6 knives and forks, 1 white rug, and 1 funnel, 1 small looking glass, 1 pr sheep shears, 1 large Bible, 2 small Bibles, 8 small books, 3 pairs spectacles and 1 case, a man’s saddle, a woman’s saddle, 2 bridles, 2 pots, 2 pot racks, 1 set fire irons, 1 loom, 3 pr. harness, 2 stays, 5 water pails, 1/2 bushel, 7 casks, 2 churns, 1 razor and Hoan, 16 working spools, 2 pair cards, 1 salt sellar, 1 tumbler, 3 black bottles.

Cash in hand 3 pounds 10 shillings.
Bonds 84 pounds 10 shillings 4 pence

David Mitchel
Isaac Rainey Exr.

Orange County August Term 1801

The foregoing Inventory of the estate of James Guthrie Dec’d was returned by David Mitchel and Isaac Rainey Exrs on oath and ordered to be recorded.

[Notes: Note that “2 pr. Chains” were listed in the inventory. These are possibly chains used in surveying land. If James Guthrie, Sr. is indeed the chain-carrier listed in the surveys below, this would lend some credence to that theory.]

Jean Guthrie’s marriage to John Madden took place on 10 Dec 1801 in Orange County, NC. Their bondsmen were Alexander Madden and Henry M. Collum. The couple remained in North Carolina through 1810 and were living in Humphreys County, Tennessee by 1820.

1803: TAX LIST
JAMES GUTTERY, 200 acres, Gloucester District
[Note: This is the most likely entry to be this James as it is in the Hyco Creek area. It also shows 200 acres of land in Caswell County, which is the amount of land sold by sons James & Robert Guthrie after the death of their father. The remainder of the land was sold by their mother in 1810 and recorded in Orange County, showing that the Guthrie lands crossed the county border bet. Caswell and Orange.]

Elizabeth Guthrie married Robert Patton in Orange County, NC on 28 July 1803. Their bondsman was William Smith, who was most likely the brother of Jane & Mary (Smith) Guthrie who had married Elizabeth’s brothers James & Robert Guthrie. Robert & Elizabeth Patton moved to Robertson County, Tennessee between 1805-1809. After a few years they moved north to Gallatin County, Illinois and were settled there by 1820.

Isaac Rainey, the executor of James Guthrie’s estate, versus Samuel Madden Sr for payment of 7 pounds 7 shillings.

JAMES GUTHRIES and ROBERT GUTHRIES of Sumner County, TN to Bailor Burch of Person County, NC, for L100, 200 acres on S. Hico adj. George Eubanks, Crisp, Mitchell. 28 Oct 1805. Wit: Isaac Rainey, Wm Mansfield.

Source: Caswell County NC Deed Books 1777-1817, Abstracts by Katharine Kerr Kendall
Deed Book O p.305 
12 Nov 1807 George Herndon of Orange to Samuel Bryans of Person, 100acres on waters of S. HICO at GUTTRY’s line. Witness: ANDREW MADDEN. Proved Feb Term 1810.

Elizabeth Guthrie (widow of James Guthrie), John Madden & Alexander McMinnamy (her sons-in-law) of Orange sold to Richard Hinslee of same, 300 pounds for 323-1/2 acres on South Hico. By 1820, the Madden & McMenamy families had moved to Tennessee.

Source: Orange County (NC) Deed Book 13
p.448, 6 November 1810, Elisabeth Guthrie, John Maden, & Alexander McMinnamy of Orange to Richard Hinslee of same, 300 pounds, 323 1/2 acres, on South Hico, begin at a stake & rocks in an Old Field, S 6 ch to pointers, W 8ch 75lk. to a stake, S 23 ch 75lk to pointers, W 34ch to a hickory, N 54ch 25lk to a post oak, E 82 ch to pointers near a spring, S 85 ch 25 lk to 2 pines, W 7ch 25 lk to a stake, N 16 ch to a post oak John Dunn’s corner, W 9 ch to pointers, N 43 ch 50 lk to a spanish oak, W 22 ch to first station, signed Elizabeth (X) Guthrie, John Madden, Alexander McMinnamy, Wit: John Dunn & William McMinnamy, proved February Term 1811 by William McMinnamy.

Source: Orange County (NC) Deed Book 13
p.568 24 Aug 1811 Samuel Bryan of Granville to William Carnal of same 100 acres. Part of tract [[above]] from William Muzzle to David Herndon 19 Aug 1799.
On waters of South Hyco, begin at a black oak on Guthrie’s line . Proved Aug Term 1811.

After James Guthrie’s death in 1800/01, Elizabeth appears to have remained in Orange County, NC, possibly living on the homestead property or with either her daughter Jean (Guthrie) Madden or Mary (Guthrie) McMenamy. There is no sign of her in family records after 1810.


Unlike most of the other genetic matches of the MD/PA Group, this branch has no documented connection to Pennsylvania. Branch A went from IRL to MD to NC before spreading out to TN, MO, AL, TX and CA. 

According to family accounts published in LRG’s book, James Guthrie, Sr. came to America from Ireland. This information is corroborated in a family history written by his grandson, Rev. Allen Washington Guthrie. This branch reportedly originated in Scotland, but spent 1-2 generations in Ireland having been (according to my father’s very vague telling) ‘chased out of Scotland’ for religious reasons. James Guthrie had reportedly married ‘late in life’ to Elizabeth (MNU), but there is no verification in any original documentation whether this marriage took place in Ireland or in America, and therefore no actual proof that any of their eldest children were born in Ireland. 

There is also no actual proof of James Guthrie Sr’s date of birth. His grandson, Rev. Allen Washington Guthrie, reported that James was ‘about 50 years of age’ in 1770 making his approximate birth year 1720. 

This makes it difficult to determine James Guthrie’s exact relationship to the Branch E and H progenitors. James might be their younger brother if he was actually older than 50 in 1770, or possibly a nephew. In either case, it appears that he remained in Ireland much longer than they did, arriving in America about 1760-1770.

According to the origin stories about potential brother/uncle John Guthrie, his parents were John Guthrie (b1682) a Scottish Covenanter who fled to Ireland because of religious persecution, and Jane Stuart, an Irish descendant of the Royal House of Scotland. Their story does seem to fit with the sketchy tidbits reported to me by my father. Importantly, the story gives us the names of the probable common ancestors for Branches A, E & H, and the location they lived: Londonderry, Ireland.

James & Elizabeth were living “near Baltimore, Maryland” where their second son Robert was born in November of 1770. There are very few Guthrie families found in colonial Maryland. This one is not listed in the 1776 Maryland Colonial Census, suggesting that they had already moved on to NC by that time. They settled on the South Hico River in Orange County, North Carolina, most likely having traveled there by way of the colonial route known as The Upper Road. The Guthrie property was close to the borders of Caswell & Person when those counties were formed.

The family remained in NC until the children grew to adulthood. 

There is no proof of James Guthrie, Sr.’s participation in the Revolutionary War. LRG’s book indicates that James’ descendants believed he took part. Based on the estimate of his DOB, James would’ve been in his mid fifties. There is no known documentation on the matter. Wife Elizabeth died before laws were passed allowing widows of Revolutionary War soldiers to receive a pension. 

The family legend goes that two brothers married to two sisters travelled on horseback over the mountains to settle in Tennessee. Robert Guthrie had married Mary Smith in January of 1791, and James Guthrie Jr followed suit by marrying Mary’s sister Jane Smith the following month in February of 1791. 

Settlement of the Cumberland area of Middle Tennessee began not long after the close of the American Revolution, but ‘Indian troubles’ continued through the 1790s. By the time Robert & James and their wives were crossing the mountains and passing through the Cumberland Gap most of the strife with the Native American population in the region had already settled down. The Founding of the Cumberland Settlements, The First Atlas 1779-1804 by Doug Drake, Jack Masters, & Bill Puryear, is a fantastic resource for these early times. It includes trail maps that show the routes settlers took to get into the region, including an old trail first travelled by the Long Hunters which passes close to the property purchased by the brothers along the Robertson-Sumner County borders.

Back home in North Carolina, James Guthrie, Sr died sometime between November 1800 and March 1801 when his will was written and later proved in court. The will names his children and identifies several grandchildren named for him. All but two of his daughters had married by this date. An inventory of his estate indicates that he owned 6 horses, 16 cattle, 15 sheep, 22 hogs and 4 geese. There were also 3 bibles, 8 small books and 3 pairs of spectacles among his belongings. At the time of his death he possessed at least 523-1/2 acres of land.

The family was reared under a Presbyterian influence, though there is no documentation to show which church they attended. The Guthries’ neighbor, David Mitchell, was mentioned in James Guthrie Sr’s will. The Mitchells attended Upper Hyco Church, which was later renamed Grier’s Presbyterian Church. David Mitchell and family are buried in the Old Grier’s Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Several of James & Elizabeth’s descendants became Cumberland Presbyterian Ministers.

After James Sr’s death, his widow Elizabeth remained in North Carolina at least until 1810. After that we lose track of her. She may have died in North Carolina or traveled with one of her married daughters to the Cumberland region of Kentucky or Tennessee. She sold her share of the property in 1810. Her sons had already sold off their NC inheritance of 100 acres each on the Caswell side of the border in 1805 via a representative. Most, if not all, of the Guthrie children moved with their spouses the the region of Middle Tennessee or Kentucky by 1815.

Sumner County, Tennessee became the hub of activity for our Guthries. James & Jane and Robert & Mary’s families grew to adulthood there. Farming was their primary occupation, but religion continued to play a key role in their lives. Robert became one of the early ministers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Three of Robert & Mary’s sons, and one of James & Jane’s sons, also became ministers.

With the next generation, the family lines begin to diverge and another emigration takes place. This time from Tennessee to Missouri. One branch moved to Alabama and then to Texas and from there to California.

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