... our families through the years
The McDowell Genealogy

Brief Direct Lineage and Discussion

James McDowell (b. abt 1740 - abt 1814) and Mary Griggs

Anthony McDowell (abt 1772 - 1804) or George McDowell (abt 1770 - aft 1840)

John McDowell (abt 1797 - Sep 21, 1842) and Tilathy Hill

Levi McDowell (Nov 10, 1835 - Sep 10, 1897) and Mary "Polly" Yates

Noah Soloman McDowell (May 26, 1856 - Jul 26, 1923) and Elizabeth Jane Lawrence

William Atlas McDowell (May 12, 1882 - Apr 1, 1941) and Dovie Roxanne Morgan Wells

Harding Atlas McDowell (July 18, 1920) and Evangeline Hawks

Harding Keith McDowell (Feb 5, 1944) and Janet Stallings and Larry Jerome (Jerry) McDowell (Jun 23, 1946) and Dolores Ann Sloan

Andrew Keith, John Harding, David Craig, and Susan Lynne McDowell


This genealogy research begins in Northampton County, NC with the will of John Griggs that was proved in the September Court of 1771.  All of this information is fully documented in the book “The McDowells of Northampton, Wake, Randolph, Guilford and Davidson Counties (North Carolina).  In John Grigg’s will he specifically names his wife Mary Griggs, his daughter Mary McDowal (sic), and sons and grandsons.  One of the Testators of the will was one James McDowell.  Although James McDowell is not named as Mary McDowell’s husband, subsequent information proves this to be true.  There is no existing marriage record that has been found.

James McDowell could read and write and was prominent in Northampton County in that he has a number of transactions with other prominent persons such as Colonel Lawrence Smith.  In fact, James McDowell is a constable throughout most of the 1790s and is paid for making repairs to the courthouse.  He is listed on the 1790 census of Northampton County and the neighbors around him play an important part in our research.

James McDowell and his wife Mary Griggs McDowell have children beginning sometime after February 1767, which was when John Grigg’s will was written.  It is clear in the will that no children had yet been born to James and Mary.  However in the years that followed, we know that at least two males and perhaps other males as well as daughters were born as evidenced by the 1790 and 1800 censuses of Northampton County and Wake County.  Two male children were Anthony McDowell and George McDowell.

Anthony McDowell married Delilah Rowell, a brother to Harmon “Mack” Rowell.  Some Internet records say she was married first to a brother of Anthony, but we have absolutely no proof of this.  We do know that the administration of Anthony’s estate was carried out in December 1804 by James McDowell, the adminstrator.  Immediately thereafter in 1805, Delilah (Lile) McDowell receives support from the St. George Parish Warden for her and her children.  We know from the 1810 census records and family records that Delilah had a least two male children.  One was named William (Addison) McDowell who marries a Delilah Peacock in 1827 in Wayne County and then subsequently moves to Walker County, Georgia.  In fact, around 1811, widow Delilah Rowell McDowell marries James (Lewis) Dupree (1780-1836) in Northampton County.  In a later deed of 1817, we find out that Harmon Rowell is an Uncle to William McDowell.  The Dupree families and the William McDowell family is documented in many other resources.  Just this October 2007, the author found that Delilah Rowell McDowell Dupree did not die around 1832 as many have stated.  In fact, she was alive and well at age 65 in Jackson County, Florida living next to her daughter Mary Dupree Peacock and husband Arthur Peacock.  For the record, Arthur Peacock and Delilah Peacock (William’s first wife) were brother and sister who grew up in Wayne County, NC.  After James Dupree’s death in 1836, it is apparent that for some reason, Delilah Dupree chose to go live with her daughter Mary Dupree Peacock in Florida rather than remain in Georgia with her son William (Addison) McDowell of Anthony McDowell.

What happens to the other children of Delilah that were supported by the St. George Parish (Warden records) in Northampton County is unclear.  Delilah McDowell is enumerated as the head of household in the 1810 census of Northampton County, NC with two males.  The male who is 0-10 is obviously her son William who has been discussed above.  The other male is listed as age 16-24.  If this male were our direct ancestor John McDowell, then the latest he would be born is 1794.  We know that he is still paying a poll tax in Randolph County in 1842 and accordingly to the laws in effect at that time, if he were born in 1794, then he would have stopped paying a poll tax at age 45 which would have been in 1839.  This presents a problem.

There are many McDowells all of whom cannot be accounted for.  However, we know that one George McDowell is listed as the head of household in the 1800 Northampton County census.  Among the people living with him is one male age 0-10.  This age fits nicely for our John McDowell who was born around 1797.  We cannot prove that John McDowell is a son of George.  However, it is obvious from the 1800 census that George is married.  In fact, there is a will of Michael Fulgham from Northampton County that names an heir Polly McDowell who is a minor (under 21).  Some McDowell had to marry into the Fulgham family and George is an obvious candidate.  In fact, the Fulgham daughter is listed as “unnamed” in current Fulgham records and their records say she died around 1803.  One of her brothers and a son of Michael Fulgham is one Matthew Fulgham who is already in Wake County enumerated in the census as living alone.  George McDowell does marry a Sarah Doby on May 21, 1808 in Wake County and remains in Wake County until his death after 1840.  The census records indicate (along with tax records) that George was born around 1773.  George is involved with land transactions with Matthew Fulgham and Amy Knight, mother of Noel Knight who, as we find out, is the bondsman for John McDowell’s marriage in Wake County.  So, there is substantial information linking John McDowell to George McDowell and his neighbors.  In fact, to complete the connection, we find a deed of 1816 in Northampton County where George McDowell of Wake County receives 100 acres of land from his mother Mary (McDowell) who has died intestate.  The deed doesn’t say that Mary, George’s mother, is actually living in Northampton County (and evidence seems to imply she is not), but the land that Mary McDowell inherited from her father John Griggs is in Northampton County and therefore the court records must be executed in Northampton County.  We know for sure that George McDowell is a son of James McDowell and Mary (Griggs) McDowell and John McDowell is closely connected to this George McDowell.

We do know that Noel Night (later written as Knight) made the bond for John McDowell to marry Tilathy Hill on August 6, 1819 in Wake County.  And we do know that John McDowell’s name is on a road record of 1826 in Randolph County.  There were many families who left the Cross Roads District of Wake County in the 1820’s and settled in the western part of Randolph County and some even in Davidson County.  The entire Hill family into which John McDowell married move along with Lee, Cross, Winters, Peacock, and others.  John McDowell may have decided to move with his newly married wife Tilathy Hill and family as opposed to remaining in Wake County with his purported “father” George McDowell and step mother “Sarah Doby McDowell”. John McDowell shows up in Randolph County in 1823 as a co-bondsman for the marriage of William Jackson and Phebe Pool. Remember we cannot yet prove that George McDowell is John’s father and we are only speculating as to why he left Wake County.

In the 1850 census of Randolph County, we find John McDowell’s wife Tilathy McDowell as the head of the household and John isn’t listed.  In fact, after years of research, we found that John McDowell died in 1842 as a result of hanging himself with a rope made from the bark of a tree (referred to as a “withe”) and all of this information is documented in the court records and Coroner’s reports of Randolph County.  There is no reason given that the said John McDowell “came to his death by hanging himself with a withe” as noted in the coroner’s report.  His gravestone has been found in the Mount Shepherd Methodist Church Cemetery with information as follows: 1842, JMDUEL, W B 1818, DECEST ST 21 1842.  Since the coroner’s report was dated September 25, 1842, we are sure this is his marker.  McDowell was spelled and pronounced various ways.  We have been told by researchers at the NC Archives that “W B” was used for “wedding bond” date if the date of birth was note known.  Of course, he was married in 1819, not 1818, but this one year seems of little importance.

Although it appears that nine children were born to John McDowell and Tilathy Hill, it can be proven for only seven of the nine.  This is due to the fact that John McDowell appears only on the 1840 census for Randolph County (why he was missed in 1830 is not known) and the fact that one alledged daughter married prior to 1840.  Two other alledged daughters fit the ages as listed in the 1840 census but are married by 1850 and are not listed as children of John and Tilathy.  However, because Sallie McDowell lists her age as 50 in the 1880 census and shows two nephews Kenny and Lincoln (Bell) living with her in the Concord Township, this is proof that Martha McDowell was a sister and thus a daughter of John McDowell and Tilathy Hill.

The following are believed to be the children of John McDowell and Tilathy Hill

  1. Tempy McDowell - born September 1820 and died after 1900.  She married Branson Jarrell on August 26, 1835.
  2. Martha McDowell - born 1823, date of death unknown.  She married Henry Bell.
  3. John McDowell - born 1825 and died after 1882.  He married twice; first to Susannah Yates and second to Nancy M. Matilda Hughes.
  4. Sallie McDowell - born 1830 and died prior to 1900, age around 70 years.  No record exists of a marriage.
  5. Nancy Ann McDowell born 1831, and died prior to November, 1860.  She married Jonathan Robbins.
  6. Tilathy McDowell - born September 13, 1833 and died March 17, 1883.  She married Frederick Yates.
  7. Levi McDowell - born November 10, 1835 and died September 10, 1897.  He married Mary Ann Yates (Polly).
  8. Tabitha Duella McDowell - born March 22, 1838 and died July 8, 1910.  She married twice; first to John A. Yates, and second to John A. Yates' brother, Noah L. Yates.
  9. Riley McDowell - born 1838 and died after 1865.  No record exists of a marriage.

               In the 1840 census of Randolph County, John McDowell's name appears sixth on page 111.  The indication is that John McDowell is 40-50 years old.  He is listed as having three sons, one age under five, one age 5-10, and one age 10-15.  He is also listed as having five daughters, one age under five, one age 5-10, two age 10-15, and one age 15-20.  His daughter Tempy has already married Branson Jarrell and they are listed ninth on page 111.  The ages do not match up completely with the information given concerning the dates of birth.  However, Sallie McDowell, as did many in this time period, was not consistent in listing her date of birth.  Only the 1860 census gives an indication of the date of birth of Nancy McDowell as 1831.

And the rest of the story can be found in “The McDowells of Northampton, Wake, Randolph, Guilford, and Davidson Counties”...