... our families through the years
The McDowell Genealogy

What is the importance of the Fulgham, Smith, and Rogers families?

The authors have known since the 1980s that the Fulgham family played a major role in the McDowell family genealogy, we just didn't know exactly how. There are still questions remaining as of November 9, 2007, but we are getting a better understanding.

In the 1790 census of Northampton County, there are a number of families living around James McDowell that have an impact on the McDowells. One such family is the Fulgham family. In fact, there are deeds that are being researched that state that he adjoins the lands of Lawrence Smith, Michael Fulgham, and others. While there is much information on the Internet about the Fulgham families, we choose only to talk about those we have researched and understand. That would be the family of Michael Fulgham and his son Matthew Fulgham who moves to Wake County around 1800 and then around 1840, Matthew Fulgham moves to Alabama.

There is a deed of December 2, 1803, where the lands of Michael Fulgham deceased are sold to Lawrence Smith. In this deed, the entire family of Michael Fulgham is written out as follows (dates of birth and death have been added based on information from the Fulgham families as shared with the authors [many sites on the Internet use these same dates]):

Michael Fulgham - born in 1745 in the Isle of Wight, VA and died in 1803 in Northampton County, NC. He married Mary Wester around 1766. Mary was born about 1745 in Northampton County, NC. The authors have not verified these dates except for Michael's death date. Children of this marriage are proported to be the following:

  1. Elias Fulgham
  2. Matthew Fulgham
  3. John Raymond Fulgham
  4. Nancy Fulgham
  5. Unknown daughter name who marries a McDowell and has a child named Polly McDowell referenced in the deed as a minor heir of Michael Fulgham
  6. Polly Fulgham
  7. Anthony Fulgham (listed as a minor heir)
  8. Edmond Fulgham (listed as a minor heir)

The deed of 1803 states that Michael Fulgham died intestate. However, Michael Fulgham wrote a will dated 1784 (transcription). The deed names his wife Mary and his three sons in order of their birth and gives the sons options on selecting from his guns. The daughters are not listed. Michael does not say he is in poor health and indeed, it is 18 years later when he dies.

Of course of great importance from this information is "who is this Polly McDowell, who was her mother, and which McDowell did she marry?" As of 11/9/07 this is still being researched although the authors have some very strong observations.

There is another Smith family that plays a large role. His name is William Smith. There is probably a relationship between William Smith and Lawrence Smith, but it has yet to be uncovered. On August 24, 1782, William Smith marries Martha Rogers in Wake County. There were many Rogers families in Wake County. However, on March 13, 1800, a deed is written in Wake County from the estate of Michael Rogers in Wake County to William Smith in Northampton County, NC granted in fee simple for 1060 acres on the Neuse River out near what is now called Rogers Crossroads or Wake Crossroads area of Wake County. Obviously, the Smith family now has a reason to move to Wake County. Around 1800, Matthew Fulgham also moves to Wake County leaving the remainder of his brothers, sisters, and mother in Northampton County. Matthew Fulgham is listed on the 1800 census in Wake County by himself, age 16-24. On October 2, 1811, Matthew Fulgham marries in Wake County, Levina Smith, a daughter of William Smith. There is a will for William Smith who dies in 1821 in Wake County. He lists his daughter "Viney Fulgham" and three of the children of Matthew Fulgham and Levina in his will along with all his other children. In the will of William Smith, he names his wife as "Sarah", not "Martha" but on May 3, 1811, a William Smith marries a Sarah Rogers in Sussex, Virginia. The authors have not verified that this is the Sarah of William Smith in Wake County.

Now, on June 20, 1826, a deed from Matthew Fulgham and wife Levina is written to Willis Rogers in Wake County. Willis was a son of Michael Rogers. We find in this deed that one son of William Smith, that being a Lawrence Smith (not the Colonel Laurence Smith of Northampton County) has died. William Wall is living on Lawrence Smith's portion of land as is Josiah Dean. William Wall had married Zilpha Smith, daughter of William Smith on December 25, 1823 in Wake County. This deed has a great deal of genealogical information and will be entered soon.

Based on the will of William Smith, here is the family of William Smith (born __ , died 1821, Wake County, NC).

  1. Levina Smith Fulgham, wife of Matthew Fulgham
  2. Absalom Smith
  3. Joseph Smith
  4. Joel Smith
  5. Henry Smith
  6. Lawrence Smith
  7. Zilpha Smith Wall, wife of William Wall

Based on the will of Michael Rogers, 1795, the following children were born. His wife's name on the will was spelled Selah Rogers. Michael Roger's will was written on December 13, 1793.

  1. Willie Rogers
  2. Allen Rogers
  3. Berry Rogers
  4. Bennett Rogers
  5. Willis Rogers
  6. Alley Rogers
  7. Mary Rogers
  8. Tibitha Rogers
  9. Rebeckah Rogers
  10. Sarah Rogers

We return to Matthew Fulgham in closing to say that he also lived in the Wake Crossroads area of Wake County where George McDowell lived as did Noel Knight, the bondsman for John McDowell's marriage to Tilathy Hill in 1819, and others.