Dickson Family of Petersburg Virginia
Little is known about the family of Jane Dickson of Petersburg, VA. Her granddaughter Annabella McNair remembers her grandmother as having been an orphan raised in the home of her wealthy maternal uncle. Jane was of the Episcopal faith, of English extraction and professed to be a descendant of Pocahontas. He mother's maiden name was Harrison.
We don't know how Neill Little of Robeson Co, NC met Jane Dickson of Petersburg, VA. We only know that in July 1791 he sold his Robeson Co, NC household possessions and deemed himself to be of Dinwiddie Co, VA. If the 1789 birth year of his daughter Jennett can be considered correct, his Petersburg sojourn began several years prior to that time.
Neill Little died in Petersburg, VA. His two young daughters by Jane Dickson were brought to North Carolina by their paternal Uncle-In-Law Duncan McFarland. Jane remained in Petersburg until her daughter Jennett Little married her uncle's half brother Rev. Malcom McNair. Jane was then brought to Cowper Hill, North Carolina to live with the new family. She often spoke of her life in Petersburg, VA and wished that she could return.
Allegations surfaced over the years about whether Neill Little had actually married Jane Dickson. The gossip was brought to the surface in a 1840 - 1843 legal battle over the estate of John P Little, a child of Neill Little with his first wife. That lawsuit has provided many of the details currently known.
This researcher would appreciate contact with anyone having knowledge of the Dickson / Harrison families of Petersburg, VA.
From a letter by Anna Belle McNair to her nieces & nephews:
"Copied from the Original"
Your grandpa was a great man and one of the
most talented ministers of his day, was for twenty years Pastor
of Centre, Ashpole, Laurel Hill and Red Bluff, was born 26th
August 1776 and died on the 4th August 1822 and was buried at
Laurel Hill which was then the home of his nephew Tryam
McFarland and one of his own Churches. He married your grandma
who was a native of Petersburg, Va. and was then living at
Laurel Hill the home of his half-brother Duncan McFarland, and
her Uncle by marriage in 1809. I cannot tell much about my
Grandma's relatives. She left Petersburg when only twelve years
of age. I used to sit for hours when a child and hear her and my
grandma tell about Petersburg and their friends there but I have
forgotten it now. Her mother's maiden name was Harrison. She was
an Orphan and was raised by her Uncle by the name of Harrison
who was wealthy but had a large family so she did not inherit
any of his wealth but I remember hearing her speak of style in
which her uncle lived. She was of English extraction and was a
member of the Church of England as she called -- Episcopal --
She used to say that she was a descendant of the great Indian
Queen Pocahontas. She was a distant relative of Rev. Daniel
Baker who was a great Revivalist and passed through this country
some forty-five or fifty years ago, and stayed at John R. Buie's
and in the course of conversation spoke of the Harrisons' as his
relatives. Cousin Margaret Buie told him of your grandma and
where she was living and he said he was sorry he did not have
time to call on her as she was his relative. Your grandpa sent
for grandma after he married but she never was satisfied and
always wanted to go back to Petersburg. She was one of the
nicest Old ladies I ever saw. I can remember her so well
although she died when I was a child at the age of 68. Grandpa
was a widower with two children when he went to Petersburg and
married grandma. The children were Aunt Katie Wilkinson -- Polly
Wilkinson's mother -- and Uncle John Little who died many years
ago. Grandpa had no brother but four sisters. His sisters were
Aunt Molly McFarland -- Uncle Duncan's wife -- and Jennet Alford
-- Uncle Marrow's wife -- and for whom your grandma was named,
Aunt Effie McNair -- Judge McNair's mother died in Brook Haven,
Mississippi some years ago, and Aunt Barbara Cade. Grandpa had
but two children after he married grandma, that was your grandma
and Aunt Margaret Surles, you have all heard of her. Grandpa's
name was Neill Little. He died and was buried in Petersburg, Va.
And now my pen is worn out and I am very
tired. I have told you all I can recollect. You have often asked
how you were kin to McFarlands, Alford, Buies of Philidelphus,
and now you can see for yourself and if it will afford any
satisfaction for which it was written will be answered.
|State of North Caroline Robeson County
Jennet McNair vs Catherine Wilkinson
State of Mississippi Covington County SS
Be it remembered that on this tenth day of February AD Eighteen hundred and forty three at Williamsburg in said county and state last aforesaid before us Gilbert D. Gere and William Worthy two of the Justices of Assigned to keep the peace in and for the county of Covington & state last aforesaid came Effy McNair and she being duly sworn to the following interrogatories testified as follows. Each of said interogatories as a witness in the above entitled case.
Interogatories 1st: What is your age
Answer: I was sixty eight years old last August
Interogatory 2: Were you acquainted with Neill Little Decd who it is said died in Petersburg Virginia several years since?
Answer: I was
Interogatory 3: Were you related to said Neill Little & if so in what way were you related to him?
Answer: I was related to him - he was my brother.
Interogatory 4: Did you ever hear that said Neill Little was living with Jane Dickson the mother of the present plaintiff without being legally married to her?
Answer: I heard so once
Interogatory 5: Did not Duncan McEachin write a letter to said Neill Little asking of him to state the truth or falsehood of said charge - State what was sd Little's reply?
Answer: Said Duncan McEachin did not write of to said Neil Little. But Neill Little wrote to Jannet Little his sister.
Interogatory 6th: Did you ever see said letter. If so what did said letter state relative to his marriage with Jane Dickson & what became of said letter?
Answer: I have seen said letter and read it. It stated that he said Neill Little was married legally to said Jane Dickson & that if ever he was married to his first wife he was to his last. Said letter was burnt when Duncan McEachin's house was burnt.
Interogatory 7th: Do you not know that Duncan McFarland decd late of Laurel Hill N. Car. went to Petersburg Virginia some time after the death of said Neill Little & brought from thence his two daughters Jennet McNair the present plaintiff & her sister Margaret?
Answer: I do.
Interogatory 8th: Did not those children pass in the family of said McFarland & among the relatives of said Neill Little as the lawful children of said Neill Little. State fully all you know about it?
Answer: Said children were always regarded as the children of said Neill Little by all the relatives of said Neill Little and as his lawful and legitimate children and I never knew it to be directly disputed and only indirectly once by one person who recently said that "her husband did not think that Neill Little was married to said Jane Dickson." This is all I know of my own knowledge about this matter.
And as the said Justices do hereby certify that as have fully examined said Effy McNair as to what or such things as she knows in relation to said suit as will on the part of the plaintiff as of the defendant and have caused her to sign her name to the same.
In witness whereof as hereunto sign our hands and seals at Williamsburg aforesaid on this 10th February AD 1843 of Independence the 67th. Gilbert C. Gere, William Worthy
State of North Carolina Richmond County
Questions by same to William McLeod. You are acquainted with
the Parties to this Write. Answer: Yes
Questions to John R. Buie by Same
Petersburg, VA Dickson & Related Families
Marriage Bonds & Ministers Returns
08/27/2006 03:20:30 PM