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ROBERT EARL WOODHAM ON THE ORIGINS OF OUR RILEY LINE

Now, to your questions: the John Sr. of Mississippi is one I haven't heard of yet. As for either of them being born in Amherst, Va. -- I have never found any kind of record to prove where our John Sr. was born. I do know he lived in North Carolina for several years because the first several children were born there. Unfortunately, I have not been able to learn WHAT county in NC he lived in. My guess is that he lived briefly at least in old Dobbs County (later broke up into what are now Lenoir and Greene Counties). The reason for this guess is that a very large number of folks left there in the 1780's and moved to old Darlington District, South Carolina. MANY of those folk still later moved to southeast Alabama and settled in Henry and Dale counties. John Sr. was among the families who moved from Darlington District (which includes the present Darlington County and most of Lee County), to Alabama.

Your ancestor ABRAHAM (no middle name) was born in 1798 in North Carolina. John Sr. moved to Darlington District sometime between 1809 (maybe 1805) and 1810, when his daughter Caron H. ("Carrie") was born because she said she was born there, as was her sister Joanna (in 1814). John Sr. moved to Henry County abt 1832, with a whole drove of folks (including the Woodham's and MANY other families). Although they attended Center Methodist Church in the Center Community of Henry County, most of John's children lived in adjoining Dale County.Center just happened to be the first Methodist church founded in the region. Unfortunately, John Senior's and Mary's graves do not have the dates of either their birth nor death.

Your great granddaddy Curtis was born in May, 1852 in Dale County, according to the 1900 Census records. I don't have an exact date nor a date of death. He was living in Dale County in 1900; your granddaddy Jesse was living there in 1900 and 1910 and listed on those census records. 

Curtis was a brother of WINIFRED ("Winnie") who was the mother of my great uncle BRYANT MASON RILEY. Uncle Bryant married my great aunt, Margaret Joanna ("Jodie") Woodham. As a child, I spent many a night with them as well as many meals and many an evening, listening to old tales, ghost stories, etc. that both Uncle Bryant and Aunt Jodie were full of. Uncle Bryant had his mother's old Riley family Bible (Uncle Bryant and Aunt Jodie were second cousins). 

Since I have never found any positive proof in any records in North Carolina, this is one of the reasons I am now convinced that John Sr., like so many others who moved to Darlington District, SC, that he too lived in old Dobbs County. Unfortunately, all the old records of Dobbs were destroyed in two courthouse fires in the 1800's. So that would answer why we cannot find anything on him in NC. Would appreciate any info you can send on the wife and children of Jesse Phillip. Don't have anything but his wife's first name and their first child (Bessie) and nothing else.

From an e-mail to Peter D. Unger- February 2, 2000