Family #8 – EKA Martin Harrell 1770

Last Updated on 11 Apr 2021

The Earliest Known Ancestor (EKA) for Family #8 is Martin Harrell who was born sometime between 1770 and 1780 in VA. For convenience he will henceforth be identified as being born 1775, but no evidence has yet been found to support this date nor is there evidence supporting his birth in VA.

As discussed below no reliable information has been found that can be used to identify the parents, siblings, or spouse of Martin Harrell. The only credible information about Martin’s spouse comes from the 1830 Lincoln Co., MO census mentioned below. Several websites, however, report the spouse’s name is Elizabeth Everett but no confirming evidence was ever provided. Martin Harrell’s children are generally known and considerable information is available about the descendants of many of these children.

Although it can’t be proven that he was born in VA, it is documented that he lived for a few years in Wythe Co., VA. A “Martin Herl” and a “Martain Herl” are listed in a 1793 Wythe Co. “census” and tax list, respectively, along with members of Families #1 (EKA William Harrell) and #2 (EKA Reuben Harrell). Martin’s first six of his nine known children were believed born in Washington Co., KY starting with his son William born 1797 and ending with son James born abt. 1806. The remaining 3 children were born in Lincoln Co., MO starting with Lucy born abt. 1809 and ending with Evaline born abt. 1813. From this information, it appears that Martin Harrell may have moved to Wythe Co., VA with Families #1 and #2 (or joined them in Wythe Co. after living with them in the same neighborhood in Frederick Co.) before moving to Washington Co., KY around 1797. Washington Co., KY and its neighbor Nelson Co., KY were places where Moses, James and William Harrell (sons of EKA Richard Harrell of Family #5) also lived and died. The birth of his last 3 children suggests Martin Harrell left KY sometime after 1806. There is evidence that Martin Harrell may have lived in OH sometime 1806 – 1809 before making his final move to Lincoln Co., MO. Prior to his move to Lincoln Co., MO, no other Harrells were known to have lived there. It has been reported that Martin, George, William and James “Harley” were listed among the first tax-payers in Lincoln Co., MO; George, William and James were sons of Martin Harrell.

The only official document relating to Martin Harrell’s birth is the 1830 Federal Census of Lincoln County, MO wherein Martin “Herral” is listed with his presumed spouse and some of his family members; both he and his presumed spouse are listed as being 50 – 59 years of age which puts their birth between 1770 – 1780.

Much of the information about Martin Harrell is attributed to the efforts of Donna Biorseth (of Beverly Hills, FL) and Mary Beth Harrell (wife of Hollis R. Harrell who is a descendant of Martin’s son William). Both of these individuals along with Garland Lively spent time researching Martin Harrell and their findings are as follows (provided by Garland Lively):


It is possible Martin was his middle name and his given name was “William”. It was the practice during that time to name the first son after the father or Grandfather. Martin & each of his sons named one of their male children “William” but did not name any of their children “Martin”.

In researching Martin Harrell, Mary Beth Harrell found the following information: (Notice the different spellings of surname)

  • Martin Harell, regarding a bond 11 Aug 1798 Kentucky Gazette, page 221;
  • Martin Herrill, witnessed a deed, 1799, Washington County, Kentucky;
  • Martin Hirrill, paid poll tax, two horses, 1799, Washington County Ky;
  • Martin Herald, “Second Census” of Kentucky, 1800, pg. 133, Washington County KY;
  • Martin Herrell, paid poll tax, two horses, 1800, Washington County KY;
  • Martin Harrell, had mail waiting in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1806;
  • Martin Harley, Pioneer Taxpayers in 1821 Troy, Lincoln Co. Missouri (along with his sons George Harley, James Harley & William Harley);
  • Martin Herral, in 1830 census, Lincoln Co. MO., wife also listed, both 50-60 years of age;
  • Martin Harrell, was owed $10.75 by James Harrell, 3 February 1836, Lincoln Co. MO.

US Census 1830, Lincoln Co. MO.: Martin Herral, 1 male 5-10, 1 male 20-30, 1 male 50-60: 1 female 15-20, 1 female 50-60. Image 37, pg. 19. Martin was living 2 dwellings from his son Page. There seems to be nothing regarding Martin Harrell after 1836.

It is possible but not proven that Isaac Harrell of Fayette Co. Indiana and Martin Harell were related. Isaac Harrell was the son of Chester Harrell and his first wife (Chester was the son of William/Susannah Chester Harrell discussed in Family#8). Isaac, born 1781 Washington Co. KY, married Delilah Doom in Washington Co. KY on 17 Aug 1803. She was born about 1786. (Parents Jacob & Abigail Clark Doom). Isaac died about 1848 in Fayette Co. Indiana where his Will was recorded. Delilah died in 1869. Both are buried in the Stevens Cemetery near Columbia, Indiana. They had 7 children; their son Martin was born about 1804, KY married 28 Mar 1826 to Nancy Ewing.

Martin witnessed a deed in 1797 in Washington County, Kentucky. His name was spelled Herril.

Family tradition indicates that Martin Harrell was “married to an Indian.”

Another individual, reported to be Dora Elma (Scott) Young, hand-typed her understanding of her early Harrell ancestors. She had proof of her descendancy from George Harrell, son of Martin Harrell. In her hand-typed piece (titled “HARRELL” which apparently began on a page she numbered 47) she began with this:

“The story passed down in the William Harrell family, a brother of my great grandfather, George Harrell, is that three brothers came from England – one stayed in the north and two went south. Mary Beth Harrell, wife of Hollis R. Harrell of San Antonio, Texas states that she has discovered that John, Luke, and Samuel Harrell came in 1660 to Virginia from Suffolk Downe, England; John remained in Virginia, Samuel and Luke (sometimes called James) went to North Carolina, to Gates and Bertie Counties. I learned from the 1850 census returns for Lincoln County, Missouri that the above mentioned George was born in North Carolina in 1803, but I have been unable to learn in which county his parents resided.”

Dora Young’s story of her early Harrell ancestors is a familiar variation of stories passed down through descendants of early Harrells who first settled in Nansemond County, VA and Bertie County, NC. These oral histories are not documented but some of these Harrells can be found in early NC communities. Some stories involve 3 brothers, other stories involve 7 brothers – what is common among them is that they all immigrated to America in the mid-1600s to early 1700s. A detailed description of these early North Carolina Harrells can be found at this website

What is supported by solid evidence (including DNA) is that those early Harrells who ended up living in Nansemond County, VA and/or Bertie and Gates Counties, NC are NOT related to the early Harrells who settled in Northern Virginia. There is no evidence that Martin Harrell ever lived in NC and his DNA profile matches the Harrells of Northern Virginia, not the Harrells who lived in and surrounding areas of Bertie Co., NC. This erroneous thinking that early North Carolina Harrells were related to the Northern Virginia Harrells was perpetuated for many years and was finally debunked in 2001 by Ron Nota, Lee Hearl and other members of their research team (see discussion of this issue in Family #5).

In Dora Young’s hand-typed memories of her early Harrell ancestors , she stated the 1850 Lincoln Co., MO census listed the birthplace of George Harrell, son of Martin, as North Carolina. This census information is correct and probably reinforced her thinking that Martin Harrell was born in NC. But subsequent census records in Lincoln Co., MO show George Harrell’s birthplace as OH (1860) and KY (1870). Additionally, 1900 census records for some of the sons of George Harrell show him to be born in Pennsylvania. For the record, the Harrell Collaborative believes George Harrell was born KY.

Dora Young also included information from contemporary letters written by Harrell individuals who described their particular Harrell ancestry as being rooted in North Carolina – but there was no link to Martin Harrell 1775. Dora Young also included information she obtained from a St. Lewis library describing a number of early Harrells who lived in North Carolina – but, again, never linked them to Martin Harrell 1775. Whereas Dora Young’s piece did accurately describe most all of the children and grandchildren of Martin Harrell, she did not include any useful information that could be used to speculate on the parents/siblings of Martin Harrell.

The given name “Martin” is not common within the Harrell Collaborative Families. A great deal of time has been spent trying to determine where this name might have come from and nothing but speculation has resulted. Within the Harrell Collaborative Families there is known to be only four individuals who were named “Martin Harrell”: (1) the EKA of this narrative; (2) a son born to Isaac Harrell and Delilah Doom in KY in 1804 – Isaac Harrell being son of Chester Harrell who is son of William Harrell who is son of EKA Richard Harrell of Family #5; (3) a son born to EKA William Harrell b. 1786 and spouse Martha Bussell in Hamilton Co., OH in 1832 – Family #7; and (4) a son born 1832 to William H. Harrell who is son of James Harrell 1762 (spouse Elizabeth Crume) who is son of Moses Harrell who is son of EKA Richard Harrell of Family #5.

Why, in (2) above, Isaac Harrell b. 1781 named his son “Martin” in 1804 is unknown but both Isaac Harrell 1781 and EKA Martin Harrell 1775 both lived in Washington Co., KY when Isaac’s son Martin was born (the location/property where EKA Martin Harrell lived in relation to where Isaac lived is not known). The author of this narrative believes this is not a coincidence and suggests a close but unknown relationship between Isaac 1781 and EKA Martin Harrell 1775.

There has been speculation as to whether EKA Martin Harrell 1775 may be a son of Chester Harrell, father of Isaac 1781. Chester Harrell married twice: (1) Unknown Everett (possibly “Elizabeth” or “Emyline”) who he married in an unknown year, who was born and died in unknown years; and (2) Betsy Stevens born abt 1764, died aft. 1820, married 1789. Chester and first wife had at least 4 children: (1) Isaac 1781 who married Delilah Doom (son Martin b. 1804); (2) James born abt. 1783; (3) Betsy 1785 who married George Kelly; and (4) Elijah born abt. 1786 or 1788. Because so little is known about Chester’s first spouse and their marriage, it is possible they could have had a son “Martin” born abt. 1775 and possibly they could have had a son William Harrell born 1786 (EKA of Family #7). Lyndon Irwin did considerable research on Chester Harrell and could not confirm that Chester had children other than the 4 named above with Chester’s first spouse Unknown Everett. Also, none of Chester Harrell’s children named any of their sons “Martin”, and none of Martin Harrell’s sons were named Chester.

The reason why William Harrell 1786 (above, who married Martha Bussell) named his son “Martin” in 1832 is unknown. It is believed William H. Harrell (above, b. 1793, son of James Harrell 1762 who is son of Moses Harrell Sr.) named his son “Martin” because the father of William’s second wife Nancy Rose was “Martin Rose”.

It is noteworthy that both Martin Harrell 1804 (son of Isaac 1781) and Martin Harrell 1832 (son of William H. Harrell 1793) descended from 2 sons of EKA Richard Harrell (Family #5): Moses Harrell Sr. and his brother William Harrell, both of whom lived in Nelson Co., KY very near Washington Co., KY. Being born 1775, EKA Martin Harrell could have been the son of either Moses Sr. or his brother William Harrell. Martin’s sons William (first son), John (second son), James (6th son) and second daughter Mary have the same names as William Harrell’s children – but Martin’s son James is the only name that matches one of the children of Moses Harrell Sr. In addition, not only is Martin’s first son William possibly named after Martin’s father, but there are several of Martin’s grandchildren named “William”. It should be noted that Donna Biorseth’s notes (above) speculated that Martin’s name could be William Martin Harrell.

If Martin Harrell 1775 is a son of William and Susannah Chester Harrell, there are only two people who Martin Harrell 1775 could have been named after. The first of is Martin Cartmell who is the son of Dorothy Cartmell and brother to Sarah Cartmell. Sarah Cartmell married Thomas Chester and their daughter Susannah Chester married William Harrell, son of EKA Richard Harrell. The second person is Martin Smith who is a grandson of Thomas Chester; Thomas and Sarah Chester’s daughter Elizabeth married Benjamin Smith and Martin Smith was one of their sons. These Cartmells lived in Frederick Co., VA along with Thomas Chester and all sons of EKA Richard Harrell (Family #5). Because of the close relationship between the family of Thomas Chester and William/Susanna Harrell, it’s possible William/Susannah Harrell were close friends of Susannah’s uncle Martin Cartmell and Susannah’s nephew Martin Smith. Several children of EKA Martin Harrell 1775 and William/Susannah Harrell share the same names which adds to circumstantial evidence that William/Susannah Harrell could be the parents of EKA Martin Harrell. There are no documents, however, linking EKA Martin Harrell 1775 to William/Susannah Harrell but there are no documents identifying all the children of William/Susannah Harrell.

The known children of Martin Harrell 1775 are:

  1. William Harrell, b. January 10, 1797, Washington Co., KY; d. September 5, 1891, Fayette Co., TX. He married Minerva Woods on October 4, 1818 in Lincoln County, MO. They had 9 children:
    1. Amanda Minerva Harrell b. 1819 Lincoln Co., MO;
    2. Sophronia Harrell b. 1821 Lincoln Co., MO;
    3. Milvern Harrell Sr. b. 1824 Lincoln Co., MO;
    4. Leander Harrell b. 1826, Lincoln Co., MO;
    5. Emily Harrell b. 1829 Lincoln Co., MO;
    6. Montraville Thomas Harrell b. 1831 Lincoln Co., MO;
    7. William Norman Harrell b. 1834 Lincoln Co., MO;
    8. Elizabeth Jane Harrell b. 1836 Lincoln Co., MO;
    9. Mary Harrell b. 1839 Fayette Co., TX.
  2. John Harrell, b. abt 1800, Washington Co., KY; d. 1841, Fayette Co., TX. He married Cordelia Cottle, daughter of Joseph Cottle.

    Their children are believed to be:

    1. Female Harrell b. 1818;
    2. Josiah Harrell b. 1820, Pulaski Co., AR, d. 1883, Jack Co., TX, m. Sarah Wagnon;
    3. Male Harrell b. 1821;
    4. Male Harrell b. 1822;
    5. Male Harrell b. 1825;
    6. Female Harrell b. 1827;
    7. Male Harrell b. 1828.
  3. George Harrell, b. abt 1803, Washington Co., KY; d. aft. 1870, Lincoln Co., MO. He married Elizabeth “Betsy” McDaniels on March 1, 1829 in Lincoln Co., MO.

    They had 8 children:

    1. John N. Harrell b. abt. 1830 Lincoln Co., MO;
    2. William W. Harrell b. September 5, 1832 Lincoln Co., MO;
    3. Leah Harrelll b. abt. 1835 Lincoln Co., MO;
    4. Samuel Alexander Harrell b. 1836 Lincoln Co., MO;
    5. George L. Harrell b. 1838 Lincoln Co., MO;
    6. Charles Harrell b. 1840 Lincoln Co., MO;
    7. Nancy E. Harrell b. 1842 Lincoln Co., MO;
    8. Sidney Harrell b. 1846 Lincoln Co., MO
  4. Calvin Harrell, b. abt. 1804, Washington Co., KY; d. bet. 1870-1880, Calhoun Co., IL. He married Frances “Frankie” Guinn on December 20, 1827 in Lincoln Co., MO.

    They had 10 children:

    1. Louisa Harrell b. 1828 Lincoln Co., MO;
    2. Charles W. Harrell b. 1831 Lincoln Co., MO;
    3. Armilda/Elmira Harrell b. 1833 Lincoln Co., MO;
    4. Edmond/Edmund Harrell b. 1837 Lincoln Co., MO;
    5. Jane Harrell b. 1840 Lincoln Co., MO;
    6. Susan A. Harrell b. 1842 Lincoln Co., MO;
    7. Frances Keziah Harrell b. 1844 Lincoln Co., MO;
    8. Mary Elizabeth Harrell b. 1846 Lincoln Co., MO;
    9. Resina Sophia Harrell b. 1848 Lincoln Co., MO;
    10. Ellen B. Harrell b. 1853 Lincoln Co., MO.

    Child (9) has been listed by some as a male under the name Reuben S. Harrell.

  5. Page Harrell, b. September 10, 1805, Washington Co., KY; d. March 11, 1874, Calhoun Co., IL. He married (1) Ellen Callaway abt. 1827 in Lincoln Co., MO; (2) Malinda Carty on November 16, 1852 in Lincoln Co., MO.

    With his first wife they had 7 children:

    1. Abell Harrell b. January 8, 1828 Lincoln Co., MO;
    2. Jane Harrell b. abt. 1828 Lincoln Co., MO;
    3. Sybrant W. Harrell b. abt. 1832 Lincoln Co., MO;
    4. Elizabeth Harrell b. abt. 1835 Lincoln Co., MO;
    5. James Hamilton Harrell b. 1837 Lincoln Co., MO;
    6. Emma Elizabeth Harrell b. 1841 Adams Co., IL;
    7. William S. Harrell b. 1845 Calhoun Co., IL.

    With his second wife they had 1 child, Cary C. Harrell b. 1854 Calhoun Co., IL.

  6. James Harrell, b. abt. 1806, Washington Co., KY; d. abt. 1834 in Lincoln Co., MO. He married Amelia Mildred Norton on December 20, 1827 in Lincoln Co., MO.
    They had 1 child William Harrison Harrell b. abt. 1828 Lincoln Co., MO.
  7. Lucy Harrell, b. abt. 1809, Lincoln Co., MO. No further info.
  8. Mary Harrell, b. abt. 1811, Lincoln Co., MO. She married Unknown Faith/Farth.
  9. Evaline Harrell, b. abt 1813, Lincoln Co., MO, m. James Warder Thomas abt. 1833, Gallatin Daviess Co., MO.

The above information is essentially all that is known about Martin Harrell. All DNA donors of this EKA have stated they know nothing more about Martin Harrell. Numerous attempts to find and discuss Harrell ancestry with living Harrell descendants in Troy, Lincoln Co., MO and its surrounding towns yielded no additional information. The best guess is that Martin Harrell probably descended from William Harrell, son of EKA Richard Harrell 1700 of Family#5.

A more complete listing of all known descendants of EKA Martin Harrell is provided through the first 3 generations (i.e., Martin Harrell, his children, and grandchildren).

Welcome to the Harrell Collaborative Forums Family #8 – EKA Martin Harrell 1770

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