The Vannoy family, according to family tradition, is of Huguenot
extraction, the early family having fled from France to Holland and from there
to England during the reign of Charles I. The name in France was probably
spelled Vannoise, or Venois. The latter were names of distinguished families in
France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Tradition says that the father of the
emigrant to America fought under the banner of Oliver Cromwell and was related
to him by marriage.
The emigrant to America settled on Staten Island, New York,
where he died in 1699, leaving his wife Rachel, and sons and daughters as
(1) John, born 1686.
(2) Francis, born 1688.
The names of all these children are given in the census of the
inhabitants of Richmond (Staten Island) of 1706, but with the spelling slightly
varied. (See Historical and Genealogical Miscellany, Vol. I. by
Stillwell, 1903.) The same reference says that Jan Van Oy was a collector of
taxes in Richmond in 1698. This was no doubt John Vannoy, the name being
corrupted by a Dutch registrar.
The land records of Richmond County, New York, show a land grant to Rachel
Vannoy "widow of John Vannoy" dated March 17, 1700. The land was located "at the
South Side of the fish kill" and amounted in all to eight acres. Another grant
in the same location on the same day was made to the French Huguenot, John
Journey. Near neighbors were other Huguenots; John Bellevile, John Gavvetts and
John Vannoy wrote his Will May 13, 1699. (Will on file in Surrogate's Office,
New York City, N. Y.) It was proved, approved and allowed April 10, 17o8. He
died, however, before March 17, 1700, as evidenced by the land grant made to his
wife, Rachel, as above referred to. The substance of his Will reads as follows
"In the name of God, Amen, this 13th day of May 1699, I, John Vannoy, being very
sick and weak. I make my wife Rachel sole executor, and given her all my estate
for life and then to all my children. When my oldest son John is of age he shall
have one half so much of the estate as any other child shall have and then to
have an equal share with the rest." Wittnesses :-Sigmund Teunis Egbertse,
Signed, JOHN VANNOY.
There seems to be no record of the inventory of the estate, but when Rachel
Vannoy was appointed administrator, the Court referred to the estate as
comprising-"goods, chattels and credits in divers places within this province."
Several wills and deeds of Richmond after 1700 mentions land formerly owned by
John Vannoy which leads one to suspect that the latter was well supplied with
property even if it might not have yielded much in the way of profit. His will
being signed with a mark would indicate that he lacked sadly in education, but
it does not prove it by any means. Wills were seldom written in those days
before the subject was thought to be bed-ridden with his last illness, and many
times death came within a few hours of the making of the will. The fact that
John Vannoy was a "collector" in the province only a year before his death, a
job that would almost require that he read and write, would lend truth to the
strong family tradition that the Vannoy emigrant was educated fairly above the
average of those times.
The family of John and Rachel Vannoy drifted away from Staten Island between
1710 and 1720. Family tradition has it that one Vannoy family came from England
and settled near Georgetown, South Carolina, about 1710. The writer cannot find
a single record to prove this. John Francis Vanay did, however, settle in the
Prurrysburgh District of South Carolina on land granted him by the state on
warrant dated December 14, 1739. He was probably a grandson of John and Rachel
Vannoy of Staten Island.
It is the family of Francis Vannoy, the second son of John and Rachel Vannoy,
that interests us. He and his brother Abraham, and probably his brother John,
moved to Hunterdon County, New Jersey, about 1714 and settled in Hopewell
Township. Francis married, about 1715, a daughter of Cornelius Anderson whose
wife was the daughter of Johannes Opdyke of Hunterdon County. These fine old
families were among the most prominent of the neighborhood. They were ardent
churchmen and devoted to the Baptist Church that was founded in Hopewell at a
very early date. Francis Vannoy lived to be eighty-five years of age. He died in
1774, leaving three sons:
(4) Hannah, who married Peter Willson.
So many New Jersey records were destroyed during the
Revolutionary War that it is impossible to trace property ownership with any
degree of satisfaction. Francis Vannoy, however, was the owner of a considerable
acreage of land in and about Hopewell. His will, written August 15, 1768, and
probated July 21, 1774, refers to his estate both real and personal and orders
that it be sold and the proceeds divided equally between his three sons and one
daughter, share and share alike. He also gave freedom to his negro man, Jack,
and required that his son Cornelius provide for him. He referred to his son John
as the eldest and gave him five pounds proclamation money over and above his
equal share. He appointed his son Andrew and his son-in-law Peter Willson
executors. The Will was signed in his own hand.
John Vannoy, son of Francis, was born about 1716. One tradition has it that he
moved to the Jersey settlement on the Yadkin River in Rowan County, North
Carolina, about 1740 and became the ancestor of the large family of Vannoys and
Van Noys that have radiated from that section to all parts of the United States.
Another tradition states that the John Vannoy of Rowan County, North Carolina,
came from near Georgetown, South Carolina; that he served the colonists in their
struggle with the Spaniards at St. Augustine, Florida, and that he served in the
French and Indian War.
The writer, after exhaustive research, believes there is ground for both of the
above traditions being true. John Vannoy of Rowan County, North Carolina,
certainly descended from the New Jersey family. Note the names of his children
and how they compare with those of his father Francis, and grandfather John.
Note the fact, also, that John Vannoy settled in the Jersey Settlement at the
mouth of Lick Creek in Rowan County. This settlement was named by the settlers
after the State of New Jersey whence most of them came. One Cornelius Vannoy was
still living there in 1828, as evidenced by his will written September 4, 1828,
and probated the following year. (Will Book I, page 114, Davidson Co., N. C.)
His will mentions a son David and daughters Sally and Rachel, and grandsons
Cornelius Thompson and James Anderson Vannoy. Note also the fact that the maiden
name of the wife of John Vannoy was Susannah Anderson. The Anderson family was
prominent in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, from the early part of the
seventeenth century and frequently intermarried with the Vannoys. Indeed, the
mother of John Vannoy was an Anderson, which proves old family memory that says
that John and his wife were related. Finally, note the frequency with which the
name Anderson is used as a given name in the North Carolina family.
The South Carolina tradition lacks documentary evidence, except that one John
Francis Vanay (which might easily be a corruption of Vannoy) was granted fifty
acres of land in the Prurrysburgh District on December 14, 1739. The
Prurrysburgh District was located in the southeasternmost tip of South Carolina,
very close to Savannah, and was settled about 173o by a group of Swiss and
Palatine emigrants and some newcomers from the northern colonies. The writer,
after exhaustive search, was unable to find any further clew than the land grant
above mentioned, to support the tradition that John Vannoy and his wife
originally came from there. But the tradition is strong and the writer has
correspondence in his possession from an Uncle born in 1841 which says that he
had been told that John Vannoy of Rowan County originally came from South
Carolina and that he had taken part in the colonial wars against the Spaniards.
This Uncle had undertaken the task of tracing down his ancestry, his mother
being a Vannoy born in 1823. Her father was a grandson of John Vannoy of Rowan
County and was born in Wilkes County, North Carolina, in 1781.
After sifting all the evidence, the writer has concluded that John Vannoy of
Rowan County was one of the group of Northerners who was attracted by the
liberal inducements of Oglethorpe to obtain settlers for his enterprise in
Georgia. He and his bride moved there from Hunterdon County, New Jersey, some
time during the year 1739 and John, young and venturesome, joined in the many
expeditions against the Spaniards that finally culminated in their decisive
defeat at Frederica in 1742. John Vannoy may have been christened John Francis
at his birth, and it is very probable that it was he to whom land was granted
December 14, 1739. Here he lived for upwards of ten years, whereupon, hearing
that some of his Jersey friends were settling on the Yadkin River in Rowan
County, North Carolina, known as the Jersey Settlement, repaired there with his
family where he lived near the mouth of Lick Creek at a spot long remembered as
the old Vannoy Fish Dam. This spot was pillaged by the troops of Governor Tryon
after the defeat of the Regulators at Alamance in 1771, and John Vannoy fled
with his family, most of which was grown, to what is now Ashe and Wilkes
Counties, North Carolina.
The family record of John and Susannah Vannoy and their son Nathaniel, and
Nathaniel's son Jesse, has been preserved in an old family Bible which is now a
possession of a descendant of the latter. The record is, for the most part,
dates of birth, death and marriage. Other information from wholly reliable
sources has been added.
John Vannoy, b. about 1716; d. about 1778. According to his grandson, Andrew,
son of Nathaniel, he m. Susanna Anderson. He moved into Rowan Co., N. C., about
1748 and settled at the mouth of Lick Creek which empties into the Yadkin River
near the old Vannoy Fish Dam in what is now Davidson Co., N. C. The first record
of him in this vicinity was made by the Rev. Hugh McAlden, a pioneer Baptist
preacher, who stated in his diary that he spent the night at the John Vannoy
home on the Yadkin River, Sept. 3, 1755. The family lived here until 1772, when,
terrorized by the troops of Governor Tryon, which pillaged and destroyed the
settlements along the Yadkin River after Alamance, they fled to the mountains in
what later became Wilkes and Ashe Counties where some of their children settled
and raised families. Both John and Susannah were devoted to the Baptist Church
and identified with the great religious revival which that church, through
George McNiel and John Gano, was
introducing throughout southern Virginia and the Yadkin Valley in North
Carolina. The children of John and Susannah Vannoy were as follows:
(1) Rachel Vannoy, b. Apr. 12, 1741; m. Neil Patton.
(2) Andrew Vannoy, b. Aug. 12, 1742; marriage license to m. Susannah, dau. of
John and Sarah Shepherd, dated Oct. 18, 1779. He was a Captain in the 10th N. C.
Regiment of Continentals, Revolutionary War, and was granted land near
Murfreesboro, Tenn., as compensation for his services.
(3) Abraham Vannoy, b. Jan. 15, 1745.
(4) Francis Vannoy, b. Aug. 13, 1746; d. 1822, near Barboursville, Ky., where he
left many descendants.
(5) Nathaniel Vannoy, b. Feb. 16, 1749; d. July 26, 1835; m. Elizabeth Ray, of
English ancestry, of Ashe Co., N. C. He was a pioneer settler in Wilkes Co., N.
C., and lived on the north fork of Lewis Fork Creek. He was sheriff of Wilkes
Co., during Revolutionary times and at the direction of Col. Benjamin Cleveland
hung three Tories to a tree for horse stealing, a remnant of which still stands
(1925) besides the Wilkes County Court House. He joined the regiment of Col.
Benjamin Cleveland as a Sergeant Major and served throughout the Kings Mountain
Campaign. Family tradition says that the Clevelands were related to the Vannoys
and through common ancestors were related to the family of Oliver Cromwell.
President Grover Cleveland presented a family bible to Caroline Yates,
grandchild of Nathaniel Vannoy, as a memento of the family relation. The home of
Nathaniel Vannoy on Lewis Fork bordered that of Col. Benjamin Cleveland and in
its vicinity lived the Ellers, McNiels and Shepherds. He traveled considerably
in his later life in N. and S. C. and Tenn. He was a member of, and one of the
founders of, the New Hope Baptist Church that was organized in Wilkes Co., N.
C., in June, 1830. During his last years he resided in Greenville, S. C., with
his dau. Sarah Cleveland, where he d. and is buried.
(1) John Vannoy, b. Mar. 22, 1775; m. 1st, Miss Kilby; m. 2d,
wife's name unknown; family moved to Moniteau Co., Mo., at a very early date
and settled near the town of California, where some descendants still live.
Issue by 2d wife as follows:
(1) William Thomas Vannoy, b. Mar. 13, 1827, in California,
Mo.; d Mar. 2, 1900. He started for the Oregon Country in 1850, became ill
en route, was nursed to health by some Mormons in Utah, and persuaded to
remain with them. It is said that he m. four times; his first wife being
Catherine Hendricks, his second, Agnes Burrell, and his third, Kate Bagley.
The name of his fourth wife is unknown. By his first wife he had four sons
and eight daughters. By his second wife he had five sons and six daughters.
By his third wife he is said to have had four children. No record of any
issue by his fourth wife.
(2) John Vannoy.
(3) James Vannoy, d. 1895 in Farmington, Tex. He m. 1st, Jane Hansford by
whom he had issue, Nathaniel, b. Mar. 1, 1853, in California, Mo., whose son
Lee Vannoy now lives in Los Angeles, Calif. James m. 2d, Nancy Starks who d.
in Farmington, Grayson Co., Texas. Issue by 2d marriage;
(1) Minnie, m. William Johnson and lives in Collingwood,
(5) Cora, d. young.
All born in Farmington, Grayson Co., Tex.
(4) Lorenzo Vannoy.
(5) Elizabeth Vannoy.
(6) Caroline Vannoy.
(7) Sarah Ann Vannoy.
(2) Joel Vannoy, b. Feb. 22, 1777; moved to Pike Co., Mo., and
left many descendants, some of whom still live near Bowling Green, Mo.
Descendants of this family founded the well-known Van Noy Interstate Co.,
whose ramifications reach every section of the United States.
(3) Sarah Vannoy, b. Jan. 16, 1779; d. 1856; m. Jeremiah Cleveland, b. 1774;
d. 1845. His father was Captain Robert Cleveland, brother of Col. Benjamin
Cleveland of Kings Mountain fame. Family lived in Greenville, S. C. Issue,
eight children, as follows:
(1) Robert M. Cleveland, b. Mar. 3, 1803.
(2) Jesse Franklin Cleveland, b. Oct. 25, 1804.
(3) Jeremiah Cleveland, b. Feb. 4, 1806.
(4) Barnett Franklin Cleveland, b. Apr. 26, 1808.
(5) Caroline Cleveland
(6) Harriett Cleveland Twins, b. Feb. 2, 1811.
(7) Eliza Cleveland, b. Oct. 6, 1813.
(8) James Harvey Cleveland, b. Dec. 1, 1815.
(4) Jesse Vannoy, b. June 2, 1781; d. Nov. 26, 1875; m. Jan.
12, 1804, to Mary Shepherd (nee Kilby), b. Sept. 19, 1785; d. Feb. 14, 1864.
She was the dau. of William Kilby and his wife, Mary Ann Tolds. He was a
devout Baptist and it has been said that he could quote the Scriptures chapter
by chapter from memory. He and his wife, Mary, who was of English ancestry,
were constituent members of the old New Hope Baptist Church. She was called
Aunt Polly by her neighbors who proclaimed her to be the most useful woman of
the generation in her neighborhood. This was because of her fine Christian
character and her helpfulness to her neighbors in times of sickness. Both are
buried in the New Hope bury grounds near Wilkesboro, N. C.
(1) Elizabeth Ray Vannoy, b. Oct. 29, 1804; d. Aug. 24,
1868; m. John Eller, son of John and Susannah (Kearns) Eller. Family resided
on Lewis Forks, N. C.
(2) Joel Eden Vannoy, b. Apr. 16, 1806; d. Jan. 15, 1826; unm.
(3) Sarah Jane Vannoy, b. Aug. 1st, 1807; d. Feb., 1897; unm.
(4) John Humphrey Vannoy, b. Dec. 26, 1808; d. Nov.,
1888; m. Dec. 8, 1883, Rebecca
McNiel, dau. of James and Mary (Shepherd) McNiel (See
McNiel Genealogy). He was a well
known Baptist minister in Wilkes and Ashe Cos., N. C. Was for years pastor
of the old Baptist Church on Beaver Creek, N. C. Issue:
(6) Louisa, who m. James Madison Eller, son of Absalom.
(7) Tilda, who m. Henry Hardin and lived in Colorado.
(5) Katherine Ann Tolds Vannoy, b. Nov. 21, 1810; d. about
1850; m Abijah Fairchild and left issue in Wilkes Co., N. C.
(6) William Kilby Vannoy, b. May 21, 1812; d. Mar. 9, 1882; m. Matilda
Wheeler. He was a Col. in the N. C. Militia and a soldier in the Cherokee
Indian War. He left many descendants in Wilkes Co., N. C., some of whom now
live in Oregon.
(7) Jesse Whitfield Vannoy, b. Feb. 14, 1814; d. about 1895; m. Sept., 1837,
Elizabeth Fairchild. Of several issue is John Vannoy of Wautauga Co., N. C.
(8) James Nathaniel Vannoy, b. Oct. 20, 1815; d. Sept. 3, 1881 at Grant's
Pass, Ore. He went to Ore. in 1849, where he left many descendants. Of
issue: Anderson, who m. and raised several sons and Lone, who m. Mr. Scott.
(9) Abraham Wesley Vannoy, b. Sept. 6, 1817; d. Aug.
27, 1891; m Apr. 28, 1842, Aley, dau. of Absalom Eller, b. Mar. 12, 1826; d.
July 16, 1892. (See Eller Genealogy)
The family left N. C. in Apr., 1869, for Wapello Co., Iowa, travelling by
wagon to Nashville, Tenn., from which point they travelled by river steamer
via the Cumberland, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers to Keokuk, Iowa, and from
there, overland by team to their destination. Issue, nine, as follows:
(1) Anderson Mitchell Vannoy, b. May 13, 1844, in Wilkes
Co., N. C.; d. July 31, 1908, at the home of his sister, Mrs. S. C.
Woodruff, near Highland Center, Wapello Co., Iowa. He m. May 6, 1866, in
Ashe Co., N. C., Adeline, dau. of George W. and Aley Hubbard. He was a
soldier for four years, C. S. A., with General Lee. Family moved in 1873
to near Alton, Osborne Co., Kan., where they lived until summer of 1875,
when they returned to Wapello Co., Iowa. Issue, eleven, as follows:
(1) Victoria Lieuellyn Vannoy, b. Mar. 3, 1867; m. 1st,
Mar. 18, 1882, Samuel C. Darden of Wapello Co., Iowa; m. 2d. June 25,
1905, Shurman Russel Knapp. Family now resides at Covert, Mich;
(2) Robert Addison Vannoy, b. Nov. 8, 1868; m. Oct. 29,
1896, Luella Frances Smith. Family resides at Harlan, Iowa;
(3) George W. Vannoy (called Jack), b. Mar. 7, 1871; m.
July, 1893, Sarah Baldoser. Family resides, Fremont, Iowa;
(4) Ruda Hannibal Vannoy, b. Mar. 18, 1873; d. Feb. 27,
(5) Harley Abraham Vannoy, b. Nov. 3, 1875; m. Nov. 29, 1899, Maude,
dau. of James and Louisa Mitchell of Pekin, Iowa; resides, Long Beach,
(6) Aley Cornelia Vannoy, b. Apr. 19, 1878; d. June 1,
1897; m. Sept. 4, 1895, Cecil Double, no issue;
(7) Oscar Martin Vannoy, b. Sept. 1, 188o; d. July 7,
(8) Chester Arthur Vannoy, b. Jan. 30, 1883; m Jan. 19,
1905, Emma Margaret Held of Hardin Co., Iowa. Family now resides in
(9) Mary Eunice Vannoy, b. Feb. 16, 1885; m. Aug. 14,
1912, William J. Copenhaver of Iowa Falls, Iowa. Family resides at
(10) William Porter Vannoy, b. Apr. 26, 1887; m. Aug. 4,
1913, Ruth Frances Cleveland Franklin of Vancouver, Wash. Family
resides, Eureka, Calif.;
(11) Lester Cleveland Vannoy, b. Nov. 23, 1890. Resides,
Chicago, Ill.; unm.
(2) Mary Ann Vannoy, m
George Bartlett McNiel (See
McNiel Genealogy). Family
resided Wapello Co., Iowa. Of issue:
(1) Margaret, who m. David Tinsley;
(3) Sarah Carolina Vannoy, d. 1873; m.
Lafayette Eller (See Eller
(4) George W. Vannoy, b. Nov. 13, 1850; d. Dec. 28, 1881.
(5) Elza F. Vannoy, m. Mattie Melson.
(6) Julia Vannoy, m. George W. Davis. Family resides near Farson, Iowa.
(7) Franky Matilda Vannoy, m. Samuel C. Woodruff.
(8) Katherine Vannoy, m. Alexander Melson. Family resides in Okla.
(9) Jesse Absalom Vannoy, m. Emma Riley.
(10) Frances Susannah Vannoy, b. Apr. 10, 1819; d., infancy.
(11) Andrew Jackson Vannoy, b. Mar. 27, 1821; m. Sally Reeves. Resided.
Ashe Co., N. C.
(12) Mary Caroline Vannoy, b. Feb. 18, 1823,
at Lewis Fork, Wilkes Co., N. C.; d. in Wapello Co., Iowa, at home of her
dau. Maggie Davis, Jan. 1g, 19o4. She m. Harvey Eller in Wilkes
Co., N. C., Nov. 25, 1841. (See Eller
Genealogy) She received but scant schooling in the schools of her
neighborhood, but it was sufficient to enable her to become a profound
student of the Bible and kindred books. She was a member of the New Hope
Baptist Church to which her forbears contributed so much. The writer of
her obituary in the "Hedrick (Iowa) Journal" had this to say of
her. "The death of Mrs. Eller removed from this community one of the
saints of the earth. Nothing that the Journal can say will add to the
reputation of this good woman. She spent her long life in good works and
has passed to her reward, wrapped in a mantle of faith."
(13) Franky Matilda Vannoy, b. Sept. 28, 1825; d.
1902; m. Alfred McNiel.
(See McNiel Genealogy)
(14) Anderson Vannoy, b. Apr. 23, 1829. He was a soldier, C. S. A., and
was wounded at South Mountain and d. at Winchester, Va., in 1862. Some of
his descendants live in Ashe Co., N. C.
(5) Andrew Vannoy, b. Nov. 4, 1783; d. Jan. 25, 1869, near
Shelbyville, Tenn., leaving a number of descendants. A gifted school teacher
and churchman and for twenty years Clerk of Courts of Bedford Co., Tenn.
(6) Elizabeth Vannoy, b. Mar. 4, 1786; d. Sept. 10, 1846; m. Mr. Peyton. Of
issue: Caroline, who m. Jesse Yates.
(7) Jane Vannoy, b. Aug. 20, 1788; d. Sept. 17, 1846; m. Mr. Thurston. No
(8) Ann Vannoy, b. Nov. 4, 1790; m. John Foster.
(9) Susannah Vannoy, b. Nov. 4, 1790; in. Mr. Parks. She was a twin sister of
(6) Hannah Vannoy, b. Mar. 26, 1751.
(7) Daniel Vannoy, b. Feb. 22, 1752; marriage license to m. Sarah Wilkerson
dated Oct. 2, 1779.
(8) Susannah Vannoy, b. July 6, 1754.
(9) Katherine Vannoy, b. Dec. 26, 1755.