Grandparents of Alexander Fancher: Fancher & Gray?

Alexander Fancher was the grandson, through Gray Bynum Fancher, of Richard Fancher of Tennessee and Arkansas. Most online genealogies seem to refer to Richard as having been married to a Sarah Journegin, and to her only. His grandson Alexander, however, was almost certainly the source for Alexander’s biography which appeared in an 1892 Texas county history. That biography asserts that Gray Bynum Fancher was the son of Richard Fancher and one Patsy Gray.

This claim seems to immediately generate protests on the part of some.

These 19th century county history books were generally compiled by interviewing families who “subscribed” to the purchase of the book once it was finally printed. Traveling salespeople went around to all the residents of the county, selling the book and interviewing families about their family history. If the 1892 Patsy Gray claim is false, then Alexander Fancher was most likely one of those who was deceived – and about his own grandfather.

The county history, A Memorial and Biographical History of Johnson and Hill Counties, Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1892), pp. 724-725, also says that this Patsy Gray was “connected” with a North Carolina family, the Bynums, whatever “connected” is supposed to mean.

This assertion immediately brings the response from some that this could not possibly be true. The reasons they give are as follows: (a) Richard Fancher could not have married a Patsy Gray because he married a Sarah Journegin. (b) This Patsy Gray, if she did exist, could not have been in any way, shape, or fashion associated with the Bynum family, because Gray Bynum and his wife Margaret Hampton of North Carolina did not have a daughter named Patsy.

The answer to the first claim, obviously, is that anyone could have married twice. The second assertion is puzzling: Why is this particular couple – Gray Bynum/Margaret Hampton – always brought into the discussion, when no one even brought them up?  Is there no other possible connection to the Bynum family except as a daughter of this one couple?

The 1892 biography also says that Richard Fancher married this individual who was “nee Patsy Gray.” This suggests that Gray, then, was not a married name. In other words, she was not a Bynum who married a Gray and then married a Fancher. If that was the case, then how could she have been a daughter of Gray Bynum/Margaret Hampton anyway? The county history, then, never claimed that her father was a Bynum!

The 1892 biography merely says that she was, in some way, “connected” with this family. The bio does not state in what way or how closely.

Even if that’s not the case, wouldn’t some other relationship be possible?
Perhaps this biography does contain errors, but if we totally reject what it is claiming, then what would actually be the case instead? Are those who speak against this position saying, then, that there’s no possible connection, in any way, between Richard Fancher’s family and the Bynum family?

If so, then how do we explain the following?

(1) Gray Bynum Fancher, who many claim (without documentation, as far as I’m aware) was the father of Permelia Emaline Fancher, was named GRAY BYNUM (or Grey Bynum).
(2) He had a brother named Thomas HAMPTON.
(3) Permelia, after she married my g-g-g-grandfather John Laffoon West, named her first child Thomas HAMPTON Benton West.
(4) She named her 9th child BYNUM Melvin West.

Parenthetically, Permelia named her 6th child (my great-great-grandmother) Livonia GIVENS West (not “Given,” as some have miscopied it). Givens is another North Carolina name that could possibly  have been connected in some way, at some point, with the Bynums.

Regarding the latter, for example, a quick more-or-less random glance at Google Books shows that one book, Marriage Bonds of Tryon and Lincoln Counties, North Carolina, lists 17 Bynum or Bynam marriages, in addition to three Givens marriages.

Could there be a North Carolina connection somewhere in the family’s past between the Givens family and the Bynum family? Why would such an unusual name – Givens – appear in my family if there was no connection to this family somewhere?

The claim has also been advanced that the biography could not possibly be right, because it connects Richard Fancher with France, and DNA evidence proves that the family was not French.  Fanchers posting their DNA on the Internet, however, have claimed R1b or R1b1b2. Unless there is additional data somewhere, it appears to me that R1b1b2 actually supports – rather than precludes – a good possibility of a French identification.

Of course, one could always have been from one country and living in another, anyway.

Here is the text, by the way, of the 1892 bio:

“ALEXANDER R. FANCHER, of Hillsboro, was born in Coles county, Illinois, in 1830, a son of G. B. and Sarah E. Fancher, the former born in North Carolina in 1791.  He moved to Overton county, Tennessee, in 1802, where he was engaged in farming until 1823, and in that year moved to Coles county, Illinois.  In 1842 he removed to eastern Arkansas, and four years later to Texas.  He was a soldier in the Black Hawk war, and was an intimate friend of Abraham Lincoln.  Our subject’s grandfather, Richard Fancher, was a Frenchman, came to America with La Fayette, and was a Revolutionary soldier, as was also his two brothers.  His wife, nee Patsy Gray, was connected with the Bynum family of North Carolina.  They were the parents of six children.  G. B. Fancher was married about 1824, to Sarah, a daughter of Bazil Daniels, a native of Tennessee, and they had fourteen children, eleven of whom still survive, and our subject was the fifth child in order of birth.

“He came to Hill county in 1850, locating on Hackberry creek, two and a half miles north of where Hillsboro now stands.  He was then a young man, having just married at Waco the daughter of one of Hill county’s pioneers, and was the first man married in Waco, and the first the esquire ever married.

” . . . Alexander Fancher was Hill county’s first Tax Collector, and was Second Lieutenant of Company D, Nineteenth Texas Cavalry, and served principally in the western department, doing post duty.  In 1863 he resigned his commission and returned home, and was elected County Commissioner, which office he faithfully filled for two years.  He has a farm of 266 acres in Hill county, and is also interested in a stock ranch in the West, in Baylor county.

“In 1850 Mr. Fancher married Miss Morrison, a sister of F. W. Morrison, of Hillsboro.  They have had ten children, nine of whom still survive, viz.:  Sarah, wife of John A. D. Carmichael, of Baylor county; H. H., R. R., Frank L., Mollie, wife of Joe Lewellen, of Woodbury; E. A., J. E., Olla and Thomas.  The last two mentioned and Mrs. Lewellen are residents of Hill county, while the others are residents of Baylor county.

“Mr. Fancher is a member of the I. O. O. F., F. & A. M. and the Farmers’ Alliance.”


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