An essay by Alan C Freeman
The earliest Freemans in our known lineage that we know of at this time are Gabriel Freeman and *Lucy Freeman. They married in Wilkes County, Georgia, on September 6, 1794. It is not known if they lived in Wilkes County at that time or not. It is also not confirmed that they actually married on that date. The date is from a handwritten permission slip from a John Freeman, giving permission to his daughter Lucy to marry Gabriel, and a marriage license, both from the Wilkes County courthouse records. A scan of those records appears elsewhere on our Web site.
The marriage license is signed "David Terrell, Ordinary". We have never been able to find a John Freeman who had a Lucy Freeman who was born in 1774, the year of her birth as indicated by a family bible in later years. Gabriel was born about September of 1770 and died on January 31, 1834, at the age of 64, possibly in Morgan County, Georgia. Lucy was born about May of 1774, and died on May 3, 1826, at the age of 52, possibly in Newton County, Georgia. These dates are based on information from a family bible from one of the descendants. No grave sites have ever been located for either. If we knew for a fact that Lucy's father was John Freeman, then John would be our oldest ancestor in our Freeman branch of this line, my 5th great-grandfather. It is not known if Gabriel or Lucy were distant cousins or any kin at all before they married. John could have been one of Lucy's brothers however, signing for her father.
Family legend has it that our Freeman family came from England; that Gabriel's father was a Jewish man who married a Methodist woman. For the sake of this story, since we don't know their names, we'll call them Mr. & Mrs. Freeman. The new Methodist religion was just taking off in England in the mid-to-late 1700's. The story is told that Mr. Freeman, following in his father's footsteps, was a merchant. It is believed that since he married out of his religion to a Methodist woman and that his mother likely gave Mr. & Mrs. Freeman the fare to come to America to make a new start for themselves, since a successful business in the Jewish community might have been problematic at the best.
Legend has it that they came to America, settling first in New England, then moving on to Charleston, South Carolina, or Virginia, where Gabriel was born, and then later they moved in to Georgia. Assuming that this is even close to right, Mr. Freeman would have likely been born about 1746-1756 and would have married before September 1770. This may have been about the same time that he and his wife came to America. If Mr. Freeman lived to be about 60 then he would have died roughly around 1830. There has been no will, grave, or other data found to support this theory; yet.
I have an alternate theory. It is possible that Gabriel and Lucy could have been the immigrant Freeman's and that a couple of cousins came with them to America. They may have immigrated into New England, but I believe they may have also moved quickly to the new territory of Georgia to live with other Freeman relatives while they worked on their new start in America.
Gabriel shows up first in the 1814-17 recreated Georgia census in Morgan County, Georgia. Next he shows up in the 1820 census. On the 1820 census there is a column that indicates how many of the folks listed in the household count are "Unnaturalized Foreigners". It shows four. This could be Gabriel, Lucy, and two others. They did not have any slaves. This indicates that they could have been immigrants in the family. The record shows:
1820 Morgan County, Georiga. Census. Roll 9, Page 102, Capt. Leonards District:
Freeman: 021101-00201-41 (also 1824) p.366
* = the likely un-naturalized foreigners.
In later records from about 1913, a letter from David Bailey Freeman (Gabriel's grandson) to his brother William's daughter, Anna Lee Freeman LaCotts, David writes that his grandfather Gabriel's children were: Bailey, a Methodist minister, John, Archibald and Josiah (they may have been his cousins), and a daughter Providence. He further writes that he believed "the Freeman's were of English origin, first of whom I think settled in New England." David's letter is possibly the source of the family legend. But David was recalling from memory, and did get some dates and ages wrong, so one can't accept it as solid evidence. This letter is published elsewhere on this site.
At any rate, Gabriel and Lucy Freeman's immediate family was: Providence, Bailey M., John S., Josiah M., Archibald, and Beverly Allen. As mentioned Josiah & Archibald may have been cousins of Gabriel and/or Lucy.
It is my guess and I hope to eventually prove that Gabriel and Lucy were kin to the Wilkes County or Newton County Freeman's such as Holman, George, James, John, or Columbus, or Henry Freeman; possibly cousins. If I am wrong about the immigrant issue, then Gabriel may even possibly could have even been kin to the Gabriel Freemans that show up in Culpepper, Virginia, or Rowan County and/or Burke County, North Carolina. I say this based solely on the clue that the name Gabriel is prominent in the lineage, therefore Gabriel's father's name could have been Gabriel also.
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Providence (b.abt.1795-d.abt.1890) married Arthur Randall. She lived to be nearly 100 and had two children: Nancy and Gabriel Randall.
Bailey M. (b.abt.1796-d.1852) married Elizabeth A. Smith. They had six children: Elijah P, Elisha Bailey, Juliet Anne Parazade, Thomas Sanford, John Henry, and William Freeman.
John S. (b.abt.1800-d.aft.1863) nothing much is known. David B. Freeman mentions that he saw his Uncle John once which means that he may have lived to be at least 63. Whether he married and had children, it is not known. No descendants have been found yet.
Josiah M. (b.abt.1802-d.unknown) nothing is known. He may have married a Sarah Ann Jackson in Jasper County, Georgia, or a Nancy Jackson in Morgan County, Georgia, but this is only speculation. Josiah, according to David B. Freeman may have been a cousin to Gabriel instead of a son.
Archibald (b.abt.1804-d.abt.1840). He may have died in one of the early 1800 wars, maybe an Indian battle. Archibald, according to David B. Freeman may have been a cousin to Gabriel instead of a son. Nothing else is known.
Beverly Allen (b.1806-d.1855). Beverly was a lawyer. He married Mary Ann Reynolds Murray, the daughter of Alexander Green Murray, Sr. of Nova Scotia, and Rhoda Melton of Georgia. They had ten children: Wesley Newell (of which I am descended), Oscar Alexander Cantrell Freeman (a foster brother, who in 1876 suddenly and mysteriously disappeared mysteriously and was never heard of since), Newton Gabriel, Jasper Henry, Madison Montgomery, William Cantrell, Martha Juliet (Mattie) , Mary Catherine (Mollie), David Bailey, and Samuel Rutherford Freeman.
I have met a few descendants from our lineage from different branches, and it is common legend and/or rumor that Gabriel was of Jewish descent, that his beginnings in America did begin in New England, and that one or more of the children attributed to him and Lucy are cousins. Several Freeman descendants feel so strongly the connection to Judaism that they have actually gone (back) to this religion.
To date, I have documented approximately 380 descendants of Gabriel and Lucy. There may possibly be at least as many that we have yet to discover. And, maybe someone, somewhere, someday, will actually show up with some physical evidence of Gabriel and Lucy's ancestors or the story of their life and history, and solve our mystery.
My assumption that Gabriel is related to other Georgia Freemans of that time is based loosely on the names of his descendents also, William, Gabriel, John, Josiah, Jasper, Newton, Nancy, etc., since children back then almost always carried on the names of their parents, grandparents, and/or other respected relatives.
(C)1998-2005 Alan C