OSU

Cross and Allied Families Genealogy Including:

Apperson, Browning, Green, Kerr, Moss, Sellers, Ward, and Westray

by
Walt Cross


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The 5th Edition of "Cross Family Migration" and the two volume series "A Family History of the Civil War" has been published. If you are interested in these publications click here.


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Family Surnames



Ad Crucem

Genealogy is a bit like archeology, so lets get down to the bones. The following information consists of the family surname and the migration of each family beginning with the latest known geographic location and proceeding to earliest known. For example the Cross family has been traced back to London, England. The date at the end of each family line is the earliest documented date for that family.

  • Apperson Family Data - Payne Co. Oklahoma, Cole Co. Missouri, New Kent Co.Virginia, England 1754

  • Browning Logan County KY, York County VA, Amelia County VA, Culpepper County VA, London, England 1586

  • Cross Family Data - Payne Co. Oklahoma, Logan & Monroe Co. Kentucky, Clay & Sullivan Co. Tennessee, Baltimore Co. Maryland, London, England 1685

  • Green Family Data - Jackson, Clay and Macon Counties, Tennessee 1820

  • Kerr Family Data - Surry County, North Carolina, New Kent County, Virginia, Selkirk Scotland 1330

  • Moss Family Data - Payne Co. Oklahoma, Logan Co. Kentucky, Wilson Co. Tennessee, Virginia, England 1754

  • Sellers Family Data Bell Co. TX, Maury Co. TN, Lewis Co. TN, North Carolina, VA 1810

  • Ward Family Data - Payne Co. Oklahoma, Cole Co.Missouri, Green Co. Kentucky, Amelia Co. Virginia, England 1632

  • Westray Family Data - Logan Co. Kentucky 1810


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    Apperson: Family tradition holds that the Apperson (var. Epperson) family came to America in 1648 from England. The name is probably Scandinavian in origin and means "son of Apper, or Epper". A possible English origin of the name is derived from the word apps, a locale name referring to a family who lived near aspen trees. The English Civil War, fought from 1642 to 1651 may have been the motivating factor in their immigration to the New World. An entire family of Appersons consisting of a man, his wife, and three sons left Merry Old England in 1648. The parents died during the sea voyage and were buried at sea. The sons arrived in York County, Virginia. The part of the county where they resided eventually became New Kent County. The three brothers were William, John, and Richard.

    The records of New Kent County parish lists one William Apperson, "...a poor lad, who comes to us with a sore leg." There is still Apperson family in New Kent County, Virginia today. Volume twenty four of the "National Encyclopedia of Biography" states that John Apperson, born in Wales, settled in Virginia in 1648. My branch of the Apperson family is descended from John. John's grandson, William, was a continental soldier in the American Revolution. His service record shows he served at the battles of New York City, White Plains (New York), Monmouth, Brandywine, and Germantown. William lived his life in Surry, North Carolina. In June of 1781 William married Elizabeth Kerr, great grand daughter of the Laird of Graden in Selkirk, Scotland. Her grandfather, Alexander Kerr, son of the Laird, backed the wrong side during the Scottish uprising of 1715 and had fled Scotland for the Virginia Colony. The history of this Scottish noble family is long (see Kerr). William prospered with his tobacco plantation and the family joined the congregation of the Primitive Baptist Church. William and Elizabeth had thirteen children. William was a seventh son, and when Alexander was born, also a seventh son, he was designated "Doctor", for the 7th son of a 7th son had special meaning. Doctor Alexander Apperson is my ancestor. Alexander was named after his great grandfather Alexander Kerr. Alexander's brothers received the bulk of William's estate upon his death, leaving Alexander little choice but move on. Alexander lived in various locations in both the Tennessee and Kain-tuck (Kentucky) territories. But he really didn't settle until he took his family to Missouri. They lived and farmed near California, Missouri. Here the family lived and thrived until William Martelis Apperson, great grandson of Doctor Alexander, married Nancy Ward (see Ward above) and took her to Oklahoma, eventually settling in Payne County. William Martelis is my grandfather.

    Cross: This family is an old American family with documented roots back to London, England, with indications the family came there from the village of Doncaster, West Riding, Yorkshire. Leonard and Jane Crosse (note the English "e") sent their son, John, bound in service to work for a Michael Tauney in the Maryland Colony. The year was 1685 and John was to be in service for 9 years. For the next 90 years John's descendents remained in Baltimore County, Maryland. In 1772 four Cross brothers; Abraham, Elija, William and Zachariah, left Maryland for the Valley of the Holston in Western North Carolina. Settling in what would become Sullivan County, Tennessee, they all served in the American Revolution, mainly as scouts and Indian fighters. All four raised families in Tennessee although Zachariah left early to travel to the Kain-tuck region, eventually living in Logan County, Kentucky for forty years. This move was understandable, for he had married Easter Johnston, the niece of Daniel Boone.

    Sullivan County remained the home of the Cross clan for several generations until Jefferson Cross, grandson of Abraham, took his family to Monroe County, Kentucky in 1842. There he raised his family and tobacco through the Civil War, with three of his sons; Abraham, James, and Isaac serving in the Union army. The two older boys in Company B of the 9th Kentucky Infantry, and Isaac in Company B of the 37th Kentucky Mounted Infantry. After the war the family returned to Tennesse, this time to Clay County, just across the state line from Monroe County. Abraham would later return to Kentucky and found his branch of the family, his descendents live there today, one of them named Abraham. James produced daughters and his line ended, while Isaac's son Martin would leave for the new state of Oklahoma in 1907. Martin is the progenitor of my Cross family in Oklahoma.

    Twelve Generations of Crosses

    John Crosse, English immigrant 1685, died 1730. John Cross married 1726, died 1764. William Cross married 1752, died 1770. Abraham Cross born 1752, Revolutionary soldier. William Cross born about 1777. Jefferson Cross born 1813. Isaac Cross born 1845, married 1868, died 1913 Union soldier. Martin Cross born 1870, married 1890, died 1955. Isaac "Walt" Cross born 1893, married 1914, died 1927. Earl L. Cross born 1916, married 1939, World War II soldier. Walter L. "Walt" Cross born 1949, married 1967, Vietnam War soldier. Justin Eric Cross born May 3, 1980.

    Green: In March of 1890, Martin Abraham Cross married Sarah E. Green in Clay County, Tennessee. The Justice of the Peace that married them was John Cross, and the county court clerk who signed the marriage certificate was an M.F. Green. As can be seen, both families were intimately woven into the life of the county. The 1870 census of Jackson (later Clay) county shows Sarah's folks to be Thomas J. and Nancy Green, although Sarah is listed as Sarah L. Other census records indicate the family was in Jackson county as early as 1850 and remained there until moving to Macon county prior to the 1880 census. Besides Sarah, Thomas and Nancy had a son whom the records only show as A.C. Green. Thomas' father was Thomas J. Green Sr., who served during the Civil War in Co A, 1st (McNairy's) Tennessee Cavalry Battalion (Confederate), also known as 1st West Tennessee and 1st Middle Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, a unit formed from Davidson County, Tennessee and nicknamed "The Tennessee Rangers". The 1850 census shows Thomas Sr was aged 36, his wife Nancy also aged 36. He was born in Tennessee and she in North Carolina. Their children were Polly aged 11, Lewis 10, Martha 8, John 6, Sarah 4 and Thomas the youngest at 2. Census records indicate a Thomas Green was living in Wilson County, Tennessee in 1840 along with a Thomas B. Green, possibly Thomas J. Green Sr's father. The "Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionaires" volume 4, page 1437, in a statement by William E. McElwee, speaks of a Henry P. Green whose grandfather was killed in the American Revolution. He indicates that this grandfather was a kinsman of General Nathaniel Green. A son of Henry P. Green named Thomas, was raised in Pennsylvania and later immigrated to Tennessee. This may be Thomas B. Green. Henry P. Green had 7 other sons besides Thomas, they were; William, Avory, Bluford, Theodoric, Seaton, Enoch, and Austin L. Austin married a woman with the surname of Crow, and they had three sons named Henry P., William, and Bluford along with two daughters Giney (Jenny?) who married Alex Harwell, and Lucy, who married James Suddath.


    THE KERR CLAN

    Kerr:
    In his poem "The Raid of the Kerrs" Ettrick Shepherd summed up the feelings Englishmen had toward this Scottish border clan family. The Kerrs were aye the deadliest foes that e'er to Englishmen were known, For they were all bred left handed men, and fence [defense] against them there was none. Left handedness was a decided advantage to have if you were fighting up a right curving castle stairwell, as well as fighting a right handed swordsman. Similarly, in his poem "The Reprisal", celebrating the storming of Ferniehurst Castle, Walter Laidlaw wrote So well the Kerrs their left hands ply, the dead and dying round them lie, the castle gained, the battle won, Revenge and slaughter are begun. The clan chief at the time of the storming of Ferniehurst was Sir John Kerr. After the battle he and his men played handball with the severed heads of their enemies. A game known as "Jedburgh Ba'" and based on this ancient and gory victory is played today, but with leather balls as substitutes for English heads. Bodmer and McKie in The Book of Man (1994), begin their treatise on the human genome project, by speaking extensively about the Kerr's propensity for left handedness. The history of this family is replete with revenge, bloodshed, and family honor. The family claims Norman descent, and John Kerr, the hunter of Swinhope, was the first to bear the family name. He is a contemporary of King William the Lion (1166). Two brothers, John and Ralph Kerr settled near Jedburgh in 1330. These two men founded the great branches of the family. Ralph's line became the Marquesses of Lothian, while John's rose to the Dukedom of Roxburgh. At different times both lines held the title Warden of the Middle March which consisted of the border area between England and Scotland. Although the line of descent is somewhat muddied, it appears my ancestors descend from John. A 1573 listing of the Kerrs shows them the Lairds of Cessforth, Fernyherst (Ferniehurst), Grenehead (also known as Greneheid), Greyden (Graden),Gaitschaw, Fadounsyde, Cavers, Linton, and Ancrum. The Kerrs were fierce enemies of the English and were known by many names such as riding clans, foraying clans, dalesmen, marchmen, borderers and mosstroopers. In a phrase, they were robber barons. The Kerrs became allied to my family when William Apperson married Elizabeth Kerr, great grand daughter of the Laird of Graden (see Apperson above).

    Sellers: There are two ways of spelling the surname of this family. "Sellars" is derived from "cellarer" Anglo Saxon for saltmaker, whereas "Sellers" the form this family's name takes originates in the French word "sellier" meaning a sadler of horses. This points to a possible Norman origin for this English family. In December of 1967 I married Carol Sellers and thus allied this family to mine. The earliest progenitor of this family known to me is James L. Sellers Senior who was born in Nash County, North Carolina. The family spent some time in Virginia before coming to Maury County, Tennessee about 1808. James was a reasonably well off farmer and owned 21 slaves. James Senior had two sons, James Junior and John. Carol is a descendent of John. John spent his life in Tennessee and his son James was born there in 1830. James did some wandering before he settled down, his first child, another James L. Sellers, was born in Missouri, while the rest of his children were born in Tennessee. James joined the Confederate army when the war came, serving in Company "H" of the 1st Tennessee Infantry Regiment, nicknamed the "Maury Grays". This unit was immortalized in the book "Co. Aytch" written by Sam R. Watkins. This book was quoted extensively in the PBS Series: The Civil War. It is still in print. Ironically, during the war, James was in no less than seven battles where he opposed my Cross ancestors. By war's end, only 125 men and officers had survived from among the more than three thousand that had served in the 1st Tennessee, something less than a four percent survival rate . After the war James must have found it hard to return to his home in Tennessee. He moved his family to Bell County, Texas in 1870. There the family lives today, and it was in Bell County that my wife Carol was born. Ironically, my father served at Fort Hood during his military service and I was born there, in Bell County, a scant fifteen miles from where Carol was born.

    Ward: The Wards are an extremely old American family, with a documented past back to 1632 in Virginia. The progenitor of this family, an English immigrant, was Seth Ward. This family settled in colonial Virginia and grew to prominence as tobacco plantation owners and slave holders. Plantations owned by them went by such names as Winterpock and Sheffield. Many of these early Wards became officers in the Virginia militia and served in both the French and Indian War and in the American Revolution. In 1820 William Ward took his family to Green County, Kentucky. When the Civil War began William Thomas Ward was appointed a brigadier general in the Union army and charged by President Lincoln to raise Federal troops in the border state. Thus began the major rift in the Ward family, as the Wards of Virginia and Tennessee backed the Confederacy. Eventually, the family moved on to Missouri and Oklahoma.

    Moss: In 1754 an English sailor named Thomas Moss left his ship harbored in Essex County, Virginia, and joined the colonial militia. His motivation was a desire for adventure and the lure of obtaining land in exchange for military service. He signed up as a drummer, and one month after enlistment marched off to a place called Fort Necessity under the command of a fellow named George Washington. There, he and his fellow British militia encountered a French force and catching them by surprise, captured the lot of them. A few days later the French counter attacked and forced Washington to surrender. The surrender document Washington signed contained an admission of murder, but since it was written in French, Washington had no idea what he had signed. Some historians claim this document led to the French and Indian War, which led to heavy taxation of the American Colonies,which led to the American Revolution in which the French took our part, which led to the heavy taxation of the French people, which finally resulted in the French Revolution. If this is so, then Washington and his soldiers at Fort Necessity, which included Thomas Moss, were the cause of three great wars of the eighteenth century.