My paternal grandfather, Major Joseph Dinwiddie,
lived to be a very old man. He died at eighty-seven. When I was a young
man I talked with him about these matters; and, as it happened, made a
few notes of the conversation, the benefit of which I give you tonight.
He said that my great grandfather's father came from Ireland. He was on
the Scotch Irish. He settled in Pennsylvania, where my great grandfather
William Dinwiddie was born. This William Dinwiddie married a Hunter, who,
it is thought was related tot he Hunters now living in Appomattox, Va.,
and afterward removed to this county, Campbell, Va., where my grandfather
who furnished this information, was born. He was named Joseph Dinwiddie,
after Joseph Hunter, his maternal uncle. My grandfather remembered the
change of spelling from Dunwoody to Dinwiddie. I am not sure that he did
not begin it. It seems to me I have heard him speak of making the change,
saying that he made it because he had been told that Dinwiddie is the correct
A biographical sketch of Rev. Samuel Prter states that he came to this country in 1783, a young man, though with a wife and family, and in destitute circumstances. The first winter after his arrival was spent near Mercersburg, Franklin Co., Pa., with a cousin, who was also in limited circumstances. Among those who befriended him was a Mr. Dunwoody, father of Mr. David Dunwoody, who was a venerable elder in the Church at Mercersburg at the date of the sketch, 1850.
Inquiries at Mercersburg brought a letter from Miss Jennie D. Boyd, whose mother had been raised in the family of David Dunwoody, who left no children. Teh following record was from the family Bible:
David Dunwoody, son of William Dunwoody, was born January 29, 1771. David Dunwoody and Jane Van Lear were married on the 6 day of December 1798. Mrs. Jane Dunwoody died March 5, 1853. David Dunwoody died September 8, 1856, in the 86th year of his age.
Thomas P. Bard, of Baltimore, MD., whose wife is a niece of Mrs. Jane Dunwoody, writes (Feb. r, 1884) that he was born and raised about two miles from the adjoining farms of David Dunwoody and his older brother Joseph, which he thinks they inherited from their father. There were two other brothers who settled in Tennessee near to General Jackson's home, Hermitage. Joseph and a sister lived together, unmarried. T.P.B. also writes: " I have an impression of all the Dunwoodys were wool dyed, blue stocking, Presbyterians. Perhaps I judge so from what I knew of David. He was not only a very superior man in all respects, but he was a superior elder & a superior pillar in the church.
The records of the Church being kindly examined by the present pastor throw no further light on the family. There is mention of the death of William Dunwoody, who was killed at Crooked Billet, May 1, 1778. This doubtless occurred in an attack by a detachment of British soldiers sent out from Philadelphia by Gen. How. The place is now called Hatboro, Montgomery county, Pa. This William, however, could not have been the father of David who was living in 1783.
J.H. Dinwiddie, of Newbern, Iowa, writes (June 22, 1884):
Your favor of the 16th inst. is received and contents noted. I thing the name Dunwoody is only pervertion of the real name: the correct orthography of our name is Dinwiddie. My great-grandfather William Dinwiddie and a brother David, and perhaps another brother, came from Ireland about 150 years ago. My great-grandfather settled near Mercersburg, Pa., and lived and died there. He raised seven sons, John, William, Adam, Samuel, James, Joseph, and David. The four oldest were in the Revolutionary War. William killed in battle; after the close of the war John, the oldest moved to North Carolina; his brothers Adam and Samuel moved to Green County, Tennessee. My grandfather, James Dinwiddie, at that date was quite a young man, who succeeded in getting a large contract of surveying in North Carolina, where he spent several years in that business in a district of country know to this day as "Dinwiddie's Survey." He was married to Jane Robinson in 1788 or 1789. She was a native of North Carolina, and about the year 1790 he bought a farm near Rheatown, Green County, Tennessee, My grandfather was born October 25th 1794; died September 18th, 1872. Father had two brothers; his oldest brother John died in Kentucky about thirty years ago. His youngest brother James H. Dinwiddie, who was born in year 1800, was living a short time ago on the farm his father bought in Green County, Tennessee, more than ninety years ago. My grandfather's brother Adam died in Green County, Tennessee, long before my time, and after his sons were all of age they sold their estate and started to Ohio. Since then we know nothing of them. His brother Samuel died in Green County, Tennessee, leaving four sons, whose descendents, I believe, all live in East Tennessee. His brother Joseph Dinwiddie, near Mercersburg, Pa., when quite a young man. His brother David died near Mercersburg when quite an old man, without children. He willed my father a small legacy. There was one James Dinwiddie one lived in Green County, Tennessee, who, I believe, was a cousin of my grandfather's, but either died or left the county before I was born. Our information is that there is but one family of the name in the United States. As before mentioned, my ancestors were from the north of Ireland and Presbyterian in religion. You speak of Mrs. Blakely, whose maiden name was Dinwiddie, living near Pendleton, Indiana. I have a niece living near Pendleton, whose maiden name was Dinwiddie. Her mother's maiden name was Blakely, her husbands name is Nibargar, who is perhaps the lady referred to. There was any years ago one Harvey Dinwiddie lived near Falmouth, Rush County, Indiana, who my father after some invetigation, (found) had descended from the same family. There is Dr. Dinwiddie in Oxford, Johnson County, Iowa, but I have not been able to make his acquaintance. I have recently heard of a family of Dinwiddies at Columbia, Boone County, Missouri. I wish if it is in your power to put (me) on the track to get a copy of old uncle David Dinwiddie's father's family record, and will compensate you for your trouble. My name in full is James Hill Dinwiddie. I was born in Blount County, Tennesse, April 11th 1825. Any further information you may desire of will be forth coming when ever you call my attention. Please write me promptly; give me the initials and post office address you may here of hereafter.
J. H. Dinwiddie