THE HAMRICKS OF GWINNETT
1731 TO 2002
The Hamricks are of German descent, yet in their veins today flows blood of many nationalities, such as Irish, English, Scotch and French. The Hamricks of today have been likened to the children of Israel of Biblical times. They are like the sands of the sea and cannot be numbered. We are in every state in the Union, and have many different occupations: such as, merchants, farmers, attorneys, policemen, doctors and ministers.
HAMRICK is a variant spelling of the old German name HAIMIRCH compounded of HAIMI “home, house” and RICJA “rule”. It is generally translated as “ruler of the house” when bestowed on a new son.
In modern German, it is HEINRICH, HEINE, and HEINZ. In Dutch, it is HENDRICK. The old German spelling persists in England as HAMBRICK and HAMRICK in areas.
Hans George Hamrick journeyed down the Rhine to Rotterdam, a journey which started in May 1731 and ended in October 1731. The Rhine boats had to pass twenty-six custom houses where the ships were examined and was done only when it was convenient with the custom house officials.
The ships, with passengers aboard, were detained for long periods of time making the passengers spend a large part of their savings. The trip down the Rhine took five to six weeks and was detained in Holland for another five or six weeks. Necessities were very expensive in Holland, therefore the poor people had to spend practically all of the balance of their savings.
In England there was another two week delay and then the real misery begins with the long voyage. With good weather it took approximately ten to twelve weeks to reach port in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In early 1731 transportation was arranged and the ship “SNOW LOWTHER” landed at the port in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 14, 1731. Hans George Hamrick was one of the immigrants who stepped off the ship that day.
When George left Germany he was an officer under the Kaiser. He was an examiner of passports for those going across the ocean. The French armies invaded this region and laid waste to everything with fire and sword.
Many of the inhabitants, more especially the Protestants, suffered much and this caused them to flee to Holland for protection. George was a Primitive or Hardshell Baptist.
While in the Netherlands some of these people accepted a general invitation to settle in the English Colonies in America.
George may have been the only Hamrick who came from the Old Country, as there seems to be no other Hamricks on record in the early days of America.
He made his home in Germantown, Pennsylvania and shortly thereafter he met and married Nancy Cook. He and Nancy had 24 children. There is no indication that either was married more than once.
In the years following, some of the children moved to Virginia and eventually to Tryon County, North Carolina (now named Cleveland County). Many Hamricks are still residing in Shelby, North Carolina; Gaffney, South Carolina and all parts of the Carolinas.
When the Hamricks began to move South from Pennsylvania, they moved in what was known as a slide or sled. As the approached a river they had to stop and make canoes from large trees to transport children and their possessions across the river. We can only assume that their food supply was short and some was probably fish and small animals they hunted alone the way.
One of George and Nancy’s sons, Benjamin, brought all his family with them to Georgia and Alabama in 1830.
Five families spelling their name HAMBRICK and one spelling it HAMRICK were living in North Carolina prior to 1790. We have traced our ancestry back to North Carolina and the one family with the spelling of HAMRICK may have been our ancestors.
The Hamricks we are interested in are three families that migrated from North Carolina through South Carolina to Georgia in 1832 and settled in Cobb County in 1840. Gwinnett County was created in 1818; Dekalb County in 1822; Cobb County in 1832 when the Creeks and Cherokee Indians moved out and the State took over in 1836.
The federal government began taking a census of the people in 1790. For fifty years only the head of the house was listed by name. All the others were counted as so many males and females between certain ages. Beginning in 1850 all persons were listed by name, sex and age.
We believe these two people are our great-great-great grandparents. Amiriah Hamrick, born in South Carolina in 1780 and Sarah Hamrick, born in South Carolina in 1781. The aforementioned two could be the parents of Thomas B. Hamrick, our great-great grandfather.
Thomas B. Hamrick was born January 1, 1802 in Cleveland County, North Carolina. His first wife’s name was Frances and they were married in 1825. Thomas was listed as a laborer. His second wife was Essa Youdoxia and they were married in or about 1844. We have a record of 13 children being born in these two marriages. Some of the older children were born in Gwinnett County.
Thomas lived in Cobb County for awhile and later moved to Dade County, Georgia and then to Sequatchee County, Tennessee. He was married the third time to Mary Ann and they had a number of children. Thomas died in 1874 leaving a one year old son. Mary Ann died in 1897 in Whitwell, Tennessee.
In later years, descendants of Thomas B. Hamrick were to be found all over the Southeast. So ends the story of Thomas B. Hamrick.
James R. Hamrick was the fourth child of Thomas and Frances. James was born on December 27, 1832, most likely in the Pinckneyville District of Gwinnett County.
When his father moved to North Georgia from Cobb County, James apparently stayed behind with his sister Sarah Hamrick Ray and her husband John W. Ray. On September 18, 1859 he married Missouria Ray, a sister of his brother-in-law.
James and Missouria’s first child, a son, was born on September 7, 1860. They named him William Newton Hamrick. Imagine their happiness! They were looking forward to a long life, with a home and a farm of their own. Fate ruled otherwise, and surely they sensed trouble ahead, with everyone talking of war.
James and his brother-in-law John W. Ray enlisted in Company K, 36th Georgia Infantry, on May 13, 1862 for the duration of the Civil War. This Company was organized in Gwinnett County and was mustered in on May 14, 1862. They participated in the Tennessee and Vicksburg, Mississippi campaign. Vicksburg was surrounded by the Yankees commanded by General Grant. Vicksburg surrendered on July 4, 1863
James, upon signing an oath of allegiance to the United States of America, was paroled home. He immediately rejoined the Confederate Army and was killed in the battle of Jonesboro, Georgia. He is buried in a Soldiers grave at Jonesboro Cemetery.
We can only surmise the circumstances whether Missouria died of childbirth or other causes and if she died before or after James went off to war.
James R. Hamrick
William Newton (Will) Hamrick, born September 7, 1860, was the orphan son of James R. Hamrick and Missouria Ray Hamrick. He was born in Gwinnett County, Georgia and died August 24, 1927.
William Newton married Sarah Juliana Warbington, born January 18, 1859 and died May 2, 1924. They were married in Gwinnett County on June 17, 1878 and had eight children, two daughters and six sons. They eventually moved into the farming community of Warsaw.
William Newton and Sarah are buried in Warsaw Cemetery.
Virgil Vinson (Pap) Hamrick was born the fourth child to Will and Sarah on June 1, 1887. He married Janie Catherine Smith in 1909. Janie was born on February 12, 1893 to Benjamin Franklin Smith and Elizabeth Jane (Liza Jane) Langley.
Virgil and Janie were born in Gwinnett County and settled in Old Milton County in the Warsaw community. Their home was located just across the Chattahoochee River near Duluth. There they raised fifteen children – six sins and nine daughters.
The Children and grandchildren of Pap and Janie are as follows:
Children: Junior (Deceased) and Henry Virgil (Deceased)
Children: Royce, Barbara, Peggy, and Linda
Pete (Emmie Lou)
Children: Mary Tom
Children: Brenda and Philip
Children: Sharon (Deceased), Doug, Frank (Deceased), and Ken
Children: Jean and Larry
Children: Joyce, Ann, Janice, Cindy and Jeff
Guy Augustus “Gus” (Deceased)
Children: Harry and Karen
Children: Wayne and Eric
Children: William (Billy) III and Chuck
Children: Allen and Kerry
The majority of these children and grandchildren reside in Gwinnett County, and some work in the area.
Pap died May 30, 1945 and was buried on June 1, 1945. Janie died in November, 1944. They are buried in Warsaw Cemetery.
Top Row, left to right: Howell, Daniel, Dewitt
Second Row: Virgie, Chestine, Pete, Ozella
Third Row: Lois, Guy, Bud, Elton
Bottom Row: Martha Jo, Annette, Jeannette, William
The above picture of Pap and Janie’s fifteen children was photographed about 1939. There are no smiles in this picture, maybe a sign of the times or the photographer may not have wanted them to smile in this picture.
The Depression years were hard on everyone. Franklin Roosevelt called for a “new deal” for the American people. He promised to balance the budget, bring relief to the unemployed, help the farmers and end prohibition.
History tells us that President Roosevelt did exactly as he promised, and this helped to make our great nation even greater.
I, William Newton (Bill) Hamrick, II, was born in 1933 and can remember a little about the depression. I remember that most of the boys I went to school with had double or triple patches on their overalls and most of the children brought their lunches, some just had biscuits with fried potatoes or a baked sweet potato. So I just thought the depression years were a normal way of life.
Living on a farm and being one of the younger children, I didn’t realize the extent of what our country was going through, especially with people being out of jobs. This was a very bad time in the history of our country, with many people starving. If it had not been for those who had sharing with those who did not have, the depression could have been much worse.
Throughout the depression our large family never went hungry, as we were farmers and grew everything we needed to sustain life.
While we are still on the subject of the Hamricks, we would like to mention Pap’s brother that everyone called Dugan. He was the most friendly man I have ever known. Everyone loved Uncle Dugan. He always grinned, even in hard times. He was married to Aunt Wessie, who was our Mother’s sister and Uncle Dugan was Daddy’s brother. He was a big man, with a ruddy complexion and loved to go barefoot – some folks thought he was an Indian.
A special memory of Uncle Dugan’s dog, named “Drum”, was once when our Mother cooked a big pan of biscuits for our noon time meal and when they were done, she placed them on the oven door of the wood cooking stove. Along came “Drum” into the kitchen, while the biscuits were cooling, and proceeded to have a feast. He ate all of the biscuits and then turned around and bit out little sister, Martha Jo. Daddy got his rifle and started up the road toward Uncle Dugan’s house saying “I’m going to shoot that dog”. We don’t know if he was mad about the biscuits or “Drum” biting Martha Jo.
Uncle Dugan changes his name from Ellemander Marion to Mander Marion because he didn’t like his first name. Some of his grandchildren still live in Gwinnett County in the Duluth area. Matt and Mose were two of his sons.
The aforementioned takes care of the Gwinnett Hamricks.
Lindsey J. Smith, our great grandfather on our Mother’s side of the family, marries Martha in 1845. Lindsey and Martha had nine children, five boys and four girls.
Lindsey enlisted in the Confederate Army on August 11, 1861 as a Private in Company H, 16th Regiment Georgia Infantry. He was captured at Front Royal, Virginia on August 16, 1864. The roll of prisoners of war listed Lindsey Smith as captured by General Sheridan. He was sent to Washington, D.C. at Old Capital Prison and later to Ft. Delaware, Delaware during the month of August 1864. He was sent to Elmira, New York on August 29, 1864 and stayed there until his release on June 21, 1865.
An article was published in a Gwinnett County paper, on or about July 20, 1901, about our great Granddaddy, Lindsey J. Smith which reads as follows:
“Last Monday afternoon Uncle Lindsey Smith bid farewell to friends on earth and his soul departed for Heaven. Mr. Smith led a pure, perfect and spotless life. He will not only be missed by his family, but all the community will participate in mourning his loss, especially the Baptist Church of Snellville.”
Also in the Gwinnett County paper is an article entitled “TRIBUTE IF RESPECT”.
“One of the sad duties and privileges in life is writing a tribute to a dead brother; especially to one who was so much loved as brother Lindsey Smith. A father is gone from the young people and children of our community. He was faithful and wise counselor – a father indeed.
His goodness of heart and greatness of soul makes it difficult to have his sphere filled.
Brother Smith was born in the year 1814 and died July 15, 1901. He united with the Baptist Church in 1846. Without a spot or blemish upon his character he lived a devoted, useful Christian life. Most certainly to know Brother Smith was to love him.
His Christian life was vividly impressed upon the world as that of nobleness and pureness. His influence for good was as widely known as his name. His daily talk was of the love of Christ and goodness of God. Like Daniel of old, he bowed in prayer to Almighty God three times a day.
In the death of Brother Smith, the wife loses an affectionate husband, the children a devoted father, and the Church a loving Brother. But our loss is his eternal gain.”
The above article was written by a committee from his Church to be published in the News Herald.
In a widow’s affidavit, dated February 16, 1902, Martha stated that she was 85 years old and had rheumatism. She stated that she was almost helpless, not able to do anything, could not even feed herself.
On November 14, 1902, their daughter Matilda said “under oath” that her Mother and Father were married for over 50 years. She was trying to help her Mother get a government pension.
Benjamin Franklin Smith, son of Lindsey J. and Martha Smith, married Elizabeth Jane Langley (Liza Jane). Liza Jane was born August 16, 1864. They had fourteen children and lived in Old Milton County. Following are the names of their children: Lou, Alice, Janie, Wessie, Elton, Dollie, Ruby, Nina, Bob, Doc, Howard, and Virgil.
Bob Smith was born October 6, 1889. He met and married Mary Lawson and they had one son, Russell. Mary died and Russell went to live with his grandparents in Lilburn.
Bob later married Mary Langston, born July 26, 1895. Russell came back to live with his Dad and Mary Langston Smith. He was the older brother to the children that would come later. Mary and Bob had three daughters and three sons. These four sons formed a Gospel Quartet known as the “Relatives”. They visited many churches in the Atlanta area to sing as they had a very good quartet.
We can’t close this story without Ellemander Warbington being mentioned. He and his wife, Patience Waits, came from South Carolina to Jasper County, Georgia before 1814. This was his first wife. The 1830 census stated they had eight children, two boys and six girls. They moved to a farm in Gwinnett and Dekalb counties.
Ellemander served in the war of 1812. The war had been in progress for three years when he decided to volunteer. He walked from Newton County, Georgia to Hawkinsville, Georgia to enlist. He organized a Battalion there and marched to Fort Mitchell, Alabama. He served May through August 1814.
He came home on furlough and the war ended while he was at home. He had they nickname of “Major”, but it was apparently not an official title.
Ellemander was married three times and did not have any children by Nancy Musgrove nor by Piety Reeves
Ellemander and Patience are buried in Harmony Cemetery in Norcross, Georgia.
There are many Warbingtons throughout the Metro-Atlanta area, all over the state of Georgia and elsewhere.
A Special thanks to my wife, Barbara Marchman Hamrick
For the many hours spent assisting me with this story