Descendants of Alexander Carnes I

(The names of our ancestors are highlighted in red)

The information on Alexander Carnes I and Alexander Carnes II in this section has been copied, with some editing, from "Memoir of William D. Carnes" by Joseph Malcolm Carnes, combined with the genealogy of "The Carnes Family" by William W. Carnes. Joseph Malcolm was the son of William D. Carnes. Their combined works were published by G.L. Carnes, Beaumont, Texas, 1926.

The name in Scotland was Cairns, the family being of the gentry class. Some of them went to the north of Ireland, and their descendants there have borne the names Cairnes, Carnes, and Carn.

There are two branches of the Carnes family in the United States. One originally came to Massachusetts and the other to Maryland. It is claimed by the Massachusetts branch that their original ancestors here came from Scotland with the name Cairns, and later some of the descendants changed the original name to Cairnes and Carnes. It is known that one family of the original name had its start from Boston, Mass. Members of this branch of the family are now to be found in many states, Some went to New Hampshire and descendants of that family are in Ohio and other western states. Direct descendants of the Boston ancestor are in California and elsewhere.

It is a tradition of the Maryland branch that a family of three brothers and one sister came to Baltimore from Ireland. Thus they were perhaps among the thousands of immigrants from Ireland arriving in the early 18th century who came to be known as Scotch-Irish.

A number of those in the Carnes family from the Maryland branch who served in the Continental army during the Revolutionary War went to North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, and very many descendants of both the male and female sides of the family are now living in the three states above named and in Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida.


Generation No. 1


1. Alexander Carnes I1 was born Abt. 1750 in Baltimore, Md. He married Unknown.

Tradition states that the first Alexander Carnes, date of birth unknown, was of the family who came to Baltimore from Ireland. He served in the Continental Army in Virginia during the Revolutionary War. There is reliable verbal evidence that on one occasion a band of Tories came to his home and tried to force his wife to tell where they would find him, he being at home on furlough; that when she refused they hung her to a beam in the "loom room" where she was supervising negro women weaving cloth. She would have died if not cut down and revived by the negroes. Afterwards, Alexander Carnes and his family moved to North Carolina where he owned lands in Rowan County and Mecklenberg County.

  Children of Alexander Carnes and Unknown are:




Alexander Carnes II2, born Abt. 1770 in Mecklenberg, NC; died 1810 in Charleston, SC.




David Brown Carnes, born May 18, 1788 in Mecklenberg, NC; died Abt. 1830.


Generation No. 2


2. Alexander Carnes II2 (Alexander I1) was born Abt. 1770 in Mecklenberg, NC, and died 1810 in Charleston, SC. He married Mary Davis.

The second Alexander Carnes, son of the first one, went to Lancaster District in South Carolina. In 1804, he married Mary Davis, a cousin of John C. Calhoun. They had three children; one daughter who died in infancy, and two sons, William Davis Carnes, born 1805, and Alexander Brown Carnes, born 1809. During her last years, Mary Davis Carnes sometimes talked of her early life to her grandchildren; among the incidents she narrated was a conversation between her mother and a Tory neighbor just before the battle of King's Mountain. He told her of the approach of the British army commanded by Lord Cornwallis and urged her to send for her husband, who was with the Continentals at Charlotte, and persuade him to take the oath of allegiance to King George, assuring her that this was the only way to save any of their property and perhaps also their lives. Mrs. Davis replied that she could not, and would not if she could, persuade her husband to desert. A few days later they heard the guns of the battle of King's Mountain and during the next night the husband and father came home bringing to his anxious family the joyful news of the glorious victory.

The first home of Alexander and Mary Davis Carnes was in the valley of Waxhaw Creek, in Lancaster District, South Carolina. Though in another state, it was only a few miles from the place of their nativity, both being near the interstate boundary. Alexander Carnes was a merchant and planter, operating his farm in connection with his mercantile business, which included trading in livestock, especially horses and mules, and other marketable farm products. Both husband and wife were orthodox Presbyterians of the "old school" and their children were christened in infancy.

In 1809 they emigrated to Tennessee and located at McMinnville, seat of justice of the recently organized county of Warren. Alexander Carnes was the pioneer merchant of McMinnville, his store being the first to open for business. He also made considerable investments in town lots and acreage in the vicinity.

As soon as he had gotten his family comfortably settled in their new home and his mercantile business underway, he returned to his former home to collect debts and wind up the loose ends of his business. Money being scarce, he received in payment on debts a number of horses and mules, which he drove down to the coast country and sold to cotton and rice planters, receiving in payment drafts on their commission merchants in Charleston, S.C. While in that city collecting these drafts he was found dead, lying on a bed in his room in a hotel with a bullet in his brain and an empty pistol by his side. The verdict of the coroner's jury was suicide. But his money, of which he was supposed to have quite a large sum, was not found, so there was ground for belief that he was murdered and robbed.

After receiving notification of her husband's death, Mary Davis Carnes, with the assistance of her brother, John Davis, who was appointed guardian of the children, sold the mercantile business and the real estate at McMinnville and removed to Milton, a small village in Rutherford County, where she had friends.

The estate of Alexander Carnes after all debts were paid amounted to about forty thousand dollars. The widow received as dower one third. John Davis, as guardian, took possession of the other two thirds and returned to his home in Mecklenberg County, North Carolina, promising to invest it so that it would increase in value against the time when the boys attained their majority. Mrs. Carnes bought a small farm near Milton and resided there until her sons made homes for themselves. When her younger son, Alexander Brown Carnes, married she sold the farm, divided her property equally between them and thereafter lived alternately with each as a member of the family. She died in 1851 at the home of her elder son, William, who was then President of Burritt College at Spencer, Tennessee.

Hers was the first death scene witnessed by the writer of this memoir (Joseph Malcolm Carnes), who was then in his tenth year. Since then he has seen death in many forms and a great variety of circumstances, but never another exit from earthly life so calm,so peaceful, so beautiful. The spectators were her two sons, the entire family of her elder son, her brother, John Davis, the pastor of the church where ther family worshipped and some of the neighbors. Though she was in bed several days she complained only of feeling tired and said repeatedly that she felt no pain. It seemed that gradually pari passu, the vital organs ceased to function and without a struggle or a groan the spirit passed.

  Children of Alexander Carnes and Mary Davis are:




William Davis3 Carnes, born October 23, 1805 in Lancaster, SC; died November 26, 1879 in Spencer, TN.




Alexander Brown Carnes, born 1809.


Generation No. 3


4. William Davis3 Carnes (Alexander II2, Alexander I1) was born October 23, 1805 in Lancaster, SC, and died November 26, 1879 in Spencer, TN. He married Elizabeth Amanda Billingsley June 01, 1825 in Pikeville, TN, daughter of Samuel Billingsley and Nancy Mulkey. For other ancestors of Elizabeth Billingsley, switch to the Billingsley line. Switch here to read a biography of W.D.Carnes by his grandson, William Walter Hill.

  Children of William Carnes and Elizabeth Billingsley are:




Mary4 Carnes, born May 04, 1827 in Bledsoe, TN; died December 09, 1901 in Whitwell, TN.




Campbell Carnes, born 1829 in Bledsoe Co., TN; died 1922 in Dallas, TX.




Amanda Carnes, born 1831; died Abt. 1860.




Alva Carnes, born 1833; died 1839.




Erasmus Carnes, born August 07, 1836; died July 25, 1882 in Spencer, TN. He married Ellen Isabell Hill.




Joseph Malcolm Carnes, born 1843 in TN; died January 28, 1928 in Beaumont, TX.




William Davis Jr. Carnes, born 1846.




Annette Carnes, born 1848 in Pikeville, TN; died Aft. 1930.


Generation No. 4


6. Mary4 Carnes (William Davis3, Alexander II2, Alexander I1) was born May 04, 1827 in Bledsoe, TN, and died December 09, 1901 in Whitwell, TN. She married (1) William Jasper Hill July 22, 1854 in Spencer, TN, son of Winkfield Hill and Patsy Anderson. She married (2) Massey Hill on November 22, 1867. To read the love letters exchanged between Mary Carnes and William Hill, written from the beginning of their courtship in 1854 until William's death in 1862, switch to love letters.


  For the children of Mary Carnes and William Hill, switch to the Hill Line.


8. Amanda4 Carnes (William Davis3, Alexander II2, Alexander I1) was born 1831, and died Abt. 1860. She married George Rogers.

  Child of Amanda Carnes and George Rogers is:




Ida5 Rogers, born April 1858 in Pikeville, TN; died Abt. 1880 in TN.


Generation No. 5


19. Ida5 Rogers (Amanda4 Carnes, William Davis3, Alexander II2, Alexander I1) was born April 1858 in Pikeville, TN, and died Abt. 1880 in TN. She married James Cope.

  Child of Ida Rogers and James Cope is:




Rogers6 Cope, born Abt. 1880 in White Co., TN.


Generation No. 6


38. Rogers6 Cope (Ida5 Rogers, Amanda4 Carnes, William Davis3, Alexander II2, Alexander I1) was born Abt. 1880 in White Co., TN. He married Dora Breeding.

  Children of Rogers Cope and Dora Breeding are:




Quill7 Cope, born Abt. 1915




James Cope, born Abt. 1920 in White Co., TN.




Mary Hill Cope, born Abt. 1925 in White Co., TN.


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