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Chowning Family HistoryFrom information submitted by Janis Freeman.

Richard CHOWNING was the head of the Chowning family that came to Jersey County IL. He obtained Land Patents from the Government in Ruyle Township, Sec. 19 on 25 Oct 1834 as well as later acquiring patents in 1835, 1839 & 1841, all in Ruyle township with exception of 1839 which was Sec. 24, Jersey North Township.

Family lore states that Richard and his family moved around because they were Native American Indians and were following the Trail of Tears, coming to Illinois via an underground railroad for Indians. This story has been passed down through family members, although to date it has not been proven.

Richard was born before 1805 in VA or TN and died before 1850 in Denton Co., TX, drowning in the “Little Elm” Fork of the Trinity River, after having been awarded a certificate of land in that region.

Children of Richard were Robert M.; Samuel; Damarus Ester and James William Chowning.

Robert M. CHOWNING was born 1805, died in 1851 in Denton Co., TX. He married Susanah MORRIS 18 July 1834 in Greene Co., IL. Their children were: Andrew Johnson born 1837 Greene Co., IL and died 27 Dec 1923 in Lewisville, TX; Richard A. born 1843 TX; William H. born 1846 TX; George M. born 1850 Dallas Co. TX.

Samuel CHOWNING was born bet 1810-1814. Samuel is included in the Land Patents in Jersey North Township as having bought land in Sec. 26 in 1835, Sec. 24 in 1839. He married Rebecca HIGGINS in IL, daughter of Philoman and Phoebe HIGGINS. They had children: Martha, born IL; Jaspor William born 1839 IL; P. born 1843 TX, married Sarah SPENCER 1861 in TX; and Uriah John born 26 Aug 1843 in Jersey County, IL, died 17 Jan 1896 Garza, Denton Co., TX.

Damarius Ester CHOWNING was born 1812 in IL or TN and died 1880. She married William H. MORRIS 26 March 1839 in Greene County, IL. William was the son of Thomas Morris and Sally KANE. They are referenced as having 8 children, 7 from Damarius first marriage and 1 from the second. Names of the children and other spouse are unknown.

James William CHOWNING was born 16 February 1818 and died 29 May 1900 in Cundiff, TX. He was one of the Early Land Patentees in Jersey County, having purchased land in Sec. 24, Jersey North Township in 1839 and also in Sec. 2, Richwood Township in 1840. He married Nancy MYERS 31 December 1835 in Greene Co. IL. Nancy was the daughter of David Myers and Letitia REDDISH. Second marriage was to Mary Mathilda KELLY. Children of James & Nancy were: Martin born ca1839 IL, died 1895 Cundiff, TX; Mary Jane born ca1842; Emilene (Emily) born 1846 TX; Sarah Aradean born ca 1849 TX; Clarinda born aft 1850; Albert J. born 1853; William Alexander born 1855 Alton, TX, died 1953 TX, married Nancy Ann Elizabeth LOYD; David born 1859; Adolphus Fred, born 1859. David and Adolphus were twins and died between 1860-1861. The REDDISH family and David MYERS also were early land patentees in Fidelity Township. James & Nancy MYERS CHOWNING went to Fannin County, TX in 1845 with several of the MYERS clan.

More information on these families may be obtained by contacting Janis Freeman, [email protected]

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