Source: Clayton History Society Website
The history of the Hanley family is a rich tale that exemplifies the pioneering spirit of our ancestors as the new American citizens embraced Manifest Destiny and journeyed westward leaving the comfort of their homes to find new towns and establish new communities. It was this spirit that drove the ancestors of Cyrene Clemens Walton (1819-1894) westward and inspired Martin Franklin Hanley (1814-1879) to leave his native Virginia and venture west. While their ultimate reasons may vary, overcrowding most likely spurred the general move westward for the various families. As they migrated to a new land, they carried with them a swelling pride in their ancestral soil that also served to shape their temperaments, politics and persuasions. Although venturing into a new territory, they sought out what was familiar to them and in doing so, found each other.
Cyrene Clemens Walton, the daughter of Judge James Walton (1787-1851) and Isabella Musick (1792-1861), was born in St. Louis County, Missouri, on March 3, 1819. The ancestry of Cyrene is long and well documented with a lineage that could be traced back to before the Revolutionary War. The pride in this lineage was clearly evident by its prominence in Cyrene’s obituary printed in the St. Louis County Watchman on March 30, 1894. Referring to Cyrene, the paper states that “she was the grand niece of George Walton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and upon her mother’s side descendent of the Stuart family to which belonged Mary, Queen of Scots”. It is important to note, however, that the relationship to George Walton (1749-1804), signer of the Declaration of Independence, cannot be verified and upon close examination, was highly unlikely. Cyrene’s grandfather, William Walton (1742-1826), was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, in the year 1742. George Walton, the signer, was born several years later and also in the county of Prince Edward. While it is quite coincidental that these two men were born so close to one another, there are no records to support that they were brothers. George Walton, the signer, was the son of Robert Walton (1718-1750). Robert Walton and his wife, Mary had just one other son named John (b. 1743). Both parents died shortly after the birth of George, the signer. William Walton was born to John and Ann Walton. As William and George could not have been brothers, it is also true that George the signer could not have been the grand uncle of Cyrene Clemens Walton Hanley.
Even though Cyrene was not a direct descendent of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, her Walton ancestry was still a source of pride. As noted in her obituary, Cyrene’s grandfather, William Walton, came to St. Louis County from Virginia “bringing with him 110 slaves and large wealth of other personal property”. At the time of the arrival of the Walton family to the St. Louis area in 1792, the land was still controlled by the Spanish government. The Walton family thrived in their new surroundings. William and his wife Mary had 11 children including John (b. 1779), William (b. 1780), Nancy (b. 1781), Elizabeth (b. 1782), Jacob (b. 1784), Henry (b. 1784), Rebecca (b. 1785), James (1787-1851), Meshack (b. 1788), George (b. 1790), and Joseph (b. 1800). Several of the Walton sons remained in the area and became landowners including Cyrene’s father, James Walton. By 1822, James Walton became known as an owner of “lands and plantations”. An inventory taken at the time of his death in 1851 contains a long list of personal property including horses, cattle, hogs, furniture and slaves. James Walton willed all of his property “and possessions of every description” to his wife, Isabella.
As one of the early settlers of the St. Louis area, James Walton was joined in marriage to Isabella Musick (1792-1861), who was also part of the progeny of a pioneering family. The ancestry of this family line in America begins with the arrival of John Lewis (1640-1726) from Wales. John mentions six children in his will, the fifth being David Lewis (1685-1779). David Lewis was born in Hanover County, Virginia in 1685. With his first wife, Ann Terrell, David Lewis had 8 children named William Terrell (b. 1718), Susannah (b.1720), Sarah (1724-1800), Hannah (b. 1722), David (b. 1726), John (b. 1728), Joel (b. 1730, and Anna (b. 1733). David Lewis became one of the first to settle Albemarle County, Virginia when in 1734, he was granted land in the region. In 1746, the County Militia was organized and among its members was listed Captain David Lewis. It is unclear, however, if the County Militia list is referring to David Lewis Sr. (1685-1779) or David Lewis Jr. (b.1726). There is again confusion as to their military service record during the Revolutionary War. Official records show that David Lewis served in the Revolutionary War but again it is unclear whether father or son took up arms. Due to his advancing years, it is probable that the records reflect the service of the younger Lewis in which case, Cyrene Clemens Walton is not a direct descendant of a Revolutionary War Soldier by this ancestral line. Cyrene was descended through Sarah Lewis, third child born to David Lewis (1685-1779) and his first wife, Ann.
Sarah (Sally) Lewis married Abraham Musick (1722-1800) about the year 1745 in Albemarle County, Virginia. Abraham Musick was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia to George and Ann Musick. George was born in Wales in 1664 and came to America at a young age. George Musick had 8 children including Electious (b. circa 1718), Abraham (1722-1800) and Ephraim (1724-1806). Abraham and Sarah Musick together had 11 children. Their first-born child, Terrell Musick (1748-1832) married her first cousin Abraham Musick (1745-1820), son of Ephraim. Many members of the Musick family became battle-hardened as they were forced to fight with the Cherokee and the Shawnee tribes on the frontiers of Virginia and North Carolina.
Abraham and Sarah Musick emigrated from Virginia to the South and then to North Carolina between 1766 and 1773. In this area incorporating the Southern end of the Appalachian Mountain Chain, the Musick family was confronted by the Cherokee; the most numerous and well-armed tribe loyal to the Great Britain. During the Revolutionary War, the Cherokee attacked frontier settlements of the Americans forcing the Americans to fight not only the British but the Cherokee as well. Abraham Musick, according to family descendents, served as a spy on the frontier of North Carolina during the Revolutionary War. The soldiers on the frontier, including Abraham and his sons, fought the Cherokee, attacking and burning their towns until the Americans forced the surrender of the Cherokee in 1777. However, the fighting between the Cherokee and the American settlers continued. Unfortunately, during an encounter with the Cherokee, Abraham Musick lost one of his sons. Lewis Musick (1750-1782) was accidentally killed by one of his own men during a battle with the Cherokee.
As Abraham and his sons fought the Cherokee on the frontier of North Carolina, another Musick was battling the Shawnee of Virginia. David Musick (1752-1792), son of Electious Musick and brother of Abraham Musick (1745-1820), was living on the frontier in Russell County, Virginia with his family late in the eighteenth century. The Shawnee was the dominant tribe in the Ohio Valley and a threat to the early settlers. In 1792, the Shawnee captured the family of David Musick (1752-1792). The settlers of Russell County banded together and rescued the family although David had already been killed by the Shawnee.
The military service of Cyrene Clemens Walton’s ancestors continued as the family migrated westward. David Musick (1763-1837), son of Abraham and Sarah Musick, fought the Cherokee on the North Carolina frontier. In 1794, David moved with the Musick family to Illinois where he married Prudence Whiteside in Rutherford County. The Musick family then moved again in 1795 to St. Louis County. During the War of 1812, David Musick served as a captain and several members of his family served under him including his nephew Uri Musick, son of Abraham and Terrell Musick.
In addition to the impressive military service of Cyrene’s ancestors, the Musick pioneers were among the first to bring the Baptist faith west of the Mississippi. In fact, Abraham Musick, husband of Terrell, sought special permission from Spanish Lieutenant Governor Zenon Trudeau to hold meetings in his house with his Baptist neighbors. The Spanish ordinances forbade the celebration of any religion other than Catholicism and those of the Baptist faith were unable to build a church dedicated to their religion. Trudeau, however, gave his permission for Abraham Musick to meet with his fellow Baptists for prayer as long as they refrained from hanging a bell on their house and calling it a church.
In the years following the Musick settlement in the St. Louis area, the Reverend Thomas Musick, then living in Kentucky, paid a visit to his relatives and preached the Baptist faith to all the religious families in the province. Reverend Thomas Musick (1756-1842), son of Ephraim Musick (1724-1806) and cousin to Abraham and Terrell Musick, converted to the Baptism at the age of 17 and began to preach the Baptist faith. Impressed by his visit to the region, Reverend Thomas desired to return with his own family and settle in the area but only when he could be free to preach his Baptist faith without the fear of persecution from the Spanish government. Upon receiving the news of the cession of the land to the United States, Reverend Musick set up permanent residence in the St. Louis area and became the first preacher of the gospel in that part of the country. Following the Louisiana Purchase, several members of the Musick family, led by Reverend Thomas, formed the Baptist Society and constructed the Old Fee Fee Church. A monument to Reverend Thomas is today located at his internment in the Fee Fee Cemetery. In addition, several members of the Musick, Walton and Hanley families are laid to rest within the Fee Fee cemetery.
The strength of religion within the family is made evident in a surviving letter from Isabella Musick Walton (1792-1861) addressed to her granddaughters in the last year of her life. She writes that she would like to share a “few word(s) of Scripture”. Isabella continues “may the young remember that they are now in the spring of life and that this spring once gone returns no more”. Isabella Walton, influenced by her Baptist upbringing, shared her reflections as she entered the last stage of her life.
While the ancestry of Cyrene Clemens Walton is supported with evidence including military, birth, death and marriage records, the lineage of Martin Franklin Hanley is not assured. Through surviving family letters and Federal Census records, it is possible to locate with some certainty particular members of his family. According to his obituary, Martin Franklin Hanley was born in Greenbrier County, Virginia in 1814. In 1835, Martin left his native Virginia and traveled west to Maysville, Kentucky where he remained for just one year. Martin Hanley continued to St. Louis County where he purchased land on the Central Plank Road near other native Virginians like James Walton. At that time and as late as 1850, Martin spelled his last name “Handley”. This version of the name was prominent in his native Greenbrier County. Due to the prevalence of Handley’s in Greenbrier County, the certainty of Martin’s ancestry is lessened. Martin had one sister, Elizabeth Holloway, and several brothers including Henry C. Hanley, Augustus A. Handley, and John Handley. Further lineage is only speculative and not yet proven.
The lack of evidence supporting the ancestry of Martin Franklin Hanley and his familial relationships is contrary to that evidence in support of Cyrene’s ancestral relationships. It is possible, therefore, that in considering the rather close and strong bond shared by the children of Martin Franklin and Cyrene Clemens Hanley was greatly influenced by their maternal predecessors. Together, Martin and Cyrene had 11 children including Mary Isabella (1839-1840), Nancy Caroline “Cal” “Carrie” (1841-1938), Lucinda Eliza Kelsey (1842-1925), Virginia Ann “Jennie” Yore (1845-1910), Clementine Jane “Torn” “Tina” Creveling (1847-1914), John Alexander (1849-1913), Henry Walton (1852-1915), James Frederick (b. 1855), Martin Franklin Jr. (b. 1858), Henrietta “Net” “Nettie” Whipple (1859-1902), Minerva Isabelle “Belle” Dautel (later Flannigan) (b. 1862). The children kept in close contact with their family members and were quick to remind each other when they were “owed a letter”. Further evidence to the maternal influence over familial relationships is clear following the death of Martin Franklin Hanley in 1879 when for a period of time the family loses contact with Martin’s brother, Henry. In surviving letters, the children express great concern over the welfare of their Uncle Henry. In a letter to Henry dated July 11, 1881, John Hanley is concerned that Henry is living among “strangers” and he encourages his Uncle to either return to their home in St. Louis or if he prefers, to live with John and his family in New Mexico. Although there remains only a fraction of the family correspondence, the surviving pieces clearly indicate a close and concerned family.
The ever-changing and expanding genealogical record of the Hanley family will continue to shape the way in which the family is perceived and understood. The current record indicates a proud and adventurous family ready to fight for their convictions. They were farmers, soldiers, preachers and homemakers all seemingly tied to their Southern convictions and no matter their destination, they all arrived looking for a new Virginia.
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Gwathmey, John Hastings. Twelve Virginia Counties, Where the Western Migration Began. Richmond, VA: The Dietz Press, 1937.
History of the Old Fee Fee Church. St. Louis, Fee Fee Baptist Church, 1907.
Lewis, William Terrell. Genealogy of the Lewis family in America, From the Middle of the Seventeenth Century Down to the Present Time. Louisville: Courier-Journal Job Printing Co, 1893.
The Missouri Republican. “St. Louis County News.” Wednesday Morning, July 30, 1879.
Peck, John Mason. “Father Clark” or The Pioneer Preacher: Sketches and Incidents of Rev. John Clark, by and Old Pioneer. New York: Sheldon, Lamport & Blakeman, 1855.
St. Louis County Watchman. “In Memory of Cyrene Clemens Walton Hanley.” March 30, 1894.
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Williams, Betty Harvey. Soldiers of the War of 1812 with a Missouri Connection. Vols. 1 and 2. Independence, MO: Two Trails Publishing, 2002.