Research Notes Collected in Jesse Martin Byrd Research
Contributed by Lillian Spivey
MAY 24, 2002. Please contact her if you can help. Thanks.
SOME FACTS ABOUT, JESSE/JESSIE MARTIN BYRD/BIRD
1822: JESSE MARTIN BYRD IS BORN TO UNKNOWN PARENTS
1845: JESSE MARTIN BYRD MARRIED HARRIET AVERA[?]
1848: JESSE MARTIN BYRD MARRIED DICEY [DIZZIE] ANN AVERA[?] SISTER OF
HARRIET, DID HARRIET DIE IN CHILDBIRTH?
1850: CENSUS OF THE EASTERN DIVISION OF CUMBERLAND COUNTY, NOW HARNETT
COUNTY, HOUSEHOLD/DWELLING # 1596 LIVES MARTIN, AGE 28, WITH HIS WIFE, DIZZIE
AGE 22, THERE IS A SON, NEILL W., WHO IS 2 YEARS OLD, AND JESSE M. WHO IS 3
1860: THIS FAMILY IS NOT LIVING IN THE COUNTY WHEN THE 1860 CENSUS WAS TAKEN.
WHEN DID JESSE MARTIN GET TO COLUMBUS COUNTY?
WHEN DID JESSE MARTIN BECOME A MINISTER/TEACHER?
1872: JESSE MARTIN BYRD [JR] MARRIED AFFRA JANE TEDDER, December 8, 1872.
HE WAS 22 YEARS OLD.
1873: THEIR FIRST CHILD, HENRETTA ARAMANTA, BORN September 2, 1873. JESSE
MARTIN WAS 23 YEARS OLD.
1875: THEIR SECOND CHILD, JOSEPHINE MERIDETH, BORN February 20, 1875. JESSE
MARTIN WAS 25 YEARS OLD.
1885: AFFRA JANE TEDDER BYRD DIED September 10, 1885. THEIR CHILD, HENRETTA
WAS 12 YEARS OLD; JOSEPHINE WAS 10 YEARS OLD. JESSE MARTIN WAS 35 YEARS OLD.
NOTE: HAVE A NOTE FROM JACK SOLES THAT SAYS ONE OF THOSE CHILDREN "DIED
YOUNG". SUSPECT IT TO HAVE BEEN HENRETTA. HAVE RECORDS THAT INDICATE
JOSEPHINE WAS CALLED "BOODY" AND THAT SHE MARRIED A PRICE, IS BURIED AT FLYNN
CEMETERY IN HALLSBORO, NC.
1887: JESSE MARTIN BYRD [JR] MARRIED FRANCIS R. CREECH, MARCH 23, 1887. HE
WAS 37 YEARS OLD. NOTE: HE WAS MARRIED ON HIS BIRTH DATE.
1888: ??? HAVE FAMILY NOTES SAYING THAT FRANCIS AND A CHILD DIED IN
CHILDBIRTH. SUSPECT EARLY 1888. JESSE MARTIN WAS 38 YEARS OLD.
1890: JESSE MARTIN BYRD MARRIED ELLA JANE NOBLES, January 31, 1890. HE WAS
40 YEARS OLD.
1891: THEIR FIRST CHILD, LILY LULA, WAS BORN, JUNE 11, 1891.
JESSE MARTIN WAS 41 YEARS OLD.
1892: METHODIST JOURNAL RECORDS INDICATE THAT JAMES M. BYRD, MINISTER IN THE
FREE WILL BAPTIST CHURCH WAS RECEIVED INTO THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL SOUTH, AS
JESSE MARTIN WAS 42 YEARS OLD.
1893: THEIR SECOND CHILD, OLIVER MANN, WAS BORN, October 24, 1893. JESSE
MARTIN WAS 43 YEARS OLD.
1896: THEIR THIRD CHILD, JESSE BRYAN, WAS BORN November 24, 1896. JESSE
MARTIN WAS 46 YEARS OLD.
1899: THEIR FOURTH CHILD, MARTIN A., WAS BORN June 13, 1899.
JESSE MARTIN WAS 49 YEARS OLD.
1901: THEIR FIFTH CHILD, NANCY JANE, WAS BORN December 16, 1901.
JESSE WAS 51 YEARS OLD.
1903: December 26, 1903, REV. J. M. BYRD RECEIVED CORRESPONDENCE FROM W. B.
COOPER, OF WILMINGTON, THANKING HIM FOR $10.00, AND TELLING HIM THEY WERE
SHIPPING HIS ORDER, WITH PLEASURE, TODAY, THE 26Th. THE CORRESPONSENCE TO THE
REVERAND HAD AN ADDRESS OF HALLSBORO N.C. JESSE MARTIN WAS 53 YEARS OLD.
1906: THEIR SIXTH CHILD, HUGH, WAS BORN JUNE 12,1906.
JESSE MARTIN WAS 56 YEARS OLD.
1909: THEIR SEVENTH CHILD, THEODORE ROSEVELLT, WAS BORN October 9, 1909.
JESSE MARTIN WAS 59 YEARS OLD.
1911: METHODIST JOURNAL RECORDS INDICATE THAT J. M. BYRD WAS APPOINTED TO
HATTERAS. THE ASSIGNMENT WAS TO START AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR OF 1912.
JESSE MARTIN WAS 61 YEARS OLD.
1912: THE AGES OF THE CHILDREN AT THE BEGINNING OF 1912:
LILY LULA, 21 YEARS; OLIVER MANN, 19 YEARS; JESSIE BRYAN, 16 YEARS; MARTIN
A., 13 YEARS; NANCY JANE, 12 YEARS; HUGH 6 YEARS; THEODORE [TED] 3 YEARS.
WE KNOW FROM STORIES THEY TOLD THAT MARTIN AND NANCY JANE RECALL HATTERAS.
THEY REMEMBER THE HATTERAS LIGHTHOUSE LIGHT SHINING IN THEIR BEDROOM WINDOW.
DID THE THREE OLDER CHILDREN GO TO HATTERAS OR WERE THEY ALREADY OUT OF THE
HOUSE AND ON THEIR OWN?
1912 - 1925: J. M. BYRD IS INCLUDED IN THE ROLL OF LOCAL PASTORS, METHODIST
1917: BOOK, "RECOLLECTIONS AND RECORDS" PAGE 221, STATES REV. JESSIE BYRD
WAS ONE OF MANY TEACHERS AT A NEW SCHOOL WHICH HAD BEEN BUILT AFTER A FIRE IN
THE BETHEL COMMUNITY.
JESSIE MARTIN WAS 67 YEARS OLD.
1917: NANCY JANE MARRIED ALBERT LEROY FOWLER, JESSE MARTIN WAS 67 YEARS OLD.
1924: MARTIN A. MARRIED FLOSSIE LELA SOLES, MARCH 8, 1924. JESSE MARTIN WAS
74 YEARS OLD.
1928: LILY LULA BYRD NOBLES DIED IN DECEMBER. JESSE MARTIN WAS 78 YEARS OLD.
1935: BRYAN JESSE WROTE LETTER TO HIS DAD ON January 21, 1935 FROM THE
FLAGSHIP U. S. S. HOUSTON. JESSE MARTIN WAS 85 YEARS OLD.
1936: JESSE MARTIN DIED, January 18, 1936. HE WAS 86 YEARS OLD.
On June 16, 1991, Clara Jane Byrd Fowler told me that she thinks Bryan
settled on/near the Outer Banks of NC. Family history/tales say that Bryan
heard the SOS from the Titanic in April, 1912, but his ship was too far away
to be of assistance.
Below is a copy of a letter written by Bryan to his Dad. He was 37 years, 2
months and 13 days old. Note that he hoped to retire in 1935, he died in
Sept. 1935. We have little info about his life, we do not know when he
married, he did not mention a family in this letter. When then, did he
marry? The letter indicated he had been home in 1932. Note his father was a
Methodist Minister. Erwin, NC mentioned in the letter is near Dunn, in
Harnett County, NC and Buxton, NC is on the Outer Banks near Cape Hatteras,
NC. We believe that his father was born in Harnett County, NC. At the time
of this letter, Rev. Jesse Martin Byrd was almost 83 years old, his mother,
Ella Jane, was 62 years old!
Header of Letter:
UNITED STATES ASIATIC FLEET
U.S.S. HOUSTON, Flagship
Manila, P.I. 21 January 1933.
Your letter of 13 December came to me a couple of days ago and I am
mighty happy to learn that yours and Mothers health was good at the time of
your writing. Our health means a great lot in-so-far as our progressiveness
is concerned. I have so miserably learned for myself during the many months
of trouble. I am very greatful that I am having very little trouble with my
stomach now a days, Although I have to be very careful and painstaking with
what I eat, especially, the quantity. After spending all the years in pain
and too, the money I spent trying to find relief, Only to fall headlong into
a simple thing like the thing that gave real relief. I truly hope you both
can keep your good health and get along good.
I do so wish I had the means sufficient to make it possible for you and
mother to take a Sea trip out to this part of the world, It would do you both
a wonderful lot of good. The change of climate and most of all the scenery
would make you feel ten years younger. Have not visited much of the country
out here in Asia, I made a couple of stops in Shanghai, Once in Nanking,
Hankow and HongKong. Went about 900 miles up the Yangtze River. Will be
going back to China now in a couple of months and then will probably get
around a bit.
If my plans come out as I hope they will, I shall finish the trip around
the world by continuing on through the Suez. If I do the trip will put me in
the following ports for a short stay. Leaving Shanghai, HongKong, Manila,
Singapore, Penang, Colombo, Suez, Port Said, Alexandria, Egypt, Naples,
Geona, Marseilles, and finially winding up in the big city of New York about
three months later. My idea is to make this trip and get paid for making it.
I could not see the idea of trying to fork up enough money to make the trip
on myself. My expectations are now, To retire from service when I leave the
Orient and I desire to go back home via the route just outlined. Then, my
ambitions of the Sea I believe, will have been achieved.
How is Nancy and Daisy coming along? I can't figure out why she never
drops me a line some time. I keep sending her cards and a letter now and
then but I never get a scratch from her. She is my sister and I think the
world of her and I wish she would remember that.
Sure wish you would, and I hope you have taken that work in Birmingham by
now. It would be so much better for you than trying to do the work you do
now. Was up around Erwin a year ago, I like that country up there and I
think you would enjoy living in that part of N.C., Seems to be quite a
prosperous section of the country. I remember the last evening in the city,
some of the old timers had a game of PITCHING HORSE SHOES. Appears to be
quite a sporting game up there, Any way, Its good clean fun. Would like to
be up around the North Pole with the Polar Bears its so blooming warm here
in these Islands I go haywire and not half try. Half of the last 7 years has
been spent in the tropics and I'm beginning to feel like I could live on
Bananas and rice without a failure. Its mostly Fish and rice in this clime.
While in China its mostly RICE. Don't be alarmed when I come to see you in
1935 if I throw the Chairs out the door and set on my HEELS. Its customary
in this side of the world you know.
Please tell the boys hello for me and say that I shall drop them a line some
time, Have just written 5 letters and I'm not half through yet. Just
received a letter from a friend of mine that is now up in Massachusetts, He
married a Buxton girl and is now stationed in a Compass Station situated in
the first Naval District. He found out where I am by a Christmas card that
the Ship sent out and he claims to be very glad to know I am still living.
He married old man Sirus Gray's oldest daughter from Buxton.
There's one of Bob Gaskins daughters out here with her Navy man. Have
not had the opportunity of meeting her since I came out though. By the way,
I came all the way out to the Philippine Island only to find a Cousin of mine
living here. She is Margaret Lusk, She says we are related and that her
parents are living in Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands. Her mother and Father,
especially her father treated me very kind indeed while I was down there
during the years 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929. The world is small place after
So now I shall cut out the broadcasting and sign off for this period by
hoping you and all the folks at home the best of everything that deserving
people should enjoy.
Lovingly Your Son.
Jesse M. Byrd's Death Certificate spelling is "Jessie M. Bird."
Columbus County, Book 22, Page 406
Book; Columbus County North Carolina "Recollections and Records" published
by Columbus County Commissioners and Columbus County Public Library.
References to Jesse Byrd:
The first churches were primitive log buildings. One was built of lumber
by Elijah Creech. It later became a part of his son Joseph's home. The
building was about 30 feet long and twelve or fifteen feet wide, with a large
chimney at one end. It was nondenominational. Isham Green and Jesse Byrd
preached there. Near Glade School was a log church which was called Sweet
Copy of correspondence Jack Soles had with the Methodist Church in 1977:
The United Methodist Church
The Methodist Building, 1307 Glenwood Avenue
Post Office Box 10955
Raleigh, North Carolina 27605
Robert M. Blackburn
Phone  858-9435 Office
 782-0520 [Residence]
November 10, 1977
Mr. Jackie W. Soles
P. O. Box 261
Shallotte, North Carolina 28459
Dr. Mr. Soles:
Let me apologize for not answering your letter of August 22 requesting
information on Jessie Martin Byrd, Jr. Your letter came about the time I
took my vacation. I did some research into the records we have here, and the
enclosed sheet is the result of that research. I hope this will be of help
I also checked with the Reverend Frank Grill of our Conference staff who
works with our Commission on Archives and History, but he does not have any
Unfortunately, official records on local preachers are very scarce. The Duke
Divinity School Library may have some information, although it is doubtful.
If you can learn anything further about your great grandfather, and
especially if you find that James M. Byrd is indeed the same person, we will
appreciate your sharing that information with us.
Vivian P. Mitchell
Secretary to Bishop Blackburn
J. M. BYRD
I have searched the Journal records from 1890 through 1937 [with the
exception of a few missing years] and found the following information:
1889 and 1890 - not included in list of Local Ministers
1892 - P. 12 - Record of Daily Proceedings shows that James M. Byrd, a
minister in the Free Will Baptist Church, having been received into the
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was upon recommendation of the Quarterly
Conference of the Whiteville Circuit in the Wilmington District, recognized
as an Elder.
P. 100 - Included in roll of Local Ministers - J. M. Byrd, Elder, Wilmington
District, address given as Chadbourn. Not included in list of appointments,
alphabetical roll, or chronological roll.
1896 - Roll of Local Ministers not printed. No record of J. M. Byrd.
1910 - P. 113 - Included in roll of Local Pastors - Address given as
Clarendon. No appointment.
1911 Journal - p. 27 - Appointment list shows Hatteras Circuit in the
Elizabeth City District to be supplied by J. M. Byrd [1st year]. [Since
conference was held in December, he would have begun his work at the
beginning of the year 1912. This is the only time the records show that he
was given an appointment by the bishop. On page 106 of the 1911 Journal he is
listed in the Alphabetical Roll, with his address given as Hatteras.]
The Journal records for 1912 - 1925 include the name of J. M. Byrd among the
Roll of Local Pastors. He is included in the Wilmington District list, with
the address given as Clarendon. The only exception is in 1925 [p. 17], where
he is listed in the Fayetteville district, with the address given as Duke [
After 1925 there is no further mention of J. M. Byrd. Since he was a local
preacher, and not under episcopal appointment except for the one year, and
never became a member of the conference itself, there was no mention of his
death, no memoir given, and his name is not included in the Roll of Deceased
The 1892 record, which lists him as James M. Byrd could have been a clerical
error. From these records it is impossible to tell if James M. Byrd and J. M.
Byrd were one and the same person, or if one or both of these were really
Jessie Martin Byrd, Jr.
The fact that J. M. Byrd served Hatteras and that his address is usually
given as Clarendon would indicate that he was probably your Great Grandfather.
April - June 2000 Queries
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