Hamilton County Pioneers - the Roy Family

Sunday, July 15, 2007 - by John Wilson

In the midst of the Civil War, the Roy brothers decisively won the “Smokehouse Fight” near Ooltewah. A later descendant, Luther Franklin Roy, won 26 games in the Southern League in 1926 and went on to pitch in the major leagues.

The Roys trace back to Hugh Roy, who was born in England about 1614 and made his way to Williamsburg, Va. His son, Richard Roy, was born in England in 1657. In 1707, he bought lot 26 in the town of Delaware in King William County, Va., for 482 pounds of tobacco. He was a vestryman at Stratton Major Parish in King and Queen County, Va., where he died in October 1729. His children, who were born at St. George Parish at Spotsylvania County, included John Guy who married Dorothy Smith, Hannah who married Larkin Chew, Richard Jr. and William who married Hannah Spires.

Another son, James, married Elizabeth Ann Allen. James and Elizabeth Ann Roy remained at St. George Parish and had large holdings with a number of slaves. Their children included Elizabeth who married John Gordon Jr., Effie, Isabella who married James Neville, Mary who married Ephraim Musick, Sarah and Avid who married Jemima Daniels.

Another son, Thomas Joel, was born in 1735. He fought in the Revolution under Col. William Grayson and “returned home uninjured.” He afterward lived at Richmond,
Va., then he made his way to Pulaski County, Ky. He died there in 1805. His wife was Margaret Anna Meadows, who was from London, England. She ran a grist mill while her husband was away in the army. A grandson recalled that the British rode up to the mill, made her cook them dinner, then talked of burning the mill. But “No, said the old general. You will not burn the mill. It belongs to an English lady. I know she is
by her feet. The mill is her support for her and her children. So they left and did not burn the mill.” When Margaret Anna Meadows Roy died in 1823, she was 103.

One of their sons, John, was born about 1774 at Spotsylvania County. He married Frances Gillespie, daughter of William and Ann Roy Gillespie. They lived at Farmville at Prince Edward County, Va. Their sons were John Jr. who married Judah Webb, James William and Joseph who married Margaret Harrison. Frances moved with her sons in 1820 near Sweetwater, Tenn., on the property where the Lost Sea was later discovered.

James William Roy married Martha Josephine “Patsy” Cannon, daughter of the early Hamilton County settlers Bartlett and Jane Cannon. Their marriage took place in Bradley County in 1824. James William Roy obtained a 160-acre grant north of Ooltewah
at a penny an acre in 1842. His children included Robert Cannon who married Mary Crockett and then Matilda Dean, Elizabeth Jane who married Andrew Carson, Nancy A., Mary Caline, Rebecca L., James B. who married Martha J. Melvin Marr and then
Sarah Green, Martha E., John W. who married Lenora Childress, Bibachon C. who died young, Margaret Virginia who married George Bright, Ellender who died young, Elizabeth Emily who married Thomas Parrott, and Sarah M. who married Stephen O. Bailey.

Another son, Joseph B., was an early settler at Green Gap near Providence Church. He married his cousin, Mary Evelyn Roy, daughter of John Roy Jr.

Robert C., Joseph B., James B. and John W. Roy opted for the Union. Joseph B. was captured early in the war and imprisoned at Tuscaloosa, Ala. He was released upon his oath that he would return home to his farm and cease fighting. In early January 1863, Robert, James and John Roy were at the two-story homestead above Ooltewah sleeping in a smokehouse 80 feet north of the home. Their mother and sisters were in the house. A trio of Rebels came looking for the brothers, believing only James and John were there.

The brothers heard the Confederates demanding that they come out of the house, and they armed themselves with large stones and a mattock. As one of the Rebels approached the smokehouse, John knocked him in the head with a rock. In the ensuing scuffle, the two remaining Rebels fired several shots, including one that went through James' clothing and another through a portion of the dress of one of the sisters. James knocked down one of the soldiers and the other one sought to retreat. While he was climbing over a rail fence, Robert caught him in the side of the face with the mattock. When a contingent of Confederates returned to the Roy farm the next day, the three brothers had started on an arduous trek that took them to Union troops at Somerset, Ky. Later in the war, John was at Mobile when he was shot in the thigh by a fellow soldier who was cleaning his
weapon.

Children of Joseph B. Roy included Anderson Taylor who married Emily Fitzgerald, John Aiken who married Tennessee McDaniel and then Callie Roy, Martha Jane who married William Dean and then William Landers, and Harvey Bell who married Eliza D. Cate and then Nettie Mathis. Another son, LaFayette Mitchell, was circuit court clerk for James County.

Children of James B. Roy included Sarah and Luanna.

Children of John W. Roy included James Mathis who married Nancy Josephine Thomas, Laura D. who married William Monger, Mary J. who married Reese McDaniel, Charles Thomas who married Maude Kinser, George who married Dora Patton, and Annie Grace who married Luther Burns.

Children of James Mathis Roy included Madge who married Jesse Lewis, Alice Evelyn who married Arlie Selvidge, Lewis E., Luther Franklin, Bessie who married Hubert Long and then Ambers Carroll, Pearl who married Chester Patty, John Benjamin who married Jessie Clinton and then Gladys Roy and then Elizabeth Roach, and Mildred who married Arthel Triplett.

Luther Roy was with the New Orleans Pelicans when he earned the 26 wins. He was a good hitter as well, getting 14 hits out of 53 bats in the big leagues with the Indians, Dodgers, Phillies and Cubs. He married Irene Moore and then Maxine Hickey.

Claude Roy, a son of Harvey B. Roy, married Ethel Burns. A son, Earl, lives at Chickamauga, Ga. Daughters of Claude Roy living at Snow Hill are Thelma Roy and June Roy Smith. Rachel Roy Scott lives near Providence Road near the old Roy place as does Mildred Roy Triplett, daughter of James M. Roy. Ruth Roy Miller, daughter of George Roy, lives in East Chattanooga. Douglas Franklin Roy of Cleveland, son of John Benjamin Roy, has researched the family.

A log cabin home on McDaniel Lane off of Providence Road occupied by Joseph B. Roy and then LaFayette Roy and then James Mathis Roy was taken down in the late 1970s and moved to Atlanta. Roy Lane near Ooltewah is named for the family.


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