Margaret Martin was born in Virginia in 1779. Raised in Halifax County, Virginia, just south of the Dan River, she was the daughter of John and Margaret Martin, and a sister to Jonathan, John, Edmond, Susannah and two other Martin siblings, based on family documents and supported by Virginia marriage and land records. Margaret married William Finn on 12 Jun 1797 in Halifax County, where Jonathan supplied security for the marriage bond and her brother John witnessed. Jonathan was 12 years older and married to Tabitha Hudson at the time. His oldest boy Peter was two, and his second son Alex was delivered about the time of Margaret’s marriage.
Jonathan migrated to Jackson County, Georgia, around 1800 with his second wife Nancy Carmichael, and his two sons, Peter and Alex, but Margaret remained for a few more years. William and Margaret gave birth to Mary Finn in 1799 and Arminda Finn around 1802 (a third daughter Rachel is suggested but unverified). The Finn family moved south across the state line to Person County, North Carolina, but by 1807 Margaret is raising her daughters alone. Court records show she was unmarried. On 11 August 1810 Margaret married Thomas Valentine Denning in Person County, North Carolina.
The Dennings, with daughters Mary and Arminda Finn, returned to Halifax County, Virginia, around 1812, and had three girls: Sarah, Margaret, and Catherine. Around 1820 they headed south, stopping in Pendleton County, South Carolina, where Margaret’s brothers Edmund and John lived with the Crenshaw clan (Crenshaws married three of Margaret’s siblings before selling the Martin land and moving from Halifax County to SC in 1808 - and some descendants have reason to believe an unidentified Finn child married Crenshaws in SC, but this is unsubstantiated). Here Margaret and Valentine had a son, Thomas Jr., but shortly they moved west to Hall County, Georgia, where Margaret's brother, Jonathan, had a thriving farm and a huge family.
When Thomas and Margaret Denning arrived in Hall County (which was recently part of Jackson County), she and Thomas settled next to Peter Martin, Jonathan's oldest son who she is sure to have known as a young boy in Halifax County. Peter Weaver Sr. brought his family from South Carolina, and settled in Habersham County around 1823. But when the Yellow Creek Baptist Church in Hall was established, Peter was a charter deacon. Peter Sr. and his last wife are buried there.
In 1830 there were four next door neighbors who would remain close for 30 years, intermarry and end up settling newly opened land that had been the Cherokee Nation: Peter Weaver, Sr., and his son Peter, Thomas Denning Sr., Denning’s son-in-law Joel Herndon, and Peter Martin (who is believed to have married Denning’s step-daughter). Friends, that is, until the Civil War separated the families. A fifth future neighbor, William Fry Sr., shared the friendship, the families and the war.
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