Charleston, West Virginia
March 19, 1926
Honorable Robert Byrne
My dear cousin Bob, - -
I was very glad indeed to have your letter, and my delay in answering was due entirely to the fact that it
has taken some time to put together the data which I am trying to give you. I have gathered this from time
to time, in a disconnected way, and this is the first time I have ever tried to put it in any sort of connected
The information you requested so far as I have it at hand is as follows--- About the year 1720 George
Byrne left Ireland and located in Prince William County, Virginia. He was an educated man, of considerable
wealth, and of a family prominent in Ireland. He was a surveyor and while returning home from laying out
the town of Winchester, Frederick County, was bitten by6 a mad dog, and from the effects died a few days
He left three children----
1. Clarrissa----married a Mr. Buckner.
2. Mary---married George Ash.
3. Samuel---married a Buckner.
The children of Samuel and of Clarissa Byrne were---
1. Peyton, born July 6, 1763, went to the Little Kanawha section and died there.
2. Charles---major of militia, clerk of Preston County 1818-1843.
3. Thomas---a physician, married Rebecca Dorsey of Morgantown and went to Missouri.
4. John---a farmer, went to Cape Giradeau, Missouri, and died there.
5. Sally---born 1768, married Thomas Bland and had three children---
1. John---located at Louisville, Kentucky.
2. Samuel---killed in the War of 1812.
Sally later married Jacob Zinn and had three children---William, Clara, Permelia.
Mary Byrne later married Colonel John Fairfax, first sheriff of Preston County.
Peyton Byrne married Barbara Linn of Fauquier County, Virginia, now West,Va. He died after my father
was born in 1820. My father remembered his grandmother Barbara, and knew or heard from others that his
grandfather Peyton Byrne had visited his father, John B. Byrne, when my father was a child. Their children
1. John Brown. 5. Thomas.
2. Nancy---likely Dewhirst. 6. Elizabeth.
3. Sameul B.---your grandfather. 7. Mary Ann.
4. Charles. 8. Peyton Buckner.
I do not have a complete list of the descendants of any of the children of Peyton and Barbara except my
own branch of the descendants of John B. Byrne.
John B. Byrne was born April 17, 1790 and married Ann Haymond, third child of Colonel John Haymond.
John Byrne died July 8, 1846 and Ann on December 25, 1846. There childen were---
1. William Hanson---1816. 6. Thomas Marshall---1823.
2. John Peyton---1817. 7. Sarah Elizabeth---1830.
3. Rowena Haymond---1818. 8. Thaddeus---1825.
4. Benjamin Wilson---1820 9. Miranda---1826.
5. Marcellus—1821 10. Maria---1832.
11. Mary Ann---1835.
[There is a missing part of my photo copy so there is a break in the letter, but the next seven children are
those of Benjamin Wilson Byrne-- LOB, also “*” is a reminder of the author of this letter.]
Weston, Virginia. Their children---
1. Ella Townsend---1850.
2. Eliza Wilson---1852.
3. Ann Haymond---1855.
4. George---1858 to 1923.
5. Mary Adams--- 1860 to 1861.
6. William Eston Randolph*---1862.
William Eston Randolph* married Amanda Austin June 12, 1859. They had the following children---
1. George Austin---1891.
2. Marie Louise---1893.
3. Barbara Linn---1895.
4. Charlotte Virginia---1901
5. Wm. Eston Randolph, Junior---1906.
My father, Benjamin W. Byrne, was born at a village then called Lumberport, now called Burnsville, in
Braxton County on the Little Kanawha River. His father moved to Bulltown, ten miles up river, about 1822,
and operated the saltworks there until his death in 1846.
I have heard my father speak very frequently of Peyton Buckner Byrne. He always spoke of him as Uncle
Buck, who was a great hunter, but may have been one earlier in the line.
Kinnikinnick Mines is the name of a coal mine in the outskirts of Clarksburg, West Va., and my impression
is that it took the name from a settlement in that neighborhood. I presume that is where your father was
I am sorry not to be able to give you a complete list of descendants down to date.
I have a copy of an indenture date April 2, 1770, from Samuel Byrne and Clary, his wife, to Thomas Atwell
for forty acres of land in Prince William county, Colony of Virginia, being a tract granted to George Byrne
by deep from Thomas Lord Fairfax, bearing date of Sept. 7, 1750, as surveyed by George Washington.
The first spelling of the name in this country was Byrne. My father told me that when Major Charles Byrne
was made clerk of Preston County he ordered the printing of certain blank forms pertaining to his office, in
which his name was to be printed. In writing his name for the printer's copy he made a pen flourish at the
end which the printer mistook for an "e", and the blanks were printed accordingly with the name Byrne. In
those days it would have been a serious matter, probably entailing a long delay, to have the blanks
reprinted. Consequently Major Charles adopted the spelling in the blanks, and his descendants in this part
of the country seem to have done likewise. I have met a few persons who spell their name Byrn, but I do not
know if they are of our strain.
I recall having heard my father speak of the negro servant, Mark, mention in our letter. He was an unusual
character, but I cannot recall details. I have three sisters all older than I, two of whom live in this city. I will
make it a point to ask them about this and other matters of family history and tradition and write you again..
My father was a lawyer and lived in Braxton County, In 1860 he was elected to a Virginia Convention which
afterward adopted the Ordinance of Secession. He voted steadfastly against it, and upon the final vote,
taken after Sumpter had been fired upon, there were but four votes against the ordinance, and my father
was one of those voting in the negative. He went with the state however when Virginia seceded and was in
the Confederate service the whole four years of the war. He was a member of the Constitutional
Convention of West Virginia in 1872, and in that year moved to Charleston where he resided until his death
I have been impressed with the fact that wherever I have been able to locate any of the old stock they are
generally men of standing in their respective communities. And I am pleased to note that the Bismarck, N.D.
scion is no exception to the rule.
I am glad to indeed to have your letter and the information it contains and am more than pleased to
supplement your record with such data as I have at hand. If you should ever stray back to the old stooping
ground be sure and locate me. I think one of the dominant traits of the breed is its clannishness; that
characteristic cause me to write you; you to answer in the spirit manifested in your letter; and this lengthy
epistle interesting to one who cares.
With kindest regards,
Our Own Branch of the Byrne Family.
Samuel B. Byrne married Elizabeth Lough in West Virginia. There children were as follows---
1. William Peyton Byrne.
2. Phoebe---married a Mr. Ward in West Va., had a son Floyd.
3. Julia---married George Dewhirst, but had no children.
4. Elizabeth---married David Dewhirst and had three children.
1. William---married Jennie Gibson.
2. Julie---married Dan Harmon
3. Mary--- married J.M. Byrne.
5. Nancy C.---married Joseph Dewhirst.
6. Sarah---married William Nichols and had two children.
1. Alfred---married Celia Stiles.
2. William---married Jane
7. Jane---married John Pugh.
Nancy and Joseph Dewhirst had five children.
2. Lizzie---married George Miller
3. Solomon---married Alta Hamilton
4. Jettie---married Bert Jenner.
William Peyton Byrne was born March 16, 1838 and died October 2, 1894. He married Evaline
Burns and had ten children.
1. James McKinley 6. Olive Evaline.
2. Samuel Peyton 7. Mary Ann
3. David Wilbur 8. Sarah Ona
4. Miranda Jane 9. William Hardy
5. Addie Elizabeth 10. Joseph Bernar
After the death of his first wife, Wm. Peyton Byrne married Mrs. Hannah Rebecca Jenner. Mrs. Jenner had
five children by a former marriage, their names being Lulu, Herbert, Allan and Harry. Wm. P. Byrne had
three children after his second marrage.
2. Robert Lincoln [*addressee of this letter-- LOB]
3. Roscoe Sherman
J ames McKinley Byrne was born July 28, , and died in Paso Robles, California May 19,
1927. He married Miss Mary Dewhirst, his cousin, in Missouri. She died October 3, 1926 in Selma,
California. They had the following children:
1. Lunda---married C.E. Orrison, Selma, had two children Margaret and Joe.
2. Luther---married Ethel Alfords, had two children, Grinell and Alta.
3. Eva---married Bert Fleming.
4. Mamie---married Tom Mitchell, had three children.
5. Mamie---married James Stillwell, had two children Margaret and Joe
Samuel Peyton Byrne was born on June 19th . He married Olive Munroe in Olney, Illinois
and had four children.
1. Roy Allen---married Ella Johnson, divorced later, no children.
2. Walter---married Blanch Bailey, had one son Robert. Mrs. Walter Byrne died in 1925 following an
3. Alta---married George O’Donnell, had two children, William and Elizabeth.
4. Mamie---married Fred Glathart, had two children.
David Wilbur Byrne was born on December 5th , married Miss Sarah Dewhirst, had three children.
1. Clarence---married Lena Wakefield, had a son Delbert. After Lena’s death Clarence married Miss Irene
Terry of Selma, Calif. And had two children, Bernice and Eunice.
[End of my copy of letter, but obviously there is more of this somewhere—LOB]
(photo from Tales of the Elk,
courtesy Ed Corrick)