Western NC Genealogy Resource Center
for Cherokee County

William A. and Mary M. Burgess Gentry Family

If you know of any additions or corrections to the following listing, please email Patricia Brawner-Schiro with the information.

William Alexander "Teak" Gentry, was born near the Hanging Dog Creek in Cherokee County, North Carolina on August 15,1851. He was the fourth son of ten children born to William S. and Nancy Thompson Gentry. William S. was born on May 27,181 1, along the Big Ivy River in Buncombe County, North Carolina, and was the son of John N. and Sarah Gentry, who were natives of Virginia. Nancy Thompson Gentry was born on October 18, 1812 in Rowan County, North Carolina and died June 4, 1883 in Cherokee County, North Carolina. She was the daughter of Elisha Thompson of Maryland and Elizabeth Taylor of Virginia. Elisha and Elizabeth were among the nine original trustees who established the Hanging Dog Baptist Church, on May 4,1844.

William Alexander's siblings include: Mary Ann born December 24,1833-died April 23, 1913 married Leander Mulkey; Sarah born about 1835-died 1913 married 1st Robert Lovingood, married 2nd Miles M. Sneed; Christopher Columbus, born October 2,1837 - died June 30, 1927 married Mary Emma Wilson; Nancy Louise, born about 1841 married Joseph Leander McDowell; John N. born February 4, 1844-died September 11, 1864; Stephen M., born December 18,1846-died September 11, 1864; Jane born March 16,1849-died December 1 1924 married Morgan Pinckney Sneed, and Phoebe Caroline, born March 10, 1856-died November 19, 1912 married Thomas Christopher Mills.

Toward the close of the Civil War on the llth day of September 1864, William S. Gentry and two of his sons, John N. and Stephen M., were taken prisoner by rebel soldiers, at their farm on the Hanging Dog Creek. They were then taken to the Tomotla Community, tied to a mulberry tree and shot to death. Like many settlers in Cherokee County, the Gentry family detested slavery. When the Civil I War broke out, they had remained faithful to the United States of America and were executed for their beliefs. These tragic deaths left William Alexander, who was twelve years old, his eldest brother Christopher, who had just returned from the war, their younger sister Phoebe Caroline, and mother Nancy, to run the family farm. William, who attended school, when possible, worked very hard to help repair their shattered lives.

On February 2l,1869, William A. and Mary M. Burgess were joined together in marriage by H. Lovingood. Mary was born near the Ogreeta Community in Beaverdam Township on March 10, 1846. She was the second daughter of Green Y. and Sarah A. Thompson Burgess. Green was born about 1822 in Union District, South Carolina and died in Cherokee County, date unknown. Sarah A. Thompson was born about 1814 in Wilkes County, North Carolina and died sometime after 1900, date unknown, and was the sister to Nancy Thompson (above). They settled in Cherokee County about 1841. Green was a farmer and pastor of the Beaverdam Baptist Church in the 1860s. He served in the 7th Tennessee Infantry, Company H of the Union Army, at the close of the Civil War.

Mary's siblings included: Elisha T. Andrew, born 1842-died 1921 married Mary A. Evans; Elizabeth J., born 1844 married William E. McBrayer; James A., born 1848; Henry G., born 1854 married Malissa Dockery; Columbus Newton, born 1857 married Mary J. Winkler; Sarah A., born 1859 married George W. Evans; Jefferson Lee, born 1864 married Eliza C. Lenderman and William L., born 1867 married Sarah A. Freeman.

After their marriage, William and Mary continued to live and work on the Gentry farm. It was here that their three daughters were born: Sarah Emaline, born about 1871; Laura Louise, born in May of 1873, and Mary Melissa, born September 16,1874. Sometime between 1875 and 1880, for reasons unknown to this author, William packed all his worldly belongings and headed west with his wife and three small daughters to settle in Gregg County, Texas. William made a living as a carpenter and small-time farmer. In March of 1887, a son was born to William and Mary. They named him J. William "Willie" Gentry.

Shortly after the birth of their brother Willie, the three Gentry girls married in Longview, Texas. Sarah Emaline married George Gibson on August 25, 1888, (no f urther information is available on Sarah Emaline Gentry Gibson). Laura Louise married Joseph Marion Mason on August 23,1888. Later, she married Patrick Hooker, who was owner of a small country store near Haughton, Louisiana. They had one adopted daughter, Margaret, who was born about 1917. Laura Louise Gentry Hooker died in 1963 at the age of 90, in Bossier Parish, Louisiana. Mary Melissa married Wyatt C. Flanagan on the 26th day of December, 1887. Mr. Flanagan died soon after their marriage.

William A., Mary M. and their son William moved to the Shreveport, Louisiana area in the late 1890s. William ran a boarding house and continued to work as a carpenter. It was here that Mary "Polly" M. Burgess Gentry would die between 1900 and 1905 in Caddo Parish, Louisiana.

William remarried, a lady named Ida, in 1906. They lived on a small farm in Bossier Parish, Louisiana. Willie Gentry lived with his father through 1910. Later, he married a girl named Dora and was still living in Bossier Parish in the 1920s, (no further information is available on Willie or his family, at this time).

William Alexander Gentry returned to his birthplace in Cherokee County, North Carolina, where he died of cardiac arrest on July 18, 1924. He is buried in the Hanging Dog Cemetery, where both of his parents are buried.

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