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Special notice: Thor Swanson of Sioux City, Iowa has done a great deal of good research on the children of John and Elizabeth Duncan Southern and invites researchers to contact him directly to share information. Thor has a great deal more information than that cited below. Thor has recently returned with is family from Kenya after two years to work there as an AIDS physician. You may contact Thor at

The Bible Record of John and Elizabeth Duncan Southern

Years ago another researcher, Margaret Killgore Reed of Houston, gave me a transcription of the Bible record of John and Elizabeth Duncan Southern of Giles County, VA. The source was Verda Southern Cornutt of Oregon, a great-granddaughter of John and Elizabeth’s son Martin. The Bible belonged to Charles Henry Southern, son of Martin and Elizabeth (Bolton) Southern.

While it is not proven that the John Southern of Giles Co. VA was also John, son of William and Magdalen Southern of Stokes Co., NC, the evidence is as follows:
1. The 1810 census for John Southern of Stokes Co., NC, shows four children -- all daughters under 10, and no sons. The Bible record of John and Elizabeth of Giles Co., VA, shows four daughters and no sons born by early 1810.
2. Margaret Reed's research of the birthplaces of the children of John and Elizabeth in the 1850 census reveals that of those whose birthplaces can be determined, those born before 1817 were born in N.C., and those born in 1817 or later were born in Virginia. John Southern of Stokes Co., NC, sold his land in 1817 and disappeared from the state for good.
3. No other John Southern household is known to have existed in NC in the 1805-1817 period that could account for the NC birthplace of the children born during that time period.
4. The names Margaret, Judith, and possibly Suannah figure in the family history of William and Magdalen Southern. (Margaret was John's grandmother's name as well as Elizabeth's mother's name)

The record goes as follows. (The notes in italics regarding the marriages and birthplaces come from the research of Margaret Reed and others):

John Southern b. August 25, 1774 (or 1776)
Elizabeth Southern b. Jan. 20, 1791
(Notes: It is not clear whether "or 1776" with John's birth was on the original record, or whether it indicates the transcriber was unable to read clearly the date in the original record. Mrs. Reed's notes give that Elizabeth Duncan Southern was the daughter of Charles and Margaret (Kirk) Duncan. )

(Their children:)
Margaret b. Sept. 3d, 1805
Judith b. Jan. 11, 1807 (m. Emmons)
Sarah(Sally) b. April 26, 1808 (m Wm. Henry Bolton 1828, Giles Co. VA; b. NC ref. 1850 census)
Nancy b. Jan. 17, 1810 (m. (2) Alfred Waddell) Jan 1850, Cedar Co. Iowa; b. NC ref. 1850 census)
Aylsey (Elsie) b. May 24, 1811 (m. Emmons)
Susannah b. Nov. 9, 1812
Luke b. March 12, 1814 (m. Mary __; b. NC ref. 1850 census)
John b. Dec. 7, 1815
Martin b. Dec. 21, 1817 (m. (1) Melinda Meadows 27 Aug. 1838 Giles Co. VA) (2) Elizabeth Bolton 17 Feb 1850 Cedar Co. Iowa; b. VA ref. 1850 census)
Elizabeth b. March 23, 1820 (m. Michael Miller)
Jane b. April 11, 1822 (m. Brown)
Mary Ann b. Feb. 6, 1826 (m. Joseph McMahon 1842 Cedar Co. Iowa)
Charles W. b. April 8, 1829 (m. Catherine)
Salena b. July 1, 1831 (m. Charles Seely; b. VA ref. 1850 census)
B. Duncan b. May 3, 1833 (m Jane Vetch)

Another note included with the record: "Mother died Jan. 22, 1873." This apparently refers to Elizabeth Duncan Southern, died at age 82.

Another note reads: "In copying this I spelt the same as in the original (Alsey) should be spelt (Elsey). April is not spelt right in the old record." This is signed by Brackston Duncan Southern. It isn't clear if this was the "B. Duncan" in the list or a descendant of the same or similar name .

Other research notes by Margaret Reed:
-After John Southern died, Elizabeth m. Mr. Lett.
-Martin and some sisters moved to Iowa.