Family legend holds that when Susannah Stonecypher married William Nix on September 9, 1809 at Carnesville, Georgia (Franklin County), her father, the inimitable John Henry Stonecypher, Jr., Revolutionary War soldier, disowned her and had nothing more to do with her or her family. However, this family story may not be true at all, since documents have been found to show that Susannah Stonecypher Nix did, indeed, receive a portion of the inheritance from the notable estate of John Henry, Jr. and Nancy Curtis Stonecypher.
Susannah (1788 – after 1870) was the second of nine documented children of John Henry Stonecypher, Jr. (1756-1850) and Nancy Curtis Stonecypher (abt. 1760-1849). Susannah’s siblings were Benjamin (1786), James (1793-1854), Nancy (1795), Frances (known as Fannie, 1797), Mary (1799), Lucy (1801), Amy (1803) and Phoebe (1807-1865).
Susannah grew up in relative prosperity for that day in Franklin County, Georgia. Her father owned large tracts of land, most of which he received in grants for his service in the American Revolution. He built a large two-story dwelling house at Eastanollee (a portion of Franklin County which became Stephens County). He had an architect named Pressnell design and build the house. As a monument to the solid building, the house, restored, still stands today near the graves of the Stonecyphers. It took ten years to complete the plantation house. Every sill, sleeper, joist and post were mortised and fitted together. The nails in the house were wrought by hand. At that house, and amidst plenty, Susannah grew up.
Using the waters of Eastanollee Creek for power, John Henry Stonecypher built a mill in the early 1800s. Millwright Thomas Sockwell was the engineer responsible for erecting the Stonecypher Mill. As with mills in every communtiy, it was a popular place for getting corn, wheat and rye ground and for keeping up with happenings of the day.
When Susannah married William Nix on September 9, 1809 and moved away to then Habersham County, later White, near Tesnatee northwest of Cleveland, her youngest sibling, Phoebe, was only two years of age. If the story has any credence that Susannah was “disowned” by her father, she was, nevertheless, named one of the legatees of the estate of John Henry Stonecypher. Also, when Nancy, Susannah’s unmarried sister, made her will, one of the legatees was “William Nix, in the right of his wife, Susannah.”
William Nix and Susannah Stonecypher Nix had seven children: John Nix (1811) married Lucinda Adams; James Nix (1812-1882) married Elizabeth Collins (1814-1856); Mary Nix (1816) married Archibald Collins (1811); Fannie Fairlena Nix (1818-1854); Rutha Nix (1822-1893) married Francis Collins (1816-1864); Susannah Nix (1827-1856) married James Cathey (1823); Malinda Nix (1829-1894) married Jesse Souther, Jr. (1813-1869); and William Carr Nix (1831-1858) married Rachel Minerva Carroll (1842-1920).
Four of Susannah Stonecypher Nix’s children played prominently in early Union County history. James Nix married Thompson Collins’ third child Elizabeth, known as Betsy. They had thirteen children. Mary Nix married Thompson Collins’ first child, Archibald. They had eleven children. Rutha Nix married Thompson Collins’ fourth child, Francis (called Frank). They had ten children. Malinda Nix married Jesse Souther, Jr., son of Jesse and Jane Combs Souther of Wilkes County, NC. Jesse, Jr. founded the Souther Mill of Choestoe. Malinda and Jesse, Jr. had eight children. The youngest of these, Jeptha Freeman Souther who married Mintie Dyer, continued to operate the Souther Mill until 1937. Books and lengthy descendancy charts are required to trace all these Stonecypher descendants from these four children of William and Susanna Stonecypher Nix. To my knowledge, no researcher to date has been able to tabulate them all.
An historical marker will be placed at the Souther mill site in a special commemorative program planned for April 30, 2005 at 2:30 p. m. Mark your calendar now. The public is invited.
Thus the Stonecypher legacy lives on in Union County.
c2005 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Mar. 17, 2005 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.