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Irvin Cunningham Donnell
Ervin Donnell



53. Ervin (Erwin) Donnell (Married 1st: Nancy Erwin (source: Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Cemetery Greensboro, North Carolina, compiled by Raymond Dufau Donnel, 1996, p. 20. According to North Carolina Marriage bonds 1741-1868, the marriage bond date was 27 August 1814 in Guilford County. The Bond # 000054901; Image # 002455; Record 01 121; Bondsman: Daniel Donnell, Witness: Joseph Davis.) Married 2nd: Hannah Cunningham (#54) on 12 December 1818 in Guilford County according to North Carolina Marriage Bonds 1741- 1868, Bond # 000054902; Image Number: 001914; Record # 01 121. Bondsman: Joseph Donnell, Witness: Jno. Hanner, Bond # 000054902) (Note: "Ervin" was spelled "Erwin" in History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church And Her People, written by Rev. S. M. Rankin, p. 165)

Born: July 25, 1793 in Guilford County, North Carolina of Daniel Donnell/Donnal/Donnall (#105) & Mary (Polly) Ervin (#106).
(Source: Both the 1790 and 1800 Censuses document that his father and mother were living in Guilford County, N.C. so it is very likely where he was born..) (Dark purple was calculated using Ancestor Search Birthday Calculator using death information from tombstone.)

Died: 24 March 1845, 51 years, 7 months, 27 days. He is buried at Buffalo Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. (His grave site is 5E-6E/5D-6D in the old section of the Buffalo Presbyterian Church Cemetery: source; Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Cemetery Greensboro, North Carolina, compiled by Raymond Dufau Donnel, 1996, p. 20). The Church was organized in 1756.
Ervin's gravesite and tombstone information were verified during a visit to the cemetery on 29 September 2005 by Susan Snyder (#2) and her cousins Sandra Henson Henson and Mary Lu Finch. A photograph of the tombstone is posted at the bottom of this page..

[His siblings included:

a) Robert Donnell: (Married: Sarah "Salley" Moore on 22 October 1802 in Orange County, N.C.) Born: October 28 1778 in Guilford County, North Carolina; Died: 19 June 1859 . He is buried at Mount Mora Cemetery in Saint Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri. The Inscription on his stone states he was 80 yr 7 mo 3 ds.. Miscellaneous: Robert and Sarah had 6 children: Martha, Robert Daniel Jr., Sarah "Sallie", Mary "Polly", Angelia, and Docenthia, all born in Guilford County, N.C. (Source of blue information about Robert: Find A Grave). He moved to Missouri and became very wealthy. (Source: History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People by Rev. Rankin, published ~ 1920s, page 126)

b) Martha Donnell: (Married: Sampson Smith - Bond Date 13 August 1801, North Carolina Marriage Bonds 1741 - 1868 - Bond Number 000059776, Image number 002212 Guilford County - record # 03412-Bondsman: Thomas Hamilton.) Born:11 June 1782 in Guilford County, North Carolina. Died: 16 April 1848 in Red River County, Texas., Miscellaneous: Martha and her husband, Sampson Smith, are named in a Guilford County Court case following the death of Daniel Sr. In this case, they do not want Daniel's slaves sold, but Robert, Joseph, and Ervin (Martha's brothers) do. It is also noted in the court order that Martha and Sampson do not live in the state of North Carolina at that time...1835. The Find A Grave Index for Daniel Donnell lists Martha Smith as one of his children.

c) Joseph Donnell: (Married: Mary (Polly) Mateer); Born: 10 March 1790 in Guilford, North Carolina, Died: 15 March 1845 and is buried at Buffalo Presbyterian Church Cemetery; Miscellaneous: Find A Grave Index lists his two children as James Mateer Donnell (1819-1881) and Daniel J. Donnell (1829-1871). Joseph is noted in Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots. Find a Grave lists his parents as Daniel Donnell Sr. 1755-1835 and Mary Ervin 1759 - 1814).

d) Mary Donnell: Born: 1800 in North Carolina. Died: ?,

e) Daniel Donnell : Born:10 May 1784 in Greensboro, Guilford, County North Carolina. Died: 3 October 1853 in Dale, Alabama. Miscellaneous: There is a Daniel Donnell listed with Martha and Sampson Smith in a Guilford County Court case following the the death of Daniel Sr.. In this case, they do not want Daniel's slaves sold, but Robert, Joseph, and Ervin (Martha's other brothers) do. It is also noted in the court order that Martha, Sampson, and Daniel do not live in the state of North Carolina at that time...1835. Since there are several references to Daniel Donnell (#105) as Senior, this is likely Daniel Donnell Jr.

f) Jane Donnell: Born:1801 in Guilford County, North Carolina. Died: 26 November 1821 in Guilford County, N.C. Miscellaneous: Find a Grave Index for Daniel Donnell lists Jane as one of his children. Find a Grave Index for Jane lists her parents as Daniel Donnell Sr. and Mary Ervin Donnell and the inscription on her tombstone confirms their names. The Index listing includes her birth date, place of birth, death date, place of death, and burial cemetery: Buffalo Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Find a Grave Index states she died at age 21 years.



Although not listed by name (as that was not done at that time with children), Ervin appears in the 1800 and 1810 Censuses as a free white male living in his father's (Daniel's) household. The 1800 Federal Census shows Daniel and a lot of other Donnalls living in Salisbury, Guilford County, North Carolina. The census shows "Daniel Donnall's" household included 15 people: five free white males, four free white females, and six slaves. The census record can be viewed by clicking here. [Note: Ervin would have been ~7 years old].

In the North Carolina 1810 Federal Census Index, p. 175, a Daniel Donnell lived in Guilford County. His ID # is NCS1a898602. The 1810 Federal Census shows Daniel was living in Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina. The census shows "Dan'l Donnell's" household included 15 people: 4 free white males, 3 free white females, 1 unidentified person, and 7 slaves. The census record can be viewed by clicking here. [Note: Ervin would have been ~17 years old].

According to Guilford County, North Carolina Land Grants 1778-1934 by Elizabeth “Pat” Shaw Bailey, p 73, there was a Daniel Donnell living along the waters of the Little Alamance River before 1813. [Note: Ervin was likely living with his parents at the time].

Ervin married his first wife in 1814 and there are indications that with her he had at least one child: Latham Donnell (born ~ 1815).

It is unknown what happened to Nancy Erwin, but in 1818, Ervin married again, this time to Hannah Cunningham (#54). When Hannah's father wrote his will in 1820, he named Ervin as one of the three executors. After the death of Hanna's father in 1821, Ervin became the guardian for Hanna's two sisters, Elizabeth (unknown age) and Polly (age 16). Elizabeth's guardianship papers are at this link; while Polly's guardianship papers are at this link.

Sometime ~1820 (according to postings) Polly Donnell was born).

In 1835, Ervin's father died without a will. As a result, on February 10, 1835, Robert Donnell, Joseph Donnell, Ervin Donnell,, F. Washington Donnell & Larkin Smith signed an agreement with the Guilford County court in the State of North Carolina to do an inventory of his estate. Click here to see the document and read a transcription of same.

The Guilford Genealogist, published by the Guilford County Genealogical Society of N. C. Vol. 21, No. 3, Spring 1994, Number 65, page 113 states that, “Guilford County, Court of pleas & quarter sessions, February Term 1835. Petition for sale of Negroes belonging to the estate of Daniel Donnell(#105) deceased. Robert Donnell, Joseph Donnell and Erwin Donnell against Daniel Donnell and Sampson Smith and wife Martha. In this case it appearing to the Satisfaction of the court that the defendants Daniel Donnell, Sampson Smith and wife Martha, are non-residents of this state, and that they reside beyond the limits of the same,...and are tenants in common with the petitioners in said negro slaves. It is therefore ordered...that publication of the pendency of this petition be made in the Greensborough Patriot for six weeks successively... A. E. Hanner, C.C.C.[Note: A copy of the petition made by Robert Donnell, Joseph Donnell, and Erwin Donnel requesting to be able to sell the slaves can be seen and read in its entirety by clicking here. Later that year, the Court of Pleas and Sessions of Guilford County ordered Robert Donnell to sell the slaves. Click here to read that order.

The 1840 United States Census for Guilford County, North Carolina showed that Ervin Donnell was the head of a household in which there were 15 people; 6 were free white persons and 9 were slaves. The free white people included: 2 males 5-9 years of age (One of these two was likely son William Milton Donnell, age 5), 1 male 15 - 19 years of age (This could be John Cunningham Donnell (#27), aged 19) , 1 male 40 - 49 years of age (This would be Ervin age 47), 1 female 10 - 14 years of age (This was likely Nancy, age ~15), and 1 female 30 - 39 (This would be Hannah, Ervin's 2nd wife, aged 39). Slaves included 1 male under 10, 2 males 10 - 23 years of age, 4 females under 10, and 2 females 24 - 35 in age. 5 persons are listed as employed in Agriculture. [Note: Although the 1840 census reports 2 free white males 5 - 9 years of age, Ervin's son Daniel would have been 11 if his birth information posted at is correct. Either the census report is incorrect, his posted birth information is incorrect, or this wasn't Daniel.]

Ervin's wife, Hannah, died just four years later (April 1844) and only four months after their son, Robert H. Donnell was born. She was 43 years of age. It may be that she died from childbirth complications, but this is not known.

In February 1845, Ervin must have been very ill; he wrote his will. He named his first born son with Hanna, John Cunningham Donnell (#27) as one of the executors of his estate. He bequeathed his land to his four sons by Hannah and 1/5 of his real and personal estate to be divided evenly amongst 5 children (John, Nancy, Daniel, William, and Robert) he had had with Hannah. After selling the balance of the corn and bacon to buy clothing for the children in the family, the balance if any was to go to John. The only exception to the division of the estate was that $1 was to go to Latham Donnell and the riding carriage was to go to Polly Pritchett. [Note: Latham is the son he had with his first wife; Polly is Ervin's adult, married daughter.]. In March, just one month later, Ervin died. [Note: The 1840 census lists slaves in Ervin's household, but his 1845 will does not refer to Ervin as having slaves.]

His will and a transcription done by this webmaster of the will can be seen at this link.

Ervin and Hanna had four sons: John Cunningham Donnell (#27), Daniel Donnell, William Milton Donnell and Robert H. Donnell, and two daughters: Polly Donnell and Nancy E. Donnell. All six of these children are mentioned in Ervin's will.

Below: Ervin Donnell’s tombstone at Buffalo Presbyterian Church. (GPS: 36° 6.596 N, 79° 46.782 W.) This photograph was taken 29 September 2005. The tombstone transcription is to the right of the photograph.:


who died
March 24, 1845
51 years 7 months
and 27 days."



Lifetime Events Summary for Ervin Donnell:

Ervin's age
July 1793
War of 1812
~19 - 22
Age at Mother's Death
May 1814
Marriage to 1st wife
August 1814
Marriage to 2nd Wife
December 1818
Children's births
~ 1815- 1843
~ 22 - 50
December 1821
Age at Father's Death
January 1835
Age at 2nd Wife's Death
April 1844
March 1845


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