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Paris Family Genealogy


Our branch of the Paris family is well documented from Captain Henry William Paris forward. However, we have no solid evidence of Captain Paris' parents. Two theories have been advanced. One is that Henry William Paris descended from Henry Parris (Paris), born 1750 and died in 1847. Another is that Henry William Paris descended from George Pearis, born about 1680 in England. I do not know which, or if either, are correct. I've simply tried to provide all the information I have collected over the years. Many people have graciously provided me with information and I have uncovered some information while conducting my own research.

I created this site primarily to document the Paris family history beginning with Captain Henry William Paris in old Milton County, Georgia. This portion of the Paris family is well documented. However, at this point, I have found no solid evidence of Captain Paris' parents. I am aware of four theories which have been advanced to solve the riddle:

  1. Henry William Paris descended from Henry Parris (Paris), born 1750 and died in 1847.

  2. Henry William Paris descended from George Parris, who was the son of Richard Pearis, Sr. who was the son of George Pearis, Sr., born about 1680 in England (or Ireland). George Parris was said to be Richard Pearis' son by his Cherokee side-wife 'Pratchy.'

  3. Henry William Paris descended from George Pearis, Jr., the eldest son of George Pearis, Sr.

  4. Henry William Paris is descended from Thomas Paris who was the son of Richard Pearis, Jr. who was the son of Richard Pearis who was the son of George Pearis.

I've uncovered no evidence for the first theory nor do I know of any written evidence to support the third theory. There is, at least some written evidence for the second and fourth theories. In Sketches of Rabun County History 1819 - 1948, by Andrew Jackson Ritchie, there are a few pages regarding William Shea (G. T.) Paris, who was the son of Captain Henry William Paris by his second wife, Margaret B. Cunningham. Sketches of Rabun County History indicates William Shea Paris moved to Clayton, Georgia in 1885 from Alpharetta, Georgia in old Milton County. The author wrote:

"Going back to his ancestors, Colonel Paris was the son of Captain Henry William Paris and Margarette Paris who moved to Milton County before the Civil War. His grandfather was Thomas Paris, who was descended from Richard Paris, who first came to Frederick County, Virginia, and afterwards settled in the upper part of South Carolina. This Richard Paris was an officer who served as an intermediary between the Indians and white settlers in 1766 and 1768."

Although it is not perfectly clear to which Richard Pearis the author is referring, I believe he is referring to Richard Pearis, Sr. rather than Richard Pearis, Jr. The elder Pearis did come to Frederick County, Virginia with his father, George Pearis, Sr. and a great deal of documentation exists to substantiate the claim that he was an "intermediary between the Indians and white settlers." Richard Pearis, Jr. would simply have been too young in 1766 to be an effective "intermediary."

Since Sketches does not clearly identify the father of Thomas Paris, we must assume it could be either George Parris, Richard Pearis' son by his Cherokee side-wife or Richard Pearis, Jr. If the quotation is accurate, it would rule out the theories that Henry William Paris was descended from either George Pearis, Jr. or Henry Paris. Outside of Sketches Of Rabun County History, I've found no mention of Thomas Paris.

George Parris, in his publication 3000 Years On The Frontier, suggests George Parris, the half-Cherokee son of Richard Pearis, fathered a number of undocumented children following 1776.

"Upon his release from prison in the summer of 1776, George Parris (Richard's son) likely moved immediately to the Cherokee Lower and Middle Towns. I hypothesize that he then began the procreation of a number of children with Cherokee and mixed-race women. Remember that he had title to about 100,000 acres of land that was recognized by the Cherokee and the British (who were a long way from out of the war). He was about 22 years old by my calculation (b. 1754). He spoke Cherokee and English; and he was a naturalized British citizen. On top of this, the cohort of young male Cherokee had just been cut in half by the "Cherokee War." In my hypothesis, George Parris fathered children from Greenville to Spartanburg, to Hendersonville, to Asheville, to Hiwassee. These families took the name "Parris." {Note that no children of George Parris are specifically identified in records for the period 1775-1800 in the Carolinas, but about 10 children with two wives are known in Georgia after 1809. It is hard to believe that he did not leave behind some kin in the Carolinas in the 25 years he lived there as an adult.)"

If Parris' hypothesis is true, Thomas Paris could have been one of those "undocumented" children. Although it is an argument from silence, it would explain the lack of written information concerning Thomas.

At this point, I am leaning toward the theory that Thomas Paris' father was Richard Pearis, Jr. I think Shea Paris knew very well his grandfather's name. So I'm willing to accept the quotation from Sketches of Rabun County History.

However, I think the idea that Henry William Paris descended from George Parris has, at least, some merit. George's Parris' mother was a Cherokee and the description of Henry William Paris, upon his capture during the Civil War, indicates he had black hair, black eyes and a dark complexion. The only picture of Henry William Paris I've ever seen shows him with a thick, black beard and black hair. That could indicate Henry William was descended from the half-Cherokee, George Parris.

Joan Norris has done an extensive amount of research on Henry William Paris. She is convinced that Henry William Paris' father was Thomas Paris who, in her opinion, was a son of Richard Pearis Jr. Joan writes:

"I have a couple of notations of a Thomas Paris being in Augusta and once in Charleston. Richard Pearis, Sr. left part of his family in Charleston when he was exiled to the Bahamas but Richard Jr. went with him to the Islands. Later, R. Jr. was back in St. Mary's Ga. where he and his wife (Margaret Cunningham, daughter of the famous General Robert Cunningham) died. Margaret died first and R. Jr. remarried to Catherine Osborne, widow of one of the founders of St. Marys, congressman, judge, etc. Richard Jr. and Catherine were back and forth in Augusta periodically. Augusta was where the American rebels took Richard's family (made his wife and 3 very young children walk from Greenville to Augusta) and abandoned them. This was were R. Sr. found his family 2 years after the Americans burned his plantation, crops, everything he had."

Joan thinks Thomas could have been born either in Charleston or the Bahamas. He could have lived in St. Marys, Augusta, or Charleston later. She also believes that Margaret Cunningham was his mother. Margaret died in 1803.

Some of the names and dates found on these pages come from The Family of Henry and Martha Paris, Copyright 1963 by Harry Talton Kemp, Sr. First Revision, 1987 by Richard Eugene Paris and Cindy Paris, C. Michael Swinford and Rachel L. B. Swinford and Joel Benjamin Paris IV and Maria Egan Paris. Second Revision Copyright 1992 by C. Michael Swinford and Rachel L. B. Swinford.

Last Updated On 23 December 2006