OTHER EARLY FLORY/FLORA NAMES
By Ken Florey
| Most people who can trace their Flory/Flora origins back to the eighteenth century come from one of the main Flory lines listed on the previous page. Early records of Colonial America, however, do show evidence that other Florys or Fleuries were here as early as the beginning of the late sixteenth century. Nothing is known currently as to what happened to many of these lines. There recently has been some significant scholarship relating to early Flory names in Currituck County, North Carolina. These Florys/Floras are discussed by Brian Flora and Donna O’Malley in their joint essay on the F-Lines. There is a record of a WILLIAM FLURY born circa 1730 in Chowan Co., North Carolina, who married a MARGARET HAUGHTON on May 6, 1752 and who may be connected to one or more of the above Florys. This is apparently the same William Flury with descendants in Mississippi who is the subject of an off-site genealogy
The first known person in America with a Flory name was Charles Florrie, who, in 1587, was part of the ill-fated Roanoke “Lost Colony.” See Donna O’Malley’s essay on this subject in the “Mysteries” section of this site. The second colonist with a possible Flory name was GEORGE FLOWRE, who lived in Virginia as early as 1606 and, perhaps, earlier (Conway Whittle Norms, The Conquest of Virginia: The Second Attempt, 1924). Whether Flowre was a true Flory is difficult to tell. The Flory name is sometimes confused with the family name of Flor (Flohr, Flour, Flower), a line that appears to be unrelated despite the similarity in patronyms. The “e” at the end of Flowre’s name may or may not have been pronounced. If the former, he was probably a true Flory. If not, he probably wasn’t.
Wilbur D. Spencer (Pioneers on the Maine Rivers With Lists to 1651, 1930 ) records a CHARLES FLEURY, who lived in Maine in 1613. The Fleury name appears early in Canada, and Fleury may have descended from French Canadians or was Canadian himself.
Gladys Donson, historian of Thomas Flora and the A-Line, has provided some information about an eighteenth-century African American family named Flora living in Virginia.
In a book entitled Black Heroes of the American Revolution, there is reference to a mulatto soldier named William Flora who stopped the British advance during the Revolutionary War in the Norfolk, Virginia area by destroying a bridge. Gladys Donson has also come across reference in Virginia Court Records about a Black family or families named Flora living in the Norfolk area.
There is more information about this William Flora and his lineage in Paul Heinegg’s book Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina From the Colonial Period to About 1820, Volume I. William’s mother, Mary Flora, was born around 1730. Father unknown. William was “born free” around 1755 and bound apprentice to Joshua Gammon of Norfolk County in April 1763 [Orders 1763-5, 15].
William’s grandmother was also named Mary, born around 1700, and was probably white. She was a servant of Lewis Delony on January 1718/19, when the York County Court ordered that she serve him an additional year for having a “bastard child” [OW 15, pt.2, 536]. She was probably the mother of at least two children,” the aforementioned Mary, mother of William, and a Peter Flora.
Peter Flora was called “Peater Flura, the Spanard [perhaps because of his complexion?].” Peter was head of a Norfolk County household in the Southern Branch District near Batcheldor’s Mill in 1753 and 1754 and taxable in Western Branch District in Alice Forrestor’s household in 1767 and 1768. He was taxable in his own household in 1769 and 1770 (Wingo, Norfolk County Tithables, 1751-1765, 55, 89; 1766-1780, 14, 71, 87, 105). The Norfolk County Court declared him to be levy free on June 21, 1771 (Orders, 1771-3, 6).
Moving away from William’s uncle Peter to William himself, after William had been bound apprentice to Joshua Gammon, he next appears in court records as taxable in Norfolk County in 1771 in the Edmond’s Bridge District in John Fentress’ household and in William Bressie’s household in 1773 (Wingo, Norfolk County Tithables, 1766-1780, 128). He was taxable in Portsmouth and Elizabeth River Parishes, Norfolk County, from 1782-1817; taxable on a slave and a horse in 1787 [note: the records here are unclear but it may have been that William, a free Black, owned or rented a slave himself, which Blacks, in certain areas of the South, were permitted for a time to do. The practice is well known, for example, in Louisiana]; taxable on 6 horses from 1795-1799; taxable on 2 free males; a slave under 16, 5 horses and 4 carriage wheels in 1800; counted in a list of “free Negroes” as a peddler living in Portsmouth with (wife?) Gracy Flora in 1801; taxable on 3 riding chairs and 6 horses in 1802, 8 horses from 1804-06; a stage wagon, 6 chairs and 6 horses in 1807 (PPTL, 1782-91, frames 392, 485, 567, 613, 643, 682; 1791-1812, frames 22, 82, 138, 172, 248, 354, 383, 463, 560, 646, 689, 742; 1813-24, frames 101, 251).
William Flora’s main claim to fame, however, came during the Revolutionary War. He fought in the battle at Great Bridge, Norfolk County. He is recorded as having pried loose the last board in the bridge to prevent the British from attacking his retreating comrades (Jackson, Virginia Negro Soldiers, 34; WPA, The Negro in America, 23). Currently, the only other known reference to a Flory or Flora of African American descent is to an Ishmael Flory, a Communist activist in the Chicago area in the mid to late 1900’s.
A Thomas Florey took part in something called the American Expedition sometime in the first part of the seventeenth century. His widow, Elizabeth is on record as having put in a claim for his pension in 1656. A website located at http://www.genealogy-quest.com/collections/jamaica.html records the following information:
THE AMERICAN EXPEDITION
Names of Officers and Soldiers engaged in the American Expedition, who during the Years 1656,1657 and 1658 applied for Arrears of Pay, or on whose account such applications were made by their Widows or Representatives. Many of the persons alluded to in the applications of Widows or Representatives are stated to have lost their Lives in the Expedition to America or in Jamaica. Names include Elizabeth, widow of Thos. Florey 15 Sep 1656
Daniel Ravenel, the compiler of Liste des Francois et Suisses. From an Old Manuscript List of French and Swiss Protestants Settled in Charleston . . . Probably About 1695-6, 1888, notes a MARIANNE CAROLINE FLEURY and an ABRAHAM FLEURY, husband and wife, living in the Carolina area around this time (1695-6). He also records an ISAAC FLEURY, who was brother to Abraham. Donna O’Malley’s recent research has indicated a strong possibility that one or both of these lines may be living. First Settlers of South Carolina 1670-1700, by Agnes Leland Baldwin (1985) gives more information about the two brothers. Abraham, who was also known as Abraham de la Pleine was born in Tours, France, the son of Charles Fleury and Madeleine Soupzmain, and he brought with him four servants, Lewis, Lucy, Sharto, and Gabriel Teboo. His wife, Marianne, was the daughter of the late Jaques Dugue, born in Paris, and Marianne Dugue. According to Peg Watts, Abraham fled France to England and from there departed on the Richmond, Dec. 17, 1679. After a stop in Barbadoes, the ship that he was on arrived at Oyster Point , Charleston, S.C. on April 30, 1680. Isaac, also known as Isaac de la Pleine, came to this country before Feb. 2, 1685, and was also born in Tours. This same source records a MAGDALEN FLEURY (de la Pleine) arriving in the province before 1690.
There are numerous period records that Donna O’Malley has uncovered relating to these two FLEURY (de la PLEINE) brothers and their descendants. For the sake of future researchers, they are boxed off below:
The Passenger and Immigration List includes the name of an ELEANOR FLOREY, age unknown, who lived in Maryland around 1677. No family given.
Moving into the eighteenth century, an ELIZABETH FLEURY lived in Virginia circa 1700 (Walter LeSeur Turner, “Communications from Governor Frances Nicholson of Virginia Regarding Huguenot Refugees on Board Ship Mary and Ann,” The Huguenot, Vol. 6 , pp. 82-6). Nothing further is known about her nor is anything known about a Louisiana couple with the same last name, ANTOINE FLEURY and JEANNE FLEURY, who are recorded as living in that state in 1719 (“Immigrants to Louisiana, 1719,” French and Canadian Genealogical Review, 1:3 [Fall ’68], pp. 197-209).
PIERRE FLEURY is, undoubtedly, the most well known of the “other” names. He appears on several lists of known Huguenots to this country, and he arrived in Philadelphia on the ship Mary of London on September 26, 1732. Very little information about him after his arrival is available. Walter Bunderman is his 1948 study of the Florys assumes that he went to York Co., Pennsylvania in 1738 and that he was the father of the B-Line of Florys, beginning with Abraham Flury. However, a search of York County records does not show any presence of a Pierre Fleury in that area. Moreover, Abraham’s family Bible lists his own father as Jacob.
One of the more interesting Flory figures to arrive in America was EDWARD FLURRY, who was an English indentured servant sentenced for transportation at Old Bailey on April 12, 1738 and transported here in that same year to either Maryland or Virginia (Peter Coldham, English Convicts in Colonial America). Thomas Florie (Flora), the founder of the A-Line, was also a bonded English immigrant. He was transported here in 1720 on the ship Gilbert. At this point, there is no evidence to suggest that Edward and Thomas were brothers, or even related. The possibility that there was a connection between the two is intriguing, however. Whatever the case, there are no known descendants for EDWARD FLURRY, but conjectural evidence indicates that this is probably a living line. There was a comment on one of the FLORY listservs that Edward, along with his two sons and a wife or daughter, was active in the Revolution. Gladys Donson has uncovered “a whole bunch” of Flurrys in Charles County, Maryland, among whom in the 1790 census are several Edward Flurrys listed as heads of household. There is record of a Henley Flurry living in Georgia in the latter part of the eighteenth century who also might be descended from Edward. Henley married a woman with the family name of Maddox, a name that is quite common in the Charles Country area. The aforementioned 1790 census for Charles County lists a William Flurry, an Edward Flurry, an Edward Flurry, Jr., and a John Flurry, all with children and all with slaves. If they migrated from the area, it would have been further South, and at least one of these families might have made it to Georgia. Again, all of this is conjectural, but so far these Maryland Flurrys have not been connected to any other Flory line.
Magdelana Flory of Switzerland, who was sister of Catharina Flory and wife to Ulrich Ellenberger, had two sons who immigrated to America in 1749. We now know that these sons were named Ulrich and Peter respectively and that they arrived here in September of that year on the ship St. Andrew. They married sisters, Veronica and Eva Bixler (Bichsel, Pixeler, Buchsler, Bickler, etc.). Both sisters came from Manchester Township in York County, Pa. Their father was Christian Bickler, son of Ulrich Bicksel and Verena Stucki, who was born October 5, 1706 in Sumiswald, Eggiwill, Switzerland. York County was originally part of Lancaster County. There is a Swiss will, described in the MYSTERIES section, that indicates that the brothers had an unnamed Flory uncle living in America. Since the Ellenbergers moved to an area close to both Abraham and Joseph Flory, it seems likely that one of the Florys was the anonymous uncle mentioned in this will. Abraham seems a bit more likely to be the missing relative, but Joseph is still a possibility. These two Ellenbergers are certainly Florys by genealogical descent, if not by actual name.
The last figure to be discussed is that of CHRISTIAN FLORIG, who immigrated here on December 22, 1744 on a ship called “Mascliffe Galley” (Ralph Beaver Strassburger, Pennsylvania German Pioneers, 1934). Nothing further is known about him, and he appears to have disappeared on his arrival. If he was a Redemptioner, a German immigrant who was bonded to an American to pay for his debts involved in his passage over here, the lack of records would not be all that unusual. Redemptioners upon release were very poor, often very migratory, and often slipped from public record. There is a strong possibility, however, that this CHRISTIAN FLORIG may be a member of the E-line. The three brothers, Johannes, George, and Adolph, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1754 from Birkenau, Germany, did have a brother named Christian, who was born in 1721. This Christian did leave Birkenau for parts unknown, probably prior to 1744, when the Mascliffe Gallery arrived in Philadelphia. Moreover, the family name of Flori in Birkenau appears to have been undergoing a sound change to Florig. Indeed, the Flori name in Birkenau of Flori is now Florig, pronounced “Florik.” CHRISTIAN FLORIG, then, who arrived here in 1744, could have been brother to the Birkenau Florys of 1754. It was not uncommon for German immigrants to follow relatives over here. Unfortunately, until more records are found, this connection cannot be made. There are indications of several more migrations of the Birkenau Florys to America well into the nineteenth century. The Florigs of Birkenau today are aware of some of the later journeys, but not of those of the eighteenth centuries.
There are names of other immigrants from this period that have a “Flory” like sound, such as Flores and Florin. It may very well be that at least a few of these have some connection to one of the Flory lines. At this point, however, it is perhaps best to restrict ourselves to names that contain the final “ee” sound or some derivative thereof.