Appalachia Civil War Letters

WC Penland’s History

One of the things I wanted to do on the Blind Pig during 2014 was to complete the story of civil war solider W.C. Penland. I shared part of a series of letters written by W.C. but somehow never completed the series. Since a few years have passed since I shared the letters, I decided it made more sense to start completely over and hopefully offer more civil war information along with the letters this time around.

The Penland Historical Society has graciously allowed me to share the following history of W.C.’s parents which was printed in their February 1987 bulletin. The piece offers a slight peek into W.C.’s family history.


Patience Mahalia Moore and Harvey Monroe Penland


Patience Mahalia Moore and Harvey Monroe Penland 

Harvey Monroe Penland Family

The Penlands are of Scottish descent. In America we find them first in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Harvey Monroe Penland was a grandson of Robert Penland who came to North Carolina from Pennsylvania about 1768 to what is now Burke County. Robert’s son George migrated west to Buncombe County; then Haywood County, where Harvey Monroe Penland was born on Sept. 12, 1812. When Harvey was about 10 years of age; George moved his family again; this time to Macon County, to a community called Otto, a few miles south of Franklin towards the Georgia Border.

Harvey grew up on this farm as the oldest boy in a family of nine children. When he was thirty years old on Oct. 11, 1842 he married Patience Mahalia Moore (b. Oct. 10, 1820 d. Apr. 15, 1903). Patience was the daughter of John and Susan Jones Moore. John Moore’s father, Turner Moore, came to America from Ireland, settled in Rutherford County. His son John later settled in Cherokee (Clay) County 2nd District.

Soon after their marriage, Harvey and Patience moved to Camp Creek, 8th Dist. of Cherokee County, near the Tennessee state border, where Harvey had bought 711 acres of land in 1840. William their oldest child was born there on Oct. 23 1843. Harvey soon moved to another location known as the Rex Sellars Farm, which was near his father-n-law. In 1845 he bought some land in Dist. 2, and in 1855 he bought 300 acres from his father-n-law, John Moore. In 1856 he was having a new house built on the north side of Shooting Creek in what is known as the Elf Community. (This house is now 130 years old and still being used by his descendants) Soon after he and Patience moved into their new house the War between the States began. Their oldest son William Chamberlain, age 18, enlisted in the Confederate Army, Co. F, 65th Regiment of the N.C. Troops (6th Regiment N.C. Calvary). Capt. William Moore, Rachel’s nephew, was in command of the troop. William died on Aug. 3, 1863 of a fever, and is buried near Clinton, TN.

Harvey and Patience had thirteen children. Nine grew up to marry and raise families of their own. For wedding presents each was given land valued at six hundred dollars (or was given that much in cash). In addition they were given a horse with saddle and bridle, a cow, two sheep and a sow. The daughters were also given a sewing machine, candle stand, and cedar chest.

Their children were: William Chamberlain, Oct. 23, 1843 – Aug. 19, 1863; Mary Susan Dec. 9 1844-1886, md William J. Marr; James Hanibal, Mar. 12, 1846-1889, md Fanny Johnson; Charles Newton, Feb. 21, 1848 – Nov. 3, 1898, md Margaret Jane McClure; George Wylie, Dec. 3, 1849 – Nov. 13, 1931, md Nancy Williams; John Alexander, May 28, 1851 – Nov. 16, 1920, md Sallie Truett (sister of Dr. George W. Truett); Margaret Julia, b. May 8, 1853, md Will Rogers; Sophia Elizabeth, Mar. 7, 1855 – Feb. 19, 1937, md Bud Dillard; Robert Norbonne, Sept. 25, 1856 – Mar. 4, 1944 md Arie Virginia Patton; Luola, Aug. 8, 1861 – July 6, 1925, md Burgess Patton.

Harvey helped survey the first road across Chunky Gal Mountain, and was one of Clay County’s first commissioners. He died on August 7, 1889. He and Patience are buried at Union Hill Cemetery.

~Penland Historical Society; Bulletin 3; February 2, 1987.


There are a few discrepancies in the history-such as the date of W.C.’s death. However I left the history as it was written. I believe August 19, 1863 is the correct date of W.C.’s death.


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  • Reply
    Solara E. Penland
    August 18, 2017 at 12:31 am

    Hello, to anyone who might be blood related, I am so glad I found this page I learned a lot. I’m almost 12, Harvey Monroe Penland is my great, great, great, great, great grandfather. My dads name is Daniel Penland and my mothers is Dottie Penland. My grandfather is Talmage Penland, and my grandmother is Helen Penland. Contact me if you are blood related if wanted.

  • Reply
    Martha Penland
    August 17, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    My name is Martha Penland. I live in Cherokee County Alabama. My great grandparents 4 back was John and Alice Moore Penland. I just found your page and I am excited. I would love to have any pictures emailed to me of any family members especially William Penland 1770 also I would love to know of any ties to the Cherokee. I have searched but have never found anything until I found comment from Ron Penland saying his grandmother was full blood Cherokee. I have a family history from William Penland 1770 until now if any one is interested email me.

  • Reply
    Ron Penland
    December 1, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    Hi Linda,
    I dont know where you are but the link below may help you find what you are looking for? I, personally have not found a Charles William in my family search but Im not finished with it so I might eventually? I have over 600 names in my tree at present.
    William was writing to his father and brother in the letters. He is my Cousin 3 times removed. I still have a lot of researching to do on his side of the family. If I find a Charles William, I will post it here.
    If those are the names of the orphans, it could be possible they are from my side of the family because my great great grandfather had a daughter named Margaret E Penland?

  • Reply
    J. W. Penland
    February 16, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks for posting this great information. Harvey and Patience appear to be my 3-G grandparents through their son John Alexander. I especially appreciated the picture.

  • Reply
    Linda White
    December 3, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Who were William C Penland’s letters written to? Are the letters transcribed and posted somethere? Was William C Penland married?
    I find two orphans who claim their father was a C W Penland, Charles William Penland and Margaret E. Penland. Charles William Penland might be my husband’s ancestor.

  • Reply
    Ron Penland
    June 24, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Hi Tipper, This is some info I recently found out on the Penland’s and thought Id pass it on.In the first census of the U.S.(1790), there were 3 Penlands listed in North Carolina. They were from Burke County in the Morgan District.
    George Penland, who’s household consisted of 3 free males over 16, 2 free males under 16, 5 free females and no slaves.
    Robert Penland, whos household consisted of 1 free male over 16, 4 free males under 16, 6 free females and 1 slave.
    William Penland, whos household consisted of 5 free males over 16, 2 free males under 16, 3 free females, and 1 slave.
    Those were the only Penlands listed in NC during the 1st Census, which part of TN was NC at that time.
    I once read in some history in the Library in Macon County, while doing research on my family several years ago, there was once a Penland Bank and Trust somewhere around Asheville, probably in Penland, NC? I live about 62 miles from there.
    I think the town of Penland,NC was named after one of those three but Im not sure? Im still trying to connect things with the little time I have to work on it.
    My grandfather, also named Robert, was born in Macon County in 1892 and later moved to Clayton, Ga (just south of Macon Co), where my dad and his siblings were born, then later moved his family to Lithia Springs,Ga (west of Atlanta), where he physically built his own home in the 50’s.
    That is where he, grandmother, my dad and mom, and most of Robert’s kids and spouses are buried (Mozley Memorial Gardens), most of which I have put on the website. They can be found by searching the cemetery name on that site.
    Maybe that info will help somebody?

  • Reply
    Ron Penland
    April 23, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Well somehow it cut some of the names off but there are several more. May be Operator Headspace caused it (On my part of course)LOL

  • Reply
    Ron Penland
    April 23, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Maiden names connected to my family tree all the way back to the first Penlands in NC are: Conley,Barnes,Keener,Watts,Hudson,Moore,Branch,Truitt,Brank,Patton,Alexander,Parks,Henry,Casey,Donnal,Douglas,Price and Meece. Also have some male spouses of Penland women listed.

  • Reply
    Ron Penland
    April 23, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Other names listed on the reunion sheet are Ritchie, McCollum, Burrell,Bolton, Jordan,Justus,Brock, Holcombe,Johnson,Vannoy, Morris,Carter,Shupe,Cash,Wood and several Penlands I do not know (Effie,Bessie,Edwin,Jackie,Carl,Kate and H.R)

  • Reply
    Ron Penland
    April 23, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Just for general information, another name that can be associated with the Penland Family is the name Hunter (also from N.C. My grandmothers maiden name was Hunter. Her mother was a Full Blooded Cherokee indian from NC. Ill send you a pic of her when I find it Tipper. Grandmothers dads name was W.C. Hunter. The name Long is also associated with the Penlands. I have a sign in sheet where they held a family reunion in Warwomans Dell back in the 5os that has a lot of names which I do not personally know. Duncan is another name associated with the Penlands. My great Grandmother’s maiden name was Duncan. She was married to G.W. Penland (My great Grandfather), who was cousin to W.C., Nephew to H.M. Strangely, W.C. also had a brother named G.W.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    April 11, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Tipper, The Penland’s and their families over N.C. and Tenn. have roots of honor . Very prominent family. I love letters from the Era of Civil war. Thanks again for sharing with us.

  • Reply
    April 10, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    I found this interesting, especially the wedding gifts they gave to nine of their thirteen children when they married, gifts that seem so much more sensible than the extravagances so many parents heap upon their eagerly expecting, sometimes even demanding, children nowadays.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    April 10, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks for this, Tipper. As you know, John Moore is my 3-g grandfather. Captain William Patton Moore – who Mama always called “Captain Billy” – is John Moore’s grandson through his first wife, Martha Covington, who died before reaching 40, while William Chamberlain Penland is John Moore’s grandson by his second wife, Susannah Jones. Susannah married John the year after Martha died, and together they were the parents of Patience Mahalia.
    John, Susanna, Patience and Harvey all take their final resting places, side-by-side, in the Union Hill Cemetery of the Elf community in the beautiful Shooting Creek valley. I’ve not counted, but I think I probably have more kin folks (on both Mama’s and Daddy’s sides) buried in that cemetery than in any other.
    One thing you didn’t mention was that you have a bit of a family connection here as well (or at least I’m pretty sure you do), through your Truett line.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    April 10, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    I really enjoyed this, Tipper. I will check it against my data to see if anything disagrees. As you know, Harvey Monroe Penland was my great-great-grandfather. His daughter, Luola, and her husband, Burgess Gaither Patton, were my great-grandparents,
    I have tried unsuccessfully to find where in Clinton, TN that W. C. Penland is buried. If any of those folks that provided this info have any information on his burial site, I would really appreciate getting hooked up with them. He was my great-great-uncle and I would love to visit his final resting place.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    My home is in Burke County. My daughter lives mighty near where this story begins. I have friends and family who live or lived in every county and town mentioned in this post, so I am contented here. I am addicted to genealogy and have spent too much time today trying to connect this family with my family tree. No success so far but I’ll do it!
    I have two suggestions if you are receptive.
    1st put Pap and Paul’s “The Legend Of The Rebel Soldier” near the top of your Playlist–G4
    and 2nd switch the names on the caption under the pictures above.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    April 10, 2014 at 11:51 am

    I’m glad you’re bringing back W.C.
    Penland’s Civil War letters, they are
    so touching. Time has changed a lot of
    the ways of saying things, but most of
    us cherish family and the land we come
    from. Thanks for the background of this

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 10, 2014 at 11:24 am

    It is a beautiful day in East Tennessee…The “dogwood petticoats” are dancing all over the ridges as the “Redbud flames contra step” into their pink fade ending!
    Wish you were here!
    Described it the best I could!
    I know this sounds crazy, but yesterday while I was writing my comments and thanking Don, I thought about the Civil War letters you used to post. I was going to ask Don to send you the ones he read, (flusterated), and realized that he had read them in a book…so that was erased! LOL
    I still meant to ask you about them, but I knew my comment was getting long as usual so I didn’t. Here is my thought. It must have traveled as a coincidence (co-winky-dinky) to you or NOT…ooooooohhhhhh!
    Looking forward to the Penland letters again…and to the finish!
    Thanks Tipper,
    Have yourself a great day!

  • Reply
    April 10, 2014 at 10:46 am

    I enjoyed this piece of history as I have a home near Burke County. I’m not a realy history buff, but the small pieces of history you share helpme understand various areas of North Carolina.

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