Charles Chaney's Family History Page

5 times Great-Grandmother:
The Name of Aggie Owl
the wife of Moses Damron
of Russell County, Virginia

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by Charles C. Chaney

Moses Damron or Dameron (the name is recorded with and without the "e") of Russell County, Virginia, reportedly married Aggie (or Aggy) Owl.  Researchers have not been able to locate a family of that surname in the appropriate area.  However, the family names Ogle and Howl were found in the area.  Howl may have been a corruption of Howell.  (The Howle family of Virginia and South Carolina has pronounced their name as "Owl" for generations. See: "NOTE" below.)  There has been much speculation that she was Cherokee but a recent DNA test indicated that to be unlikely.*)There have been questions as to the source of the information that Aggie’s surname was Owl since a specific source has not been generally quoted.  The primary one seems to be an article that appeared in the 1 April 1896 issue of the Ceredo Advance, a newspaper in Ceredo, Wayne County, West Virginia.  It is interesting in that it names Aggie Owl as the wife of Moses Damron of Russell County, Virginia.  Frustratingly, the writer was unidentified.  The article is presented here as it was published:
Samuel Damron, Sr.
Mr. Editor:--Please insert this brief history in your valuable paper, as it circulates among the relatives and friends of one of the old pioneer fathers of the upper end of Wayne county, to-wit:

Samuel Damron, Sr.

Born May 7, 1794, in New Garden, Russell county, Va., and came down Big Sandy in the year 1808 along with his father, Lasarus Damron and three brothers--Moses, Richard and George--and settled five miles below what is now Piketown. At the age of 21 years, he married Sally, the daughter of Silas Ratcliff, known a "Aunt Fat Sally," and moved from Pike County in the year 1819 and settled at the farm where Samuel J. Ferguson now lives. Then in 1828 moved back in Pike county and settled on Brushy Creek of John's creek; remained there until 1834, when he moved back to the Left Fork of 12 Pole at the mouth of McComas creek and remained there until he was buried there in the year in the year 1889.
His mother was Nancy Short, and his grandmother Aggie Owl. To him and "Aunt Fat Sally" were born ten children, to-wit: Nancy, Betty, Neary, Anna, Milley, Polley, Jennie (all yet living save Nancy and Milley), and three sons, Moses, Silas and George Washington, all alive, and their hair is silvery white by the frosts of many winters. You can scarcely stop at any house in the upper end of Wayne county but you will see a son, grandson, daughter or granddaughter of this time honored old pioneer hunter, or some of his brothers, sons and daughters.
Samuel Damron, esq., who is now living at Cassville, W. Va., and is 84 years of age, was named for the subject of this sketch, and he, too, was born in this (Wayne) county and was never lived out of the county since it was made, for a day.
When this sketch is read by the many gray-haired relatives and friends of the old bear and dear hunter, they will wonder who knew him so well. In answer will say a
                Relative and Friend
The source of the information in this article is unrecorded although it is possible that “Samuel Damron, esq.,” may have provided some if not all of the information.  This does not constitute proof of the surname of the wife of Moses Damron of Russell County, Virginia, but it does offer a possibility if not a probability.

There is a report that there has been found a record, from the appropriate time and place, in Albemarle County, Virginia, of the construction of a road in which Moses Damron and his sons are mentioned along with a James Owl.  This indicates the presence of a family of the Owl surname was in the area.  However, this must be verified.

NOTE:  According to information published on the Internet by House of Names (Swyrich Corporation), the surname Owl is of English origin with spelling variations including Owle, Howl, Howle, among others. It appeared in Suffolk County in early times. In the mid-1600's settlers with this name migrated to the eastern seaboard of North America from Newfoundland to the Carolinas.  It is uncertain just how accurate this information may be since no sources were given.  Further investigation is required.

* The following information came from the Family Tree DNA website:

This test shows "Aggie Owl (or) Howell, born circa 1735-8 (probably in Albemarle Co., VA) the wife of Moses Damron (1735) who settled late in life in Russell Co., VA. Mitochondrial haplogroup H is a predominantly European haplogroup that participated in a population expansion beginning approximately 20,000 years ago. "  (kit: 59712 - haplogroup H)

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NOTE:  I have had DNA tests including mtDNA, Autosomal DNA and Family Finder DNA (at two separate companies).  I am a direct descendant of Aggie Owl yet no indication of Native American ancestry has appeared.  --  Charles C. Chaney

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Updated 10 July 2015

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