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McFarland Canterberry: portrayal Mon 26 Oct 2015, Silent City

Silent City 2015, despite efforts by weather to dampen spirits: 'Though the rain tried hard to make the night a wold and wet experience, the crowd of about 85 were largely unperturbed by the distraction and proved a fine audience. Six portrayals were presented at the cemetery and considerable conversation back at the library after the event.' - MIKE WATSON writes.
This narrative is the first we've received, and is linked to Silent City 26 Oct 2015 where links back to narratives can be found. We're hoping to have all to complete the tradition of posting the scripts in the ColumbiaMagazine.com archives

By Mike Watson
Script for presentation at Silent City 26 Oct 2015

McFarland Canterberry (or Canterbury) lived in Wayne County previous to coming to Adair, found on the census there in 1830. He was a farmer, teamster and blacksmith by trade and operated a shop in Columbia for some years, having moved here in the 1830s, bringing his wife and in-laws.

He married Mary "Polly" Carpenter, daughter of William Carpenter, on 18 March 1827 in Wayne County. Both are buried in the Columbia City Cemetery with only their exact ages at death on grave markers, no birth or death dates.


The birth and death dates of Canterberry and his wife are not easily determined. In the 1850 Adair County census his age was given as 44 (born about 1806) and Mary's age was given as 46 (born about 1804). However, in the 1860 Adair census his age was 48 (born about 1812) and Mary's was 50 (born about 1810). By 1870, McFarland had aged to 60 (born about 1810) and Mary was 65 (born 1805, Virginia). The markers in Columbia City Cemetery state McFarland died at age 79 years, 11 months, 19 days; Mary died at age 77 years, 8 months, 13 days. McFarland may have died about 1880 as he is listed in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, 1880, member of Columbia Lodge, No. 96, Master Mason.

McFarland was listed as a blacksmith in 1850, was elected Adair County jailer in August 1854 and served until his resignation in January 1862, and listed as a teamster in the 1870 Adair census. No record was found of him, nor Mary, in the 1880 census. Also listed in his household in 1870 was Catharine McFarland, age 24, black, born Kentucky.

William Carpenter, a Revolutionary War veteran, died in Adair County. A brief history from his pension application: William Carpenter was born on Rockfish River in Amherst County, Virginia on 19 March 1761, as well as he could remember from his family's Bible. He lived there until age 45 when he moved his family to Knox County, Tennessee, where he remained 18 or 19 years. He then moved to Wayne County, Kentucky where he made declaration for pension in March 1832. William died in Adair County on 14 September 1835 (or 24 October 1834). According to Mary, his wife, in her pension application, they had been in Adair County only a very short time previous to his death. She died in Adair County 20 October 1846 or 1848.

There is a William Carpenter, thought to be the same as above, buried in the Francis Montgomery cemetery at Joppa. According to his marker, he was born 17 May 1746, died 24 October 1834. It is likely this marker was erected long after death, and dates may have been incorrectly remembered, but more research is needed to determine this.

Mary Carpenter had first married William Henry Walker, probably in Wayne County, about 1821. To them was born one child of record, William H. Walker, born 1822. William Henry Walker evidently died soon after. McFarland Canterberry married as Mary Carpenter and reared young William H. Walker in Columbia.

Most of the time in which McFarland and Mary Canterberry lived in Columbia, they lived at what had been previously known as Robertson's Academy on High Street, lot number 12 on the original plan of the town of Columbia. This was the first school building in town. In 1812 the academy building was constructed for the benefit of the children of the town. William Caldwell, a town trustee, donated the lot for the use of the academy. Known originally as the Adair or Columbia Academy, but soon came to be called Robertson's Academy, so named for the first president, Rev. Samuel Best Robertson, who opened the school in April 1813 and continued it until April 1825. - MIKE WATSON


This story was posted on 2015-11-02 07:43:58
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