The Musick Family


Ancestors of Delilia Music Hopson


See the following websites for further information:


Floyd County, KY website:


Johnson County, KY website:


Musick Genealogy website:


Nancy Sparks Morrison website:





Family Researchers and History


            "The Music family is a large and well respected family in the Big Sandy Valley (Kentucky).  Although most of today's family members use the Music spelling, there are still those who retain the 'K' or Musick spelling."   So begins a brief history of the Music family written by Bobby W. Wells.[1]


            Another Music family researcher, Dr. Roy A. Chessmore, writes that "some members of the Music families changed the spelling of their names from Musick to Music about the time of the Civil War when both Virginia and Kentucky were border states, and some family members fought on different sides.  This was fairly common in many of the border states."[2]


            Charles Spradlin, another Music descendant, believes that the first Musics came to America from England and Wales, probably about 1700.  According to Bobby Wells, "the first Musick family members landed in Virginia before the middle of the 17th century."  There was a John Musick, an Englishman who came to Virginia on the ship Amitie.  Wells adds, "Although no proof is presently available, it is believed that the Musics of East Kentucky are descended from this John Musick."


            In "Our Family History" presented on the webpage of the Musick Family Association of America[3], a legend is recounted about an orphan lad found wandering on the shores of Wales, knowing only his first name, George.  Because he was quite fond of music(k) he became known as George Musick.  There is doubt as to the authenticity of this romantic tale. 


            The long-term objective of the Musick Family Association is to research and resolve the question of our ancestry.  Some say we are of Welsh descent, others say there is a Huguenot line, and others have written we are Scotch-Irish.


            Nancy Sparks Morrison's "The Musick Family Genealogy" on her website gives documentation for much of the information about the Musicks.  She discredits the "waif" story and a Welsh origin for the Musicks.  She thinks it is more probable that George Musick Sr. was a descendant of another George Musick who came directly from Great Britain sometime before 1657, settling in Gloucester Co., VA.  She also believes the Musicks are of German-English descent, that the family supposedly came from Germany to England at about the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066.  The German spelling of the name was Musick or Muzick.


            Dr. Chessmore, in his "Spradlin-Music Family History and Genealogy" writes:


            I would like to include a description of the areas of Virginia and Kentucky where our ancestors were born, married, and raised their families.  I believe that this will make us appreciate the fact that these people were real pioneers.  Their survival under very difficult conditions will show us that they had the moral, spiritual, and physical strength to meet and solve most of their problems during that difficult time in history.  It is also amazing to me to see that both the Spradlin and Music families followed about the same route in their migration from one place to another in Virginia, Kentucky, and even to Oklahoma!


            Our "pilgrim" fathers came from England to Jamestown, Virginia, on May 13, 1607.  In spite of Indian and food problems, Captain John Smith kept the colony alive.  Virginia was one of the original thirteen states and was the tenth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution in 1788.  Spotsylvania County was the first county inland from the Atlantic coast to be organized.  Spotsylvania County was named after the English governor, Alexander Spotswood, who was governor from 1710-1722.  It was also the site of one of the main Civil War battles.


            George Musick, Sr., was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, in about 1664 or about 1700, depending upon whose history you are reading.



1st generation


George Musick, Sr.



Ann Allen



            George Musick, Sr. was born in Spotsylvania County, VA in 1700 according to Dr. Chessmore's "Spradlin-Music Genealogy;"[4] and according to "Descendants of George Musick, Sr.," by Wallace F. Music[5] and "The Musick Family Genealogy" by Nancy Sparks Morrison[6], he was born in 1664. 


            It is believed by some that he is a descendant of an Englishman, John Musick, who came to Virginia on the ship Amitie before the middle of the 17th century.  At this time a definite connection has not been established, however.  Another researcher believes he is more likely the son of another George Musick who came to America from Great Britain before 1657.


            He married Ann Allen, according to some accounts, but once again, this is not verified information.  (He does mention his wife Ann in his will, but there is no record of her family name.)  Nancy Sparks Morrison wrote that there was speculation about her name being Allen because of the frequency Allen was used in association with the Musick name in Spotsylvania Co., VA. court records.


George, Sr., was granted 300 acres of land in Spotsylvania County VA on 8 September 1728 (probably from King George of England).  The Musick Family Association history says the plantation was known as "Plentiful Run," and on it he grew and exported tobacco.  The first roads to Plentiful Run were called "rolling roads" because they were designed to permit a tobacco grower to roll barrels of tobacco behind a mule to the wharf and warehouses on the river, for shipment to England.  There were other land grants, indicating that George Musick was a man of means, a large landholder.


His will was probated 5 March 1754 in Spotsylvania County, VA.  It indicated he left 9 children.[7]


            George and Annie Musick had 9 children, probably born in the following order:


            i.          Elexious (Electxious) Musick b. about 1718 Spotsylvania Co., VA,

                        d. about 1798 Russel, VA.  In the County Court Orders of

                        Pittsylvania County, VA, in 1766 land was surveyed for

                        Elexious Musick.  On the 3rd Monday of January 1777, all

                        free males over the age of 16 years were asked to sign the

                        Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America. Elexious

                        Musick was on this list.  The name of Elexious Music

                        appeared on the tax lists of Henry Co., VA in the years of



            ii.          Ambrose Musick, b. about1720 Spotsylvania, VA; d. about 1806

                                    Albemarle, VA


iii.         Abraham Musick, b. about 1722 Spotsylvania, VA; m. Sarah Lewis;

d. about 1832 St. Louis, MO.  He and his sons Lewis,

William and Daniel fought at the Battle of Cowpen in

the Revolution.  Abraham was later the patriarch of a

wagon train of about 100 people who traveled through

the Cumberland Gap to Georgia, Kentucky, and Illinois

in 1794.  He and others crossed the Mississippi to

Spanish Louisiana (later Missouri).


iv.         Ephriam Musick, Sr. (1724-1754) m. Isabella Roy


            v.         George Music, Jr. b. about 1726 Spotsylvania, VA; m. Mary Ann

                                    Hayes; d. about 1809 Rutherford, NC


            vi.         Elizabeth "Trusty" Musick


            vii.        Agnes Lynn Musick


            viii.       Kenzia Musick


            ix.         Daniel Musick, b. 1734, m. Elizabeth; also m. Jean



2nd generation


Ephriam Musick, Sr.



Isabella Roy




            Ephriam Musick, Sr., fourth son of George Musick, Sr., and Annie Allen, was born in 1724 in Spotsylvania County, VA. and died in Albemarle Co., VA about 1806[8].


            He married Isabella Roy, daughter of James Roy and his wife Elizabeth on 16 March 1741.  Isabella was born 1726 in St. George's Parish, Albemarle Co., VA, and died about 1800 in St. Anne's Parish, Albemarle Co., VA.


            The Musick Family Association webpage says he moved to Albemarle County in 1776, and that he was a neighbor of Thomas Jefferson and knew George Washington.  He was the only son of George Sr. who remained in Virginia.  His sons Thomas, John, and Abraham were Revolutionary War soldiers.


            "The Musick Family Genealogy" by Nancy Sparks Morrison says he was a prosperous farmer who owned slaves and large tracts of land.  His home was on the Mechums River, near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, about 13 miles west of Charlottesville, Albemarle Co., VA.  Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, could be seen from his home.


            Ephraim was the only son of George and Ann Musick who lived throughout his lifetime in Virginia.  He was a member of  the Episcopal Church until well along into his elderly years, when he became a member of the Baptist  Church.[9]


            The Spradlin-Music report shows Ephriam died about 1806 in Albemarle County, VA., and that he was buried on his farm located 12 miles west of Charlottesville in Albemarle Co., VA.  This date is agreed upon by Doyle Music and Nancy Sparks Morrison.   (However, Wallace Music gives his death as 1754, quite a big difference.)


            Their children were as follows:


            i.          Helen Musick b. 17 Apr 1744 Spotsylvania Co., VA

                                    m. Edward Jenkins


            ii.          Abraham Musick, b. about 1746 Spotsylvania Co., VA

                                    m. Therrell Musick in 1768; d. St. Louis MO 1832.  Served

                                    as a soldier-spy on the NC frontiers during the Revolutionary

                                    War.  Also served as a bugler in the Battle of Kings Mountain

                                    in northwestern SC in 1780.[10]


            iii.         John Musick b. 26 Oct 1753 Spotsylvania, VA, d. about 1844 Logan Co,

IL, m. Mary Berry 1776.  Moved from VA to KY about 1789,

later to IL.  John was a soldier in Capt. Burneley's Co., part of

Taylor's Virginia Regiment during the Revolutionary War.[11]


iv.         Thomas Roy Musick b. 27 Oct 1756 Spotsylvania, VA, d. 2 Dec 1842

                                    St. Louis, MO;  m. Mary Neville


            v.         Ephriam Musick, Jr. (1767-?) m. Winnie Gillasby (Gillespie?)


Dr. Chessmore writes:   "It appears that the Musick families migrated west to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Albemarle County, located in north central Virginia.  Ephraim, Sr. and Ephraim, Jr., were born there."


3rd generation


Ephriam Musick, Jr.



Winnie Gillasby (Gillespie?)




            Ephriam Music, Jr., was born about 1767 in Albemarle, Co., VA, a son of Ephriam Music, Sr., and Isabella Roy.[12]


            He married on 3 October 1786 Winnie Gillasby, daughter of David Gillasby and his wife Betty.  Winnie's birthplace is given as Madison Co., KY in the Wallace genealogy, and as Albemarle Co., VA in the Spradlin-Music report and Nancy  Sparks Morrison's genealogy.


            Their children were:


            i.          John Wesley ("Wes") Musick (1785-1875) m. Isabella Harris


            ii.          Nancy Musick m. Parness Wood 3 Oct 1786


            iii.         Mary Musick m. Cornelius McFall


            iv.         Winnie Musick m. Joseph Gentry 10 May 1832


            The family moved from Albemarle County, VA to Madison Co., KY in either 1804 or 1805.[13]


4th generation


John Wesley ("Wes") Musick

(1785-after 1860)


Isabella Harris

(1785-after 1870)



            John Wesley ("Wes") Musick was born about 1785, the oldest son of Ephriam Musick, Jr., and Winnie Gillasby[14].  The Chessmore report gives his birthplace as Madison County, VA, while the Wallace report gives it as North Carolina.  He died 10 December 1875 in Little Creek, Floyd Co., KY.


            John married Isabella Harris on 10 May 1805.  Isabella was born about 1785 in North Carolina. 


            Their children were:


            i.          Tracey Musick m. William Slone 22 May 1822.


            ii.          James C. Musick b. about 1805, Surrey Co., NC;  m. Maria Shell;

                                    he was a blacksmith; 10 children including Archibald

                                    Gobel Musick (see information on him and his family later)


            iii.         George Washington Musick (1810-after 1880) m. (1) Catherine Hawk,

(2)  Rachel K. Minix


            iv.         Rhoda Musick, 1814-about 1880; married Aaron Shell about 1832.


            v.         Michael McGuire Musick b about 1815 m. Mary Crabtree 28 Mar 1860


            vi.         Abraham Musick b. about 1815


vii.        Isaac Musick b. about 1815 (twin to Abraham)


viii.       Andrew Jackson Music b. about 1817, m. Mary Therza Hawk[15]


            ix.         Nancy Musick born about 1820, did not marry


            x.         John W. Musick b. about 1825


            xi.         Thomas McCullough Musick b. about 1830 m. (1) Mary Fulton and

                                    (2) Millisa Jane Wilson


            xii.        Mary Pauline "Polly" Musick b. about 1825 Washington, VA


            The above list of children is taken from the Wallace "Descendants of George Musick, Sr.," and the Chessmore history, with some corrections by Jessie Fondy.  There may be some questionable dates.


            Chessmore states that John moved to Surrey County, NC (perhaps where he met and married Isabella), then moved to Washington County, VA.  According to Chessmore, all the children were born in Washington County, VA., except for James, the oldest, who was born in North Carolina.


            The Wells article quotes Ruth Carol Hunt Hale who wrote, "John W. Musick married Isabella Harris, moved by wagon train into the mountain section of Eastern Kentucky, settling on Buffalo Creek a short distance from Prestonsburg, county seat of Floyd County.....  John is buried on Little Paint Creek a few miles north of Prestonsburg."


            John and Isabella appear in the 1850 Johnson County, KY census, ages 63 and 60, and in the 1860 Floyd Co. census, both age 74.  In the 1870 Floyd Co. census Isabella is 80, living next door to her son Thomas.


            From the Chessmore history is this background information: 


Kentucky, known as the Bluegrass State, became the 15th state on June 1, 1792.  Floyd and Johnson Counties are located near the eastern border.  The Big Sandy River runs north through that area and empties into the Ohio River, west of the Appalachian Mountains, and north of the Cumberland Mountains.


            Daniel Boone explored this area in 1767 and supposedly "got lost" because of the rough, wooded hills and valleys.  In 1769 he and John Finley, a Virginia fur trader, visited the Kentucky mountains again for a long hunt.  Boone liked it, and for two years he wandered in the region, most of the time with only his flintlock rifle and hunting knife.


            The mountains of eastern Kentucky were covered with hardwood forests and contained many wild animals such as red and gray fox, raccoon, opossum, deer, and (at one time) the mountain lion (or puma), and wild elk.  There were also wild turkey, ducks, and geese.


            Pioneer life in Kentucky was not easy.  The pioneers traveled by covered wagons pulled by horses or oxen, by boat, by horseback, or just walked from one place to another.  Most of them were farmers or hunters.  They raised food crops, hogs and cattle, and most had a large garden.  Their clothes were made of homespun wool or buckskin.  They hand washed their clothes in the creek or in iron pots or tubs.  Children were usually born with only midwives in attendance, and all of the children helped the family make a living.  The medicines were usually home remedies made from plants, including the famous sassafras tea that they used as a tonic in the spring and castor oil that most of us remember.  The children were educated at home or at small schools, and studied only the basic subjects such as arithmetic, reading, and writing.  It was a real accomplishment to read and write.


            Most pioneers were very religious and met at homes or at small churches for Sunday services.  They had "circuit rider" preachers, like Grandpa Spradlin, who preached at ten to twenty churches each month.  Their recreation consisted mostly of visiting neighbors and relatives, going to community meetings, and hunting and fishing.  The streams were filled with fish, and the forests contained maple trees for syrup, and many wild fruits and berries.  Wild flowers, such as azaleas and rhododendrons were plentiful.


            The more we find out about how our pioneer ancestors lived, the more we should respect them and their strong pioneer spirit, their religious convictions, and their high family morals, where only a handshake was as strong as a written contract.  We all could really profit by learning more about their pioneer life in Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma.



5th generation


George Washington Musick

(1810-after 1880[16])


Rachel K. Minix

    (1828-after 1880)



            George Washington Musick, the third of possibly 11 children of John Wesley Musick and Isabella Harris, was born about 1810 in Washington County, VA, according to the Wallace genealogy[17] and the marriage certificate of his daughter Delilia[18].


            His first marriage was to Catherine Hawk, daughter of Andrew Hawk, in Johnson County, KY.


            George and Catherine had 7 children:


            i.      Andrew 1834-1861

            ii.     Mary Jane 1836-1925

            iii.     Isabelle 1836-1922  *see note at bottom of page 

            iv.    John Wesley 1840-1910

            v.     Sarah Catherine 1843-1920 

            vi.    Rachel 1843- 

            vii.   Susan B. 1844-1899


            George's second marriage was to Rachel K. Minix, daughter of Kesler Minix and his wife Michael (?).  Rachel was born September 1828 in Washington County, Virginia.


            George and Rachel had the following children:


            viii.       Michael Musick, b. about 1851[19] (may have been Catherine's son)


ix.        Delilia Musick (1853-1910) m. Littleton William Hopson


            x.         Thomas Jefferson Musick b 8 Aug 1854, d. 16 Jun 1920 (a Minister)
                                     m. Mary Louise Greer (1856-1934)

photo thanks to C. Harshman

Thomas Jefferson Music & wife Mary Louise Greer


            xi.         Martha Musick b. about 1856


            xii.        James Musick b. May 1858


            xiii.       Henry Jackson Music b. 4 Mar 1860 d. 26 Feb 1918


            xiv.       George B. McClelland Musick b. about 1863


            xv.        Harriett Musick b. about 1866 (m. John Hopson, brother of Littleton W.)


            xvi.       Abraham Lincoln Musick b about 1869 m. Mahala Webb


            xvii.      Clarenda Music b about 1873



            The Musick family's penchant for naming their children after famous people provides an interesting clue to their loyalty.  They named their 7th child (George's 14th child) after George B. McClellan, a Union general in the Civil War.  Then in 1869 they named another son after the assassinated President, Abraham Lincoln.  John Wesley Musick, a son from George Musick's first marriage, served in the Union Army.  However, it appears that George's nephew Archibald Gobel Music served with the Confederate Army, one example of how the war divided families.


            My grandfather Thomas J. Hopson was under the impression that his mother Delilia Musick was born and raised in Scott County, Virginia, and the family moved to Floyd County, Kentucky, in the early 1870s.   (This is what was reported in the Shawkey history book.)[20]  However, Delilia's marriage certificate gives her birth place as Floyd County, Kentucky, and every census gives her birth place as Kentucky.


            The George W. Musick family was not found in the 1850 Kentucky census.


            The 1860 census of Floyd Co., KY shows:  George Music 50 VA, Rachel K. 33 VA, John W. 20 VA, Rachel 17 VA, Sarah K. 16 VA, Susan 14 VA, Michael 11 KY, Delila 8 KY, Thomas J. 6 KY, Martha 4 KY, James A. 2 KY, Henry J. 6 mos. KY.


            The 1870 census of Floyd Co., KY shows George W. Musick, 59, Rachel 42, Michael M. 19, Thomas 15, Martha 13, James A. 11, Henry J. 9, George B. 7, Harriett 4, Abraham Lincoln 1.  (Delilia married in 1870).


            The 1880 census of Floyd Co., KY shows George W. Musick, 70, Rachel 50, Henry J. 20, George B. 18, Harriet 14, Abraham 11, and Clarinda 7.


*An interesting note: Isabelle Musick (1836-1922) daughter of George Washington Musick and his first wife Catherine Hawk, married William Webb in 1865. They had a son Alexander Webb (1877-1951) who married Amanda Butcher. Alexander and Amanda had a son Theodore Melvin Webb (1908-1959) who married Clara Ramey. Ted and Clara had a daughter Loretta (b. 1932) who married Oliver (Mooney) Lynn and became the famous country singer Loretta Lynn. Her younger sister Brenda Gail changed her name to Crystal Gayle and also became a famous singer. So Loretta and Crystal are my fourth cousins.


End Notes

[1] Music/Musick Family by Bobby Wells Online.

[2] Early Musick Family History by Dr. Roy A.  Chessmore Online.

[4] Online at Floyd County website.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Nancy Sparks Morrison Genealogy website.

[7] Will Book B, Part I, p. 181, Spotsylvania Co., VA court records.

[8] Descendants of George Musick, Online at Floyd  County website.

[9] "The Musick Family Genealogy" by Nancy Sparks Morrison.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Descendants of  George Musick, Online at Floyd  County website.

[13] The Musick Family Genealogy by Nancy Sparks Morrison.

[14] Descendants of  George Musick, Online at Floyd County website.

[15] Jessie Fondy

[16] The 1880 Floyd County, KY census (Soundex) shows George Musick, age 70, with Rachel and 5 youngest children.

[17] Descendants of George Musick online at Floyd County website.

[19] 1870 Floyd Co., KY census shows Michael as age 19.

[20] Morris W.  Shawkey:  History of West Virginia (1928), p. 99.

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