More Erwin Roots


Pierre de St. Julien was born about 1641 in Vitre, Brittany, which is in the northwestern part of France. Research has not turned up any information regarding the history of the family prior to the 1600s, but the name, at one time, was prominent in Italy. A letter from a Vitre genealogist to a family researcher says, “There is no document in Vitre showing what province they came from before coming to Vitre. They are of nobility beyond doubt.” Pierre de St. Julien married Jeanne Lefebre in Vitre, and they had nine children. All were born in Brittany Province.

1.         Aimee de St. Julien; born March 7, 1667.

2.         Charlotte de St. Julien; born May 15, 1668.

3.         Rene de St. Julien; born July 4, 1669.

4.         Louis de St. Julien; born August 5, 1670.

5.         Marguerite de St. Julien; born December 19, 1671.

6.         Paul de St. Julien; born October 4, 1673.

7.         Emilie de St. Julien; born January 10, 1675.

8.         Jeanne Renee de St. Julien; born May 6, 1678.

9.         Marie Ester de St. Julien; born December 14, 1679.

Most members of the St. Julian family in Brittany Province were Huguenot Protestants. After the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685—in effect making Protestantism illegal in France—many of the unfortunate Huguenots were massacred by Roman Catholics. At least 250,000 French Huguenots fled to countries such as Switzerland, Germany, England, America, the Netherlands, Poland and South Africa, where they could enjoy religious freedom.

The St. Julien family joined the migration, going first to England, and later to Ireland. Many of the religious refugees were from distinguished families—some even had connections to nobility—and managed to take considerable wealth with them.

The Huguenots left France as a result of religious persecution, but in England they soon found themselves again in the midst of religious controversy, this time Protestantism versus Catholicism. The Jacobite movement in Scotland was spilling over into England as well, and this—plus poor economic times—induced many Huguenots to move on to Ireland.

Those who went on to Ireland, where the majority of the population was staunchly Roman Catholic, found that while they weren’t persecuted like they had been in France, they were looked on as “outsiders.” This, and the depressive economic times, prompted many of this group to look to the American Colonies for a better life.

In France, and later in the British Isles, the Huguenots were known for their knowledge and skill in the textile industry. In America, in the late 1600s, South Carolina emerged as a leading locale for the textile industry in North America, and opened her doors to the Huguenots. Large numbers took advantage of the invitation; so many, in fact, that the area was soon known as “The Home of the Huguenots.” There were several organized congregations as early as 1685 in Charleston and the surrounding area.

Many members of the St. Julien family, including Rene St. Julien, as well his brother Louis and his brother-in-law Rene Ravenel, accepted South Carolina’s invitation, leaving Ireland in 1699. Rene, Louis Julian (note spelling change) and Rene Ravenel, and their respective families, settled in or near Jamestown, South Carolina. Rene’s parents, as well as some of his younger siblings, may have remained in Northern Ireland, for one source reports that Pierre died there.

The ship carrying Rene de St. Julien to the Colonies also carried the English Bullock (Bulloch) family. While en route it stopped off for water and other provisions at Bermuda. It would not have remained there long, but it was long enough for Rene to marry Mary Margaret Bullock. Rene and Mary  had twelve children.

1.      Stephen Julian, 1700-1773. He was born near Santee River, in Charleston Co., SC. He later lived in Prince George Co., MD. Married Allatha Buchelle about 1725. His second wife was Ann Hedges.

2.      Infant, born 1701, died 1701.

3.      Rene Julian, born 1704, and died about 1712 of “swamp fever.”

4.      George Julian, 1706-1781; lived in Frederick Co., VA and later South Carolina.

5.      Mary Julian was born about 1711 in Charleston Co., SC. She married John Thompson in 1734.

6.      Peter Julian was born in 1714 in Frederick Co., MD, and died in 1806. He married Mary Bahls, and lived in Orange Co., NC. He was listed as a “Capt.” in the 1790 census.

7.      Isaac Julian was born December 30, 1716, in Anne Arundel Co., MD, and died in 1778. He married Barbara White, and lived in Randolph Co., NC.

8.      Rene Julian was born in 1718 in Cecil Co., MD (it was a common practice to name a child the same as one who had died). He went to Georgia with Gen. Oglethorpe. He married Catherine Biggs.

9.      Jacob Julian was born ca. 1720 and died in 1751. He married Catherine Hedges. His will was probated August 30, 1751 in Prince George Co., MD.

10.      John Julian was born in 1721 in Cecil Co., MD, and died in 1762. He lived in Orange Co., NC, and married Elizabeth Trogden.

11.   Catherine Julian was born about 1722 in Bohemia Manor, Cecil Co., MD. She married Joseph Wood III on September 11, 1747, in Frederick Co., MD.

12.   Ruth (Ann) Julian was born 1724 in Bohemia Manor, Cecil Co., MD.


Rene St. Julien, as a young man, was a soldier in the army of King James II in the English Revolution of 1688, and was in his service during the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland, which occurred July 1, 1690. But he, like so many others, changed his allegiance King William. For his service to King William he received a grant of land somewhere beyond the Mississippi River. According to family tradition, he told his family that they could not really consider themselves settled until they were established there. But Rene never saw the land that was granted to him, and it is not known if any of his heirs ever claimed it.

A deed, recorded in the South Carolina Indentures for 1712, indicates that Rene St. Julian and his family, as well as his brother Louis, were living in the Charleston area. Sadly, however, Rene and his wife had earlier lost two young sons, probably to typhoid, also known as “swamp fever,” and decided to move to a more healthful climate. Records indicate that in late 1712 Rene St. Julian was living in Cecil County, Maryland. They lived there until about 1740, then moved to Winchester, Virginia, where Rene died about 1744. Rene and his wife are both buried in the old Opequon Cemetery near Winchester.


George Julian married Martha Denton about 1728, probably in Cecil County, Maryland.  She was born about 1708 in Cecil County, Maryland. At some point they moved to Frederick County, Virginia. Records indicated that George bought four hundred acres there in 1750, and sold the entire parcel in 1758. By 1766 the family was living in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, for it is recorded that George bought three hundred acres there during that year. The family may have moved more during the next few years. The Craven County, North Carolina plat book, Volume 17, page 370, indicates that George bought one hundred and fifty acres in Craven County in 1772, and land records acres in York County, South Carolina show that he sold one hundred acres there in 1779.

George Julian was a Loyalist, and fought in the British Army during the American Revolution. He was wounded in

battle in September 1781, probably at the Battle of Fort Dorchester, and died shortly afterward. After his death Martha married a Mr. Black.

George and Martha had seven children. All were born in Cecil County, Maryland.

1.      Jacob Julian was born about 1729.

2.      George Julian II was born about 1731. He married Hannah, and they had three children. They settled in North Carolina, near what is today the town of Julian, near the borders of Randolph and Guilford Counties. George fought with the British at the Battle of Alamance in 1771, but Jesse Julian, one of his sons, fought with American forces against the British.

3.      John Julian was born about 1734, and died in 1799.

4.      Rachel Julian was born about 1735. She married Samuel Morse (Moss).

5.      Mary Julian was born about 1740. She married Jonas Rodgers.

6.      Samuel Julian was born about 1738, and died in 1851. He married Mary Condrey.

7.      Leah Julian was born in 1743, and died in North Carolina in 1794. She married Nathaniel Irwin/Erwin, a thirteenth great-grandson of Sir William Irwyn. She was his second wife, and they had three children. Nathaniel was born about 1713 in Glencoe, Ulster, Northern Ireland. He was one of six children of Matthew Irvine and Elizabeth Patterson.


Jacob Julian was born about 1729, and died in 1799 in York County, South Carolina. He married Rachel Alexander about 1778. She died in September 1841 at the age of eighty. Rachel was Jacob’s second wife. Family tradition has it that his first wife was a “Miss Erwin,” and recent research has found that Nathaniel Irwin (above), in his will, commented, “I…constitute and appoint my beloved wife Leah Erwin, and my brother-in-law Jacob Julian my sole executrix and executor of this my last will and testament.”

The court, on Nathaniel Irwin’s death, ordered that Nathaniel Erwin, Jr., Sophia Erwin, and James Erwin, his minor children, be “taken into the custody of Jacob Julian until they become of legal age.” There is no explanation why this was so ordered. Further research is necessary to solve this riddle. Perhaps it was as a result of Leah’s death.

 Jacob and Rachel raised eight children.

1.      George Julian was born in 1770 Cecil County, MD. His mother was most likely the mysterious “Miss Erwin.”

2.      Mary “Polly” Julian was born about 1780. She married Jonas Rogers January 1, 1798 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Polly and Jonas went to Tennessee with George Julian and others. Polly is said to have been suddenly struck with blindness one Sunday on the way to church.

3.      Margaret “Peggy” Julian was born about 1782, and married Nathan Orr on January 27, 1802 in Mecklenburg, County, North Carolina.

4.      Martha Julian was born about 1783, and married George Calhoun.

5.      Susanna Julian was born about 1789, and married William Wallis on March 14, 1809. Her second husband was a Mr. Alexander.

6.      Jacob Julian; he married Ann Graham.

7.      James Julian

8.      Hannah Julian


George Julian was born in 1770, and died February 4, 1845 in Blount Co., Tennessee. He married Rebecca McKinney on April 9, 1791, in Mecklenburg, Tennessee. Rebecca was born August 9, 1769 in Sussex County, Virginia, and died August 20, 1845. They died within days of each other from a mysterious disease known as “Black Tongue.” George and Rebecca are both buried in Logan’s Chapel Methodist Cemetery in Blount County, Tennessee. George and Rebecca had five children.

1.      Samuel Julian, born in 1792.

2.      Isom Julian, born January 1, 1795.

3.      James Julian, born in 1801.

4.      Sarah “Sallie” Julian (twin), born January 1, 1807.

5.      Martha “Patsy” Julian, (twin), born January 1, 1807.


Martha “Patsy” Julian was born January 23, 1807 in North Carolina, and died October 12, 1880 in Murray County, Georgia. She is buried there in the Summerhour Chapel Cemetery. Patsy married Robert McCamey on March 29, 1827 in Blount County, Tennessee. He was born in 1808, and died June 24, 1871. Robert was a big man. He was seven feet tall, weighed three hundred and fifty pounds, and wore a size seventeen shoe. Family tradition has it that “...he was afraid of nothing or nobody, except little Patsy who weighed ninety pounds.” Robert was a descendant of John Chandler, who came to America on the Hercules in 1609. Patsy and Robert had seven children.

1.      William Campbell McCamey was born April 21, 1830. He married Annie Ruston. The family lived in Philadelphia where he was a banker.

2.      An infant, died at birth.

3.      Mary Jane McCamey was born May 30, 1837, and died February 26, 1910. She married Joseph Howard Baker. The family lived in Murray County, Georgia where he was head of the First Academy. They had three children.

4.      Robert McCamy was born January 7, 1840, and died August 26, 1908. He married Louisa “Dina” Chandler. They had six children.

5.      Samuel Bailey McCamey. He was born October 18, 1842, and died May 13, 1904.  He married Cate Lucas Carter on October 29, 1869. She passed away May 1, 1904. They had eleven children.

6.      George A. McCamey. He was born September 9, 1845.

7.      Rebecca Eugenia McCamey was born July 21, 1948. She married Nelson Harris.

8.      Franklin Wellborn McCamey was born December 19, 1852, and died December 22, 1922. In 1874 he married Claudia Susan Griffin. She was born in 1857, and died in 1950. She was a granddaughter of William Griffin. He was a private in the North Carolina volunteer militia in the Revolutionary War. Frank and Claudia had eight children. Their first-born child was Lena McCamey.


Lena Leoti McCamey was born August 17, 1875, and died April 8, 1968. She married Robert T. Erwin on July 22, 1900. They lived in Polk County, Tennessee. He was born December

12, 1872, the seventh child of Calvin C. Erwin and Rosetta Hughes, and died June 28, 1971. Robert and Lena Erwin had four children.

1.      Julian G. Erwin was born May 4, 1901.

2.      Robert M. Erwin. He was born October 21, 1908, and died in July 1970. He married (1) Florence Hoskins and (2) Clara.

3.      Claudia R. Erwin was born October 6, 1912. She married Lester Shields.

4.      Ralph A. Erwin was born October 3, 1915. He married Frances G. Grayson.


Julian G. Erwin was born May 4, 1901. He married Cornelia Avent, and in retirement the couple lived in Sarasota, Florida. Cornelia’s immigrant ancestor was Thomas Avent. He was born in 1669 in Devonshire, England, and died in 1737 in Sussex County, Virginia. They had two children.

1.      David Erwin died as an infant.

2.      Julian T. Erwin.


Julian T. Erwin married Nancy Louise Schmid in 1950. They have  four children.

1.      Linda Louise Erwin, MD

2.      Frances Lee Erwin

3.      Elizabeth Avent Erwin

4.      Julian T. Erwin, Jr.


Historical data and background material contributed by Julian T. Erwin, Sr. of Wilsonville, Oregon.


Editor’s notes:

The Huguenots were French Protestants who were members of the Reformed Church which was established in 1550 by John Calvin. The origin of the name Huguenot is uncertain, but dates from approximately 1550 when it was used in court cases against heretics (dissenters from the Roman Catholic Church). There is a theory that it is derived from the personal name of Besançon Hugues, the leader of the Confederate Party in  Geneva in combination with a Frankish corruption of the German word for conspirator or confederate: eidgenosse. Thus, Hugues plus eidgenot becomes Huguenot, with the intention of associating the Protestant cause with some very unpopular politics. 

O.I.A. Roche, in his book The Days of the Upright, a History of the Huguenots, writes that Huguenot is  a combination of a Flemish and a German word. In the Flemish corner of France, Bible students who gathered in each other’s houses to study secretly were called Huisgenooten, or house fellows, while on the Swiss and German borders they were termed Eidgenossen, or oath fellows, that is, persons bound to each other by an oath. Gallicized into Huguenot, often used deprecatingly, the word became, during two and a half centuries of terror and triumph, a badge of enduring honor and courage.

The use of Huguenot, as a nickname, or even as an abusive label, was banned in the regulations of the Edict of Nantes which Henry IV (Henry of Navarre, who himself earlier was a Huguenot) issued in 1598. The French Protestants themselves preferred to refer to themselves as réformees (reformers) rather than Huguenots.It was much later that the name Huguenot became an honorary one of which their descendants are proud.

A general edict, which encouraged the extermination of the Huguenots, was issued on January 29th, 1536 in France. On March 1, 1568, some 1200 Huguenots were slain at Vassy, France. This ignited the Wars of Religion, which would rip apart, devastate, and bankrupt France for the next three decades.


The marriage of Leah Julian (1743-1793) and Nathanial Irwin (c.1713-1794) was probably the first instance of a “connection” between the St. Julien/St. Julian family of Italy/Switzerland/France and the Irvine/Irwin/Erwin family of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Some believe that Nathanial and Leah were married in Ireland, and that they arrived in Philadelphia in May 1759 (Leah would have been sixteen) on the English ship “George and Ann” from Londonderry, Ireland, settling first in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It is known, by way of recorded land records, that they later lived in York County, South Carolina.

Nathaniel Irwin was a direct descendant of Sir William Irwyn (c.1280-1333) of Drum, but he was also connected to the Cathey, Cowan and McDowell families—as well as several others—in North and South Carolina, who were in turn connected to the James N. Erwin family of Rowan County, North Carolina, who were themselves descendants of Sir William via a different branch of the Irwyn/Irvine family.

Lena McCamey (1875-1968) married Robert T. Erwin (1872-1971) in 1900, and the family lived in Polk County, Tennessee. This Erwin family branch can only be traced back (so far) to his grandfather, Robert H. Erwin, who was born in 1800 in Burke County, North Carolina. A connection to the Rowan County, North Carolina Erwins has not yet been established, but during the late 1700s and early 1800s they lived only about one hundred miles apart, and it is probable that they were related a generation or two back.                                                                                                                            »»»