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McNorrill Burke County Family Mystery

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Location: Waynesboro, Burke County, Georgiamap
Surnames/tags: McNorrill Marsh Ousley
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Here are open questions about our family. Please edit this text, upload unidentified pictures, add your questions to the bulletin board, post fuzzy memories you want to clear up, etc.

This question is about Rockwell McNorrill, who for various reasons I'm pretty sure is my great-great grandfather, and "Mack" McNorrill, who I'm definitely sure is my great-grandfather:

McNorrill-7 https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/LRYM-Y4T

Rockwell does not appear much in records available online. We don't have a death date or a spouse, or any children.

I believe he had a son named Mackey in 1878 while in hiding. I don't know who the spouse was, or where they were at the time. However, based on his grandson's middle name and a cousin's first name I have reason to believe she was a descendant of Ransom Ousley, and Googling confirmed that there were several candidates by that name or variations on it, some of the right age to have sired an as-yet-unidentified Ousley/Owsley/Housley wife.

When the son got married, the last name is incorrectly listed online as McParrill on what I presume to be his marriage certificate. With first name ("Mack A.")


Further review indicates that the error is the data-entry person's: the judge who married the couple had a highly-stylized way of making the capital letter "N", which can be deduced because the month of the marriage was November and a disambiguating exemplar appears just above the name.

This is the only instance I've seen of Mack McNorrill showing up in any database online, and at least we got his birth year of 1878.

I believed prior to noticing the handwriting issue that he may have been more or less in hiding due to an 1892 gunfight involving other family members Charles and Walter McNorrill and John Morgan Jones W.P. Jones at Cohen's store. I still think that could have been the case with respect to his father Rockwell, and possibly with him since he was about 14 at the time.

Perhaps he was there too, or did something troubling in the aftermath.

An account of the action is here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/39774332

In the next couple of months, Rufus McNorrill (Walter and Rockwell's brother), was also dead at age 28. Rufus had been tried and acquitted of murder a decade before after an incident at a baseball game resulted in an impromptu duel that quickly escalated into a gun battle involving more folks. Whether Rockwell was somehow implicated in the second incident, or simply wanted to escape a scene where his kin were endangering him or making life miserable, we don't know yet.

Rockwell McNorril is one of only two known McNorrills of the right age to be my great-great-grandfather who are unaccounted for.

To disambiguate, a different Mackay McNorrill is buried in a grave marked "Mackay McNarrill." He's the only member of the family who spelled his name that way.

My Mackay's spouse is Carrie Bell Marsh McNorrill, buried in Sumterville, FL: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/37951201/carrie-belle-mcnorrill

I am attempting to locate McNorrils in Burke County who might be able to confirm the lineage supposition. The only McNorrill descendants was touch with earlier told me that his (great) grandfather had a brother, and a falling out and it split the family up. The timing for this incident is correct.

I'll also note that there was a glitch in 1980 when my grandmother, Virginia (McNorrill) Busby (formerly Hankins) was to be buried. There was a document (birth certificate I believe) that read "McMurrell" and nobody could understand why.

Virginia's brother's namesake, Marion Richard McNorrill, born in 1932 is buried in the same cemetary, he lived only a few days. My father's name "Marion" came from her brother, Marion Ousley McNorrill whose middle name I assume came from an ancestor. Some geneologists have mistaken him for a woman and listed his wife Mollie as a third sister.

Anyone who can find out anything about this situation or its aftermath is invited to comment.

"The True Citizen

Unfortunate Shooting Affair: The unfortunate shooting affair, which took place here Wednesday evening between J. M. Jones and his, son W. P. Jones, and Charlie and Walter McNorrill is generally known to all, but so far has not resulted fatally. What will be the final outcome we cannot tell just now. That J. M. Jones and Chas. McNorrill are desperately wounded there is no doubt but the surgeons in attendance have not yet pronounced either would fatal. What really brought on the affray no one seems to kow. As it occurred inside of the store of Louis Cohen, the spectators, who seem all to have been taken by surprise, were very naturally demoralized at once, and as suddenly as possible disappeared behind barrels, boxes, under counters, and such places as furnished a place of refuge. What they know of it is very unsatisfactory, and it is supposed will not be all told until drawn out by legal investigation. Warrants have been issued out against all of the combatants, but no legal inquiry has yet been instituted.

J. M. Jones received four wounds, two if which were slight scratches, a third cutting slightly the right ear and gazing his neck, while a fourth struck just below the right nipple, passing through the body, the ball having lodged in the back, from which it was extracted.

December 17, 1892"

I'll also note the death of a Rufus McNorrill seems suspiciously close to this incident. Whether he was wounded but escaped only to die later, or whether the Joneses sought revenge I don't know: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/103543620/rufus-mcnorrill

Note: because he is the right age and also unaccounted-for, Howard McNorrill could also be "Mack." However that would not account for "Ousley" as Marion O. McNorrill's middle name, nor my cousin's use of Rockwell as his child's first name.


So come on McNorrills, Marshes, Ousleys, help me out!

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Mystery solved. "Marion Ousley McNorrill" was named after Marion Ousley Fulcher, a prominent 19th century doctor in Georgia, and there was no mysterious Ousley woman, there was just a Mackay McNorrill who traveled two states away and remarried very quickly after Carrie Bell (Marsh) McNorrill died, then he also died within a year and was buried under a misspelled headstone...
posted by Anonymous Hankins

Categories: Family Mysteries