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A Genealogy of Hoagy Carmichael


Compiled by Stephen M. Brown

A Brief Synopsis of the CARMICHAEL/CAMPBELL and ROBISON/SKIRVIN direct family lines.


Michael Taylor Carmichael, married Laura Emma Campbell

Alexander Robison, married Mary Catherine Skirvin

Duncan Carmichael (1) arrived in America from Lanark, Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1763, with two of his sons that we know of; Duncan and his younger brother Archibald (2), born in 1754. It is not known who elder Duncan's wife was. They settled for a time in Virginia on the North Carolina border. Archibald was a soldier out of Caswell County, Virginia, in the Revolutionary War. They later settled in Stokes/Surry Counties, North Carolina. Archibald married Elizabeth Nix or Hix, born in 1755 in Scotland. They had a son Richard (3), who married Mary Graves, daughter of Peter Graves; their lineage is unknown. Archibald and Elizabeth both died in Stokes/Surry, North Carolina.

Richard had a son Peter (4), who married Lydia Teague, also from that North Carolina county, Teague (but we think really Deeg, German). Her ancestors: Teague/Deeg, Stoltz, Holder, Volck, Vollweiler, Krause, etc., were all from the German Palatinate (Rhenish Palatinate region). Her ancestors, Andreas Volck and wife Anna Catherine Meckel were aboard the first boatload of all German immigrants to this country. They traveled with the Lutheran minister, Joshua Kocherthal, 11 familes, 41 persons in the winter of 1708 and landed in Highland Sopus, New York (now known as Newburg, New York, 60 miles up the Hudson River from the tip of Manhattan). The year 1709 would begin the start of tens of thousands more Palatines to immigrate to our shores within the next several decades. Lydia's ancestors would stay for a generation in Eastern Pennsylvania before moving down to North Carolina to meet the Carmichaels. We have the Moravians in both Pennsylvania and North Carolina to thank for keeping very detailed records on our peoples.

In an atmosphere of anti-slavery, many families from North Carolina would move up into the newly opened areas of southern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. In September of 1829 our group of Carmichaels, Graves, Teagues, Holders and Volcks, and other related or unrelated families (Penningtons, Longs, Oliphants, Kirks and others) would move to Greene and Monroe Counties, Indiana. Richard and wife Mary, plus Peter and wife Lydia, settled in Greene County. Richard was a hard-shelled Baptist and eventually was buried in Clinton, Indiana, (near Kokomo) at Veneman Cemetery and Mary was buried in Monroe County in Tague Cemetery. His son Peter had a meatpacking business and a partner (J. Urmey). Peter was the treasurer of his Mason's Lodge when he died. Both are buried at Clover Hill Cemetery, Monroe County, Indiana.

Peter (4) had a son, Michael Taylor Carmichael (5), born 1845, died 1906, Monroe County, Indiana. "Grandpa Taylor," as he was known, married Laura Emma Campbell (7). She was the daughter of William Alexander Campbell (6). Her Great-great-great-great grandfather was born in Scotland and married there in 1672 to Mary McCoy. (He was Duncan Campbell (1).) They had a son, Robert (2) and Robert had a son Hugh (3) and both settled in Augusta County, Virginia, 1730s-40s. Both of them were born Ulster Scots. Hugh had a son, Hugh (4), who was in the Revolutionary War. His son, also a Hugh (5), married Polly Alexander (5). Her father William (4) and her grandfather James (3) both fought in the Revolutionary War. Laura Emma died in Indianapolis in 1949.

Laura Emma's father, William Alexander married Agness Brewster (2), daughter of James Brewster and Ellenor Williamson. Agness and her two sisters, Jennett and Ellenor, were Patriots of the Revolutionary War, by spinning wool, baking bread and melting down household utensils into bullets of Washington's Army fighting nearby. Their father James was also a Patriot. Polly's Great-grandfather, William (2) was the immigrant. He taught in a classical school, founded by his brother Robert, that was the genesis of Washington and Lee University. These Campbells, Alexanders, Malcolms, Magills, Brewster, and Williamson were all Ulster Scots Presbyterians.

Michael Taylor Carmichael and Laura Emma Campbell had a son, Howard Clyde Carmichael, born on a farm near Harrodsburg (just south of Bloomington) in 1875, and died (where?) in 1943. Howard drove a livery rig at the time he was dating and after he married Lida Mary Robison. After Hoagy was born, they traveled around the country, him finding work to support them. Eventually he became an electrical linesman who also helped to found his union. During the Spanish American War, he was the middle weight champion of his regiment. He and his wife are buried at Rose Hill Cemetery, Bloomington, Indiana.

Howard Clyde Carmichael married Lida Mary Robison in Monroe County, Indiana.

(--?--) Robison and his wife (1) were born in the North of Ireland, according to the death certificate of Alexander Robison (3). (At present I do not have their names.) They settled somewhere in Pennsylvania. Again referring to Alexander's death certificate, his father Joseph (2) and mother Margery Ann (1) were born in Pennsylvania. Joseph married Marjory Ann Shook (Shuck) in Stark County, Ohio in January, 1837. They settled in Jefferson County, Ohio, where Alexander was born in 1845. By 1850 Marjory was either dead or gone and Joseph remarried, to Prudence Peterson, daughter of John. Census records for Monroe County at the turn of the century have Joseph, Prudence, and Alexander living in that county. (I have no further back on Margery Shook, but her name is German.) [NOTE: The original typescript spells this name both Margery and Marjory.]

I have never found a death certificate for Joseph and assume that he left Monroe County before his death. Alexander Robison joined the Army into the Civil War when he was only 15-years-old. He was in the Indiana Cavalry 2nd, Company G, 1861-1865. He was engaged in several battles, after which his unit was captured and, as prisoners of war, sent to Andersonville Prison. However, they mutinied onboard the train and escaped. Alexander's shoulder had been injured during saber exercises. Long after the war he had his shoulder operated on using only cold water as an anesthetic, this to remove cists, and four times during his life.

Alexander was a carpenter, as was his father Joseph. (According to Hoagy, "My Great-grandfather built the first sawn timber structure as a change from log cabins.") Alexander and his son, Munson and Leroy Burton, helped to build many of the buildings and homes in and around the Bloomington, Indiana, area. (And Hoagy helped too for a short while.)

Alexander Robison married Mary Catherine Skirvin (4) daughter of James Hartwell Skirvin (3) and Elizabeth Hedrick (1). Elizabeth was born in Lawrence County, Indiana, in 1822. (I have no further back on her.) James Skirvin was also born in 1822, but in Monroe County, Indiana. One source says he was killed as he and horses were crossing Salt Creek near where he lived--a horse kicked him. Another source says that he was in the Civil War, but I have no proof of this.

James's father was George Skirvin, the patriarch of all the Monroe County Skirvins. He was a farmer and also a coopersmith by trade. He helped found the Mt. Gilead Christian Church in Monroe County. Born in Kentucky, he was in the War of 1812 (1813-14), and was captured by Indians. The Indians had a celebration and got drunk. George pretended to get drunk with them, waited for them to fall asleep, then swam across the Ohio River to his freedom. Old George was granted Bounty Land (in Iowa) for his service.

George married Elizabeth Smith in Kentucky. (I have no further back on her.) George's father was John Skirvin (1) who married Polly (--?--). Both of them were born in c. 1750s in Virginia. After some research, my hunch is that these Skirvins (ancestors) are from the Glasgow or Lothian regions of Scotland.

Lida Mary Robison was born in 1878 in Monroe County, Indiana. She married Howard Clyde Carmichael in that county and had four children: Hoagland Howard, Geogiana (later known as Georgia), Martha Claire, and Joanne, who died very young. She was a theatre pianist and Ragtime pianist, as well as Hoagy's first teacher. She died in California in 1959.

Hoagy Carmichael has two sons by his marriage to Ruth Menardi: Hoagy Bix and Randy Bob.

[The typescript of this document is in the Hoagy Carmichael Collection, Archives of Traditional Music, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.]

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Last Updated: 18 May 2017
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