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Cabe, John

by Jean Bradley Anderson, 1979

1752–21 Apr. 1818

John Cabe, planter, miller, and politician, was probably born in Pennsylvania, the son of Barnaby and Elizabeth Perkins McCabe, later Cabe. The family moved into Orange County in the late 1750s. They seem to have been identified with the Presbyterians of the New Hope Church area, though their names do not appear in the surviving church records. However, four of Barnaby's children, including John, married into families who belonged to that congregation.

John was educated at home at the Piper-Cabe schoolhouse located on his father's land on the Eno River. Though his education must have been somewhat limited, it nevertheless seems to have been solid. Both John and his brother William were among the contributors who gave twenty pounds toward the establishment of The University of North Carolina when funds were being raised.

Though his father became prosperous as a wagoner (working on Governor William Tryon's side during the Regulator troubles and on the American side during the Revolution), John attained a real affluence before his death in 1818, when his estate included over three thousand acres of land and sixty slaves. His mill on the Eno River, built before 1779, was the source of his prosperity; he was also half owner of a second mill downstream from his own, which he had built for his son-in-law.

Cabe must have shown an unusual capability for leadership, for he was elected delegate to the last provincial congress, which met in 1776 in Halifax, when he was only twenty-four years old. The confusion and near-riots that attended that election resulted in a second election, in which Cabe was again victorious, the only one of the candidates to be elected both times. Delayed by these disturbances, the delegates nevertheless arrived in Halifax in time to participate in the adoption of both the Bill of Rights and the Constitution itself. Cabe was elected to represent Orange County in the General Assembly in 1796, 1797, 1798, and 1800. He was appointed justice of the peace in 1801 and continued to serve in that office until his death. He thereby officiated in the legislative, judicial, and administrative affairs of the county.

Cabe was married at least twice: in 1786 to Gilbert Strayhorn's daughter Mary, with whom he had nine daughters; and in 1802 to Nancy Moreland. His daughters were Elizabeth (b. 1787), who married Benjamin Rhodes; Ann (b. 1788), married first to John Latta and second to Major Robert Donnell; Sarah (b. 1789), married to Joseph Latta; Mary (b. 1791), who married Mann Patterson; Rachel (b. 1792), married first to Moses McCown and second to Herbert Sims; Catherine (b. 1795), who married Benjamin Rogers; Lydia (b. 1797), who married Charles W. Johnston; Margaret (b. 1799), married to John W. Caldwell; and Jane (b. 1802), married to William T. Shields. Cabe was buried in the family graveyard on his Eno River plantation.


Hugh Conway Browning, The Descendants of Barnaby Cabe (McCabe) (1967).

Hugh T. Lefler and Paul Wager, eds., Orange County, 1752–1952 (1953).

Additional Resources:

Section 2: Cates Creek to Stone’s Creek, Eno River:

Stones Creek to Roxboro Road (US 501), Eno River:

Description of Eno River State Park, NC Parks:

"A Community of Men and Mills," Eno Journal, Volume 7, Papers from the seminar on Water Wheels and Windmills,
July 1978, By Jean Anderson:

Craig, D. I. (David Irwin), 1849-1925. Historical sketch of New Hope Church : in Orange County, N.C. Reidsville, N.C. [N.C.]: [s.n.], 1891. 1891. (accessed April 15, 2013).


Please, I am trying to find out more about brothers Jehu and John Brown. Were their parents Ruth Piper and William Brown Jr? I am trying to find how they might have been related to my John Brown (~1760 - ~1841 Orange Co., NC) whose son Bennett Brown and wife, Narcissa Moize, who were my ancestors.
Thank you!

Thank you for this interesting write up. Can you tell me about Jemima Cabe who married Jehu Brown in 1827 and Salley Cabe who married John Brown in 1816 (John Cabe was the witness). How were they related to the above John Cabe since they are not mentioned as his children.

Thank you.

Barnaby and Betsy's sons were John and William. William (1762 ?-1828) married Jamima Piper(1771-1845) in 1793. Their daughter, Jamima Cabe (b. 1807) married Jehu Brown. Two other daughters - Sara & Elizabeth - both married Browns. My ancestor, John D. Cabe was the son of William and Jamima. He was born in 1795. William Cabe, Jr. (1809) Married Martha Jane Link and then 2nd Nancy Moreland. I believe that William Cabe, Jr. went to Arkadelphia, Arkansas with some of the Brown families. They operated a sawmill and lumber yard which became very prosperous.

Jemima Cabe and Jehu Brown were my 3rd great grandparents. They moved from North Carolina in 1858 and settled in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Jemima and Salley Cabe were sisters who married brothers, and were daughters of William Cabe and Jamima Piper. William Cabe and John Cabe (1752-1818) were brothers and sons of Barnaby Cabe and Elizabeth Perkins. Hope this helps. If you are interested, I have more information. Alice Adams

Hi Alice,
My 4th GGP are Barnaby Cabe & Elizabeth Perkins, 3rd GGP William Cabe Sr. & Jemima Piper, 2nd GGP William Cabe Jr & Martha Jane Link. I went to Hillsborough, NC, in 2015 and learned too much information to list. That said, I have been unable to locate any death or burial information on William Cabe Jr and Martha Jane Link. I've followed their trail from North Carolina, to Alabama, to Arkansas but I'm still missing some facts. Do you have any information on them? I would be eternally grateful.
Dan Cabe

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