Mary (1726-1760) was the only daughter of Dr. William Cabell and Elizabeth Burks. She was born in Licking Hole Creek prior to the family’s move up the James River to the Swan Creek plantation in Nelson County, Virginia. As a young woman, she was known as a fearless horsewoman and married her tutor, William Horsley.

They settled on lands near Gladstone Station building their home, Centre Hill. She and William both died in 1760 leaving four children between the ages of 8 to 16 years old. In 1763, Dr. William Cabell deeded the Centre Hill lands to the four children.

William and Mary Cabell Horsley’s children, spouses, and homeplace

  1. William Horsley (1745-1791) and Martha Megginson lived above Centre Hill.
  2. Robert Horsley (1749-1791) and Judith Scott lived at Centre Hill.
  3. Elizabeth Horsley (1749-1821) and Roderick McCulloch settled at Centre Hill and Verdant Vale.
  4. John Horsley (1752-1808) and Frances Starke settled below Centre Hill near the community of Bent Creek in Nelson County.

Migration of the descendants of William and Mary Cabell Horsley

William and Mary Cabell’s descendants generally remained close to home at Centre Hill. They had 23 grandchildren and four of them ventured west to settle in Missouri. Mary and William had 71 great grandchildren and most of these were living in Virginia.

Mary’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth Horsley and her husband, Roderick McCulloch, had 6 daughters and 3 sons all born at Verdant Vale. Probably soon after Elizabeth and Roderick died, their three sons moved west to Missouri. Their daughter, Frances Horsley Shackleford, was also found living in Missouri in 1850. Her husband died in 1819 soon after the birth of her seventh child. It is not clear if she moved west before or after his death.

Frederick Cabell Horsley, a great-grandson of Mary through William Horsley and Martha Megginson, moved with his wife, Eudora Pleasants, to Canyon City Oregon where their three children were born.

Exploring the map

The following map shows the migration of 5 generations of descendants of Mary Cabell and William Horsley. This includes 580 descendants born before 1900.

Click on the Map name (Mary Descendants) to open the map in a new window (you can also download a copy to save). Click on the large icon on the map near Virginia Beach for more details.

Notable Descendants of Mary Cabell Horsley

19th century (Chronological Order)

  • Champe Carter McCulloch (1841-1907) – First mayor of Waco, Texas. Builder of McCulloch House in Waco, Texas.
  • Mildred Cabell Watkins (1860-1922). Author of American Literature primers. Descendant of both Mary Cabell and John Cabell
  • Champe Carter McCulloch Jr. (1869-1928) – Lt. Col in the United States Army in the Army Medical Department and served as Librarian of the National Library of Medicine in Washington D.C. from 1913-1916.
  • William Horsley Gantt (1892-1980) – American physician and recipient of Lasker Award in 1946. Nominated for Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1970.

20th century

  • Robert P. McCulloch (1911-1977) – American entrepreneur of McCulloch chainsaws and purchaser of the London Bridge for Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Works Consulted

  • Brown, Alexander. The Cabells and their Kin: A Memorial Volume of History, Biography, and Genealogy. Richmond, Va.: Garrett and Massie, Inc., 1939. First published 1895.
  • Cabell, Randolph W. 20th Century Cabells and their Kin. Franklin, N.C.: Genealogy Pub. Service, 1993
  • Cabell Family Papers, 1727-1875, Accession # 5084, Albert H. and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.