With this post I initiate a new category that I will entitle “Mysteries.” Mysteries are those genealogical puzzles for which no answers appear to be discoverable. The origin of the Paysinger family of Lincoln County, Tennessee, is one of those puzzles.
What we do know: a John Paysinger settled in Lincoln County, Tennessee sometime between 1826 and 1830. Census and marriage records show that he was born in North Carolina around 1789, and he married Bersheba Jones in 1819 in Madison County, Alabama (adjacent to Lincoln County). One of his many children was Thomas Alexander Paysinger, discussed in the prior post.
More than one family genealogist has attempted to find out where in North Carolina John was born, combing NC county records for any sign of a Paysinger patriarch. John Robert Paysinger traced much of the history of this family, and left a large compilation of documents in the Tennessee State Library and Archives which is still accessible there, but he was unable to conclusively identify the original Paysinger immigrant. Another family genealogist pointed out that the name may originally have been German, and then gradually mutated to its present American form. Family members may have been Pasingers, Peasingers, Basingers, Bösingers, or some other variation.
The last of those specific speculations is particularly interesting, because there was a Johannes Bösinger who immigrated from Germany and settled in Rowan County, North Carolina, in the mid-18th century. Like many German immigrants, he arrived at the port of Philadelphia and finding that the near country had already filled up with farmers, headed for the frontier which at this time included the “backcountry” of North Carolina – what we now think of as the Piedmont. There is record both of Johannes’ arrival on the ship Harle from Rotterdam and Cowes on September 1, 1736 (carrying passengers described as “Palatines”), and of a land grant in Rowan County that was given a decade or so later.
After the land grant there is no record until 1774 when a John Pasinger leaves a will in Rowan County dividing his estate among his wife Magdalen and sons Christian, Paul, and Frederick. Other apparent Paysingers pop up here and there in the records. John Pasenger and George Pasenger both married in Rowan County in 1779 and 1784 respectively. A Martin Pasinger is listed in the 1790 census for Rowan.
There is nothing to connect John Paysinger of Lincoln County, Tennessee, to any of these other Pasingers/Pasengers/Bösingers except for the census record that indicates he was born in North Carolina. However, there is an intriguing 1790 census record for a Thomas Pasinger in Mecklenburg County, NC, just south of Rowan County. “Thomas” appears to be a family name within the Lincoln County clan, since John of Lincoln County named his eldest son Thomas, who in turn named his eldest two sons “John” and “Thomas.” Plus, Mecklenburg County was a stronghold of a famous family of Alexanders which will be discussed in a later post. Could the 1790 Thomas Pasinger of Mecklenburg County have married an Alexander, with both names passed to his son John’s eldest son? Thomas Alexander Paysinger would later marry Mary Adaline McRee whose parents were from Mecklenburg County, and whose mother was Ruth Alexander – a confirmed member of that influential family.
All speculation, unfortunately. The origin of John Paysinger remains a Mystery.