Penelope Iredell

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Penelope Iredell

Also Known As: "Penelope Iredell McRee"
Birthplace: North Carolina, United States
Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Daughter of James Iredell, Jr., Governor, U.S. Senator and Frances Johnston Iredell
Wife of Griffith J. McRee
Mother of Penelope Johnston McRee
Sister of Annie Isabella Jones; Helen Iredell; James Johnston Iredell; Jane M. Iredell; Samuel Treadwell Iredell and 4 others

Managed by: Sharon Stuart McRee
Last Updated:

About Penelope Iredell

Birth: 1822 Edenton Chowan County North Carolina, USA

Death: Oct. 12, 1862 Wilmington New Hanover County North Carolina, USA


Penelope Iredell was born 1822 in Edenton, Chowan Co, NC, the 3rd of 10 known surviving children (4 boys/6 girls) born to NC Governor and U.S. Senator, James Iredell Jr. and his wife, Frances Johnston Tredwell.

She was the paternal grandchild of U.S. Supreme Court Justice James Iredell, Sr. of England, & his wife, Hannah Johnston of Edenton, who was sister of Gov. Samuel Johnston of NC. She was the maternal grandchild of Samuel Tredwell, Esq, Collector of the Port of Edenton and his wife, Helen Scrymgeoure Blair.

Penelope was raised in Raleigh, the capital city, where her family had located in about 1817 as her father's political career started to rise. Her father served in elected government positions throughout her early childhood, and then in 1827, when she was 5 years old, he was elected Governor of North Carolina. James Iredell Jr. would serve as NC Governor less than a year (1827-1828), as he resigned his office to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Nathaniel Macon. The vacancy was caused by the resignation of Nathaniel Macon and Iredell served as Senator from 1828-1831.

Following his single term in the United States Senate, Iredell returned to North Carolina and established a law practice in Raleigh. During the next quarter century, he served as a commissioner to revise the state's laws, reported cases for the North Carolina Supreme Court, conducted a law school, and published an authoritative three-volume digest of court cases in the state from 1778 to 1845.

Penelope was just 20 years old on October 20, 1842 when she married Dr. Griffth J. McRee, eldest son of the distinguished and eminent physician and botanist, James Fergus McRee. The couple would reside in Wilmington where her husband, a Princeton graduate, owned a plantation and was a practicing attorney.

The couple would become parents to 8 known children (3 boys/5 girls): Eliza Ann McRee (1843-1862), Griffith John McRee, Jr. (1847-1862), Frances Iredell McRee (1849), Mary Hill McRee (1850-1854), James Iredell McRee (1854-1913), Annie Isabelle McRee (1856-1822), Penelope Johnston McRee (1859-1923), and William McRee (1860).

As the winds of Civil War blew through North Carolina, the McRee's would suffer great personal losses. First, Penelope Iredell McRee died on in October 12, 1862. She was only 40 years old. Six days later her husband buried their eldest daughter, Eliza Ann, who perished on October 18, 1862 at age 19. Five days later, he would bury his mother, Mary "Polly" Ashe McRee on October 24, 1862.

Then, almost unbelievably, just a few weeks later he would bury their son, Griffith John McRee, Jr. who passed in November, 1862 at age 15. Burdened with immeasurable grief, her husband of 20 years, Griffith John McRee Sr., survived her just ten years, passing in 1872 at age 52.

As for their surviving children, only two of them married. James Iredell McRee married his cousin, Helen Blair Johnson, and was father to 7 children. He died in Raleigh in 1913.

Daughter, Penelope, married John Dawson Smith of Fayetteville and relocated to St. Louis, then Texas. She was mother of 9 children, ALL of them given the middle name "McRee," and is believed to have died in 1923. Daughter, Annie Isabelle never married and died in Wilmington in 1882 at age 26.

Remaining daughters Fannie and Penelope moved to St. Louis, MO with their younger brother, William.

Family links:

 James Iredell (1788 - 1853)
 Frances Johnston Tredwell Iredell (1797 - 1865)

 Griffith John McRee (1820 - 1872)

 Eliza Ann McRee (1843 - 1862)*
 Griffith John McRee (1847 - 1862)*
 James Iredell McRee (1854 - 1913)*
  • Calculated relationship

Burial: Oakdale Cemetery Wilmington New Hanover County North Carolina, USA Plot: Sec D Lot 1

Created by: John Evans Record added: Mar 21, 2009 Find A Grave Memorial# 35062021

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Penelope Iredell's Timeline

North Carolina, United States
Age 37
Age 40