The following information is taken from the 63 page book,
by B.F.Nuckolls. 1914.
Up to about the year 1871, the Cornett family
of Grayson spelled their name Canute; in all their business transactions
it was written Canute, and some of the older people still spell it and
pronounce it that way. The family tradition is that they are descended
from King Canute of England. The following is copied from Montgomery's
CANUTE'S PLAN; THE FOUR EARLDOMS
Canute (1017-1035) Seveyn the Dane, conquered
England (1013). "All the people," says the Chronicle, "'held him for full
king.'" He was succeeded by his son, Canute, (1017). He was from beyond
the seas, but could hardly be called a foreigner, since he spoke a language
and set up a government differing but little from that of the English.
After his first harsh measures were over, he sought
the friendship of both Church and people. He gave the country peace. He
rebuked the flattering of courtiers by showing them that the in-rolling
tide is no respecter of per- sons; he endeavored to rule justly, and his
liking for the monks found expression in his song:
"Merrily sang the Monks of Ely, As Canute the King was passing by."
Canute's plan was to establish a great Northern
empire, embracing Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and England.
To facilitate the government of so large a realm,
he divided Englad into four districts: Wessex, Mercia, East Angelo, and
Northumbria, which, with their dependencies, embraced the entire country.
Each of these districts was ruled by an Earl
invested with almost royal power. For a time the arrangement worked well,
but eventually discord sprang up between the rulers. Their individual ambitions
and their efforts to obtain supreme authority imperiled the unity of the
William Canute, Sr., was an early settler on
Elk creek, now Grayson county, Virginia, and is said to be a descendant
of King Canute, of England.
He married Jennie Sutherland, a daughter of John
Sutherland, Sr., and wife, Elizabeth Bryan.
In the history of the Bryan family, written by
the wife of William Jennings Bryan, she states, "The great grandfather
of William Jennings Bryan had a brother, Francis Bryan, and a sister, Elizabeth
Bryan, that moved west from Eastern Virginia, and the family has lost trace
In the early settlement of Southwest Virginia,
Francis Bryan and his sister, Elizabeth Bryan, came to Fort Chiswell and
the Lead Mines; from there they crossed the Iron Mountain and settled on
Elk Creek. Elizabeth Bryan married John Sutherland, Sr., and brought up
a family of sons and daughters. Francis Bryan married Phoebe Woodruff,
and moved from Elk Creek to Ashe county, North Carolina.
John Sutherland's family were originally from
William Canute, Sr., and wife, Jennie Sutherland,
had a large family; all settled on Elk Creek.
Their first son, Col. Eli Canute, married Sena
Hale, daughter of Richard Hale and wife Elizabeth Stone. They have two
sons: first, Capt. William Cornett; second, Wiley Winston Cornett. they
also had six daughters: Matilda, Elizabeth, Amanda, Elvira, Theresa, and
The second son, Levi Cornett, married Olive Hale,
daughter of Dudley Hale and wife, Mary Burroughs. They had seven sons:
first son, Francis Cornett, married first, Miss Austin, of Elk Creek, Virginia;
had sons and daughters; his second marriage was to Miss Jane Dan- iels,
of Elk Creek; they also had sons and daughters. The second son of Levi
Cornett and wife, Olive Hale, George W. Cornett, married first, Miss Herbert;
they had one son, Thomas. He married the second time, Miss Sarah Gentry,
daughter of Col. Allen Gentry and wife, Rebecca Reeves. Judge Cornett is
a lawyer, represented Grayson county in the Legislature, and was judge
of the county court. He has been a useful an worthy citizen of Grayson
county for many years.
He has four daughters and one son, by his second
wife. His son, Munsey, is a lawyer; married and has children. First daughter,
Myrtle, married Rev. Kelly Boyer, member of the Western North Carolina
Second daughter,, Rebecca, married first, Mr.
--------, of Richmond, Virginia.
The second time married Frank Sanders, son of
John L. Sander, Chilhowie, Virginia.
Third daughter, married Prof. Morgan Cheek, Principal
of Elk Creek High School.
Third son of Levi Cornett, William, first married
Callie Delp; had one daughter, who married a Mr. Copenhaver, of Smyth county,
Virginia. William a second time, married Miss Fisher Asbury, Wythe county.
One son, Thomas, married Miss Lundy, daughter of Ellis Lundy and wife,
Fourth, Zach. M., married Gazilda Cecil, of Pulaski
county, Va. and lives there; has children.
Fifth, Miles Foy, was a noble young man; died
Sixth, Lewis K., married Nannie Warrick; he was
representative in Legislature of Virginia from Grayson county, the second
time; has two children.
Friel, the son, who lives at the old homestead,
is a worthy citizen; he married Miss Hester Ring; one son, Romulus Ring;
four daughters; first, Isabella, married Col. William Mitchell; two daughters'
Martha married John Cecil, of Pulaski county; moved to Texas; have children.
Nancy married Mr. Steffy, Wythe county, Virginia.
Second, Nancy, married Lewis Perkins; no
Third, Elvira, married James Cornett; live
on Elk Creek; have children.
Fourth, Theresa, married Carson Andis;
one daughter, married Robert Carson; one married Noel Tomlin, Jr. The third
son of William Canute and wife, Jennie Sutherland, was Francis Cornett,
Sr. He married Miss Catherine Fulton, daughter of Samuel Fulton and wife,
Miss Martha Powell-Jones. (See Fulton and Jones families.)
There were three sons: First, Samuel Monroe Cornett,
married Jane McCarty, of Elk Creek. Prof. Fielden R. Cornett married Malissa
Copenhaver, of Smyth county, Virginia.
The third son of Francis Cornett and wife was
Peyton H. Cornett, who married Amelia Cox, daughter of Enoch Cox and wife,
Susan Thomas, of Bridle Creek, Virginia.
There were also two daughters of Francis Cornett
and wife: the first, Amanda, married Van Buren McCarta; the second, Martha
Powell, died single.
The fourth son, Col. Alexander Cornett married
Jemima Rhudy. Their sons: Friel N., James P., William J., Stephen H., and
Eli C.; daughters: Martha, Elizabeth, Theresa, Charlotte, and Nancy.
William Cornett, Sr., and wife, had three daughters:
First, Charlotte D., married William Rhudy; had a family of sons and daughters.
Lucy H. married Andrew Porter; the had sons and
daughters; lived on Elk Creek.
The third daughter of William Cornett and wife
was Margaret. She married Rev. Abraham Elliott, a local Methodist preacher.
Mr. Elliott and his wife first settled on Meadow Creek, near Grayson C.H.;
afterward moved to Elk Creek to the Cornett mills; from there to Independence,
Virginia. For some time they kept Hotel Elliott at Independence. Mr. Elliott
was a tinner by trade; was a useful, industrious, good man; he and his
wife both died and are buried at Independence. Their youngest daughter,
Margaret, married William Wright, editor of the "Grayson Journal." Mr.
Wright has been editor of this paper for over forty years at Independence,
William Cornett, Sr., was an energetic, enterprising
citizen, and brought up and trained his family for useful, industrious
citizens of their country.
Elk Creek is a bold, swift mountain stream, flowing
through a beautiful valley, and emptying into New River, furnishing fine
William Cornett, in the early days, built a mill
for gringing grain, also a saw mill, and a carding machine for carding
wool. These mills were on the banks of Elk Creek, and were used by the
settlers for many miles around.
February 14, 1997
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