Our Roots - The Embry-Woods Family
Our first record of Elijah Embry shows him living in Oglethorpe and Clarke counties in Georgia. We traced his family to John Embrie, who was born in 1595 in England.  In 1839, Elijah and his father, Joseph Wiley Embry, moved to Talladega County, Alabama, to continue farming.  Elijah took our ancestors, Susan and Gabriel Embry, with him.  In October of 2005, we located Elijah Embry’s estate papers, dated January 10, 1863, in the Talladega County Courthouse. They confirmed that Susan, age 60 and valued at $150, and Gabe, age 35 and valued at $1000, were two of his twelve slaves (see lines 3 and 4 below).

Gabriel Embry had 15 children.  He had six sons with his first wife, Elizabeth. They were Gus, Tom, Jerry, John, Wesley, and Henry Embry.  Gabe had eight children by his second wife, Sureena (Irene) Sims. The children were Gabriel Lewis, Nash, Wyatt, William, Eliza, Hasten, Garnett, and Mary (Mollie). Gabe and Sureena also reared an orphan, Allis Embry (see family tree).  Descendants of eight of Gabe Embry's 15 children migrated from Talladega County, Alabama, to Springfield, Ohio.


In September, 2010, we located a death certificate for Wesley Embry.  He had migrated from  Alabama to McRoberts, Letcher County, Kentucky, in the early 1900's, to work in the Harveyton coal mines.  Wesley Embry died in Letcher County, Kentucky, on May 4, 1918.  Prior to this time, we had not confirmed that he was Gabe and Sureena Embry's son. We have added Wesley to the family tree chart. 

Embry-Woods residents now living in the Springfield and Cincinnati, Ohio areas are descendants of:

Henry and Mary Lou (Roseman) Embry
Wyatt and Martha Embry
William Embry and Lucretia (Ragland) Embry
William Embry and Donie Miller
Gabriel Lewis and Laura (Wood) Embry
Anthony and Eliza (Embry) Woods
Garnett Embry and Laura Johnson
Columbus and Mollie (Embry) Turner
Nash and Idella (Robinson) Embry
Shunder (also called Shandy) and Edith (Robinson) Wood
Andy and Anna (Anderson) Wood

The first Embry-Woods descendants to migrate to a northern state arrived in Springfield, Ohio in 1918.  They were Savannah and William Embry, descendants of Gabriel Lewis and Laura Ann (Wood) Embry.  Gabriel Lewis and Laura Ann's children were Savannah Embry, Ida (Embry) Davis, William Embry, and Frances (Embry) Avery.  Most of their descendants still reside in Springfield.

Several Embry-Woods descendants moved further north to Detroit, Lansing, and Flint, Michigan to work in automobile factories.  They include the John and Julie (Truss) Embry, the Hace and Mary (Collins) Embry, and the Nash and Idella (Robinson) Embry families.

Many Embry-Woods descendants remain in the Talladega, Alabama area, which was the site of the 2009 family reunion.  The reunion was hosted by Pastor Bobby Joe Embry, a descendant of William and Lucretia (Ragland) Embry.

Embry-Woods family members include Wayne Embry, an NBA Hall of Famer who played with the Cincinnati Royals, the Boston Celtics, and the Milwaukee Bucks, now a Senior Advisor to the CEO of the Toronto Raptors.  Others are Dee Miller, former football great (wide receiver) at The Ohio State University; Scott Thomas, a financial investment consultant on the New York Stock Exchange; Betty Jo (Turner) Mitchell, former Mansfield Reformatory Warden and an Ohio Adult Parole Board retiree; and physicians, Dr. Lamar Nelson, a Dermatologist in Los Angeles, and Dr. Erinn Tuck Gardner, an Internal Medicine and Allergy physician in Atlanta.

Summary:  This article traces the history of  the black and white Embry families to the year 1595. 

Our earliest known black Embry ancestor is Susan Embry. Born in Virginia in 1790, Susan Embry was the matriarch of the Embry-Woods family.  Susan and her son, Gabriel, were slaves on Elijah Embry's cotton farms.

Elijah had 12 slaves when he died in 1862.  Many of his slaves took the "Embry" name after the Emancipation Proclamation.

So far, we have found no evidence that Susan and Gabriel were related to any of Elijah's other 10 slaves.  Our research shows that Gabriel Embry was Susan's only child.  We have not found a record of Susan's husband (Gabriel's father).
Unrelated  black and white Embrys with Elijah Embry connections.