My great-grandfather, Clarence Gaither, was born in Statesville in 1903. His brother Arthur was born there in 1899.
Here is what I've heard about this line of Gaithers from an older cousin. I am copying and pasting her email below with moderate editing-- JUST A WARNING-- I thought her email was kind of racist and suggested that the "lighter skinned" branch offs of Gaithers were somehow superior to the darker skinned ones, but I am leaving the email pretty much intact for historical documentation purposes. Here it is below:
Here is a some more of what I know (which I will include in a future email about the Gaither lineage): The original Gaither was an Irish/Scotsman from New England who was the youngest son of his Gaither parents. Since only the oldest son inherited the estate of his parents, this son (I will find his whole name) was given a sum of money and sent off to make his own way. He settled in Maryland and established a plantation in what is now Gaithersburg, Md. He bought slaves in through the Annapolis port of Maryland to farm his land. My grandfather said the slaves were from the Seychelles Islands off the coast of East Africa. (Those islands are still there). After the slaves were freed, most of them took the Gaither name. That is the original Black Gaithers. Some had families which had been sold off in N.C. and went there to find their families. Some had families which had been sold off in Florida..and they went there to find their families. Hence, there are three main branches of Gaithers. The original in Maryland, another one in North Carolina and the last one in Florida.
Years ago, I communicated with a woman who was married to a Gaither and lived on an Indian Reservation in Montana. She said her husband's family (Native American) was a decedent of the Black Gaithers from Maryland. Unfortunately, it is hard as heck to track Native American roots, they are worse off than us with tracing their family history because of how they were treated..but that is another whole story...smh. (shaking my head). Many of the Maryland Gaithers did inter-marry with Native Americans (I have to look in my notes to see which tribe). Most of my older relatives (some in their 90s and 100s) and their children could pass for white..but have the high cheekbones of a Native American..mixed with white blood.
I'm considered one of the blackest decedents of the Gaithers. When I took my husband to the last Gaither reunion...on the land they bought as share croppers from a decedent of a white Gaither, he said "these are all white folks..how can you be related to them??". My father is light skinned with straight black hair. So it even followed down that far. Now, don't take it personally -- but the N.C. and Florida Gaithers were all dark skinned (from historical pictures..I don't think I have any of them anymore) were mixed with Africans and Native Americans..which we call (to this day) "Geechie folks"..a mixture of African, Native American and Spanish/French)...most off the coast of N.C. in those islands (I forget the name). They are probably the most "pure" of our African descendants. When I run into Gaithers here, and they ask my about my linage..I look at them and if they are dark skinned..I say "your family must be from N.C. or Florida" and 99 percent of the time I'm right.
The Gaither family here has a heck of a lot of "Georges" "Jereimiahs" and "Donalds"..to name a few. My dad is named Donald Gaither. My grandfather was name "Jeremiah"..which is the name of one of the original Maryland Gaithers. His body (the original Gaither) is buried on our Gaither "estate".
Okay, I have exhausted my memory of Gaithers...I hope the three of you can connect some of the dots. This is really exciting to me!! Stay in touch..and let's keep those emails rolling so we can put all of this together. Who knows..we may one day write a book that exceeds what Alex Haley was able to track with his roots. FYI -- his ancestors came through the Annapolis port also.