Archive for March, 2018

The Will of Captain William Lawton

March 31, 2018

Recently I received a comment on the blog from a nice lady who wanted help in determining exactly where in England Capt. William Lawton was born so that she could have him recognized as a Patriot in the DAR.

I was confused on a number of levels. No one knows where he was born; oral tradition says that he is from an area of Cheshire called Church Lawton. He has been researched for decades, and if someone could have gotten him recognized as a patriot, it would have been done long ago. Was this person a brand-new researcher? Why was she focusing on this? Now most importantly: William Lawton couldn’t be recognized as a Revolutionary patriot by the DAR because he wasn’t a Revolutionary patriot.

There are some of us in the crowd that would disagree with my last statement.

But just like you can’t be a member of the Society of True Redheads (which is not really a thing) if you are not a True Redhead, you can’t be recognized as a Revolutionary patriot if you didn’t participate during the Revolutionary time frame (which is really a thing).

William died in 1757. The Revolutionary era is considered to have begun with the passage of the Stamp Act in 1765 and to have ended with the ratification of the US Bill of Right  in 1791, so about 25ish years. The military phrase was from 1775-1783.

Now this must have been disappointing to my new commenter.

At any rate, here’s the will of William Lawton.


Lawton P1



South Carolina. fs.

In the Name of God, Amen, the Ninth day of October, in the Thirty first year of his Majesty King George the Seconds Reign and in the year of our Lord, one Thousand Seven hundred and fifty Seven. I William Lawton of Edisto Island in St. Johns parish in Colleton County in the Province of South Carolina Planter being (blessed be God of Sound and disposing mind and Memory and considering the uncertainty of this Transitory Life and the certainty of Death in order  prepare my self for that Great Change, do make and declare this my last Will and Testament and do Constitute Ordain and appoint my loving Wife Mary Lawton Executrix and my Loving son Josiah Lawton my loving Brother Isaac Rippon and my Loving friend William Maxwell Executors of the same hereby Revoking and making Null and Void all and every other and former Will and Wills Testament and Testaments by me heretofore made or declared and declaring and Confirming this and no other to be my only last Will and Testament, that is to say, Principally being sincerely sorry for all my Sins and humbly begging pardon for the same I commend my Soul to the Mercies of God my Creator in and thro’ Jesus Christ my blessed Saviour and Redeemer on whom alone I trust for the pardon and remission of all my Sins and for Eternal Life and Salvation and my Body at Death I committ to the Grave to be interred in a decent and Christian like manner at the discretion of my Executors herein before Named, and as for and Concerning all my Worldly Estate and such Lands and Tenements Goods and Chattels as it hath pleased God to bestow upon me, my Will and desire is that the name and every part and parcel thereof shall be disposed of and bestowed, in manner and form herein after mentioned Respectively and not otherwise, Imprimis I will and desire that all my Just Debts and Funeral Expences shall be well and duly paid, in convenient time after my decease

Item I Give and Bequeath to my well beloved Wife Mary Lawton

Lawton P2

Nine Negroes Names as follows Viz: Harry, Cuff, Pompey, Will, George, Adam, Walley, Tamer, and Kate with their issue with their axes, Hoes and Reap hooks, also my Riding Horse Frisk and New Saddle to be Bought for her out of my Estate, also a Suit of Mourning likewise one fourth part of my Stock of Cattle, one fourth part of my Sheep one third part of all my Household furniture and the use of my large canoe and Sails during her Life and at her decease to my Son Josiah and his Heirs forever. I also leave her the use of my Plantation I now live on during the term of her Natural Life she paying one fourth part of all my Just and Lawful Debts and for ever Quitting Claim, Right and Title to all or any my Estate Real or personal in any shape or case whatever further than is herein given and devised, Item I give and Bequeath to my well beloved Son Josiah Lawton one Negroe Man Named Cyrus and the use of my large Canoe and her Sails till my Wifes decease and then to him and his Heirs for ever I also give him one large Silver Spoon and my Gun to him and his Heirs for every Exclusive of his equal part in my Estate, Item I give and Bequeath to my well beloved Son William Lauton one Negroe Man Named Abram, to him and his heirs for ever Exclusive of his equal part of my Estate, Item I Give and Bequeath to my well beloved Daughter Sarah Lauton one Negroe Woman Named Phillis and her Son Jacob and all her Increase, I also Give her, her Riding Horse and Saddle to her and her Heirs for ever, exclusive of her equal part of my Estate, Item I Give and Bequeath to my Well beloved Son Jeremiah Lauton one Negroe Man Named Amos to him and his heirs for ever exclusive of his equal part of my Estate, Item I Give and Bequeath to my well beloved Son Winborn Lawton one Negroe Boy named Peter one Mustizo Girl Named Chloe, to him and his heirs for ever Exclusive of his equal part of my Estate, Item I Give and Bequeath to my well beloved Daughter Mary Lauton one Negroe Girl Named Pegg and her Increase and a pair of Gold Sleeve Buttons I now wear to her andher Heirs for ever, Exclusive of her equal part of my Estate Item I Give

Lawton P3

and Bequeath to my well beloved Son Joseph Lauton one Negtoe girl Named Hannah and her increase and one Negroe Boy Named Tom my Silver Watch and Silver Shoe Buckles to him and his Heirs for ever exclusive of his equal part of my Estate, Item I Give and Bequeath to my well beloved Son Josiah Lauton one half of the Tract of Land I Bought from Mr. James Cuthbert to him and his Heirs for ever, Item I Give and bequeath to my well beloved Son William Lauton the other half of the above Tract of Land to him and his Heirs for eve, Item I Give and Bequeath to my well beloved Son Joseph Lauton the Tract of Land I now live on to him and his Heirs for ever, and Lastly I Give and Bequeath all the Remainder Rest and Residue of my Estate consisting of Negroes Horses, Cattle, Hogs Sheep Household Goods Plantation Tools &ca to be equally divided betwixt my Children or children that may be Born of my Lawful Wife within Nine Months after my decease and it is my desire that my Estate should be divided, as soon as possible after my Death and that my Sons Josiah and William should take the Charge of the parts of my other four Children, who Names are as follows Vis: Sarah Jeremiah, Winborn and Mary Lautons until they arrive at the age of Nineteen years or day of Marriage which shall first happen, In Witness whereof I the said William Lauton have hereunto Set my hand and Seal the day and year first above written.

Sealed published and declare. by Mr. William Lauton the Testator in the presence of us.

John Mikell

John Fry.

John Frach.


William Lawton (Seal)

One Wench Dianah the Sorrel Stalion to be Sold as soon as possible after my Will is proved.


Proved before His Excellency William Henry Lytleton Esqr 9th December 1757. at the same time Qualified Mary Lauton and Isaac Rippon Executors to the said Will.

Recorded in Will Book 1767 – 1771.

Recorded on Page 507.


These images come from

In Which I Become a Baby Methodist

March 24, 2018

Ruth Baby Methodist0005Ruth Baby Methodist0006Ruth Baby Methodist0007

I was a baby Methodist.

Ruth Baby Methodist0002Ruth Baby Methodist0003Ruth Baby Methodist0004

I was baptized on the 2nd day of June, 1957, at Trinity Methodist Church, Lenoir City, Tennessee, by Rev. F. F. Essary.

I bet if I hunt around a bit, I could find my christening dress and shoes. Be right back.

The Polaroid Land Color Picture

March 23, 2018

Here’s a photo of my mother with her friend Irma Young Jaques. Irma also happened to be my godmother.

Mom wrote on the front:

“Evelyn Ruth Packett Rawls (left)

Irma Jean Jacques dear friend from


but that is not actually how Irma spelled her last name. It is “Jaques”. JAY-kwiss.

Mom & Irma0001

It appears that these ladies were out and about in Knoxville, and stopped to have their photo made with this new-fangled system called Polaroid.

The photo came with its own little frame made out of cardstock. If you opened up the card, you found this…

Mom & Irma0002


Now, here’s where things get fun. Mom and Irma wrote on the back side as to where they were and when the photo was made.

Mom & Irma0003

THIS POLAROID LAND COLOR PICTURE was developed in a minute. All the photographer had to do was snap the picture and pull the tab. The full-color image developed automatically, accomplishing in one step and a minute what takes many steps and many minutes in any elaborately equipped darkroom for conventional color prints.

POLACOLOR PICTURES can be made in nearly all existing Polaroid Land cameras All models made before August 1963 use the roll film format. The new Polaroid Color Pack Camera, introduced on that date, uses pack film. Both kinds of cameras produce color pictures in a minute, black and white pictures in 10 seconds.

COLOR COPIES AND ENLARGEMENTS of this picture are available from Polaroid Copy Service. Just use the order form enclosed in any box of Polacolor film. Send the picture and order to Polaroid Copy Service, Box 150, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139.

Across the top, in Irma’s handwriting:

June 30


Millers on Henley

Across the bottom, in Mom’s handwriting:

Evelyn Ruth Packett Rawls age 47

Mom and Dad’s anniversary was on June 30. So this means on this Wednesday, June 30, 1965, she and Irma went to Millers Department Store in Knoxville. I don’t have any memory of this, and I suppose that LilSis and I were at Mom’s mother’s house for the day. Mom rarely did anything special for herself, and I suspect that Irma wanted to do something special for Mom, knowing that Dad wouldn’t have planned anything. Remember, they don’t buy the Ford tractor for 2 more years…

The Bank of Lenoir City

March 22, 2018

Y’all know that I have a subscription to GenealogyBank. I’ve been off on a tangent looking for information about Joe Webb while he was living in Lenoir City with my grandparents.

While I didn’t find anything relevant to that, I found a mother lode of information about the early beginnings of Lenoir City. You have been warned.

From the Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, 7/10/1891, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume: VII, Issue: 135, Page: 2



Corner Stone of the New Bank Building Laid Yesterday.

Lenoir City, Tenn., July 9. –Mr. J. S. Snyder, of Springfield, Ohio, is in our city. He has been all over Tennessee, admiring the beauties and advantages found here. He is one of Springfield’s influential business men. He is well posted on all business topics and as fine conversationalist as one will meet in a years travel. Lenoir’s environs have captivated him, especially Chestnut Hill, where he had the pleasure of eating his fourth of July dinner.

Appropriate ceremonies were observed here to-day in honor of the laying of the corner stone of the Lenoir City bank building. The bank has been organized one year, and withal the financial crises of the past eight months, they have always been able to accommodate their customers with money and also to declare a nice dividend to its stockholders. Within the brass lined receptical in the center of the corner stone were placed a $5. gold piece bearing the date that the bank was organized, a neatly written history of Lenoir City, a list of the officers and the names of the contractors, Thompson Brothers.

Steps are being taken to have a brass band organized here. We have plenty of talent in that line and there is no reason why Lenoir City should not have a band that she should be proud of.

Contractor Abrams of Knoxville has just completed four houses here and has five more under good headway. He is what the boys call a hustler.

Mrs. W. Caswell and daughter Miss Helen Page, have gone to Tate Springs to spend two or three weeks.

Mrs. C. H. Stanton, visited two days of this week in Knoxville, the guest of Mrs. Will and Sam Cooper, in North Knoxville.


In my mother’s papers, I found some paperwork from the Bank of Lenoir City.


Postmarked April 7, 1969.

BankOfLenoirCity LoanAgreement0003


Roy C. Rawls, Route 1, Lenoir City, Loudon, Tennessee (hereinafter called “Debtor’s”) an individual, said address being Debtor’s Residence and the location of the property covered hereby, hereby grants to BANK OF LENOIR CITY, Lenoir City, Tennessee (hereinafter called “Bank”)

Ford Tractor, Year 1957, Motor No. 850, Serial No. 101777, used.

(Blah, blah, blah…)

In Witness Whereof, Debtor and Bank have caused this agreement to be executed this 10th day of October, 1967.

Roy C. Rawls

Mrs. Roy C. Rawls

BankOfLenoirCity LoanAgreement0004BankOfLenoirCity LoanAgreement0002BankOfLenoirCity LoanAgreement0001

They paid that loan off in 18 months, just like they said they would, and the bank marked it paid on April 7, 1969, and mailed the “Paid in Full” receipt on the same day.

Now, if I can find a photo of that tractor…

Meet Joe Webb

March 20, 2018

I met Joe Webb when I was a little girl. I have a few vague, shadowy recollections of him. He was my grandmother’s brother.

Grandma had another brother named Tom, and a brother named Charlie that I never met. Charlie died about 1936, and my aunt had told me once that Charlie had gotten ill with what they called “Brain Fever” when he was a child. He stayed childlike, even as an adult, and always lived with his mother Henrietta.

Joe and Tom lived out of state. I suppose that they came to visit my grandmother when the weather was nice in the summer. I remember when we went to her house to see them that we sat out under the maples in her yard.

My shadowy memory of Joe is that he had wavy, light-colored hair and faded tattoos on his forearms. Did his wife come with him? I’m not sure. Did he drink? It seems like he might have.

Grandma rarely talked about her family. I have found out some things that made me wonder if that was the reason. I know that she seemed fond of her parents, and I got the idea that they were good people.


A few weeks ago I got a new cousin match on ancestry. A second cousin! I sent her a message, and she answered. It seemed that my grandmother Ruth and her grandfather Joe were siblings. She didn’t know anything about Joe. He had divorced her grandmother a few years after their daughter was born. Joe saw the daughter maybe once after that, and called her perhaps a half-dozen times. She grew up and raised 6 children who never met their grandfather Joe.

This makes me very sad. What went wrong? I poked around a little.

I asked one of my older cousins if she remembered Joe. She did have a few vague memories; he was married to Ethel who was the boss and got him to stop drinking. She didn’t know about the first family.

And the first family didn’t know about the second marriage. They thought Joe never remarried.


I found a photo of Joe in my mother’s things.

I would guess that this was most probably made in Tucker, Georgia.

On the back of the photo…

Your brother

Joe Webb


Joe died in 1985.

He married Gladys Nelle McNew in 1924, and they lived in Knoxville. The Knoxville City Directory shows that he was a meat cutter.

In 1930, he was living with his brother Tom, still in Knoxville at 104 Hickey Place. It is my best guess that the information for the 1930 Directory was gathered in 1929 to be published and distributed in 1930. So I’m guessing by 1929, Joe had left his wife and daughter.

Tom is listed at Kenneth T. Webb. There is also a wife Mildred listed for Tom. I didn’t know that Tom had been married, but he also had a drinking problem, and things like divorce and alcoholism just weren’t discussed.

In the 1930 census Joe was listed as living with his mother Henrietta, so perhaps he stayed with different family members while looking for a safe place to land.


My new cousin wondered if I could offer an opinion about what kind of man her grandfather was. I offered that he might have had some personal issues that kept him away from his wife and children, but that I really didn’t know him. We discussed that he might have been a drinker. She had a photo of her grandfather when he was a young man. She thought that he gave the impression of someone who might drink.

I think the vintage of the photo is Roaring Twenties, before everything crashed in the Depression.

He looks so much like my grandmother.

His wife Nell McNew Webb had to get a job. She worked as a clerk in a dry cleaners, and then married Thomas Buckley about 1930.


I poked around a little more on ancestry and made a discovery.

In 1940 on the federal census, my grandparents and all four of their children, along with Joe Webb and Vivian O’Dell (Grandma’s niece whose parents had died young), were living at 306 Kingston Street in Lenoir City, Tennessee. Y’all, I grew up in this town. It is my hometown, and Kingston Street was a main street. I had never known this. And everyone had lived in the same house in 1935. So when my mother was in high school, she lived in this house. We drove by this house hundreds of times, and that never prompted her to say, “Oh, I used to live there. For YEARS.”

I cropped the image to show their names.

Now if I only had a photo of the house, which Zillow says was built in 1920.

I remember that I have a boots-on-the-ground researcher in place.

BigBroSteve delivers a photo.

Right now I am so nostalgic for a home I’ve never seen that I could cry a little.

All because of Joe Webb.

Weakley County, Tennessee County Court Minutes: Luellin Wilkins, 1829

March 14, 2018

Wilkins 1829 Court records0001

Here’s a copy that I have had for almost 20 years of the the Weakley County, Tennessee, County Court Minutes regarding Llewellyn Wilkins. I have straightened the page and outlined the pertinent parts for “Luellin”.

Wilkins 1829 Court records0001

Page 80

William Fitzgerald)     Debt


John D. Calvert)

This Day came the parties by their attornies and thereupon came a jury of good and lawful men to wit, Benj. Bondurant, Jessie Edmison, Edward Busey, Saml. Morgan, John A.C. Rhoads, John Terrell, William Porch, William Ridgeway, Elijah Stanley, William Willingham, Amasa Parham, & Luellin Wilkins who being duly elected, tried and sworn to the truth to speak, upon the Issue joined, upon their oaths do say that the Defendant is justly indebted to the plaintiff the sum of one hundred and thirty nine Dollars and fifty cents, debt and they do assess his damages to three dollars and ten cents by reason of the detention thereof. It is therefore considered by the court that the Plaintiff recover of the defendant, the aforesaid sum of one hundred and thirty nine Dollars and fifty cents debt, together with the further sum of three dollars and ten cents damages by the jury aforesaid in manner aforesaid, assessed as also his costs, about his suit in this behalf expended &c and that he have execution for the same.



Wilkins 1829 Court records0002

Wilkins 1829 Court records0002

Pages 80 and 81

Martin Clayton)     Debt


Saml. Morgan)

This day came the parties by their attornies and thereupon came a jury of good and lawful men, to wit, Benjamin Bondurant, Jessie Edmison, Edward Busey, John A.C. Rhoads, John Terrell, William Porch, William Ridgeway, Elijah Stanley, William Willingham, Amasa Parham, Luellin Wilkins and John T. Damron who being duly elected, tried and sworn the truth to speak upon the issue joined, upon their oaths, do say that the defendant is justly indebted to the plaintiff the sum of two hundred dollars debt and that they do assess his damages to six Dollars and 45 cents by reason of the detention off sold debt.

It is therefore considered by the court that the plaintiff recover of the Defendant the aforesaid sum of two hundred Dollars debt together with the further sum of six dollars and 45 cents damages by the jury aforesaid in manner aforesaid assessed as also his costs about his suit in this behalf expended and that he have execution for the same &c.

You might have noticed that one of the jurors in the first case becomes the Defendant in the second case. I suspect that this small county was early in its formation, and there were a minimum of “good and lawful men”.

You might wonder why I added both my original copy and my edited copy. You just never know when someone might need an original for their own documentation.

Death by the Way

March 13, 2018

I see death every day.

Every day. Any time I venture out, I see death on the road.

One day on my commute, I saw a dead deer on the side of the road in three different spots. Each one had most probably been hit by a car or truck.

Sometimes it is a dead dog, or a dead raccoon, or a dead possum. Sometimes the animal is so destroyed that you can’t tell what it used to be. It’s just a lump of greasy meat and blood.

You can tell when there is a dead animal nearby when you see the vultures circling. You don’t have to smell the death to know that it is near. I saw a dead dog on the side of the road once while I was driving out. When I returned homeward a few hours later, the vultures had destroyed the carcass and had pulled the remains into the ditch. If you were missing your dog, you wouldn’t be able to find it because the vultures would make short work of consuming the carcass, leaving just the bones to dry in the sun. Once I saw a vulture pick at the carcass of a squirrel, and stretch its intestine like a giant rubber band.

I don’t care if the raccoons and possums and birds eat the cat food that I leave out for the cats. Everyone is hungry, although I had noticed lately that the feeders still had food left in them the following morning, as if the possums and raccoons hadn’t been coming around.

It’s everywhere, death is.

Everything I do here at my little homestead is for the animals. It’s a small wooded plot bounded on three sides by the road in the middle of nowhere. I fenced 1/2 acre with 5′ high chain link fence. I am ensconced securely inside, along with Mr. Packett the dog and various cats of age and feralness. There are safe places for the cats to go, like platforms in the trees, the top of the RV, the shed, the fenced feeding station in the woods, and the cat dormitory.

This arrangement has been in place for 10 years. I didn’t plan for it to fail.


Two weeks ago, I arrived home from work in the evening as usual. There’s been a lot of anxiety in my workplace. The business owner was discovered having an affair with an employee two years ago. He fired the person that confronted him, and he fired his girlfriend. He fired some other people along the way. He divorced his wife and when that was final, he brought his girlfriend back to work. He fired the chief operating officer and the human resources manager, and placed his girlfriend in charge of the business. He fired 5 other people in an effort to conserve finances, because the paychecks were either bouncing or being put on hold. Accounts weren’t being paid, and orders weren’t being fulfilled by suppliers. It’s a scary time.

I pulled into the driveway, and there were no cats.

There are always cats here, lounging on the driveway or in the treehouse, running from the woods, and climbing over the fence to greet me. There were no cats. It was deathly quiet.

I walked toward the road, checked the mail, and noticed that there was a white vinyl fence post sticking out of the culvert. I had some fencing supplies along the driveway, but I wasn’t in the habit of storing them in the culvert under the driveway. At the other end of the culvert was a towel lying in the ditch from where someone had taken it from my cat trap by the gate and spread it out in the ditch, like they had been lying on it while looking into the culvert.

I looked into the culvert and saw that Mr. Orange was deceased, lying near the middle of the culvert. I walked to the gate and called for cats and Mr. Packett. No one came.

I continued to stand just outside my gate, looking in and trying to figure out what was going on and who had taken my cats and Mr. Packett. Two dogs ran out of the darkness of the woods INSIDE MY FENCE and stood there looking at me. I opened the gate, not making eye contact with them, knowing that they might not let me in but thinking that they had made no offer to stop me.

The larger one was a young pit bull, and the smaller one was a leggy Jack Russell and chihuahua mix, perhaps 20 pounds, but athletic. They bolted for the cover of the trees, and the security light didn’t cast a light under the trees where they had disappeared. I called for Mr. Packett, and he didn’t appear. I could hear the dogs scrabbling in the leaves and underbrush, and I thought at that instant that someone had killed Mr. Packett.

I ran toward the RV, and looked in the open door. He and Jackie and Georgia were safe inside with no anxiety. I heard the chain link *ZZINGG* like something was going over the fence.

I grabbed a flashlight and walked the fence line, but saw no place where someone could have gone over or under. The dogs had simply vanished.


The next morning Sugar came over and was able to get poor deceased Mr. Orange out of the culvert, and he found a spot under the fence where the dogs had dug under. He barricaded the hole and secured the base of the fence. By then, the cats had all appeared as if out of thin air, except for one tortoiseshell girl, the one that Sugar calls Pumpkin.

I buried Mr. Orange. Collins was forlorn and kept digging on the driveway above the approximate spot where Mr. Orange would have been in the culvert.

The next day I smelled death, and I found the Pumpkin deceased in the woods. Neither she nor Mr. Orange had any wounds on their bodies.


This past weekend, I went to see my daughter and her husband. It’s a 5ish hour drive, and I took off from work on Friday, and Mr. Packett and I left for our road trip. Sugar was going to feed the cats, but I told him that the feeders and the water bowls were full and he didn’t need to go but once on Saturday since I’d be home on Sunday.

Sugar, being Sugar, went Friday night, and Saturday morning and Saturday night. About 6:30PM he sent a message that he had seen the dogs running loose with some teenagers who were out walking. He stopped them and told them to keep their dogs away and off my property because they had killed 2 of my cats. One girl said that the pit bull belonged to her, but the dog kept getting off the chain.

The next morning, I got a panicked message from Sugar to call him asap. He had gone to my place, and the dogs were in my yard. They had killed Jackie. I drove home in record time. We spent the afternoon cutting down trees and lining the bottom of the fence where the dogs could push under.

Do you know about Jackie? She was found in a public trash can in Savannah when she was a small kitten. Someone had cut off her left ear and stabbed out her right eye and stabbed her body. like with an ice pick. She had gone to a rescue organization that saved her life, and she has lived here with me for almost ten years. She was a special girl that talked to me, and patted me with her paws to get my attention, and curled up on my pillow at night.

This is almost more than I can bear.

I have lodged a complaint with animal control. The animal control officer has made an inspection, but the results are not public. If the dogs were at large when she made her inspection, she could confiscate the dogs if she could catch them. She knew of the smaller dog, and had tried to catch him several times, but he was too wily and fast even for a tranquilizer gun.

We suspect that the smaller dog is not the killer, merely the instigator. We think that the dogs returned for the thrill of the chase and the lust of the kill. I can’t get the image out of my mind of the pit bull shaking each cat until their necks were broken. I can’t imagine the terror of being hunted and knowing that you were going to die. I can’t stop imagining the sweep of fear washing over them when they knew they were trapped and would soon be dead.

This is a good reason that I don’t need a gun. I’d walk right into someone’s yard and shoot their dog. This would not bring back Jackie, or Orange, or Pumpkin, but there is serious trouble in the ‘hood if these dogs can’t be caught. There are farm animals across the road, cattle, horses, calves, colts, donkeys, pigs, and goats. Sugar is so traumatized by this that he comes over every day while I am at work just to check on things.

Rest well, my sweet darlings, until I see you again.


Trailing William Davidson: Part 3

March 11, 2018

Let’s finish with William Davidson…


And that’s the end, unless I find some more…


Trailing William Davidson: Part 2

March 8, 2018

I wasn’t sure there was going to be a Part 2. I knew that I had seen the Exact Set of Papers that I needed, just last week, in a large stack of binders. Then I couldn’t find the Exact Set of Papers even though I looked in every single binder a few days ago. Last night the Exact Set of Papers floated to the top of the stack. Perhaps the binder they were in fell off the stack and the universe presented me with what I wanted, which was exactly what I needed.

At any rate, all this blather leads me to the backstory. You knew there was going to be a backstory.

Somehow, I met a woman online who was also researching my William Davidson. This was in the days before social media when you could join an online cool club called a message board. This woman sent a boatload of documentation about her research on William Davidson. Then she actually proposed that we take a trip to the Archives in Utah, stay a couple of days researching, prove to the world which William Davidson was ours, and call it a day. The actual expense of such an undertaking boggled my little mind. I didn’t have money for a haircut, much less planefare and hotel accommodations. And getting away from Mr. X for a few days would be impossible. Seriously impossible.

Then we moved, which now in the space of more than a decade and my own personal research tells me that Mr. X was running away from his own problems. I have since learned that physically leaving your problems doesn’t actually make you leave your problems; you simple pack them up in your baggage and take them along for the ride. Perhaps too much backstory.

So, William Davidson as presented by Janine. She calls him “William 3” to differentiate him from William Davidson in North Carolina (think Davidson College) and another William Davidson in Tennessee near Nashville.



Edited by Samuel C. Williams



Knoxville, 8th December, 1800

Permit me again to solicit your attention to the renewal of your application on the subject of the road through the Cumberland Mountain into the district of Mero; the present road by way of the South West Point is a very bad one, and you are all well acquainted that some part of it is almost impassible with carriages, particularly that part called Spencer’s Hill. 14  The present road crosses Clinch much too near its mouth and out of the nearest direction, also subjects the travellers to a ferriage and the dangers attendant, when good fords are to be had above, and a way through that will, in all probability, cut near or quite a day’s travel with a wagon, and not one hill or mountain to cross that is difficult until you pass the Crab Orchard; this way can be best made by crossing Clinch near Davidson’s ford, then down by Poplar creek to the Big Emmery, up the same as it runs through Walden’s ridge, which is level, and a good way can be had by crossing this small river two or three times. When through the ridge, you have a level way in the Barrens until you strike the present road near the Crab Orchard, the remainder you know. This way has lately been discovered by Colonel William Davidson. 15  two of the Dearmonds 16 and several others, whose veracity can be depended on; and I am very confident that, was there suitable persons appointed to explore and view the way, a very good and convenient road may be had through the Cumberland Mountain without crossing one single hill of any magnitude.

14  Named for the celebrated Thomas Spencer who was killed on the spot by the Indians. For a graphic account of the “ill-renowned Spencer’s Hill,” see S. C. Williams, ed., Early Travels in the Tennessee Country. 503. A modern concrete, state highway has conquered the “hill” at last.

15  William Davidson, who in 1793 lived on Little River, Blount county, is probably referred to. His name was given to the ford mentioned in the text. Listed as Revolutionary soldier: E. M. Wells, History of Roane ounty, 30.

I believe Samuel C. Williams did not know Blount Co. William & the Col. William were 2 different people. I believe Gov. Sevier distinctly says Col. William.


From the Blount County court records in 1818:


The last will & testament of William Davidson decd. was proven by Elliot Holiday and Jacob mcGhee two subscribing witnesses thereto who swore that they saw him sign & seal & heard him publish & declare the same to be his last will & testament, that at the time he was of sound and disposing mind and other witnessed the same; Wherefore it was ordered by the Court that the same be received as the last will & testament of the (p. 120) said William Davidson decd. Whereupon came Samuel C. Davidson and John Walker the Executors therein named who entered into bond & were qualified for the faithful execution of said will according to Law.



Septr. 5th 1801

This day gave Wm. Davidson a pass to go into the Cherokee Nation to purchase a Horse within the Vicinity of So W point-

Return J. Meigs


Annals of Southwest Virginia 1769-1800

By Lewis Preston Summers

Member of American Historical Association, Virginia Historical Society; Alumnus University of Virginia and Tulane University (Louisiana); Member American Bar Association, Virginia State Bar Association


Author of




At a Court held for Washington County May 15th 1781.

Present James Dysart, Robert Craig, Benjamin Estill and James Fulkison Gentlemen.

A Grand Jury (To wit) James Thompson foreman, Hugh Johnson, William Beatie, Arthur Bowen, Robert Buchanan, John Sharp, Josias Gamble, John Blackburn, William Davison, David Snodgress, Andrew Davison, Hugh Johnson, William Cowan, Mathew Willoughby, Halbert McClure and John McCutchan went out of Court to consider of their Presentment and returned and presented as followeth the Surveyors of the Main Road from the seven mile ford to the Court House and from Mr. Leathams to the Carolina Line.

Michael Montgomery for purchasing and selling Slaves contrary to an Act of Assembly passed October 1781 on the information of David Campbell.

We present Robert Clark for purchaseing Slaves contrary to said act on the Information of William Moor.

Ordered that Rev. Thomas Wolsey a regular Baptist Minister as certified by Jonathan Bishop, John Pierce and Hellens Dungins have Licence to Solemnize the Rights of Matrimony according to Law.

Peter Reazor appearing to his Recognizance it is the opinion of the Court that he be Discharged.



At a Court held for Washington County August 23rd, 1782.

This day came the Parties by their Attornies and thereupon came also a Jury (to-wit) Richard Higgins, Gilbert Watson, Jn. Conner, Jn. Bradley, William Davison, Jas. Vance, Jn. Frazer, Andrew Colvill, Daniel Fullen, Andrew Boyd, Joseph Martin, and William Markland.


This day came the Parties and their Attornies and thereupon came also a Jury (to-wit) Wm. Davison, Jn. Reid, Jn. Watson, Jas. Crow, Benjamin Burk, George Clark, Andrew Miller, Jas. Piper, Jn. Bradley, Jas. Vance and Jas. Craig.

Cost two hundred and forty-five pounds of Nett Tobacco and Attorney’s fee fifteen shillings.

John Rhea Plaintiff)


David Crocket Defendant)


This day came the Plaintiff by his Attorney and thereupon came also a Jury (to wit) William Davison, John Reid, John Watson, James Crow, Benjamin Burk, George Clark, Andrew Millar, James Piper, John Bradley, James Bradley, James Vance and James Craig, who being sworn well and truly to enquire of Damages in this suit, upon their Oaths do say that the Plaintiff hath sustained Damages by occasion of the Defendants non-performance of his Assumpsit in the Declaration mentioned, to two pounds eight shillings besides Costs. Therefore it is considered by the Court that the Plaintiff recover against the said Defendant his Damages in manner and form aforesaid assessed and his Costs by him in this behalf expended and the said Defendant in mercy &c.

There’s a bit more, but that’s all for now. And David Crocket? Really?

Wilkins from Wake

March 2, 2018

I found this 40-page document that I’ve had for almost 20 years. Doug Marion sent this to me so long ago that I had lost his address. Using the magic of the internet, I found him. He has since emailed me quite a few Wilkins photos that he got from the grandson of a Wilkins. And because I have connected with 2 DNA Wilkins matches, we have shared the photos.

Which leads me to the Wilkins From Wake County. This document was written by Barbara Elaine Clark. It is an unpublished manuscript, and is not to be reproduced without permission. So how am I going to find this unknown person? Yup, the internet. I contacted a 1st cousin that I haven’t seen in 40ish years who lives in the same town as Ms. Clark. Said cousin asked around and came up with a contact person, a name, and a phone number. Ms. Clark is still living and says that I can share. I suppose she might be surprised that someone is interested in a paper she wrote in 1986.

If you are a Wilkins researcher, here are some clues. Read and share!


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