An American Family History

Jonesborough and Buffalo Ridge, Tennessee


Alison BarronBean BlevinsBoringBroylesCarrCobbColbaugh Cole CoxCross CrouchCurtisDeckDenton Dungan EmmertGreenwayHartHendrixHendryHicks Hunt Humphreys Isbell JacksonJobe King LattureLittle Looney MaloneMassengilMauckMcCorkleMcKinleyMillerMooreNavePitts RangeReneauRhea SevierSmithSmithStanfieldTipton TullisWaggoner Webb

The Seneca Trail or The Great Indian Warpath was a Native American trail from Pennsylvania through the Shenandoah Valley. It was the route used by early settlers migrating to eastern Tennessee. In the 1760's it was widened to allow the army to defend the fort on the Holston and this encouraged increased migration to East Tennessee.

The State of Franklin was an unrecognized, independent state in what is now eastern Tennessee. It was created in 1784 with the intent of becoming the fourteenth state. Its first capital was Jonesborough. It existed for about four and a half years and then North Carolina re-assumed control.

Jonesborough was founded in 1779. The town was renamed "Jonesboro" for a period of time, but it has been changed back to the original spelling. Jesse Walton, John Woods, George Russell, James Stewart, and Benjamin Clark laid out and supervised the building of the town.

The following men bought lots:
Robert Sevier,
Major Reynolds,
David Hughes,
Nathaniel Evans,
Martin Maney,
Jas Alison,
Peter McClure,
John Allison,
Jesse Bounds,
Captain Stephen Cole,
Captain Charles Holliway,
William Noddy,
James Ray,
Richard Minton,
Colonel Andrew Balfour,
James Reese,
Spruce McCay,
John Gilliland,
James Lackey,
John Woods,
John Yancey,
James Stuart, and
Jesse Walton

Jonesborough was originally a part of the Washington District. In 1784, it became the capital of the autonomous State of Franklin. Franklin, however, was never recognized by Congress, and was re-claimed by North Carolina in late 1788.

A group of Baptists from Sandy Creek, North Carolina relocated in Washington County, Tennessee, where they established the Buffalo Ridge Baptist Church. Its first pastor was Tidence Lane. The early members included:
Joseph Crouch,
Isaac Denton,
Anthony Epperson,
Nicholas Hale.
Peter Jackson,
Reverend Jonathan Mulkey,
William Nash,
David Parry and



Washington County, Tennessee,was established in 1777 as Washington County, North Carolina. From 1784 to 1788,it was part of the State of Franklin.






The American folk hero, David "Davy" Crockett (1786 – 1836), grew up in East Tennessee.

Tennessee was admitted to the Union on June 1, 1796. It was initially part of North Carolina.

Teter Nave

Selections from Petitions For Iron Works from Washington County, Tennessee, Genweb

1816 Washington County, Tennessee . . . The petition of William P. Chester to your worships respectfully sheweth that he is now about to build iron works in Bumpus Cove [just south of Jonesborough]. . .prays your worship to grant him a Jury of view to lay off . . . [3,000 acres].
Reuben Bayles
Daniel Bayles
John Hampton
John Shannon
Jacob Brown
Wm. Colyer, Sen.
Wm. Colyar, Jun.
Jacob Gyer
William Templin
Joseph Rodgers
John May
Samuel Keplinger

Petition to improve the works
. . .Wm. P. Chester . . .is Desireous of Improving said seat . . . [requests] a Jury to lay off & condemn for him three thousand acres . . .on the East or Lemon line of Lemon tract and to run with Jonathan Tucker land so as to include Vaddy Creek from the river to Embree upper corner of creek in two or more tracts & return a report to the next Session of the Court & your Petitioner will be in duty bound.
Jan. 12th 1824
William P. Chester
Reuben Bayles, Sr.
Samuel L. Bayles
Jacob Maruen (?)
Wm. Colyer, Esq.
Alex Colyer
George Hundly
Isaac Hartsell
Thomas More, Sr.
Joseph Rodgers
John Keplinger
Reuben Rodgers
John Shannon
James Sevier

The Petition William Blair to your worship respectfully sheweth that he has now the iron work built by William P. Chester on Nolichucky. . .prays your worship to appoint him a Jury of view to lay off for the use of said works the residue of three thousand acres on Actons Branch on the Mill Stone branch or both and that said lot so laid off was the north Side of Said river so as aforesaid covered by older title be set aside and your petition prays.  

John Hampton. Reuben Bayles Daniel Bayles John Shannon Wm. Colyer, Sen. Wm. Colyar, Jun. Jacob Brown Joseph Rodgers Jacob Gyer William Templin John May, Jr. Wm. P. Chester

April Sessions 1816 ordered by Court that the prayer of the petitioner be granted and the above named persons be a Jury to lay off the same.  

Report of the Jury on Elijah Embree's Petition
We the Jury summoned & sworn in persuance of an order of the County Court of Washington County to view Three Thousand acres of land for the benefit of Elijah Embree. . .
this July 5 1823.

Jacob Brown
James Sevier
Reuben Rogers
John Dekins
Wm. Colyar
John Shannon
George Hunly
Jonathan Tucker
John Bayles
Joseph Crouch
Dan'l L. Bayless
Henderson Clark

State of Tennessee
To the worshipful Court of Washington County now convened
Please to grant your petition, a Jury of review, on the road running through the land where Abraham Tipton formerly lived, and Leading from Jonesborough to Embree's Iron Works and to North Carolina.. . .July 8th, 1822.
John Tipton 

The prayer of the within granted and ordered, that
Abraham Jobe [son of David],
Jas. R. Young,|
Jas. Robison,
John Cleper,
John Harvard,
Chaney Boring,
James Price &
Thos Price
be Juror to view of said road.

State of Tennessee
Washington County
April Sessions 1824

Spencer E. Gibson having presented a petition to the Court praying the appointment of a Jury to lay off & condemn three thousand acres of land for the benefit of his intended Iron Works. It is therefore ordered by the Court that
Thomas Brown,
Alex Colyar,
John Bayles,
James Cloyd,
Robert McKee,
William Slemmons,
Jacob Brown, Jr.,
Gabriel Brown,
John Booth,
Samuel Cloyd,
Henry Sliger,
George Hendly,
Daniel L. Bayles,
Reuben Bayles, Jr.,
Jacob Hartsell,
Isaac Hartsell,
David Robertson,
John May,

William Templin, Srn., & Philip Rinehart be nominated but of whom the Sheriff is to summons twelve to be a Jury. . .

Landon Carter Enters 1500 acres of land as a Boundry for Iron Works in the fork of Wataugah and Doe River Joining the Land of said Carter also
Isaac Lincoln,
Godfry Carriger,
Teter Nave,
Leonard Bowers,
William Duggard,
Elisha Humphreys,
David Matlock, Deceased and
Emanuel Carter, Deceased.

Also 1500 acres on the South of Doe River Joining the lands of
Sam'l Tipton
Michael Tullis
David Matlock,
Thomas Millsaps,
William Sharp,
Rich'd Kite,
Isaac Eden, Sen.,
Wm. Bundy,
Josiah Clarke,
Ralph Humphreys &
Joshua Houghton, Sen. . . .
Jonathan Buck,
Julius Conner,
Pharoh Cobb,
Abraham Sevier,
Geo. Emmert
Andrew Greer, Sen.,
Andrew Greer, Jun.,
Alex'd Greer,
Godfrey Carriger, Sen.,
Nicholas Carriger,
Michael Carriger, &
Godfrey Carriger, Jun.

East Tennessee is part of Appalachia. At the end of the French and Indian War, colonists began drifting into the area. In 1769, they first settled along the Watauga River. During the Revolution, the Overmountain Men defeated British loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain. The State of Franklin was formed in the 1780s, but never admitted to the Union.

Jonesborough, Washington County, Tennessee was founded in 1779. In 1784, it became the capital of the State of Franklin.


4 May 1824. Sheriff Carter also gave notice that John Stuart's 130-acre plantation on the south side of the Watauga River adjoining lands of Isaac Tipton and James P. Taylor would be sold to satisfy eight judgments. The judgments had been recovered by
(1) John King and Joseph Torbit, adm.,
(2) George Smith
(3) A. and William M'Kee,
(4) Carter Taylor,
(5) John Carriger,
(6) Solomon Ellis,
(7) John Sanders,and
(8) Moses Humphreys for Elijah Hathaway's use.


April Term , 1839-Washington County

Ordered by the court that David Kitsmiller overseer of the road from Sullivan line to the west corner of J. Fitzgeralds field and have the following hands;

B. Ford,
F. Ford,
Russell Chandler,
James Jackson,
Z Chandler,
G. Ford & hands,
W. Ford,
James Cooter,
Jefferson Ford,
A Miller,
Jacob Devault,
James Cunningham,
A. Adams,
N. Jobe,
C. Cox,
P. Ford,
George Easley,
E Chandler,
A. Goforth,
M. Milben,
John Ford and hands,
Lloyd Ford and hands,
C. Stone,
E. Chenouth,
Elias Arterburn,
Joseph Hammett,
T. Jackson,
Wm. Cox,
J. Easley,
James Easley. Issd.


In the 1840 census:

John Saunders
Abram S. Hicks
John Foust
Elhana Faray
George Little
Levi Ford
Samuel L. Miller
Samuel Spirgin
Abell Sells
Catharine Conant
Joseph Spirgin
Thomas C. Poindexter
Barbara Hysinger
John S. King
Joseph McCrary (McCray)
Henry Dare
Joshua Hamilton
Abraham Gregg
William Jarvis
William King
Anson L. Hodges
John Davidson
Rollen Hodges
James Gregg
Washington Willen
John Pitts,
David L. Cross,
William Work,
Samuel Meanes,
Margaret Rhea,
Abraham Cross,
Cornwallace Perdue,
Jems Smith,
Ryburn Buchanon,
Joseph C. Rhea,
Margaret Netherland,
Nelson Right,
Amos Malone,
John Cross,
Crury Word,
David Cross,
Simon Deck,
Martha Landon,
John Hilton,
Hannah Hilton,
Elizabeth McClane,
David Rogers,
Edmond Green,
John Hult,
Frederch Hult,
Obed Hull,
Samuel Rhea,
John Hamilton,
Peter Rades,
Elkana Dulaney

Jonesborough in 1857

Buffalo Ridge
A post village of Washington county, in the eastern extremity of the State, situated on Solomon's creek, and near the line of the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, 375 miles by railway east from Nashville, and 100 from Knoxville.

It contains a male and female high school, a colored Baptist church, two general stores, several flouring and saw mills and varied professions and trades [including] Hamilton, Pitts & Isaac, coopers. from Tennessee State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1860-61, Issue 1, John L. Mitchell

A sawmill was an important developmental step in a community. Before sawmills, boards could only be sawn by two men with a whipsaw. In a sawmill, the circular motion of a water wheel was changed to the back-and-forth motion of the saw blade with a pitman arm.
Baptist churches were found in early colonial settlements and grew out of the English Separatist movement and the doctrine of John Smyth who rejected infant baptism.
The Holston River in northeast Tennessee has given its name to Holston Mountain and the Holston Valley.
Source: Watauga Association of Genealogists - Upper East Tennessee. History of Washington County Tennessee 1988. Walsworth Press, 1988.

Buffalo Ridge Baptist Church
Many of the earliest Baptists in Washington County came from Sandy Creek Baptist Association in North Carolina. Many came to the Holston and Watauga Settlements after the Battle of Alamance in May 1771, when there was a mass migration of settlers from central North Carolina to the frontier regions. During this period, Sandy Creek was reduced from 606 to 14 members. One group of Baptist moved to Boones Creek in Washington County.

In 1779, under the leadership of Tidence Lane, they established the Buffalo Ridge Baptist Church, located eight miles north of Jonesborough. Often referred to as the first Baptist church in Tennessee, Buffalo Ridge is acknowledged by most secular historians as Tennessee's first permanent church. According to Paul M. Fink, Buffalo Ridge was the first meeting house (church building) to be constructed in Washington County. In 1785, Jonathan Mulkey succeeded Lane as pastor, serving until his death in 1826.

The first church was constructed of logs with a clapboard roof. A single window provided the light for the pastor to read his text and "line off" his hymns. There was a large fireplace, one window placed high in the end of the building out of the range of Indian gunfire, and a heavy wooden door. The seats were of split logs and had no backs.

By 1817 the church had a membership of 300, but for many reasons, membership declined over the next several years. Around 1815 some preachers began preaching what they called a "Reformation". This change in doctrine caused a division in the church and a loss of many members. It came at an unfortunate time. The church was without a pastor after the death of Jonathan Mulkey in 1826 and without a leader, membership declined to 23 in 1828.

Better times returned to the church with the selection of Rees Bayless as pastor. Membership increased over 300 percent during his pastorate.Several newly organized Baptist churches sprang up over the next few years, including Limestone and Union. Some members left Buffalo Ridge to join these churches, causing another drop in membership.

In the1854 epidemic of cholera, Buffalo Ridge lost 19 members and the association reported 168 deaths overall.On top of Buffalo Ridge in the Buffalo Ridge Cemetery is a marker telling all who visit there that they are standing on very historical and memorable ground. This marker is inscribed:

Here stood Buffalo Ridge Baptist Church 1778 First Baptist Church in Tenn. Pastors Tidence Land, organizer 1778-1785, Johnathan Mulkey 1785-1826. Baptist Historical Society & E. Tenn. W.M.U. Golden Jubilee memorial 1938.

By 1848 a new building was needed and a committee was appointed. Church minutes record that "Reverend Martin Kitzmiller preached the first sermon that ever was preached in the New Brick Church, March 22, 1851." The debt on the new brick church was settled in July 1858.

Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine. It can be mild, but one in 20 infected persons experiences rapid loss of body fluids leading to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.

Romney and Winchester County Payrolls 1775

Captain John Tipton
Sergeant Francis Mcfall
Sergeant William Artrip
Sergeant Mathias Mcglamary
Ammon, Peter
Bartley, Benjamin
Bragg, Joseph
Brince (?), Benjamin
Broom, John
Campbell, Cornelius
Coil, Lanty
Cummins, Thomas
Cuningham, John
Denton, Jonas
Denton, Joseph deserted
Denton, Thomas
Fine, John
Fine, Philip
Finney, John
Hardin, John
Hopkins, Joseph
Hunt, John
Jobe, David
Jobe, Jesse
Johnson, Benjamin
Johnson, Richard
Kirkland, Jacob deserted
Maggot, William
Mains ,William
McClain, Charles
Mckentoof (?), Casper deserted
Needham, John
North, Benjamin
Odel, Samuel
Osborn, Elijah
Parkerson, George deserted
Parrott, George
Parrott, Henry
Parrott, Samuel
Penn...., Jacob
Philip, Morris
Piercefull, John
Rogers, Joseph
Rouse, Henry
Rouse, Jacob
Slaughter, William
Spangler, Jacob
Wallace, William
Wayly, George
Wells, Robert
Williams, John





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©Roberta Tuller 2017