An American Family History

The Cole Family of Sullivan County, Tennessee

Fincastle County, Virginia was created in 1772 from Botetourt County and abolished in 1776. It was divided into Montgomery, Washington and Kentucky Counties.

William Cole

William's Cross' wife, Alice Cole, transferred her property rights to her father, William Cole, after her husband, William Cross, died. Four months later her father died on June 25, 1770.

Joseph and Solomon Cole signed the 1777 petition of men living on the north Holston River complaining about the division of Fincastle County. They felt the line was not equitable and the court house was too far away.

In 1779 at the Washington County, Virginia Court. Jennett Cole "Wife and Relicts of William Cole Deceased came into Court and relinquished her Executrixship unto William Rosenbrough . . "

In 1782 Solomon Cole received a land warrant in Sullivan County.

William Cole left his lands, including what Alice transferred to him, to his own children. This left William Cross' sons landless except for the 50-acre plot known as Lowe's Range.

  Captain Stephen Cole bought a lot in Jonesborough in 1779.  
The first European settlements in Maryland were made in 1634 when English settlers created a permanent colony.
Maryland was established with religious freedom for Catholics. The colonial economy was based on tobacco cultivated by Africans who had been enslaved.

There were two Beaver Creeks in early Washington County, Virginia. One (also called Shallow Creek) flowed through Bristol and emptied into the South Fork of the Holston River in Tennessee. The other was a south branch of the North Fork of the Holston River in current Smyth County.

Joseph Cole, Jr. was born about 1760 in Maryland. He was the son of Joseph Cole, Sr.

Joseph, Jr. served in the Revolutionary War. His service was described by his wife in her deposition for her widow's pension. She also said that her father-in-law, Joseph, Sr., moved to Sullivan County while Joseph, Jr. was in service. (For the original deposition see: page 1, page 2, and page 3)

He married Sarah (Sally) Barton on November 30, 1779 in Sullivan County, Tennessee. They met and married in Sullivan County.

Sally said Joseph, Jr. was with Captain Joseph Martin in 1780 and also with Colonel John Sevier. William Moss testified that Joseph Cole was always referred to as Captain. Cole and he had lost an eye during the wars.

Sally and Joseph's children probably included:
William Cole (1780),
James B. Cole (1782, married Jacout Bridges),
Frances M. Cole Bloodworth (1784, married William Bloodworth),
Jemima Cole (1788)
Elisha William Cole (1791, married Jane Anderson), and
David Cole (1793).

In 1782 and 1789, Joseph Cole received land warrants in Sullivan County. At that time it was in North Carolina.

In 1786 James Cole, Soloman Cole, Joseph Cole and signed the Petition for Division of Sullivan County.

Elijah Cross's deed for land on Beaver Creek on July 9, 1794 mentioned Joseph Cole's line.

Joseph Cole was granted 72 acres on Linville Creek (Grant No. 517) on November 27, 1789. Linville Creek empties into Beaver Creek.

On October 25 1790, Joseph Cole was appointed captain in the Sullivan County Militia

Joseph Cole, Jr. was on the 1796 tax list of Sullivan County.

Joseph Cole moved to Wilson County about 1798 and most of the Coles went with him.

Joseph died on November 28, 1822 in Wilson County Tennessee.


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.


from Washington County, VA Survey Records Abstracts 1781-1797, submitted to the USGenWeb archives by Rhonda Robertson

Page 392 - Joseph & Hugh Cole - 64 ac - treasury
warrant #1759 - on the south side of the south fork of
Holstein [Holston] River - corner with Israel Cole's land
adjoining Joseph & Hugh Cole's patent land - August
30, 1792

The Holston River flows from Kingsport to Knoxville.
map by Kmusser
  An Elisha Cole was on the 1796 and 1797 tax list of Sullivan County.  

Cole, Zacheus 10 May 1798 50 acres Pre-emption Warrant No. 1980 dated 20 Dec 1781 between MFHR & SFHR and adjoining the land on which he now lives
adj: his old patent line, James Wheeler Samuel McMurry
Deputy Washington County Surveyor: William Carson [Land now located in Smyth County, Virginia]


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

Elisha Cole was born in 1791.

He married Jane Anderson.

He was one of the men assigned to view and lay off a road from Shoats ford on Holston River to the Virginia line.

Elisha Cole was on the 1812 tax list of Sullivan County.

On October 4, 1825 Elisha Cole sold land to Nathan Webb and Jacob Emmert.

In 1830 he was in the Piney Flats area of Sullivan County.

Elisha Cole was in th 1837 tax list of Sullivan County.

He died in 1877 in Wilson County, Tennessee.

Sullivan County is in far northeast corner of Tennessee between North Carolina and Virginia and was originally part of those states. It was formed in 1779 when it was divided from Washington County.

The Holston River flows from Kingsport to Knoxville.
map by Kmusser

Amos Cole was born about 1814 in Washington County, Tennessee.

He may have married Nancy Carr in Sullivan County or Washington County, Tennessee. The family lived near Piney Flats.

Their children were:
Rachel M. Cole (1843),
Isaac Cole (1847), and
Martha Jane Cole (1852, married Elbert S. Smith).

  A John Cole was on the 1819 tax list of Washington County  

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

John Cole was born about 1810. He married Catharine Malone. Their children included:
William Paton Cole (1830, married Lizzie Smith),
Solomon Cole (1833, married Mary Cox),
George Cole (1834),
Mary Cole Humphreys (1838, married George Washington Humphreys),
John Cole. Jr. (1841),
Frances M. Cole (1844),
Harriet L. Cole (1846),
Martha Cole Lilly (1848, married John Lilly), and
Elkanah Cole (1848).

Know all men by these presents: that I John Cole of the county of Sullivan and the state of Tennessee do make this my last will and testament. First – that my wife Catherine Cole shall be taken care of and supported during her life time by Elkanah and Francis M. Cole my two youngest sons, and after the death of my wife Catherine Cole

it is my will and desire that my land on which I now live containing 56 acres more or less shall be equally divided between my two youngest sons, Elkanah Cole and Francis M. Cole.

And further it is my will that my wife shall have and hold for her own use all my personal property and all my stock during her life time and at her death the personal property and stock to be sold and divided equally between my sons William P. Cole, Solomon Cole, and George Cole and the heirs of John Cole Jr. deceased and the children and heirs of Mary Humphrey and Martha Lilly wife of John Lilly.

The above I declare to be my will: whereunto I have affixed my signature this 27th day of February 1875.

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

  James Cole was in th 1837 tax list of Sullivan County.  

James Allen Cole was born on March 29, 1834.

On August 14, 1861 he enlisted in Company F, Tennessee 5th Cavalry Battalion..

He married Martha Deck.

They are buried at Bloutville Cemetery.




Washington County Marriages

Cole, John married Layman, Catherine on 09 August 1814
Cole, Mary married Ball, Samuel on 20-FEB-1810


The Massengills, Massengales and Variants, 1472-1931 by Samuel Evans Massengill, M.D. The King Printing Company, Bristol, Tennessee, 1931.

James A. Cole, deceased, who married a daughter of Simon Deck for passing on to him a number of relics, old papers, and some traditions of the Smith family. James A. Cole was a man universally liked, was a justice of the peace in the eighth civil district of Sullivan County for many years, and died while serving as circuit court clerk of the county.