An American Family History


The Devault Family

  Also spelled as: Davalt, Davault, Dewald, Dewalt, DeVault  
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.

Henry Dewald married Mary Catherine Greaver.

They came to America in 1766 and settled in Hanover, York County, Pennsylvania. Henry served in the American Revolution.

Henry made two trips to eastern Tennessee to buy land for his sons in Sullivan and Washington Counties.

Henry died on April 16, 1817 and Mary Catherine died on October 2, 1830.

Gabriel Devault (1767, married Magdalena Kitzmiller)
Catherine Devault (1769)
Mary Elizabeth Devault (1771),
Valentine (Felty) Devault (1776, married Susannah Range), and
Frederick Devault (1778, married Margaret Range).

Many of their children moved to Eastern Tennessee.

Henry and Gabriel came in October, 1797.

Valentine and Frederick settled in Washington County about 1800 on the 637 acre farm their father for them. The farm, on the Watauga River, became known as DeVault's Ford.

Valentine and his brother, Frederick, married sisters: Susan and Margaret Range.

In 1825, they bought land from Henry Massengill.

In 1829 they received a grant of 60 acres in Washington County that included part of the "Big Island" in the Watauga River.

Valentine died on August 10, 1842 and Susan died two days later of typhoid.

Europeans who made the voyage to America faced a difficult journey of several months.
The Holston River flows from Kingsport to Knoxville.
map by Kmusser

Gabriel Devault was born in 1767 in York County, Pennsylvania. He married Magdalena Kitzmiller. Magdalena was born in 1770 in York County.

Gabriel first settled in Washington County on the tract of land on the Watauga that was called DeVault's Ford.

The 1798 court

ordered that Gabriel Davault have leave to keep a ferry on the Watauga at John Bean's old Plantation.

Gabriel later joined his brother, Henry, in Sullivan County. They shared a farm south of the Holston River in Piney Flats. In 1820 Henry, sold his interest in the farm to Gabriel.

Gabriel and Magdalena's children included:
Samuel Devault (1791, married Martha (Patty) Crouch),
Anna Marie Devault (1795, married Adam Giesler),
Jacob Devault (1796, married Mary Hodges),
Elizabeth Devault (1797, married Robert Hughes),
Anna Marie Devault (1797),
Catherine Devault ((1801, married Samuel Latture),
Henry Devault (1807, married Matilda Weaver),
John Devault (1808, married Julia Ann Blevins).

The Devault School was located along Rice Cross Road near Piney Flats

In 1829 Samuel Devault witnessed John Smith's will.


Valentine Davault was born in 1776 in Hanover, York County, Pennsylvania.


Frederick Devault

In 1819 Frederick moved to Leesburg built the DeVault Tavern



John Bishop to Henry Dewald, consideration $400.00 current money of Virginia, part of a tract of land in Sullivan County and State of Tennessee on the south bank of the Holstein [Holston] River, containing 400 acres more or less.

1825 February 14th, Henry Massengill of Sullivan County to Valentine and Frederick Davault of Washington County, consideration $1950.00 for 385 acres of land in the counties of Washington and Sullivan.


Washington County Marriages

Devault, Daniel - MILLER, Mary on 06 January 1825
Devault, Elizabeth - MILLER, James on 24-MAR-1827
Devault, John - KITZMILLER, Elizabeth on 22-MAY-1834
Devault, Louisa - KITZMILLER, John on 08 August 1824
Devault, Mary - REAVES, William P on 11 August 1831
Devault, Peter - HOSS, Mary on 27-OCT-1831


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

Page 395
Jacob Devault
15 ac
treasury warrant #9048
on both sides of Cowans branch the waters of Opposom Creek
beginning on the east side of a Mill pond at the foot of a knob
September 18, 1792


from History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present

Valentine De Vault, farmer, was born February 16, 1822, in Washington County, on the Watauga River. He began as a farmer when twenty years old, and now owns a farm of 350 acres, where he lives, and an orange grove in Florida. November 17, 1857, he married Edna, a daughter of George and Elizabeth Hannah, natives of Roanoke County, Va. Their children are: John C. (deceased), George V., William W. and Robert D. Both are Methodists, and he is a Democrat. He has been a school commissioner six years.

His parents were Valentine, Sr., and Susannah (Range) De Vault, natives of York County, Pa, and this county respectively, and were successful in their farm life. The father was an able business man. and a member of the Lutheran Church. Henry and Catharine M. (Graves) De Vault, natives of France and Germany respectively, who, after their marriage came to America, and settled in York, Penn., where they reared a large family. Some remained in Pennsylvania, some went to Indiana, and some to Tennessee, but all are now deceased. The mother was a daughter of Peter Range, one of the earliest settlers of this county.


Adam Giesler was born in 1787 in Frederick County, Virginia.

Will of Adam Giesler, Jr. (Will Book 1, Page 84, in the Court of the County Clerk, Blountville, Tennessee)

I Adam Giesler being of sound and disposing mind and memory do make and publish this my last will and testament in manners and form as follows.

First I give and bequeath to my sone Jacob Geisler the plantation where I now live and on the following conditions, to wit, the said Jacob Giesler shal pay twelve months after my decease to the heirs of my sone David Geisler two hundred and twenty five dollars in current banknotes.

Also my sone Jacob Geisler shal pay two years after my decease to my daughter Elizabeth King two hundred and twenty five dollars in current banknotes.

Also my sone Jacob Geisler shal pay three years after my decease to my daughter Rebecca Akard two hundred and twenty five dollars, in current bank notes,

also four years after my decease my sone Jacob Geisler shal pay to the heirs of my sone Henry Geisler two hundred and twenty five dollars in current banknotes,

further I order and say that my wife Mary Geisler if she should survive me shal have a decent maintinance out of my effects, and to hold the mantion house and all things necessary to her comfort

and at my and my wife's death I give and bequeath to my sone Jacob Geisler all my personal property of whatsoever kind it may be this from under my hand and seal this the 30th day of November 1865.

In presence of us Jesse Cross Adam Geisler (seal)
John Smith

Deery Inn
The Deery Inn
Blountville, Tennessee

Appalachia was the 18th century backcountry and many settlers were Scots-Irish. It includes southern New York, western Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia, West Virginia, eastern Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee and northern Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.