An American Family History

John Pitts and Sarah Stanfield

Washington and Sullivan Counties, Tennessee
Jonesborough in 1857

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.

During the Civil war many citizens of East Tennessee opposed secession, but the area was under Confederate control from 1861 to 1863. Some citizens engaged in guerrilla warfare against state authorities and joined the Union army, while others were loyal to the confederacy. It was a heartbreaking case of neighbor against neighbor and brother against brother.

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

John Pitts and Sarah Stanfield married before 1820. Their children were born in Tennessee.

Edna Pitts Stanfield was born about 1820. Amos Pitts was born about 1825. Sarah Pitts Smith was born on April 30, 1826.

Polly Pitts was born about 1833. Nancy Pitts Hammet was born about 1835.

The John Pitts family appeared in the 1840 census of Sullivan County, Tennessee. The household consisted of

One man between 50 and 60-John
A woman between 40 and 50-Sarah
Two girls between 15 and 20- Edna born 1820, Sarah 1826
Two boys between 10 and 15 - Amos born about 1825
Two girls between 5 and 10 - Polly 1833
One girl under 5 - Nancy 1835

Sarah married Josiah Smith in 1846 in Sullivan County.

The family was in Subdivision 4, Washington County by 1850. Washington County is next to Sullivan County. The household consisted of John Pitts age 66, Sarah Pitts age 59, and Edna Pitts age 30, Polly Pitts age 17, and Nancy Pitts age 14. John was a miller.

In 1860 they were living in Buffalo Ridge in Washington County. The post office was Jonesboro (now spelled Jonesborough). The household consisted of John Pitts age 74, Sarah Pitts age 66, Edny Pitts age 45, Nancy Hammet age 23, and Sarah Hammet age 1. John was a cooper and Edna was a weaver.

In 1860 John Pitts was on the agricultural schedule of Washington County, Tennessee. He had 3/4 acres of improved land and 1 acre of unimproved. The cash value of the farm was $20. He had two milk cows which were worth $25.

In 1870 they were still in Buffalo Ridge. John was a 84 year old invalid, Edna Stanfield was 50 and keeping house, Nancy Hammet was 35, John Hammet was 8 and Joseph was 3. The adults were illiterate.

In 1871 and 1872 a series of fires in Jonesborough claimed many buildings including the railway station which housed the telegraph office. There was a cholera epidemic in 1873.

In 1880 the Pitts household was back in Sullivan County. It consisted of Dentney Pitts age 59, her sister Nancy Pitts age 45 and her nephew Henry F. Hamet age 13.
Watauga Pioneer Neighbors

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

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.




Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2023
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