An American Family History

John "Captain Jack" Alison

  also spelled Allison  

Settlers often built log cabins as their first homes.

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) was between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the 13 colonies which became the newly formed United States.

John (Captain Jack) Alison was born in 1755.

In 1780, John served under Colonel Isaac Shelby at the Battle of Kings Mountain. He was wounded in his knee.

He married Martha Hodge in 1790. Martha was the daughter of Francis Hodge.

Martha and John's children included:
Mary Alison (1791, married John Scott, Jr.),
Susannah Alison (1792, married Samuel Scott),
Martha (Patsy) Alison (1793),
Robert Alison (1795, married Elenor Hodges and Mary McConnell Chester),
John Alison (1799, married Susannah Hodges and Nancy Pritchett),
Joseph Alison,
Jesse Alison (1802, married Clementine Shell),
Elizabeth Alison (1804, married Joseph McCorkle),
Isaac Alison (1812), and
George Washington Alison (1812).

In 1793, John Alison substituted for William Bean in the Sullivan County Militia.

They lived in a log house that was near an unusually large spring about a half mile southwest of the New Bethel Presbyterian Church where he was one of the first ruling Elders. Soon after moving into this house it was completely destroyed, along with silverware, silver coins, furniture and valuable papers, by fire.

John died on February 2, 1832. He was buried in the New Bethel Cemetery.

rocky mount

Rocky Mount
Piney Flats, Tennessee
Originally built by William Cobb.
Served as the territorial capital from 1790 to 1792. 
The present house was buiilt in the late 1820s.

The Battle of Kings Mountain was a decisive battle of the American Revoluton. It took place on October 7, 1780, nine miles south of the present-day town of Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The Patriot militia defeated the Loyalist militia commanded by British Major Patrick Ferguson.



from Tennessee: The Volunteer State, 1769-1923, Volume 4 by John Trotwood Moore, Austin Powers Foster

...Judge Allison was justly accounted one of the foremost citizens not only of Nashville but of the state. He was born at the old family homestead a mile north of Jonesboro on the 16th of May, 1845, his ancestors having there settled in the year 1774. His father was Robert Allison and his grandfather John Allison, who was known and called Captain Jack Allison following his services in Colonel Shelby's regiment at the battle of King's Mountain in the Revolutionary war. In 1774 he settled in Sullivan county, Tennessee, having come from Pennsylvania.

Judge Allison's mother bore the maiden name of Mary McConnell Chester, and was a daughter of John Chester, who with his wife, children and slaves arrived in Jonesboro, Tennessee, on the 25th of December, 1796, removing to this state from Le'Tart Spring, near Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

The Judge's father, Robert Allison, was born in Sullivan county and became an extensive planter of that county, where he was well known and where he spent his entire life.

An indenture is a legal contract for labor or land. Two copies on the same sheet were separated with a jagged edge so that the two parts could be refitted to confirm authenticity. An indentured servant worked without wages for a specified time to pay a debt and was bound to the employer. In the 17th century, nearly two-thirds of settlers came as indentured servants to pay for their passage.
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.

from Sanders, Alison and Collateral Families, pp. 125-128
John Alison 2nd, the second son of John Alison 1st, was born in the year 1755, and died February 2, 1832. He is buried in the New Bethel Cemetery. He was a Revolutionary soldier serving as a captain in the regiment of Col. Isaac Shelby at the battle of Kings Mountain, October 7, 1780. In this battle he received a knee wound causing him to walk lame ever thereafter. No record has been found where he applied for or received a pension. He was commonly known by his acquaintances as “Captain Jack Alison."

In the year 1790, he married Martha Hodge, a daughter of Francis Hodge 1st. The date of Martha’s birth and death is unknown. . .

His first home was a log structure located near the unusually large spring approximately one-half mile southwest of New Bethel Church, and 500 yards northwest of his brother Finley’s brick house. We assume that John Alison 2nd was not the owner of the property on which he made his first home and where seven members of his family of ten were born.

We base this assumption on the reference, in the following indenture, to the “land where John Alison 2nd lived"

This Indenture made this 9th February, 1805, ....Robert Alison obtained a judgment against William Hughes and Jon Boiden... at the September term in 1804, directed ...Thomas Rockhold, Sheriff, ... levy upon the property of William Hughes a certain piece or parcel of land ... on the North side of the Watauga river ... bounded by land of Finley Alison ...and lands of Peter Harrington. The same tract of land where John Alison lived, supposed to contain 100 acres.

And according to law on the 6th of February, 1805, did expose the said tract of land to public sale to the highest bidder and at the sale said Robert Alison was the highest and best bidder and in consideration whereof the sum of $108.00.. Robert Alison his heirs and assigns forever all the right and title and interests ...in the aforesaid tract of land.
Signed: Thomas Rockhold,
Sheriff of Sullivan County.

May 22, 1798, John Alison 2nd, purchased a 115 acre tract from Alexander Torbett. This was a part of a 200 acre tract grant dated November 10, 1784, No. 640 to Jacob Hedrick, which Mr. Hedrick sold to Alexander Torbett under date of November 3, 1784. John did not move his family to this tract until the year 1804.

The location of his log house on this acreage was directly across the road from the cousin Gertie and Carlie Alison brick house. This was a large “double" house. A "double" house in frontier architectural parlance was two pen type log houses placed end to end with an open passageway between, all covered with a common roof. This open passageway was used for storing wood for the large open fireplace, to accommodate a shelf for the indispensable cedar water pail, the old reliable tin wash basin, and a roller type handtowel nailed on the wall close by.

Soon after moving into this house it was completely destroyed, along with silverware, silver coins, furniture and valuable papers, by fire. John 2nd, his wife Martha, daughter Martha and son Jessie were all living in this house at the time it was destroyed.
August 7, 1800, John Alison 2nd purchased ...property from Frank Alison....

Children of Martha and John Alison 2nd:
1. Mary m. John Scott
2. Susannah m. Samuel Scott
3. Martha
4. Robert m. (a) Elenor Hodges (b) Mary McConnell Chester
5. John 3rd m. (a) Susannah Hodges (b) Nancy Pritchett
6. Joseph
7. Elizabeth m. Joseph McCorkle
8. Jessie m. Clementine Shell
9. Isaac
10. George W.

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) was between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the 13 colonies which became the newly formed United States.

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

Alleson [Allison], John
01 May 1798
150 acres
Warrant No. 9826
dated 12 Dec 1781
waters of Beaver Creek a north branch of the Holston River
adj: Alleson’s settlement tract, Culnet [Cornett], Barrens, side of Gravelly (?) Ridge
Assistant Washington County Surveyor: Elijah Gillenwaters

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.

Watauga Pioneer Neighbors
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 2020
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