An American Family History


The Booher Family of Sullivan County, Tennessee and Washington County, Pennsylvania

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.

Martin Booher was born about 1746 in Pennsylvania.

Christian Booher (1774, married Margaret Roth),
Martin Booher (1775),
Mary Booher (1777),
Magdaline Booher (1778),
John Booher (1779, married Catherine Zimmerly),
Peter Booher (1780),
Catherine Booher (1781),
Samuel Booher (1788),
Michael Booher (1789),
Elizabeth Booher (1793),
Adam Booher (1794),
David R. Booher (1799), and
Barbara Booher (1800).

Martin Booher came to Sullivan County about 1800. Supposedly the family "came riding in fine coaches drawn by four horses with silver mountings on the horses and coaches." They also brought many people they had enslaved.

Martin was a large landowner in Sullivan County, Tennessee and Washington County, Virginia.

On September 17, 1811, William and Susannah Head of Washington County, Virginia sold 305 acres to Martin Booher of Sullivan County, Tennessee for $2,000.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, Martin was on Captain William King's muster.

Simon Deck married a Miss Booher about 1830.

Slavery is an immoral system of forced labor where people are treated as property to be bought and sold. It was legal in the American Colonies and the United States until the Civil War.

John Booher was born about 1755 in Pennsylvania.

He married Barbara Barnett.

John and Barbara's children included:
Jacob Booher (1777, married Catherine and Elizabeth Barnett),
Mary (Polly) Booher (1780, married Jacob Deck and her cousin John Booher),
William Booher (1783, married Lydia Frederic)
Benjamin Wesley Booher (1786, married Catherine Booher),
John Booher (1788, married Margaret Zimmerly),
Frederick Booher (1791),
Isaac Booher (1792)
Henry Booher (1792)
Jehu Booher, (1797, died in infancy),
Elizabeth Booher Parrigan (1797, married Henry Parrigan).

At the time of the 1820 census, John Booher was in Washington County, Virginia. The household consisted of a man and a woman over 45 years old and a girl and a boy between 16 and 25. They had enslaved a woman between 26 and 44 and 4 children under 14 (1 boy and 3 girls).





Jacob Booher and Margaret Beeler

Benjamin Booher




In the Name of God Amen. I John Booher of Washington County and State of Virginia . . .

First I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Barbara Booher during her natural life the tract of land whereon I now live with the appurtenances thereunto belonging and at my wifes decease it is my desire that my son Isaac Booher shall have the above tract of land with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging to him or his heirs, it is further my desire that my son Isaac shall maintain my son Henry Booher during his natural life and further my desire that the said tract of land shall not be sold during my son Henry's life.

I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Barbara Booher my negro woman Polly also her child Celia and her infant child during her natural life. It also is my desire that my wife shall have choice of two horses also two cows and one heifer also choice of four sheep and one breeding sow. It is further my desire for my wife to keep all my household and kitchen furniture. It is further my desire for my wife to keep all my grain now on hand either growing or gathered - and at her decease it is my desire that all the moveable property and also the three aforesaid negroes with their increase shall be sold at public sale on a credit of twelve months and the profits arising from said sale to be equally divided amongst all my children.

I give and bequeath unto my son Henry Booher my negro boy Jefferson and it is my desire that my son Isaac shall act as Guardian for my son Henry and apply the proceeds of said negro boy for the benefit of my son Henry.

I give and bequeath unto my son Isaac Booher him and his heirs the aforesaid tract of land at my wifes decease with the appurtenances thereunto belonging.

I give and bequeath unto my daughter Elizabeth Booher my negro girl Teressa - also my bay mare called Phillis provided she marries CONSENTABLY to her mother.

It is further my desire that all my lands in Sullivan County_ sold twelve months after my decease to the best advantage by my Executors hereafter mentioned and the money arising therefrom to be equally divided between Jacob Booher -- Polly Booher wife of John Booher, William Booher and Benjamin Booher and John Booher and Frederick Booher them and their heirs.

And lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my son Jacob Booher and my son Benjamin Booher to be sole Executors of this my last Will and Testament.

In Testimony thereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 26th day of November 1820. John Booher S.S.

Signed sealed published and declared by John Booher Senr., the above named Testator as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto.

Joseph Gray,
Henry (X his mark) Mumpower,
George Burkhart,
Wallace Willoughby

At a court held for Washington County the 19th day of December 1820.


Washington County, Virginia was formed from Fincastle County in 1777. It originally contained Sullivan County, Tennessee.

This Indenture made this 17th day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & eleven [1811] Between William Head of the County of Washington & State of Virginia & Susanna his wife of the one part & Martin Booher of Sullivan County, Tennessee of the other part.

Witnesseth that the said William Head for and in consideration of the sum of two thousand current money of the United States to them in hand paid, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged.

Do grant, bargain & sell unto the said Martin Booher & heirs and assign forever, one certain tract or parcel of land lying & being in the county of Washington aforesaid, on the waters of Cove Creek and the waters of Reedy Creek being the waters of Holston River, containing three hundred & five acres [305] and bounded as follows, to wit.

  • Beginning at a white oak and poplar corner to Samuel Hensley land & running with the line thereof S44E130 poles
  • to a large red oak and two ashes, then leaving said line S47W100 poles
  • to a sasafrace and hickory on a steep hill sideN39W132 poles along William Kings line & leaving the same
  • to a black red oak & chestnut oak on the South side of a ridge, N55E385 poles
  • to the Beginning with all its appurtenances.

To have & to hold...

In Witness whereof the said William Head & Susannah his wife have hereunto subscribed their names and affixed their seals, the day & year, first above written.

Signed Sealed & delivered in the presence of
William Head (Seal)
Susannah Head (Seal)

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

Most Americans were farmers in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

History of the Lutheran Church in Virginia and East Tennessee, 1930.

Two brothers Martin and John Bucher came from Germany (perhaps Holland), in 1747, and settled in Lancaster County, Pa., as farmers. Later they came to southwest Virginia and settled in Wythe County. Even before this their name had been changed to Booher to accommodate the scribes in the courts.

Each reared a large family. Martin's son John married John's daughter Mary. They soon moved to Sullivan County, Tenn., and when their son Daniel was of age he married and moved to Knox County, where he in turn reared a large family. Thus in three localities the Boohers had descendants. They multiplied rapidly and migrated in numbers to Indiana, where they and their kin helped to organize Lutheran churches in Boone and Montgomery counties, while still prospering in their ancestral homes in Tennessee and southwest Virginia, and giving the Church several ministers.

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 Great Wagon Road was the most important Colonial American route for settlers of the mountainous backcountry. It went from Philadelphia to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. One fork went to the Tennessee Valley and Knoxville and the other to the Piedmont Region of North Carolina.

recorded by Strange N. Cragun, Lebanon Indiana

My name is Elizabeth [Booher] Parrigan and I was the youngest Daughter of John Booher. I was born in Sullivan County, Tennessee 11 Jan 1797, and if I live till my next birthday I will be one hundred and five years old. We moved to four miles of Bristol, Tennessee when I was nineteen years old from Washington County, Virginia, Abington being the county seat

We moved to Clinton Coutny Ky , one mile form where we now live 17 Oct 1858. I was married on 10 Aug, 1821, at the age of 24 in Washington County, Virginia, to Henry Parrigan. . .

My father John Booher was of German Parentage. My Grandfather came form Germany to Pennsylvania but my father and mother were born in this country.

My grandparents died when I was a child and my father went back to get his legacy when I was about 10 years old. Martin was my father's brother. My Father had 10 children, eight sons and two daughters. They were Jacob, Mary "Polly", William, Benjamin, Jehu (died in infancy), John, Frederick, Twins Isaac and Henry and Elizabeth.

Jacob [Booher] lives in Tennessee until 1833 when he moved to Indiana and located near Darlington. His children were: William M., Mike, Elizabeth, Gurdianus, ( Curtis), Samuel, John M., Ambrose, Johnathan M., Jacob Jr. Mehala, Benjamin, Lucinda, Catherine, and Leander.

Mary ( Polly) [Booher] lived in Tennessee and had 13 children, her husband was John Booher and her cousin. The names of the children were: Franklin, Daniel, Rebecca, Peter, Samuel, John, Eleas, Jacob and Mary twins, Barbara, Eli, Elizabeth, and Lydia.

William [Booher] had 9 children, 3 sons and 6 daughters. He lived and died within 4 miles of Kingsport, Tennessee. The names of the children were: Lucinda, Nancy, John, Adelaine, and Mary ( Polly). One boy died in infancy and the names of the younger girls I can not remember. Olivia was her name.

Benjamin [Booher] had 9 children, 4 sons and 5 daughters. He lived and died in Sullivan County, Tennessee. The names of the children were: John, Martin, Katherine, Sarah, James, Nancy, Esther, Leah, and Abraham. At last count only James and Esther were living.

John [Booher] had 13 children: Benjamin, Jacob, William, Nathan, Nathaniel, Samuel, died in infancy, Mary, Margaret, Isaac, Elkanah, Catherine, Johnathan A., and Sylvanus. He migrated to Indiana.

Franklin [Booher] lived and died in Virginia. He was the father of 17 children, 9 sons and 8 daughters. One son died in infancy but the other children grew to manhood and womanhood. Their names were: Fredrick, Samuel, James, John , William, Curtis, Jacob, Benjamin, Eliza Ann, Frankie, Elizabeth, Mary, Rachel, Melinda, Margaret, and Catherine. Joseph died in infancy of whooping cough.

Isaac [Booher] had 10 children, 6 sons and 4 daughters. He lived and died in Virginia after raising 6 children. Their names were: Macage, Lydia, Loesin, Susan, Catherine, Isaac, died in infancy, three children were born dead.

Henry [Booher], when a child just able to walk, fell and bit his tongue in two and never talked plain. He never married but lived to be about 30 years old, and died in Virginia.

John died in infancy.

Elizabeth, that is my name and I have told you about myself.

American pioneers migrated west to settle areas not previously inhabited by European Americans.

from Tennessee the Volunteer State 1769—1923: Volume 4

William Rice Booher, a physician of Bristol, was born in Sullivan county, about six miles southeast of the city in which he now makes his home, in the year 1866, his parents being Jesse and Elizabeth (Carmack) Booher.

The family has been identified with the history of Sullivan county since pioneer days. The ancestral line is traced back to Martin Booher, who was of Dutch ancestry and came from Pennsylvania to Tennessee.

He was the father of Peter Booher, who served in the war of 1812 and who married Magdalene Beeler. They established their home about six miles southeast of Bristol and it was upon that farm that the birth of Jesse Booher occurred.

He and one of his brothers were soldiers of the Confederate army during the conflict between the north and south. Jesse Booher wedded Elizabeth Carmack, who was a daughter of Cornelius Carmack, of Washington county, Virginia, and of Martha (Susong) Carmack.


from Historic Sites of Sullivan County by Mrs. Muriel C. Spoden.

On the east side of Adams Chapel Road, the Booher house stands, unoccupied, beside the modern home of its owners, the Parnell Ellis family.It is believed this large two-story dwelling on Booher Creek was built on Timothy Acuff property by a Mr. Booher. By 1782/84, Timothy Acuff owned 806 acres in this area.

The house, made of hewn logs is a "saddle-pockets" house with rooms on each side of its great stone chimney. An early style stairway ascends around the chimney. This is an unusually fine example of early log construction.

It appears in Martin Booher Sr.'s will that this plantation was owned but not occupied by him at the time of his death in 1824. It is not known how Booher acquired the property which he described as

my plantation below Blountville, 352 acres adjoining the land of the Widow Craft.

Martin left the plantation to his son, Christian Booher.

Soon after 1800, Martin Booher Sr., with his wife and several of his children arrived in Sullivan County. They came riding in fine coaches drawn by four horses with silver mountings on the horses and coaches.

Christian Booher, however, did not arrive here until after 1815. Christian lived in this area of Sullivan County before 1824 and until his death in 1879. In 1850, Christian's sister-in-law, Polly [widow of John Booher] occupied the home with the Christian Booher family.

Deery Inn
The Deery Inn
Blountville, Tennessee

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
An American Family History is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,
an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.