An American Family History


Cawood Families

  also spelled Caywood, Keewood, Keywood, Cawoods  

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

Early European settlers in the American colonies were mostly farmers and craftsmen. They had to work hard to provide daily neccesities for themselves.

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

John Cawood was born about 1720. His father was John Cawood.

John's first wife was named Elizabeth. Their children probably included:

John Cawood, Jr. (1745, married Rachel),
Charity Cawood (married Joseph Sevier),
Ann Cawood (married William Pemberton),
Thomas Cawood,
Mary Cawood Smallwood,
Elizabeth Cawood (married Stephen Majors), and
Rebecca Cawood (married George Smith).

John's second wife was named Agatha. Their children probably included:

Joshua Brown Cawood (1790, married Eleanor Haynes),
Benjamin Smallwood Cawood, (1791, married Sarah Talbert),
Stephen Berry Cawood (1793, married Rebecca Blevins),
Jeremiah Cawood (1795; married Sarah Davis), and
James Cawood (1798, married Sarah Acre and Elizabeth).

On October 13, 1745, John bought Nutwell in Charles County, Maryland from his father.

John and Elizabeth sold Nutwell on February 17, 1751 to Humphrey Berry.

In 1754 they were in Frederick County, Virginia with his father and brothers, Stephen and Moses.

In 1755, John and Moses Cawood were on Captain Richard Morgan's muster roll.

The family moved Sullivan County, Tennessee on the northwest side of the Holston River. They were close to the border of Washington County, Virginia and appear in the records there.

In 1773, when John Sevier moved to the Holston country he first lived in the Cawood settlement.

On May 2, 1775, John bought 840 acres in Fincastle County, Virginia on the Holston River from William and Ann Christian. Fincasle County was divided in 1776.

John Cawood, Sr., John Cawood, Jr., and Thomas Cawood signed the 1777 petition of Holston men.

In 1779 the Washington County, Virginia Court

ordered that the Clerk give certificate to John Keewood of his acknowledged power of Attorney to his Son John Keewood to transact his Business in Barkley County.

John Cawood signed the 1786 petition

In 1790, John Cawood, Jr. was appointed as an ensign in the Sullivan County Militia.

In 1790, James George, John Booher, James Blevins, Agatha Cawood, Armstead Blevins, John Cawood, Jr., John Morrell, John Blevins, John Russell, Thomas Majors, Robert Cowan, William Blevins, Peter Hugh and Walter Blevins signed the first school contract in the Holston Valley with the teacher, John Russell.

John Cawood died in Sullivan County, Tennessee in 1803. On August 2, 1803, Agatha Cawood and William Dulaney, acting executors of John Cawood's will, sold an enslaved man to Stephen Majors.

On February 21, 1806, Agatha sold William Blevins her right to the 740 acres she inherited from her husband, John.

Washington County 1806

Abstract: The minor heirs of John Keywood ask the court to set aside the sale of five estate slaves, who were fraudulently sold for $1000 by their mother, Agatha. The petitioners declare that their father died in 1803 and that his will directed that all the residue of his estate should be the property of his wife during her lifetime and that

after the death of the said Agatha ... the whole of his property real & personal should be equally divided amongst your Orators his children.

The Keywood children charge that their mother and others have colluded "to cheat and defraud your orators" out of their remainder interest in said slaves by procuring a pretended bill of sale, executed by the said Agatha to one William Blevins. They also charge that the defendants knew "no consideration was paid for said negroes, and that by the will of said John Keywood your Orators had a reversion in the same." Believing that "there is great probability" that the defendants "will run the said negroes beyond the reach of your Orators & this honourable court," they pray that said bill of sale "may be decreed to be given up & cancelled;" that the defendants be kept from removing said slaves from the county; and that the slaves be put in the sheriff's custody and hired out.

During the War of 1812, Joshua and a Berry Cawood (probably Stephen Berry) were on Captain William King's muster.

On January 22, 1825, Joshua B. Cawood sold his claim to one fifth of 963 acres to John McCarry. Samuel Jones and John W. Blevins were witnesses.

It was common for bequests to include wearing apparel.
The Holston River flows from Kingsport to Knoxville.
map by Kmusser
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 Cawood was born about 1745. He was the son of John and Elizabeth Cawood.

His wife was named Rachel. Their children included:

John Cawood (1765, Abigail (Happy) Blevins),
Rachel Cawood (married Samuel Haskins),
Rebecca Cawood (married Painton Charlton),
son Cawood (married Sarah),
Charity Cawood (married Joseph Sevier son of Gov. John),
Elizabeth Cawood (married Joseph Sevier brother of Gov. John),
Ann Cawood, and
Mary Polly Cawood (married William R. Blevins).

He is probably the John Keywood who served in the American Revolution from Sullivan County.

John Cawood of Sullivan County deposed on February 22, 1823, that he had known John Sevier for more than 40 years and he appeared in John Sevier's diary: 

May 20, 1790: Lodged all night at Mr. John Keewoods. 
Left this place at 10 o'clock.
Rec’d of Mr. John Keewood 950 (or 9500 ?) Dollars Virginia paper money, called the 
forty-for-one money, which I am to endeavor to exchange for Hard money.

Feb. 2, 1794: Son Jo wife and Sally Keewood came here. 

Feb. 5, 1794: Self, wife, Jos. wife, Miss Sally Keewood, Mary Ann and Ruth went to Jonesboro and came home at night.

May 15, 1800: Set out for John Keewoods and lodged there that night. 

May 16, 1800: Stayed at Mr. Keywoods. 

April 3, 1802: Lodged at Jno. Keewoods. 

May 18, 1802: Set out for Mr. Keewoods to meet the Commissioners. Left with Mr. Keewood 10 dollars for him to give unto my bro. Jos. Sevier. 

Oct. 9, 1802: Lodged at Mr. John Keewood's, Jun . 

Sunday, Oct. 10: Still stayed at Mr. Keewood's

Mon. Oct. 11: ditto -- ditto.

Tues., Oct. 12: ditto -- ditto -- Mrs. Esther Harris dined with us. 

Wed., Oct. 13: Went up to William King's in company with Mrs. Nancy Keewood and returned in evening

Fri., Oct. 15: Returned to Mr. Keewood's. Sat., Oct. 16: Myself, Mrs. Keewood and Chatty (Charity Keewood) Sevier dined with the widow Harris and returned to Mr. Keewood's.

Mon., Oct. 18: Set out from Mr. Keewood’s to meet the Commissioners. Left with Mr. John Keewood ten dollars for him to give unto my brother Joseph Sevier and for him to give the same to Mr. David Deadrick.

Nov. 4: Tarried all night at Mr. John Keewood's.

Nov. 6: Returned to Mr. Keewood's. 

John died in 1828.

The 1830 census of Sullivan County listed Ann Cawood. She was between 50 and 60 years old. she was living with her mother, Rachel who was between 80 and 90 years old.


Stephen Cawood was born in 1724 in Charles County, Maryland. His father was John Cawood.

He married Esther Berry. Esther was born about 1729 in Prince George's County, Maryland. She was the daughter of William Berry and Esther Wakefield.

Berry Cawood (1747, married Nancy Scott),
Moses Cawood (1749),
John Cawood (1751),
Benjamin Cawood (1755, married Polly Poston),
Joseph Cawood,

Stephen Cawood (1765, married Sarah Keller),
Priscilla Cawood (1772, married James (?) Cochrane),
Esther Cawood (1774, married John Walker),
Elizabeth Cawood (1773, married John Berry),
Mary Ann Cawood (1776),
Thomas Cawood (married Sally Scott)

In 1772 Stephen Cawood signed the call to the Presbyterian minister, Reverend Cummings.

A John and Moses Cawood signed the 1777 petition of Holston men.

Stephen hosted the so-called Keywood Methodist Conference attended by Bishop Asbury in 1788.




Berry Cawood was was born about 1748. His parents were Stephen Cawood and Esther Berry.

He married Nancy Ann Scott 

Moses Cawood (1782, married Tabitha McNew),
Delia Caywood (married Edward McNew),
Esther Caywood (married Matthew Tolbur),
John Caywood (married Nancy Turner), and
Nancy Caywood (married John Sturgeon).

He entered 120 acres in Washington County, Virginia in 1782.


Moses Caywood was born on April 6, 1782.

He married Tabitha McNew on January 29, 1807 in Washington County, Virginia.

Delia  Caywood (1817, married William Clark),
Stephen Cawood (1819, married Nancy McNew),
Bettie Caywood (1807, married Joel Meadows),
Moses Caywood (1822, married Harriett Scott),
John M. Caywood (married Lucy Dishmon),
Margaret Caywood (1827, married Samuel Sturgeon), and
Berry Caywood (1833, married Mary Crabtree).




from Historical Sites of Sullivan County, Tennessee by Mrs. Muriel Spaden

Cawood's Ford was the best place to cross the Holston River for miles up or down the river. It was on the route of the westward movement form North Carolina and Virginias to the Watauga settlements. Bishop Asbury tells in his journal of the Methodist Conference being held at Cawood's in 1788, the earliest in Tennessee. The road down on the north side of the river (Cawood's) is overgrown with weeds and brambles and the Ford has been filled with rocks and silt by the rushing of waters generated by the South Holston Dam...


December 17, 1805
Washington County, Virginia Deed Book 3: 426
Indenture made and concluded between Thomas Keewood & Sarah, wife, & Wm. McNew, all of Washington County, Virginia,
for $100,
Thomas Keewood hath sold & hereby conveyed to Wm. McNew,
39 acres,
on south waters of North Fork of Holston, on a line of George McNew's survey, cor. to Michael Huffacker's land, cor. to Stephen Keewood's survey,
grant issued to said Thomas Keewood date of 26 Feb 1800

Washington County, Virginia Deed Book 3: 59
Indenture between Berry Keywood & Ann, wife, one part
& James Caughron
$33, 1/3 to James Caughron,
25 acres in Rich Valley
which was granted to Berry Keywood by patent of 06 Jul 1802,
line of Alesworth's land

January 20, 1807
Washington County, Virginia Deed Book 3: 552
Release of Moses Cawood, Washington County, Virginia,
released and forever quit claim to Berry Cawood,
all my right, title & claim to land in Rich Valley on waters of North Fork Holston River
260 acres,
land Berry Cawood deeded unto Moses Cawood,
bounded by James Caughron, Wm. Fullen & others


December 29, 1809
Washington County, Virginia Deed Book 4: 340-1
Indenture of 29 Dec 1809 between Michael Hoofacre & Steven Keywood
both of Washington County, Virginia,
Michael Hoofacre, 32 acres, land,
part of 400 acre survey,
/s/ Joseph Cawood; Thomas Cawood; Benjamin Cawood,


November 8, 1809
Washington County, Virginia Deed Book 4: 388
Indenture of 08 Nov 1810 between Stephen Keywood & Esther, wife, one part & Thomas Keywood, other part,
110 acres on waters of North Fork of Holston River
whereon Thomas Keywood now liveth, Walker's old survey,
/w/ Pace Caughran; Nathan Taylor; Samuel Miller
/s/ Stephen (his mark) Cawood; Esther Cawood;


April 11, 1814
Washington County, Virginia Deed Book 5: 397-8:
Indenture between Elizabeth Johnston, Reuben Alesworth & Reuben Johnston, one part &
Moses Keywood, other part,
for $300,
140 acres
formerly belonged to Benjamin Alesworth,
in Rich Valley, waters of North Fork Holston River.
/w/ Wm. Scott; Edw. McNew; Augustus Johnston
/s/ Elizabeth (her mark) Johnston; Cyrenius (HM) Johnston; Reuben A. Aylesworth


October 7, 1814
Washington County, Virginia Deed Book 6: 12
Indenture between Lucy Cawood, wife of John Cawood, dec. & George Scott & Nancy, wife; John McNeal & Sarah, wife & Esther Cawood & Stephen Cawood, heirs of John Cawood, dec., one part
& Daniel Arnett, other part
for $62 & ½,
2 surveys adjoining and intersecting, viz, 39 acre patent to John Cawood, decd. And 150 acre patent to Saml. & James Bradin
transferred to John Cawood, dec, in Rich Valley on North Fork Holston River, followeth the Braden Tract, supposed to be Walker's old line, cor. to Stephen Cawood's line
/w/ Wm. Scott; James McReynolds; Edw. McNew.
/s/ John McNeil; Sally McNeil; George Scott; Nancy Scott; Easter Cawood; Stephen Cawood; Lucy Cawood


March 4, 1816
Washington County, Virginia Deed Book 6: 220-1
Indenture between Walter Hill, Sr., & Benjamin Cawood, one part
& Henry Huffake
for $80,
land on south side Walker's Mt., waters of North Fork of Holston River,
340 acres,
cor. to Samuel Sturgeon's land, west side of Saltworks Road, joining Robert Johnston's land, thence with Allison's line
/s/ James Denniston; John Chance; Daniel Arnett;
/s/ Walter Hill; Maryan Hill; Benjamin Cawood


June 3, 1822, 03
Washington County, Virginia Deed Book 8: 38
Indenture between Berry Cawood, Harlan Co. KY, one part, John Cawood, of same, one part,
& Moses Cawood, Washington County, Virginia, other part,
200, land on North Fork Holston River
one tract of 110 acres whereon Moses Cawood now lives;
second tract of 100 acres on south side "paralel" with first tract;
third tract of 60 acres on north side of first tract, said Cawood's old survey, leaving Alesworth's line
/s/ Geo. Brittain; Allen S. McNeal; Samuel More; John More


September, 1824,
Washington County, Virginia Deed Book 8: 321
Indenture between Benjamin Keywood
& Jacob Lynch,
land devised to him by his father, Stephen Cawood, dec, (blank) acres, Keywood to pay Alexr. Smyth $600, within 60 days, Indenture in trust adm. to record 30 Sep 1824. IBID, pp. 333-4: Indenture of 20 Aug 1824 between Benjamin Kewood & Peter Mayo, Keywood indebted to Daniel Sheffy, $800. For $1,260 acres on both sides of Saltworks Road.. to Benjamin Keywood by Stephen Keywood by will 12 Nov 1810, adj. lands of Thomas Keewood, recorded 04 Sep 1824.


from Filson Club Publications edited by James Rood Robertson

State of Kentucky
County of Harlan
Berry Caywood aged sixty eight [born in 1763] years do upon oath testify and declare that in the year 1778 I enlisted for the term of seven months in Captain John Williams Company in the regiment Commanded by Colonel George Clarke of the Virginia and that

I continued in the service aforesaid during the term of seven months afsaid was at the taking of Lieut Governor Hamilton and guarded the said Hamilton to Herod station in Kentucky at which place

I was discharged regularly and said discharge is lost or mislaid and that I have not received any compensation for said services nor has any person been authorised by me to receive the same.
Berry Cawood 
Sworn to and subscribed before the undersigned a justice of the peace for the County afsd this 7th day of November 1831


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