An American Family History

Ellis Family of Washington County, Tennessee

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.

William Ellis married Martha Shipley.

James Ellis (1768, married Elizabeth Gresham),
Margaret Ellis (1769, married Edmund Bean)
William Ellis, Jr. (1779 , married Hannah Davis),
John Ellis (1780, married Elizabeth Bean the daughter of Robert and Rhoda Lane Bean),
Jacob Ellis (1782, married Letitia Cowan),
Alsey Ellis (1786, married Fuller Gresham),
Martha Ellis (1788),
Clark Ellis (1792, married Nancy Likins), and
Elijah Ellis (1794).

In 1784, William purchased 325 on Boones Creek.

from Washington County, Tennessee Deeds, 1775-1800 by Loraine Rae

Thomas Hardeman, planter, and wife, Mary (Perkins) to William Ellis, planter.
(1) 190 acres, his NC grant of 24 Oct. 1782.
(2) 100 acres, his NC grant of 23 acres, Oct. 1782.
(3) 35 acres, his NC grant of 24 Oct. 1782, on Boons Creek.
Cons: 200 lbs NC money,
Adj: William Been, Jr., Jessee Been, Bradley Gambell, other lands of Hardeman, John Russell, Joseph Duncan, Tobias Moser.
Sig: Thomas Hardeman, Mary X Hardeman.
Wit: James Cox, Tho. Chapman

In the name of God Amen I William Elis of Washington County State of Tennessee, Do make & part in writing this peace of paper to be my last will & testament in manner and form following (viz)

First my will & desire is that my body be buried in a Christian like manner

Second that all my just debts be fuly satisfied & paid out of my personal Estat if it can be done with out parting with so much as to leave suffitioncy to carry on the business of the plantation not to disposing of the negros, and if they cannot make payment with out selling the negrow or parting with two much of the other personal property to be convenient to cary on the business, of then and in that case to sell the plantation that I purchased Joseph Denton and the money arising to finish the payment of my debt and what money if any shall remaine for the sale of that place (if sold) over paying the debts to be disposed of in the manner herein after directed

Third I give and bequeath to my well be loved wife Martha the use of my present dwelling house & out houses with the use of the plantation there to during her natural life or while she remains my wido, with all my houshold furniture & stock & farming utensils there unto belonging with the use of all the negrows escept such as is herein after mentioned

Forth I give to my daughter Margaret Bean the use of the plantation she now live on with a certain nagro girl caled Seanah with hir increy that is now or here after may be during hir natural life. [........?] Executors hereafter named for the ballance that I have not paid as well as what I have paid towards the use of Emon[d] Bean her late husband, so as to make a fair settlement and at hir death the whole to be divided equaly between hir children; Also after the death or Intermarage (if this should take place) of my said wife to have an equal share of with the rest of my daughters out of what may remain at that time. But should my wife out live my said daughter then the children that may then be living to have the part that would have fell to my daughter after the death of my wife

Fifth I give to my son Jacob a hundred & fifteen acres of land being a hundred acres in a tract lying on the west of my other land & the fifteen acres that I bought Nicholas Isenberges that joined the hundred acre tract also my nagro girl caled Grace & negro boy caled Sollomon to be his forever

Sixth I give to my daughter Martha one nagro girl caled Dorcas to be hirs forever

Seventh I give to my son Clark that part of my plantation that lyeth on the east side of Boone creek the creek be on the line after the death or intermarage of my said wife also one nagro girle called Nell to be his forever Seventh I give to my son Elijah my other land laying on the west side of Boones creek & between land bequeathed to my son Jacob and the Creek after death of my said wife or hir intermarage also one nagro boy called ned also one mare filley & three [bo..?] one a larg bible & the other two Volume of the univerce Geograpy to be his forever

Eight having heretofore given to my three sons James, William & John what I intended therefore say no more about them now Ninth my will and desier is that if the land I bought Joseph [Britten--[?] if not sold the whole to be divided between the whole of my children and if sold the overflush after paying debts to be also equilly devided between al my children.

Also my will & wish is that my son Jacob live with his mother and family & take care as usial and also that my sons James & Jacob with Daniel Bowman [probably son of Jacob Bowman] be Executor of this my last will and testament and see to the settlement of my estate.

[I turn] my will & desier is that my grandson Ellis Grisham & my granddaughters Elizabeth & Margaret Grisham have altogether one equal part with one of my Daughters after the death of my said wife and at that time anything of my Estate that may to be quily devided between each of my Daughters taken my above three grand Children as one. Thereby revoke in disannuling & makeing void all other wills or wills heretofore by me made, hereby Ratifying & makeing good this to be my last will & testament

In witness where of the said William Ellis has hereunto set his hand & seal this Eleventh day of September 1809

The words of my said wife over the thirty seventh line was interlined before signing also word daughters over the Eightieth line also over seventy eight

Signed sealed and acknoledged in the presents of
Joseph Britten x
James Crabtree [Michael ?....ys]x
Joseph Crouch
William X Ellis mark

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.

Boones Creek is a tributary of the Watauga River.



Colonial Maryland
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Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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