An American Family History

The Tipton Family of Washington County, Tennessee


Jonathan Tipton, Sr.

Many details of his life are controversial.

His children included:

Thomas Tipton (1693)
William Tipton (1696),
Jonathan Tipton (1699),
John Tipton 1700, married Mary Kemp).

Jonathan  settled in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

He died in Maryland in 1757.

The Maryland Gazette 
Annapolis, Maryland
January 27, 1757

Jonathan Tipton was born about 1699 in Maryland

His children included:

Colonel John Tipton (1730),
Rebecca Tipton Little (1737, married Jonas Little),
Joseph Tipton (1738, married Elizabeth Denton),
Jonathan Tipton (1750, married Levina Stevens).

They lived in Baltimore County, Maryland.

The family moved to the Watauga settlement in the early 1780s.

Jonathan Tipton, Jr. was probably the Major Tipton who was a member of the militia who burned Cherokee towns in 1781.

The Cherokeewere indigenous people who lived in the southern Appalachian mountains. European Americans called their towns in eastern Tennessee, the Overhill Towns. The towns included Chota, Tellico and Tanasi.

In 1776, the Cherokee planned to drive settlers out of the Washington District. The settlers were warned and stopped the first attack at Heaton's Station. The second attack was stopped at Fort Watauga. In response to these attacks, the militia burned Tuskegee and Citico.

In 1780, while the militia was away at the Battle of Kings Mountain, the Cherokee raided the setttlements. When the militia returned, Colonel John Sevier's men defeated the Cherokee at Boyd's Creek and destroyed most of the remaining towns.


The State of Franklin was an unrecognized, independent state in what is now eastern Tennessee. It was created in 1784 with the intent of becoming the fourteenth state. Its first capital was Jonesborough. It existed for about four and a half years and then North Carolina re-assumed control.

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.

Johnson City, Tennessee is in Washington, Carter and Sullivan Counties. It was known as Brush Creek for the Creek than runs through it.

John Tipton was born on August 15, 1730 in Baltimore County, Maryland.

His first wife was Mary Butler. Mary was born in 1732 and was the daughter of Thomas Butler.

Mary and John's children probably included:

Samuel Tipton (1752, married Jemima Suttee Little and Susannah Reneau),
Benjamin Tipton (1755, married Rebecca Cusick),
Abraham Tipton (1758),
William (Fighting Billy) Tipton (1761), married Phebe Moore, the daughter of James Moore, his step-sister)
Isaac Tipton (1763),
Jacob Tipton (1765, married Mary Bradford),
John Tipton, Jr. (1767, married  Elizabeth Snapp), and
Jonathan Tipton (1776, married Lavinia Adams Williams).

Mary died in childbirth in 1776.

John's second wife was Martha Denton Moore. She was the daughter of Abraham Denton and Mary Odell. Her first husband was James Moore. Her children from her first marriage are detailed on James Moore's page. Martha and John had a son, Abraham, who was named in honor of his half brother who died in 1782.

John was a captain in Lord Dunmore's war in 1774 and was a lieutenant in the Shenandoah County, Virginia, militia during the Revolutionary War.

He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates in 1776 and 1778-1781.

In 1778, a Joseph Tipton took the oath of allegiance in what would become Washington County, Tennesee.

In 1782 Jonathan Tipton was security for the appearance of John Odell to the Washington County Court.

Captain Abraham Tipton served in the Virginia State Regiment in Clark's Expedition against the Indians in the northwest and was killed near the Falls of the Ohio, September 2, 1782.

In 1783, he moved to the Watauga Settlement and lived on Turkey Creek, eight or ten miles east of Jonesborough.

"The Battle of the State of Franklin" took place at John Tipton's house in 1788. North Carolina authorities seized some of the people John Sevier had enslaved. Sevier and his supporters came to the Tipton house to reclaim them. The North Carolinians rebuffed them and this signaled the end of the State of Franklin.

John was a member of the North Carolina General Assembly as senator and representative in 1786-1787.

In 1791, Captain Jacob T. Tipton was killed in St. Clair's defeat which is also known as the Battle of the Wabash. It was fought on November 4, 1791 in the Northwest Territory. The U.S. Army faced the Western Confederacy of Native Americans.

In January, 1795 Caleb Odell sold William Boring 76-3/4 acres on Brush Creek, for 55 pounds. The land bordered Charles Reneau/Reno. The deed was witnessed by Thomas Gourley and John Tipton.

He was in the Tennessee State Senate from 1796 to 1799.

He died on August 9, 1813 in Washington County, Tennessee.

Jonesborough in 1857

In 1774 Governor Dunmore declared war against the indignious Americans. The war ended after Virginia's victory in the Battle of Point Pleasant on October 10, 1774.

Shenandoah County, Virginia was established in 1772. It was originally Dunmore County.

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


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

Joseph Tipton was born about 1738 in Baltimore County, Maryland.

He married Elizabeth Denton.

Elizabeth and Joseph's children may have included:

Elizabeth Tipton (1757, married Charles Reno/Reneau),
Jonathan Tipton (1759),
John Tipton (1768),
Stephen Tipton (1774),
Benjamin Tipton (1778),
Joseph Tipton (1780, married Agnes Edens),
Rachel Tipton (1782, married Charles Lovelace).

In 1774 they sold their land in Virginia, and moved to the Watauga Settlement where they were members of the Sinking Creek Baptist Church.

In 1780, Joseph was probably a captain at the Battle of Kings Mountain.

In 1784 Joseph voted against the formation of the State of Franklin.

They moved from Washington County to Warren County, Tennessee before 1820.

North Carolina was one of the thirteen original Colonies. It was first settled by small farmers and grew quickly in the mid 18th century.


Major Jonathan Tipton III was born in 1750.

He came to Fort Watauga in 1775.



Watauga Pioneer Neighbors

from A History of Shenandoah County, Virginia by John W. Wayland

Col. John Tipton was Justice and Vestryman of Beckford Parish of Dunmore and Shenandoah;
Shenandoah Captain in Dunmore's War;
Revolutionary officer, County Lieutenant and Sheriff of Shenandoah;
Representative of Dunmore in the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1776 and in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1776-1777,
Representative of Washington County, North Carolina (now Tennessee) in the Jonesboro or Franklin conventions of 1784 and 1785;
Representative in the North Carolina Senate, Representative of Washington County in the House of Representatives of the Territory of the U.S. South of the River Ohio;
Representative of Washington County in the Tennessee Constitutional Convention of 1796;
Representative of Washington County in the Tennessee Senate.




from Carter County, Tennessee Deeds
Books A-B (FHL film 847,620; from Alice Duncan 1978)

22 March 1803,
Wm. Walker to Jonathan Tipton
Sevier Co., State of TN,
sold to Jonathan Tipton a small negro girl about 6 yrs. old for $300. The same that I gave my bill of sale to Joseph Dobson in Burk Co. NC
Wit. R. Wear, Abraham Tipton.

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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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