An American Family History


The Whitson Family

  also spelled Whatson  

In 1607 the London Company established Virginia as the first permanent New World English colony.

William Whitson was born about 1706 in Surry County, Virginia.

William's children may have included:

Sarah Whitson (1725, married John Nelson),
Joseph Whitson (1732),
Thomas Whitson (1734),
Ann Whitson (1733, married Isaac Denton),
George Whitson (1736, married Ruth Barnes),
John Whitson (1738),
William Whitson (1740)
Charles Whitson (1742, married Leah MacKay),
James Whitson (1744),
Jesse Whitson (1750),
Susannah Whitson (1751, married Barnaby Eagen, Jr.)
Lydia Whitson (1754, married Jeremiah MacKay, son of Moses MacKay), and
Marquis Whitson (1759).

William left the eastern Virginia area for the Shenandoah Valley in search of farm land some time after 1750.

In 1783, William Whitson died in Washington County, Tennessee.

His estate was inherited by Jesse Whitson and named daughters Susannah Eagen, Lydia MacKay. Sons Joseph and Jesse were executors and witnesses were Henry Nelson, Jr., William Wood, and Reuben Rider.

In 1795, Jesse Whitson was an executor of Isaac Denton's will.

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

William Whitson, Jr.

Lezeanah Whitson (1760),
James Whitson (1764)
Stephen Whitson (1770)

About 2 miles northeast, south of the mouth of Cosby’s Creek, William Whitson, Jr., established a fort on the east bank of Pigeon River in 1783. It was an important frontier outpost, since there was a ford there, and the west bank of the river was then Indian territory.

In 1786, William Whitson [Jr.] and Abraham MacKay, son of Moses MacKay, were elected to meet with the Primitive Baptist church association held at Kendrick's Creek, (Sullivan county) to petition for permission to establish a church at Big Pigeon.

The Witsons were original members of the Primitive Baptist church in Pig Pigeon in 1786. William built a fort on the Big Pigeon river near the big spring on Campbell McNabb's place below the Denton Mill.

William, Jr. moved with his father to Washington County, Tennessee










Carter County, Tennessee was organized from Washington County on April 9, 1796. Elizabethton is the county seat.

from Carter County, Tennessee & It's People 1796-1993

William Whitson came to Washington County, Tennessee from the Shenandoah Valley after 1775 settling on land which became Carter County. His land lay on the Catbird Branch of Sinking Creek off the Watauga River. This was the second move for William and wife Margaret Whitson. They had both been born in the tidewater area of Virginia--Stafford County and moved to the Shenandoah Valley shortly after 1750 settling on land in the Powell Fort area. They endured the years of constant Indian attacks during the French and Indian War. William Whitson was in the militia in Frederick County, VA.

In his father, William Whitson's will probated in Stafford County, VA in 1739, William Whitson (II) was described as a planter. And so he seemed to remain always in search of more and better land. His line of descent in Stafford County can be traced back to Joseph Whitson who may have come from Norfolk County, VA before purchasing land in Stafford 1694. This 400 acre tract lay on the north side of Aquia Creek off the Potomac River.

In the 1779 tax list of Washington County, Tennessee, William Whitson's property was valued at $520.00. This consisted of three horses and two cows. He had no "ready" money. He died in Washington County, TN in 1783 leaving a will naming four children.

He had at least ten children:
(1) Captain Thomas Whitson was born ca 1736 in Stafford County, VA. He left Shenandoah County , VA and moved to Rowan County, NC sometime prior to the Revolution. His land lay on the Catawba River where he operated a ferry. He was commissioned a Captain in the Revolution but towards the close of the war switched sides and fought with the British. He came to Tennessee sometime after 1790 and took up land on the north bank of Little Doeoff ...Creek.

(2) John Whitson born ca 1738 in Stafford County, VA and moved to Rowan County, NC with his brother.

(3) William Whitson, Jr. was born 7 March 1740 in Stafford County, VA. He came to Tennessee with his father and eventually moved south to land in present Cocke County on the waters of Big Pigeon River. He established a fort during the Indian uprisings which bore his name. Both William Whitson, Jr. and wife Elizabeth helped establish the Big Pigeon Baptist Church and both became charter members.

(4) Charles Whitson was born 5 March 1742 in Stafford County. He held the rank of private in the Revolution. He remained in Shenandoah County where he died 1782.

(5) James Whitson was born 10 Feb 1744 in Stafford County and came to Tennessee with his father. He fought in the battle at King's Mountain. he received the bulk of his father's estate including the plantation. With daughter Martha and wife Rachel, he is included in minutes of Sinking Creek Baptist Church in Carter County. About 1820 he moved south into recently formed Monroe County probably settling near the town of Madisonville.

(6) Susannah Whitson was born ca 1755 in Frederick County, VA and married to Barnaby Eagan. She lived on land near her father on Sinking Creek. Along with several other families Barnaby and Susannah Whitson Eagan moved west into Wilson County, TN settling on land on Spencer' s Creek off the Cumberland River.

(8) Lydia Whitson married Jeremiah McKay and remained in Shenandoah County, VA. Where in 1790 she petitioned for her portion of brother Joseph's estate.

(9) Sarah Whitson married a Nelson.

(10) Joseph Whitson died in Washington County, TN 1790 leaving his entire estate to brothers and sisters and a nephew Joseph Peyton.

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


from Over The Misty Blue Hills

William Whitson came to Shenandoah County, Virginia, about 1743, with a group from Westchester and Queens County, New York. The Whitson family center was in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Most of them settled near New Market along the South Bank of the Shenandoah River. However, William Whitson was near Thorne's Gap, in 1752, with John Davis, Barnaby Eagen, Henry Netherington (Netherton) and Elisha Jobe, an older brother of David Jobe. The ford, leading from Thorne' s Gap to Front Royal was long known as Whitson's Ford.


from Records of Augusta County, VA 1745-1800, Vol. 1

19th October 1751
Petitioners for road from Thorn's Gap to Henry Netherton's: Henry Netherton, Barebas Agan, Elisha Job, Shadk. Parlour, John Davis, William Bethell, William Whitson, Daniel Stover.


Woods vs Williams and Clark, agents for Green,

Bill by Duff and McCoy
Benj. Wood, of Shenandoah, that in 1754 Wm Whitson bought land in Frederick (Shenandoah) from James and Zacheriah McKay, 400 acres, and assigned to Charles Whitson, who died, intestae, and the land descended to Charles' heir at law, Jeremiah Whitson, who sold to Nehemiah Wood, who sold to orator



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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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