A few weeks ago, I spent some time visiting the McClung Collection at the East Tennessee Historical Society in Knoxville. The first thing I looked at was the index to the First Families of Tennessee application files. I’ve written before about using DAR applications as a source, but this was a bit different, since I had access to the supporting documentation, rather than only the application form.
While I have several lines who were in Tennessee by 1796 (the criterion for First Families membership), some had not been established as First Families and others’ files did not yield any new information. With one, however, I hit the mother lode.
The file for my fifth-great-grandfather, William Lawson, yielded census information, an 1812 pension file, abstracts from an account book, a court case, and deed abstracts. Lots of deed abstracts.
I made notes regarding sources that I could access online, such as the censuses and the 1812 pension file (Fold 3 is digitizing these files in alphabetical order and is almost up to the Ls – they are free to the public, by the way). I made copies of the other items and have been adding the information to my genealogy database. Here is a selection of what I found:
Thomas Amis Account Book Entries
“Microfilm at McClung Gen. Library
Thomas Amis First Account Book, Big Creek, Hawkins Co. Tn.
William Hinton 1783 also Capt. Samuel Smith 1788
David Hinton 1782 Samuel Smith, Sr. 1782 note Wm Lawson deed
William Lawson 1785
Reuben Lawson 1786
Peter Lawson 1787 William Lawson 1794
Isham Reynalds 1786 Isham Reynolds 1794”
- This shows that William Hinton and William Lawson were in Hawkins County by 1783.
- I don’t know the identity of David Hinton or the Smiths, but they must be relevant to have been included in this abstract.
To do: Obtain original image from microfilm.
“Buncombe Co. N. C. June 20, 1796 Land from state of N. C.
David Hinton 100A
William Robert Hinton 100A”
To do: obtain original land grants.
“Pittsylvania Co. Va.
January 30, 1779 Book 5 Page 126
William and Sarah Lawson sold to David Ross of Dinwiddie Co.
land N. Side Pigg River.
witness: George Herndon
To do: obtain original deed.
“10-123, 9 Mar 1819 (Reg. 4 Apr 1821) Stephen LAWSON of Hawkins Co.,
to Caleb J. Parker of Greene Co., for $1000., all the undivided right
and title of Isham LAWSON, Elijah LAWSON, Stephen LAWSON, William
LAWSON, Elisha LAWSON, and George LAWSON, heirs of Wm. LAWSON, dec’d.
to 200 acres in Hawkins Co., south side of Holston River, adj. James
Breeden, where the widow LAWSON now lives. Wm. Smith, Henry Chesnutt,
My comments: This deed names several children of William Lawson, including my ancestor Stephen.
- obtain original deed
- look for estate records for William Lawson (I looked in the Tennessee Probate Court files at FamilySearch, but did not find anything).
March 25, 1788 Hawkins Co. Tenn. Page 1
I, William Hinton, do promise to pay or cause to be paid to Mr. Joseph
Rogers on order 38 wight of goods-merchantable ginsing the sang? at
2 shillings per lb. or furrs at market price hear to that amount or
bear skins to be paid at or upon the 15th of July 1788 as witness my
hand this 25th day of March 1788. his
his Wm X Hinton
Test: William X Lawson mark
on reverse side:
Sept. 18th Rec. from Mr. Isham Rannells (Reynalds) 22 lbs. e ozs sang?
at 1/8 per lb. I say rec’d by me
To do: obtain copy of original note.
This is just a snippet of the information I found in one First Families file. If you have ancestors who were early residents of Tennessee, then I highly recommend a visit to the East Tennessee Historical Society to check out these files. I know that I’ll be going back.
- Membership application, Ben Jackson Lamb, no. 0028, First Families of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee. ↩