Thursday, November 8, 2012

Those Places Thursday - Bays Mountain

South of Strawberry Plains in Jefferson County, Tennessee is a ridge called Bays Mountain. In this location it has an elevation of nearly 1300 feet, but it is part of a longer range that runs up to Kingsport, Tennessee (part of Hawkins and Sullivan County). In Jefferson County, the range runs between the Holston River to the north and the French Broad River, which forms the southern border of the county today. This area was settled beginning in the 1780s, and I believe my Jones ancestors were in this area between the 1780s and 1790s. Nearby Finley's Gap, is noted as the place where Davy Crockett married Mary Polly Finley in 1806. This would have made Crockett a contemporary of my ancestor Thomas Jones.

In 1810, Thomas Jones executed a warranty deed with John Johnson for 50 acres at Bays Mountain in Jefferson County. I have ordered a copy of that deed from the Jefferson County Archives. The deed index also shows Thomas Jones executing a warranty deed for 135 acres with Margaret Barnes in 1807.

In 1855, William U. Sturman (1833-1911) deeded 66 acres to Elizabeth Thornhill Jones. The land was located on the south side of Bays Mountain. I received a copy of the deed yesterday from the Jefferson County Archives, and the text reads as follows:

Wm. U. Sturman deed to Elizabeth Jones for 66 acres of land
Registered 12 December 1855

William U. Sturman have this day the 20 day of September One thousand eight hundred and fifty five bargained and sold and do hereby transfer and convey to Betsy Jones her heirs and assigns forever for the consideration of two hundred to me paid a tract of land in the State of Tennessee County of Jefferson and district no. 10 containing by estimation sixty six acres the same more or less and bounded as follows

Beginning on a Spanish Oak on the south side of Bays Mountain, then north 87 west 40 poles to a stake near a large chestnut oak. Then south 14 poles to a stake then south 50 west 18 poles to a stake near 2 pines then south 62 poles to a white oak near a deep sinkhole south 50 east 54 poles to a stake near a black oak stump then north 35 east 8 poles to [Chinquissine?] oak then south 36 east 49 poles to a stake then north 35 east 69 poles to a stake in Carters line then with said line north 49 west 81 poles to a white oak, then direct to the beginning.

To have and to hold the same to the paid Betsy Jones I am lawfully seized of said land have a good right to convey it and that the same is unencumbered. I do further covenant and bind myself my heirs and representations to warrant and forever defend the title to the said land and every part thereof to the said Betsey Jones her heirs and assigns against the lawful claims of all persons whatever.

William U. [x his mark] Sturman

Executed and delivered in our presence day and date above
Written O.R. Watkins
Charles C. Cline
State of Tennessee
Jefferson County

Signed 12 December 1855 in Dandridge, Jefferson County, presented James M. Nicholson, Clerk of County Court of Jefferson County on 10 December 1855.
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I don't know yet if Elizabeth was acquiring land that previously belonged to the father of her husband, Robert Thomas Jones Sr. Her purchase occurred 7 years after Robert's death returning from the Mexican War.

It's also worth noting that the Charles C. Cline who witnessed this deed had married Rachel Jane Green, sister of Mary Catherine Green Jones, in 1854.

More deeds to follow. Bays Mountain is another part of the county that plays a role in the story of the Jones family in Tennessee.

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