Saturday, August 1, 2015

New Finds in Tennessee

While waiting on other documents, a package arrived from the Jefferson County Archives in Dandridge, Tennessee. The package contains a number of deeds involving my Cannon, Hickey and Green side of the tree. Three of these finds I will highlight in this post.

To provide some context, I already featured my 3rd-great-grandmother Mary Catherine Green Jones. Her parents were Thomas Green and Sarah Sally Hickey. Sarah's parents (my 5th-great-grandparents) were Thomas D. Hickey and Rachel Cannon. This post takes the line one step further back, to the father of Rachel Cannon, my 6th-great-grandfather. Thomas Cannon was born about 1753 in Goochland County, Virginia. He was an early arrival in Jefferson County, early enough that I qualify for First Families of Tennessee membership through him as well.

On 6 June 1794, Thomas Cannon made an indenture with Benjamin McFarland for 100 pounds in exchange for 92 acres of land. As this transaction occurred before 31 December 1796, it confirms Thomas Cannon was an early resident in Jefferson County.

The package included an earlier transaction (registered 26 August 1796) involving Thomas Cannon from 29 November 1793. Francis Mayberry of Pittsylvania, Virginia sold Thomas 100 acres in Jefferson County for 30 pounds. The land was located on the Long Branch of Long Creek. According to the Annals of Tennessee, Long Creek was one of the earliest settled areas in what became Jefferson County, dating back to 1782-1784.

The third deed in this set was the most surprising. It dates from February 1815, I have transcribed it in full below:

Benjamin McFarland serv. bill of sale for three slaves.
Thomas Cannon Registered August 9th 1815.

Know all men by these presents that I, Benjamin McFarland Senior of the County of Jefferson and State of Tennessee for and in consideration of the sum of four hundred dollars, to me and in hand paid or secured to be paid by Thomas Cannon of County and State aforesaid at or before the sealing and delivering of these presents the receipt whereof. I the said Benjamin McFarland Senior do acknowledge I have bargained and sold unto the said Thomas Cannon, his executors : three negro slaves, one named Tom Patton, upwards of fifty years of age, and his wife Dafney upwards of forty years of age, and their negro child about three years of age named Campbell. All which these negro slaves. I the said Benjamin McFarland, for myself my heirs Executors, etc unto the said Thomas Cannon his heirs against all every person, and persons whatsoever, will warrant and forever defend by these presents. As witness my hand and seal this 8th day of February 1815.

Benjamin McFarland {seal}

Test: Thomas Snoddy, Andrew B. McFarland
As someone who regularly watches Henry Louis Gates Jr's outstanding show Finding Your Roots, this is the kind of document that people love to find. It provides names and date ranges for these people. Tom Patton was born about 1765. His wife Dafney was born about 1775, and their son Campbell was born in either late 1811 or very early 1812.

While I don't know what happened to Tom or Dafney, I think I found Campbell in the 1870 US Census in Jefferson County, Tennessee. Campbell is head of household with Loucinda Patton (mulatto, born in Virginia). It shows he was born in North Carolina, which provides a hint on where his parents came from before they were sold to Thomas Cannon in 1815. Campbell and Loucinda had a 12 year old daughter, Allene Jane Patton. There is also a 23 year old male named Melvin Patton living next door.

In the 1880 US Census, Lucinda is listed as widowed, working as a servant in Panther Springs, Hamblen County, Tennessee.

I lost track of this Patton family after the 1880 Census, however, it appears there are a number of black families in Jefferson and Hamblen County with the last name Patton around the same time. Perhaps they descend from Campbell or from Tom and Dafney Patton. If anyone connected to these families finds this page, and you are interested in seeing an original copy of the deed between Benjamin McFarland and Thomas Cannon, it is located in Jefferson County Deed Book M, pages 154-155.

Thomas Cannon died about 1840. I have not yet checked to see if a will or other document from his estate provides more explanation on what may have happened to this family.

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