Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Little History of Crockett County, Tenn. from Frances Wood's Bible

Photo/Otis Lundy

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Frances M. Wood's Bible

Last week, I posted the Fowler family photos I received from Jennie West, a mutual descendant of my 3rd great-grandfather, Lewis Fowler. This week, I get to share some photos of a Bible that belonged to my 4th great-grandfather, Frances M. Wood, that were sent to me by another of his descendents, Otis Lundy.

The internet really is the best thing to ever happen to genealogy. Those of us with small fragments of our ancestors lives can find each other and put the small pieces together to get a real sense of who our forefathers (and mothers) really were.

Photo/Otis Lundy

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Frances M. Wood his Bible bought from
Bennet Barrons Store Pense 10/ (Shillings) 

I am grateful that Otis shared his rare ancestry artifact because it helped uncover more about this family for me, but also because it includes references and dates of birth of some of Frances M. Wood's slaves, which are often impossible to find. This will be really helpful for any of these slaves' descendants who may be researching their family lines and have googled themselves to this page.

Frances M. Wood was among the very earliest settlers of the area of Haywood County, Tenn. that later became Crockett County, Tenn.

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l to r: Bob Williams, Elizabeth Castellaw Williams, Bob Castellaw,
Nancy Miranda Johnson Castellaw and headstone of Margaret Louisa Wood Johnson

Frances was the father of Margaret Louisa Wood Johnson, who was the mother of Nancy Miranda Johnson Castellaw, who was the mother of Bob Castellaw, who was the father of Elizabeth Castellaw Williams, who was the mother of Bob Williams, who is my father.

Frances was born in 1777, it appears in or around Edgecombe County, North Carolina. Otis also shared information from the will of Joseph Wood of Edgecombe County, which he had found on .  Joseph Wood appears to be Frances' father. The will includes mention of Joseph Wood's wife, Ann, and his children: John Horn Wood (Frances later included "Horn" in the naming of one of his children), Elizabeth Frazer Wood and Frances M (Mastrew?) Wood. The executor was John Milbourne.

Frances later married into the executor's family, although with an alternate last name spelling, on 7 Jan 1806 when he married Elizabeth Milburn. John Milbourne's probate records include Frances Wood and wife Betsy (Elizabeth).

Photo/Otis Lundy

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Title page of Frances Wood's Bible
Note the little poem that appears to have been
cut out of a newspaper: A-shopping I will go,
and visit every mart, Perhaps before returning,
I may win a truant heart.

Around 1824, Frances migrated his family and slaves to West Tennessee. This portion of an article from the "Crockett Times" shows what the area was like at the time.
“It was not till about the year 1824 that the territory now embraced within Crockett County was first settled. At about that time a settlement was made near the Haywood County line, south of the present town of Bells by a number of Middle Tennesseans and North Carolianians, who were attracted to the county by the large growth of yellow poplar, hickory and oak timber.  
Among the above settlers were Francis M. Wood and Charles Wortham, the former coming from North Carolina and the latter from Middle Tennessee…The face of the country, when first viewed by these hardy pioneers, was most beautiful to behold. The woods stretched away into vasts forests of poplar, hickory, oak and ash timber, while in the river and creek bottoms the cypress and tall cane were seen. The face of the earth was covered with pea vines, so high and thick that man or beast could be easily followed by their trail through it.  
The woods abounded with deer, bear, wolves, catamounts, panthers, wild turkey and the smaller game, and upon this game the first settlers were, to a great extent, compelled to subsist, as food was indeed a scarce article. For a number of years afterwards, in fact, until they were all killed off, the stock of the settlers was distroyed, in fact, until they were all killed off, the stock of the settlers was destroyed to an alarming extent by the wolves and bears, scarcely a night passing but a young calf or shoat was carried off."
"The Crockett Times" 50th Anniversary Edition - Wednesday, March 2,1983, Page 9 A.,
Transcribed by Sister Mary Francis Cates, 2001. Source
When Frances and Elizabeth first arrived in the area, they brought with them a household of children and many slaves. Frances wrote down the names and birthdates of his slaves who were born.

Photo/Otis Lundy

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Nigrow Julia was born in yeare of our Lord November 8th day 1827.
Nigrow Stuard was born in yeare of our Lord March 18th day 1828.
Negrow Luverne was born in year of our Lord May 8th day 1828.
Negrow Clabern was bornd in year our Lord March third 1830.
Note the burn hole between words "our" and "Lord" suggesting that
the hole was already there at the time Francis wrote this, otherwise
one of these words would have been where the hole now exists.

Photo/Otis Lundy

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Ridmont son of Ben & Chana was bornd Jan the 10th 1826
Ashley was bornd the 30 of October 1827
Haywood was born July the 30th 1833
Henry was bournd December 1835
Alsira was bournd December 3th 1835
Benson son of Hary [Harry] was bournd July the 11th 1833

Frances and Elizabeth's children were:
Margaret Louisa Wood (my 3rd great-grandmother)
4 Apr 1808 – 28 Mar 1862
Margaret was first married to William R. Wortham.  After his death, she married Charles Randall Johnson and settled in the Johnsons Grove area of Crockett County, Tenn. They had ten children including Nancy Miranda Johnson, my 2nd great grandmother.
Last winter, my father and I visited the Crockett County cemetery where Louisa and her husband, Charles are buried. You can read that blog entry for more about that area.
You can read much more about my Johnson line on the Johnson page of my website.

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Headstones of Charles Randell and Margaret Louisa Wood Johnson

William M. Wood 24 Jan 1811 – 4 Aug 1840
William married Marina Manning and they had one son, Francis John Wood, who obviously was named after his grandfather. William died at the age of 29 in 1840. His son, Francis, was instrumental in the development of Crocket County in the later 1800s. During the Civil War, he was a Captain in Co. G, 27th Tennessee Infantry. (Tennessee Confederate Pension Applications (W9338). Source

In 1871 he was among those who were appointed as commissioners to survey and mark off the boundary lines of the county and in 1872 he was appointed Circuit Court Clerk.  Source

Elizabeth Ann Wood 6 Feb 1814 - ?

Polly Horn Wood 14 Apr 1817 - ?
Nancy Arsena Wood (Otis's 3rd great-grandmother)
30 Jan 1821 – 27 Oct 1906
Nancy married Henry Gatlin “Harry” Winburn. She was his second wife and they had eight children together: Hardy Latham, Sarah Elizabeth, Henry Clay, Nancy Angel, Francis W., Robert Scott, John Joseph, and Ida Louisa.

Otis shared an interesting story about his ancestor, Harry Winburn.

Harry Winburn had eloped with his first wife, Mary Ann Cherry. Her father, Willie P. Cherry, owned Wild Cat Hill Plantation in Martin County, N.C. Her grandfather, Darling Cherry and his brother, Daniel Cherry, were land surveyors and eventually acquired thousands of acres in Tennessee.

According to family history, immediately after they eloped, Henry Winburn and Mary Ann Cherry headed to West Tennessee. Unfortunately, she never arrived, dying on the way while giving birth to their son who was named Hardy. Henry returned to the home of Mary Ann’s parents where he left Hardy to be raised.
Harry then headed to Tennessee once again, but this time it's thought he traveled with Mary Ann’s brother, Willie P. Cherry, and his wife.

Once settled in the Crockett County area, he met and married Nancy Wood and they began their life together.

Nancy and Henry were members of the Dancyville Methodist Church. Henry’s son back in Martin County, N.C. grew up in the Cherry household and was Otis Lundy’s 2nd great grandfather.
An interesting side note, Cherryville, Tenn., named after the family, was the first incorporated town in West Tennessee. Incorporated in 1821, it’s located north of South Forked Deer River, near the Crockett County Line, three and a half miles west of Bells, Tenn. In recent years, the community has been called Clarks, Eason's Store Community and Harris Bluff.

Photo/Otis Lundy

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Very faint pencil signature:
"Elizabeth Ann Wood Haywood County Tennessee 1835"

There is only a little information about Francis Woods life in Crockett County so the entries in his Bible are very helpful.

Written on the back side of the New Testament cover page is:
Francis M. Wood and Elizabeth Milburn was married in year of our Lord 1806 January 7th day.
Luisey Wood was born in year of our Lord 1808 April 4th day.
William M. Wood was born in the year of our Lord 1811 January 24th day.
Departed this life August 5 1840.
Elizabeth Ann Wood was born in the year of our Lord 1814 Feby 6th day.
Poley Horn Wood was born in the year of our Lord 1817 April 14th day.
Nancy Arsena Wood was born in the year of our Lord 1821 January the 30th day.
Another page includes:
Francis Wortham son of William R. Wortham and Louisa his wife was borne Jan 15 day 1827.
This is a reference to Louisa's first husband and their son together.

The U.S. census also provides some information and confirmation regarding Francis and his family. In the census of 1830, Frances was 53 and had a household of 14 which included nine slaves, Frances, Elizabeth and three children: one male, 15 – 19; one female, 5 – 9; and one female 15 – 19.

In the U.S. census of 1840, Frances was 63 and had a household of 12 and still owned nine slaves. In addition to his wife, Frances also had one male, age 10 – 14 living with him.

Frances died on 27 Apr 1843 at the age of 66 in Crockett County and was possibly buried in the Wortham Family cemetery in the middle of a cotton field as is his son, William...and yes, the next time I'm in Tennessee, you can bet I'll be looking for it and will share what I find here on my blog.

Much appreciation goes out to Otis Lundy for sharing his prized possession with us.

For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or to check out the genealogy research about my specific family lines, go to my Haywood County Line Genealogy Website.


  1. I know this post is from several years ago but I just found it this weekend by putting in the correct combination of words in Google search. My ancestors settled in Haywood Co, in the part that is now Crockett Co, probably about 1830. After years of searching I'm getting a little closet to finding out who they were. My gggrandmother, Louvenia Burnett was born in Haywood Co in 1833. Her mother was Elizabeth McCabe and I think her father was Daniel H Burnett. Louvenia's parents died at the same time, apparently of milk fever in 1839. Louvenia was then raised by Dr Antwine. I know that Daniel H Burnett, Richard Burnett, John Burnett, William, Thomas H, and Jacob were living in Haywood Co district 12 on the 1837 and 1839 tax records. After 1839 "the heirs of Daniel Burnett" were taxed on the land. I'm trying to find out who the heirs were. Also trying to figure out if there was a relationship between all these Burnett's. Does someone have a property map from this time with names on it? Or how else might I go about finding out who the the heirs were. After about 1854 "the heirs" listing for taxes are gone. Maybe they sold the land at that point. I'm so excited to have found this blog posting since it gives me an idea of what life was like for them. BTW - Elizabeth McCabe's family were from Chowan Co NC and had moved to Smith Co Kentucky.

  2. Should have said they moved to Smith co TN before going to Haywood.