This information comes from a variety of researchers and from articles found in the Bedford County, Tennessee History Book and in History and Families of Wright County, Missouri


            John Claxton was b. 1770-1775 and d. 1836-1840, apparently in Giles Co., TN.  It is thought that John had children born in VA, TN, and possibly NC.  Where was John born?  We do not know for sure, but two pieces of documentation indicate that he came from NC.  The first of these is an 1889 Goodspeed biographical article for James A. Claxton “farmer and stock raiser of Gasconade Township, Wright Co., MO.”  This James A. is the “son of James and Temperance (Ratcliff) Claxton . . .The paternal grandfather was a native of North Carolina, and one of the first settlers of Tennessee.  He was of Dutch descent, and lived to be eighty years of age.  James Claxton, father of our subject, was born on the road from North Carolina to Tennessee . . .”  This last statement has relevance when we look at the other piece of documentation which is the marriage of a John Claxton to Frances Martin in Charlotte Co., VA in 1792:  Charlotte Co. is only 12 miles “as the crow flies” from Granville Co., NC; it is easily possible that John could have been living in NC and married in Charlotte Co., taking his bride back to NC to live – or even remaining in VA –  and then deciding to move into TN.  Whether this marriage is the John we find in TN is not clear; there is no record in TN of John’s wife’s name.  It had been thought by some researchers that her name might have been Sophia since two “probable” sons – Isaac and John, Jr. – both named a daughter Sophia.

The above statement that James A.’s father James was born “on the road” from NC to TN fits with the fact that the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses say that James was born ca. 1798 in VA and yet we find John in the 1799 Sumner Co., TN tax list as John Clackson.  In 1803 we find John Claxton in Mero District court (Mero served Davidson, Sumner, and Wilson counties) in a land dispute which states that the land John is being evicted from was originally in Sumner and is now in Wilson (which puts it south of the Cumberland River), so John is apparently in Wilson Co. when it is formed in Oct. 1799 though he is on the tax list for Sumner – taxes were probably collected in January of that year, or at least early in the year; John changed counties, but never moved.  John was in Smith County 20 FEB 1806 when he witnessed a deed between Meshack Baker and Wiley Hooker both of Smith County.  We see John still in Mero District Court in May, 1809 when the court case is continued; where he was living at that time is not clear from the court case.

John then appears on the 1812 and 1836 tax lists in Bedford Co., TN as well as the1820 and 1830 censuses there (in 1820 he is Jonathan).  It is thought that he is the Johnthon Clackston who was a sergeant in Capt. Dempsey’s Co., Col. Newton Cannon’s Regiment of the War of 1812.  In a statement made Dec. 12, 1831 by David Claxton while in the Tennessee State Prison in Nashville, David said he was born in Wilson Co., TN, raised in Smith and Bedford Counties, TN.  This matches what we know of John’s movements as listed above.  In addition, David also said that he had six brothers, one sister, and his mother and father living in Bedford Co., TN at the time.  It is on this statement, along with census and DNA information, that we base the assumptions about the children of John Claxton listed here.  By 1840 we do not find John in the census and apparently his wife is not in the household of any of the probable sons, so we assume both John and his wife had died by 1840.

Results from the Claxton DNA project show a 100% match on 37 markers for descendants of one or more children of the following people: 

     James Lee Clarkson b. ca. 1775 in VA, moved to Claiborne Co., TN, d. 1815 in Ft. Decatur, AL

     James Claxton b. 1798 in VA, d. 1871 Wright Co., MO

     David Claxton b. 1801 in Wilson Co., TN, d. 1865 in TN (according to family Bible, though he was in Lawrence Co., AR in 1860 census)

     Solomon Claxton b.1802 in NC, d. bet.1870-1880, in Giles or Bedford Co., TN

     Jeremiah Claxton b.1807 in Bedford Co., TN (according to family tradition) d.1877 in Henry Co., TN

     Avery Claxton b. ca. 1817 in TN., d. ca. 1857 in Bedford Co., TN

     Hiram Madison Claxton in TN, d.1890 in Howell Co., MO

            The above list relates to John because the children of John for whom there is acceptable documentation are James (above) b. 1798 in VA; Isaac b. 1799-1800 in TN; David (above) b. 1801 in TN; and John, Jr. b. 12 JAN 1804 in TN.  In the 1830 Bedford Co. census we find the following household relationships:

Isaac is living two houses before John (he is in Giles Co. by 1836 tax list)

James (b. 1798) is living next after John

a younger Joshua Ratliff is living next after James

John, Jr. is three households after James

an older Joshua Ratliff is living next after John, Jr. 

It has long been held that this physical closeness of these families was not coincidence but a situation of close familial relationships. 


Probable Children of John Claxton


1.  James Claxton


Based on the fact that James and John, Sr. are living next to each other in 1830 and the DNA evidence linking the descendants of James and other descendants of John, Sr., it is thought by most Claxton researchers today that James, b. 18 SEP 1798 in VA, is a son of John, Sr. b. ca. 1774.  Additional support for this is an 1843 suit in Bedford Co. Chancery Court where Thomas Parsons, administrator of John Claxton’s estate, is suing James Claxton and Benjamin Brown.  James had apparently mortgaged the land on which he was living to Brown, but apparently he did not have TITLE to the land which still belonged to John.  The court found in favor of Parsons. 


James is in Bedford Co. by 1812 as that is when we first see John Claxton there.  In January of 1818 James volunteered at Fayetteville, Lincoln Co., TN as a private in Capt. James Byrn’s company of the 1st Tennessee Volunteers commanded by Col. R. H. Dyer in the Seminole Indian War.  He was discharged in 1818 and married Temperance Rackley (Ratliff/Ratcliff) 26 APR 1819 in Bedford Co.  Temperance was b. 12 JUN 1804 in NC.  According to the Goodspeed article on James Anderson Claxton, Temperance was the daughter of Joshua Ratcliff (also Ratliff and Rackley) a Revolutionary War soldier who was wounded and “when he died at the age of ninety, the scar from the wound was still visible upon his breast.”  As noted above, in the 1830 census, living four households after James, there was a Joshua Ratliff who was in the same age bracket as John Claxton, Sr. – this would have been Temperance’s father.  In 1820 this Joshua was living in Smith County – where John had been earlier; perhaps James met Temperance while they were living in Smith County.

Below is an image comparing James’ 1820, 1830, and 1840 censuses.


The ages of the children of James in the 1830 census match those of the children known to belong to James b. 1798 in the 1850 census (with one extra child who probably died before we get names in the 1850 census), so there is no question that this is the James who married Temperance.  James and Temperance lived first in Franklin Co., TN as that is where we find them in the 1820 census. By 1830 they are in Bedford Co., TN living next door to James’ father, John, Sr. on one side and Joshua Ratliff, probably Temperance’s brother, on the other.   They remain in Bedford Co. until about 1851 when James accepts bounty land of 80 acres in MO as a result of his military service.  By 1855 they had moved to Greene Co., MO and by 1860 they were in Wright Co., MO living on Elk Creek.  James and Temperance remained on the Elk Creek land.  James died 6 OCT 1871 and Temperance died 26 NOV 1877.  They are both buried in Durbin Cemetery, Wright Co., MO.  Children of James and Temperance are:  Richard, probably b. in Franklin Co. in 1820, but all the other 11 children were born in Bedford Co.  Other children are: Henderson b. 23 JUL 1822 – d. 24 SEP 1892; Elizabeth b. 22 JUN 1825 – d. 8 OCT 1887; James Anderson b. 26 MAY 1826 – d. 25 MAR 1892; William Harve b. ca. 1829 – d. 14 NOV 1903; Joshua Calvin b. 12 APR 1831 – d. 4 JUL 1909; John Wesley b. 12 DEC 1832 – d. 4 APR 1924; Noah “Dick” b. May 1835 – d. 1915; Temperance Adeline b. JUL 1839; George Coleman “Mike” b. 1 JAN 1840 – d. 24 OCT 1903; Emily Adeline b. 18 JUN 1845 – d. 4 NOV 1925; and Margaret C. – b. 23 JAN 1848 – d. 14 APR 1880.


2.  Isaac Claxton 


In the 1830 Bedford Co., TN census for Isaac Claxton, the oldest male in the household is in the same age bracket with the older John Claxton (50-60 years old).  There is also a male and female in this household age 20-30.  The question arises as to whether the older person is the head of house (and therefore possibly a brother of John) or whether the 20-30 year old male is the head of house with the father, or father-in-law, living in the household with them; there is no corresponding female for the older male, and the ages of the children seem to indicate a possible “mixed” household since there are 3 girls under 5 and a boy and girl 10-15.  If the younger male is the head of household, then it is possible that this Isaac is a son of John and would be the Isaac that we see later in Giles Co., TN.  It is difficult to follow Isaac through the different censuses:  he is Isaac Clanton in 1820, Isaac Claxton in 1830, and Isaia Blaxton in 1840; but if these three Isaacs are compared, the ages for Isaac compare within a year or so from 1820 through the 1860 census and for his wife, Ann, through 1850 (see chart below), so it is assumed here that the 1830 Isaac who is head of household is the 20-30 year old individual and not the 50-60 year old individual.

As indicated in the census chart above, Isaac was in Lincoln Co. in 1820, Bedford Co. in 1830, and in Giles Co. by 1840.  He remains in Giles Co., on land along Pigeon Roost Creek, until his death in July of 1867.  He marries Ann _____, probably about 1819 (based on child in 1820 census).  Ann dies ca. 1856 and Isaac marries Jane Self 12 APR 1857, widow of Owenby Self (d. 1856).  On 5 FEB 1866 Isaac is appointed guardian for William J. and John Claxton, minor children of his son, William L., who died in the war.  Isaac died intestate in JUL 1867 and his children are named in the estate settlement.  Jane died after 1870; Isaac and Jane had no children. Children of Isaac and Ann are:  Sophia A. b. ca. March 1828 – d. bet. 1900-1910; Milton Dudley b. 29 NOV 1834 – d. 2 MAY 1901; William Lane b. ca. 1837 – d. 12 MAY 1863 at the Battle of Raymond, MS; Susan Emma b. ca. 1844, married Simeon Gilmore; nothing further is known about her.


3.  David Claxton


Listing David as a son is done based on his statement to the prison warden in 1831 and the fact that in the 1830 census there are only two households with individuals old enough to be David’s father and those are John and Isaac.  Of these two, only John is found in Wilson Co. in 1801 where David said he was born and, as noted above, we believe that the Isaac who is head of household in 1830 is not the older individual in that household, but the younger.  These facts leave only John as a possible father for David and his “six brothers and one sister.”  


From Marvin Claxton’s account of David’s descendants we have this statement:  “According to the Bible record of Howard Claxton, David married Rosanah Moore.”  No date is given for the marriage, but it would have been about 1827 based on the age of the oldest child of which we have record.  In the 1830 census David and Rosanah are in Cave In Rock, Gallatin Co., IL with a son and daughter both under 5 years old.  The son would be Abraham (according to Marvin’s book), and the daughter would be Martha Ann (according to the Bedford County family history book).  On 12 DEC 1831 David was received in the TN State Penitentiary having been found guilty of passing counterfeit money or bank bills at the Circuit Court of Bedford Co., TN, and sentenced to 3 years confinement.  In giving his personal information to the warden, it is not clear why he neglected to mention his wife and two children.   He was discharged by expiration of his sentence on 15 JAN 1835 having been detained 35 days for bad conduct.  David and Rosanah had the following children:  Abraham b. 1828, Jonathan b. ca. 1837, James J. b. ca. 1839, William C. b. ca. 1841, and Emaline b. ca. 1843.


At this point we change sources.  Marvin’s book says that David left Bedford Co. between 1843 and 1850 and it was thought that he went to the area around Cameron, TX as that was where two of his sons later went; Marvin had no further information on him.  Where he went exactly we may never know, but he wound up in Montgomery Co., TN and married Eliza Taylor 1 AUG 1849.  The marriage record is for “D. C. Claxton,” so no one put together that it was David until a happy coincidence led us to realize that we had “found” Rosanah’s missing David!  And with the new information about his wife, we found them in the 1850 census in Montgomery Co.  They were not there long, however, as by 1860 they are in Duty, Lawrence Co., AR with son Zachary T(aylor) age 8.  Notes from Zachary Taylor’s descendant say that their family Bible says that David was b. in England and that he died in TN in 1865.  We know that he wasn’t born in England, but it is possible that he died in 1865 – at least we do not find him in the 1870 census as Eliza and Zachary (Zachariah) are in Jasper, Newton Co., AR.  By 1880 Eliza is living in Zachary’s household in Mill Creek township, Newton Co., so it is quite possible that David died in 1865 as the Bible says.  The two censuses where we do find David list him as b. in TN.




4. John Claxton (Jr.)


John Claxton (Jr.) is listed as a son of John based more on the fact that he is living close to John in the 1830 census, and, according to the Bedford Co., TN History Book, his descendants and those of James (son of John) who remained in Bedford Co. called each other “cousin” indicating a family relationship.


So John, Jr. was b. 12 JAN 1804 in TN.  He married Sallie (Sarah?) _____ probably about 1825 as they have a son and two daughters by the 1830 census.  In 1830 he is living in Bedford Co., TN four households after John Claxton (Sr.), next door to the older Joshua Ratliff and three houses after James Claxton, son-in-law of that Joshua Ratliff.  By 1840 the census shows he is still in Bedford Co., but his wife and son are gone and he is left with three daughters.  In Pisgah Cemetery near North Fork Church in Bedford Co. there is a tombstone for John Kimbro Claxton, July 16, 1829-Oct. 3, 1830, and one for “Sallie wife of John Claxton born June 10, 1802 died July 27, 1835.”  These would explain the change from the 1830 to 1840 censuses.   In 1850 John, Jr. is living in the household of Arthur Da(o)ulton and has Elizabeth E., age 18, with him.  It is thought by researchers that this is actually Arthur DONELSON whose land joined John, Jr., and who was possibly the father of John’s first wife and took John and his children into his household when John’s wife died in 1835.  Elizabeth L. (initial is L on her tombstone) was b. 15 SEP 1832; other children – based on tombstones in Pisgah Cemetery – are Sophia Jane b. 24 SEP 1825 and Matilda b. 27 JUN 1827.  John m. second Margaret Oakley (Oakny on Cannon Claxton’s death certificate, but we do not find any Oaknys in Bedford Co., only Oakleys).  Children of this marriage are dau. T. A. (Temperance?) b. 1856, Cannon L. b. 10 DEC 1859 (tombstone says 1850, but the 1860 census lists him as age 6/12 which would put his birth in DEC 1859), and Joshua b. 1862.  John, Jr. died 10 AUG 1869 in Bedford Co., and is buried in Pisgah Cemetery.




Other Possible sons of John


5.  Jonathan F. (or T. or H.) Claxton


Jonathan F. (also found T. and H.) was b. ca. 1793 in NC according to the 1850 and 1860 censuses.  This definitely makes him a candidate for being a son of John.  We also see Jonathan in the 1830 census where he has a male under age 5, two males age 5-10, 1 male age 10-15, another male age 20-30 and Jonathan age 30-40; females he has one 5-10, one 10-15, and one 15-20 with his wife also in the 30-40 age bracket.  The wife’s age here does not match with his wife, Dorcas, in 1850 and later censuses, so it is possible that his first wife died after 1830 and he then married Dorcas.  The only child for whom we have a name is Andrew J. who was b. ca. 1842.


6.  Avery Claxton


Avery Claxton was born about 1815 in Tennessee according to the 1850 census which is the only census in which we find him listed.  He married Leatha Nichols about 1842 (according to the age of the oldest child in the 1850 census and the fact that we do not see him listed in the 1840 census).  In 1850 Avery and Leatha are living in District 5 of Bedford Co., TN.  Children in the household in that census are:  Sarah b. 1842, Salinda (Jane) b. 1844, William (Morgan) b. 1846, James H(enry). b. 1847, and John W(esley) b. 1849.  According to the census all the children were born in TN which would be in Bedford Co.  In the 1870 census we find three more children:  Risden C. b. 1854 and Frances Catherine (Fannie) b. 24 APR 1855 still in Leatha’s household and Thomas Leander b. APR 1851 who is living next door to Leatha. 


7.  Wesley Claxton


Wesley Claxton is found in the 1836 Bedford Co. tax list.  Nothing further is known about Wesley, but Wesley becomes a common name among Claxton families.