Previous research on the middle Tennessee Claxtons was done with an emphasis on Bedford County. Several individual articles were published in the “Bedford County Tennessee Family History Book” and a well composed article was developed by Carolyn Smotherman. Over the years many people were collectively involved in creating these articles. Names that come to mind are Carolyn Smotherman, Marvin Claxton, Thelma Magures Phillips, Mrs. Delois Eaton and Kathryn Hamilton. Though many others were involved I believe these to be the primary figures. For the past several years there has been a Claxton research group that has been sharing research. Even though each has their own Claxton line with which they work the most, they do share between themselves. They are Carolyn Smotherman, Kathryn Hamilton, Brad and Julia Brittain, Bill Clarkson, Wanda Claxton Warehime, Roberta Estes, and Tommy and Mary Ann Claxton. Our ranks have already dwindled as we have lost Tommy Allen, Thelma Magures Phillips, Julia Brittain, and Marvin Claxton.
Except for Roberta Estes and Wanda Claxton Warehime their research was primarily involved with Bedford County, Tennessee and the counties surrounding Bedford County. In addition they researched Granville County, North Carolina, and Sumer County, Tennessee. Roberta Estes’ primary research was on the James Lee Claxton/Clarkson line as it moved from Russell County, VA to the Kentucky-Tennessee state line area of Claiborne and Hancock Counties in TN. Wanda Claxton Warehime’s research was primarily on the James Claxton that married Polly Martin in Sumner County, TN. She followed her line thru west Tennessee, northern Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri.
The age of technology has brought many of the same records to us in a more accessible, digital format to view from home online with our computers. With the many search options, we are now able to look at the data with much greater ease from many different directions and include several name spelling options with greater ease. With this in mind we have been able to expand our research over the same ground previously covered but perhaps in more detail, and we have been more able to make educated assumptions developed by the new review of the research. This research is ongoing and someone is always finding something new to add.
The weakest research of the early Claxton settlers in Tennessee involves a very scattered group of Claxtons and Clarksons in the upper east Tennessee regions above Knoxville, TN. This is where the Wilderness Road came through Virginia into Tennessee. This was a major migration route from the southern colonies not only to Tennessee but to the southern regions like Alabama and Mississippi as well as the western regions beyond the Mississippi River. Sometimes families might stop in an area not far from the trail for a few months, thus leaving a small mark in the local records and then moving on westward leaving no trace.
In Tennessee there are at least four different defined groups of Claxton/Clarkson families that had entered the state by or during the early 1800’s. One group came from northeastern Virginia down through Virginia and the Wilderness Road into Tennessee, coming through Knoxville and settling in what is now Anderson County by 1801. This family had some loss of life due to the Indians. The part of this family that remained in Tennessee used the surname of Claxton and moved north into the Tennessee counties of Scott and Campbell as well as some neighboring Kentucky counties. Tommy Claxton and Ron Claxton are the primary researchers of this line and this research can be found online at http://stonehunter.info. Look for the descendants of Caswell Claxton of Anderson and Campbell Counties in TN. The part of the family that moved westward used the surname of Clarkson. The major researcher on the Clarkson branch is Alice Turley. Her family has done extensive research on this family and has information that can be found on-line at http://www.AliceTurley.com. Look for the descendants of David Clarkson/Claxton and Ann Perkins. (2016 Note: This link is currently dead, I hope to have it on stonehunter.info in the near future)
A second group came down the Powell River from Russell County, Virginia and settled on the Kentucky/Tennessee line in Lee County, Kentucky and Claiborne and Hancock Counties in Tennessee. Roberta Estes is the primary researcher on this family and her research can be found online at http://www.stonehunter.info. Look for the descendants of James Lee Claxton/Clarkson of Russell and Lee counties in VA and Claiborne County, TN.
A third group came from Fauquier County in northern Virginia and settled in Gibson and northern Fayette Counties of West Tennessee in the 1830’s. Tommy Claxton is the primary researcher of this line and his research can be found online at http://www.stonehunter.info. Look for the descendants of Jeremiah Claxton of Fauquier County VA.
The fourth group has probably the earliest and largest presence in Tennessee. They were in the big movement of the opening of the Cumberland Settlements of northern middle Tennessee. They waited until the treaties with the Indians were done and enforced before they made their move from Granville County, North Carolina to the Cumberland Settlements of Middle Tennessee. They had to have traveled what was known unofficially as the “Old Avery Trace” coming from Fort Southwest Point at Kingston, TN, up over Walden Ridge at Rockwood, down the famed drop on Spencer’s Mountain at Crab Orchard where they cut logs for anchors behind the wagons to go down the mountain side, through Cookeville, crossing the Cumberland River at Fort Blount between Jackson and Smith Counties and on to the Gallatin, TN area via old buffalo trails and Indian trails. Except for Kingston, TN all the towns mentioned above did not exist. Though not greatly improved, but perhaps a better marked trail, the Walton Road was opened from Kingston, TN to present day Carthage, TN at about the same time this group entered the Cumberland Settlement. The Walton Road split off the old road, “Avery Trace”, just west of present day Cookeville, Tennessee and continued to the mouth of the Caney Fork River at the Cumberland River near present day Carthage, TN. The route from Kingston, TN to Carthage, TN followed very closely the present day highway, US 70. In fact some of the old trails and roadbeds can be seen in many places crossing and following US 70 today. One road bed can be seen at the northern edge of the mowed grass at the west bound I-40 rest area just west of the Crab Orchard exit. In Daddy’s Creek immediately east of the rest area one can still see logs in the creek that supported the wagons crossing the creek. At Crossville one can see the big rocks laid across the Obed River for the wagons to cross.
In the beginning the Cumberland Settlement was basically a rectangle section of land bounded by the Tennessee River on the west down to an east west line located about the Duck River on the south and squaring up on the east to where the Cumberland River enters Tennessee from Kentucky. In this North Carolina Military Reservation the county of Davidson was formed containing the entire area. From that the counties of Sumner and Tennessee were formed. Today the Cumberland Settlements include all the counties south of Kentucky state line from Stewart County down to Marshall County and back up to Smith and Jackson Counties. The first areas to be settled were primarily present day Sumner and Davidson Counties.
Of the four groups of Claxton/Clarksons that entered early Tennessee history, only two show a close kinship through DNA. One group is the James Lee Claxton/Clarkson line of Russell County, VA. James Lee was born about 1775. Even though his DNA shows kinship we have not been able to document any shred of evidence that there is a connection between his group and the middle Tennessee group that was headed up by James Claxton from Granville County, North Carolina. Many of the middle Tennessee family stories try to connect James Lee as the father of a James Claxton born in 1798 but we know his father to be John Claxton born about 1774. Most of the records for James Lee use the Claxton surname but his descendants primarily used the Clarkson surname. There are some descendants today in and around Knox County, TN that still go by Claxton. Some of the researchers are working on allied families of these two groups and have had some similar family names and occurrences to show up in the research, but as of yet we have not made any connections.
The Claxton name has been found spelled in various ways. One time it was spelled three ways within one court document. The name variations include: Claxton, Clarkson, Clarkston, Clackson, Clackton, Clackston, Clackstone, and Clanton. Claxton has been transcribed as Clayton but usually a verification of the original record reveals it to be Claxton.
The DNA for the group of Claxton/Clarksons that moved into Anderson County, TN in 1801 show a distant DNA match, but not a close match, to the groups of James Lee of Russell County, VA and James of Granville Co., NC. The Fauquier Co., VA group of Claxtons have yet to show a close match in the DNA samples tested so far. We need more DNA samples from other members of this line.
For more information on the Claxton/Clarkson DNA project as well as a more in depth study of the genealogy and sources go to http://www.stonehunter.info and follow the links. Any male with a Claxton or Clarkson surname is invited to purchase a DNA test kit from Family Tree DNA and join the Claxton/Clarkson DNA project. Once you have joined the Claxton/Clarkson DNA project a project administrator will contact you about your lineage and help you to compare your DNA test results with the other members of the project.
This compilation of facts about the early Claxton settlers of Tennessee was written to present the findings and conclusions of our research of the Claxton families in Tennessee without a lot of detail and sources to interfere with the read of the information. If one wants more information you are invited to go to http://www.stonehunter.info and follow the links to specific Claxton families. The progenitor of this middle Tennessee family is James Claxton of Granville County, NC. There one will find narratives about the families as well as more detailed descendancy charts. This web site will continue to be a work in progress adding new sources, new information, as well as adding new lines to the descendancy charts. There will also be contact information on the web site for those that need assistance in finding their genealogy or for someone who has corrections or new information to share. If you find a mistake we welcome the new information and ask that you share documentation to support the new information.
Claxtons That Settled the Cumberland Settlement Region
The Cumberland Settlement Region of Tennessee had Claxtons that settled in present day Sumner, Wilson and Smith counties. This article will focus on the middle Tennessee group from Granville County, North Carolina that settled in the Cumberland Settlement region of Middle Tennessee. These settlers are being listed in the order they appeared on records in Tennessee.
James Claxton: James first appeared in the Sumner County records in a 1798 Tax List. He does not appear again in any records until 1808 when he is in court on trial for assault. Some believe he brought part of the family on his first trip and then returned to Granville County, NC to dispose of his lands, to see that those that may have remained there were taken care of with land, etc., and then to bring the remaining family to TN. There were some land transfers in Granville County during that time period.
In Tennessee there are a few other court cases for James after 1808 and then tax records for 1809 and 1810. James appears in the 1820 Sumner County Census with himself and another male in the over 45 range. The female listed is also over 45 years old. On Nov. 30, 1826 John Shaver (James’ son-in-law) files as the administrator for the estate of James Claxton.
John Claxton: John Claxton is the second Claxton to appear in the Sumner County Records. John is in the 1799 Sumner County tax record. In October of 1799 Wilson County was formed out of Sumner County. The land that John was living on in 1799 was in a land grant for Nicholas Coonrod that was located at Big Spring on Cedar Creek in southern Sumner County in the area which became the eastern part of Wilson County at that county’s formation. Today Big Spring can be found at the intersection of Big Springs Road and Old Rome Pike along with evidence of old rock structures and fences. From 1803 thru 1809 there was a court case filed by Coonrod against James Vincent to determine who owned the land. Vincent lost the case so John, as he was one of the tenants of James Vincent, had to leave the land. John is next found in 1806 in Smith County where John was a witness to a deed. In 1812 John is listed in the Bedford County Tax List. In 1820 he is listed in the U.S. Census of Bedford County as Jonathan and listed with 4 male children and 3 female children. John is >45 and has no wife listed. In 1826 John is listed as a buyer in the estate sale of James Claxton in Sumner County. John is listed in the Bedford County 1836 Tax List and by 1840 John is not in the Census. On August 13, 1840 a suit by Thomas Parsons as administrator of John Claxton’s estate is entered in Bedford County. The suit states John Claxton was a citizen of Giles County.
There is a marriage record for a John Claxton and Francis Martin on December 4, 1792 in Charlotte County, VA. We are not sure if this is the same John or not but the dates and region do match, especially the family stories as well as a Goodspeed record in Missouri.
Rebecca Claxton Shaver: According to an article “The Shavers of Evening Shade, Arkansas”(source unknown) and according to information on Find-A-Grave for Rebecca Shaver in Evening Shade, AR, Rebecca Claxton was born March 16, 1783 in North Carolina and married John Shaver in Sumner County, TN about 1800. John Shaver paid taxes in Sumner County in 1811 on 344 acres on Rocky Creek. This made him a neighbor to James and Joshua Claxton. John Shaver was the administrator for James Claxton’s Sumner County estate in 1826. John Shaver died in Sumner County on July 15, 1857. During the Civil War Rebecca Claxton Shaver went to Evening Shade, AR to visit with her son, John Wesley Shaver. Rebecca Claxton Shaver died there on October 23, 1865.
Mary Claxton Omohundro: Mary Claxton married William Omohundro in Granville County, North Carolina in 1794. William is found in the Wilson County Tax List in 1804, 1806, and 1807. By 1820 William has apparently died as Mary is found as head of household in the 1820 Bedford County Census.
Jeremiah Claxton: Jeremiah Claxton is found in Sumner County records in 1804 and 1806 as a bondsman to two marriages. With this evidence, it is thought that Jeremiah was born by 1783.
Susannah Claxton: Susannah Claxton is the next Claxton that appears in the Sumner County Records. She was married to Stephen Evans in Sumner County on May 7, 1805. The 1820 Sumner County Census for Steven Evans shows positions for Steven age range 16-25 and Susannah Evans age range 26-45. We do not have any more records on her in Sumner County but there are some interesting assumptions to be made later in this article involving some Evans children and Anderson Claxton all of Arkansas.
Joshua Claxton: Joshua Claxton is the next Claxton to appear in the Sumner County records. We are not sure when Joshua was born as the only Census that Joshua appears in is the 1820 Census. He was in the broad age range of 26-44 which places him being born between 1776 and 1794. Since he did not appear in any Sumner County records before 1806 it is assumed that is when he came of age or soon before. 21 years off of 1806 would put his birth date between 1776 and 1785, probably closer to 1785.
Anson Claxton: Anson Claxton is the next middle Tennessee Claxton to appear in the records. Anson was still in Granville County, North Carolina in 1800 as he appeared in the 1800 North Carolina Census for Granville County as age 26 to 44 with 2 boys and a girl under the age of 10. Anson first appears in Sumner County in 1809 when he paid taxes for one poll but with no acreage. Based upon the ages of the children, we would place his age closer to the 26 than the 44. Later in this article we estimate Anson’s birth to be in the 1771-1774 range.
Nancy Claxton: Nancy Claxton appears in a Wilson County marriage record where Nancy Clarkson and John Bachelor were married on November 17, 1813. John Bachelor appears in the 1830 Maury County Census and in the 1840 Bedford County Census. There is speculation, but we have not been able to document any more on John and Nancy.
Nancy Claston: Another Nancy Claston (Claxton) appears in the 1816 Sumner County Tax List. The tax record is: ”237 Acres – 2wp; 3bp; 0 where on she lives.” This indicates she has 2 white men age 21 or more living in her household as they paid poll tax. Since she has 2 men that paid poll tax and 3 that paid a black poll, she must be over 21 and perhaps as much as 36 or more. This would put her birth at least by 1795 and perhaps as early as 1780. This is all the information we have on her. Since she has a family we do not know if Claxton is her married or maiden name and thus maybe a daughter-in-law or a daughter to James. A NC census reviewed later in this article implies she is a daughter-in-law. There is a Nancy Claxton that shows up in the Franklin County 1830 Census, but we have yet to make a connection between them.
James Claxton: James Claxton is the last Claxton to appear in Sumner County records. James is found in a marriage record where he married Polly Martin on March 3, 1817.
Except for Rebecca Claxton Shaver, who did not leave Sumner County until the Civil War, Susan Ross Claxton (Joshua’s ex-wife) was the last Claxton found in the Census records in Sumner County. There were no Claxtons in the 1840 or 1850 Sumner County Censuses. The remaining Claxtons that first entered the Cumberland Settlement seemed to have left that region shortly after the probable middle Tennessee Claxton family patriarch, James Claxton, died in 1826. This included present day Sumner, Wilson and Smith counties.
The Claxtons That Settled Middle Tennessee and Beyond
After the Claxtons left the Cumberland Settlements they mostly moved around in the Tennessee counties between the Cumberland River and the Alabama state line with four exceptions, Jeremiah to Hopkins County, Kentucky, James to west Tennessee and Rebecca Claxton Shaver and perhaps Susannah Claxton Evans to Arkansas. This article will now focus on the descendants of our early middle Tennessee settlers through the first and some of the second generations from the probable progenitor James Claxton of Granville County, NC. An attempt will be made to place them in the proper households in order from the oldest to the youngest.
James Claxton of Granville County, North Carolina and his children: Based upon ages, census and known relationships it is believed that most all the already mentioned Claxton settlers are children or grandchildren of the James Claxton that died in 1826. Carolyn Smotherman gave us a copy of a record for which the source was found in Rowan County, NC. This is where we first see record of a James Claxton in two 1765 Rowan Co., NC court entries. The first is a 28 MAR entry: “The King vs. James Claxton. Larceny petit. Guilty.” The second is 13 APR where Thomas Bryant was ordered to care for “orphant James Claxton” until the next court when James is to be “bound out.” People could be “bound out” at least as early as 9 years of age and perhaps earlier and on up until age 21 when they would be released from their bondage.
We next see a James in 1769 in Granville Co., NC where he pays tax; if he was “bound out” that would mean he could be at least 21 when he paid taxes which would put his birth year prior to 1748. Whether the Rowan Co. court records and the Granville Co. tax record are the same James Claxton is not clear. In Ancestry there is a transcribed copy of the “State Census of North Carolina 1784-1787.” The census, which was taken on August 9, 1786, lists a James Clackton in the Dutch District of Granville County, NC with 1 white male age 21 – 60, 6 white males under 21 and above 60, and 4 white females of all ages for a total of 11 people enumerated. So we know James had quite a large family while in NC. Other records show James had purchased a lot of land in Granville County, NC.
We have found a Goodspeed record on James A. Claxton of Wright County, Missouri that states, “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.” Since James died in 1826 the age of 80 would make his birth year 1746. This makes a good case for the Granville County, NC James to be the grandfather mentioned in the Goodspeed record.
Having settled on the date of 1746 for the birth of James Claxton, a possible first child of James Claxton is noted by Bill Clarkson who reminds us that the marriage record for 1) Jemima Claxton to Aaron Reid on Feb. 17, 1783 in Granville County, NC with James Claxton as bondsman and Sherwood Harris as a witness fits, provided James married at about 18 and Jemima married at about 18. Any later on James’ birth and we would have to consider her more likely a sister to James. The guess for Jemima’s birth year is about 1765.
With the review of the 1786 NC Census, if we remove Jemima Claxton Reid from the count, as she was married before the census, and count Nancy Claxton found in the 1816 Sumner County Tax List as a daughter-in-law married to an unknown son of James Claxton, this census along with a relationship through other census records, court records, taxes, deeds, and probate records, makes the following a list of probable children of James Claxton of NC in chronological order: 1) Jemima Reid, 2) Anson, 3) John, 4) Mary Omohundro, 5) Joshua, 6) Jeremiah, 7) Rebecca Shaver, 8) Unknown Son (husband of probable daughter-in-law Nancy Claxton), 9) Susannah Evans, 10) Unknown Son, and 11) James. Of these Claxton lines we have Claxton surname DNA that matches on Anson, John, and James. Jeremiah died in 1815 and never married. The DNA for Joshua’s line does not match as closely as we would like and due to some questionable relationships in the family we need additional DNA samples from certain branches of this line.
2) Anson Claxton is the second oldest of the possible children of James. According to the 1800 Granville Co., NC Census, Anson was in the 26-44 age range with 2 sons and 1 daughter in the 0-9 age range. Given the fact that Thomas Claxton, a probable son of Anson, is in an 1809 Sumner Co. court record, we have calculated that Anson perhaps was married by 1790 and born about 1770. This makes Anson’s age right to be a probable son of James.
Later in 1809, Anson purchased 25 acres of land from James Winchester in Sumner Co., TN. This land was located on the east side of Bledsoe Creek, just across the creek and north of the present day Cragfont House. Anson paid taxes for 1 poll and 25 acres in 1810 and 1811. In 1813 Thomas paid the tax for 1 poll and 25 acres. Then in 1814 Anson sold the land but it was not recorded until 1820. The last evidence of Anson Claxton we have found is where he was a witness to the marriage of Hiram Claxton and Patsey Steele on October 28, 1817 in Christian County, Kentucky. In the 1820 Sumner County, TN Census for James Claxton of NC there is an unknown male in the household that could be Anson. Perhaps Anson at the age of about 50 moved into his father’s house. James was about 74 years old and either James or Anson would have been without a wife as only one female was in the household.
Although there is no additional information on Anson Claxton, there is an interesting fact concerning Anderson Claxton. Two years after the death of James, Anderson Claxton shows up for the first time in a marriage in Bedford County. In the book “Red River Settlers” by Edythe Rucker Whitley on page 74 in an article about the Tatum Family, it states that Anderson Claxton married Rosannah Tatum in September of 1828 and it also states that Anderson died in 1849 in Pulaski County, Arkansas. Anderson is also in the 1840 Franklin County, Arkansas Census age 60 to 69. Interpolating the census data between Anson’s 1800 census, James’ 1820 census, and Anderson’s 1840 census, and if they are the same person, that would put the birth year for Anson in the range of 1771-1774.
Now for a very interesting set of circumstances found in the records by Bill Clarkson: In Franklin County, Arkansas in 1839-1841 there are three Evans children seeking guardians. One child asked for Eli M. Tatum to be her guardian. Eli is the son of Rosannah Tatum Claxton. Another child asked for Anderson Claxton to be her guardian. If Anson Claxton and Anderson Claxton were the same person and if Susannah Claxton Evans of Sumner County, TN was the mother of these children, that would be like asking Uncle Anderson (Anson) to be the child’s guardian. Other than the timing and location we have no other reason to think Susannah might be a sister to Anson and a daughter of James Claxton of NC and that Anson and Anderson are the same person.
Thomas Claxton was also involved in Sumner County, TN court cases with Joshua Claxton and Thomas paid his first poll tax in 1813 in Sumner County, TN. Based on this, Thomas was born by 1792 meaning he could be one of the two males under 10 in Anson’s 1800 census. At one point Thomas paid the taxes on Anson’s land. Thomas could have been in either James’ or Anson’s household but it is felt he had a closer relationship with Anson.
Nancy Claxton Bachelor married John Bachelor in 1813 in Wilson County. The 1830 Maury County Census for John Bachelor has the older female in the 30-39 age range. This helps us place her as being born about 1795. Thus she would fit for the young female in Anson’s 1800 Census. Researcher Brad Brittain shared research from Ollie Joyce Batchler Eaton that J.E. Batchler, son of John and Nancy moved to Ellis County, TX. Nancy was her GGG-Grandmother.
Hiram Claxton was born in 1798 in NC according to the 1850 and 1860 Censuses. Since Anson was the oldest known Claxton male in NC at that time, Hiram fits as the second young male in Anson’s 1800 Census. Anson was also a witness for Hiram’s marriage.
Solomon Claxton was born in 1802 in NC according to the 1850 Census. Since Anson was the only known male Claxton left in Granville Co., North Carolina after 1800 this leads us to believe Solomon’s father is Anson Claxton. The primary researcher for Solomon’s line is Tommy Claxton
Jeremiah Claxton of Marshall and Henry Counties was born between 1807 and 1814. There are conflicting dates between his tombstone and several census records. After placing all the other children in their families, Anson’s household is the only place left to put Jeremiah. This fits as Jeremiah’s life prior to 1836 is a total mystery as well as Anson’s life after 1817. Some have questioned Joshua as a father, but until we get better DNA on Joshua, Anson’s line is the best match. The primary researcher for Jeremiah Claxton of Marshall and Henry Counties in TN is Tommy Claxton.
in conclusion, the children of Anson Claxton are believed to be
Thomas, Nancy, Hiram, Solomon and Jeremiah.
3) John Claxton was born about 1774 in NC. James is the only known person in Granville County old enough to be his father. John appeared in the Sumner County Tax list one year after James appeared. John also was a buyer in the estate sale of James Claxton in 1826. It is thought that John had children born in VA, TN, and possibly NC. Where was John born? We believe he was born in NC as his first born, Jonathan, was born in NC in 1793 and his father, James, was said to be a native of NC. Two statements were recorded that help us to define James and John and some of their family.
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 . . .”
It is believed there is an error here as the paternal grandfather should have been the paternal great-grandfather. This matches James who died in Sumner County, Tennessee at the age of 80. James was in Sumner County by 1797, and John was there by 1798 and was between the ages of 62 and 66 when he died.
The last sentence in the Goodspeed article has relevance for two reasons. First 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.
A second reason of relevance for the last statement of the Goodspeed article is the possible migration route. It was possible to have migrated from Granville County, NC to TN by going westerly across NC, but it is believed the best route was to go north through Charlotte County, VA then westward to Fort Chiswell, VA where the Wilderness Road toward TN began. This path follows the Goodspeed article for when James (1798) was born.
The second statement relative to John was made by David Claxton upon entering the Tennessee State Prison in 1831. An excerpt from his prison statement says, "Born in Wilson Co., TN, and raised in Smith & Bedford counties Tennessee 7 miles north of Shelbyville. Has 6 brothers and one sister in said county. … His father and mother living in Bedford Co., TN."
John Claxton first lived in the part of Sumner County that became Wilson County in October of 1799, the same year he appeared in the Sumner County Tax record, and then moved to Smith County by 1806 as we found him there as a witness to a deed. He then moved to Bedford County and stayed there until after the 1836 taxes were collected and then he moved to Giles County, TN. John is found in the Bedford County 1820 and 1830 Censuses.
Jonathan Claxton: In the 1820 Census in Maury County a John Claton has the oldest male between the ages of 26-44. The 1850 Census for Jonathan F Claxton of Wilson is the matching Census for the above mentioned 1820 Census and it states the age as 57 and born in NC. Thus Jonathan Claxton was born about 1793. This person would fit into Anson’s 1800 Census but records show that Anson has a relationship with Thomas and Hiram who already have those spots filled in the 1800 Census; no recorded relationship is seen between Anson and Jonathan F. A conclusion here is that Jonathan Claxton born 1793 is probably a son of John Claxton born about 1774.
James Claxton was born 1798 in VA and is considered to be the next child of John Claxton based on the above mentioned Goodspeed article where it is said that he was born on the road from North Carolina to Tennessee and that John appears in Sumner County in 1798. James has his own Census record in 1820.
Isaac Claxton was born in 1799 or 1800 in TN according to the 1850 and 1860 censuses of Giles County, TN. Isaac is in Lincoln County in the 1820 Census, in Bedford County in the 1830 Census and in Giles County by the 1836 Tax List. The most notable family relationship fact for Isaac is that John moved from Bedford County to Giles County just before he died. Thomas S. Parsons of Giles County was the administrator of John’s estate, and a Bedford Co. lawsuit brought by Parsons for the estate says that John was a citizen of Giles Co. Thus Isaac appears to be the next son of John Claxton. Thomas Parsons and Isaac Claxton lived close to each other at the headwaters of Pigeon Roost Creek and it is thought by some researchers that Parsons may have married one of John’s daughters. The headwaters of Pigeon Roost Creek are located across the highway west of New Zion church. A son of Isaac is buried in the old section of New Zion Cemetery very near the old New Zion Church building. These were good reasons for John to move to Giles County late in his life. The primary researcher for Isaac’s line is Tommy Claxton
David Claxton, born in 1801, stated in his 1831 prison statement that he was 30 years old, born in Wilson County and raised in Smith and Bedford Counties. John Claxton is the only Claxton of the right age to be David’s father that moved around in that pattern. The 1850 Census of Montgomery County, TN states David is age 50. David could fit in John’s 1820 Census as the male age 16-25. The primary researchers for David Claxton are Brad Brittain and the late Marvin Claxton.
Wesley Claxton was mentioned in the 1836 tax list of Bedford County in District 8. The list implies that Wesley was a close neighbor of John Claxton and most of John’s children who were also listed in the District 8 section of the 1836 Bedford County Tax List. Wesley’s being there indicates he might be a child of John, Sr. To be on the 1836 tax list and thus at least age 21, it is figured he must have been born about 1815 or before. Also there is a marriage record for Mary Claxton (b. ca. 1818, dau. of Hiram Claxton) to Wesley Clanton on 18 APR 1858 in Franklin Co., TN. They are in the 1860 and 1870 censuses in Lincoln Co., TN, and, though Wesley had children by his first wife, Elzora (seen in 1850 Franklin Co., TN census), Wesley and Mary had no children. Whether this is the same Wesley we do not know. Wesley’s surname is consistently spelled Clanton and his place of birth is different in all three censuses: VA, then NC, then TN. Nothing further is known about Wesley, but Wesley becomes a commonly used name among Claxton families. Thus in the 1820 Census he would could have been between the ages of 5 and 10. Wesley would fit in the 1820 Census for John, Sr. as there are 3 slots for the males in the age 0-9 range.
John Claxton Jr., according to his tombstone, was born January 12, 1804. The 1850 Census said born in NC but the 1860 Census said born in TN which is what was expected. John Jr. would fit in the 10 to 15 year age range of John Sr.’s 1820 Census. The primary researcher for John Claxton Jr. is Kathryn Hamilton.
Avery Claxton was born about 1815 in Tennessee according to the 1850 census which is the only census in which we find Avery listed. He married Leatha Nichols about 1842 (according to the age of the oldest child in the 1850 census). The fact that we do not see him listed in the 1840 census implies he is not married and perhaps living in another household. Avery fits into the 1820 and 1830 censuses of John, Sr. of Bedford Co. In 1850 Avery and Leatha are living in District 5 of Bedford County.
In the 1830 Census John, Sr. still has 2 males living in his household which can be identified as Avery and Wesley. Also living in Bedford County in 1830 are Jonathan, Isaac, James, and John Jr. This identifies the six brothers mentioned in David’s prison statement. The remaining sister has not been identified. David would fit between Isaac and Wesley in the list of seven known sons of John Sr. At this time none of the daughters are known to us. The primary researcher for Avery Claxton was the late Thelma Magures Phillips.
4) Mary Claxton Omohundro was married to William Omohundro in Granville County, North Carolina on December 22, 1794. William paid taxes in Wilson County, Tennessee in 1804, 1806, and 1807. Even if she married young, she would be too old to be a child of Anson or John Claxton, thus she must be a child of James Claxton of Granville County, North Carolina. The Omohunro line is well researched in the book “The Omohundro Family History” by Malvern Hill Omohundro. Mary’s children can be found in this Omohundro Family book
5) Joshua Claxton was one of the few Claxtons that purchased land in early Sumner County. Since his first appearance was in the Sumner County land records of 1806 we have assumed that was possibly when he came of age or soon before. With the 1820 Census and 21 years off of 1806 this would put his birth date between 1776 and 1785. This record in 1806 was when a Military Bounty Land Warrant for 247 acres on Rocky Creek was re-assigned to Joshua from Peter Fisher. This particular land warrant was later involved in the Glasgow land fraud. In 1809 Joshua was in court about his land and he obtained an appeal to the Superior Court of the Mero District. John Shaver and James Claxton were securities for the appeal. Tennessee later decided in favor of Joshua on the land. Then in 1821 the Tennessee State Legislature passed an act to specifically reissue his land warrant. The next year after purchasing the land Joshua married Susannah Rice on Oct. 3, 1810. We have since determined the name Rice was actually Ross. A contested land grant listed the heirs as several Ross siblings and Joshua Claxton, he being the husband of Susannah Ross. Between 1818 and 1823 in Sumner County, TN Joshua buys and sells several tracts of land, appears on tax lists and on marriage records as bondsman. Apparently Joshua and Susannah Ross got a divorce as she is seen in the 1830 Census as Susan Claxton in Sumner County. She also is found in Davidson County censuses in 1840 and 1850. She dies in Nashville in 1859 at the age of 58.
Joshua remarried in Dickson County, TN to a Delila Hand on October 15, 1838. Joshua apparently died in 1849 or early 1850 as Delila was in the 1850 Dickson County Census with children, and after she married William O. McBride on July 30, 1858 they appear in the 1860 Stewart County census with a 9 year old Claxton child. Joshua was not in the census Mortality Schedule for 1850.
The primary researcher for Joshua Claxton was Tommy Allen. Tommy passed away recently. The research on Joshua’s line has not been updated in some time, especially since a lot of the online resources have been made available to us. Hopefully this will be a project for someone to update the information.
6) Jeremiah Claxton is found in Sumner County records in 1804 and 1806 as a bondsman to two marriages. If this was when Jeremiah came of age, it is thought that Jeremiah would have been born by 1783 or earlier. Since Anson and John are not old enough to be a father of Jeremiah, he is probably a son of James. In 1809, Jeremiah served on a jury and paid taxes on 640 acres and 1 Poll. We are not sure he owned this land. He may have paid the taxes for someone else. In 1812 we find Jeremiah in Hopkins County, Kentucky. There was a court case involving his being drunk and other things. At about the same time some other similar court cases in Hopkins County were continued as the defendants were allowed to sign up in the military to go to New Orleans. Apparently this is what happened to Jeremiah as he was wounded in the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815 and died from those wounds on February 12, 1815. A note of interest here is that Joshua Claxton’s mother-in-law was living in Hopkins County, Kentucky as per a prison statement made by Joshua’s son, James Claxton. A point could be made here that Jeremiah and brother, Joshua, had reason to move to or visit Hopkins County, Kentucky. The primary researcher for Jeremiah Claxton of Sumner County, TN and Hopkins County, KY is Tommy Claxton
7) Rebecca Claxton Shaver is also too old to be a child of John or Anson so we have listed her as a daughter of James Claxton.
8) Unknown Son (probable husband of Nancy Claxton): after viewing the Sumner County Tax record it was determined that Nancy’s birth was least by 1795 and perhaps as early as 1780. So here we must say Nancy is probably a daughter-in-law to James Claxton. Based upon this it is probable that the Unknown Claxton Son was enumerated in his father’s household during the 1786 Census of Granville County, NC.
9) Susannah Claxton Evans has a marriage record in Sumner County where she married Stephen Evans on May 7, 1805. Other than the 1820 Census that places Susannah Evans in the age range 26-45., we do not have any more records on her in Sumner County. It would be possible but not the norm that Susannah waited so long to be married. If that be the case she could also have been included in the 1786 Census of Granville County, NC. There is an interesting set of circumstances and assumptions that have been outlined above in the section under Anson Claxton concerning Susannah Claxton Evans, Anderson Claxton and a guardian request for some children in Arkansas.
10) Unknown Claxton Son (2) Since James was probably born after the 1786 Census that leaves a vacancy for at least a second unknown son born before the 1786 Census of Granville County, NC.
11) James Claxton is found in the 1830 Weakley County census and in the 1840 Fayette County census living in the LaGrange area of southern Fayette County. A study of the census record places James’ birth between 1790 and 1794. James also lived for a short while in Weakley County, Tennessee and was close neighbors with the Crockett families of the Gibson County, TN area, perhaps on the county line. If James was born as early as 1790 he would not have been included in the 1786 Census of Granville County, NC.
The primary researcher for this James Claxton is Wanda Claxton Warehime
Extra Claxton Names Found Pre 1850 in Middle Tennessee
The following names were found in pre-1850 middle Tennessee records. Some have been identified as to their kin but not necessarily connected to the families above.
Dawson Claxton married Micha (Nadia) Mays on December 18, 1832 in Williamson County. Then he married Narcissa Ferguson on November 2, 1843 in Williamson County. There are two households that have an unknown person enumerated in their 1820 and 1830 censuses that would match for Dawson. One is Isaac Claxton and the other is Joshua Claxton in the 1820 and Susan Claxton in the 1830. By the 1840 Williamson County Census Dawson, age 20-28, is on his own, married with two children. As per Bill Clarkson, public records in Williamson County show that Dawson dies a pauper in 1847. In the 1850 Williamson County Census we find who we believe to be Dawson’s children, James Claxton (age 14) and Mathew Claxton (age 12), in a Mayo/Mays Household.
Wm C. Claxton – Married Elizabeth Norman on February 14, 1833 in Rutherford County, TN
John F. Claxton – Married Jane Spinnet on December 24, 1837 in Maury County, TN. This is perhaps Johnathan F. Claxton son of John Claxton (1774).
Dudley Claxton - 1840 Census Bedford County age 20-29 with family. Researcher Carolyn Smotherman states he is well documented to be Clanton.
S. C. Claxton - Married L. Lashlee on September 29, 1842 in Benton County, TN. It is possible that this is Susan Claxton and Lewis Lashlee of Benton County, TN
Tam Claxton – Married Wm. Kelly on November 22, 1842 in Marshall County, TN
Lucy Claxton – Married William D Statum on September 7, 1843 in Franklin County, TN
Joseph Claxton –1850 Census Bedford County, TN; age 30; Idiot; Resident at the County Poor House
Thomas Claxton - 1850 Census Smith County, TN – age 30 with family. Son of Johnathan (1793), and grandson of John (1774).
W. H. Claxton – b: October 28, 1840; d: March 21, 1874; Buried in Anderson Crowell Cemetery in Bedford County, TN, Son of David Claxton.
Martin Claxton – Enlisted in the military for the Cherokee Removal. No other records have been found.
George Claxton – Enlisted in Clacks Co 3 Tennessee Infantry CSA. No other records.
Some Notable Claxtons in the History of the United States.
Regarding the Middle Tennessee Claxtons there are probably many notable things to mention, but one person in particular stands out: Dr. Philander Priestley Claxton.
Dr. Philander Priestley Claxton was born in 1862, and became well known as a Crusader for public education. Dr. Claxton grew up north of Shelbyville, TN and was the son of Joshua Calvin Claxton of Bedford County, TN, the grandson of James Claxton who moved most of his family from Bedford County, TN to Wright County, MO and the great grandson of the John Claxton that was first recorded in the 1799 Tax record of Sumner County Tennessee. This makes Dr. Claxton the great-great grandson of James Claxton of Granville County, NC.
In the biography, Philander Priestley Claxton Crusader for Public Education written by Charles Lee Lewis in 1948, Dr. Claxton shared what he thought to be his genealogy. Many people have considered it to be accurate without question, however, in our Claxton research we have not been able to document the same line. An examination of the papers of Dr. Claxton, which are housed at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville (microfilm copy at Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville, TN), shows that the family employed a genealogist to try to determine the Claxton progenitor, but nothing definitive ever came of that research. Dr. Claxton thought his line descended from American Revolutionary War Patriot William Claxton of New Kent County, Virginia to the James Claxton and wife Sarah of East Tennessee. We have not been able to document any connection between this William and James Claxton. In fact the James referred to here is the James Lee Claxton/Clarkson of Claiborne County, TN whose descendants are well documented by Roberta Estes.
Dr. Claxton attended The University of Tennessee, Johns Hopkins and schools in Germany and several other places, receiving several degrees. He became the Superintendent of Schools in North Carolina (1883-93), taught at several schools in NC and TN including UT Knoxville (1902-1911). He served as US Commissioner of Education under three Presidents. He was provost of the University of Alabama (1921-1923), Superintendent of Schools in Tulsa, OK (1923-1929), President of Austin Peay Normal School in Clarksville, TN (1930-1946). There are buildings at UTK and APSU named for Dr. Claxton as well as P.P Claxton Elementary School in Greensboro, NC.
Roy Acuff memorialized the Claxton name by including the line “Here’s to Daddy Claxton” in his recording of the song “The Walbash Cannonball.” Many think this was referring to Dr. Claxton. The story goes that Roy’s father took Roy to a lecture presented by Dr. P.P. Claxton, and he was so impressed that he used the Claxton name in a song (earlier lyrics apparently used the name Cleaton).
Other Notable Claxtons in History
Thomas Claxton – A printer by trade and an Officer in the Continental Army serving in the 4th Regiment of the Philadelphia Militia, he became the Assistant Doorkeeper of the US House of Representatives from the first organization of the government in 1789 until he was appointed Doorkeeper upon the recommendation of Alexander Hamilton. Thomas held this position from 1794 till his death in 1821. He served in this capacity as the capital moved from Philadelphia through several locations to Washington, DC. In 1796 Thomas apprehended Randall after his affront to the congressmen.
Thomas also was the procurer of furnishings for the US Capitol. In this position he procured the furnishings for the Presidential home of Thomas Jefferson as well as other presidents.
Thomas Claxton Jr., son of Thomas Claxton, Doorkeeper, was wounded while serving in the US Navy in the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. He died of the wounds on October 1, 1813. The Destroyer USS Claxton was named for him.
Commodore Alexander Claxton, son of Thomas Claxton, Doorkeeper, was born in 1792 in Philadelphia, PA. In 1806 he received an appointment as midshipman in the navy and was ordered to the frigate Chesapeake and was in that vessel when she was overhauled by the Leopard. Claxton's station on the Chesapeake fired the only gun in the encounter. During the War of 1812 he served on the sloop of war Wasp under Captain (afterwards Commodore) Jacob Jones and on Lake Erie with Perry’s squadron. Later Lieutenant Claxton served as second in command under Commodore Porter at the Battle of the White House. On March 12, 1839 now Commodore Claxton commanded the frigate Constitution, flagship of the squadron that had been ordered to the Pacific Ocean. He remained in Command of this squadron until his death in Talchuanan, Chili on 8 March 1841 at the age of 49. His remains were shipped home to Baltimore.
Francis Sorrel Claxton son of Commodore Alexander Claxton, was born in 1850 in the city of Baltimore, MD. As an engineer he invented a machine gun that was used in the Franco-Prussian War.
These “Other Notable Claxtons in History” were all directly related to each other. So far research has not found any connection to other Claxton families. We hope to find descendants someday.
William F Claxton is a movie and TV producer in CA.
An online search of Wikipedia.org finds other interesting Claxtons in the military, religion, arts, sports, etc.