Look Who I Ran Into?


Click on the “Metcalf” above as I came across this blog looking for my relatives in the 1700s, the Metcalfs, to shore up the series I’ve been working on “Leaving Behind a Gift”.  I love that it is all interconnected and couldn’t resist re-pressing it for my audience. We should all work together tracing our families. I would feel so honored if I did come across unknown relatives via my blog.

Sheila’s blog scope is different than mine is; however, the end result is that we are both tracing families. I hope this interests you, and that we all learn something from our efforts! More on the Metcalfs soon! There is so much to learn that I find myself gathering more and more data and running into snags in the process.

Leaving Behind a Gift – Part 2

(Note: the links shown below in red, underlined may be followed by pressing the CTRL (control) key and click on that word with your mouse simultaneiously.)

Research of my new-found kinsman, John Abernathy, also a descendant of the Beasleys, shows (from deeds) that the Beasley Plantation to be “Dec. 1756 Ded of sale from Earl of Granville to Henry Beasley 640 acres; later in Feb. 1762 Deed of sale from Earl of Granville to Henry Beasley 700 acres. May 9, 1784 Henry Beasley to Chatham Co., North Carolina gave to his son, Jesse Beasley, a tract of land lying chiefly in Co. of Chatham and part in Orange Co. lying on North Creek adjoining the said Henry’s land (except the apple orchard) during my life.”

Henry Beasley’s will showed that Edith Wimberly not listed as daughter: but he willed her a feather bed and furniture. He was less generous with his daughters. To Mary he gave 25 pounds; to Tabitha also 25 pounds; but to Betty only 1 pound. The remaining part of his estate was equally divided among his sons. Isham Beasley, along with two of his brothers, Jesse and Ephriam, came to Tennessee in 1798. Isham, born 1760, died 1855, married Polly Andrews 1767-1851. They were married Nov. 27, 1782. He was a pioneer settler of Smith County. First settled in Beasley’s Bend (named for him) a bend in the Cumberland River and lived there until his death in 1855. He and his wife, Polly, are buried there in the family cemetery. The old Beasley Farm is still owned by one of Isham’s descendants, Mrs. Nellie Beasley Jellicorse, five generations removed. Much of the farm is now covered by the Cordell Hu Lake. Many descendants of Isham and Polly live in Smith, Trousdale, Jackson, and Wilson counties. In the Beasley’s Bend are of Smith County more than half the people who live there are descendants of Isham and Polly; and many of the farms have been handed down from generation to generation. Here is a transcript of Isham Beasley’s will from 1851.

You can compare the content of these deeds to the writings from research from that of Myrtle Thames (below) and see that each corroborates the other’s findings. Finally, I found this dedication by the Sons of the American Revolution. Also, this newspaper clipping announced this event where he was lauded.

The Beasley Plantation House

When Isham and Polly Beasley bought their plantation in 1804, the house was built of logs, two big rooms with a fireplace at each end, and upstairs, two big rooms. The stairs were solid poplar logs. Upstairs, there was a porthole facing the river, west. The porthole was closed with a solid block, one foot square.

Isham built a big house for his ever increasing family. Each room was eighteen feet square; the hall containing the stairs was sixteen fet wide. Upstairs had the same floor plan. A porch as the entire length of the front, fifty-two feet. On the back was a wing of two rooms and L porch.

The old log house was used as a kitchen and dining room. Slaves did the cooking. Upstairs was the boys bedrooms.

The front yard was shaded by four big sugar maple trees. The north side yard fense, and the family graveyard fence is the same. From this yard looking toward Carthage, is the wide fertile valley, the Cumberland river, the tree covered mountains beyond; a beautiful scene.

When I, Myrtle Thames, visited the plantation site in July 1978, the Cordell Hull Dam had been built across the river, making the water spread out across the valley. It is now a lake, deep and wide, but still a pretty scene. The couple who now own the place, Bill and Neil Jellico, have a new brick house on the exact spot where the old house stood. Neil is the same relation to Isham and Polly Beasley as I am, a great, great, great grand-daughter. She showed me the maple chest where Isham hid his money in the secret compartments.

The Beasley Children

When each son of Isham Beasley became twenty-one years old, Isham gave him $5,000.00 to buy a farm, build a house, buy a team, and two or three slaves. When his daughters were twenty-one they were already married. He said, “Let their husband support them,” they didn’t need the money. Several of the older sons bought land joining their uncle Issac Beasley in the big bend of the Cumberland rivernorth of Rome, Tennessee. That community is named Beasley’s Bend. Bradley, Ellis and two other sons settled a few miles farther north. When the Civil War came on these four Beasley families went over to the side of the Union. Their sons fought in the Northern Army against the South. The other Beasleys did not claim kin with them after the war. Ellis’ son, James, was in the Union Army in a battle just north of their home. James was shot; he lived to get home horseback, then died. He was buried near his home. Ellis died soon after and was buried beside his son. One hundred years later a nuclear power plant was to be built on the site. The two graves had to be moved. In James’ casket they found the bullet that took his life.


Isham Beasley’s War Record in the American Revolution

November 1779, about four months in Captain James Herndon’s Company, Colonel Archibald Lytice regiment. Later in Captain Richardson’s light horse Company. Col. John Litteral’s regiment. During this tour he was sent with an express by General Greene to the Governor from Gilford Court House to Halifax and from there he went home and joined Capt. Patterson’s Company and served the remainder of his enlistment which was for three months. He was in the battles of Lundley’s Mill, Roft Swamp, and a skirmish at Mr. Falls Mills and from there guarded the prisoners to Hillsboro where he was discharged.
(Tenn D.A.R. Volume 1)


The Beasley Family Graveyard

William Beasley put an iron fence around the family graveyard. In his will, he left $5,000.00 for his graveyard to be kept up for time immemorial. It was kept as long as his lawyer lived. Then the fund disappeared. Neil Jellico hires a man to take care of the graves now. The iron fence, over one hundred years old, still l0oks as good as new.

William willed $500.00 for a monument to be put at his parents graves. The monument was shipped in sections on a steamboat up the Mississippi river. When it was being unloaded at Memphis, the base was so heavy it got away from the deck hands and sunk to the bottom of the river. It is still there. The other sections were loaded on wagons and hauled about three hundred miles to Smith County. The tombstone is nineteen feet high. It is beautiful.

William willed $200.00 each to eleven of his brothers and sisters. He completely ignored the four brothers who were on the side of the enemy during the Civil War.

I found a picture of the Beasley cemetery at Sullivan’s Bend. It looks as if someone took up the torch to maintain it! A photo of Isham Beasley’s headstone discussed by Ms. Thames’ manuscript was found here and here. I’m on the prowl to find a book entitled “Beasley Blood: A History of the Isham Beasley Family in North Carolina, Immigrants from Ireland, with Genealogy of Descendants of Isham and Polly Andrews Beasley, Pioneer Settlers in Smith County, Tennessee”. (If you know where I can find a copy whether to purchase, borrow, scan, etc., please let me know).

From Adams to Zylks