Washington Countian traces ancestry back to Watauga Settlement, Stoney Creek
Published 9:39 am Thursday, October 29, 2015
by Steve Blevins
(Editor’s Note: The following article is a first-person account, written by Steve Blevins, outlining historical information he has uncovered during his extensive genealogy research. We thank him for sharing his story with the Elizabethton Star.)
After my father’s death in 2002 and for the past 13 years, I have searched my family tree to find some amazing things that at first seem more like a fairy tale than fact. They were stories my teacher talked about at Jonesborough Elementary School when I was in second grade.
The teacher told the class that “one day all of you will be going to Davy Crockett or Daniel Boone High School, depending on where you live.” She then asked “Do you know why the schools are named after these men?”
She went on to explain the history of not only Crockett and Boone, but added information about the town of Jonesborough and Elizabethton.
The history I have confirmed on the Blevins/Garland lines from Holston Mountain is what I had initially been preoccupied with. This line included fifth and six grandfathers, William Blevins, who was a witness to the Watauga Purchase. He and John Blevins, both surveyors, were with the 1761 party that surveyed the land of Tennessee, then North Carolina and later joined Daniel Boone for the Henderson Company survey.
My fifth great-grandfather, Samuel Garland, fought on Kings Mountain along with other family members with the Rowan County militia. He was given a land grant after the war on Holston Mountain (Stoney Creek), where eventually my father was born and laid to rest. I had other family members who also fought in the Civil War
I have been accepted into the Tennessee Society Sons of the Revolution, First Families of Tennessee and Civil War families of Tennessee through the Historical Society in Knoxville. All of this came after some digging into my family’s past, which began in 2009.
During this time, I had neglected my mother’s side of the family after hitting some obstacles. Ancestry.com released new records and installed a new DNA program that broke down those walls. Through DNA, I was able to find out the name of my great-grandfather because my grandmother was born out of wedlock and never knew her father. This made my mother very happy! I was also connected to several people that were related to the Tipton family, showing exact matches to my DNA as a direct line.
Through these records I was able to complete my mother’s line. My grandfather was Alfred Wheelock and his mother was Carrie Ledford, the daughter of Green B. Ledford and Susan Tipton, the daughter of Joseph Tipton and Catherine Honeycutt. Joseph was the son of Wiley Tipton, the son of Major Jonathan Tipton, my fifth great-grandfather. Jonathan was second in command of Sevier’s regiment at the Battle of King’s Mountain, NC. He marched from Sycamore Shoals in the Watauga Settlement to King’s Mountain, NC, with other frontiersman known as the Overmountain Men. Commissioned in 1777 and discharged 1781, Jonathan Tipton was also a signer of the Watauga Petition in 1776 and also served in Washington County under Generals Carter and Campbell.
After digging out this information, I went to the Tipton-Haynes Farm for the first time to confirm what I had discovered. John Tipton was Jonathan’s brother and had battled John Sevier over the State of Franklin until the state became Tennessee. As you can imagine, not only did this completely floor me. but brought on a blood-felt case of patriotism! I knew my next steps were to document what I had found and spread the word to my family members so they could record it for future generations.
During my research I also found discovered that my fifth great-grandmother was Kesiah Robertson Sevier. Kesiah was married to Robert Sevier, the brother of John Sevier, and had two children. Robert was mortally wounded at Kings Mountain and died on the way back. His wife Kesiah, would later marry Major Jonathan Tipton.
I also discovered that Kesiah’s father was Colonel Charles Robertson, my sixth great-grandfather. Charles was a trustee and a leader of the Watauga Association, signer of the Watauga Petition and Watauga Purchase. Charles served as a Delegate to the Provincial Congress at Halifax from Washington District, 1776.
He was appointed by that body as first major of the district militia.
Robertson continued in that office following the establishment of Washington and by an act of Assembly, court was to be held at his house, the located on Sinking Creek.
The first meeting at the home of Charles Robertson was to decide the location of the new Jonesborough courthouse. Charles Robertson, having had previous experience in legislative bodies, was honored to be named Speaker of the Senate of the State of Franklin. He was also named a Colonel of Washington County, where he continued to serve as a magistrate under the new state government. Colonel Robertson stood by the fortunes of the governor of Franklin [John Sevier] until the end; he participated in the Sevier-Tipton engagement of 1788. In his later years, Colonel Robertson lived south of Jonesborough, on Cherokee Creek near Lamar School, two miles from where I have lived for the past 36 years.
My mother has currently made application for the DAR, and myself for the SAR, King’s Mountain Chapter, in Johnson City. Our goal is to document our family so that others related to us can easily do the same and know their family history.
There is another weird turn to this story, I have two lines to Cherokee chiefs – Doublehead and Atakullakula as grandfathers on my father’s side and one is a signer of the Watauga purchase. This information is still currently being confirmed. I hope to compile this information into a book sometime in the future titled Blevins of Holston Mountain.
If anyone would like to contact me to help them with their line they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 423-943-0111. I feel that one of the most important and respectable things you can do in your life is to find your family and know who you are.