JOSEPH STEWART AND SARAH GILBERT FAMILY
By J.T. Stewart, a descendant of Jesse Stewart
Joseph Stewart left Jefferson County and arrived with his family in Overton County, Tn. then Jackson about 1800. This makes him one of the county’s earliest settlers. Joseph’s parents were Samuel Stewart and Lydia Harrison of Augusta County, VA where Joseph was probably born about 1740. Joseph’s father Samuel received a grant of 508 acres from Lord Granville in Rowan County, NC and the family moved from Virginia to North Carolina about 1758. Joseph Stewart is listed in the Rowan County Tax List of 1761 when he came of legal age. Joseph and Samuel are mentioned in the "Wachovia Diary" under date of 24 Aug 1761 in Stokes/Forsyth Co., NC this being a diary of the German Moravian sect which settled in Stokes, Forsyth and Surry Co., NC. In 1779, Joseph Stewart sold the land he had received by inheritance from his father in what was then Surry Co., NC and traveled westward. Tax lists show he was in Washington Co., NC now Tennessee for the years 1780 through 1783. By 1784 Joseph Stewart was in Jefferson Co., and court records show he was there as late as Aug 1796. The earliest date Joseph shows up in Overton/Jackson Co. is 1801. He and Thomas McBride are listed on old church minutes, 25 July 1801, as messengers from Roaring River Baptist Church to the Green River Association of Baptists in Barren County, KY. On 23 Sep 1823 Joseph Stewart received a land grant from the state of Tennessee. On 14 Feb 1824 an Overton Co. deed from Jesse Stewart to John Lee, refers to the will of Joseph Stewart wherein Jesse Stewart received land by virtue of the will. Thus it would appear that Joseph Stewart died between 23 Sep 1823 and 14 Feb 1824. Joseph Stewart married Sarah Gilbert and they had 12 children, all of whom came to Overton Co. with Joseph about 1800. The children are listed as follows with a few lines of biographical data when known.
- Lydia b. ab. 1762 m. to Abraham Howard. Abraham died in Jefferson Co. 1795. Lydia had 8 children and she and the children moved to Madison Co., Ill before 1820. The Howards are prominently mentioned in "History of Madison Co., Illinois" Saline Township as being some of the earliest settlers.
- Joseph Stewart Jr. b. ab. 1764. He may have been married twice, 1st to Sarah Copeland as LDS records show and 2nd to Jane or Jennie Davis. He left Overton Co. and lived in wilderness area of Bledsoe Co. in the 1820’s on land he had surveyed. In Aug 1827 he bought 55 acres of land on Roaring River from Caleb Willis. In Apr 1828 he sold the 55 acres to James Dodson, his brother-in-law. About this time he reportedly went to Johnson Co., Ark. The names of his children are not known but David K. Stewart b. Overton Co. 1813 and William H. Stewart b. Overton Co. in 1823 may have been two of them.
- Margaret (Patsy) b. ab. 1768 m. to James Dodson. Very little is known about James Dodson except he seems to have been fervently religious as the minutes of the old Spring Creek Baptist Church had this entry for Apr 1845: "Brother James Dodson liberated to sing, pray, and exhort when he feels like doing so in the bounds of the church." Names of the children are not known except John Larkin Dodson who m. Mary Ann Curtis may have been connected.
- Benjamin Stewart b. ab. 1772 d. 1847 Overton Co. m. twice 1st Sarah Davis 2nd Polly ? not Polly Mayfield as some sources show. Benjamin Stewart was a farmer and Baptist preacher and is mentioned several times in minutes of the old Spring Creek Baptist Church. He lived in Bledsoe Co. for a while on land he had surveyed in the wilderness area. He had 12 children, 9 by his 1st wife. His will is recorded in Overton Co. deed K-333 July 1841 which was later proven in Nov 1847, he left all his property to his wife Polly, but deeds do not show how Polly disposed of the lands she received. None of the children were in the will, and to date their names are not known.
- John Stewart, b. ab. 1772 d. 1846 Overton Co., m. 1st Elizabeth Norris 2nd Keziah ?. They had at least 4 children: John C.; Melinda m. Wm. K. Wyatt; Robert; and Margaret m. Benjamin Whitehead. All of John’s descendants appear to have left Overton Co. shortly after he died. A descendant of Benjamin and Margaret Whitehead has turned up in Vine, Cal.
- Nancy Stewart, b. 1775 d. in Overton Co. after 1850, did not marry.
- Elizabeth Stewart b. ab. 1778 m. 1798 to John Raney, a Rev. War veteran. Elizabeth was his second wife. There were 6 or so children. One son William b. 1812 was married to Elvira Gist a daughter of Russell and Nancy Isham Gist. The John Raney family went to Independence Co., Ark. where he died in Feb. 1847, age 92.
- Sarah Stewart b. ab. 1780 m. 19 Dec 1802 James Matthews. James was in the War of 1812 and his military records show he was killed in the battle at Talledega, Ala. On 9 Nov 1813. Sarah applied for a pension and listed 7 children. The children were: John Matthews m. Sarah Shookman-Shoukman; Sarah m. William G. Roberts an early tax collector of Overton Co.; Cynthia d. young; Lawrence m. Agnes Poston; Elizabeth m. Peter Fite; Nancy m. Caleb Cooper; and Dorcas m. Hiram Pitts. Other sources list other children as James, William, and a son who accidentally shot himself, but Sarah made no mention of them in her pension application of 12 Feb 1817. A Richard Matthews, 59, b. NC appears on the 1850 Pulaski Co., Missouri census. He is probably the same Richard Matthews who on Overton deed F-208 Apr 1830, deeded 150 acres on Roaring River to David Stewart and expected "one square rod including the grave of my father." The father may have been Lawrence Matthews and James and Richard brothers sons of Lawrence.
- Samuel Stewart b. 15 Mar 1781 d. Overton Co. ab. 1822, m. Polly Kitchner. Children were: Sarah J. b. 1802 m. Joshua Stapp; John Gilbert b. 1811 m. 3 times 1st Margaret Copeland, 2nd Sarah Ruth Allison and 3rd Amanda Tennison; and Samuel B. b. 1815 m. Elizabeth W. Matthews. There was also a Benjamin K. Stewart b. 1808 closely connected with this family who quite likely was a son of Samuel also.
- William Stewart b. ab. 1786 died in Lee County, Iowa in 1837 m. 1st Elizabeth VanHooser and 2nd Rebecca Lewellyn. Children of first wife were: Squire, Riley, Levi, William Jackson, and Urban Van. This family went to Madison County, Illinois, where some of the children joined the Mormon movement in its earliest stages and went on to Utah. A great number of descendants are to be found in the western part of the country. Levi Stewart for instance had 28 children by 3 wives although his second wife, Margery, and five children perished in a fort fire at Kanab, Utah. Morris Udall former Senator from Arizona and one time presidential candidate was a descendant of Levi Stewart.
- Jesse Stewart, youngest child of Joseph and Sarah Gilbert Stewart b. July 1790 died ab. 1862, m. to Jemima West daughter of Stephen and Mary Belk West. Jesse Stewart was an early Baptist preacher and was ordained to preach according to Rev. J.H. Grime Baptist Historian at the old Roaring River church also known as "Twelve Corners." Incidentally the name "Twelve Corners," according to Mr. Mark Copeland who was familiar with the old church before it was torn down came from the architectural shape of the church that being in the shape of a cross, which of course has twelve corners. Children of Jesse Stewart and Jemima West were as follows: Janey b. 26 Feb 1813; Preston Stewart b. 12 July 1815 d. 20 Mar 1875 bur. Stewart Cem. In Putnam Co., Tn m. 10 May 1835 Jane Brown; Harrison b. 7 May 1817 d. 1 Jan 1893 bur. Smellage Cem., Putnam Co., Tn m. Sarah Brown; Hirum b. 30 Mar 1819; Enon b. 6 May 1821 m. 4 Jan 1845 White Co. to Sarina Cordle; Ceburn b. 10 Feb 1823 d. 19 Mar 1879 m. Dorinda Brown; Asa b. 19 Feb 1825 m. 17 Oct 1855 Sarah Davis; Anthony D. b. 21 Jan 1827 m. Mary A. ?; Erviney b. 22 Oct 1829 m. T.A. Porter; Levashure b. 17 Oct 1831 m. 5 Oct 1853 Angeline Finley; Almarinda b. 14 Jan 1834; Jemima b. 19 Jan 1836 m. 9 Dec 1864 in Todd Co., KY Francis Marion Seger; Mary b. 21 Feb 1838 d. 10 Aug 1874 m. B.A.W. Davis; and Sarah b. 1839.
There was a John Stewart family in Overton Co. living on Ashburn Creek in the early 1800’s but no relation to Joseph Stewart. This John Stewart’s children were: Josiah; Gibson; Fleming; Levina m. John McDonald; Nancy m. Obadiah Hickey; Lucinda also m. Obadiah Hickey when Nancy died; Penelope m. William Payne; and Jane .m Benjamin R. Harrison.