Family #5 – EKA Richard Harrell

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    The earliest known ancestor (EKA) for Family #5 is Richard Harrell, who is believed to have been born in Virginia around 1700. There is not sufficient documentation to identify his parents or siblings although some circumstantial evidence supports his father being Richard Harrell, Jr. b. abt 1675 Lancaster County, Virginia, d. aft July 18, 1711 in Lancaster County, Virginia. The source of this evidence will be discussed.

    In 2001, before extensive use of DNA in genealogy, there was a very intensive study of Harrell/Harrold/etc. families who lived in Northern Virginia in what is called the Northern Neck. The results of this study, largely the work of Ron Nota, Lee Hearl, and Gail Hafercamp, were posted on Genforum by Nota on January 6, 2001 at this link:

    This posting was significant because it was the first to highlight an early group of Harrell/Harrold families in this region of Virginia who previously had not been considered separate from a much larger group of early Harrell families who lived in another area of Virginia encompassing Nansemond County, Virginia and its neighbor Bertie County, North Carolina. By not realizing these 2 groups of Harrells were different, exhibited not only by their differing DNA profiles but living in different parts of Virginia and rarely mixing, many Harrell researchers unknowingly considered them as one, blood-related group. This misunderstanding caused myriad errors when identifying early Harrell ancestors, many of which are still evident today on Internet postings. For example, some believed Richard Harrell from the Northern Neck of Virginia was the same Richard Harrell who lived in Nansemond County, Virginia – a mistake easily made because both of them were about the same age.

    This 2001 posting on Genforum considered a large number of information sources and—acknowledging there were different interpretations among the contributing authors and a considerable lack of hard proof for many relationships—the following consensus was reached among the contributors: “Richard Harrold of Lancaster County, Virginia in 1668 is the progenitor of the 18th Century Harrolds/Harrels of Lancaster, Northumberland, Stafford, Prince William, Augusta, Frederick and Shenandoah Counties of Virginia.” This posting further stated the progenitor Richard Harrold was born about 1635 probably in England, and died before 1700 in either Lancaster or Northumberland County, Virginia; and he was the father of 3 sons:

    1. Gilbert Harrold b. abt 1657 probably Lancaster Co, Virginia, d. bef November 17, 1703 Northumberland County, Virginia;
    2. Walter Harrold b. abt 1660 probably Lancaster County, Virginia, d. bef February 17, 1702/03 in Northumberland County, Virginia, married Priscilla about 1682; and
    3. Richard Harrel, Jr. b. abt 1675 probably Lancaster County, Virginia., d. aft July 18, 1711 probably Lancaster County, Virginia, married abt 1698 Margaret Ball b. abt 1680, daughter of Thomas Ball of Lancaster County, Virginia.

    The contributing authors further stated that Richard Harrel, Jr. 1675 had a son (the only child reported) Richard Harrel III, b. abt 1700 in Lancaster County, Virginia, d. bet. 1751-1758 Augusta County, Virginia, who married “Elizabeth” abt 1720 in Lancaster County, Virginia. This Richard Harrel III, hereafter called Richard Harrell 1700, reportedly had 6 sons whose birth years and birthplaces were estimated to be:

    1. William Harrel b. abt 1721 prob. Lancaster County, Virginia
    2. John Harrel b. abt 1724 prob. Lancaster County, Virginia
    3. James Harrel b. abt 1727 probably Lancaster County, Virginia
    4. Moses Harrel b. abt 1730 probably Lancaster County, Virginia
    5. Richard Harrel, Jr. b. abt 1733 probably Prince William County, Virginia
    6. Aaron Harrel b. abt 1736 probably Prince William County, Virginia

    This 2001 posting, with its significant sources and detail, represented the best thinking as to the origin and composition of these Northern Virginia Harrel/Harrell/Harrold families. Subsequent to this posting, however, with considerable DNA evidence as backup, it was found that Gilbert Harrold 1657 was not blood related to Richard Harrold 1675. In addition, there is now considerable suspicion, unfortunately without DNA evidence, that Walter Harrold 1660 is not blood related to either Gilbert 1657 or Richard 1675. The Harrell Collaborative team also feels the father/son relationship between Richard Harrold 1675 and Richard Harrel 1700 is likely but not sufficiently supported by credible evidence. As a result, Richard Harrell 1700 was chosen as the Earliest Known Ancestor (EKA) of Family #5.

    It should be noted that even though their DNA profiles match, neither of the EKAs in Families #1 or #2 (William Harrell, Sr. and Reuben Harrell, Sr.) descend from Richard Harrell 1700. It is possible, however, that EKAs from Families #3 and #4 (Hawkins County John Harrell, b. abt 1735; and Jacob Harrell, b. 1761, respectively) could have descended from Richard 1700 through one of Richard’s sons. This matter will be discussed later.

    This narrative will discuss EKA Richard Harrell 1700 and his family, and will not speculate further about his possible father and grandfather. Many people, however, who comment on the ancestors of Richard Harrell 1700, cite from information contained in the 2001 Genforum posting.

    The names of Richard Harrell’s 6 sons have been confirmed but their birth years are based on circumstantial evidence and best guesses. The circa 1700 birth year of Richard Harrell, along with his Lancaster County, Virginia birthplace, are also lacking proof but will be assumed until additional evidence becomes available.

    Aside from this 2001 Genforum posting, other notable documents involving Richard Harrell 1700 include his first purchase of land in Augusta County, Virginia in 1740 from William Russell of Orange County (not William Russell of Stafford County), and a historical discussion about his arrival with 4 other families to Augusta County in 1740/41 led by William Russell. These events will be briefly discussed.

    The heart of this narrative is not about Richard Harrell 1700; the focus is on his 6 sons and their children. Certain members of their families, children and grandchildren, are believed to be directly related to the EKAs of some of the other 13 families who have matching DNA profiles, especially those EKAs who lived in Indiana or Ohio during the period 1800-1850. None of the sons of Richard Harrell are believed to have migrated to Indiana or Ohio but some of their sons/grandsons (and probably some unknown sons/grandsons) did and will be highlighted when identified.

    In the document Virginia Land Grants 16:417, 419, 421; British Museum, Fairfax Land Suit: 259-261, the Virginia land holdings of William Hurst (along the South Shenandoah River) were discussed together with this brief history of why William Russell brought 5 “families” to the Augusta County portion of Orange County, Virginia. In 1735, the British government awarded William Russell of Orange County a large land grant with Russell receiving 1000 acres for each family he brought to this area (viz., south side of the Shenandoah River in the Augusta region of Orange County) for “settling and strengthening that frontier”. It is not clear exactly when Russell brought these families to this area but records show Richard Harrald b.1700 purchased from William Russell 760 acres in April 1740 and William “Husk” (Hurst) bought from Russell a much larger neighboring piece in July 1741. Richard Harrald’s deed can be found in the Orange County, Virginia Deed Book 4, 1740-1741, and it identifies his spouse as “Elizabeth” and him being from Prince William County, Virginia. Subsequent searches of early Prince William County documents, and those of the surrounding and preceding counties, yielded no additional information about Richard Harrell 1700 or any members of his family.

    In this Virginia Land Grant document it was stated that the 5 “families” brought by Russell to this area were identified on a 1747 resurvey map, made necessary to finalize and quantify how much land Russell owned in the area. These “families” were listed as: “H. and J. Cloud, H. Hardin, Richard & J. Harrald, S. Land, and Wm. Husk”. Richard Harrald/Harrell’s deed for his land and William Husk/Hurst’s deed for his land both exist but no deed has been found for any of Russell’s land purchased by “J. Harrald”. Furthermore, J. Harrald’s given name and his “family” relationship to Richard Harrell 1700 is not documented. The 1741 description of William Hurst’s property indicated some of it bordered Richard Harrald’s property but the 1747 resurvey map shows Hurst’s property next to J. Harrell. So it would appear that between 1740 and 1747 Richard Harrell/Harrald sold, leased or gifted that portion of his land bordering William Hurst to J. Harrald/Harrell.

    It is noted that this Virginia Land Grant document, apparently not known by the authors of the 2001 Genforum posting, provides the only proof that Richard Harrell 1700 arrived in Augusta County with, and was blood related to, “J. Harrald”. Being of the same “family” means the descendants of J. Harrald and Richard Harrell 1700 would therefore have matching DNA profiles. This relationship became very important when, at first, DNA donors descending from Family #1 (EKA William Harrell, Sr.) and Family #2 (EKA Reuben Harrell, Sr.) could not understand why their DNA profiles matched Richard Harrell’s descendants knowing there was no possible link to any of Richard’s 6 sons. The answer, of course, was in knowing Richard Harrell 1700 had a blood relative J. Harrald who probably was the father of William Sr. and Reuben Sr.. This relationship between J. Harrald/Harrell and Families #1 and #2 has not been documented and remains speculation until further evidence can be found.

    In research performed by Gwen Hurst (dec’d) in 1999 on her Hurst family, she stated: “1747, 10 February – Resurvey map of William Russell’s 1735 land grant by Northern Neck proprietor, Lord Fairfax. Shenandoah River (west), Happy Creek (east), Gowney’s Run [Gooney’s Run] south. House site of J. [Jacob] Harrell shown above house site and cabin of Wm. Husk’s (Frederick County Circuit Court Archives).” This (undocumented) research finding by Gwen Hurst is the only mention that “J. Harrald” is Jacob Harrald. It is believed that “J. Harrald” could not be “John” or “James” Harrald (alternative choices) because no credible record of them living in this timeframe and in this neighborhood has been found. There are, however, numerous references to Jacob Harrell, Richard Harrell and his six sons in early Augusta County road order documents and deed/property transactions (many being found in Lyman Chalkley’s “three-volume Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County, 1745-1800 [Rosslyn, Va., 1912-1913; reprint, 1965]”).

    Many property records pertaining to Richard Harrald/Harrell and Jacob Harrald/Harrell were kept in Augusta County (Augusta County was formed from Orange County in 1738 but until Augusta County became organized, Orange County kept Augusta’s early records). As the region’s population expanded over time, new counties in which these properties existed were created. Richard’s property was first identified as being in the northwestern part of Augusta County, which later became Frederick County. Frederick County records were kept in Augusta County until 1751. In 1772 the southern part of Frederick County became the short-lived county of Dunmore. In 1778 the name of Dunmore County was changed to Shenandoah County. In 1836 Warren County was formed from the northeastern part of Shenandoah County, and the southeastern part of Frederick County

    Based on (a) land transactions between Richard Harrell and his son Richard Harrell, Jr.; and (b) an early Augusta County, Virginia road order document involving Richard Harrell’s son William, it is believed that Richard’s sons Richard Jr. and William are the oldest of the 6 sons (these documents/transactions also found in Chalkley’s Chronicles). Specifically, on 18 August 1749 there is an Augusta County deed (DB 2, pg. 271) wherein Richard Harrell gifts without conditions to his son Richard Jr. (planter of Culpeper County, established in 1748 from Orange County) 53 acres on Mouth of Cave Branch joining John Harrald and “to back of Capt. Russell’s”. John Harrald is believed to be one of the sons of Richard Harrell 1700. There was also a phrase in this deed “the above mentioned lands forever after my deceased without any manner of condition.” Richard Jr. would later sell this property on Sept 7, 1756 possibly suggesting Richard 1700 died on or before that time. Richard Harrell, Jr. had to be at least 21 years old in 1749 so his birth was before 1728.

    Richard Harrell’s next act in gifting property to his sons was on the same date, 18 August 1749, when he similarly gifted portions of his land to the other 5 sons but these deeds were clearly conditional (discussed below). Because Richard Harrell, Sr. treated his son Richard Harrell, Jr. differently in regard to the gifting of property without conditions, it is believed Richard Harrell, Jr. is the oldest son.

    In the earliest record involving Richard’s son William Harrell, we see him mentioned in a road order document filed 18 March 1746/7, which dealt with construction of a new road from Caleb Jones’ mill. In this document William appeared to be a tithable (at least 16 years old). Therefore, the best estimates of birth for William Harrell is before 1730.

    Another Augusta/Frederick County record related to the birth years of Richard’s 6 sons is dated 22 May 1751, Frederick County, where a list of tithables for work on a new road included Jacob Harrell, Richard Harrell, Sr., Richard Harrell, Jr., William Harrell, John Harrell, and Moses Harrell. This document suggests all sons of Richard Harrell, Sr., except Aaron and James (both of whom were not listed – either they were not of tithable age and/or they were not living near the new road) were born on/before 1735.

    Perhaps the most frequently cited set of records related to the ages of Richard Harrell’s sons is found in the 1749, 1750 and 1758 Augusta and Frederick County deed books. On 18 August, 1749 (Augusta County Deed Book 2, pg. 272), Richard Harrell, Sr. gifts specific tracts of his land to 5 of his 6 sons (Richard Harrell, Jr. was not mentioned) “upon Condition of their staying with me till their of Age”. In the language on this 18 August 1749 document, Richard Harrell acknowledges each of the 5 sons (but not Richard Jr.) and generally describes the property each son is being gifted without the usual metes/bounds (i.e., without poles and degrees) that would be found in a survey. It is believed, absent contradicting evidence, that the order of mention of his sons in this document follows the order of birth of the 5 sons: William the oldest followed by John, Moses, James, and Aaron. The witnesses were Judith Hurst and Leonard Burton.

    Some believe this condition of ownership “till their of Age” meant none of the 5 sons were of age on 18 August 1749 (i.e., all were less than 21 years of age). Others believe this language meant that none of the 5 sons could obtain title to their property unless all were of age. If all 5 were under 21, this would mean they were born after 1728.

    On November 27, 1750 (Augusta County, Deed Book 3), Richard Harrell, Sr. creates and records 5 separate deeds (LEASE/RELEASE), with metes/bounds, for his 5 sons (not including Richard Harrell, Jr.) for the same tracts of land as described in the 18 August 1749 document. Each of the 5 sons would pay 20 pounds for their land (under the RELEASE). It is believed these 5 separate deeds were necessary so that each son could prove ownership of their property if it were to eventually be sold. In these 5 deeds, there were no conditions (i.e., no mention of “their staying with me till their of age”) but it is believed this “till their of age” condition probably did apply as stipulated by the court-filed 18 August 1749 document. All 5 of these deeds contained identical language relating to a payment of money, called “Quit Rent”, to Thomas Lord Fairfax. This “Fairfax” language indicated Richard Harrell, Sr.’s property was under the control of Lord Fairfax and not governed by the purchase agreement initially made with William Russell in 1740. The amount of land deeded to each of the 5 sons was as follows: John – 131 acres; Aaron – 78 acres; Moses – 144 acres; William – 180 acres; James – 176 acres.

    Richard Harrell, Sr. created a separate deed (LEASE/RELEASE) for Richard Harrell, Jr. on 1 Jan 1750 (some 10 months earlier) for 51 acres on the south side of the Shenandoah River (where the other 5 sons would have their properties). The purchase price was, again, 20 pounds (RELEASE) and the same Fairfax language was included. This 51-acre parcel appeared different than the same the 53-acre parcel that Richard Harrell, Sr. gifted to Richard Harrell, Jr. on 18 Aug 1749 – but there is some uncertainty and the two parcels could be one of the same.

    In Chalkley’s Chronicle, the abstracted 18 August 1749 document where Richard Harrell, Sr. gifts his 5 sons included a closing sentence: “Delivered to John Harrald, March 1758.” This sentence has caused considerable confusion over the years since Chalkley’s Chronicle was first published because nobody has been able to answer these questions: (1) Who is John Harrald?; (2) What was being “delivered”?; (3) What does “delivered” mean?; (4) Why delivery on March 1758?; and (5) Who wrote this passage? When examining the original document, not Chalkley’s abstracted version, it became clear that a person different than who wrote the deed was responsible for writing this note in the left hand margin of the document. Someone in the Frederick County court system wrote this note on the 18 August 1749 document after some unknown event took place before March 1758, which triggered a request by John Harrald for this document. The event could have been the death of Richard Harrell, Sr., or the coming of age of the last of Richard’s 5 sons, or something created by Lord Fairfax, or something else.

    In addition to this margin note written on the 18 August 1749 document, there was a similar note written in the left margin in all 5 deeds of November 27, 1750 (not written in Richard Harrell, Jr.’s earlier deed, however). This note, however, said “delivered to Moses Harrald March 1758″. The handwriting of the note appeared to be the same as with the 18 August 1749 document. This note indicates all 5 deeds were delivered to Moses, son of Richard 1700, at the same time his brother John Harrell received the 18 August 1749 deed. One explanation why these 2 notes were written to sons John and Moses, is their father Richard Harrell, Sr. had probably died on or before March 1758 and the sons were preparing to sell their individual parcels.

    This explanation is further supported by the action of all 5 sons who sold their tracts shortly after March 1758. On 3 April 1758 Aaron Harrill sold his tract to John Harrill, Jr. On 20 April 1758 James Harril sold his property to Simon Carson. On 3 July 1758 John Harrold sold his tract to George Hardin. Moses Harrold sold to Simon Carson and William Harrold sold his tract to James Jones on 4 July 1758. Interestingly, Richard Harrell, Jr. sold his 53 acres of gifted property (the deed mentioning his wife “Ann”) to Isaac Wood 2 years earlier, on 7 September 1756. No record of the sale of Richard Harrell’s 51-acre property could be found suggesting the 53-acre property might have been the same as the 51-acre parcel.

    There is no record of Richard Harrell, Sr. after 21 November 1750 when the 5 deeds were filed. No Will or probate records were found and the maiden name of his spouse, Elizabeth, remains unknown. In what follows, the focus will be on Richard’s 6 sons.


      Richard Harrell, Jr., oldest of the 6 sons, was born before 1728 as discussed above; in this narrative a best guess date of his birth is circa 1726. In Richard Harrell, Sr.’s deed to Richard Harrell, Jr. on 18 Aug 1749 (beginning Mouth of Cave Branch) he was identified as a planter from Culpeper County, Virginia. His wife “Ann” is identified in the 7 Sept. 1756 deed wherein Richard Harrell, Jr. and wife “Ann” sell their 53-acre tract (gifted to Richard Jr. by his father on 18 Aug 1749) to Isaac Wood. Ann Harrell is thought to be Ann Dearing/Deering. Robert Dearing’s Will in 1753 identified one of his daughters as “Ann Harrell” and in 1753 Robert Dearing was living in the Saint Thomas parish of Orange County, which later became Culpeper County It appears, therefore, that Richard Harrell, Jr. and wife Ann lived in Culpeper County probably near Ann’s parents.

      From the Revolutionary War Records, Volume 1, Virginia, by Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, 1936 you can find Richard Harrell and Aaron Harrell who are believed to be brothers and sons of Richard Harrell 1700 (see also 1775 Alphabetical List of John Netherton). No record of Richard Harrell, Jr. has been found following this Revolutionary War listing. His children, if any, are not known nor are the places where he lived and died following the sale of his 53 acres in 1756. It is not known what happened to his spouse Ann.


      William Harrell is believed to be the second oldest son of Richard Harrell 1700. A best guess estimate of when he was born is about (circa) 1729 (briefly discussed above). No one knows where William was born other than probably somewhere in Virginia’s Northern Neck. Questions still persist regarding his spouse but the consensus among those who have studied him is that his spouse is Susannah Chester, born about 1725 Virginia, daughter of Thomas Chester of Frederick County, Virginia. One of the pieces of evidence is Thomas Chester’s Will recorded 2 Oct 1754 where he lists his sons David and Thomas and his daughters Elizabeth Smith, Mary McKay and Susanna Harrell. In addition, on 4 July 1758 William Harrold and Susannah Harrold, his wife, sold the 180 acre property gifted to William by his father in 1749 (both William and Susannah signed the LEASE/RELEASE using their “marks”). On 9 Feb 1780 William Harrell and Susannah sold 84 acres on the South Shenandoah River to Alan Wiley; this land formerly purchased by William Harrell in 1777 from Thomas, David, Edward, Martin and Nathan Smith who obtained the land from Thomas Chester’s estate. Another 83-acre parcel was purchased by William in 1776 for 50 pounds and sold by William and Susannah Harrell to Alan Wiley on 9 Feb 1780.

      In the 1750 Will of Susannah Chester’s maternal grandmother, she (Susannah) was named Susannah Chester; and in a Will of her uncle that she witnessed in 1749 she signed as Susannah Chester. The Will of Thomas Chester, Susannah’s father, was admitted to record (there was no date written in the Will) on 2 Oct 1754 in which his daughter was identified as “Susanna Harrald”. So without finding a marriage document, it is assumed that William Harrell married Susannah Chester sometime between 1750 and 1754. No record of Susannah Harrell has been found later than the 9 Feb 1780 deed. There is no evidence as to when/where she died, nor is there any evidence that William Harrell married again.

      On 14 March 1780, William Harrell purchased 1000 acres for 400 pounds in Jefferson County, Virginia, an area of Virginia that later became Nelson County, Kentucky (Treasury Warrant 3799). At this time, Treasury Warrants were also purchased for land in this part of Kentucky by William’s brothers Moses and James Harrell (discussed later). It is not clear when William Harrell moved but his sale of land on 9 Feb 1780 was probably his last land transaction in Frederick County The amount of property he ultimately owned in and around Nelson County, Kentucky was over 3000 acres and records show he was involved in several land transactions (none of these land transactions mentioned his spouse).

      The last record of William Harrell was an indenture in Nelson County, Kentucky on January 31, 1815 between him and his son Chester for 25 acres on Bear Creek. This document was the last in a series of land sales by William Harrell, apparently selling off all his land in preparation for something unknown. Lacking any information about William Harrell following this 1815 transaction, without his Will and/or probate records, it is assumed he died intestate after this date. No listing of his children has been found; their names have been deduced from other records. Lacking information to the contrary, it is also assumed that Susannah is the mother of all William’s children. It is believed the children of William and Susannah include Chester (most probably named after Susannah Chester Harrell’s father Thomas Chester), Isaac, James, John and Mary. There is considerable uncertainty but some think another son Moses existed. And there is some fragmented circumstantial evidence suggesting that William could have had a son named “Martin” Harrell.


        Two living descendants of Chester Harrell, Lyndon Irwin and Mary Klipple, did considerable research on him and much of the following information about Chester came from their correspondence.

        Chester Harrell was born 16 August 1756 in Virginia (probably Frederick County). The surname of Chester’s first wife was Everett and it is believed they had four children: (1) Isaac b. 1781, m. Delilah Doom, both buried in Fayette County, Indiana; (2) James b. abt 1783, Kentucky; (3) Elizabeth “Betsey” b. 1785, m. George Kelley; (4) Elijah b. abt 1786. Chester’s second wife, following the death of his first, was Betsy Stevens, married 1789 Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky. They had 9 children: (1) Editha, m. 1812 James McKinney; (2) Hannah b. abt 1794 Kentucky, m. 1815 John Smiley in Butler County, OH; (3) Steven S. b. abt 1797 Kentucky, m. 1833 Ruth Schooley Hughes in Franklin County, Indiana; (4) Margaret b. abt 1800, m. 1819 Isaac Brown in Franklin County, Indiana; (5) William b. abt 1801, m. 1823 Eliz Miles in Franklin County, Indiana; (6) Susan b. abt 1803, m. 1833 John Turner in Franklin County, Indiana; (7) Elisha b. 1807 Butler County, OH, m. (first) 1830 Abigail Buckley and (second) Margaret Smith; (8) Edmund b. 1809 Franklin County, Indiana, d. 1857 New Boston, Mercer County, Illinois, m. (first) 1831 Rebecca Alyea and (second) Sabra Ann Williams; (9) Jane b. 1811, m. (first) 1829 Anson Buckley and (second) Abraham Miller.

        It is believed the brothers Chester, James, and John left Nelson County, Kentucky sometime after 1800. These 3 brothers plus an Isaac Harrell were listed in Cincinnati Land Office records 1804-1806. The identity of this Isaac Harrell is open to question because there were several Isaac Harrells living in the Nelson/Washington County, Kentucky area: (a) an Isaac Harrell b. 1770 son of William/Susannah; (b) an Isaac Harrell b. 1779 who is son of Moses Sr.; (c) an Isaac Harrell b. 1781 who is son of Chester Harrell; and (d) an Isaac Harrell b. 1811 son of Noah who is son of Moses Harrell, Sr. The Isaac Harrell listed in these Cincinnati Land Office records could be Isaac 1770 son of William/Susannah (discussed later), or Isaac 1781 son of Chester. It is known that Isaac 1781 was living in Preble County, OH in 1812 and there is no evidence Isaac 1770 lived in OH. Therefore, the Isaac Harrell listed in the Cincinnati Land Office records is believed to be a son of Chester Harrell.

        Chester, his siblings, and his father William Harrell are listed in the records of Nelson County, Kentucky and neighboring Washington County (e.g., marriage, census, tax and tithable records). Chester lived on or near his father’s Nelson County land from about 1785 to 1800 (when he was listed in the Kentucky census). Sometime between 1800 and 1805 he and his family moved from Kentucky to the Montgomery/Preble/Butler County area of Ohio. [Note: There is a deed dated August 29, 1815 between Chester and his wife Elizabeth “of Butler County, OH” and Philip Rizer on Bear Creek in Nelson Co, Kentucky]. Records show Chester’s son Isaac and spouse Delilah lived in Preble County on/before 1812 as did Chester’s daughter Elizabeth Harrell and spouse George Kelley. Son Elijah Harrell was also living in Preble County before 1817 and son William may have lived in Butler County, OH in 1819 (there was a William Harel as witness to a deed). Sometime before 1820, probably closer to 1815, Chester moved to an area that later became Franklin County, Indiana. Chester died about 1846, at age 90, at the home of his son Elisha in Fayette County, Indiana. The last census record of Chester Harrell is in 1820 Franklin County, Indiana. In the “Biographical and Genealogical History of Franklin County”, Chester was considered a “pioneer” of Franklin County, Indiana (Franklin County founded in 1811; Indiana gained statehood in 1816). Chester and most of his sons ended up living in either Franklin County or Fayette County, Indiana.


        The aforementioned Chester Harrell is relatively easy to track by virtue of his unique given name. But if the given name is James, Isaac, or John, as so many Harrell ancestors/descendants have, it becomes almost impossible to differentiate them without solid documentation, especially if they were born in the same timeframe and lived in similar locations. Such is the case with the several James Harrells who lived in and around Nelson County, Kentucky from 1780 into the early 1800s. There is James Sr., b. in the 1730s, son of Richard 1700, who bought 400 acres (Treasury Warrant 3819) in 1780 what later became Nelson County (at the same time his brothers William and Moses also bought land in this same general area). Because the name “James” is so popular among Harrell families, there is every reason to believe James Sr. and his brothers William Sr. and Moses Sr. had sons named “James” (Moses Sr. had a son James b. 1762). Since James Sr., William Sr., and Moses Sr. were born 1725-1735, there is also a good chance they would have grandsons named “James” in the 1780-1800 timeframe (e.g., Chester Harrell had a son named James b. abt 1783 and nothing is known about him; Moses’ son James had a son named James b. 1784).

        The only proof that William Sr. had a son named “James” comes from “Nelson County Tithes 1785-1791″ where it shows James, Isaac and John living with William Harrell in 1790. This same source shows James, Isaac and John living by themselves beginning in 1791. Beginning in 1785, Chester who was born 1756 is shown living by himself, which suggests Chester might be the oldest of William Harrell’s sons. However, also listed in 1785 was a James Harrell living by himself – but it is not known who this James Harrell is. If it is assumed James was not of age in1790, but of age in 1791, it would suggest his birth about 1770. If James was of age in 1785, it would put his birth before 1764.

        During this 1785-1800 period in and around Nelson County, Kentucky it is known that James Harrell, Sr., James Harrell son of Moses Sr., and James son of William Harrell, Sr. all lived in this neighborhood. Differentiating these James Harrells is always a challenge but, fortunately, when a watercourse is identified near the location where the person lived, it serves as a clue – for example, Simpsons Creek and Bear Creek are located on/near William’s property and when a James Harrell owns land on/near this watercourse it can be assumed that this James is probably a son of William. Unfortunately, Moses Harrell, Sr. also owned a sizeable portion of land near his brother William and Simpson Creek was close by – therefore Moses’ son James b. 1762 can’t be ignored. There is an 1808 deed wherein James Harrell sells to George Dugan 34 ½ acres on Simpson’s Creek, being part of the land where Harrell lives. If this 1808 deed involves James, son of William/Susannah, this represents his last known transaction.

        Evidence seems to indicate that William and his son James (and Moses and his son James) never owned land south of the Beech Fork in Nelson or Washington counties. It is known that the Treasury Warrant purchased in 1780 for 400 acres by James Harrell, Sr. (son of Richard 1700) was for land on the south side of Beech Fork in what later was Nelson County A 1792 Nelson County deed shows a James Harrell, spouse Margaret, selling 170 acres on the south side of Beech Fork to Richard Rapier – this property is believed to be part of the 400 acres purchased by James Harrell, Sr. in 1780. No evidence has found thus far indicating James Sr. owned land on the north side of Beech Fork.

        In Nelson County, in the 1800 Second Census of Kentucky (July 7, 1800), Chester Herrell, James Herrell, James Herrell, Jr., and John Herrell are listed. Also listed on August 30, 1800 are Isaac Harrel, James Harrel, Moses Harrel, Moses Harrel, Jr., and William Harrel. From birth locations of his children, it is believed James Harrell, son of Moses Sr., left Nelson County for Daviess County, Kentucky between 1785 and 1790 which means he is not listed in Nelson County in 1800. It is believed, without proof, that James Harrell, son of William, is probably one of these James Herrell/Harrel individuals listed in this 1800 census, Nelson County.

        In the 1810 Nelson County census the following Harrells are listed: Isaac, Isaac Jr., James, Lewis P., and Margery. It is believed this “James” is James Harrell, Sr. because (a) James, son of William Harrell, had left Nelson County with his brothers Chester and John and moved to Ohio before 1810 and were the ones listed in the Cincinnati Land Office records 1804-1806 (along with Isaac Harrell who is believed to be the son of Chester); and (b) the James Harrell in this census had eight slaves. Slave ownership by William/Susannah and their children has never been reported.

        In the 1820 Kentucky, Nelson County, census we see only Isaac, James and Moses Harrel, with this “James” owning 14 slaves, obviously the same “James” as seen in the 1810 census.

        One notable researcher, Helynn Carrier (dec’d 2004) who descended from Isaac Harrell 1770, collected considerable information about a Revolutionary War soldier James Harrell b. 1747 Virginia, who was thought to have married (Margaret?) Cotton, had one known son Isaac Harrell b. 1770, and lived on 200 acres of Kentucky land given to him for his military service. By virtue of his age and proximity to Nelson County, Kentucky, some thought he could be either the son of William/Susannah Harrell or the son of Richard Harrell 1700.

        Helynn collected, cataloged, and distributed her research findings in several ways. Her results, especially her knowledge of James Harrell 1747 and his (assumed) son Isaac Harrell 1770, were frequently cited by living descendants of Isaac 1770 who sought a greater understanding of their ancestors. She apparently gave to those who expressed an interest in her genealogy a summary of her findings under the title “HARRELL FAMILY INFORMATION – A STUDY PAPER”, 1998. However, to those researching Richard Harrell 1700 and his family, especially his sons William and James Harrell, it became increasingly difficult to confirm some of Helynn Carrier’s claims and a greater access to her research papers and sources was necessary. Thanks to the Nelson County Genealogical Group in Bardstown, Kentucky, copies of everything in their Helynn Carrier file was copied and sent to the author of this narrative. This file contained numerous pages of loose records and various compilations of her writings, the earliest of which was dated 1985.

        In reviewing this material, it was found that a considerable amount of Helynn’s information pertaining to James Harrell 1747 and his assumed son Isaac Harrell 1770 was credited to living Jack Carmichael who lived in Muncie, Indiana. A conversation with Mr. Carmichael confirmed his close relationship to Ms. Carrier and her source of information pertaining to James Harrell 1747.

        Helynn Carrier descended from James Harrell b. January 8, 1803, Washington County, Kentucky who married Elce/Alsey Harrod in Jackson County, Indiana. This James Harrell was the son of Isaac Harrell 1770, whom Helynn believed was son of a particular James Harrell b. 1747 Virginia. According to Helynn’s results, James Harrell 1747 was born in Nansemond County, Virginia but lived out his life in Nelson County, Kentucky. Based solely on her findings, a case could be made that the father of James Harrell 1747 was Richard Harrell, born in Nansemond County, Virginia but living out his life in Northern Virginia with his 6 sons: Richard Jr., William, James, Moses, John, and Aaron. Her papers included considerable information, mostly from other sources, that supported these relationships. Other followers of Helynn Carrier could see William/Susannah Harrell possibly being the parents of James Harrell 1747. Unknown to Helynn Carrier and her followers, however, was the fact that the Revolutionary War soldier James Harrell 1747 who lived in Nelson County, Kentucky really didn’t exist and Isaac Harrell 1770 was probably the son of William/Susannah Harrell. Helynn created the character James Harrell 1747 from elements of a Nansemond County James Harrell, and elements from a Northern Virginia James Harrell who lived in Nelson County, Kentucky. Furthermore, James Harrell 1747 couldn’t be a son of Richard Harrell 1700 and “be of age” in 1758.

        Helynn Carrier concluded that James Harrell 1747 was the father of her Isaac 1770 based upon a very early DAR application filed in 1919 by Myrtle Sanders (DAR #149300). This DAR application was later followed by 3 additional DAR-approved applications using the same information. In her papers, Helynn cited Jack Carmichael as the source of this DAR information, which was confirmed in a telephone conversation with Mr. Carmichael several years ago. It is not known if Helynn actually read the early DAR application. For many years, no one seemed to challenge this DAR information or Helynn’s conclusions derived from it. In a private communication with a descendant of the person who submitted DAR application #407661, which used the original 1919 DAR application #149300 as confirmation of her claims, he indicated his relative who submitted DAR application #407661 could find no proof that Isaac Harrell 1770 was the son of James Harrell 1747.

        Unfortunately, there were a number of errors and unsupported claims in this 1919 DAR application. One of the more critical errors was claiming James Harrell 1747, who lived in Nelson County, Kentucky after his Revolutionary War service, was born in Nansemond County, Virginia – which could not be the case since all James Harrells living in this part of Kentucky were from Northern Virginia (viz., Augusta and Frederick counties). It was clear from Helynn’s papers and the 1919 DAR application that Harrells from Northern Virginia were (once again) being mistakenly identified as Harrells from Nansemond/Bertie County As was pointed out early in this narrative, prior to 2001 it was commonplace for Harrell researchers to think there was only one group of early Harrells and they lived in Nansemond/Bertie counties with occasional trips to/from the Northern Neck region of Virginia.

        Another error in the DAR application was stating the Revolutionary War Soldier James Harrell obtained 200 acres in Kentucky for his service and lived on this land after being discharged. Helynn had solid documentation showing a James Harrell did serve in the War and she did have a valid document purporting that James Harrell was entitled to a 200 acre warrant for his service, and it was dated 16 March 1784. Subsequent research by the author of this narrative turned up a document, signed by President George Washington, that assigned 4 separate military warrants to a Stephens T. Mason in Ohio, one of which is warrant #2766 for 200 acres owned by James Harrell. This proves soldier James Harrell did not live on his 200 acres of military land but assigned his 200 acres directly to Stephens Mason. Helynn was obviously not aware of this military warrant transfer by James Harrell but she stated her information showed a James Harrell living in Nelson County on 200 acres. This statement proved to be correct, as a deed was later discovered wherein a James Harrell purchased 200 acres from a Mr. Reid on Simpsons Creek in Nelson County in 1792. Thus, Helynn’s theory that it was the Revolutionary War soldier James Harrell 1747 who used his military service warrant to live on 200 acres in Nelson County is incorrect.

        There is no doubt Helynn Carrier contributed greatly to her Harrod genealogy and to the family of Isaac Harrell 1770, but she did not prove (a) James Harrell 1747 ever lived in Nelson County, Kentucky; (b) married Margaret Cotton (or any Cotton); or (c) had a son named Isaac Harrell 1770.

        As illustrated above, the state of knowledge regarding James Harrell, son of William/Susannah is bleak. No record of his birth or death has been found, no probate or marriage records are known, and there is nothing to prove he had children or where he lived after leaving Nelson Co, Kentucky. Perhaps the last known record of where James Harrell might have lived after moving from Nelson County is found in the document “Early Ohio Settlers (Purchasers of Land in Southwestern Ohio, 1800-1840)”, compiled by Ellen T. Berry and David A. Berry, published Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing County, Inc., 1986, page 133 where it states the following: “Chester Harrell, 7 Aug 1805 with residence in Montgomery; James Harrell 3 Sept 1805 with residence in Butler; James Harrell 18 Dec 1806 with residence in “Kentucky”; John Harrell 26 Aug 1805 with residence in “Kentucky”; and Isaac Harrell 15 Apr 1812 with residence in Preble.” One or both of these James Harrell individuals listed above who purchased land in Ohio is probably the son of William/Susannah Harrell.

        There is another record of a James Harrell in Nelson County: a deed on March 1808 from James Harrell to George Dugan for “34.5 acres on Simpson’s Creek and being part of that tract where Harrell lived”. There is some uncertainty as to which James Harrell this is – Both William Harrell and his brother Moses owned land on/near Simpson’s creek so this James could be son of William or Moses Harrell.

        After reviewing all the data/documents/records surrounding James, son of William/Susannah, and acknowledging the considerable uncertainty about his family and where he went/lived after leaving Nelson County, Kentucky, it is believed he and his children could provide the most significant links to some of the other 13 families who share a common DNA profile. There are a number of Harrell adults found in and around Butler County, OH in the early 1800s whose parents are not known. As speculative as it is, this James Harrell could be their father. No records thus far have been found to support this thinking, but it’s possible. More discussion about this possibility will be presented as narratives for Families #6 – 14 are developed.


        The first question is whether William Harrell and spouse Susannah Chester Harrell had a son named “Isaac”. The answer is similar to the proof offered above that William/Susannah had a son named “James”. The tax records of early Nelson County, Kentucky list Isaac Harrell living with William Harrell, along with Isaac’s brothers John and James. It is assumed this son Isaac is also the person to whom his father William Harrell sold 200 acres of land in 1807 on Bear Creek in Nelson County, Kentucky (Bear Creek runs through one of William Harrell’s large properties). This same Isaac Harrell sold 8 acres of this land in 1809 to Thomas Botts – “being laid out for said Isaac out of 3500 acre survey of William Harrell”. The only remaining question surrounds the birth year of Isaac, knowing there were other Isaac Harrells in the neighborhood and possibly some unknown Isaac Harrells as well.

        Living in the Nelson and Washington County neighborhood is Moses Harrell, Sr. and James Harrell, Sr. It is known that Moses Harrell, Sr. had a son Isaac b. 1777 Virginia, m. (1) Nancy Montgomery whose known children all were born in Nelson County up to 1820; and (2) Anna Unknown with no known children. Sometime after 1820 this Isaac Harrell moved to Todd County, Kentucky and died there in 1854. Moses Harrell, Sr. had several slaves (William, his brother, had no documented slaves) and it would not be surprising if his son Isaac also owned slaves. There could also be an unknown Isaac Harrell as son to James Harrell, Sr.

        As mentioned above, Chester Harrell, son of William/Susannah, had a son named Isaac b. 1781, m. Delilah Doom, whom it is believed (without proof) moved from Nelson sometime after 1800, was listed in the Cincinnati Land Office records 1804-1806, and ended up in Fayette County, Indiana. It is also known that Chester’s son Isaac was in Preble County, OH in 1812 which lends support to the belief that he is the Isaac Harrell who ended up in Fayette County.

        In the 1810 Nelson County, Kentucky census there are listed two Isaac Harrells, both born 1766-1784. One of them had 4 children and 1 slave; the other had 6 children and no slaves. Moses’ son Isaac 1777 was known to have had 3 children before 1811; and the other Isaac Harrell, perhaps being born 1770, was known to have had 5 children before May 1811. This 1810 census matches relatively well with Isaac 1777, son of Moses, being the person with 1 slave, and Isaac 1770 being the other Isaac Harrell. Moses Sr., father of Isaac 1777, was known to have owned several slaves in Nelson County, which strengthens the idea that Isaac 1777 is the person shown in this census.

        In the 1820 Nelson County, Kentucky census there is only one Isaac Harrell, b. 1775-1794, with 4 slaves. Isaac 1770 had moved to Jackson County, Indiana sometime 1811/1812 leaving Isaac 1777 as the only “Isaac” listed in this 1820 Nelson County census. Sometime after 1820, Isaac 1777 moved to Todd County, Kentucky (his last known child born 1820 in Nelson County).

        William and his brother Moses Harrell, sons of Richard 1700, both bought land in Nelson County in 1780. William first bought 1,000 acres, as did Moses. William later purchased an additional 1,500 acres joining his 1,000 acres and possibly another 1,000 acres (bringing the total to as much as 3,500 acres). The properties of Moses and William Harrell were located north of Beech Fork, northwest of Bardstown near Botland, and separated by only a few miles.

        Starting in 1804, records show an Isaac Harrell who surveyed properties near/adjacent William Harrell’s property. This Isaac Harrell was a county surveyor and his last known survey of Harrell property was dated 1822. This Isaac Harrell is probably the son of Moses (viz., Isaac 1777) who was listed in the 1820 Nelson County census, since Isaac Harrell 1770 had left for Jackson County, Indiana in 1811/12.

        From Helynn Carrier’s research, supported by other descendants of Isaac Harrell 1770, it is known that Isaac Harrell 1770 married (1) Elizabeth Watkins in 1795 in Washington County, Kentucky; and (2) Nancy Shoemaker Alsop in 1831 in Jackson County, Indiana. The known children of Isaac and Elizabeth Watkins are Susannah Chester Harrell, John Harrell, William, James, Edmond, Waller, Chester, Joseph W., Louisa, and Sarah Ann. The known children of Isaac and Nancy Shoemaker Alsop are Isaac, Josiah, and Rachel A.

        As final proof that Isaac Harrell 1770 is son of William/Susannah Harrell, one only needs to look at the names of Isaac’s children. Isaac’s first child was named Susannah Chester, probably after Isaac’s mother Susannah Chester Harrell. His second and third children were named John and William – John was William’s son and Isaac’s brother, and William is Isaac’s father. The fourth child was named James, another son of William/Susannah. And another son was named Chester, probably named after Isaac’s other brother.

        Therefore, by elimination coupled with strong circumstantial evidence, it appears as though Isaac Harrell, the son of William/Susannah Harrell, is the Isaac Harrell b. abt 1770 who appears as late as 1810 in Nelson County, Kentucky. It is this Isaac Harrell 1770 who was extensively researched by Helynn Carrier (and Jack Carmichael) discussed above and claimed by her to be the son of a James Harrell 1747, who has been shown to be fictional in the discussion above (see subsection: James, son of William). This Isaac Harrell 1770 left Nelson County, Kentucky with his family in 1811/12 for Jackson County, Indiana and was considered one of their pioneers. He died there on October 17, 1850. Many of the descendants of Isaac 1770 still live in Jackson County.


        Like his brothers Chester, James, and Isaac, John Harrell is a proven son of William/Susannah Harrell based on the Nelson County, Kentucky Tithe List 1785 to 1790 where John Harrell is listed together with his father William. Fortunately, there were no other John Harrells living in Nelson County at this time. John Harrell was listed in the Nelson County tax record of 1792 as having 1 white male over 21 years of age, which would put his birth year as before 1771. John Harrell was also listed as the only “John” in the “Second Census” of Kentucky 1800 and there were no John Harrells listed in the Nelson County 1810 and 1820 census records. From this tax list and the census information, it would appear that John, son of William, left Nelson between 1800 and 1810 which would match the 1804-1806 Cincinnati Land Office records showing Chester, James, John and Isaac owning land in OH before 1810 (Chester and James are believed to be brothers of John, with Isaac being son of Chester – as discussed previously). In 1795 there is a record of John Herrel owning 253 acres on Mill Creek, an area very near William Harrell’s property. There is a Nelson County deed on 9 August 1797 (DB 5, pg 330) where John Harrell buys 43 ½ acres on Mill Creek from his father William for 10 pounds money, followed by another 9 August 1797 Nelson County deed with his spouse Abigail (DB 5, pg 331) where it is believed John sells this same tract on Mill Creek to John Bodine for 20 pounds.

        John Harrell, son of William, married Abigail Weekly, marriage bond submitted May 26, 1792. Abigail was a stepdaughter of Joseph Settle. Surety was William Harrell.

        Following the 1797 sale of Nelson County land by John Harrell/Abigail, the next record of this John Harrell is believed to be the 1804-1806 Cincinnati Land Office records showing brothers Chester, James, and John along with Chester’s son Isaac Harrell owning land in Ohio. After Ohio, there are 2 deeds 1815 and 1816 in Franklin County, Indiana Territory, between John Harrald and his wife Abigail Harrald selling land to John Fred and Phillip Mason, respectively. John and Abigail apparently moved to Fayette County, Indiana as shown in a Shelby County land document where “John Harrell of Fayette County” purchased 40 acres in Shelby County on May 12, 1835 (this info and much of what follows came from Olive Lee who did considerable research on this John Harrell family).

        John Harrell died in Shelby County, Indiana and probate began August 24, 1837; Abigail Harrell was the Administrator. The probate lasted until September 1846 because a final payment ($40.07) from the estate was required and Abigail the Administrator, after repeated summons, was not responsive. This payment, which ended the probate, was finally made by James E. Harrell, an undocumented son of John/Abigail Harrell (discussed below).

        John Harrell has never been conclusively identified in any Federal census, not in 1810, 1820 or 1830. It is possible, however, that John and Abigail Harrell are listed under (a) John Herrold in Delaware New Purchase, Indiana in 1820; and (b) John Herrald in the Johnson County, Indiana in 1830 census records. In these census records, the adult male and female matches the assumed birth years of John Harrell (c. 1772) and Abigail (abt 1775). Delaware NP was a very large unorganized area created in 1820 adjacent to Franklin and Fayette counties; and Shelby County was created from Delaware NP in 1822. This 1820 census shows 5 sons and 3 daughters in this household, which is much larger than expected as discussed below; and a known daughter is not listed (Susannah, idiotic, b. abt 1800). The 1830 census shows 4 sons and 4 daughters and Susannah seems to have been listed.

        The 1850 census shows Abigail Herell 75 years, born Virginia; Susannah, 50 years, born Kentucky – idiotic; and Isaac, 29 years, born Indiana – idiotic. Three homes away is James E. Harrel, 26 years, born Indiana; Ede, 25 years, born Indiana; Nancy A., 5 years, born Indiana; James H., 3 years, born Indiana; and John, 1 year, born Indiana. This 1850 census is the only official recording of this family with children’s names.

        The 1840 (Noble Township) and 1850 (Addison Township) Shelby County, Indiana census records list Abigail Harrell as head of household. The 1840 record shows 2 males in the 15-19 age range, 1 male in the 30 – 39 range, 1 female in the 40-49 range, and 1 female in the 60-69 range, with a total of 3 being “idiotic or insane” and in private charge (“private charge” is assumed to mean the “idiotic” individuals are living in the home). In this 1840 census, Isaac (idiotic) would be one of the 2 males in the 15-19-age range and Susannah (idiotic) would be the 1 female in the 40-49 range. Olive Harrell Lee descends from James E. Harrell and she believes James E. Harrel is probably the other male in the 15-19-age range.

        A Family Group Sheet was found inside the Harrell file of the Huntington, Indiana library that listed the family of John and Abigail Harrell – the author of this Sheet is unknown. This Sheet identified the children as James, Isaac, Susanna b. c. 1800, and Moses b. Nov 16, 1802, with question marks alongside the names of James and Isaac. Another Family Group Sheet was found inside this Harrell file with info on Moses 1802, showing his place of residence in Huntington County, Indiana and death in 1890. The age of Moses 1802 would fit the male 30-39 in the 1840 Shelby County, Indiana census. In addition, another person who studied this John Harrell family, Esther Koebel-Harrell, noted in a letter dated January 20, 1984 that “I believe that John & Abigail Weekly Harrell were the parents of Moses for these reasons…” Unfortunately, her reasons did not prove Moses was a son. In addition, Moses 1802 who died in Huntington County, Indiana could not be a son of John/Abigail Harrell because it is known that this Moses 1802 is a proven son of Noah Harrell, who in turn is son of Moses Harrell, Sr. who in turn is son of Richard Harrell 1700 (Moses 1802 is discussed below under the subsection Noah, Son of Moses Sr.).

        However, there is another Moses Harrell b. 1803, who lived in the same Indiana neighborhoods as Moses 1802 (viz., Fayette, Franklin, Wabash), but, unlike Moses 1802, Moses 1803 died in Wabash County, Indiana instead of Huntington County, Indiana. This Moses 1803 is the EKA of Family #12 and married Francis Scott, the sister of Rebecca Scott who is spouse of Moses 1802. Nobody has offered a credible link between Moses 1803 and Moses 1802 or a link to any of the other 13 families in spite of the match in DNA. If a link can be made, it is believed this will solve many mysteries and other links would follow.

        Moses 1803 was married in Fayette County, Indiana in 1823 and had children Jesse D. b. 1826, Phillip P. 1829, Tabitha 1831, Amaziah E. 1833, Delila 1835, Charlotte 1840, Rebecca 1842, and Anna 1844. Most of these given names are not in the mainstream of Harrell families, which deepens the mystery of how he links with other families. There is circumstantial evidence, however, supporting the speculation that Moses 1803 could be a son of John/Abigail. First, it seems reasonable that Moses 1803 lived in Fayette County, Indiana at the same time as John/Abigail. Secondly, Abigail Harrell “Ret’d Widow”, 85 years old, born Virginia, was living alone and listed as head of household in the 1860 Wabash County, Indiana census (Liberty Township where Moses 1803 lived). It can’t be proven that this was Abigail Weekly Harrell but no other Abigail Harrell fits.

        As mentioned above, Abigail Weekly Harrell is listed in the 1840 and 1850 Shelby County, Indiana census but her whereabouts after 1850 are not documented. This Abigail Harrell in the 1860 Wabash County census is about the same age and is a widow, as is Abigail Weekly Harrell. This census also shows Abigail living 2 homes away from the household of John Scott, 44, and his family of 8 children. The spouse of John Scott is Abigail Harrell Scott – yes, another Abigail Harrell – whose parents and siblings are not known. Also living in Liberty Township in Wabash County, Indiana in 1860 is head of household William Nick, born about 1830 Virginia with spouse Abigail Harrell Nick – yes, yet another Abigail Harrell. This Abigail Harrell Nick (or Knick) is a daughter of Moses Harrell 1802 who lived in Wabash County for a while before moving to and dying in Huntington County, Indiana.

        Abigail Harrell Scott was born about 1812 in Ohio (1850, 1870, 1880 census records show Abigail born OH; the 1860 census showed her birth in Indiana). She died about 1880 in Wabash County, Indiana and married John Scott in 1833 in Fayette County, Indiana. John Scott was born 1815 in Fayette County, Indiana and died 1886 in Wabash County, Indiana. Rebecca Scott married Moses Harrell born 1802 (see discussion following); her sister Francis Scott married Moses Harrell born 1803, and the spouses’ stepbrother is John Scott born 1815. Furthermore, the 1850 Liberty, Wabash County, Indiana census shows the oldest son of John Scott and wife Abigail as being “Moses” Scott, 16 years old. From these records it is likely Abigail Harrell Scott lived in Fayette County, Indiana at the same time as John Harrell and his spouse Abigail Weekly Harrell, and her birth about 1812 in OH makes it possible she could be a daughter of John and Abigail Weekly Harrell as well as a sister to Moses Harrell 1803.

        As mentioned previously, Olive Harrell Lee descends from James Ellison Harrell through his son James H. Harrell. Olive believed for a long time that James E. was a son of John/Abigail Harrell. James E. “Harrel” is shown living a few houses away from Abigail in the 1850 Shelby County census with spouse “Ede”. James E. was born in Bartholomew County, Indiana (formed from Delaware NP in 1821 and next to Shelby County) in 1823 according to his son’s death certificate; this is consistent with his listing in the 1840 Shelby County census with John/Abigail. James E. Harrell married Eady McCarty 1845.

        Olive Lee obtained a DNA sample from her Harrell relative and it didn’t match any Harrell in the Harrell DNA databank. After puzzling over this DNA mismatch, Olive Lee concluded that James E. Harrell, and probably his brother Isaac (idiotic) are both illegitimate sons of Susannah Harrell (idiotic), daughter of John/Abigail. In the 1840 Shelby County census, the household of Abigail Harrell shows 3 who are “insane or idiotic”; there is also an unknown male 30-39 who could be Susannah’s “husband”. The age difference between Susannah (b. abt 1800) and James E. (b. 1823) would also support a mother-son relationship. If James E. was the biological son of John/Abigail, Abigail would have given birth when she was about 47 or 48 which is somewhat late for giving birth, but certainly possible.

        Another fact supporting the idea that James E. Harrell is a son of John/Abigail, is documentation showing he ended up making the final settlement of John’s estate in 1746, even though Abigail was technically the Administrator but not able to function as such. In 1847, one year after the estate settlement, James Ellison Harrell sells the Shelby County property owned by John/Abigail Harrell to Henry DeBaun. There is no record of James E. Harrell buying this land from John Harrell so it appears to be an inheritance of some form.

        In summary, it is believed that all of the children of John and Abigail Weekly Harrell are not documented. There is circumstantial evidence, perhaps strong, that suggests John and Abigail Harrell had several children including Moses Harrell 1803 and Abigail Harrell Scott. If this can be proven, a link would thus be established between Family #5 (Richard Harrell 1700) and Family #12 (Moses Harrell 1803), and possibly reveal other links among some of the 13 families.


        Mary Harrell, daughter of William/Susannah Harrell, was born 1766 Virginia and lived with her father William in Nelson County, Kentucky until marriage. She married Henry Smith Cotton on 18 June 1787 (bond date) in Nelson County, Kentucky and had 7 children: Elizabeth b. 1789, m. John Crume; Mary “Polly” b. 1793, m. Mountjoy King; Margaret b. abt 1795, m. John R. Kelly; Jemima L. b. 1797, m. Henry Cotton Jr.; Sarah “Sally” b. 1800, m. Squire Crume; William W. b. 1801, m. Nancy Irwin; and John b. 1807, m. Juliett Tong.

        Henry Cotton, b. 1763 Virginia, lived near William Harrell in Nelson County and he died March 1831 in Nelson County. A record shows Henry Cotton purchasing 433 acres on Mill Creek from William Harrell in 1807, for a grand total of $1. His spouse Mary Harrell Cotton was 84 years old in the 1850 Nelson County census where she is shown living in the Beam family with her granddaughter Mary Ann Beam. Mary Ann Beam, daughter of Sarah “Sally” Cotton and Squire Crume, married (1) William H. Summers in 1841; and (2) Daniel Weller Beam in 1848. Mary Harrell Cotton died at age 90 in 1856 in Nelson County, Kentucky. Note: Most of this information provided by Lucy B. Geoghegan of Bardstown, Kentucky.


      There is very little known about Richard Harrell’s son James. He was born Frederick County, Virginia in the early 1730s; for this narrative, James’ birth is noted as c. 1732. There is no marriage record for James Harrell, the surname of his spouse is unknown, no Will or probate records have been found, and there is no record of any children. Making matters worse, there are several James Harrells living in his neighborhood and it’s almost impossible without detailed records to differentiate them. These other James Harrells living in the neighborhood are known to be:

      1. James Harrell b. abt 1772 Virginia who is son of William/Susannah Harrell;
      2. James Harrell b. abt 1762 Virginia who is son of Moses Harrell, Sr.;
      3. James Harrell b. 1783 Nelson County, Kentucky who is son of Chester Harrell; and
      4. James Harrell b. 1803 Washington County, Kentucky who is son of Isaac Harrell 1770, son of William/Susannah Harrell

      Here is what is known or generally believed (i.e., not proven) about this James Harrell c. 1732:

      1. James’ father Richard 1700 deeded 176 acres of his Frederick County, Virginia land to James in 1750 (discussed earlier). James sold this land in April 20, 1758 to Simon Carson.
      2. While still living in Frederick County, Virginia on March 14, 1780, James Harrell purchases Treasury Warrant No. 3819 for 400 acres of land (for 130 pounds money) in Jefferson County, Virginia. This 400 acres was located on the south side of the Beech Fork watercourse, about 2 miles below the mouth of Hardens Creek. This property was located in Nelson County, Kentucky in 1784.
      3. This James c. 1732 is not the James Harrell 1747 whom Helynn Carrier featured in her Harrell research (discussed earlier). This James c. 1732 did not receive 200 acres for his military service under Military Warrant Number 2766 in 1784, as did James Harrell 1747.
      4. This James c. 1732 is believed not to be the James Harrell listed in the 1810 and 1820 Nelson County, Kentucky census records who owned several slaves.

      Two additional documents were found pertaining to a person thought to be James Harrell c. 1732. The first is a land sale on July 10, 1792 between James Harreld Sr. and his wife Margaret and Richard James Rapier, both parties living in Nelson County, Virginia. In this document, property is sold for 7000 pounds of tobacco and described as 170 acres on the south side of the Beech Fork of the Salt River joining the plantation of Richard Rapier. This property appears to be part of or adjacent to the 400 acres James Harrell c. 1732 purchased as a Treasury Warrant in 1780. This land sale is the only record of a spouse’s name (viz., Margaret) for James Harrell. There is no proof that this “James Harreld Sr.” is James Harrell c. 1732; there could be a son “James Harrell, Jr.” who could be of age and qualify as the landowner. But, being called “James Harrell, Sr.” in this land transaction suggests this landowner is James Harrell c. 1732.

      The other document mentioning James Harrell is on October 24, 1789 wherein a “petition of inhabitants of Nelson County that they are very inconvenient to an inspection and from the badness of the roads labor under many inconveniences in carrying produce to market. They ask an Act to establish a warehouse and inspection on the Beech fork at the mouth of Cartwright’s Creek on the land of Richard Parker”…signed William Harrald, Moses Harrell and James Harrell and about 150 others. It is known that William Harrald/Harrell and his brother Moses owned land on the north side of the Beech Fork and James Harrell, their brother, owned land on south side of the Beech Fork, all in the neighborhood of the mouth of Cartwright’s Creek. Here again, no proof exists that this James Harrell is James c. 1732, but it seems logical and is assumed to be so.

      With James Harrell being born c. 1732, he would have been 60 years old when a portion of his land was sold to Richard Rapier in 1792. The Second Census of Kentucky in 1800 shows 3 different James Harrells living in Nelson County: James Harrell and James Harrell, Jr. both of whom were listed 7 July 1800, and James Harrel listed 20 August 1800. It’s likely one of these individuals is James Harrell, Sr. c. 1732, which, if so, represents the last known record of him.

      There is another set of documents relating to the Revolutionary War experience of a James Harrell who could be a son of James c. 1732. In the period 1776-1779, Shenandoah County, Virginia, William Combs, William Dodson, Thomas Duncan, Thomas Linthicum, Bean Smallwood, and James Harrell all enlisted in Stovers town (now Strasburg, Shenandoah County, Virginia) in the company of Capt. Richard Campell, 8th Virginia Regt. of Col. Muhlenburg and Col. Abram Bowman and possibly under Lt. Matthias Hite. This information was obtained from the following link:

      Associated with this military service is a pension application of William Dodson, age 74, filed in Nelson County, Kentucky on January 14, 1833. In this application there was testimony by Thomas Duncan and Thomas Linthicum supporting Dodson’s application. Also in this file was the deposition of James Harrel, dated June 17, 1833 in Nelson County, Kentucky confirming Dodson’s application and adding that he enlisted under Lt. Matthias Hite. Assuming all these soldiers who enlisted in Shenandoah County were about the same age, it suggests this James Harrell was born about 1758 (the age of William Dodson). Without further proof, it is believed this soldier James Harrell is a son of James Harrell, Sr. Unfortunately, he couldn’t be found in the Nelson County 1830 or 1840 census records which weakens this belief.

      If James Harrell c. 1732 had children, some could have migrated to Ohio and Indiana with their Harrell cousins. If the James Harrell above who confirmed Dodson’s pension application is a son of James Harrell, Sr., he could not have migrated to Indiana or Ohio in the early 1800s since he was in Nelson County in 1833. Therefore, he would not be considered a possible link to some of the other 13 families who lived in Indiana and Ohio in the early 1800s. There are, however, several “James Harrells” found in some of the other blood related 13 families living in Indiana and Ohio suggesting a possible link to the family of James Harrell c. 1732. This is highly speculative because there is no supporting evidence.


      The amount of information about Aaron Harrell is very sparse. Here is what is documented:

      1. Aaron’s father Richard deeded him 78 acres of his land on November 27, 1750. As was the case with his other brothers who sold their lands in 1758, Aaron Harrell sold his tract to John Harrill, Jr. on 3 April 1758. This John Harrill, Jr. is not believed to be one of Richard’s 6 sons, but it is unproven.
      2. “Revolutionary War Records”, Vol. 1, Virginia, pg. 600 by Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh 1967 lists in 1775 Richard Harrell, 1 white male 16 years & up and 1 white female; and next to him is listed Aron Harrell with 1 white male over 16, 3 white males under 16, and 1 white woman. Both Richard and Aaron were considered living in Dunmore County, Virginia in 1775 (1775 Tax List of Dunmore County by John Netherton). It is likely Richard and Aron Harrell are sons of Richard Harrell 1700.
      3. Revolutionary War records also reveal a pension statement by William Graham where it was stated: “He removed to Caswell County North Carolina at which place in the month of March 1781 he was drafted for a three months tour against the British under Captain Aaron Harrell and Colonel William Watkins Regiment of Militia Rendezvoused at Salisbury marched to Savannah River where they Joined General Greene – we lay there till our time was out which was in June and was there Honorably discharged his discharge was signed by the said Captain Harrell which discharge is lost he served at this time three months.”
      4. An additional Revolutionary War record discussed in identifies a soldier who served in 1782 under Capt. Aaron Harrell and Col. James Saunders.

        There has not been found any marriage information, any information about his spouse, no Will or probate records, and no information about any children except for the Revolutionary War record in #2 above. Aaron Harrell remains a mystery.


      The amount of information regarding John Harrell is less than that for his brother Aaron Harrell. All that is known about John Harrell is the 1750 Frederick County, Virginia deed for 131 acres of his father’s property and the subsequent sale in 1758 of these 131 acres to George Hardin (discussed above under Richard Harrell 1700). In this 1758 deed, the last known record of him, John Harrell used his mark when signing the deed meaning he could not write. His birth is estimated between 1730 – 1737. No records of his marriage, children, birth/death, and military service have been found. If he moved from Frederick County after 1758, his whereabouts are unrecorded. There were, however, other John Harrells living in the neighborhood at the same time, which has fueled speculation as to whether this John Harrell, son of Richard 1700, could be one of them. The other known John Harrells of approximately the same age who lived in the neighborhood are (1) John Harrell who lived on Happy Creek (near Front Royal); and (2) John Harrell who later moved to Hawkins County, Tennessee (EKA of Family #3).

      Without additional supporting evidence, it is believed John Harrell son of Richard 1700 is not Happy Creek John Harrell because records show Happy Creek John as being able to write his name whereas son John Harrell could not. Also, there exist records showing Happy Creek John calling himself “John Harrell Junior” whereas son John Harrell has never been referred to as “Junior”.

      Hawkins County John Harrell could not write his name and left Frederick County along with William Harrell, Sr. (EKA Family #1) and Reuben Harrell, Sr. (EKA Family #2) in the early 1780s. Hawkins County John bought land in North Carolina in 1788 (this land later became part of Tennessee) where he died approximately 1822. It is possible son John Harrell could be Hawkins County John Harrell but supporting evidence has not been found.

      There are 3 Revolutionary War records involving a John Harrell that might relate to John Harrell son of Richard Harrell 1700. The first is from “Virginia State Library, Archives Division, Military and Land Warrant Records” where John Harrold serves 3 years as sergeant in Virginia Continental Line, 8th Virginia Regiment from Botetourt County, Virginia. He was discharged June 1777 near Valley Forge, then served a second time for 18 months in the 8th Virginia Regiment and was discharged near Salisbury, NC Feb 1782. In 1819 he lived in Wilkes County, NC and in 1828 was still there when he received bounty land warrant #6718 for 299 acres.

      The second Revolutionary War record was from “National Archives Military Records” showing John Harrold of the 8th Virginia Regiment enlisting for 3 years on 1 March 1777 in the 12th Virginia Regiment. He deserted from Valley Forge about 15 Feb 1778, but rejoined on 10 May 1778. He again deserted 7 July 1778, rejoining the regiment 27 Apr 1779 after it had merged with the 4th and 8th Regiments and was redesignated the 8th Virginia Regiment. He was “in hospital” in Dec 1779, then paid in Mar 1780 in detachment of the 2nd Virginia Brigade.

      The third record is from “Virginia State Library, Archives Division, Register of Description of Noncommissioned Officers and Privates Enrolled at Albemarle Courthouse” showing John Harrell, age 20, born in Frederick, Virginia, 5 feet 10 inches tall, brown hair, grey eyes, fair complexion, occupation planter, residing in Montgomery County, Virginia, engaged as a substitute from Montgomery County, 23 Dec 1781 for 18 months.

      It has been suggested that the first 2 records relate to the same person, but there is conflicting information that suggests otherwise. If Sgt. John served three years and was discharged in 1777 near Valley Forge, he would have joined in 1774. If the same person, from the second record, enlisted again in 1777 and discharged in 1782, it means this one person served over 7 years (1774 – 1782) and only received 200 acres of bounty land for his service. This seems an unreasonable reward for this length of service, in spite of the desertions. Perhaps it is more reasonable to consider these 3 records dealt with 3 different individuals: Sgt. John, Deserting John, and Young John. The John Harrell who received 200 acres (presumably in NC) is probably Young John who enlisted for 18 months as a substitute. It is not unreasonable to speculate that these 3 John Harrell individuals might be related, although no supporting evidence is available. John Harrell, son of Richard 1700, could be Sgt. John or Deserting John but not Young John, as he would have been over 90 years old in 1828 when receiving 200 acres.

      There is one more military service record that may relate to John Harrell, son of Richard 1700. Source: Kegley’s Virginia Frontier: “The Beginning of the Southwest, the Roanoke of Colonial Days, 1740-1783″, by Frederick B. Kegley, p. 452. Here it is stated that a John Harrold of the Shenandoah area served in Capt. Joseph Pryor’s Company of men during the French and Indian War (1754-1760). He was listed as having one horse and four cattle.

      Even though the possibility of military service exists for John Harrell, son of Richard Harrell 1700, nothing has been found to support it. In addition, there are other John Harrells in the neighborhood, of similar ages who could be soldier candidates. Without knowing something about his children, if any, it is not possible to speculate about his possible link to the Indiana and Ohio Harrell families who are blood related and represent some of the other 13 families.


      There is more known about Moses Harrell than any other son of Richard Harrell 1700. His birth year is not known but it is believed he was born 1730-1735 (discussed above under ages of Richard Harrell’s sons). Moses born before 1735 has been chosen for this narrative. His father in Augusta County, Virginia deeded him 144 acres on the south side of the (South) Shenandoah River in 1750 and Moses sold this land July 3rd and 4th, 1758 (Lease & Release) to Simon Carson for 20 pounds money (the same amount Moses paid his father for this parcel). After sale of his property in 1758, the next record we have for Moses is his listing in the 1775 Dunmore County, Virginia census. Following this Dunmore County census, Moses purchased 1000 acres in Jefferson County, Virginia under Treasury Warrant #3793 on March 14, 1780; purchase price was 400 pounds money. Nelson County was formed from Jefferson County in 1784 and this land became Nelson County, Kentucky after Kentucky statehood in 1792. When surveyed on February 26, 1783 Moses’ property description read “…on the north side of the Beech fork, and about three or four miles above the mouth of Cartright Creek adjoining corner to John Gillison”. His brother William Harrell’s property was located nearby, but not adjoining.

      Moses Harrell moved to Jefferson County, Virginia shortly after his 1000-acre purchase. He is listed together with some of his sons (and slaves) in Nelson County tax rolls beginning in 1785 and extending through 1791 (records missing in 1789). His final listing in a census was the “Second Census” of Kentucky, 1800.

      Moses Harrell wrote his Will on November 18, 1802 and it was recorded September 12, 1803. In his Will, Moses made no mention of his spouse and divided his estate equally among his children listed as: James Harrell, Moses Harrell (Jr.), Noah Harrell, Richard Harrell, Isaac Harrell, Lettuce Parker, Winey Regans, Abigail Duncan and Elizabeth Ferry. His sons James and Moses (Jr.) were named as Executors. There are some who report that Moses Sr. married twice: (1) Elizabeth Guffy/Griffy/Giffy; (2) Nancy Graham, but no documents have been found to support these marriages. Both of these alleged marriages will be discussed below.

      In the book “Ferry Forebears” by Walker D. Ferry (Moses’ daughter Elizabeth married James Ferry Sr.), it is reported that Moses’ plantation was located on Campground Road, about one quarter mile from Highway 55 in Nelson County, Kentucky. A cemetery is located on the nearby Charles Calvert farm and it is believed Moses Sr. and Moses Jr. are buried there, but no markers were found to support this belief. Tim Ballard of Bardstown, Kentucky (Charles Calvert was his distant cousin) researched local library and court records for information about Harrells who lived in the region and reported the following people buried in this cemetery:

      1. Moses Harrell d. 15 April 1851, age 71;
      2. James Harrell, 6 Nov 1820 to October 1824;
      3. Margaret Harrell, 6 Sept 1833 to 12 Sept 1833;
      4. Mary M. Harrell, daughter of M and N Harrell, 10 Jan 1830 to 12 Feb 1833; and
      5. Stanley L. Harrell, 25 Aug 1818 to 25 Jan 1833.

      Tim Ballard commented that he believes 1833 was when one of the periodic cholera epidemics hit Nelson County. It is noted that the cemetery record for Moses Harrell who d. 15 April 1851, age 71 is probably the Moses Harrell who married Nancy Graham, the son of James Harrell/Elizabeth Crume and grandson of Moses Harrell, Sr. “Kentucky Death Records, 1852-1953″ show this Moses Harrell was born 1784 and died April 5, 1854 – age 70. It is not known which set of records is more accurate: the cemetery record or the Kentucky death record, but both have about the same age at death.

      One of the challenges in describing the family of Moses Harrell, Sr. is properly identifying his different sons and grandsons who are also named Moses Harrell. There is (1) Moses Sr. born bef 1735 in Virginia (perhaps Prince William County), died before September 1803 in Nelson County, Kentucky, married Unknown; (2) Moses Jr. (son of Moses Sr.) born abt 1770 Augusta/Frederick County, Virginia, died 1803 Nelson County, Kentucky, married Nancy Ann Lewis; (3) Moses (son of James Harrell who is son of Moses Sr.) born 1784 Nelson County, Kentucky, married Nancy Graham; and (4) Moses (son of Noah who is son of Moses Sr.) born 1802 Nelson County, Kentucky, died 1890 Wayne, Huntington County, Indiana, married Rebecca Scott. In addition, there is a mysterious Moses Harrell born 1803 who died in Wabash County, Indiana was discussed previously in the subsection “John, son of William” (within the section “William Harrell, son of Richard Harrell 1700″). This Moses Harrell 1803 who died in Wabash County married the sister of the spouse of Moses 1802, and lived near Moses Harrell 1802 in Fayette County, Franklin County, and Wabash County, Indiana before Moses Harrell 1802 moved to Huntington County, Indiana. The DNA profile of Moses 1803 matches that of Moses 1802 but their relationship has not been determined.

      The primary source of confusion over the alleged marriage of a Moses Harrell to Elizabeth Griffy, Guffy, Giffy stems from a bizarre situation in which Moses Harrell, Jr. was supposed to marry Elizabeth Griffy but instead married Nancy Ann Lewis. On July 9, 1790, the stepfather of Elizabeth Griffy gave permission for her to marry Moses Harrell, Jr. in a document stating “It is my request that you should let Moses Harrell and Elizabeth Griffy have a license of marriage as she is my stepdaughter – to Mr. Grayson Clark of Nelson County – signed Frances Simarly”. On July 12, 1790 Moses Jr. and James W. Collum secured a marriage bond for 50 pounds current money for Moses Jr. to be married to Elizabeth Griffy. The same day, July 12, 1790, an authorization was issued by Micheal Campel “To any licensed Minister” to marry “Moses Harrell and Ann Luess” – thus proving Moses Harrell, Jr. actually married Ann Luess, otherwise known as Nancy Ann Lewis. The reason why Moses Jr. did not marry Elizabeth Griffy is not known (discussion below on Moses Jr. suggests a reason) but subsequent court documents dated August 10, 1790 show a Grand Jury judgement against Moses Jr. for presenting a “false warrant unto Mr. Chambers to marry him the said Moses to Ann Lues”. Elizabeth Griffy and Frances Simarly filed suit against Moses Jr. and on June 20, 1794 the Commonwealth of Virginia commanded the Sheriff of Nelson County to collect from the estate of Moses Jr. “enough goods and chattles…to satisfy and pay the within mentioned sum of five hundred pounds and costs and that it be forthcoming and liable for payment thereof”.

      Moses Jr. died in Nelson County sometime in 1803 (estate inventory made November 23, 1803), about the same time as the death of his father Moses Sr. (Moses Sr. Will recorded September 12, 1803). Nancy Ann Lewis was known by “Nancy” and by “Ann” in land transactions with Moses Jr. The speculation that Moses Sr. married Nancy Graham was probably fueled in part by estate settlements of Moses Jr. and Moses Sr. conducted about the same time – with “Nancy Harrell” being the administrator of Moses Jr.’s estate. More discussion follows about Moses Jr. and how Nancy Graham fits within Moses Sr.’s family.

      Moses Harrell, Sr.’s sons – James, Noah, Richard, Moses Jr., and Isaac – all died in Kentucky. None of them moved out of the state, but their children did and their whereabouts and families play an important part in finding links to the other 13 families, all of which have matching DNA profiles.

      The discussion that follows examines the children and some of grandsons of Moses Sr.


        Moses Jr. was born about 1770 in either Augusta or Frederick County, Virginia (the boundary between these two counties changed over time – this area became Dunmore County in 1772 and Shenandoah County in 1778). His father Moses Sr. moved the family in the early 1780s from Frederick/Augusta County to what later became Nelson County, Kentucky. Moses Jr. is listed along with his siblings in the 1785-1791 Nelson County tax records and he is found in Nelson County in the 1800 “Second Census” of Kentucky. His marriage to Nancy Ann Lewis was discussed above. A Green County court record in July 1797 identifies Moses Harrel of Nelson County and spouse Nancy Harrell purchasing 666 2/3 acres from Thomas Stapp of Green County for $1000. On November 16, 1801 Moses Jr. and wife Ann of Nelson County purchase 1000 acres of land in Green County from George Marks of Nelson County on the waters of Greasy Creek formerly called Wolf Creek, a branch of Cumberland River. The next day on 17 November 1801, Moses Jr. and wife Ann lease 450 acres of this Greasy Creek land for 12 years to Joseph Hott who plans on building a “marchaint” Mill on the waterway. That is the last record of Moses Jr. before his death sometime before November 23, 1803 (date of estate inventory).

        Moses Jr. died in his early 30s. The only documents found that identified his children were court records showing (1) In 1817 Thomas Lewis is declared the guardian of Ann Harrell, Polly Harrell, and Eliza Harrell, infant heirs of Moses Harrell; and (2) An 1815 suit by Thomas Harrell (also known as Thomas L. Harrell), “son of Moses Harrell, Jr.”, against “heirs of Moses Harrell, Jr.” who were listed as Lewis Harrel, Ann Harrel, Polly Harrel, and Eliza Harrel.

        Thomas Lewis is the father of Nancy Ann Lewis and he was born January 9, 1742, died August 4, 1822, married 1764 in Fairfax County, Virginia to Judith Ferguson. Thomas Lewis was wealthy and owned many slaves – his Will identified six children to whom his estate was to be divided equally: John Lewis, Sarah Weller, Elizabeth Tonge, Catharine Sprotsman, Juilet Ramey and Fanny Jones. His Will contained this statement: “To the children of Moses Harrold dec’d by my daughter Ann I give and bequeath one Eighth part of my personal estate and the Same proportion of my negroes not heretofore disposed of, and at the decease of my wife the same proportion of the negroes and effects she may leave.”

        Moses Jr. left an estate that included several slaves. Administrators of his estate (Nelson County Deed Book 7, May 9, 1803) were identified as Nancy Harrell and William McArchron. The estate inventory began in November 1803 but was not finally settled until 1822. William McArchron was the only administrator identified in most all of the settlement records suggesting Nancy Harrell had either died shortly after 1803 or was somehow removed from her administrator duties.

        Before the final 1822 settlement of Moses’ estate, Thomas L. Harrel filed suit against his siblings in 1815, resulting in a January 1816 sale of 185 acres of land and 10 slaves – for a total of almost $5000. In this 1815 suit, William McArchron acted as guardian of Thomas L. Harrel. These properties, including the slaves, were part of the estate of Moses Jr. and it appears that son Thomas L. Harrell filed suit to obtain what he thought was his rightful share. In the final settlement of Moses Jr.’s estate in 1822, daughters Elizabeth, Anna and Mary (who were married by this time) each received about $1300 but no such record of inheritance was recorded for sons Lewis and Thomas L. Harrell. It is unclear what Lewis Harrell received from Moses Jr.’s estate. The size of his estate suggests Moses Jr. initial desire to marry Elizabeth Griffy was perhaps overcome by a stronger desire to increase his wealth by marrying Nancy Ann Lewis.

        The known children of Moses Jr. and Nancy Ann Lewis Harrell are:

        1. Thomas L. Harrell b. abt 1791 Nelson County, Kentucky, married Agnes McCreery in Ohio County, Kentucky 1815. Lived in Gallatin County, Illinois in 1820. Oral history said Thomas died in Southern Illinois near “West End”. He had 6 known children: Lucilla Lucretia, Lewis, Narcissa, Artemissia, Eleanor Mellisa, and Vibella.
        2. Lewis Harrell, b. 1795 Nelson County, Kentucky, d. abt 1858, married (1) Lydia Linebaugh in Nelson County, Kentucky 1815; (2) Nancy Unknown in probably Franklin County, Indiana abt 1839; (3) Elizabeth Gwaltney in Franklin County, Illinois 1848. Three children with Nancy (Susan, Mary, Lampsel) and 1 child with Elizabeth (Elizabeth).
        3. Ann Harrell, b. March 17, 1798, Nelson County, Kentucky, d. Sept 4, 1888 Franklin County, Illinois, married Alexander McCreery in Ohio County, Kentucky 1817. They had 10 children: Ashby, Julia Emily, John Warren, William Lewis, George L., Cyrus, Sydney Ann, Mary Matilda, Harriet, Hardin.
        4. Mary Polly Harrell, b. abt 1801 Nelson County, Kentucky, d. bef 1840 probably Illinois, married George Prince Bowyer 1820 in Franklin County, Illinois. Children Susan, Horace Louis, Nancy.
        5. Elizabeth Harrell, b. March 9, 1804 Nelson County, Kentucky (born after father died), d. Sept. 27, 1877 Illinois, married George McCreery 1823 in Franklin County, Illinois. Six children: Caroline, Mary Jane, Loretta, Anna, Charles, Margaret.

        It is believed Nancy Ann Lewis died in 1804, possibly from her last childbirth. No record of her death has been found, however.


        James Harrell was born abt 1762 in either Augusta or Frederick County, Virginia. Like his siblings, he moved to Nelson County in the early 1780s and can be found with his father in some of the Nelson County tax lists 1785-1791. As discussed previously, tracking the different James Harrells when they are all living in Nelson County is challenging, at best. So there is a high level of uncertainty in identifying all the James Harrells in Nelson County But one of the clues is the ownership of slaves: Moses Sr. owned several and so did his son Moses Jr. The James Harrell who owned several slaves in the 1820 Nelson County, Kentucky census is believed to be a son of Moses Sr.; also listed as slave owners in this census are Isaac Harrell assumed son of Moses Sr. and Moses Harrell assumed son of James 1762.

        James Harrell 1762 died in Daviess County, Kentucky about 1836. He married Elizabeth Crume on March 25, 1783 in Shenandoah County, Virginia; she died bef 1810 Nelson County, Kentucky. The Crume and Harrell families were very close and migrated to the same areas in Kentucky and Indiana. There are six known children of this marriage: (1) James D. Harrell b. abt 1784 Virginia, d. bef 1831 Nelson County, Kentucky, married Mary Crutchfield and had children Margaret and Nancy; (2) Moses Harrell b. 1780-1784 in what later became Nelson County, Kentucky (same birth location for the other siblings), d. 1854 Nelson County, Kentucky, married Nancy Graham (discussed later) and had children Stanley L., Gilly A., James, Robert Christopher, Mary M., and Margaret; (3) Barbara Harrell b. abt 1785 Nelson County, Kentucky, d. 1852 Daviess County, Kentucky, married Thomas Shadwick and had at least 10 children; (4) John Harrell b. 1785 Nelson County, Kentucky [Note: This John Harrell may have married Sarah Batman which, if so, would link him directly to Family #13] ; (5) William H. Harrell b. 1793 Nelson County, Kentucky, d. 1862 Daviess County, Kentucky, married 3 times (Elizabeth abt 1821, Nancy Rose abt 1831, and Miranda Nunn in 1854) and had children Elizabeth B., Martin, and Mary Ann; (6) Margaret Harrell, b. abt 1798 Nelson County, Kentucky, d. 1829, married Solomon Bishop and had 3 children; (7) Leah Harrell b. abt 1800 Nelson County, Kentucky, d. after 1870 in Pike County, Missouri, married William L. Gibbs and had 4 children.

        Except for John Harrell 1785, son of James Harrell 1762, there does not seem to be any connection/link between the family of James Harrell and any of the other 13 families who share the same DNA profile.


        Winifred (Winney) Harrell was born abt 1765 in either Augusta or Frederick County, Virginia. Her death date or location is not known. She married Charles Reagan, Jr. on May 14, 1783 in Shenandoah County, Virginia and they had one daughter, Phebe Reagan b. 1785 Shenandoah County, Virginia. No further information about Winifred Harrell is known other than the death of Charles Reagan, Jr. on November 13, 1843 was in Dade County, Missouri.


        Considerable information is known about Noah Harrell as a result of two Harrell researchers: Gorden McKinley Harrell (born 1896, dec’d), and Walter D. Ferry, author of “Ferry Forebears”. Gorden McKinley Harrell, a descendant of Noah Harrell, wrote a history of his Harrell family starting from the very early Harrells of Colonial Virginia and Kentucky. A number of Harrell researchers have used Gordon M. Harrell’s information when reporting on the family of Richard Harrell 1700. Whereas his information about Richard Harrell’s family (sons, grandsons, etc.) is generally useful, at the time Gordon Harrell wrote his family history he did not understand the difference between the Harrells of Nansemond County, Virginia and the Harrells of Northern Virginia. He mixed together these Harrells, as did most Harrell researchers in the early days before 2001 (as discussed early in this narrative), and his reporting of Richard Harrell’s ancestors is incorrect.

        Walter D. Ferry, who has lived in Grayson County, Kentucky most of his life, is related to James Ferry born about 1773, died before 1850 in Grayson County, Kentucky, who married Elizabeth Harrell, daughter of Moses Harrell, Sr. His book “Ferry History” includes information about certain children of Moses Harrell, Sr. Unfortunately, it has been found that information from Gordon McKinley Harrell does not always coincide with that of Walter Ferry. In this narrative, information from both sources is used and relevant differences between the two sources are highlighted when appropriate.

        Noah Harrell (Harrel) was born July 12, 1766 in Augusta or Frederick County, Virginia. His father moved the family to what later became Nelson County, Kentucky in the early 1780s and Noah is listed in the 1787 Nelson County tax list. Noah Harrell married Elizabeth Blue (born 1778, died 1846) in 1795 in Nelson County, Kentucky. Following his father’s death in 1803, Noah and his wife moved to Hardin County, Kentucky in 1804 or 1805 and lived on Short Creek that flowed through an area called “The Sinks”. Noah purchased several hundred acres of land in this area which later became Grayson County in 1810. The 1810 Grayson County tax list showed Noah owning 3 parcels totaling 1200 acres. This land was later known as the Michael Harrel farm and later owned by George W. and William Sherman Harrel, sons of Michael and Elizabeth Covert Harrel. Michael Harrell was a son of Noah Harrell and Elizabeth Blue.

        Noah Harrell died Sept. 4, 1850 in Short Creek, Grayson County, Kentucky and was living with his daughter Ruth Deweese who had married Edward Deweese. Noah and his wife Elizabeth Blue Harrell are buried in an abandoned cemetery near Ferry Hill Spring in/near Short Creek, Grayson County, Kentucky. Noah’s sister Elizabeth Harrel Ferry is also buried there. It is reported that Noah Harrell was an opponent of slavery which differentiated him from all but one of his other brothers (one of these other brothers of unknown identity was also an opponent of slavery).

        The known children of Noah Harrell and Elizabeth Blue Harrell are as follows:

        1. Ruth Elizabeth Harrell, b. 1796 Nelson County, Kentucky, d. 1875 Grayson County, Kentucky, married Edward Deweese in 1813
        2. Mary Harrell, b. 1798 Nelson County, Kentucky, d. bef. 1850, married William Miller abt. 1839
        3. Uriah B. Harrell, b. 1800 Nelson County, Kentucky, d. aft. 1880 Des Moines County, IA, married Phebe Deweese
        4. Moses Harrell, b. 1802 Nelson County, Kentucky, d. 1890 Wayne, Huntington County, IN, married Rebecca Scott. He was called “Little Moses” by some of his descendants. In Gorden McKinley Harrell’s family history, he incorrectly reported “tradition is he (Moses 1802) moved to Missouri or Arkansas and later to Texas”.
        5. Noah Harrell Jr., b. 1805 probably Ohio County, Kentucky, d. 1879 Ohio County, Kentucky, married Agnes C. Craig abt. 1829 Grayson County, Kentucky
        6. Blue Harrell, b. 1807 Ohio County, Kentucky, d. 1889 Grayson County, Kentucky, married Mary “Polly” McDaniel about 1850 Grayson County, Kentucky
        7. William Harrell, b. 1809 Ohio County, Kentucky, d. 1889, married Nancy Benoni
        8. Isaac Harrell, b. 1811 Grayson County, Kentucky, may have died young
        9. James Harrell, b. 1813 Grayson County, Kentucky, d. 1894 Wilbarger County, Texas, married Mary Miller 1840 Macon County, IL
        10. Blackford Harrell, b. 1815 Grayson County, Kentucky, d. 1869 Grayson County, Kentucky, married Amelia Ann Shaw 1838 Grainger County, Tennessee
        11. John Harrell, b. 1818 Grayson County, Kentucky, d. Grayson County, Kentucky, perhaps died young
        12. Michael Harrell, b. 1821 Grayson County, d. 1886 Short Creek, Grayson County, Kentucky, married Elizabeth Wright Covert 1846 Grayson County, Kentucky

        It is documented in a Nelson County court record that Noah Harrell, son of Moses Sr., had an illegitimate son born to Susannah Curtsinger on April 13, 1794, about 20 months before Noah’s marriage to Elizabeth Blue. There was no name given to this child in the court record and his whereabouts are unknown. Based only on birth date, living in Nelson County, Kentucky at the same time, and similarity in some of their children’s names, this illegitimate child of Noah Harrell could be EKA Ephraim Harrell of Family #6.

        It should be noted that Noah Harrell never left Kentucky, but some of his sons did: (a) Uriah Harrell lived in Iowa; (b) Moses Harrell 1802 is known to have lived in Franklin County, Fayette County, Wabash County, and Huntington County – all counties in Indiana; and (c) James Harrell is known to have lived in Macon County, IL and Wilbarger County, Texas. Based on what is known about Moses Harrell 1802 and his family, it is believed he and some of his sons may be linked to EKAs associated with some of the other 13 families.


        Richard Harrell was born 1768 in either Augusta or Frederick County, Virginia. Following this, Gordon Harrell and Walter Ferry differed about certain aspects of Richard Harrell’s life. According to Gordon McKinley Harrell (a) Richard Harrell married Winnifred Compton about 1790; (b) he appeared in records for that county in 1807 and 1823; and (c) he died in Breckenridge County in 1825 or 1826. Walter Ferry reports (a) Richard Harrell married Winnifred Compton July 25, 1800 in Ohio County, Kentucky; (b) On July 16, 1816 the Commonwealth of Kentucky declared Richard Harrell to be “a person of unsound mind” – the State appointed Noah Harrell and Isaac Green to care for Richard and to manage his estate; (c) On October 24, 1817 the court ordered Noah to account for matters related to the estate of the said lunatic Richard Harrell; and (d) Richard did not live long in this condition because his youngest son, William H. Harrell, told his children that his father died in 1818 in Breckenridge County, Kentucky when he (William) was two year old. From the degree of detail and his sources, this narrative has chosen the version offered by Walter Ferry to be more reliable.

        Winnifred Compton Harrell was born 1785 and died after 1855. After their marriage in 1800 in Ohio County, Kentucky, they moved to Breckinridge County and acquired a large tract of land on Rough Creek near the Grayson County Line. Richard and Winnifred Harrell had 8 children:

        1. Moses Harrell, b. 1801 Breckenridge County, Kentucky, d. 1852 Breckenridge County, Kentucky, married (1) Jane Nelson in 1826; and (2) Sarah “Sally” Dunn abt 1840 Breckenridge County, Kentucky. Moses and Jane Nelson had 4 daughters all born Breckenridge County, Kentucky. Moses and Sarah Dunn had 3 daughters and 1 son William Vincent Dunn Harrell b. 1845 Breckenridge County, Kentucky, d. 1926 Jefferson County, Kentucky.
        2. James Harrell, b. abt 1803 and nothing else is known about him.
        3. Alfred Harrell, b. 1807 Grayson County or Breckenridge County, Kentucky, d. 1897 Grayson County, Kentucky, married Mary Moore
        4. Daniel Harrell, b. 1808 Breckenridge County, Kentucky, d. 1894 Grayson County, Kentucky, married Margaret Davis abt 1834. They had 6 daughters and 2 sons: William F. S. Harrell b. 1840 Grayson County, Kentucky and d. 1870 Grayson County, Kentucky; and Thomas Jefferson Harrell b. 1841 Grayson County, Kentucky and d. 1924 Grayson County, Kentucky.
        5. Mary “Polly” Harrell, b. abt 1809, married Ellis Tolbert Kimble
        6. Augustine Compton “Gus” Harrell, b. abt 1815, d. abt 1850 Grayson County, Kentucky
        7. William H. Harrell, b. 1816 Breckenridge County, Kentucky, d. 1894 Grayson County, Kentucky, married Nancy Blackburn White in 1854
        8. Ann Harrell, b. aft 1816 Breckenridge County, Kentucky, d. 1870 Grayson County, Kentucky, married Spencer Craig in 1840

        Because nothing is known about son James Harrell 1803, it is possible he migrated to Indiana/Ohio and, if so, linked to some of the other 13 families who have matching DNA profiles. Other than James Harrell 1803, his father Richard Harrell and the rest of his family do not link to the other 13 families.


        Lettice Harrell was born 1771 in either Augusta or Frederick County, Virginia. She married John A. Parker Sr. in 1792 Nelson County, Kentucky and together they had 5 children: 3 sons and 2 daughters, all born Nelson County, Kentucky (last known child born 1810). John Parker died in Knox County, Indiana in 1844 and Lettice Parker Harrell died before 1840, perhaps 1835 in probably Knox County, Indiana. Sometime after 1810, John Parker and family moved to Knox County, Indiana. This is important because at least one of the 14 families lived in Knox County, Indiana in this timeframe – that being Family #6. Harrell families often traveled together or moved to locations where their relatives lived, so it is possible that some of Lettice Harrell’s relatives lived in Knox County, Indiana at the same time – it is also possible that John Parker moved there to be with his Parker relatives. This link, however, has not been established as yet.


        Elizabeth Harrell was born about 1774 in either Dunmore or Augusta County, Virginia. She died 1859 in Short Creek, Grayson County, Kentucky. In 1793, Nelson County, Kentucky, she married James Ferry, born 1765 Virginia, died 1839 in Grayson County, Kentucky. They had 7 children: 4 sons (Moses, Benjamin, James, John) and 3 daughters (Elizabeth, Mary, Letita).


        Abigail Harrell was born 1776 in either Dunmore or Augusta County, Virginia, and died 1819 in Daviess County, Kentucky. She married Benjamin Duncan 1791 in Nelson County, Kentucky. Benjamin Duncan was born about 1767 Virginia and died 1824 Daviess County, Kentucky. He married (2) Nancy Graham in 1820 in Daviess County, Kentucky. Abigail and Benjamin Duncan had 5 children (3 sons and 2 daughters) with the first born before 1800 and the last born 1813, all assumed being born in Kentucky. The first 2 children (Warren and John R. Duncan) died at an unknown location whereas all subsequent children died Daviess County, Kentucky. There is no evidence any members of this family left Kentucky.


        Isaac Harrell, the youngest child of Moses Harrell, Sr., was born 1777 in either Dunmore or Augusta County, Virginia and his father moved the family to what later became Nelson County, Kentucky in the early 1780s. As discussed above in the subsection “Isaac, son of William”, living in the same general area in Nelson County was Isaac 1777 and Isaac 1770 who was the son of William/Susannah Harrell. Separating these two Isaac Harrells has not been easy but in the 1820 Nelson County, Kentucky census there is only one Isaac Harrell, b. 1775-1794, with 4 slaves. Isaac 1770 had moved to Jackson County, Indiana sometime 1811/1812 leaving Isaac 1777 as the only “Isaac” listed in this 1820 Nelson County census. Washington County, Kentucky formed from Nelson County in 1792 and Isaac lived for some time in Washington County, not far from his father’s plantation. Sometime after 1820, perhaps 1821 as Gordon McKinley Harrell reported, Isaac 1777 moved to Todd County, Kentucky where he died in 1854.

        Isaac married (1) Nancy Montgomery in 1806 in Washington County, Kentucky; and (2) Anna Unknown in about 1849 in Todd County, Kentucky. Nancy Montgomery who died 1848 in Todd County was the mother to all of Isaac’s 9 children, 5 sons and 4 daughters, all of whom were born in Nelson/Washington County The first 4 children (Alfred, John, Sophrona, William) died in Missouri; when they left Kentucky and the route they took to Missouri are unknown. The remaining 5 children all died in Kentucky except for George who became a lawyer in Clarkeville, Tennessee and died in the Civil War at the Battle of Cedar Ridge in Virginia.

        Within the family of Isaac Harrell, there does not seem to be a probable link between any of his children and the other 13 families. This belief may change as new evidence is found.

    SUMMARY: This narrative on Family #5, EKA Richard Harrell 1700, is lengthy because it is one of the largest of the 14 families and it probably holds most of the keys in opening up the mystery as to the common ancestor linking together all these 14 families. As discussed in previous families (#1-#4), Richard Harrell 1700 links to Family #1 and Family #2 because their common ancestor is probably Jacob Harrell, a known family member (blood relative) of Richard Harrell 1700. The linkage between Family #3 and Family #4 and Richard Harrell 1700 is not as certain but the links are believed to involve Jacob Harrell’s sons and Richard Harrell’s sons, and confined to relationships only in Virginia. As narratives for Families #6 – #14 are developed, it is hoped some readers will be able to identify (possible) links between Richard Harrell’s sons/grandsons and the EKAs associated with Families #6 – #14. An attempt was made in this narrative to identify those in Richard Harrell’s family (including some in the 4th generation of Richard Harrell 1700) who might have migrated to Indiana and Ohio and linked to some of the EKAs of Families #6 – #14.

    A formal listing of all known descendants of EKA Richard Harrell 1700 is provided through the first 3 generations (Richard’s children and grandchildren).

  • Administrator posted #1216

    The synopsis above for Richard Harrell and his descendants has been updated with new information.

  • G V Lakey posted #1397

    This Christmas I bought the big Y500 DNA test at FTDNA for my uncle G V Lakey, I have him in the RZ 253 Project, hoping to find any credible information.

    Keep me posted to new information the Harrell’s are researching.


    Sylvia Beckwith-Texas

  • TWISSMANN posted #1398


    There are a lot of James, Johns, Gilberts, Richards, Moses, William, Samuel, Daniel and Marys in every Generation

    It looks like they moved a lot but lines changed. moves were VA, NC, Tenn/KY Back then county/states/lines moved
    Gilbert 1657 had 2 brothers Im updating Ancestory and Heritage on what I find. Hope we all can verify

    [email protected]

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