Family #4 – EKA Jacob Harrell 1761

Last Updated on 5 Apr 2021

The EKA for Family #4 is Jacob Harrell, reported by others to have been born in Virginia about 1761 or 1765 (1761 will be used in this narrative). His parents and siblings are unknown. Jacob 1761 first lived in Frederick County, Virginia and, based upon Frederick County tax lists 1782-1790, moved in the late 1780s to an area of Virginia that later became Kentucky – Lincoln County. The area in Kentucky (statehood in 1792) where he lived for several years was first documented as Christian County, Kentucky (formed from Logan County, Kentucky in 1797). This area then became Livingston County (formed from Christian County in 1799). Caldwell County was formed from Livingston County in 1809.

Steve Rottler, a descendant of Jacob 1761 through his son William, found a record of “Jacob Harrel” being cited in a petition to the U.S. Congress in December 1815, along with many others, seeking relief from having to make a required payment for a portion of public land in the eastern Mississippi Territory (likely Tuscaloosa County). See “The Territorial Papers of the United States, The Territory of Mississippi, 1809-1817”, Compiled and Edited by Clarence Edwin Carter, U.S. Government Printing Office, 14 December 1815, Vol VI, pp 569-574. At the time of this petition, Jacob Harrell 1761 was living in Kentucky. There is no information as to where this public land in the Mississippi Territory was located or if Jacob Harrell ever legally owned it.

There is no information as to where Jacob Harrell and his spouse were buried. It was thought for some time that Jacob’s burial site must be somewhere in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama but new information from Steve Rottler shows Jacob’s probate records were recorded in Lauderdale County, AL, north of Tuscaloosa County. Other than these probate records, there is no evidence Jacob Harrell 1761 ever lived in Lauderdale County, AL. These probate records prove Jacob died sometime between 13 December 1844 and 8 February 1845. Eunicy Harrell was appointed administrator of Jacob’s estate and James H. Witherspoon, William B. (or H.) Harrell, and Elijah G. Chandler were appointed to appraise his estate on 8 February 1845. Other names mentioned in the probate records were Polly Harrell and Augustus Harrell. It is currently thought Polly Harrell was Jacob’s wife; however, Jacob’s estate included financial notes (debt) being owed to a “Polly Harrell”. Why Jacob would borrow money more than once from his wife is unclear. Also, the names “Eunicy Harrell” and “Augustus Harrell” have not been seen in any records related to Jacob’s life.

In one of the early sources of information about Jacob Harrell (see below), his spouse was identified as “Mary Martha Jennings”. After considerable research, however, no evidence has yet been found supporting the idea that Jacob Harrell’s spouse came from a Jennings family. Marriage documents in Kentucky and a Baptist church record in Alabama (Cahaba Baptist Church, Trussville, Jefferson County, Alabama) proved Jacob Harrell’s spouse was named “Mary” and “Polly” but no maiden name or marriage record has been found. There is no question, however, that Jacob Harrell lived close to Jennings families, especially in Kentucky, and at least three of Jacob’s children married into Jennings families (viz., William Harrell m. Winifred Jennings, Reuben Harrell m. 2nd Phoebe Jennings Bridges, and Lette Harrell m. Garrett Jennings). Both Winifred and Phoebe Jennings were daughters of John Jennings b. 1748, d. 1831 Caldwell County, Kentucky, spouse Rachel Jordan.

The first Kentucky document listing Jacob Harrell 1761 was his November 1798 purchase of 160 acres of land on the waters of Flynn’s Fork of the Tradewater in Christian County, Kentucky (later became Livingston County in 1799, then became Caldwell County, Kentucky in 1809). The 2nd census of Kentucky, 1800, lists Jacob Herald in Livingston County, and the 1810 Kentucky census lists Jacob Herril in Eddyville, Caldwell County. Also listed nearby in 1810 were William Herald (Jacob’s son) and Garrett Jennins (Jennings) who married Letty Harrell in about 1803 and who moved with Letty to Alabama shortly after Jacob Harrell moved to Alabama. The father of Garrett Jennings has been reported to be either David Jennings or James Jennings – after considerable research it was decided that this David Jennings does not exist so the father is James Jennings, b. 1755 South Carolina or Virginia, d. 1834 Caldwell County, Kentucky, married (1st) Hannah unknown; (2nd) Polly Unknown. Garrett Jennings’ mother is probably Hannah unknown. This James Jennings is a brother to John Jennings (father of Winifred and Phoebe) and their father is probably Edward Lalley, alias Edward Lalley Jennings Sr. b. 1720. Some Jennings researchers identify Edward as Edward “Salley” Jennings Sr. but actual documents indicate the spelling is “Lalley” instead of “Salley”. DNA evidence suggests the biological father of Edward Lalley Jennings Sr. is not a Jennings.

There are two frequently cited sources of information about Jacob Harrell 1761. The first source begins with two Genforum websites, posted in 2006, containing a brief summary of information about Jacob Harrell 1761 and his family:

The author of these websites is a descendant of Jacob 1761 through his son Reuben. Most of the information was derived from the author’s mother (dec’d) who began her research in the late 1960s. Over the course of many years, she acquired considerable information but, unfortunately, documented very few of her sources. Among the information which is not supported includes:

  1. Jacob 1761 was born in Campbell County Virginia (note: Campbell County not formed until 1781);
  2. Jacob’s marriage in 1783 Virginia; and
  3. Perhaps the most often quoted – the spouse of Jacob Harrell 1761 is “Mary Martha Jennings”, daughter of John Jennings.

The second most popular source of information about Jacob 1761 was written by Mrs. J. W. Sherwood (Meryl Reynolds) in the book “Pioneers of Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, Prior to 1830″, published by the Tuscaloosa Genealogical Society, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1981. Mrs. Sherwood did her own research many years ago and her results include the following:

  1. Jacob was born 1761 (no proof supplied);
  2. Jacob’s spouse is identified as “Mary” (no maiden name); and
  3. Although not listed as a daughter by Mrs. Sherwood, she concluded there was strong circumstantial evidence that Jacob could have had a daughter Letty Harrell who married Garrett Jennings;
  4. The author speculated that Jacob had a son named John Harrell who married Betsy Gillum.

Several other bits of information obtained from Mrs. Sherwood included:

  1. On 29 Sept 1819 Jacob and wife Mary sold land in Caldwell County, Kentucky and subsequently moved to Tuscaloosa County with several sons and daughters;
  2. From 1815 to 1819 Jacob Harrell was administrator for his son William’s estate in Caldwell County, Kentucky. William’s spouse Winnifred Jennings Harrell moved to Tuscaloosa County, Alabama sometime following the death of her husband and subsequently returned to Caldwell County, Kentucky as she is listed in the 1850 Caldwell County census;
  3. The birth of Elizabeth Harrell Norris, daughter of Jacob 1761, was in 1789 Virginia. This mention of birth in 1789 Virginia is the last record of Jacob living in Virginia.

One of the sons of Jacob 1761 was speculated to be John Harrell who married Betsy D. Gillum. There is a record of this marriage in Christian County, Kentucky on 25 Dec 1813 but there is no evidence that this John Harrell was a son of Jacob Harrell 1761. The marriage took place in Christian County but Jacob Harrell’s home was not in Christian County in 1813; the area where he lived had become Caldwell County in 1809. Information from indicated this John Harrell, spouse Betsy D. Gillum, was probably born in North Carolina. Repeated attempts to find something credible linking this John Harrell, spouse Betsy Gillum, to Jacob 1761 have failed so therefore John Harrell has not been listed as a son of Jacob 1761. Speculation about this particular John Harrell is found below in discussion regarding Joel Harrell.

Jacob Harrell was alive in 1830 as he was listed in the 1830 Tuscaloosa County, Alabama census. A land record in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama shows Jacob Harrell being issued property on 20 Sept 1839 – it is assumed he is Jacob Harrell 1761 which makes this document the last known record of him being alive on this date.

The Harrell Collaborative research team considered all the information from these sources and sought to expand the database by concentrating on events within Kentucky and Alabama as well as communicating with living descendants. Anita Gates of Blountsville, Alabama, descending from Jacob’s daughter Rebecca, provided important information along with Kathy Lowry & Sue Jennings (descendant of Garrett Jennings). Brenda Joyce Jerome, Certified Genealogist (C.G.), added great value by using her considerable talent and expertise to help find and assemble information from Kentucky land records, marriages, and court records. Here are some of Brenda Jerome’s results:

  1. The given name of Jacob Harrell’s wife was Mary, but nothing was found to identify her maiden name.
  2. Jacob Harrold was living in Livingston County, Kentucky on 23 July 1799 when he was appointed to lay off and mark a way for a road in what is today Caldwell County, Kentucky. This was the same year Livingston County was created.
  3. Jacob Harrell entered 200 acres of land in Livingston County on 1 Mar 1802; this entry was No. 339 and no watercourse was given. On 3 Jan 1803 he relinquished his claim to this same land identified as being on the Cumberland River. On 2 November 1802, he entered 200 acres in Livingston County – No. 513. Also entering land (400 acres) in Livingston County on the same date was Letty Harrald – No. 514. Because they were entered together, a relationship between them was suspected.
  4. Letty Harrell had 400 acres of land on the “head Watters of the Eddy Creek”, but the survey of this land stated the land as being “upon the Watters of flynns fork of Tradewater.” This land was assigned to Jno. O’Hara before it was surveyed.
  5. Sometime after entering land in Livingston Co in 1802, and before 1816, Letty Harrell married Garrett Jennings. It is likely they married closer to 1802, perhaps in 1803 when there appeared to be marriages missing from Livingston County.
  6. Jacob Harrell sold his Caldwell County land on 29 September 1819.
  7. It is likely Jacob Harrell could not sign his name.
  8. The heirs of William Harrell, son of Jacob 1761, are named in a deed in 1842 (see #13 below).
  9. On 19 Jan 1816, deed book B, p. 261 notes Garrett Jennings and Letty Jennings, late Letty Herrill, assign 400 acres lying on the head waters of Eddy Creek to Justinian Cartwright who then assigned it to William Prince who obtained a patent.
  10. On 1 Oct 1817 James Harrel and wife “Jinsey” of Caldwell County convey to William Prince for $200 an amount of 100 acres on waters of “flins fork of Tradewater”.
  11. On 29 Sept 1819 Jacob Harrell of Caldwell County conveys to John Gatewood 160 acres of land on the waters of “Flinns Fork of tradewater” for $740.
  12. Joel Harrell and wife Arcada of Caldwell County convey to Hosea Newsom 120 ¾ acres on muddy fork of Little River for $784.75.
  13. On 11 Mar 1842 “Reuben Herrald, Jesse W. Herrald, Winneford Herrald, Polly McCaslin late Polly Herrald, Rebeckah Herrald, and Harriet Stevens late Harriet Herrald, and representatives of William Herrald dec’d of the County of Caldwell…convey to John Herrald of county & state…for sum of $300 paid by John Herrald …receipt acknowledged by Reuben Herrald, Jesse W. Herrald, Winneford Herrald, Polly and James McCaslin, Rebeckah Herrald, Harriet Herrald and Jesse Stevens, all of their several undivided interest and claim in and to the lands belonging to the estate of sd. William Herrald deceased all that parcel of land entered and surveyed in the name of John Woolsey situated in Caldwell County on the waters of Flinn’s fork of Tradewater, beginning at a white oak and black oak…corner of division line between John Herrald and Jesse Stevens…containing by survey 345 acres…[signed] Jesse Stevens, James McCaslin, Polly (“X” her mark) McCaslin, Jesse W. Herrald, Winford (“X” her mark) Herrald, Rebecca (“X” her mark) Herrald, Reuben Herrald. Recorded 11 Mar 1842″.
  14. Recorded 12 Mar 1842: John J. Herrald of Caldwell Co conveys to Elias A. Calvert, for $1200, “345 acres on waters of Flynns fork of Trade water, beginning at a white oak and black oak … [signed] John J. Herrald”. This land is the same property sold to John Herrald by the heirs of William Harrell dec’d as described in #13 above.
  15. Christian County Marriages:
    1. Joel Herrell – Katherine Smith married 10 June 1813 by Fielding Woolf, Bond: 23 July 1814;
    2. John Harrell – Betsy D. Gillum married 25 Dec 1813;
    3. heophelus Harrell – Winny Morris married 30 July 1814;
    4. John Harrell – Sarah M. McGee married 30 Nov 1843 by William McKenzie;
    5. Wiley Harrel – Rebecca J. McGee married 18 Jan 1844 by William McKenzie;
    6. Naughlet Harrel – Mary L. McAdams married 10 Dec 1845 by William W. McKenzie.
  16. Livingston County Marriages:
    1. Arthur Williams – Kezziah Stapleton, filed 1806, Bondsman: Jacob Herrarld (signed Hearrell);
    2. John Norris – Elizabeth Herrald married 27 Jan 1809 by Daniel Browne, M.G., Bondsman: Thomas Norris. Cert: 24 Jan 1809 “This is to sertify that Elizebeth Harralls parents is willing that she should marry John Norris” – Signed: Thomas Norris;
    3. Andrew/Abner Herrald married Phebe Petton; Bond dated 12 Mar 1815; Bondsman: David Fort.
  17. Livingston County Marriages seem to be missing in 1803: none in April, only 1 in June & July, none from 21 July 1803 – 22 Dec 1803.
  18. Caldwell County Marriages:
    1. Thomas Franklin and Patsy Harrell married 13 Mar 1810 by D. Brown (March 10 was license date). Consent by Thomas Franklin Sr., father of Thomas Franklin Jr.;
    2. James Herrald and Jane Rush married 3 Feb 1812 by Arthur H. Davis, JP. ; Consent 30 Jan 1812: “Sir You will please to grant Lisons for James Herrald and Jincy Rush it being by consent of thare parents to wit Benjamin Rush, Sarah Rush, Jacob Herrald, Mary Herrald” . John Norris was authorized to sign their names to the certificate.
    3. Joel Herrell and Catharine Smith married 10 June 1813;
    4. Thomas Ritch and Rebecca Herrald married 5 Nov 1816 by W. Easley, JP. ; Sec: James McCaslin; Consent: “This is to Certify that both me and my wife has no objections against Thomas Ritch marrying my Daughter Rebaka Neither have we any objections against Hugh McCaslin marrying Nancy Brazzle an orphan girl that I have Raised from a child.” Signed (probably by authorization) Jacob Herrald, Mary Herrald;
    5. Reuben Harrell and Rachel Woolf (bond issued 27 Nov 1820); Sec: Fielding Woolf; Harrell proven to be of age by his own oath; parent of the girl gave his consent;
    6. Jeptha Griffith and Nancy Harrell married 15 Mar 1821 by Henry Darnall; Certificate was produced from Parker Herrell the father of Nancy giving his consent;
    7. James McCaslin Jr. and Polly Harrald married 24 May 1821 by Edmund Wilcox; Sec: Hugh McCaslin; Cert: “This is to Certify that I have no objections to your issuing Licenses to James McCaslin Junr. marrying my Daughter Polly”, Winnifore (X her mark) Harrald;
    8. Reuben Herrald – Miss Eliza Jane Ashley married 19 May 1836;
    9. Daniel Dennis – Mrs. Ann B. Harrald married 27 Feb 1843; Sec: Mathew Gracy;
    10. William Herrald – Miss Aphey Wright marriage bond issued 17 Apr 1844; both of age;
    11. Samuel C. Herrald – Miss Eliza Ramey marriage on issued 22 June 1846;
    12. Jesse Stevens – Miss Harriet E. Herrell marriage 28 Jan 1830 by Edmund Wilcox; Sec: John G. Harrald; Mr. Stevens made oath to the willingness of Mrs. Herrill to the match, the mother of sd. Harriet, her father being dead.

There are several individuals in these Kentucky marriages that are believed to be unrelated to Jacob Harrell’s family. For example, according to one report Joel Herrell was born 1748 in Bertie County, North Carolina, d. 1846 and buried in Enfield, White County, Illinois, married (1st) Polly Foster, (2nd) Betsey Shoulders, and (3rd) Arcadia Smith, and had several children. Theophelus Harrell is believed to be the oldest of his children. Joel Herrell/Harrell also lived on “Muddy Fork of Little River” in Christian County which was relatively close but not in the area where Jacob Harrell 1761 and his children lived (i.e., Flynns Fork of the Tradewater). In the Christian County Tax Lists of 1808-1815, in the Muddy Fork/Dry Creek/Casey’s Creek area, you can find Joel Herell/Herrell/Harrel/Herrod, John Harrel/Herrald/Herrel, Harmon Herril/Harrell/Herrell, and Harrison Harrel who are all believed to be related.

Based on what is known, the John Harrell who married Betsy D. Gillum in 1813 in Christian County, Kentucky appears related in some way to Joel, Harmon, and perhaps Harrison Harrell. John Harrell (spouse Betsy Gillum) could be the same person as John Harrel/Herrald/Herrel in the Christian County Tax Lists of 1808-1815. In 1820, John and Betsy Harrell were living on Casey Creek and Gillums Creek in Trigg County, Kentucky which seems to be further proof that this John Harrell is not blood related to Jacob Harrell 1761.

Because “John” is such a popular name within Harrell families, it would not be surprising to learn that BOTH Jacob Harrell 1761 and his son William had a son named “John”. The “John J. Herrald” (see #13 & #14 above) might be the same person as “John G. Harrald” in #18 (l) above and could be a son of Jacob 1761 or William, but so far there has not been any evidence found to support this speculation, except for the following record in Caldwell County, Court Order Book H, pg. 569:

“Monday, February 15th 1858 – This day Jesse Stevens Jr., Zadok Stevens and Reuben G. McCaslin came into court and made oath that Winnafred Harrald (widow of William Harrald) who was a pensioner of the United States, died at her residence in this county on the 17th day of December 1856 leaving as her legal heirs and representatives John Harrald, William Harrald, Reuben Harrald, Polly McCaslin, Rebecca Williams and Polly Ann Stevens, her grand-daughter child of Harriet Stevens. And James C. (?) Weller being sworn at the same time stated that Mrs. Winnafred Harrald was a pensioner of the United States at the time of her death, as he did her business up to the time of her death, as proven above, all of which is ordered to be copied and certified to the proper department.”

This Caldwell County record identifies for the first time a John Harrald as heir to Winnafred Harrald, wife of William Harrell who is son of Jacob Harrell 1761. Unfortunately, there is no document identifying the relationship between this John Harrald and Winnafred Harrald–he could be a son or a grandson.

In summary, no link could be found between Jacob Harrell 1761 and the following who are mentioned in the above marriages: Joel Herrell, John Harrell (m. Betsy Gillum), John Harrell (m. Sarah McGee), Wiley Harrell (m. Rebecca J. McGee), Naughlet Harrel (m. Mary L. McAdams), Parker Herrell, Mrs. Ann B. Harrald (m. Daniel Dennis), William Herrald (m. Miss Aphey Wright), Andrew/Abner Herrald (m. Phebe Petton), and Samuel C. Herrald.

The information above coupled with credible internet sources and other material/clues obtained from living descendants were used to establish what are believed to be the children of Jacob 1761 and spouse Mary. They are as follows:

  1. Letta/Lettie/Lette Harrell b. 1781 Virginia, d. 30 March 1859, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, m. abt. 1803 Livingston County, Kentucky to Garrett Jennings;
  2. William Harrell b. abt. 1784 Virginia, d. 23 February 1815 at Battle of New Orleans, m. 18 Aug 1804 Christian County, Kentucky to Winifred Jennings;
  3. Elizabeth Harrell b. 10 July 1789 Virginia, d. 10 November 1868 Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, m. 27 Jan 1809 Livingston County, Kentucky to John Norris;
  4. Martha “Patsy” Harrell b. 27 October 1792 Kentucky, d. 25 March 1869 Jefferson County, Alabama, m. 10 Mar 1810 Caldwell County to Thomas Franklin;
  5. James H. Harrell b. 5 June 1794 Kentucky, d. 20 October, 1858 Franklin County, Alabama, m. 3 Feb 1812 Caldwell County, Kentucky to Jane H. “Jincy” Rush;
  6. Rebecca Harrell b. January 1796 Kentucky, d. March 1860 Jefferson County, Alabama, m. 5 Nov 1816 Thomas L. Ritch/Rich in Caldwell County, Kentucky;
  7. Reuben Harrell b. 12 Sept 1799 Kentucky (Livingston County was formed 1799), d. 1848 Bates County, Missouri, m. (1st) 27 Nov 1820 to Rachel Woolf/Wolfe in Caldwell County, Kentucky and (2nd) 10 May 1835 to Phoebe Jennings Bridges in Pettis County, Missouri;

The parents of Jacob Harrell 1761, as stated at the beginning, are not known. Being born abt. 1761 means Jacob’s father was probably born on/before 1741. The very first Harrells arrived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia around 1741, which greatly limits the candidates for Jacob’s father. The naming of Jacob’s children is remarkably similar to the children of Reuben Harrell Sr., born c. 1745 (Family #2), and his (assumed) brother William Harrell Sr., born c. 1750 (Family #1). Reuben Sr. and William Sr. both have sons named “Jacob” but neither of them are Jacob 1761. Reuben Sr. and William Sr. moved from Frederick County in the early 1780s (to Montgomery/Wythe counties) whereas Jacob 1761 remained in Frederick County until his move to the Kentucky-area of Virginia in the late 1780s. Other known Harrells in the Frederick County neighborhood born on/before 1741 are Jacob Harrell Sr., born c. 1710, speculated father of Reuben Sr. and William Sr., and John Harrell, born c. 1737, who lived on Happy Creek in Frederick County (this John Harrell being referred to as “Happy Creek John”). Only one other known Harrell living in this area fits the profile for father of Jacob 1761: that is Richard Harrell, born c. 1700, who, with Jacob Sr., were the first Harrells arriving in Shenandoah in 1741. Considerable information is known about the family of Richard Harrell 1700 and there is no evidence he had a son named Jacob. However, Richard 1700 had six sons born late 1720s into late 1730s and one of them could be old enough to be the father of Jacob 1761.

Unless new evidence is found, the current thinking is that Jacob’s father is one of 3 candidates:

  1. Jacob Harrell Sr. – Because of what seems to be a close relationship between Jacob 1761, Reuben Sr., and William Sr. (all having very similar children’s names), it is possible that Jacob Harrell Sr. (speculated father of Reuben Sr. and William Sr.), spouse Martha Calfee, could be the father of Jacob 1761.
  2. Unidentified son of Jacob Harrell Sr. – Unfortunately, no information has yet been found that identifies the children of Jacob Harrell Sr., spouse Martha Calfee. In addition to Reuben Sr. and William Sr. it is speculated that Jacob Harrell Sr. had additional sons. One of these sons could have been the father of Jacob 1761 based solely on probable birth year and proximity. That is, most of the children of Jacob Sr., born c. 1710, were probably born 1730-1750; and an unknown son born 1735-1745 who lived in Frederick County, Virginia could be the father of Jacob 1761.
  3. Happy Creek John Harrell, born c. 1737 – It is noted that the first child of Jacob 1761 was named “Lette/Lettie”. This given name is not common within the Harrell families. Nathan Harrell, the only proven son of Happy Creek John Harrell, was bondsman for the marriage of Lettice Harrell to Joseph Whitacre in Frederick County on April 14, 1804. It is not known how Lettice Harrell fits with Nathan or Happy Creek John Harrell but it is believed she is closely related. If Happy Creek John Harrell is the father of Jacob 1761, and if Lettice Harrell Whitacre is closely related, then it would not be unusual for Jacob 1761 to name a daughter “Lette/Letty”. The approximate birth year of Happy Creek John Harrell, c. 1737, would also qualify him to be father of Jacob Harrell 1761. In addition, the DAR applications discussed below give additional support to the possibility that Happy Creek John Harrell might be father to Jacob 1761.

This discussion about Happy Creek John Harrell would not be complete without discussing two DAR applications, both of which use Happy Creek John Harrell as their Revolutionary War Soldier:

  1. “National Number 127719″ submitted 1915 by Alice Ellin Lege Archer; and
  2. “National Number 479874″ submitted 1961 by Marion Lege Henderson.

The individuals submitting these two DAR applications claimed they descended from (Happy Creek) John Harrell through his son Josiah Harrell b. Jan 1761, d. abt. 1831-32, m. (2nd) Sarah Evans March 26, 1805. In both of these applications, it was stated their Rev. War Soldier John Harrell was born 1735 Virginia, died Chowan County, North Carolina or Frederick County, Virginia aft 1797 and bef. 1810; spouse Sarah b. 1745, d. aft. 1810; and his father was Richard Harrell. The children of John Harrell 1735 were identified as John Jr. b. 1759, Josiah b. 1761, Jacob b. 1765 (“only white settler on Colo. R. when Austin, Texas was founded”), Nathan b. 1769, and Elizabeth b. 1772.

Furthermore, the applications said John Harrell served in McAllister’s Virginia Militia as Ensign John Harrell (“Recommended Ensign by Court Aug. 4, 1779, Frederick County”). The earlier DAR application stated John Harrell, private, served in the 1st Regiment of North Carolina Continental Line, discharged Oct 1778, but this was subsequently crossed out and replaced with “McAllister’s Virginia Militia, Frederick County, Ensign”. Also stated in the earlier application was “John Harrell died in Chowan County, North Carolina before 1810″, and “The marriage bonds of Chowan County, North Carolina page 253, Vol. 1, North Carolina Historical & Genealogical Register, gives John Harrell as surety in Jan 1794 to the marriage of John Hobbs & Ann [?]”. The later DAR application said John Harrell died in Frederick County, Virginia.

The references cited to support these DAR claims included the “Hite vs. Buck” court case where it was accurately stated that (Happy Creek) John Harrell had a son named “Nathan” and daughter named “Elizabeth”, and his spouse was “Sarah” who gave testimony in 1810 (at age 65) that her husband had died. Other cited references were deeds from Richard Harrell to his sons who included a “John Harrell”, but no mention of a “Josiah”. No other references were listed proving the sons of John Harrell were Josiah, Jacob, or John Jr.

Results from subsequent research to verify these claims, found that a Josiah Harrell from North Carolina did marry a Sarah Evans but nothing was found to substantiate the other claims including the 1735 birth year of John Harrell. It is documented that Happy Creek John Harrell, cited in the Hite vs. Buck case, never left Frederick County, Virginia for North Carolina, and he died in Frederick County in 1790/1791 from small pox. He couldn’t have been in North Carolina as surety in 1794 and there has never been a “Josiah” Harrell found anywhere in this Harrell family. The comment that son Jacob 1765 was “only white settler on Colo. R. when Austin, Texas was founded” refers to a Jacob Harrell born 1804 Hardeman County, TN who died 1853 and is buried in the Harrell Cemetery at Round Rock, Williamson County, Texas. This Jacob Harrell, the “only white settler…” could not be the son of John Harrell as both applicants stated. It is clear that these two DAR applicants were not aware that Harrells from North Carolina (and neighboring Nansemond County, Virginia) represent a genetically different Harrell group from the Harrells of Northern Virginia. This mixing of Harrells from North Carolina and Northern Virginia was a common error found among many Harrell researchers prior to 2001 when it was finally proven they were two distinctly different Harrell groups. Subsequent DNA evidence from descendants of these two groups of Harrells has proven that they are not blood related.

There is no doubt that both DAR applicants descend from Josiah Harrell 1761, but his father is not John Harrell from Frederick County, Virginia, aka Happy Creek John. The applicants did, however, correctly identify Happy Creek John as being featured in the Hite vs. Buck court case, and his wife/son/daughter being Sarah, Nathan and Elizabeth, respectively. Also, it has been speculated by some that Happy Creek John could be one of the six sons of Richard Harrell, as the DAR application stated (without proof). It is also possible that Happy Creek John could have had sons John Jr. 1759 and Jacob 1765 (who could be Jacob Harrell 1761). Nathan’s birth in 1769, as the applications state, is close to a reported birth in 1763 that exists on a tombstone in Ohio where it is believed Nathan Harrell died. The applicants’ 1735 birth year of (Happy Creek) John Harrell is also within the range of best guesses. But again, unfortunately, there were no sources supporting the names of his sons (except for Nathan), or his birth year, or his father being Richard Harrell.

After reviewing all available information, it has been determined that the uncertainties are simply too numerous to select one of these 3 candidates as the father of Jacob Harrell 1761. Therefore, until more information becomes available, the father of Jacob Harrell 1761 remains unknown.

More details about the family members of Jacob Harrell 1761, including the first 3 generations (Jacob 1761, his children, and his grandchildren) can be found here on the Harrell Collaborative website.

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