Eller Chronicles Nov 91 p-8

The Eller Chronicles


JACOB ELLER, SR., (the Immigrant)

Proposed book: JACOB ELLER, Sr. AND DESCENDANTS OF HIS IN AMERICA Compilers: Janine Eller Porter, Charlotte Eller Marshall, J. Gerald Eller. Contributors: Approximately two dozen descendants have contributed information and many others promise to do so.

J. Gerald Eller

Report:    1991 Eller Family Conference, Estes Park, CO, July 18-20

From his will, Will Book B p. 145, probated 7 May 1782, Rowan Co., NC:


Children of Jacob Eller, Sr. from unpublished notes left by J.W. Hook , dated 1925, in the NC State Library and Archives.

  1. "Jacob Eller Jr.-,

      mentioned in his father's will as the eldest son. He may have been the Jacob Eller shown in the 1800 Federal Census for Rowan County . . .

        (JGE.- incorrect, Jacob Eller Jr. was listed in Buncombe Co., N.C. in the 1800 census.)

      “. . . and the Jacob Eller who bought and sold property in Rowan County, North Carolina, Apr. 2 and 3, 1802 from and to John Melkar Eller, Frederick Eller and Christian Eller, probably his brothers as other records also indicate.

        (JGE) The 1802 land sales to which Hook refers very well may have involved Jacob Eller, Jr. Furthermore, the land sales may represent the final settlement of certain stipulations in Jacob's will.)

      "it is my will that all my Estate both real and personal shall be exposed to sale by way of Public Vendue, and an equal division made between all my children execept my son Jacob who hath received fourteen pounds that worth that he has already received of me and also Twenty and Two pounds hard money in silver and gold to be paid to the other of my children if the said Jacob Eller my Son agreeth to give the said sum for a certain Improvement that was formerly his property and unto it to his father Jacob Eller Senr. and if he will not agree to give the said price the said place must be sold as the other part of my Estate.

      "The Buncombe Co., N.C. census of 1810 shows a family of Mary Eller, who could have been Jacob's wife, aged over 45 and living with her was one female, aged between 26-45 another female and two males aged between 16 and 26 and a male and female under 10. Very likely Mary Eller was the widow of Jacob (Jr.) who was then deceased."

        (JGE.- Hook's identity of Mary Eller, in the 1810 census as the wife of Jacob Jr. is correct, but Jacob Jr. was not deceased; he had been divorced by Mary in 1806. No Jacob Eller appears in the 1810 census for Rowan County.)

      "Children of Jacob Eller, Jr.
      1. Joseph Eller;
      2. Jacob Eller;
      3. Adam Eller, b.. 25 Jan. 1795;
      4. Rose Eller;
      5. Eliza Eller, m. Mr. Edmonds;
      6. probably other children."

        (JGE: Hook was correct in the five listed child; at least 4 daughters are omitted. Hook's knowledge of Jacob
        Eller/Mary Biffle's family of Buncombe Co., NC came from correspondence in 1924-1925 with Rev. J. Ben Eller, Carl Eller, and Wm. C. Eller, all descendants of Adam Eller. Hook refers to the letters but did not file copies with his other notes. The letters have not been located. Perhaps Hook's Eller correspondents either did not know or chose not to tell him of the separation of Jacob Eller and Mary Biffle.)


  1. "John Melcher Eller,

  2. "Joseph Eller,

  3. "John Eller -


  1. "Christian Eller,


  1. 6."Eve Eller -

    "Children of Jacob Eller (Sr.) by his "last wife" Barbary:

  2. "Frederick Eller, -

  3. "Elizabeth Eller, -

  4. Christina,

Map on following page courtesy of R. Vance Eller and the Rowan Co., NC Public Library, Salisbury, NC

Rowan Co Map



Ancestors come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. Some are good, some are not so great. Some make us happy, some make us sad. Some of them inspire us. Each and everyone one of them was unique and we are indebted to all of them.

I would like to share with you what I know about an ancestor I fondly call "Jake, the Rascal." I say fondly because I know Ellers who share some of Jake's characteristics, and I'm fond of them. Jake was my fourth great grandfather.

John Jacob Eller2
of Rowan Co., NC; Sullivan Co.,
and Buncombe Co., NC

1754    John Jacob Eller was the eldest son of the German immigrants, Jacob Eller-land Eve Getchey Eller. Record of his birth has not been found. His parents being married in December of 1753, his birth date is placed late 1754 or early 1755. Montgomery Co. PA is the logical place of his birth, his parents being married there.

At an early age before 7 years, he traveled with his parents over the Great Wagon Road into North Carolina. Jacob, Sr. bought land on the Yadkin River in 1762.

1776 The first record found of Jake is his marriage to Marlena Bueffel. We know her as Mary Biffle. They were married May 7, 1776, in Davidson Co., NC. Jake would have been approximately 21 years of age, possibly serving in some capacity in the Revolutionary War.
Their children:
1) Elizabethborn ca. 1780 m. William Edmonds
2) femaleborn ca. 1782
3) Marthaborn ca 1785
4) Rosannahborn 1787 m. Calvin Fore
5) Jacob, Jr.born 25 Dec. 1789 m. Susannah McCarty
6) femaleborn ca. 1791
7) Josephborn ca. 1793 m. 1) Sarah Stephens
2) Elizabeth C. Hamilton
8) female born ca 1794
9) Adam born 25 Jan. 1795 m. Elizabeth Fields
1779The State of North Carolina issues a land grant to Jacob Eller in Sullivan County, in what is now the state of Tennessee.(2) Was he a soldier of the Revolution? I have found no record of service in the army or militia. Land grants were also given by the recently formed government of the United States of America to pay for services during the Revolution other than military service. Perhaps he served as a scout, hunter or supplier for the Army.

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1782May 7, 1782 the will of Jacob Eller was probated in Rowan County, NC. Jacob refers to Jake as "my eldest son" and gives him the responsibility of keeping the chest and clothing of his step mother Barbary Eller, to give to the 2 children of Barbary.

Jacob's will also refers to the sum of 14 pounds previously given him and “22 pounds hard money in silver or gold to be paid to the others of my children. If my son, Jacob Eller, does not agree to give the said sum for a certain improvement that was formerly his property and sold me, the said place must be sold as the other part of my estate.
1787October 25, 1787. Surveyors statement that he had surveyed In pursuance of warrant issued from entry #1493 for Jacob Eller, 100 acres of land on the south side of the Holston River."
1789November 26, 1789. Grant #543 issued according to surveyors plat of 1787.
1793September 30, 1793 Grant #543 registered in Fayetteville, NC Jake was awarded, for the sum of fifty schillings, a land grant of 100 acres recorded Sept. 30, 1793.
1798February 14, 1798 Jake bought from Frederick Kellor 150 acres for the sum of $250.00
1799May 22, 1799 John Sevier, being the highest bidder, acquires the 100 acre tract of land belonging to Jacob Eller, at Sheriff's auction, for the sum of $12.54.
1799September 12, 1799 John Sevier, Jr. attorney at law, acquires the 150 acre tract of land Jake purchased from Frederick Kellor for the sum of $90.00 and legal services rendered.
1800Buncombe Co. NC lists a Jacob Eller household

Records show that Jake and Mary moved from Tennessee to Buncombe County, NC and were enumerated in the 1800 census of that county and state. Mary's sister Elizabeth Biffle Weaver lived there.
1806November 29, 1806 Mary Biffle Eller petitioned the State of North Carolina for a divorce.

In 1806 it was very hard to secure a divorce. At that time women were regarded as chattel of the husband, unable to hold property or money in their own name. The children and all house hold goods were property or chattel of the husband. Members of the upper class, who might be acquainted with politicians (members of the House of Representatives) or have money held and administered by a guardian might be able to divorce their husband. Most women members of the common people would never consider a divorce because they were completely dependent on their husband.


Mary Biffle had to petition the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina and have Petition for Divorce read at three sessions.

December 20, 1806 Mary Biffle Eller was granted a divorce or annulment. In 1806 this required an act of the Legislature.

To the Honorable the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina now setting at Raliegh.

The petition of Mary Eller, wife of Jacob Eller, of the county of Buncombe, most humbly shewth that about five years ago the husband of your petitioner absconded and left your petitioner in a distressed situation with a number of small children and no one to assist her to support them, during which time the husband of your petitioner has been back as often as twice and stript your petitioner of what little she had acquired for the support of her self and children and she hears he is about to return the third. Your petitioner prays that your Honorable Body would take her case under your consideration and grant to relieve her by securing to her what property she has or may hereafter acquire, and to enable your petitioner to dispose of it in future as she may think proper, and whereas your petitioner, not being acquainted with the law, has warranted for debts due her and obtained judgements in her own name and by appeal is now pending before the court of Buncombe, your petitioner further prays that nothing she may have pending in law may be abated in consequence of her bringing suit in her own name and your petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray.
(signed) Mary Eller

A Bill to secure to Mary Eller of Buncombe County, wife of Jacob Eller, such property as she now has or hereafter may acquire.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, that Mary Eller of the County of Buncombe, shall from and after the passing of this act be entitled to and possess in her sole right all such property, either real or personal as she now has or hereafter may acquire by purchase, device and -?- or otherwise in as full and ample manner as if she had never never been married to the said Jacob Eller, and shall have full power to sue for and recover in any court of Record, having cognizance thereof all debts which is or may be due, any law to the contrary notwithstanding and be it further enacted that this act be in force from and after the passing thereof.

The petition of Mary Eller - in Senate November 29, 1806. Read and referred to the Committee on Divorce and Alimony. On December 20, 1806 the petition was read for the third time in the House of Commons and was passed.

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Mary Eller raised her children and prospered. She died in 1837 and is buried in Weaverville Cemetery, Buncombe Co., NC.
1807    Superior Court special proceedings Buncombe Co. NC Vols. A, B 1798-1812 page 321

State vs. Jacob Eller and William Edmonds - Charges not stated - Trial by jury finds the defendants not guilty in manner and form as charged in the Bill of Indictment.

Jake seems to have lived a very reclusive life after Mary divorced him I find no record of a Jacob Eller that I can prove beyond a doubt as being our Jake until his grandson, my great great grand-father, JACOB Eller4 of Macon County, Tennessee writes in the Goodspeed Histories of Tennessee. "My Mother's father was with General Jackson in the Indian War and participated in the famous fight at Horse Shoe Bend, where he was killed." "My ancestors are noted for their long life, my grand father reaching the age of 108 years, being actively engaged in the work of his trade until his death"

This would have Jake dying ca. 1855-1860. I have found no record to prove or disprove this statement of longevity. Also the work of his trade is unknown.

Of all my ELLER ancestors, I find Jake the most intriguing. Records on him are few. Was he a real frontiersman, traveling farther West as the Eastern states become settled and to some of those early pioneers "overcrowded". Did he feel hemmed in when he could "smell the smoke of his neighbors fire" as did Daniel Boone and others of that day? Or did he live the reclusive life of a bachelor, not responding to census takers and other "government" agents?

As Jacob4 knew of his death, did he return to Tennessee? If he lived among members of his family, why doesn't he appear on census records?

Jake left many unanswered questions when he died. Jacob4, told us just enough to excite our imaginations. If there are any answers out there among Jake's descendants, please contact me.

Charlotte Eller Marshall
2832 Highway 201
Nyssa, OR 97913


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