Signature of Edward B. Walker Genealogy of Edward B. Walker
1756-1838, Duplin County, North Carolina - Sullivan, Claiborne, Hancock Counties, Tennessee


Edward Walker, Jr. (1795-1860)

WorldConnect: Edward Walker, Jr.offsite link to WorldConnect
Spouse: Mahala Tussey
Sarah Crumley
Family Bible: Alternate on file
Photos: No known photos
Signatures: All apparently illiterate
Tombstones: On file

The family home
Edward's pension
Religion and the Walkers
Edward's muster roll
Calvin Ramsey's role in the estate

Google Maps: Blairs Gap Road
Horse Creek/Fall Branch
Kingsport (Sullivan Co.)
Mulberry Creek/Gap
Reedy Creek
Wikipedia: Botetort Co., VA
State of Franklin
Sullivan County, TN
Territory South of the Ohio

Ned's Birth and Early Years

Edward Walker, Jr., commonly called Ned or Neddie, was born on a late summer Monday during George Washington's second term as president, on 7 September 1795. He was probably born in Sullivan County, Tennessee, either on Horse Creek not far from Jared's Branch of the South Fork of the Holston River or on Reedy Creek, which is on the riverfront of what is now downtown Kingsport. Evidence is scarce, however, as to his parents' exact whereabouts during these times, and alternately, but less likely, he may have been born in southwest Virginia somewhere in or around Russell County.

At the time Ned was born, Tennessee was not yet a state, although it became one less than a year later on 1 June 1796. When his father first settled the area, Virginia had given up most of its claims, and the area was considered part of North Carolina, at least by North Carolina; the State of Franklin was created by a group of settlers in Tennessee, but Congress never recognized it. By the time Ned was born, the State of Franklin had collapsed, and Congress had renamed the area to be the Territory South of the Ohio River, a designation to prepare Tennessee for statehood.

His father, Edward B. Walker, had been born in North Carolina in 1756; Edward Sr. served several three-month stints as a private during the Revolutionary War, starting in the spring of 1777 and probably fighting mostly in spring through the early 1780s. Sometime later in the 1780s, he moved to Tennessee, and around 1 May 1790, he married Jane Horn at a church on Horse Creek in Sullivan County, possibly the Double Springs Baptist Church. Family origins prior to Edward B. Walker are completely unknown, although DNA results suggest a possibility that the original Walkers may have lived in the north of England near the Scottish border in the distant past.

Ned's mother, Jane Horn, was born around 1772. Suspicions, more than evidence, suggest that her birth may have been in southwest Virginia, and Tennessee itself is a possibility, although less likely. She was a daughter of Frederick Horn, who appears to have lived around Jonesborough, in southwestern Virginia, and in Hawkins County but remains mostly a mystery. Family origins for the Horns are completely unknown. Horn generally is considered an English name, although, of course, without knowing the immigrant, the origin of the family cannot be known.

Ned was the third of what would be twelve children; he may have had a middle name as did some of his siblings, but no evidence has been found to show that he did. Although his father's middle initial was "B.", there is no particular evidence to suggest that Ned had the same middle name. Unlike today, children named for their parents often had different middle names.

Little is known of Ned's early childhood. He probably was not educated, or at least not educated very well as he was unable to sign his name in later life; his older siblings likewise could not write. Quite simply, when the older Walkers were of common school age, there were no schools whatsoever in Tennessee and few if any tutors anywhere in the area. Many of his younger siblings were educated, which probably reflects the growing availability of education in the new state.

Haley's Birth and Early Years

Mahala Tussey was born 29 December 1793 in either Botetourt County, Virginia, or more likely in what became Sullivan County, Tennessee. She grew up on Jared's Branch of the Holston River in Sullivan County, and she and Ned probably knew each other practically from birth. Ned's oldest brother Joseph married Mahala's sister Mary; the sisters were daughters of Jacob and Jane (Shuff) Tussey.

Her father, Jacob Tussey was probably born about 1753 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, in an area now part of Lancaster County. Now the heart of Amish country, even then the area was mostly settled by German pioneers. Although uncertainty does still exist, Jacob most likely was descended through a line to Olof Thorrson, a Swedish immigrant to New Sweden in Delaware in 1641, but Jacob's grandfather moved to Pennsylvania sometime in the early 1700s. Quite possibly, Jacob spoke German instead of Swedish or English because of his family's long history in a German-speaking area; he may also have been bilingual or even trilingual. Jacob served in the Revolution but apparently deserted from a Pennsylvania regiment and later joined a Maryland regiment.

The origins of Mahala's mother, the former Jane Shuff, are not currently known. She was born in the 1760s, but beyond that, very little has been proven. The limited evidence available suggests, be it only a guess, that she may have been born overseas and emigrated to Washington County, Maryland, as a child. There is a known Shuff family in that area at the time that was probably German, but Jane cannot be tied to it definitively. Jacob Tussey married Jane Shuff probably in Washington County, Maryland, about 1789 and moved to Botetourt County, Virginia, about 1790 and then into Sullivan County, Tennessee, about 1794. Not all of the children of the couple are known.

Wartime Service

Ned's service in the War of 1812 is covered in a separate article.

Marriage and Moving

The exact timing of the marriage is unknown, but Ned and Haley probably married in Sullivan County, Tennessee, about 1816 or 1817. By 1813, Ned's father had settled on the middle ridge of Bays Mountain just over the Hawkins County line with Sullivan County. Ned and Haley may have first settled there, just a few miles from her parents as well. A family legend has it that Ned's father chose the location so that he could see Indians coming from all sides. One deed places the location on the road from Jonesborough to Armstrong's Ford, with a ford of the same name being in modern-day Knoxville; the actual location was probably on or near Blair's Gap Road.

Almost all of the Walkers and some of the Tusseys, at least for a while, would eventually migrate to Claiborne County, Tennessee, including parts that are now in Hancock County. Family members settled within about five miles from each other in an area starting on the south just a bit south of the present location of New Salem Church, following Little Sycamore Road toward Mulberry Gap to Ned's home and perhaps a little further. Some lived right on Mulberry Gap and Little Sycamore Roads, while others lived a bit north, generally around Hoop Creek as well as probably around the current intersection of Highway 63 and Rebel Hollow Road.

Unfortunately for researchers, a large number of records have been destroyed over the years, and there were also several methods for acquiring and selling land in the early years; very few early records relating to Walker land acquisitions have been found, even during time periods when they are known to have lived there. The first provable record is a deed in 1818 when Ned's oldest brother, Joseph, who married Haley's sister Mary, bought land adjoining land he already owned on Little Sycamore Creek; no deed for the original land has been found until it was sold after Joseph's death in 1851. Joseph was clearly on Little Sycamore, just about 5 miles from where Ned and Haley would settle, no later than 1818, and all of the Walkers may have already moved together when Joseph did.

Evidence given to the current owners of their still-standing house suggests that Walkers owned the Ned Walker house for decades before 1818, but the story has not yet been confirmed. The house may already have been standing when they purchased the property, or there may have been related Walkers on the property before the few documents of the era suggest.

One of the Edwards did not sell the land he owned on Bays Mountain until 1827, long after the 1818 date he is thought to have settled on Mulberry Creek, making 1827 probably the last likely date that the couple moved to Mulberry. However, that sale does not particularly suggest that they waited that long to move. Evidence suggests that at least one of Ned's siblings as well as many of the Tusseys remained in that area of Sullivan and Hawkins Counties, and Ned could have rented out or loaned the land to them after he moved to Mulberry Creek. More tellingly, the 1827 sale appears to correspond to a visit that Ned made back to Sullivan County when his father-in-law, Jacob Tussey, died there, and Ned conducted other business. Quite possibly, Ned had long before left the land but decided to officially sell it perhaps the only time he was in the area since he had left it.

At this point in time, one can only surmise why they chose to move where they did. The Mulberry Creek area today is a beautiful but very isolated area, suggesting that they wanted to get away from a growing civilization. But a closer look at the area in history suggests a very different picture. The Mulberry Gap area was settled early, before 1803, and was a thriving community by the time the Walkers settled there. One of those very early settlers was John Jones who married Mary Fitzpatrick and settled nearby before 1802; Mary Fitzpatrick was a sister to a man who married another Tussey sister, and the families of Jones, Fitzpatrick, Walker, and Crawford seem to have intermingled from an early time in Sullivan County. By the time the Walkers settled the area, they already knew people there and probably were not moving into a community they had not seen.

More importantly, though, the current distance from any major road today belies the reality in the early 1800s. Although the exact route is not known precisely, a main road from the east to Cumberland Gap, just about 8 miles away from their home, seems to have followed, more or less, the present-day locations of Highway 25E and Little Sycamore Road, bearing left on Highway 63. Far from being isolated, the area at the time was on a heavily-traveled thoroughfare filled with pioneers moving to Kentucky and other points west, likely opening many avenues for trade; the Walkers lived no more than a mile from this road.

Farming on Mulberry Creek

The house on Mulberry Creek is covered in a separate article.

Like most of the families in the region, the Walkers were farmers, cultivating the rocky hillsides of East Tennessee. Stories told to the current owners indicate that Ned was also a leatherworker, and they found evidence of leatherworking in the house itself. No other evidence of this occupation has been found, and the story may apply to his son William.

The limited land records available suggest that Ned's original land holdings were somewhat small but that the farm reached at least 337 acres by his death. Research given to the current owners suggests much larger Walker holdings at some point but cannot be confirmed through record sources.

One son often told his daughter of being taken out into the fields and put on a pallet while his parents worked. Although the products of the farm were quite varied, Ned seemed to specialize in pigs. In 1850, for instance, the farm schedule indicates that Ned had 100 improved acres along with 160 unimproved acres for a total farm worth $1,000 along with farming implements and machinery worth $100. He also had 5 horses, 6 cows for milking, 4 oxen, 10 other cattle, 14 sheep, and 100 pigs, with all the livestock being worth $400. The produce of the farm for the year ending 1 June 1850 included 20 bushels of wheat, 1500 bushels of "Indian corn", 600 bushels of oats, 50 pounds of tobacco, 37 pounds of wool, $10 worth of orchard products, 200 pounds of butter, 250 pounds of flax, 100 pounds of maple syrup, 325 pounds of beeswax and honey, $100 of "homemade manufactures", and $10? [hard to read on microfilm; originals are at Duke University] of animals slaughtered.

What he did with the pigs is unknown, whether he sold meat to neighbors or travelers or had some method for moving them to market. The current owners of his house report that newspapers from Kentucky dated to the 1820s were used to plug leaks in the walls of the house, suggesting some contact there, where he had relatives and may have done business. Although Ned could not write, many people who could not write at the time were able to read.

The First Set of Children

Other family histories have long held that Martha Gillus Walker was a daughter of this couple, and, given that she was probably born around 1816, she would have been the oldest. She was not Ned's natural daughter, although she likely was raised by the couple. Court records from the dispute over Ned's estate strongly infer that Martha was not his daughter, and P.G. Fulkerson, who knew the family and wrote about them, did not mention Martha, and she also does not appear in Isaac Walker's copy of the family record. She could have been Haley's daughter from an unknown first marriage or the daughter of one of Ned or Haley's siblings who died young or just an orphan they adopted. Although she definitely is not Ned's daughter, she is included here as she apparently was considered part of the family.

All of Ned and Haley's natural children were probably born in the house at Mulberry Creek, although there is some question as noted above. Henry, the oldest, was born 21 April 1818, and Jane, the oldest daughter, on 22 August 1820. Then came Isaac on 27 October 1822, Mary on 16 December 1824, Jacob Shuff Walker on 31 December 1826, Anna on 18 April 1830, Sabra on 6 August 1832, John Gilmore on 29 November 1834, Johnathan on 3 December 1837, and finally Sarah, born 29 July 1840.

The current owners of Ned's house have been given information that there was yet another child, a daughter, who died by choking on a brad from Ned's leatherworking and is buried with Ned and Haley; however, there are only two graves there and no known break in the birth order. This story might apply to a child and, more particularly, William.

Lizzie (Walker) Click, Jacob's oldest daughter, related in a letter to Annie Walker Burns in 1929, long after the events, that Jane (Shuff) Tussey lived with Ned and Haley when Jacob was little, sometime in the early 1830s; she appears to have been with her own son Jonathan Tussey in 1830. According to the story, the family came across the ocean when she was little. Because money supposedly could not be taken out of the country of origin, Jane sewed a coin, called by Lizzie a gold guinea, into a feather bed. Because the coin was so small, finding it in America took some time. The story cannot, of course, be proven, and it is not known whether Jane (Shuff) Tussey was born outside the United States.

Lizzie also related a story that Jane had a "film" over her eyes; Jacob would go out to the creek to collect mussels. The mussel shells would be ground into powder and blown into her eyes, temporarily solving the problem. Curiously, powdered pearls from oysters apparently have been shown to relieve symptoms of conjunctivitis, and perhaps this story relates to that problem and remedy. There continue to be mussel shells in the creek in front of the house to this day.

Ned was about five feet nine inches tall, with blue eyes, a dark complexion, and dark hair. No physical description has been found for Haley, although a picture of her sister Mary has been found. However, family tradition holds that both sisters spoke with heavy accents, sometimes called Swedish and sometimes French. As mentioned earlier, most likely, the accent may have been German; despite their Swedish ancestry, their family had been in the United States for five generations. Lizzie Click also said that Jane (Shuff) Tussey could count in "Dutch", although she probably meant German. The word "Dutch" then as now ("Pennsylvania Dutch", for instance) often meant German.

Details of the couple's life with their children can only be surmised. The children, at least some of them, attended school, although some of the girls could not write, and evidence suggests that at least one boy learned in adulthood to write. School at that time was limited to a very few months of the year, and children from an early age also worked on the farm.


A separate article documents the religion of the earliest known Walkers of our family.

Haley's Death

Haley died on a Saturday after Christmas, on 28 December 1844. Ned's second wife gave 28 December 1842 as her death date, with 1844 coming from son Isaac's copy of his father's Bible record. The 1844 date is used here because, presumably, Isaac was in a better position to know, and Sarah (Crumley) Walker's statement of it when she applied for a pension did not necessarily require accuracy.

Lizzie Click indicated that Haley died of scurvy which started in her foot. Scurvy is a vitamin C deficiency that was often thought to be caused by sea water; of course, sailors actually got scurvy from a lack a fruit, something usually readily available in the Mulberry area, so scurvy seems quite unlikely. She was buried across the creek on a hill overlooking their home in a grave marked with a limestone marker with no inscription. Only recently has marked stone been erected.

Apparently after Haley died or perhaps a little earlier, Ned bought a slave who seems to have had a daughter. The two only appear on the slave schedules of the Census, and no deeds have been found involving their purchase. The slave schedule represents only one day in every ten years, and since a granddaughter remembered seeing Ned at a slave sale, he may have bought and sold others at various times. However, only the two are known.

The older woman, whose name is not known, was in the household in 1850 and was born about 1820; she was blind, which indicates all the further that she was purchased specifically to take care of the household and the children after Haley's death or perhaps during her last illness. The second was so young as to almost definitely have been her daughter and was born between 1846 and 1848; assuming that she is the same little girl sold at Ned's death, her name was Tilda. It seems likely that Tilda was born during the time that Ned owned her mother, although she may not have been.

At least three possibilities arise: the mother may have been married to a man at a nearby farm, Ned may have arranged for her to get pregnant, or, quite possibly, Tilda could be a Walker. The mother was no longer in the household in 1860, and whether she died or was sold is unknown; efforts to track Tilda have not been successful, although she may have been the Matilda Woodson who married an Andrew Cloud after the Civil War.

The Second Family

Ned would eventually marry again, to a woman named Sarah Crumley, called Sallie. Sallie was a daughter of William Crumley who lived further up the Mulberry Road. She was born 28 September 1813 probably in the Mulberry area, and she appears to have not to have married until she married Ned on 28 November 1848. They were married in Ned's house by John Crumley, a justice of the peace who was most likely her brother. It was John Crumley who recorded the marriage in the family Bible that was later lost to fire. Apparently, the legal record of their marriage was lost even before the courthouse fires.

By the time Ned and Sallie married, some of the oldest children were already married and out of the house, while the youngest was just 8, and several of Haley's children may have been close to Sallie. Ned and Sallie would have four children of their own, all boys: William, born in October 1850, Edward F. , called Edd, born in February 1852, James Harvey, born 12 July 1855, and Milton Green, born 23 May 1858.

Ned's Death and the Civil War

Military stone for Edward and Mahala (Tussey) Walker erected 7/8/2006; obtained and erected through the efforts of Tim Walker, who also supplied the photo. The stone is not crooked; Little Ridge, where they are buried, is quite steep. Within a month of the stone being placed, Tim and I discovered better dates for Mahala.

The two younger boys in particular likely remembered little of their father, though. Ned died 9 April 1860 at his home on Mulberry Creek in what was by that time Hancock County. He had liver disease and had been sick for nine days when he died at the age of 64. He was buried with on the hill across the creek from his house. Although only field stones were used, a military marker was finally erected in 2006 - approximate one month before exact dates were found for Mahala.

By the time Ned died, all of the older children were married, and he had already staked some or all of them. Typically, one would expect Ned to have left a will which specifically excluded the older children, since they already had been given shares, and providing for the second family and his much younger widow. Ned left no will, leading to a series of events that would keep the Walkers going to court for more than 20years and even involving the Tennessee Supreme Court. The court battle, though, would have to wait until after the Civil War.

The 1860 Census, enumerated as of June 1 but actually enumerated in August on the Mulberry Road, shows Sarah living with just her own four children and Martha Crumley, a 22-year-old servant who was likely a sister or a niece. She still was listed as owning Tilda, the remaining family slave, although she would lose Tilda in April 1861.

Despite having the four young boys in school, she was probably not without help around the farm. Bill at 9 and Edd at 7 were capable of helping, and she had brothers and brothers-in-law in the area. For that matter, Ned and Haley's children were generally not far away; only Jane had long ago left the state and was living in Izard County, Arkansas, at the time of the Census. Martha, Jacob, Sarah, Johnathan, and John Gilmore were all still living in Hancock County within a few miles; in fact, Johnathan and John Gilmore were practically next door or perhaps in the same house. The others were only a few more miles away, closer to the Clinch River, with Isaac on Straight Creek, Henry, Mary, and Sabra on Bear Creek just over the hill from Isaac, and Anna not far away in Grainger County; Anna would soon move to Bear Creek. All of the older children would soon leave Hancock County, almost always for Bear Creek and Walker's Ford, with most moving at some time during the war.

Walker sympathies during the war are hard to measure and were not monolithic; Sallie's own sympathies are unknown. In a war that pitted brother against brother, that scenario was probably no more literally true than in East Tennessee. When Tennessee, the last of the southern states to secede, held a referendum on secession, secession won by a two-to-one margin in both West Tennessee and Middle Tennessee – but lost by a two-to-one margin in East Tennessee. Knoxville, the nearest large town, has been called the only city that both the Union and Confederate forces considered to be hostile.

The reasons that most East Tennesseans opposed secession are not particularly difficult to understand. A great number of people who lived in Appalachia were descendants of people who moved there partially to be left alone, and quite a few, while not necessarily believing in full equality, were uncomfortable with the idea of human bondage. Slavery did occur in Hancock and Claiborne counties despite some histories that claim otherwise, and both Ned and his brother Joseph owned slaves, but slave owners were few in number.

Key to the equation, though, was the fact that the Grand Division of East Tennessee is quite mountainous, and most farmers, like Ned, farmed relatively small farms on the sides of rocky mountains and ridges. Large-scale cotton farming, with the attendant large plantations and slave populations, was not possible in East Tennessee, while the geography of Middle and West Tennessee allowed such plantations more typical of the deep South. Most of the people who owned slaves in East Tennessee owned no more than one or two, with very few households owning more, and most households owning none. Simply put, the economy of East Tennessee did not depend upon slavery.

Henry, the oldest son, had become a circuit-riding Methodist minister and was staunchly pro-Union; just two weeks after the contentious Republican convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln, Henry named a son for him. That son would be kidnapped during the war by a band of Confederates who supposedly intended to kill him, but one of them knew the family and returned him safely to his parents. Shadrach Ball, whom oldest daughter Jane had married, was also a Methodist minister and would soon be chased out of Arkansas for preaching "the Abolitionist's Gospel," and the couple would lose two sons and a son-in-law, all fighting for the Union, during the war. In addition, most of the first cousins of Ned and Haley's children who did fight appear to have fought for the Union, with several dying for the Union, mostly in prison camps.

On the other hand, the only son of Ned and Haley known to have fought actually did so for the Confederacy, serving barefoot at Missionary Ridge. Johnathan contracted typhoid and walked home from a hospital near Atlanta, deserting according to some accounts which are certainly debatable. In any case, he served more than a year and half along with two sons of a first cousin, both of whom died before Jonathan left the army; another first cousin also seems to have served the Confederacy.

Regardless of who supported what side, life was miserable for the residents of Mulberry Gap as well as the Bear Creek/Straight Creek/Walker's Ford area. Military planners early in the war considered nearby Cumberland Gap crucial as it had once been a major transportation route; only later in the war did they realize that time and technology had greatly reduced the importance of the Gap, but not before it changed hands multiple times. In addition, raiding parties, both official and unofficial, regularly traveled in the Mulberry Gap area and at Walker's Ford. Local citizens, then, were harassed no matter who they supported, and many had to hide food and valuables. Mary (Tussey) Walker, the widow of Ned's brother Joseph, hid food in burial crypts, while Ned's own house had a secret room on the second floor, accessible only through the attic, where food and valuables could be hidden. Famine, violence, and outright anarchy reigned, with schools and churches often closed, and local governments only intermittently functional.

Tennessee seceded officially on 8 June 1861. Even with local sentiments favoring the Union, both the state and local governments became Confederate, and there were certainly a considerable number of Confederate supporters in the area. In fact, behind Ned's property on Mulberry Creek is a hollow that became known as Rebel Hollow due to the large number of Confederate supporters there, some of whom occupied the Hancock County courthouse at one point. Even though Tennessee joined the Confederacy, Sallie had already lost her slave in the estate sale.

East Tennessee was the last of the Grand Divisions to return to Union control. The Union first invaded parts of Tennessee in early 1862. Nashville fell on 25 February 1862, causing the Confederate state government to flee to Memphis; they certainly were not going to flee to a hostile population in East Tennessee. Memphis fell just a few months later, on 6 June 1862, at which point the Confederate government of the state of Tennessee ceased to exist permanently; in fact, Andrew Johnson, who would later become president after Lincoln's assassination, was sent by Lincoln to Nashville even before Memphis fell to set up a military Union government. West Tennessee would never again be occupied by Confederate forces, although southern parts of Middle Tennessee were reoccupied from the fall of 1862 until July 1863 and again briefly in November and December of 1864.

Union forces did not invade East Tennessee until August 1863, with Knoxville, the nearest large town to the Walkers, captured 1 September 1863; Chattanooga fell later in the month. Grant then drove the Tennessee Confederate forces completely out of Tennessee two months later in November, while Burnside drove off a Confederate force determined to recapture Knoxville. While Burnside was successful in saving Knoxville, that Confederate force retreated into upper East Tennessee, probably causing even more problems for the Walkers and their neighbors. That force finally moved into Virginia in the spring of 1864, and Tennessee was finally free of all Confederate forces.

Sallie and all of Ned's children by both marriages survived the war, and even Johnathan would finally recover from his illness and long trek and live to old age. But they had lost many cousins and other relatives including one of Ned's grandchildren, a son of Jane.

The Court Battle - A Family Feud?

Although several events regarding Ned's estate occurred during the war, the real battle began after the war was over. That he did not leave a will is rather curious, although, of course, many people fail to take that step. In 1852, Ned had all of his land formally surveyed and deeded even though portions had already been in the past. His action suggests that he wanted to make sure that he had clear title to his entire property. Having already lived there for decades, the decision to do so at that time would seem odd except for the fact that, a few months earlier, his brother Joseph had died unexpectedly when a limb from a tree he was cutting fell on him. In other words, the timing would suggest that Ned was thinking ahead to his own death and the need to have clear title as early as 1852.

But he still left no will. Given that he was only sick for 9 days, he may not have had the chance to write a will, and he may also have not realized that the illness would be fatal. Regardless of the reasons, the lack of a will combined with the Civil War would play havoc on his family.

Inheritance laws of the era were considerably different from today; a wife did not automatically inherit real property, which in those days included both real estate and slaves. Instead, widows had a dower right under the law, meaning that she was entitled to a 25% interest in the land and retained the right to live there for life - provided that she lived there continuously. When she died or moved elsewhere, her interest in the land would disappear, and her right to live on the property forfeited. Sallie also, by virtue of having had at least two children with Ned, was entitled to a child's share of the real property. Since Ned left 13 living children, Sallie herself was entitled to only 1/14th of the estate in addition to her dower rights.

Sallie's feelings about her share are not known, but subsequent events suggest that either she was unhappy about it and manipulated her family or that her family manipulated her. Still, neither she nor her family were in control of everything that happened next.

Apparently, Henry, the oldest son from the first marriage, decided he wanted the property. As was typical in that area and era, he worked quickly to buy out the shares of his other siblings, and courts generally did not get involved deeply in such cases. Relevant deeds from Hancock County are lost due to courthouse fires, but the court records suggest that Henry was able to come to quick accommodation with his older siblings, thus owning 9 of the 14 shares apparently in both the property and the slave.

The four boys from the second marriage were still minors when Ned died, and Calvin Ramsey, Sallie's brother-in-law, had been appointed guardian for their interests in the estate. He seems to have refused to sell out to Henry because the county court ordered that both Tilda and the real estate be sold on the steps of the courthouse in Sneedville in April 1861.

The auction was held, and R. C. Woodson, a local merchant, purchased Tilda for $800. A note was carried back for two years upon which Woodson was supposed to pay the money. There is no record as to whether a Walker attempted to purchase her; she grew up in and may have been born in the Ned Walker household but was forced to leave on the eve of the Civil War, in the very month in which the Confederates fired on Fort Sumpter. She would finally be free as early as the fall of 1863 or as late as the spring of 1864.

Henry Walker did show up for the auction and placed the winning bid of $1,900 for the real estate; as with the slave sale, a note appears to have been carried back for 2 years allowing him to finance the purchase, but, since he already owned 9/14ths of the property, he presumably financed about a third and finally had the property he wanted securely within the Walker family. Or so it would seem. Soon thereafter, Calvin Ramsey protested the land sale, claiming that it sold for well less than it was worth at auction. Quite clearly from the record, Ramsey himself wanted the land and even offered the court $2,100, although his lawyer later convinced him to withdraw the bid; as guardian for the minor children, his bid was a conflict of interest.

In what would seem to be a surprising development, the county court agreed and ordered a second auction for April 1862. Ramsey had not alleged, at least according the existing record, any fraud whatsoever in the earlier public auction; he merely alleged that the property should have sold for more. That the county court agreed with him may well have had something to do with the war. Tennessee had seceded just after the first auction, and a Confederate government was now in control. Henry Walker was a well-known Union supporter. The Ramseys and the Colemans, who were soon to enter the picture, appear to have been Confederate supporters.

So, in April 1862, the property went up for auction again on the courthouse steps in Sneedville. Henry Walker himself was so angry about the turn of events that he did not show up, although his brother Johnathan did and perhaps other siblings were there, although records do not indicate whether they bid for the property. Calvin K. Coleman, who was born and grew up next door to Ned, made the winning bid this time, at $2,105, again with a note carried back for two years.

The Hancock County government was not fully functional during parts of the Civil War, and the next entries in the court records appear in 1865, three years after the second auction and after Union control of the local government was regained. During the war, William Neil had been the Clerk and Master responsible for collecting the notes used to purchase both the slave and the property. Woodson, who purchased the slave, appears to never have paid; not surprisingly, he apparently tried to avoid payment for something that obviously he lost. The court ruled, though, that a note was a note and that he owed the money. The Walkers alleged that Woodson was hiding assets, and whether they ever collected the money is unclear from the record.

During the war, Coleman had cut an unusual side deal with Calvin Ramsey, the guardian of the four youngest sons. Instead of paying the money he owed for the minor children's portion of the estate to the Clerk and Master, he paid Ramsey directly, possibly for Sallie (Crumley) Walker's portion as well. He should have paid the clerk, but Ramsey accepted the purchase. However, Coleman did not actually pay anything; he took another note from Ramsey for the amount, secured by Ned's land, and apparently never paid it, either. In other words, instead of following proper procedure, Coleman handed the younger children an IOU to replace his IOU to the court.

Henry Walker did not dispute this side deal, as he had no economic interest in it; instead, he was owed the other 9/14ths portion, including his own share and the shares of his older siblings which he had purchased earlier. Regardless of the side deal, Coleman was responsible for paying that portion to the Clerk and Master over a period of two years.

Coleman had gone to Neil during the war to pay off the rest of the notes – well before they were due, as a matter of fact. He attempted to pay in Confederate currency, which Neil refused. Neil instead insisted that Coleman use Confederate Treasury notes, which Coleman did obtain and turned over to Neil. Neil, as it turns out, was quite ill and soon died, having not completed his duties; he did not get court approval to complete the sale, he did not turn over any money to the Walkers, and he did not deliver the deed to Coleman. Since there is an explicit statement in the record that Neil was an honest man and beyond suspicion, quite likely some people thought otherwise.

So, after the war, Henry Walker sued Calvin Coleman trying to get the land back for a new sale, or, failing that, to get the notes paid in money of value. Post-war Tennessee law stated that all transactions that had occurred using Confederate Treasury notes were invalid; the law did, however, explicitly allow such transactions if a contract were involved, apparently to avoid widespread disruption to major business contracts. Technically, a deed probably would have been considered a contract, but Coleman never received a deed; this distinction, though, did not end up being important to the final decision.

At first glance, one might get the impression that Henry was trying to take advantage of a technicality, but the record seems quite clear that court approval, which Neil never sought due to his illness or the war or both, was required to complete the transaction. Such approval would have allowed Henry, among other things, to protest the form of payment. And because the court had not approved the transaction, Neil never gave Henry even the now worthless Treasury notes. So Henry had never received a penny in any currency for his 9/14ths of the estate.

Many of the depositions in the court records revolve around the issue of whether the auctioneer specified that U.S. currency and gold were required or whether he specified the "currency of the land", which Coleman argued would have been Confederate currency at the time. A number of people testified that the auctioneer required U.S. currency; a number of others testified to "currency of the land". Not surprisingly, those who testified to U.S. currency tended to be related to the Walkers, and those who testified to currency of the land tended to be related to Coleman – or to Sallie (Crumley) Walker. Despite all the paperwork on this particular issue, this issue, as with the delivery of the deed, proved not to be relevant to the final outcome.

The suit went through various stages, with Henry winning at every step, so one may assume that Coleman was the one who took the matter all the way to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Henry apparently had not disputed the legitimacy of the second auction, and the Supreme Court ruled that the sale was final and that Coleman owned the land. However, they also ruled the payment of the notes invalid and that Coleman was to pay the full amount owed to Henry. The Court brought up a different issue that, if Henry's lawyers had raised it, the documentation is not in the Hancock County file. The same law that recognized transactions using Confederate Treasury notes if a contract were involved also required that the transaction be completely above suspicion; because Coleman's payment raised a serious appearance of fraud, the transaction was held to be invalid.

Fraud charges were not brought against Coleman, at least as part of this case, and the Supreme Court certainly did not convict him of fraud or even definitively rule that fraud had taken place; instead, they ruled that Coleman's actions raised enough suspicion to conclude that fraud might have been involved and thus invalidated the transaction under the law. In fact, his actions were probably legal at the time but were highly suspect.

What Coleman was thinking and what he knew at the time, and in fact, the exact timing of his interaction with Neil, are not altogether clear. But the wartime developments in Tennessee would seem to have had to play a role in what he tried to do with Neil. Since he attempted to pay off the two-year note early, he certainly went to Neil before April 1864. Although the local government in Hancock County was still Confederate apparently, the Confederacy in Tennessee was in its last throes, and Coleman had to have known that; in fact, Knoxville may well have already been taken when he approached Neil. Even if the entire invasion of East Tennessee had not yet started at the time, certainly the rest of the state had fallen, and rumors of the impending Union invasion of East Tennessee were rampant in the region well before the actual invasion which ended up putting East Tennessee under Union control.

In short, although Confederate Treasury notes were not Coleman's idea, Confederate currency was. Coleman tried to pay off the notes early and even paid a full two years worth of interest at his own, not Neil's, suggestion, so the early payoff was not an attempt to reduce interest charges. One would be very hard-pressed to believe that Coleman took this step without fearing that his Confederate money would soon be worthless. Coleman's transaction probably was perfectly legal at the exact point in time he made it, and, in his mind, he probably felt he had done nothing wrong and was out a large sum of money. On the other hand, the money soon would have become worthless anyway, and the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled against him.

Henry would still have trouble collecting the money, though. At one point, he got a court order which required the sale of Coleman's share of his own late father's land. Whether that sale went through or exactly what happened has not yet been determined, and whether Henry ever collected is not entirely certain. The main court case regarding the estate was terminated in 1872, not particularly because all matters were resolved but because Henry himself died in early 1872. There was at least one more suit against the estate by the second set of children, and rumors of additional suits, none of which have been examined yet.

Because of the courthouse fire in Hancock County, the exact chain of title cannot be traced, and whether Coleman ever got title is not known. Between 1878 and 1880, Sallie moved into Tazewell with her youngest sons, Jim and Green, so that both of them could go to college; according to family stories on Jim's side, she took in washing to support the two through school, and both had a great deal of catching up to do in school, possibly because of the nonfunctioning schools during the war. Technically, when she left the homestead, she would have lost her widow's dower, but apparently no one pushed the issue; also, while unproven, her oldest son Bill and his family may have lived in the house for a time.

The first deed available in Hancock County for the property is from 1881, when Elisha and Bettie Bishop owned the land subject to Sallie's dower rights. How they obtained it cannot be traced, but Elisha owned quite a bit of land in the area and may have bought out Coleman to keep him from losing his own land or otherwise acquired it as a result of some of the legal machinations going on over the estate. The Bishops sold their interest, still subject to dower despite Sallie's having moved, to Hugh Parkey and Patterson Breeding. A few months later, on 16 January 1882, Sallie sold her dower rights to Parkey and Breeding for $400, and the land thus left the Walker family. Also, starting in 1879, she drew a pension based upon Ned's military service starting at $8 per month and increasing to $12 before her death.

Just two weeks before Sally sold her dower rights, her son Green had gotten married; Jim was still unmarried. The three, plus Green's wife, all moved sometime in 1882 to Grainger County, Tennessee, where Jim married in 1885. Sallie lived alternatively with the two families for the rest of her life. Very shortly after Jim married, they all moved to Jacksboro in Campbell County, where Jim and Green, according to tradition in Green's family, started the Walker Brothers School. No record of the school has been found, but many such enterprises were created in Tennessee in that era with few records remaining. Court records of the era may reflect it, though.

Apparently, the school did not operate for a long period of time, because all the families left Grainger County sometime between 1889 and 1893 and settled in Newport, Cocke County, Tennessee, where Green would teach and run the school system while Jim owned a hotel and livery stable and also taught at times; Green was also elected to the state assembly from Cocke County around the time his mother died. Sallie died presumably in Newport of currently unknown causes, on 11 January 1898; she is buried in Union Cemetery there along with Jim and Green and their families.

Sarah (Crumley) Walker's stone in Union Cemetery, Newport, Tennessee; photos taken 8/30/2005 by Phillip A. Walker.

Even in death, Sallie leaves us with a minor mystery: Jim and Green did not purchase the plot in which she was buried for more than eight months after her death. Where she was first buried is unknown. However, Jim and Green were both heavily involved with the local Methodist church in Newport, and that church was one of the ones involved in the creation of Union Cemetery, which had its first burial in July 1898; they probably wanted to have a permanent place for both them and their mother in the new cemetery. In fact, Green and Jim and their wives are all buried there despite the fact that all had moved long before their deaths, Jim to Athens and Green to Clinton.

All original material © 2007-9 by Phillip A. Walker or by cited authors. Submissions are welcome. Reuse allowed under limited conditions. Page last modified Sunday, 09-Sep-2018 13:19:36 MDT .