Vaughan Pioneers:

Research into the lines of

William Vaughan (abt. 1750- abt. 1838)


John Vaughan (abt. 1762-1842)

As well as related lines


About this site:  This website has been set up to give a very brief summary of research into the lines of William Vaughan who married Fereby Benton and John Vaughan who married Nancy Callicott.  In the late 1990s, a group of Vaughan Genealogists established a research group that took for it’s name the title of the book “Vaughan Pioneers” by Lewis Vaughan.  Lewis’ book was the first book in print that dealt with the line of William and Fereby Vaughan and it still remains the most important work on this family’s Genealogy. 


The Vaughan Pioneer group now numbers nearly 200 members, made up primarily from descendants of William Vaughan or John Vaughan.  In the past 8 years, the group has made a very exhaustive search into the lines of both men and have furthered the work of the late Lewis Vaughan.    This page was placed under the Rootsweb servers of Genealogy pages in hopes that it might help point researchers of these lines in the right direction.


For more information about these lines, contact me at


Click the following to jump to information about each individual:  Fereby Benton  John and Nancy Callicott


William Vaughan 

William Vaughan was born about 1750, judging from his age in the few censuses that he appears in (which he can be identified) and by the ages of his children.  Part of the mystery of William Vaughan is trying to figure out just where he came from originally.  Early records in colonial times usually just referred to the name of the person – usually a male—and so often times you would not have a clue to if the person referred to was a specific person or just another person with the same name.

That is the trouble with identifying William Vaughan.  The name Vaughan is not common, but it is not rare either, and the given name ‘William’ is extremely common.  Most of our information on William’s early years is from Family tradition and stories mixed with research.  Many in the family believe William was born in Wales and immigrated to the United States just before the formation of the nation from the English colonies.  Other stories say it was not William but his father or even grandfather that came to America.  Some in our family have stories of a castle in Wales and others claim it was Tretower castle, which is an old castle in central Wales that did indeed belong to an ancient line of Vaughans.  My own research and theory is that William was not born in Wales but in either Virginia or Maryland.  I strongly suspect it was Virginia, but again, this is only my educated theory.


Regardless of where he was born, William Vaughan appears first in the early 1770s in Virginia.  On the 1772 tax lists for Fincastle County, Virginia, a William Vaughan is listed as “Not Found”.  This shows he had lived in the area and was at least 21 years old in 1772.  In 1773 he appears on the list of tithables for the New River area of Fincastle County and is also listed in Captain Herbert’s company of Militia. 


In 1774 he was listed as a private in Captain David Looney’s Militia company from Fincastle County, Virginia that served in Lord Dunmore’s War.  Most of the men in Captain Looney’s company lived in Northeastern Tennessee and Southwestern Virginia.  William was living near the Holston River in 1774 in what is now Washington County, Virginia.  In Plot Book A, Fincastle County, Virginia, Record of Surveys, page 124 appears the following entry:

WILLIAM VAUGHAN, 80 acres, part of the Loyal Company grant, on the waters of Elk Creek, a branch of the New River, beginning at the foot of a hill.  December 12, 1774.


On the same page appears a Lazarus Benton, who received 116 acres of land on both sides of Elk Creek on the same day as William.  As William married a Fereby Benton, this could very possibly be his wife’s relative.  In 1771 a Titus Benton settled near Elk Creek and he was the son of Lazarus Benton. 


William Vaughan witnessed Michael Cousel's assignment of land to William Kennedy in 1774 or after, in Fincastle County, (now Montgomery) Virginia, which includes the current county of Sullivan County, Tennessee.  This William Kennedy is the same man that was sent by Col. William Christian in 1774 into the Cherokee Nation to see about making a land treaty.  Family tradition is that Fereby, William’s wife, was part Cherokee. 


William Vaughan was in the Elk Creek District of Montgomery County,Virginia in 1782 (later Grayson County, Virginia).


A listing of the militia from Montgomery County, Virginia from September 6, 1782, Elk Creek District reveals some familiar names:


William Walling, Lieutenant.

John Walling (2 men with this name)

James Roberts

John Roberts

Cornelius Roberts (who had a wife named Mary Benton, possibly Fereby's sister – Cornelius moved west about the same time and to the same area that William did.)



I should note that there was another William Vaughan who moved into what is now Grayson County, Virginia (Elk Creek) at around the same time our William headed west.  These two men were also about the same age, but after contacting a descendant of this unrelated William Vaughan, we were able to determine that this man did not move to Elk Creek until after 1782, so we are fairly confident that the pre-1782 William Vaughan entries are for our ancestor. 


Very likely, all the Elk Creek entries are in the same area that was part of Fincastle County before the new county of Washington was formed and Fincastle county disappeared as a county in Virginia. 


1782 was the year that more solid proof of William Vaughan begins to appear, for he received a land grant that later mentioned his wife by name.


Russell County Land Grants and Surveys, Surveyors Book 1, #86 shows William received two Treasury Warrants, dated March 11, 1782 and April 4, 1782 for 187 acres plus 59 acres of land on the north side of the Clinch River.  According to the property description, this land was at the foot of the north side of Clinch Mountain.  Other land surveys refer to Cedar Creek as being "at the foot of the north side of Clinch Mountain".


William purchased an additional 70 acres on the north side of Little Cedar Creek from John Van Pelt on June 20, 1791 (Russell County Land Grants and Surveys, #123).


From 1783-1797 William was living in Russell County, Virginia.  He received a tract of land #16637 on May 29, 1783, which was for 400 acres.  A second grant was received on August 13, 1794 . 


He appears on the 1787 Russell County Personal Property Tax list with no males 16-21 living in his household, so all his children were born after 1771, this matches the records of his children’s ages.


On October 24, 1797, the land in Russell County was sold, but apparently William used an agent to sell it, as he was no longer living there.



Deeds (from "Russell County, Virginia, Deed Book 2 1795-1798:):



Page 249 - January 24, 1797 between William Vaughan & Fereby and Benjaman Wallis...on Little Ceder Creek the waters of Clinch River, part of a tract of land granted to William Vaughan by patent dated May 16, 1793...Beginning on the bank of Little Ceder Creek...on the bank of the north fork of Ceder a conditional line between William Vaughan & Robert Rutherford...200 ac...Signed: William "X"  Vaughan & Fereby "X" Vaughan. No witnesses

Acknowledged/Recorded: January Court 1797

...Fereby, his wife being privily examined...



22 Feb 1797:  Indenture between William Vaughn & Fereby, his wife and John Watts (all of Russell County]...50 pounds...70 acres...granted to said William Vaughn...patent bearing date 20 Jun Russell County on Little Cedar Creek a branch of Clinch River and of said creek...

Sig: William (his X mark) Vaughn, Fereby (her X mark) Vaughn

Wit: (None)

Acknowledged/Recorded: January Count, 1797

... Fereby, his wife being privily examined...

On August 15th, 1797, William bought 250 acres of land from William McClean on the north side of Clinch Mountain on Little War Creek in Hawkins County, Tennessee.  William and Fereby lived in Hawkins County from 1797 to 1814. 



On April 15, 1800, William sold 100 acres of his land to John Helton.  Helton resold the land to John and Nancy (Callicott) Vaughan.


On March 1st, 1801 in Hawkins County, Tennessee, William Vaughan sold land to John Helton on the north side of Clinch Mountain on a branch of the Little War Creek beginning at the mouth  of Buck spring.  Witnesses were Absalom Looney (son of Robert Looney??) and James Cope.  The land was on the Hawkins and Hancock Counties line.


William Vaughan and his neighbor John Vaughan are listed on two surviving tax lists of Hawkins County, one for 1810 and one for 1812. William Jr. was listed on the 1812 list; evidently he turned 21 in 1811 or 1812.



On the 1810  Tax List for Capt. John Looney's Company is listed:


Looney, John lands:300, 1 White Pole

Looney, Absalum Esq.: lands 640 1 White Pole 1 Black Pole

Vaughn, William:100 lands 1 White Pole

Vaughn, John:100 lands 1 White Pole


On the 1812 Tax List for Capt. John Looney's Company is listed:


Vaughn, William Senior  100 land

Vaughn, John 100 land 1 White Pole

Vaughn, William Junior 1 White Pole


In 1814, William apparently grew restless again and decided to move.  On February 2nd, 1814 he sold 100 acres of land to William Ford and on August 15th he sold the remaining 50 acres to George Anderson, but neither sale was registered until August of 1816.  This could be due to some understanding between both parties in the transaction that the sale would not be complete until William and Fereby had found a suitable place to live.


Where exactly William and Fereby moved next is still under investigation.  The censuses were still only showing the head of the household in 1820, but the general consensus is that they moved to somewhere in the middle part of Tennessee.  The counties of White, Warren and especially Marion were looked at closely by the late Lewis Vaughan as possible spots where William and Fereby lived. 


William’s sons, Daniel and Samuel, who later settled in Madison County, Arkansas, had moved to middle Tennessee by 1815.  Daniel was living in Warren County, Tennessee in 1812, and on a tax list, appears the name Daniel Vaughan, along with a David Vaughan.


Daniel apparently received land in White County, Tennessee, Grant # 5585 as an assignee of John C. McLemore, 3 acres lying in White County in the third District of Cane Creek of main Caney Fork including the house and improvements formerly occupied by John Medkiff, on May 23, 1814.  In Deed Book F., page 73, he sold to John Simmons, both of White County, for $215, the land mentioned in the grant, on September 18, 1815.


He appeared on the White County tax lists for 1815 and 1816.



Possibly, Thomas Vaughan, William and Fereby's son, lived in Warren County for a while. On White County, Tennessee tax records for 1811- 1876 was the name of Daniel Vaughan in 1816 for 30 acres of land on Cainey Creek.  On the same tax record for White County is a William Vaughan with 40 acres, also on Cainey Creek, and next to him was a William Vaughan Jr.  with no land mentioned, yet both were taxed. William Jr. was assessed $37 and William Sr., though he owned land and Jr. didn't, only was assessed $20. In 1817, the only Vaughan entry is one for a William Vaughan with 50 acres of land and a total assessment of $111.


Lewis Vaughan shows another interesting entry for a transfer of land from a William P. Vaughan to a Reuben Prop or Rop. He said that the text was extremely difficult to read from the microfilm, but he was able to determine that on September 11th, 1821, in White County, TN, William P. Vaughan sold to Reuben Prop or Rop, for 300 dollars, 50 acres of land in the first district due south of the Cainy Fork River in White County, Tennessee. He placed his mark instead of signing. If this is our William, he would have been about 71 years old.


In Warren County, a grant was made, #5670 from the State of Tennessee to Samuel Vaughn, assignee of Peter Turney, 20 acres lying in Warren County in the 3rd District on the waters of Rocky River, June 4th, 1814.  It is suspected this was William and Fereby’s son.


Some have speculated that William, Fereby and their sons Daniel and Samuel – plus perhaps others of his family—went to somewhere in Southeast Missouri before moving on to Northwest Arkansas.  I don’t think this was the case – my guess is that they left the White and Warren Counties area and came straight to Arkansas, though here too is some debate.


Goodspeed’s History of Northwest Arkansas states that the Vaughans came to Crawford  County, Arkansas in 1821, settling near Short Mountain Creek across from a large Cherokee Village (part of Arkansas was Cherokee Territory at this point in time) until 1826, when they moved west of the town of Cane Hill in what is today Washington County.  Then they moved East to the border of Washington and Madison Counties, settling around a large hill now named Vaughan Mountain. 


Here is the actual text from Goodspeed:


Vaughan's Valley.-The most fertile and beautiful landscape in

Northwestern Arkansas is named from its pioneer settlers, Samuel and

Daniel Vaughan. Born in Virginia, their father, William Vaughan,

removed to Warren County, Tenn., and thence to Wayne County, Mo.,

where he was one of the earliest settlers, and thence to Crawford

County, Ark., where he located on the Arkansas River near Short

Mountain Creek. Crossing the Boston mountains Samuel and Daniel

Vaughan settled near Evansville, Washington County, before the Indian

title to that section had been extinguished, and, being encroachers,

their improvements were destroyed by the regular soldiers. In 1826

they removed to Cane Hill, Washington County, where they were the

first settlers, and in 1828 migrated to what is now known as the

Tuttle settlement, on Richland. In 1831 Samuel Vaughan removed to the

valley and bought the improvements of one Friend, an Indian half-breed

of migratory habits, then its only occupant. Isaac Vaughan now lives

here. Samuel Vaughan dealt largely in Government claims. He died at

the age of seventy-seven. Daniel Vaughan lived all his life on his

first claim, a short distance west of Hindsville.


In 2005 I visited all the places named in the Goodspeed History.  Short Mountain Creek is a stream that passes by the bread loaf shaped Short Mountain near Paris, Arkansas.  The area is very near Magazine Mountain, the highest point in Arkansas.  The land around the mountains is very flat and suitable for farming, and it is possible that William and his sons settled here for a time, after floating up the Arkansas river to get within a few miles of this place.


Cane Hill is to the northwest of Short Mountain Creek and is also farm land, though the land is more hilly.  It is close to the Oklahoma state line. 

The Vaughan Mountain area is known to be where William and Fereby stayed for the remainder of their lives.  In fact, their sons Daniel and Samuel also remained in this area for the rest of their lives.  Vaughan Mountain is a tall hill that is split in half by the Washington and Madison Counties line.  To the east of the mountain, on the Madison County side, the Vaughans settled and farmed.  William and Fereby were very advanced in years by this time, and it is very likely that they lived with Samuel Vaughan.  Two elderly people – a man and a woman, both in the 70 to 80 year category—appear on the 1830 Census for Washington County, living in Samuel Vaughan’s household.  At the time, Madison County had yet to be formed from Washington County.


The Territorial Papers, Arkansas Territory, (pp.1172-1174) include an interesting document addressed by John Campbell, Cane Hill, to Ethan Brown, Commissioner of the General Land Office, dated 17 Feb. 1836, forwarding charges against William McK. Ball, Register of the Land Office at Fayetteville in Washington County, Arkansas Territory. The first charge made reads as follows:


For acting partially in his Official Capacity as Register of the Land Office; in not taking down correctly the whole of the testimony of John Davidson, Daniel Vaughn and William Buchanon with a design of favoring a claim set up by Thomas Garvin to a part of the North East and North West quarters of section Eight, Township fourteen North in Range 32 West--thereby attempting to defraud Thomas Pogue and John Campbell out of their just right to the preemption claims purchased of James Jackson and William Vaughn.

An examination of Thomas Garvin's file reveals a number of depositions evidently made to bolster his claim. The following is the only one pertaining to Daniel and William Vaughan:


Territory of Arkansas)

County of Washington)


Be it remembered that on the 6th day of September 1834 personally appeared before me a Justice of the peace in and for said County of Washington Levi Richards of lawful age who being duly sworn according to law deposeth and says that he did lease of Daniel Vaughn in January 1830 a small improvement for the term of two years. The Northwest quarter of Section 8 Range 32 West Township N North and did get possession on the 20th day April 1830 And that the Father of Daniel Vaughn whose Christian name he does not recollect did not cultivate on the same quarter after the 20th day of April 1830. He further says he did remain on the above named Quarter until December following at which time Daniel Vaughn sold the above named improvement to Daniel O. George and that he never knew the Father of Daniel Vaughn to have any claim to the above named. place.


Levi Richards


The above deposition indicates that William Vaughan was not living on the tract of land in question after 20 April 1830, This statement was probably correct, for William apparently moved from Cane Hill to Richland between the taking of the 1829 and 1830 censuses. There is nothing in the file, however, to refute the charge that William McK. Ball defrauded John Campbell out of his right to the preemption claim purchased of William Vaughan. Be that as it may, Ball was nominated for reappointment to his position and was subsequently confirmed by the Senate.


Goodspeed in his History of Benton County, Ark., tells of a case tried before the Circuit Court in Benton County beginning 7 May 1838. The case involved Samuel Vaughan, George W. Vaughan, and William Vaughan, among others. No details of the alleged offense are now known, but all three were found guilty and fined a nominal sum. While it would be interesting to know what the trial was about, its chief significance historically is in demonstrating that William was still living in 1838.


Sometime between 1838 and 1840, William died and tradition goes that he was buried in a grave marked only by an uncut field stone that today lies on private land and is known among descendants as the “Old Vaughan cemetery”.


On the 1840 census, William’s widow, Fereby, was living with her son-in-law, James Vaughn, who had married William and Fereby’s daughter Martha.  James and Martha very likely were first cousins.  James lived in Washington County in 1840, and this was after the formation of Madison County, Arkansas. 


Fereby Benton


William’s wife, Fereby, was probably more of a mystery than her husband.  The family traditions of this woman revolve around the possibility of her possessing some degree of Cherokee Indian ancestry.  Yet when you try to document anything about Fereby, you quickly find that there is very little to find.


Fereby was born sometime between 1745 and 1755 in either North Carolina or Tennessee, which, at the time of her birth was considered part of North Carolina.  Family tradition relates how she was a Cherokee “Princess”, the daughter of a Chief and how the handsome Welsh trader, William Vaughan romanced her and they married.  As romantic as this story is, there is very little chance – in my opinion of it being true. 


Much of the family tradition about her comes from the late 1880s and 1890s, after she had been dead for about 40 years.  During the 1890s, many of Fereby’s Grandchildren and great-Grandchildren tried to gain membership in the Western Cherokee tribe which lived in what is today Eastern Oklahoma.  Their file is enormous and I have a copy of the entire thing.  Their claims all stated that Fereby was the GRANDDAUGHTER (not daughter) of John Looney, the famous Cherokee Chief.  The claims never named her mother, but stated that her father was a white man with the surname Benton, making Fereby ½ Cherokee Indian. 


The problem with these claims is that the John Looney they were claiming to be Fereby’s grandfather was a contemporary of her and could not possibly have been even her father, not to mention her grandfather.


Some of the most interesting affidavits made in these Cherokee files is from Benjamin Franklin Vaughan, a grandson of Fereby, who lived with his grandparents as a child.  Ben claimed that Fereby was known to have Cherokee blood and was visited once by her cousin, Looney Tol-lem-tes-key.  He also claimed in another place that Fereby’s mother was Fereby Looney.  Another family tradition is that Fereby’s mother (Fereby Looney, I assume) died in childbirth, and her widowed father named his newborn daughter after her mother. 


What is interesting is that Fereby’s husband, William, served in Captain David Looney’s militia during Lord Dunmore’s War, alone with Cornelius Roberts who married a Mary Benton.  Also in Captain Looney’s militia was a young Daniel Boone, who, family tradition states, knew William.


David Looney, however, was not a Cherokee and his lineage is very well known.  Although the Vaughan descendants of Fereby managed to get several well-known Cherokees swear affidavits to their worthiness of being made members of the Cherokee nation, all the efforts were in vain, for all were rejected, due to the fact that Fereby does not appear on any Cherokee Roll or census – which is not surprising considering she was married and raising a family before the Revolutionary War broke out.


The LDS Church found evidence that William and Fereby’s oldest son, Thomas, was born in the town of Cherokee in modern day Swain County, North Carolina, which was, at the time of his birth in 1773, in Cherokee territory.  Unfortunately, I have been unable to find where they located this evidence.


The Vaughan Pioneers group’s research has shown a somewhat less exciting ancestry for Fereby – though it too has NOT been confirmed.


The name “Fereby” was rather uncommon, but began in the Carolinas in the 18th century, probably given as a first name due to a wealthy family named Ferebee living in the area in colonial times.


We looked very closely at Benton and Looney families living in North Carolina around the 1740 to 1760 time frame.  As the surname Looney is limited to one very well known family living in Virginia during this time frame, it became clear that if Fereby’s mother was indeed a Looney, she was either from an unrecorded union or from an unrelated Looney family that perhaps took the surname out of admiration of the line of Robert Looney.


We had much more success with the Benton name, however.  There was a family of Bentons living very close to the Virginia/North Carolina line near what is today Rockingham and Stokes Counties, North Carolina, off of the Dan River.  The ancestor of this family was Epaphroditus Benton and he is mentioned in an account of William Byrd of a survey of the Virginia and North Carolina state boundaries.  He is mentioned as a woodman, and his sons all lived on the very edge of civilization, apparently favoring this life to living in more populated areas.  As a result, the records are rather scarce. 


We do know that one of Epaphroditus’ sons was Lazarus Benton, who moved back and forth between North Carolina and Virginia.  Around the time of Fereby’s birth, he was living near the Dan River in what is now Rockingham and Stokes Counties, North Carolina. 


On December 12th, 1774, Lazarus had a survey done of 116 acres of land, part of a grant by the Loyal Land Company, on both sides of Elk Creek, a branch of the New River in Virginia.  What is very interesting is on the same page as Lazarus’ survey is one done, on the same day, for land adjacent to Lazarus’ grant, for William Vaughan.


Lazarus apparently moved to Montgomery County during the period of the Revolutionary War.  He lived to be a very old man, as did his father, Epaphroditus, and in 1777 he was granted $20 a year for the rest of his life as he had lost 4 sons killed by Indians.  Another document mentions that he had lost 8 family members, including sons and sons-in-law to Indians. 


Two of his sons who died in Indian attacks were John and Titus Benton, who, like their father and grandfather, were woodsmen and hunters.  It is believed that Titus Benton was a Long Hunter and lived around the Dan River before moving to Virginia.  He lived just over the line from Martinsville in Henry County, Virginia, along the Smith River.  His brother John lived somewhere close by.  John was a member of an expedition to the Cherokee Indians in 1776.


Around 1771 or 1772 Titus and apparently John moved to what is today Grayson County, Virginia and settled in the area of elk Creek, which was part of Fincastle County when they arrived, but in 1776 became part of newly formed Montgomery County, Virginia.  Titus and John were killed at Rye Cove, Virginia in April of 1778.  Rye Cove was part of Russell County, Virginia before Scott County was formed from Russell.


We suspect that Fereby Benton was a daughter of either John or Titus Benton, and a granddaughter of Lazarus.  Lazarus was named in the inventory list of the estate of Francis Pugh, on the list of those owed or due money.  Francis’ wife of daughter was named Ferebe Pugh, and this could have been either a daughter of Lazarus or, possibly, the widow Pugh remarried one of his sons and became Fereby’s mother.  This is pure speculation, but the Pugh family was close to the Bentons.


If Fereby Benton was indeed a daughter of John or Titus, and if the family story about her mother dying in childbirth is true, then by 1778, her parents would have been dead. 


Certainly the lifestyle of the Bentons would have matched that said to have been practiced by William Vaughan.  Fereby was probably born in the early 1750s, and she lived until May of 1850.  Her long lifespan certainly matched that of Epaphroditus and Lazarus Benton.


Fereby had married William by 1773 when their oldest son, Thomas was born.  She appears by name in the two Russell County deeds.   Then she disappears from records by name until her death.  On the 1850 Death Schedule for Madison County, Arkansas appears Fereby Vaughan, age 105, died in May, of “Old Age”.  The age given was incorrect, judging from her age in census records.  I suspect she was born about 1753 and so was around 97 when she died.  She is said to be buried beside William in a grave at Old Vaughan Cemetery marked only by a field stone. 


It should be noted that in 2001 the Vaughan Pioneers group paid for a Mitrochondrial DNA test on Kim Gabbard, who descends from Fereby by a direct female line.  MtDNA is passed intact from Mother to daughter, and so Kim’s MtDNA would have been Fereby’s MtDNA.  As MtDNA types for American Indians is limited to 5 identifiable types, and since Fereby, by tradition was part Cherokee through her mother, we theorized that if indeed Fereby had been part Cherokee Indian on her Mom’s side, it would have shown up by giving a MtDNA type consistent for American Indians. 


When the test came back, the MtDNA type belonged to Haplogroup “H’ which is the most common type of Northern European MtDNA.  This test shows that it is very unlikely that Fereby’s mother or her mother’s mother were full-blooded Cherokee Indian.  It does not limit the possibility that Fereby may have had Cherokee ancestry, but there was without a doubt at least some white female ancestors.


John and Nancy (Callicott) Vaughan


One of the most interesting mysteries of the Vaughan family is the relationship between John Vaughan, born about 1762, and William Vaughan.    John always seemed to be close by to William, at least until William and Fereby moved from Eastern Tennessee.  John served in Captain William Brown’s company of Col. Charles Harrison’s regiment of the Maryland Artillery on November 22nd, 1777 for a term of three years.  He actually served for the remainder of the Revolutionary War and rose to the rank of Sergeant.  On December 5th, 1788 he and other soldiers received the Gratuity of Congress for serving to the end of the war. 


John next appears on records we have found, filing for a marriage license in Charlotte County, Virginia on October 5th, 1792 with Nancy Callicott.  Apparently the 15 year old Nancy was too young and her father didn’t agree to the wedding, so they rand off to Halifax County, Virginia and were married on October 16, 1794.  They lived there until they moved to Hawkins County, Tennessee in 1798.    Whereas Nancy’s ancestry is well-known and researched, John’s line has remained a mystery.  It has always been a family tradition that John and William were brothers, but we never knew if this was due to the two men, who had children that married, simply having the same surname, or if there was truth in these stories.


John and Nancy’s son James married William and Fereby’s daughter, Martha and James even had the widowed Fereby living in his household in Arkansas.


While William was living in Hawkins County, Tennessee, on August 15, 1797 he bought land from William McClean (250 acres) on the North side of Clinch Mountain on Little War Creek in Hawkins County.


On April 15, 1800, William sold 100 acres to John Helton.  Helton resold the land to John and Nancy (Callicott) Vaughan. 


John and Nancy lived the rest of their lives in Hawkins County, Tennessee. 




Page 474 Dated: Dec. 27, 1841


Proven: Aug. Term 1842


I, John Vaughan of the County of Hawkins and State of Tennessee, do make this my last Will & Testament hereby revoking and making void all former wills by me heretofore made.


First. My will and desire is that all my just debts be paid out of any money that I may die possessed of, or that may first come into the hands of my Executors.


Second. My will and desire is that my son George Washington, for and in consideration of the bequests hereinafter made to him do keep and support my wife Nancy Vaughan during her natural life.


Third. I do give and bequeath unto my sons Samuel N. Vaughan and Benjamin Vaughan during their natural lives and then to their lawful heirs forever all my lands on the north side of Clinch Mountain, it being about 110 acres and 10 acres on the south side to copper ridge whereon the said Samuel N. Vaughan now lives, to be equally divided between them according to quality.


Fourth. I do will and direct that the above named Samuel N. and Benjamin Vaughan for and in consideration of the above bequest shall within 12 months after my death jointly pay unto my son John Vaughan $100.00.


Fifth. I give and bequeath unto my son George Washington Vaughan all my land whereon I now live and joining it being about 170 acres, together with all my personal estate that I may die possessed of or entitled to, and all money and debts due me except so much as may be necessary to supply the bequests made in this will in money.


Sixth. Whereas my sons Beverly Vaughan and James L. Vaughan has gone to parts unknown, if they should return within two years after my death, I do give and bequeath to them one dollar each.


Seventh. I do give and bequeath unto the heirs of my daughter Mahala Dickerd one dollar.


Eighth. I do give and bequeath unto my daughter Mary Gilliam one dollar.


Ninth. I do give and bequeath unto my daughter Rebecca Roller $1.00.


Tenth. I do give and bequeath unto my daughter Nancy Hickman $1.00.


Eleventh. I do give and bequeath unto my daughter Martha Davis $1.00.


And for the performance and execution of this my last will, I do appoint Robert W. Kinkead my Executor. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal. This 27th day of December, 1841.


John x Vaughan (seal)


(his mark)


In presence of: William Carmack, James T. Brice, William E. Carmack



The two sons that went to “parts unknown”, James and Beverly lived for a while next to each other in White County, Tennessee.  Beverly then moved to Illinois and Indiana, whereas James moved on west with William and Fereby’s family.    In the 1850s, Nancy applied for a Revolutionary War Widow’s pension, which gave us some very valuable information:


State of Tennessee

County of Hawkins


On the 2nd day of June AD One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty Eight personally appeared before me the subscriber, a justice of the peace in and for said county, Mrs. Nancy Vaughn who is to me known to be the person mentioned as Claimant in a previous declaration in the pension office at Washington City.   And who being by me first duly sworn doth on her oath state that there is no public nor private record of her marriage to the best of her knowledge information and belief she further state that she ran away with her Husband John Vaughn from Charlotte County Virginia and went into Halifax County Virginia and was married by one Parson Hayse a clergyman and that she was married at the house of the said Parson Hayes’s and that she knows of none that is now living who was present at her marriage aforesaid.  She further states that she cannot form her recollection give the precise day and year of her said marriage but she states to the best of her recollection that it was on or about the        day of October    1794 (blanks in original) ______ is one thing she states she does know that it was something over one year after the said marriage that James Vaughn her eldest son was born on the 15 day of October 1795 and that since her previous declaration we have found in the possession of her son Benjamin Vaughn of Hancock County, Tennessee a part of an old day book containing the records of my children’s ages to wit the day and year of each birth which she certifies is true to the best of her recollection and which is here with enclosed, and that she was born and raised in Prince Edward and Charlotte Counties in Virginia and to the best of her information her said husband John Vaughn was born in the state of Virginia at least the first time she ever knew him was in Charlotte County in Virginia and at that time she states that she was about eleven years of age.   She further states that she does not know the name of the place where her said husband entered the service at that her first acquaintance she ever had with her said husband was some years after the service aforesaid and that she recollects of hearing her said husband speaking of several places that he was at during his service of which she recollects as follows to wit The High Hills of the Mt. Santee & Fort Schuzler and several other places which I cannot at this time call to mind but at what particular place he entered service at I cannot now recollect which he said that he entered at.  And that she further states that after her marriage aforesaid she and her said husband resided in the state of Virginia some six years and that they moved from the state of Virginia about the year 1800 and came to Hawkins County Tennessee that they settled on or near Clinch river for 5 or 6 miles from here where & more time then Hawkins County now Hancock County, Tennessee where her sons Benjamin and Samuel Vaughn now lives and that we lived there all the while until about 16 years before his death which was in the year 1832 at which time her said husband bought land on this side of Clinch mountain and we moved over here in this valley called then and now Poor Valley in Hawkins County Tennessee where he lived till the day of his death which took place on the 14th day of July 1842 and in about one mile of where I now live with her daughter Polly.  She further states that if her husband ever made any application for a pension she never knew anything of it but that she does not believe that he ever did from the fact that she has heard him often times speak of his service and of his claim and say that he would not trouble himself about his claim that he had enough to do him his lifetime without it.   And that at his death aforesaid he left a will in which he divided his lands and tenements among his children generally that he left the place we settled when we first came to Tennessee to his sons to wit Benjamin, Samuel and John Vaughn and that he left the place where he died to his youngest son George W. Vaughn with a provision in it that he was to take care of me my lifetime and he not withstanding has sold the land and moved from here the last account I had of him he lived near Nashville, Tennessee and that he has been gone from here about 14 years and that since the death of her said husband she states that she has remained unmarried and is now the widow of John Vaughn aforesaid and that ever since she first understood that there was a pension allowed to the widows of the Revolutionary soldiers which was several years ago she certifies that at the first opportunity which was some 6 r 7 years ago I applied to one William C. Baldwin of Hancock County Tennessee to fill my declaration and to prosecute my said claim and he said he would at some other time that he had not time then and went off and never came back and again about 3 or 4 years ago one Hicks of Abingdon, VA sent word me time and again that he would come and fix my papers and that he never came and again about two years ago one Hiram Rodgers who then lived in Hancock County aforesaid came to see me and said he would fix out my declaration for me and prosecute my claim and that he run off and was to be back at a certain time but never came and that about one year ago one Granville Rodgers sent me word that he would coma and fix out my application but never came all of the foregoing named with several others not named has promised me to fix and some promised to have my claim fixed out and never done anything and I have been so much confined from old age and bodily infirmity that I could not go to have my claim filled out and authenticated and that she had been thus disappointed and held in suspense from time to time until the time of filing her declaration by her attorney Wm. M. Strickland of Sneedville Tennessee which is on file in the pension office at Washington city which is the first declaration that I ever made my claim and this next additional in order to obtain a pension certificate for the amount which may be due me under act approved July 29th 1848 which certificate I wish made payable at Knoxville Tennessee agency as it is most convenient and that she further certifies that she cannot from bodily infirmity old age and loss of memory from her recollection more correctly or aptly? State the facts and she refers to the evidences in the department on file and the evidence herewith enclosed in support of my claim aforesaid and that I am not able in consequence of bodily infirmity and old age to attend the court.


                                                                             Nancy (her X mark) Vaughn

  1. Wiley M. Davis

2.     Uriah B. Still


There also was a Ligon Vaughan, probably a brother of John, who lived in Charlotte County, Virginia and married Dicey Callicott, a sister of Nancy.  Ligon died young and he and Dicey had no children together.  He died in 1792 and Dicey remarried William Ford.  They moved to Hawkins County, Tennessee.  William Ford may be related to William and Fereby’s son Thomas’ wife Nancy Ford. 


After wondering for many years if John was indeed related to William, in the summer of 2004 the Vaughan Pioneers group began paying for a series of Y Chromosome DNA tests on known male descendants of both William Vaughan and John Vaughan.  Y-Chromosome DNA (Y-DNA for short) is passed down intact from father to son, and is a new tool used to show the possibility of common ancestors.  If John and William were indeed brothers, then their descendants Y-DNA would be very similar.  A few differences is common due to harmless mutations, but even after 200 years the Y-DNA should be very close.


We were very pleased when the results came in – the tests show a 35 and 36 out of 37 DNA Marker test between descendants of William Vaughan and John Vaughan.  Further tests cleared up other questions about other lines, and we learned that there are several Vaughan lines that closely match our two ancestors.  A Thomas H. Vaughan of Virginia matches 33 out of 37 markers.  A Wilson Vaughan who was born about 1800 and lived in Hawkins County, Tennessee matched 37 out of 37 markers to William and John Vaughan.  It is not known what line Wilson descends from.  Matthew Vaughan, born 1739 in New Kent County, Virginia has matched 24 out of 25 markers tested to John and William.  This Matthew is very likely a son of William and Elizabeth (Shields) Vaughan.


We were able to conclude that William nor John descend from Abraham and Ann (Bouldin or Bolling) Vaughan of Charlotte County, Virginia, by comparing Y-DNA results.  We also were able to conclude that William and John were not related to Ayres Vaughan of Floyd County, Kentucky.


One set of findings which surprised us was tests done on descendants of Benjamin Franklin Vaughan, who we thought was a son of James Vaughan, oldest son of John and Nancy (Callicott) Vaughan, and Martha Vaughan, daughter of William and Fereby (Benton) Vaughan.  Two tests on different men shown no evidence that their ancestor, Ben Vaughan was a descendant of John Vaughan.  Ben stated many times that William and Fereby were his Grandparents and that Samuel and Daniel were his uncles.  We still believe he was a grandson of William and Fereby, through his mother, but apparently Martha had a child before she married James.  Ben was given his mother’s maiden name as his surname.  Research continues on this mystery.


The Vaughan Pioneer Group 

Our group is committed to figuring out which line William and John descend from, as well as determining who Fereby’s parents were.  We are also adding descendants to a growing database and researching specific lines to clear up mysteries, such as the Ben Vaughan mystery mentioned above.   If you would like to know more about the group and perhaps join our research, contact me at .