Jacob Keller lived in Burke County, North Carolina, in an area around Old Fort, now in McDowell County, from at least 1790 to 1813. He may have been the Jacob Keller who entered, on 2 Dec 1778, "200 acres on the east fork of Muddy Creek, bounded on Francis Hodges, up the fork including the great rock house." (Huggins, Burke Co Records, Vol I). He is clearly the Jacob Keller mentioned in Burke Co road records January 1810, ordered along with Robert Hodges and other neighbors to establish a road "from the head of Crooked Creek dividing ridge to our Eastern boundary toward Caine Creek." (Larry E. Gilman in The Burke Journal, Aug 1994).
Many of Jacob Keller's descendants believe that his parents were John Keller and Hannah, the daughter of Charles McDowell who died in Anson Co, NC in 1754 and his wife Rachel. If that is so, then Jacob Keller was nephew and cousin of the McDowells who played a prominent part in winning independence from Great Britain. One or more of the three Revolutionary pay vouchers made out at Morganton to Jacob Keller and on file at the North Carolina State Archives was likely paid to this Jacob Keller.
Jacob served as chainbearer on a survey for Francis Hodge, he had a son named Francis H. Keller, and the record of births in the family Bible follows the name "William Hodge" written at the bottom of a half-page of scripture. For these reasons, some believe his wife Jane was a Hodge.
Jacob Keller appears on the Burke County, North Carolina 1790 census, the 1805 tax list, and the 1810 census. There is more than one Jacob, but we can identify our Jacob by his neighbors. The 1805 list of Captain Brevard is most revealing. Elijah Green, the father of Elizabeth Green who married Jacob's oldest son, John M. Keller, is listed just before Jacob; James McClure, who married Jacob's daughter Rachel, is listed second after Jacob.
Jacob's birthdate is unknown, but his wife Jane was born in 1760 and died in 1846, according to her tombstone in the Keller Cemetery in Bedford County, Tennessee. Their children were John M. Keller born 26 Sept 1782, Ann Keller born 5 Mar 1785, Rachel Keller born 3 Oct 1787, Charles M. Keller born 11 May 1790, Joseph Keller born 10 Oct 1792, Francis H. Keller born 18 Nov 1794, Jacob Keller born 29 Oct 1797 and Robert Keller born about 1800. All of these children except Ann, believed to be the Ann Keller who married John Davis in Burke Co in 1809, moved to Lincoln and Bedford Counties in Tennessee between 1805 and 1814. Nancy Davis appears on the 1850 census of McDowell County.
On June 24th, 1813 in Burke Co. the property of Jacob Keller Deceased was "sold and Delivered to the hiest bidder." Among those buying were the Widow, Charles Keller, Francis Keller, James McClure, and John Davis. It would appear that John M. Keller had already gone to Tennessee with his father-in-law, Elijah Green, and perhaps Joseph Keller had also gone. At any rate, on January 28th, 1814, Francis and Charles Keller were numbered in the company of Captain James Shinault, called out from Bedford County, Tennessee for service in the War of 1812.
Jacob and Jane Keller had more than 60 grandchildren, the great majority of these born in Tennessee but died in Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas. These were people who wanted opportunities for themselves and their children, people who were willing to sacrifice for larger farms and richer soil and ventured out into the wilderness, with little hope of ever again seeing those left behind. They were players on a larger stage as Americans sought to achieve what was said to be their Manifest Destiny.
This story was submitted for The Heritage of Burke County, NC, Vol II.
Jane Keller was the wife of Jacob Keller who lived in Burke County, North Carolina, believed to be the son of John Keller and Hannah McDowell. Jacob served as chainbearer on a survey for Francis Hodge, he had a son named Francis H. Keller, and the record of births in the family Bible follows the name "William Hodge" written at the bottom of a half-page of scripture. For these reasons, it is believed his wife Jane was a Hodge. Jacob and Jane had six sons and two daughters.
Jacob died before June 25, 1813 and shortly after that Jane Keller brought her remaining children to Bedford County, TN to join her oldest son, John M. Keller. Jane Keller was born in 1760 and died in 1846, according to her tombstone in the Keller Cemetery near Wartrace. Their children were John M. Keller born 26 Sept 1782, married Elizabeth Green; Ann Keller born 5 Mar 1785, married John Davis in Burke County, NC in 1809 and remained there all her life; Rachel Keller born 3 Oct 1787, married James McClure; Charles M. Keller born 11 May 1790, married Sarah Chaffin; Joseph Keller born 10 Oct 1792; Francis H. Keller born 18 Nov 1794; Jacob Keller born 29 Oct 1797 and died Mar 1869, apparently never married; and Robert C. Keller born about 1803, married Araminta Jones.
John M. Keller married Elizabeth, the daughter of Elijah Green a Burke County, NC neighbor, and came with the Green family to Tennessee before 1810. Between 1812 and 1815 they were members of New Hope Baptist Church at Fairfield. According to Walter Marion Keller's Autobiography, a Miss Laura Parkes of Lynchburg, TN told him that John M. Keller had been instrumental in establishing the old Primitive Baptist Church at Lynchburg; in fact, he had at one time preached there. He was buried near the church, which has been torn down long ago. The graveyard is now on the property of the Jack Daniel distillery and is open to the public.
The children of John M. Keller and Elizabeth Green were Willis Green Keller md Margaret Hodge, John M. Keller Jr md Mary Ann (Polly) Neese, Elijah (Lige) Keller, Joseph M. Keller md Margaret Ellis, Talitha Keller md James Ellis, Jane Keller md Clisbe Ellis, Jacob Adams Keller md Lauriat Walker, Tyra Melvina Keller md Pleasant Moore Ellis, Caroline Keller, and Emeline Keller md John Dodds.
Submitted to the Bedford County Family History Book, now in preparation, by Bruce L. Keller
http://freepages.family.rootsweb.com/~carolyngenealogy/history.html - updated January 2005