East Tennessee Genealogy - Cox and Associated Families

East Tennessee Genealogy - Cox and Associated Families

(Updated: 11/04/2012)

I've had a # of people ask why in the world anyone would spend so much time researching dead people as they couldn't understand why genealogy seemed of such interest. Most can't seem to grasp the intense curiousity we descendants have about those who came before, as we ask who these ancestors were who walked the same roads, fields, and ridges, planted the same crops, & lived out their lives in the beautiful East Tennessee Valley. I yearned to learn more about them, the way they lived, raised their children, related to others, & fit into their communities.

Over the past 10+ years, I found there were many others who shared this same interest & who enjoyed collaborating with & helping others in whatever ways possible. After posting one particular resource online (The Halls Community History), one cousin was very excited to find an ancestor was listed as one of the communities earliest doctors; and it's a joy to share in the excitement created by such a discovery. Although there was some speculation about his medical profession, most extended family members had disagreed saying there was absolutely no proof. The Halls History pamphlet confirmed to her in writing that the speculation was actually a fact, as Dr. Bert Hansard apparently traveled from Anderson County to Knox County to treat patients at that time.

At her request, I offered a clean copy of the 30+ year old page to share with her cousins through the Hansard line as she planned a text at some point. I also recently discovered that a Dr. Hansard is listed in the index for the 1895 map of Knox County, shown as a property owner. Perhaps such a success story can offer some encouragement for those of us who still search for such elusive documented evidence for certain ancestors.

Although many years ago, Halls Crossroads in north Knox County, Tennessee was little more than a location marked on a map, today's Halls is a growing and thriving community with lots to offer those who have chosen to make it their home. Many of the old pioneer families noted in this webpage settled in what is now the Halls community (named for the family of the Revolutionary War soldier Thomas Hall) back in the late 1700's, and today's descendants attend its' schools coming from as far away as the borderline of Knox and Union counties and continuing on up Emory Road east towards Gibbs and the Grainger County line. Plus, many of the Halls students during the 1950's and 1960's had Fountain City, Heiskell Station, Powell Station, Corryton, and Maynardville as their mailing addresses.

As can be seen from the image files posted on this site from the History of Halls pamphlet and other archived records, 3g-grandfather Moses Cox and wife Mary Polly Conner owned a farm just a couple of miles north of the crossroads formed by Emory Road and Hwy 33 (Maynardville Pike). Many related families owned property within the confines of this extended community, including the Halls, Mynatts, Crippens, Overtons, Gaut/Gaults, McClouds, Tindells, Renfros, Corums, Parkers, & Major to name just a few. The Moses Cox farm was located in the general area of Hwy 33 that the local high school kids in the 1950's/60's referred to as dead man's curve.

Moses Cox married Mary Polly Conner in Knox County, Tn. on Oct. 28, 1824. Per Mr. William Irwin Jr, a Knox Co. historian & author, Polly was the daughter of Milly Conner. Within a few years after their marriage & before 1830, Milly Conner moved in with the Moses & Mary Polly Conner Cox family & remained with them until her death in about 1855, which pretty much confirmed for Bill that Polly was her daughter. Bill notes in his book (Ancestors & Descendants of William Conner, 1755-1836) that Milly was the 2nd daughter & 3rd child of William and Jamima Menefee Conner of Knox Co., Tn. and was born in Virginia in 1779 according to the census records. She is listed in her father's will which was presented to the Knox County Court at the Oct. 1836 session, and she is shown as 71 years of age during the 1850 Knox Co. census.

Dr. James Tumblin of Knox County, a family historian/author & retired dentist, is a Conner descendant through Milly's brother William Conner, Jr. & Sarah Cox (of my Curd Cox line). W. A. A. Conner, the son of Milly and William's younger brother Thomas & wife Margaret Alldredge Conner, is featured prominently in Dr. Tumblin's work on the Fountain Head Railway through Fountain City - more commonly known as the Dummy Line. I should note that Fountain City is adjacent to the Halls (Crossroads) Community just on the other side of Black Oak Ridge.

Dr James Tumblin (http://fountaincitytnhistory.info/People35-ConnerWAA.htm)

The Halls pamphlet refers not only to early settlers in the area but also real estate deals, local churches, preachers, schools, court members, businessmen, and early physicians in the community (including Bert Hansard, Prior McCloud, Chrit Hill, John T. Crippen, & Andrew Smith). As noted there are numerous family connections to these early settlers in the ranks of present day Halls' citizens and other nearby communities as represented by the historical surnames found in these pages.

Much more detail can be found at the link below. My thanks for permission to post this work.

Halls History (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~easttenngen/Halls(Crossroads)History)

Mr. Allen Jeffries of Blount Co., Tennessee, a long time Cox researcher & descendant, has made an interesting case for William Cox(e) of Jamestown being the ancestor of our Cox line in America; and a noted & published author/historian with whom he shared the details of his work (Mr. John Dorman - Adventurers Of Purse & Person) wrote back in 2006 agreeing with him & complimenting him on his findings. Mr. Dorman wrote back to Allen: 'Your identification of John Cox (Henry's father), who died testate in Goochland County in 1785, as the son of Richard and Mary (Trent) Cox is of considerable interest as well. I should have been more diligent in following up on the 105 acres which Richard left to his son John and not have concluded so readily that the reference in Henry Cox's deed to the burial place of his brother John's children meant that all of John's children had died young'.

After spending much of the past 25 years collecting and analyzing family history documents, Allen also has published a quite interesting & updated Family Lineage of Henry Cox to his own webpage which he shared with many of today's Cox researchers back in the mid-late 1990's. As he noted in his correspondence with me (& others) a # of years back, the key to his breakthrough in linking our Coxes to William Cox(e) was the discovery of eight maps showing land holdings in the Arrowhattocks area for the time frame beginning just the year after William Cox(e) settled in Virginia 1611-65. See Adventurers of Purse and Person, p. 212.

Allen's paper shows that William Coxe, age 12 years, came over on the ship Godspeed in 1610 with the party of Thomas West, Third Lord De La Warr. The fact that Robert West, brother of Thomas West, married Elizabeth Coxe, d/o of Sir Henry Coxe of Brokburn, Hertfordshire, suggests that William Coxe may have been of that family. Also a William Coxe was granted 100 acres of land in Elizabeth City County, VA. on 28 Sept. 1628 by Governor West per Land Book I, p. 89. On 29 Nov. 1636 Governor John West granted William Coxe 150 acres of land in Henrico County, VA. situated about three and one half miles above Harrowattocks for the transportation of three heads into the Colony viz: Thomas Braxton, Richard Bird, and Richard Hewes per Land Book I, p. 403. Governor John Harvey granted William Coxe 150 acres of land, being in the County of Henrico, above three and one half miles above Harrowattock (Arrowhattocks), for transportation of three persons into the Colony at his own expense; names of persons not found, Land Book I, p. 492.

After the Indian Massacre of 1622, a muster was taken in Feb. 1624/5 and William Coxe was listed with Thomas Bouldinge at Elizabeth City County. William Coxe was dead by 14 Dec. 1656 when Peter Lee patented 126 acres in Henrico County adjoining the land belonging to the orphans of William Coxe,Patent Book 4, p. 44.

Planters at Arrowhattocks (a type written paper; New Orleans, 1964, p.50) in an unreferenced chart, shows William Coxe married to Elizabeth Hutchins with four children, John, Thomas, Elizabeth wife of Robert Porter and Mary Catherine wife of John Burton. The great value of this work lies in a series of eight maps showing land holdings in the Arrowhattocks area 1611-65. See Adventurers of Purse and Persons, p. 212.

John Cox, s/o William Coxe of Arrowhattocks, on 29 March, 1665 patented 550 acres in Henrico County on the North side of Harristocks, (Arrowhattocks), adjoining the land of Capt. Edloe. This must, of necessity, have joined the land formerly owned by William Coxe and then by his orphans. On 5 Feb. 1685/6 he made a Deed of Gift to his son William Cox and on 11 July 1693 he gave 100 acres and a Negro girl to his son Bartholomew Cox, his wife Rebecca and their son George. Henry Cox witnessed both deeds. The Will of John Cox, 19 Feb. 1691/2- 1 Feb. 1696/7 named his wife Mary and six sons Henry, John, William, George, Bartholomew, and Richard. On the day the Will was proved, Mary Cox, widow of John Cox, deceased, entered a suit for her dower against Henry, John, William, George, and Bartholomew, but not Richard.

Although some seemed to claim this research as their own (from all the copying I'd seen online with no attribution of his efforts), the research that Allen shared with Mr. Dorman has been online for many years.

In the last several weeks, I've been very pleased to discover that some who refused to communicate with him when his paper was published in Spring of 2000 & the decade since finally acknowledged the contribution he has made to the Henry Cox family history. That has been a long sought goal which I hoped to help him achieve by assisting in putting his paper online a # of years ago where it would be available to many other interested descendants. Fortunately, his correspondence with Mr. Dorman clearly documents that Allen came up with a major breakthrough in finding the original immigrant to America for the Henry Cox descendants; & I couldn't be happier for him after our almost 12 years of correspondence as he continued his research. He can be reached at: geoffries@att.net

Family Lineage of Henry Cox (https://sites.google.com/site/henrycoxblountcounty/home/allenjeffriespaper)

Of particular interest to other researchers might be the Renfro research notes of D. O. Manschardt, M.D. which I have uploaded to this webpage. Feel free to contact me for the specific link if you have any difficulty in locating them... Dr. Manschardt's Renfro research references to archived public records shows the surnames of many associated families & neighbors starting in the early 1700's & continuing thru the late 1800's for Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, & other states during the western migration. Anyone with early roots in Colonial Virginia & along the eastern shore will find many familiar surnames.

My Renfro line is well documented from 5g-gf Stephen Renfro, Sr. who was born about 1707- in Virginia and died in Knox County, Tennessee some time after his will was written on the 19th day of December 1802. In his will, he appointed Moses Looney, the son of his beloved wife, as the whole & sole executor of his will; and it was signed, sealed, published, and declared by the testator in the presence of his witnesses J. Adair and Wm. Sample. In the will he also 'hereby set free his negro wench Jean and her fourth child named Will on account of singular service performed to me'. This statement resulted in some queries about whether Will could have been fathered by Stephen. Although it was fairly common for white slave owners to have children with their negro slaves during this time in our history, there is no proof that was the case in this instance. After over 200 years, it's highly unlikely any researcher will be able to find any proof of this either way.

1802 Stephen Renfro, Sr. Will Pg 1 (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~easttenngen/Renfro/stephen_renfro_sr_will_1802.jpg)

1802 Stephen Renfro, Sr. Will Pg 2 (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~easttenngen/Renfro/stephen_renfro_sr_will_1802_pg2.jpg)

Attached is a document from the January 1807 Sessions of Knox County Court re: An Account of the Sales of the Estate of Stephen Rentfro (Senior). It was returned to Court by Moses Looney, Executor and Admitted to Record, to wit.... Using the link below, one can see that most of the purchases of personal property were made by Stephen's extended family including by the executor, his stepson Moses Looney. You might notice there also are a # of slaves listed in this document. The first bequest listed in Stephen's 1802 will was that after his death his negro wench Jean and her 4th son Will be sait free as noted above; however, it can be seen in this later document that both these slaves, a negro woman and child named Jean and Will, were sold together as part of Stephen's estate to Jacob Lones for $461.00. After email discussion with several other Looney/Renfro researchers, we were in agreement that one could only speculate at the possible reason(s) for this change; however, in my opinion, that large a sum of money in the first decade of the 1800's seems to have been an almost irresistible motivator to substitute the wishes of the heirs instead of honoring the last wishes of the deceased. With no further factual data to analyze, we only could agree that we were personally aware of heirs making changes in the bequests of the deceased even in the present generation; so it's possible the heirs may have agreed to the changes amoung themselves. A personal thank you to each of those who offered their valuable comments & analysis on this subject, including cousin Larry Johnson.

Stephen Renfro, Sr. Estate Sale (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~easttenngen/stephenrenfrosr_propsale.jpg)

My line from Stephen Sr. goes thru his son, Stephen Jr., grandson Stephen III, and g-granddaughter Amanda Mary Renfro who married Curd Cox in Knox Co., Tennessee in 1849. Amanda Mary is listed with all her siblings in an old bible record written by her parents, Stephen Renfro III & Eleanor Christer; that document also is posted to this site. Her husband, 2g-gf Curd Cox b. about 1826, was one of the 4 grandsons of the Revolutionary War soldier (old Curd Cox b. 1762) who were named for their grandfather.

Although many researchers have confused Stephen Renfro Sr. and Stephen Renfro Jr. in the records, it can be seen from the 1802 will posted for Stephen Renfro, Sr. that his sons had predeceased him. Stephen states in his will that his beloved sons, John & Stephen (Jr or 2), are deceased & that he wanted it fully understood that the heirs of these 2 sons should receive an equal share or a fifth each of his said estate along with his (biological) daughters Elizabeth Looney and Ester Looney, and Moses Looney (son of my beloved wife). It can be seen from the 1807 Knox County inventory that the estate settlement took several years. The marriages of Stephen's daughters to Looney gentlemen can be found at the Looney-L site.

1807 Settlement Stephen Renfro, Sr (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~easttenngen/Renfro/stephen_renfro_settlement_1807.jpg)

1807 Inventory Stephen Renfro, Sr (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~easttenngen/Renfro/1807_rentphrow_inv3r.jpg)

It was this elder Stephen's son, 3g-gf Stephen Renfro, Jr. who died in the campaign against the Creek Indians at Crab Orchard, Tennessee. Not only is there a 1794 Knox County, Tennessee newspaper article about the battle noting the death of Stephen Renfro(e) & others, but a historical marker located within the city limits of Crab Orchard notes that a battle was fought between frontiersmen under the command of Lt. McClellan and the Creek Indians on August 13, 1794. Crab Orchard (TN) is located about 60 miles west of present day Knoxville.

Stephen Renfro, Jr's 1794 probate record from the October Sessions of the court for Knox County, Tennessee also is posted to this webpage & lists his wife Margaret _ as his executor, although her maiden name is not given. The sureties for her bond were John Crawford & Moses Looney. Moses Looney (son of Robert Looney, Jr) is documented to have been Stephen Jr's stepbrother, and John Crawford may well have been a relative of his wife, Margaret _.

There are 3 Revolutionary War pay vouchers for Stephen Renfro, dated from Aug 1782 to July 1783. Since Stephen Senior would have been almost 70 years old during this time, these appear to be for Stephen Renfro, Jr. The voucher dated June 1783 goes as follows: State of North Carolina - County of Sullivan - We the subscribers being first sworn do appraise a certain brown mare the property of Stephen Rentfrow in the service of this state on a tour of duty to South Carolina under the command of Col. Shelby in October __forty pounds _ pence. Witness our hands this 20th day of June 1783. State of Franklin - The auditors for the county of Washington and Sullivan do certify that Stephen Renfrow is allowed 40 pounds as pay voucher given under our hands this 15th of Aug. 1783. Anthony Bledsoe. The 2nd voucher reads: I certify that the within mentioned mare was received into the public service under the command of Col. Isaac Shelby to the aid of General Green and was killed by accident when in actual service. Given under my hand this _ day of July 1783. Anthony Bledsoe. The document images are posted on this site; see link at bottom of webpage for Uploaded Files.

One highly respected Renfro family researcher mentioned that Stephen Renfro, Sr. was probably the son of William Renfro (b. 1678) and wife Jane. She also noted that Stephen, Sr. had brothers James (b. 1703), Peter (b. 1705), and Joseph (b. 1709). This information apparently is from 1992 LDS microfiche found in Virginia; efforts are ongoing to find further documentation to confirm this hypothesis. My thanks to cousin Richard and Theresa for providing their input on this subject.

This same microfiche, film # 866909-sheet # 0038, also mentions a son named David Renfro born to Stephen and Margaret Rhea Looney ca. 1744. Since Margaret's previous husband (Robert Looney, Jr) wasn't killed by the indians until Feb. 1756, this can't be entirely accurate. However, cousin Larry of Texas has a Nov 1773 Indenture between Margaret (Rhea/Looney) Renfro & John Looney which specifically states that David Renfro is the son of said Margaret Renfro and the said Stephen Renfro, Senior. This document shows that Margaret was paid 5 shillings and provided a 16 year old slave named Pattey (In Trust) for giving up her Dower rights in a certain tract of land. Note this document was found in the files of now deceased Looney family matriarch, Miss Elizabeth Looney of Washington, DC.

David Renfro - Son of Stephen Renfro, Sr & wife Margaret Rhea Looney Renfro (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~easttenngen/Renfro/david_renfro.jpg)

For several years I heard from some descendants who surmised that Stephen Renfro, Jr. also was the product of this 2nd marriage between Stephen Renfro (Sr) and Margaret Rhea Looney, but no evidence has been found to support that hypothesis.

I also received many comments from other veteran researchers about numerous instances of genealogical misinformation and outright falsehoods found online. That prompts the thought that much of this is caused by inaccurate or incomplete oral histories, wishful thinking, and hypotheses which are unsupported by any type of documented evidence. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with creativity & presenting hypotheses for further testing; however, it is treating such as proven fact that causes confusion and frustration for other researchers.

A # of insightful Renfro family researchers have taken a page from Dr. Manschardt's efforts & graciously accept and incorporate any newly produced evidence into their own postings so as to be as accurate as possible. On webpages where no contact information is given and/or no documented evidence is presented to confirm a hypothesis, other researchers can only assume there is no interest in correcting any erroneous data in ones' research or discussing other possibilities based on actual documentation.

As specified in the 6 page 1853 will for Curd Cox (b. 1762) probated in Knox County, Tennessee, Curd's son John Cox was to receive his slaves Jane ($400) and George ($600). Curd's daughter Milly Hill was to receive Harriett ($500) & John ($100) then at his death to receive his slave Mary to whom Curd earlier had made a Deed of Gift to Milly Hill. None of Curd's other children are shown in this document to have inherited any slaves; but their wills likely are dated after the slaves were freed & no longer considered property to be disclosed & disposed of in their wills.

Writing a will can be an intensely personal experience & provide reflection on a life that is nearing its' conclusion. We can only wonder how this ancestor felt about past actions in his own life & his thoughts about having been a slave owner, especially with the controversy raging in this time before the barbarism and atrocities of the U. S. Civil War was to consume our nation.

Several discussions of old Curd's will with a good friend produced the comment that if we family researchers put as much effort into making amends for the sins of our ancestors as we do at chasing paper & joining societies (SAR, DAR, 1st Families of Tennessee, & others), it could be a small step to improved race relations in America. Another highly respected cousin noted this was a totally different time in America's history & hard to judge by today's standards; however, it does give one pause to realize that today our ancestors would be arrested & imprisoned for committing such acts.

A book by David Stricklin (A Genealogy of Dissent: Southern Baptist Protest in the Twentieth Century) shows that even as late as Dec. 1956, a minister at the 1st Baptist Church in Clinton, Tennessee (Paul Turner) was beaten by a segregationist mob for advocating integration of the local public schools in Anderson County. The following Sunday another minister in nearby Knoxville, Charles Trentham, condemned the assault upon Turner for his attempt to protect the constitutional rights of Negro children.

Although quite shocking to read, a recent 24/7 Wall Street Morning Newsletter article dated Oct. 31, 2012 listed Tennessee as the most violent state in the country in 2011. I realize that many things have changed in the state I called home for almost 20 years, but I'm still trying to digest such unsettling news. My initial reaction bordered on disbelief, but it is certainly difficult to argue with the documentation of violence shown in the crime statistics. I can think only that a lot certainly has changed in my boyhood state of Tennessee over the past 4 decades, even though I'm not quite sure what to make of this news.


This slavery issue was addressed in a very honest way in July 2003 during a speech by former republican President George W. Bush at Goree Island, during which he said that 'life and liberty were stolen and sold at this place' and that 'one of the largest migrations of history was also one of the greatest crimes of history.' He also said that 'we can fairly judge the past by the standards of President John Adams, who called slavery an evil of colossal magnitude.' Although very few of today's researchers care to discuss or even want to think about this issue, many of us raised in the South have yet to come to terms with the great evil that was done to other human beings enslaved during this period in our history as a nation. As imperfect beings, we can only apologize and pray for our own immortal soul along with those of our family and friends and try to make amends in whatever ways possible.

For a transcript of the entire Bush speech, click this link:

President Bush speaks at Goree Island

Due to the current politics of destruction being carried out by some members of the political class these days, online articles make it appear some citizens of the South are engaging in wishful thinking about possible secession even today. A recent article at the New York Times pointed out that Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia earlier this year designated April as Confederate History Month without mentioning slavery. After a national outcry, he apologized and changed his proclamation to condemn slavery and spell out that slavery had led to war. Click this link:

Celebrating Secession Without the Slaves (http:://http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/us/30confed.html)

James Howard Kunstler is a salty, crusty old writer, a published author (The Long Emergency), & an occasional contributor to the New York Times who pulls no punches when posting his articles lambasting the nation's bankers and political class of both parties. He has some quite controversial, frank, but thoughtful observations about where we're going as a nation with peak oil problems even today starting to cause economic issues. We can only hope that he is wrong about his more dire predictions for our country's future, but you can judge for yourself & plan accordingly.

I should note that Mr. Kunstler's language may be too strong for some, as he seems overly fond of a certain curse word. And for those of us born in the south, his bias in describing us in the linked article is the same type of language that led to disasterous consequences for our nation 150 years ago. He does allow his readers to leave lengthy comments at the end of each weekly submission, so you may make your own thoughts known if you wish. Click the link below only if you are not easily insulted:

And To All a Good Night

A special thank you to those cousins, friends, family, & other researchers who have contributed to our knowledge of this family's different branches. It has always been my intent that this information should be freely shared with other interested cousins & researchers. Any of the material located on my webpage(s), including the photographs I have taken, can be freely used by individuals as long as the source is credited. It cannot be used by commercial entities, or copyrighted by others, without written consent of the author.

For other posted documents/photos on this site (including the Curd Cox 1853 will): Uploaded Files (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~easttenngen/)

Here are some other website links that might be of interest:

National Genealogical Society - Research Standards and Guidelines (http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/)

Old Bailey Courthouse (http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/)

The History of Slavery in America -1619 To The End (http://innercity.org/holt/slavechron.html)

Cox Cousins Website (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~coxcuz/)

Knox County Bibles (http://usgwarchives.net/tn/knox/knxbib.html)

Knox County Deeds (http://usgwarchives.net/tn/knox/deeds.html)

Cox Family - Henry Cox - Blount Co., Tennessee (http://www.webspawner.com/users/coxgen/index.html)

This page belongs to DCox-Knox Co., Tenn: - email: foxgreyz@aol.com