Yarbrough Family Surname Genealogy




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Origins of

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Ancestral Lineage


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Migrations of the

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     We have traced this Yarborough family line back to our 5th great-grandfather Ambrose Yarborough who was probably born around 1737 in Culpepper County, Virginia.   It is speculated that Ambrose is the son of Joshua Yarborough who was born in Virginia circa 1710.  It is known that Joshua moved to Amelia County, Virginia around 1740 and died about 1780 in that area of North Carolina now in Franklin County.  

     It may be that Ambrose grew up in Amelia county and that he married Mary Humphrey the daughter of John and Margaret Humphrey at that location around 1767.   In 1758 Ambrose obtained a grant for 68 acres of land on the south side of the Robinson River.* Apparently the grant was reentered in 1768 around the time he and Mary moved south. 

     It is quite probable that Ambrose and Mary removed to the uplands of South Carolina soon after their marriage.  At that time many settlers were drawn to the lands in western South Carolina as they had recently opened up as the result of a treaty with the Cherokees.  In order to get to this new land they most likely would have traveled down the Upper Road     Ambrose and Mary eventually arrived in that area of present day Union County, South Carolina that was then in the Ninety-Six District until 1785.   Ambrose and Mary produced at least five off-spring during their marriage.  We are descended through their daughter Ann born around 1768.  It is believed that all of them were born in Union County.    Ambrose Yarborough lived at this location until his death in 1788.  He left a Will written 27 August 1788.  Named in this document are: his wife Mary and his children Ann Pinnell, Jeremiah Yarborough, Humphrey Yarborough, John Yarborough, and Mary YarboroughPeter Pinnell, husband of Ann, is named as and executor of the Will.

     It is believed that Ann Yarborough and Peter Pinnell married around 1787 in Union County.  Of this marriage at least twelve children were produced between 1788 and 1811.   It is most probable the Peter and Ann stayed in Union County after their marriage.  It was here that our 3rd great-grandfather Asa Pinnell was born in 1792.   Ann “Nancy” Yarborough migrated west with her family to Kentucky in 1808 and then to Missouri in 1818.  In 1843 she passed away in Missouri at the age of about 75 years.


* This may be a part of the land that Joshua Yarborough, Sr. obtained in March 1738.   Richard Yarbrough of St. Mark’s Parish, Orange Co., planter, to Joshua Yarbrough of same, planter; Lease and Release; for £21.6 current money, 213 acres on the south side of the Robinson River.


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Origins of the surname


Origins of the Surname


An Introduction

to the Surname


of the Surname

History of

the Surname

More About Surnames


An Introduction to the Surname

                 The practice of inherited family surnames began in England and France during the late part of the 11th century.     With the passing of generations and the movement of families from place to place many of the original identifying names were altered into some of the versions that we are familiar with today.  Over the centuries, most of our European ancestors accepted their surname as an unchangeable part of their lives.  Thus people rarely changed their surname.  Variations of most surnames were usually the result of an involuntary act such as when a government official wrote a name phonetically or made an error in transcription.  Research into the record of this Yarbrough family line indicates that the variations, meanings and history of this surname is most likely linked to that area of Europe where English linguistic traditions are commonly found. 


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Source(s) & Meaning(s) of the Surname

               Most modern family names are a means conveying lineage.  For the most part, Anglo-Saxon surnames were developed from the following major sources: (1) patronym or matronym, names based on the name of one's father, mother or ancestor, (Johnson, Wilson); (2) occupation (i.e., Carpenter, Cooper, Brewer, Mason); (3) habitational or locational (Middleton, Sidney, or Ireland); (4) topographical (i.e. Hill, Brook, Forrest, Dale); (5) nicknames (i.e., Moody Freeholder, Wise, Armstrong);  (6) status (i.e. Freeman, Bond, Knight); and (7) acquired ornamental names that were simply made up.

     Yarbrough is an ancient English surname from Yarborough and Yarburgh of Lincolnshire origin.  It originated as a habitational or topographic name meaning 'one who came from Yarborough Camp' in Lincolnshire. The word is derived from the Old English eorðburg

 ‘earthworks’, ‘fortifications’, (a compound of eorðe / eoretheearth’, ‘soil’ + burgfortress’, ‘burrow’). 


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History of the Surname

Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th century. They were not in use in England or Scotland, before the Norman Conquest of 1066, and were first found in the Domesday Book of 1086. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans who had adopted the custom just prior to this time.    Soon thereafter it became a mark of a generally higher socio-economic status and thus seen as disgraceful for a well-bred man to have only one name.  It was not until the middle of the 14th century that surnames became general practice among all people in the British Isles.

     Yarbrough and its close variants are English and found in Lincolnshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, before and after the Norman Conquest in 1066.  Records of them can be found as far back as 854 A.D.  At the Coronation of King George VI, Lord Abingham Yarbrough was seated as head of the Yarbrough family.  His seat was number nine thus meaning there were only eight titles older than that of the Yarbroughs'. 

     The earliest of the name on record appears to be Gereberg (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Jerdberg (without surname) was documented in Lincolnshire in 1115.  Later instances of the name include Richard Yerbergh and Frances Proctor, who were married in London in the year 1635, and William Gilbert and Katherine Yarborough were wed at Canterbury, Kent in 1660. 

        In American colonial times the most spelled their name as Yarobrough but a family feud changed that.  When the Revolutionary war broke out there were some that stayed loyal to England (Tories) and they continued to spell their name as Yarobrough; however those from South Carolina remained loyal to America and simply dropped the "O" from the spelling of the name.  Or as in the case of this family changed the spelling to Yarborough.

       Today about 25 persons per million in the United States have the Yarborough surname.  The heaviest concentration of the name is found in the states of South and North Carolina.  In the United Kingdom almost 2 persons per million have the Yarborough surname.    The most significant clustering of the name is found in the Yorkshire and Humberside.


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More About Surname Meanings & Origins

English Surnames

Although the Domesday Book compiled by William the Conqueror required surnames, the use of them in the British Isles did not become fixed until the time period between 1250 and 1450.  The broad range of ethnic and linguistic roots for British surnames reflects the history of Britain as an oft-invaded land. These roots include, but are not limited to, Old English, Middle English, Old French, Old Norse, Irish, Gaelic, Celtic, Pictish, Welsh, Gaulish, Germanic, Latin, Greek and Hebrew.  Throughout the British Isles, there are basically five types of native surnames. Some surnames were derived from a man's occupation (Carpenter, Taylor, Brewer, Mason), a practice that was commonplace by the end of the 14th century.  Place names reflected a location of residence and were also commonly used (Hill, Brook, Forrest, Dale) as a basis for the surname, for reasons that can be easily understood.  Nicknames that stuck also became surnames.  About one-third of all surnames in the United Kingdom are patronymic in origin, and identified the first bearer of the name by his father (or grandfather in the case of some Irish names). When the coast of England was invaded by William The Conqueror in the year 1066, the Normans brought with them a store of French personal names, which soon, more or less, entirely replaced the traditional more varied Old English personal names, at least among the upper and middle classes. A century of so later, given names of the principal saints of the Christian church began to be used. It is from these two types of given name that the majority of the English patronymic surnames are derived and used to this day.  Acquired ornamental names were simply made up, and had no specific reflection on the first who bore the name. They simply sounded nice, or were made up as a means of identification, generally much later than most surnames were adopted.  Source: http://www.obcgs.com/LASTNAMES.htm

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Variations of the surname


Variations of
the Surname


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Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to unfold and expand often leading to an overwhelming number of variants.  As such one can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames because in early times, spelling in general and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized.  Later on spellings would change with the branching and movement of families.  Spelling variations of this family name include: Yarburgh, Yarborough, Yearbugh, Yerburgh, Yearby, Yarboro  and many others.   


The complexity of researching records is compounded by the fact that in many cases an ancestors surname may also have been misspelled.  This is especially true when searching census documents.   The Soundex Indexing System was developed in an effort to assist with identifying spelling variations for a given surname.  Soundex is a method of indexing names in the 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 US Census, and can aid genealogists in their research.  The Soundex Code for Yarborough is Y616.  Other surnames sharing this Soundex Code:  YARBOROUGH | YARBROUGH |.


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Coat of arms


Armorial Bearings & Motto(es)

In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armored warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.  In the British Isles the College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings.

Yarborough 4

Fig. 1



There are several associated armorial bearings for Yarborough and close variant spellings recorded in Reitstap’s Armorial General or Sir Bernard Burke’s General Armory. The following additional information has been found regarding the coats-of-arms shown at the left:

FIGURE 1: Coat–of-arms granted to Yarborough of Wilksby (Wilmsby) in Lincolnshire, England.  The shield is silver and blue with a chevron between three wreaths (chaplets).  The crest shows a falcon preying on a cock pheasant.

FIGURE 2: This coat-of-arms was bestowed upon Yarborough of Heslington Hall in Yorkshire.  This Yarborough was a descendent of Eustacius de Yerburgh, who became Lord of Yarburgh.  The shield is of the common design utilized by many Yarboroughs.  The crest design differs from that in Figure 1 as it features a falcon preying on a duck.  The motto of this Yarborough was “Non est sine pulvere palma.”



The following listed mottoes and their translations are attributed to Yarborough / Yarburgh: “Non est sine pulvere palma,” which is translated as, “The palm is not obtained without toil.” 

Yarbrough 2

Fig. 2



A Coat of Arms is defined as a group of emblems and figures (heraldic bearings) usually arranged on and around a shield and serving as the special insignia of some person, family, or institution.  Except for a few cases, there is really no such thing as a standard "coat of arms" for a surname.  A coat of arms, more properly called an armorial achievement, armorial bearings or often just arms for short, is a design usually granted only to a single person not to an entire family or to a particular surname.  Coats of arms are inheritable property, and they generally descend to male lineal descendents of the original arms grantee.  The rules and traditions regarding Coats of Arms vary from country to country. Therefore a Coat of Arms for an English family would differ from that of a German family even when the surname is the same.  The art of designing, displaying, describing, and recording arms is called heraldry. The use of coats of arms by countries, states, provinces, towns and villages is called civic heraldry.   Some of the more prominent elements incorporated into a  coat of arms are :

Crest - The word crest is often mistakenly applied to a coat of arms.  The crest was a later development arising from the love of pageantry.  Initially the crest consisted of charges painted onto a ridge on top of the helmet.

Wreath or TorseThe torse is a twist of cloth or wreath underneath and part of a crest. Always shown as six twists, the first tincture being the tincture of the field, the second the tincture of the metal, and so on.

Mantling – The mantling is a drapery tied to the helmet above the shield. It forms a backdrop for the shield.

Helm or Helmet - The helmet or helm is situated above the shield and bears the torse and crest. The style of helmet displayed varies according to rank and social status, and these styles developed over time, in step with the development of actual military helmets.

Shield or Arms - The basis of all coats of arms.  At their simplest, arms consist of a shield with a plain field on which appears a geometrical shape or object.  The items appearing on the shield are known as charges.

Motto - The motto was originally a war cry, but later mottoes often expressed some worthy sentiment. It may appear at the top or bottom of a family coat of arms.

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Direct ancestors


Ancestral Lineage

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Descendant Register

Generation 1


Ambrose Yarborough-1 was born on abt. 1737 in Orange Co., Virginia. He died on 1788 in Union County, South Carolina. He married Mary Mason on Bef. 1731 in Amelia County, Virginia. She was born on 1712 in Virginia. She died on Aft. 1757 in Cross Keys, Union Co., South Carolina.


Children of Ambrose Yarborough and Mary Mason are:


i.         Mary Yarborough, B: 1731 in Lunenburg, Virginia, D: Wilkes, North Carolina.


            ii.        Humphrey Yarborough, B: 1737 in Virginia, D: Bet. 1800-1810 in Anson County,  North Carolina,

                       M: Abt. 1754.


            iii.       Jonathon Yarborough, B: Abt. 1740, D: Abt. 1811.


iv.       Ambrose Yarborough Jr., B: Abt. 1740, D: Bet. 1782-1822.


v.         Jeremiah Yarborough, B: Abt. 1742.


vi.      Ann "Nancy" Yarborough, B: Abt. 1757 in Virginia, D: 20 Jan 1843 in Brush Creek  Twp.,

          Gasconade Co., Missouri, M: 1777 in Ninety-Six Dist. (Union Co.), South Carolina?.


Generation 2

Ann "Nancy" Yarborough-2(Ambrose Yarborough-1) was born on Abt. 1757 in Virginia. She died on 20 Jan 1843 in Brush Creek Twp., Gasconade Co., Missouri. She married Peter Pinnell 1777 in Ninety-Six Dist. (Union Co.), South Carolina?. His birth on 20 May 1755 in Camden District), South Carolina (Catawba, (York Co.). He died on 03 Jun 1845 in Oak Hill Twp., Crawford Co., Missouri.


Children of Ann "Nancy" Yarborough and Peter Pinnell are:

  i.         Cassie Pinnell, B: 16 Feb 1788.


ii.            Nancy Margaret Pinnell, B: 08 Apr 1790 in Spartanburg, Spartanburg Co., South Carolina, D: 28 Sep 1855 in Eldorado, Saline Co., Illinois, M: 13 Jun 1808 in Christian County, Kentucky.


iii.          Asa Pinnell, B: 12 Dec 1792 in Greenville, Greenville Co., South Carolina, D: 27 Jul 1871 in Maries County, Missouri, M: 1812 in Christian County, Kentucky.


iv.          Hiram Pinnell, B: 25 Aug 1794 in York, South Carolina, D: 1864 in Missouri, M: 24 Sep 1816 in Caldwell County, Kentucky.


v.           Dorcas Pinnell, B: 16 Apr 1796 in South Carolina, D: Mar 1867 in Sullivan, Franklin Co., Missouri, M: 02 Oct 1816 in Caldwell County, Kentucky.


vi.          William Wiley Pinnell, B: 30 Jul 1798, D: 16 Jan 1843 in Hermann, Gasconade Co., Missouri.


vii.         Lewis Pinnell, B: 20 Sep 1801 in Greenville, South Carolina, D: 1864 in Crawford County, Missouri, M: 01 Nov 1825 in Caldwell County, Kentucky.


viii.       Mary M. Pinnell, B: 20 Sep 1803, D: 20 Jul 1854, M: 14 Aug 1823 in Kentucky?.


ix.          Jeremiah Pinnell, B: 30 Sep 1805, D: Bef. 1870 in Illinois, M: 26 Jul 1836 in Crawford Co., Missouri.


x.           Jane Pinnell, B: 14 Jul 1807.


xi.          Wesley Pinnell, B: 03 Feb 1810 in Christian Co., Kentucky, D: 02 Jun 1892 in Crawford Co., Missouri, M: 23 Jan 1831 in Washington County, Missouri.


xii.         Richard Pinnell, B: 1811 in Christian County, Kentucky, D: 1848 in Boone Twp., Crawford Co., Missouri, M: 27 Jun 1833 in Washington County, Missouri.


Additional information about our DIRECT ANCESTORS  as well as a complete listing of individuals with this surname may be reviewed by clicking on the following LINK.


MMPS Surname Locator

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Free Genealogy Surname
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Use this free genealogy site to help you get the best genealogy searches from Google™ by using your family tree, for your research. It will create a series of different searches using tips or "tricks"

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that will likely improve your results. The different searches will give you many different ways of using Google and the Internet to find ancestry information about this or any other Surname. 

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Ancestral locations



by Location


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Researching the locations where our ancestors lived has provided us with valuable evidence needed to fill-in the gaps in our family trees.  It has also led us to many interesting facts that enhance the overall picture of each family group.

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Locational Distribution

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Locations of Our Direct Ancestors

The names of states and counties on the following list were derived from the known places where the Direct Ancestors in the “Ancestral Lineage” (see above) were born, married, and / or died.









Amelia County


Gasconade County

Use this LINK to find out more about the locations listed above.


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Locational Distribution of This Surname

     Knowing the geographical areas where the surname you are researching is clustered and distributed is an indispensable tool in deciding where to focus your research.  We believe that the “Public Profiler” website will open up to you a wide range of solutions which implement current research in spatial analysis.  This site provides an array of local spatial information tools useful to the genealogist.

          The information presented below shows where the Yarborough surname is distributed within the United States as well as Yarborough in England the country of origin of this family.  In addition is a listing of the top countries in the world where this surname is highly clustered. 

United States of America

Top Countries

European Country of Origin

USA - Yarborough (surname distribution)



UK (Yarborough distribution map)





* = frequency per million


Germany (name distribution) high - low

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that will assist in discovering Ancestral Locations.  These web sites comprise only a small portion of what is available for researchers interested in learning more about where their ancestors lived.

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Migration routes


Migrations of the
American Family

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       During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries hundreds of thousands of Europeans made the perilous ocean voyage to America.  For many it was an escape from economic hardship and religious persecution.  For most it was an opportunity to start over, own their own land, and make a better future for their descendents.  Immigration records show a number of people bearing the name of Yarborough, or one of its variants, as arriving in North America between the 17th and 20th centuries.  Some of these immigrants were: Richard Yarbrough who arrived in Virginia in 1714; John Yerby who settled in Maryland in 1744; John Yarbrough who settled in Nova Scotia in 1749; and Swanson Yarbrough who settled in Texas in 1832.

     Tracing our own family’s paths of migration can prove crucial in identifying previous generations and eventually, figuring out where and how they arrived in the “New World” as well as where they eventually settled.  Knowing the network of trails American pioneers traveled can help you guess where to start looking.  The trail map(s) provided below may assist you in understanding the routes that our direct ancestors of this family may have taken to find new homes and opportunities in the vast area now encompassed by the United States.

Use the following links to find more early immigrants with this surname:

$ Search Ancestry.com Immigration Records; or Free Ship’s Passenger lists at OliveTreeGenealogy.com


Virginia to South Carolina c.1768

     It is believed that Ambrose Yarborough migrated from Amelia County to Union County, South Carolina around 1768.   This event probably occurred soon after his marriage to Mary Humphries.  Ambrose most likely made this move because around 1761 lands in western South Carolina opened up as the result of a treaty with the Cherokees.  In order to get to this new land they most likely would have traveled down the Upper Road

     In colonial times the Upper Road was one of the most important north-to-south travel and trade routes that closely followed much of the Native-American Occaneechi Path also known as the Trading Path.  Use of this route started, around 1740 as an alternative route to the Fall Line Road.    The Upper Road was favored by Colonists as it had been preferred by their predecessors, the Algonquin and Iroquois Indians because of numerous springs along its route, milder temperatures east of the mountains and relatively safe fords across major rivers and streams.  By the 1750’s the Upper Road had stretched south through North Carolina where it tracked to the west through Hillsborough, Salisbury and Charlotte.  It then entered South Carolina and continued on to Greenville. This portion of road from Salisbury to Greenville most likely followed what is present day U. S. Route 29

     Eventually Ambrose and Mary arrived in that area of present day Union County, South Carolina that was then in the Ninety-Six District.  They eventually settled on the Tyger River near Blackstocks Ford.  This location was in Union County, S.C. and very near the Spartanburg County line.  In 1777 Ann "Nancy" Yarborough married Peter Pinnell this event probably occurred in the area of the old Ninety-Six District that now lies in Union County, South Carolina.  It is most probable the Peter and Ann “Nancy” stayed in Union after their marriage, as they are found in the 1800 census as living at that location.  Ambrose Yarborough died in Union County in 1788.


South Carolina to Kentucky c.1808

     In 1803-04 Peter Pinnell traveled to Livingston County, Kentucky to search for a new home for his family on the western frontier.  He may have made the journey on the advice of either a possible kinsman Edward Pannell who had purchased land in this area in April 1803, or Stephan Sullivan friend and neighbor from South Carolina who, in 1799, had first purchased land in Christian County, Kentucky.    Around this time the lands in western Kentucky were being taken from the Native-American Chickasaw tribe and opened for settlement by European settlers.  The attraction of cheap land and new economic prospects were probably the reason why he decided embark on a 500 mile journey west to Kentucky.  On April 17, 1804 Peter purchased 400 acres of land in Livingston County south of the Tradewater River on Flynn Fork.  This location which became a part of Caldwell County in 1809 is located approximately 9 miles northeast of Princeton, Kentucky.

     Ann “Nancy” Yarborough and her husband Peter Pinnell lived in the area of Union County, South Carolina until about 1808.  It was most likely during the spring or early summer of 1808 when Ann and Peter along with 10 of their children their left friends and family in South Carolina.  The probably traveled along the “Saluda Road”, which follows closely to the path of present day U.S. Route 25 through the Saluda Gap into North Carolina.  Early pioneers who sought to use this route in 1793 "had carried up their four-wheel wagon across the Saluda Gap, … and is probably the old road from Columbia, South Carolina, which passed through Newberry and Greenville districts," and yet known in upper South Carolina as the old State or Buncombe road.   This route would later be known as the “South Carolina State Road” and in North Carolina Buncombe Turnpike  as many families from the coastal area of South Carolina would through the Saluda Gap to reach their summer vacation destinations in the mountains of North Carolina.  After traveling about 75 miles they would arrive in Asheville, North Carolina.  The town was formed only fifteen years earlier at the junction of two Native-American trails and is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains at the confluence of the Swannanoa River and the French Broad River.  In 1795 a plans were created to survey and build a road from Asheville (aka. Buncombe court house) into Tennessee.  By 1800 a crude road was opened from North Carolina to Tennessee, via Warm Springs, following the right bank of the French Broad River to Hot Springs.  There is little doubt that Pinnell family followed this route to cross the Blue Ridge Mountains and enter Tennessee. 

             From Asheville they traveled 120 miles west over many tall mountains and deep rivers, and reached Knoxville, Tennessee which at that time was a thriving a way station for travelers and migrants heading west because of its situation at the confluence of three major rivers in the Tennessee Valley.   In 1808 Knoxville served as capital of the territory south of the Ohio River and as capital of Tennessee (admitted as a state in 1796).  Early Knoxville has been described as an "alternately quiet and rowdy river town.” Early issues of the Knoxville Gazette are filled with accounts of murder, theft, and hostile Cherokee attacks.

     From Knoxville the Pinnell family joined the throngs of pioneers heading west along the Nashville Road.

This wagon road, built in 1788, started in Knoxville, Tennessee and traveled across the Cumberland Plateau west some 180 miles to Nashville.  Old U.S. Route 70 follows much of this passageway.  Upon reaching Nashville they found only a tiny settlement in a vast wilderness was.  It would be almost 30 years more years before Nashville would be selected as the permanent capital of Tennessee. 

     The final part of their migratory journey from South Carolina to Western Kentucky would begin at Nashville and end in the newly created Livingston County, Kentucky a distance of about 100 miles.   It is probable that the family initially settled on the aforementioned property purchased in 1804.  It is believed that they lived here between 1808 and 1810*.    On 12 May 1810, Peter purchased 275 acres of land** in Christian County on the waters of the Muddy Fork of Little River and the waters of Montgomery’s Fork of the Tradewater River


*     The 1810 census for Livingston County shows only one Pinnell that being a “Pennell family  living at Smithland, the

       county seat. 

* * this may be two separate pieces of property

Kentucky to Missouri c. 1818

     In 1812, Asa Pinnell, (our 3rd great-grandfather), the eldest son of Ann Yarbrough and Peter Pinnell married Elizabeth Clemens in Christian County.  The next year, 1813, the young couple struck out for Missouri, reaching it that same year.  Peter Pinnell may have been contemplating following Asa to Missouri as he sold his land in Christian County in October 1813.  Land Records show that Ann and Peter were still living in Christian county through 1816 when they began to sell parts of the aforementioned Caldwell County property on Flynn Fork of the Tradewater River

       Ann and Peter migrated to Missouri in 1817-18 along with several of their children as well as their daughter Dorcas and son-in-law Stephan Sullivan who had recently married in 1816.  It is most probable that the the Pinnell/Sullivan group traveled mostly on a water route from Christian County to Missouri.  If this is true they likely floated down the Muddy Fork Little River to the Cumberland River at Smithland, Kentucky a distance of about 75 miles.  Here they would enter the Ohio River and travel another 60 miles down river to the southernmost tip of Illinois near the present day city of Cairo.  From here the trip would continue up the Mississippi River.  It is probable that the party left the great river at Ste. Genevieve located 120 miles up river from Cairo.  Ste. Genevieve, founded in 1750, was the first European settlement west of the Mississippi River in present-day Missouri.  By 1818 a new wagon road was opened between Ste. Genevieve to Potosi and then on to Boonslick (Boone’s Lick) on the Missouri River.  Most of this route has become obscured over time but part of the old road still follows State Route 185.  As such it is most probable that if they departed the river at Ste. Genevieve they then traveled along the wagon road to Potosi then towards the aforementioned Boonslick.  It appears that their purpose was not to travel any further than 30 miles northwest of Potosi to the wild and unbroken territory around the Meramec River then located in St. Louis County, 68 miles southwest of the city of St. Louis.  Apparently they were the first settlers in this part of Missouri.  According to the history of Sullivan, Missouri,  the area was founded in the early 1800's, by Stephen Sullivan who with his wife Dorcas had accompanied Daniel Boone on his return trip from Kentucky to secure settlers to populate lands around the Meramec River. Upon entering the area now known as the Meramec State Park, Boone remarked, "Sullivan, this is the region that I was telling you about.  In these hills you will find copper, lead and game in abundance."  It is doubtful that Stephen and Dorcas Pinnell Sullivan came with Daniel Boone to this area.  It is more probable that it was Stephan’s uncle also named Stephan Sullivan (1768-1857), who actually accompanied Boone from Kentucky in 1799.  From historical records we see that this Stephan Sullivan was more of a contemporary to Daniel Boone and was in western Kentucky as early as 1799.    Therefore it is most probable that the Pinnell/Sullivan family eventually settled on the Meramec River because of Daniel Boone’s recommendation via Stephen Sullivan to his nephew Stephan, the son-in-law of our Peter Pinnell.

      In 1819 the property along the Meramec became a part of the newly formed Franklin County.  In 1825 it then became a part of Washington County.  In 1826 The Peter Pinnell sold the remainder of his Caldwell County, Kentucky property.  These documents show him as a resident of Washington County, Missouri.  In 1830 Peter and Ann Pinnell were living in Meramec Township, then in Franklin County along with their son Lewis, daughter Mary “Polly” and her husband John Hyde,  as well as Stephan and Dorcas Sullivan.     It wasn’t until 1845 that Peter Pinnell’s original Missouri homestead along the Meramec became a part of Crawford County.    When the railroad finally reached the homestead, now a tiny settlement, in 1858 Stephan and Dorcas donated their land for the depot grounds and Stephan built the depot himself.  Soon a town was laid out that the railroad company appropriately named "Sullivan." 

       In the spring of 1838, Ann and Peter moved to a farm on Brush Creek.  It was here that Ann “Nancy” Yarborough passed away in 1843 at the age of about 75 years.  An elderly Peter now in his late 80’s then moved to the nearby farm of his son Hiram Pinnell located near Oak Hill in Crawford County.  He lived here for the remainder of his life passing away in 1845.



Yarborough Migrations 1768-1830


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The documents contained within the “Source Documents Archives” have been located during my research of this family, and used as evidence to prove many of the facts contained within the database of this family’s record.


     Most of these documents can be considered as primary or secondary evidence.  Primary evidence is usually defined as the best available to prove the fact in question, usually in an original document or record.  Secondary evidence is in essence all that evidence which is inferior in its origin to primary evidence. That does not mean secondary evidence is always in error, but there is a greater chance of error.  Examples of this type of evidence would be a copy of an original record, or oral testimony of a record’s contents.  Published genealogies and family histories are also secondary evidence.

     Classifying evidence as either primary or secondary does not tell anything about its accuracy or ultimate value.  This is especially true of secondary evidence.  Thus it is always a good idea to ask the following questions: (1) How far removed from the original is it, (when it is a copy)?; (2) What was the reason for the creation of the source which contains this evidence?; and (3) Who was responsible for creating this secondary evidence and what interest did they have in its accuracy?

SOURCE:  Greenwood, Val D., The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, 2nd edition, Genealogical Publishing  Co., Baltimore, MD 21202, 1990, pgs. 62-63


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