First Families of Polk County

by Marian Presswood, Polk County Historian



f imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the East Tennessee Historical Society should really be flattered, for we practically copied in full their idea of a First Families of Tennessee. They began theirs as a Bicentennial project back in 1996 and we quickly followed suit, even using (by permission) their form and guidelines. Basically, the ETHS program says to be eligible you must be able to prove each step in a direct lineage back to an ancestor who was living in the area that became Tennessee in 1796. So, it follows that to be eligible for a First Families of Polk County membership you must be able to prove direct lineage back to an ancestor who was living in what became Polk County when it was formed in the fall of 1839. We may be a bit more lenient, for we usually allow anyone who was on our 1840 census to assume their ancestor was here a month or two earlier since we really have no way to prove that they were or were not. And the county didnít do anything much toward organization until the Spring of 1840, anyway.  Many of the folk who were listed on that census did purchase land in the Ocoee District. We did admit descendants of one person who had lived here for several years while it was still Indian Territory, but was deceased at the time the county was formed, and that was the Beloved Woman, Cherokee Peacemaker, Nancy Ward.

   Both groups charge a nominal fee for the application verification and the nice certificate that is issued. For an application for FF of Polk just send a SASE to PCHGS, P.O. Box 636, Benton, TN 37307. An application form is online for ETHS at their web site.

   For years now, we've been meaning to make a simple list of all 70 of our First Families ancestors so you can see if your ancestor was here when the county was formed. We retain all information sent as proof (so be sure to send only copies, no originals) which is then made available for researchers of that family. Almost all of the ancestors have multiple descendants who made applications, 215 of them to be exact. For example, probably half our applicants who have been approved for membership are descendants of Rev. Elijah Clayton!

    Following the ancestor (could be male or female) we will also add the spouse, if known.







Amburn, Samuel - Mary J. McAllister

Arthur, Lewis F. - Kisiah Jones

Bible, Rachel - Henry Miller Bible

Biggs, Wm. Mattison - Margaret Temple

Boyd, Irby - Jencie Cooper

Bradford, Michael - Jane Semianer (?)

Briggs, Dorothy - Robert H. Howell

Bryant, John W. - Mary J. Morris

Cameron, W. O., Tabitha Parris

Campbell, Jesse - Isabella Black

Campbell, Evan - Sarah Dillard

Carruth, Walter - Martha

Childers, Josiah - Martha Woodrum

Clayton, Elijah - Elizabeth Roach

Clemmer, Jacob - Elizabeth Higgins

Cloud, Isaac - Spouse Unknown

Coleman, Absoloman - Nancy Lillard

Coleman, Elizabeth - William Haney

Corn, George W. - Mary Queener

Corn, George W. - Sarah Morris

Crawford, Thomas - Priscilla Barnett

Crittenden, Nathaniel - Sabina Beckett

Crittenden, William - Elizabeth

Davis, Benjamin - Susan Bradford

Davis, Benjamin - Rebecca Haney

Dodson, Jesse - Ruth

Ferguson, Mose C. - Jane Hannah

Fouts, Soloman - Minerva Yantz

Freeland, Howell - Zilpha Campbell

Gilliland, James - Jane Giles

Hammons, Isham - Mary Morgan

Hannah, John Fruit - Grace Tedford

Harbison, George W. - Sina Gilliland

Hawkins, Joseph - Susannah Williams

Henry, William - Jane Tullock

Hester, Abraham - Nancy Ward

Higdon, Thomas - Rebecca Cate

Hood, Raleigh - Annie McQueen

Hood, Robert - Mary

Howell, Robert H., - Dorothy V. Briggs

Kanester, Reuben - Paulina Henderson

Ladd, Amos - Nancy Pettit

Lawson, Winny D. - Peter Lawson

Lillard, Abraham - Jane Harrison

Lingerfelt, Jacob-Rebecca/Margaret Slagle

Longley, William - Mary Ann Bodine

McClary, Robert - Mary Karnes

McJunkin, Samuel - Jane McClannahan

Milligan, Susan - Joseph McConnell

Morgan, William - Mariah Hunt

Morrison, Thomas - Frances Beard

O'Neal, John Silas - Elizabeth Kendrick

Parks, James - Evelyn Hayden Rogers

Price, George W., - Elizabeth Howard

Reid, Samuel M. - Theresa Stone (?)

Rogers, John - Rebecca Conner

Rogers, Travis - Fannie Morrison

Rymer, Eli - Mary A. Kerr

Rymer, William - Elizabeth

Shamblin, William - Susannah Hicks

Skelton, Thomas - Mary Bond

Smith, Isaac - Temperance

Stephens, Abner - Rebecca

Taylor, James Berry - Minerva Lillard

Taylor, John N. - Nancy Weaver

Ward, Nancy - Kingfisher

Williams, John, Sr., - Elizabeth Fann

Wimpey, Aden - Morning Lowe

Womack, James A., - Freelove Thompson

Womble, William - Elizabeth