By: John L. Kiener   

(Editor’s Note: Information on Washington County, North Carolina – now Tennessee – pioneers Joseph Tucker and Isaac White was sent to the Jonesborough Genealogical Society by Jane Ledbetter Ernst, Lincoln, Nebraska, email: Her research citations are listed at the end of each article and include references to WashingtonCounty records indicating the value of documents now being assembled in the newly established CountyArchives. The material is part of a collection of pioneer histories being assembled by the JGS, many of which are now in the vertical files of the WashingtonCounty / Jonesborough Library. – J. L. Kiener)


Joseph Tucker, born about 1761, was found in Washington County, in the 1790’s, having received a land grant from the state of North   Carolina. It is thought that he migrated to this area following his marriage in 1791 to Margaret (Berry, probably) in Frederick CountyVirginia. Margaret’s parents were likely John and Patience Berry. It seems that a large contingent of Quakers arrived in Washington and Greene Counties in the 1790’s. Among those family names were Beals, Rees/Reese, Dillon, Smith, Ellis, Hayworth and Tucker.

Joseph Tucker bought and sold several properties in both Washington and Greene Counties over the years. He is found on the Washington County tax records from 1792 through 1821. A few miles west of Jonesborough is the community of Leesburg. In the year 1799 Joseph Tucker was appointed one of the five commissioners to “lay out lots” for the new town. Unfortunately, the town never really became organized.

Joseph Tucker’s name appears as a Washington County delegate to a Friend’s General Convention at the Meeting House, Lick Creek, in Jefferson County in 1822. The purpose of these Friend’s/Quaker Society meetings at that time was to further the Abolition of Slavery. We can assume that he and his family were very active in the Quaker faith.

Joseph Tucker’s Will was written and signed January 19, 1827. Some of it reads as follows (Editor’s Note: No attempt has been made to correct the document’s spelling, but some punctuation has been added.): “I give and bequeath to Margaret my beloved wife all the Househole and kitchen furniture by me possessed during her natural life. And then to be equally divided betwist my two daughters Patience Murr and Elizabeth Brown. Also I give to my son John Tucker that part of the plantation whereon he now lives containing two hundred fifty acres.

My will and desire also is that the said John Tucker shall keep, maintain and support his mother in a deacent and becoming manner during her natural life and give her a decent burial. I also give and bequeath to my son Abraham that part of the plantation whereon he now lives containing 128 acres…

I also will and bequeath to my daughter Patience Murr’s two sons namely James and Joseph my 200 acres of land lying in Greene County when Joseph shall arrive at the age of twenty-one years…the said two hundred acres of/and to be equally divided in quantity and Joseph to have first choice to the land.

I also will my granddaughter Ruth Murr 18 dollars which Abraham Tucker is to pay her

in furniture when she shall arrive to a proper age to be delivered at his own shop.

I also will my grandson Reefe Murr one fifteen dollar saddle, …to my grandson David Murr one fifteendollar saddle (to be paid for by son Abraham).

I also will my two daughters Patience and Elizabeth two year old cavs, fore (four) sheep, six middle life hogs — it being my old stock to be equally divided between them which stock is in John Tucker’s care.

I also will my three boys — Reefe, John and Abraham all my tools and farming utensils to be equally … (divided).”

(The two sons John and Abraham were the executors.)

(Signed) Joseph Tucker

Witnesses to the Will were David Beats, Samuel Beats, Caleb Beats and Elizabeth Beals.

Joseph and Margaret’s daughter Patience, was married September 15, 1815, to John Murr by William Bayless, Justice of the Peace. John Murr’s first wife was Mary Brown. Patience was born about 1794 and died in 1873 in Washington   CountyTennessee. Their children were Ruth, Rees, James, Joseph, David, Samuel, Alexander, Michael and Tena Murr.

James “Jimmy” Murr married Amarilla Ragan September 2, 1839 in Washington County. Their children were William, John, Jackson and Thomas Emory Murr, who married Sarah White, July 26, 1871 in Greene County.

Research for the article includes the following references: “Colonial Virginians and Their MarylandRelatives” by Norma Tucker. 1994; “Tennessee Tidbits, 1778—1914, Volume 1” compiled by Marjorie H. Fischer, 1986; “East Tennessee History” Volume D — Sam McDowell, Reprint from Goodspeed’s History of TN; Washington County Courthouse Deed Books and “Murr—Our Family’s Heritage” by Ruby Murr.



Whereas Mr. Isaac White hath a mind to Remove himself out of this State I desire

he may be permitted to pats and repafs unmolested he Behaving himself accordingly. I

believe him to be a good honeste intelligible gentleman and hope he may Be Received

as such he been very active and stands in the 1 St Division in my Company.

State No Carolina William Bethell, Capte — March31, 1781”

With this permission slip in his possession, Isaac White removed himself and his young

family from Guilford CountyNorth   Carolina, to Washington County in the western part of the state. He settled his family on the fall branch of Horse Creek near the William Magbee and John English families. This property was registered (proved) in the county seat on December 5, 1794, following the several “steps” necessary for ownership. First, a description of the land one wished to own, including name, number of acres, name of creeks or rivers, neighbors, etc., was taken to the Land office. At the time of the “delivery of description” was submitted, payment was also made for the land. Isaac applied for 400 acres and paid 50 shillings per 100 acres.

The next step required him to pledge allegiance to the State. He had probably done this

earlier in his life and before he moved to Washington County.

The third step required a check of records to make sure no one else was making a claim on

the same land. Following this check, a warrant was issued for the land to be surveyed which could take months or years… waiting for the surveyors to arrive.

Once completed, two copies and the warrant were sent back to North   Carolina. (Remember there were no copy machines and travel was by horse and wagon.) So, travel between HillsboroughNCand the western side of the mountains was quite infrequent. There was usually a long wait at this time. Upon receipt of the reports and fees, the secretary filled out the grants and had them signed by the appropriate authorities. Sometime later the grants were returned to the persons who made the original requests and their papers were then filed at the county court.

Sometimes even this step took months or years to complete, because of the distances involved. At any rate, it was 1794 before the 400 acres were properly registered and proved in court. The number of Isaac’s grant was # 1161.

In the meantime, in 1792, he acquired 315 acres for “one hundred sixty pounds current money” from William Magbee, Sr. This property was located in the “County of Washington in the Territory South of the River Ohio” (Washington County Deed Book 5, Page 140).

In June, 1793, from Augustin Wilson, Isaac White purchased 200 acres in Sullivan County on the Middle Fork of Horse Creek for fifty pounds. He was listed on the tax books for the years 1781 through 1819.

Isaac White was born about 1752 and arrived in North Carolina sometime before the Revolutionary War. He was married to Sarah Vaughn, October 12, 1775 in Guilford CountyNorth   Carolina by Mr. Thomas Rice, clerk of the Parish. Sarah is reported to have been born about 1755 in Hanover County, Virginia, to David and Susannah Vaughn.

Isaac died on August 18, 1819 in Washington County and was buried in the White family Cemetery, located at the intersection of TN State Road 93 and the Jearoldstown road, just off Interstate 81. Sarah died June 15, 1844. Several White descendants, along with slaves Ned and Sam, are buried in this cemetery.

The children of Isaac and Sarah Vaughn White were: Mary born l2 July 1776 — She married (1) George Edgemon and (2) Thomas Gibson; David born 4 March 1778 — He married Sythia Shackleford; William born 27 February 1780 — He married Rebecca (?); Stephen born 27 July 1782 — He married Keziah (?); Jacob born about 1783, died about 1784; Richard born 4 June 1786 — Hemarried Rebecca Harrold; Susannah born 11 April 1788 — She married Daniel Denton; Terry (twin of Susannah) born 11 April 1788 — He married Mary Caldwell; Thomas born 1 October 1790 — He married Polly Denton; John born 3 July 1792 –He married Hannah Stevens and Rosanna born 22 August 1795 –She married Elijah Keen.

According to the “State of North Carolina, Dept. of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History,” this Isaac White was paid “9 pounds, 12 shillings, specie, for Waggonhire during the Revolutionary War for Sundries furnished the Militia of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina as allowed by Messrs Brown, Erwin and Greenlee, auditors of Salisbury District in April 1782 as per Report No. 41.”

It appears that political and community affairs were very important to him. While living in

Washington County, Isaac served in three different militias — that of Murray’s District in

1795, Duncan’s Company in 1797, and Shipley’s Company in 1798. He served as Justice of the Peace and tax collector. His name was listed on the Tennessee Statehood petition in 1787.

Isaac White’s Will was written and signed 5 May 1819, part of which is written here.

“First I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Sarah my negro woman named Beck

during her life and after her death to be property of my son Terry White should he be living

and all my household goods and furniture I leave to my wife and son Terry to dispose of

their pleasure.

Item, I give and bequeath to my son Terry my two negro boys named Sam and Ned together with all stock of horses, cattle, sheep and hogs, farming utensils, still and vessels and every other article belonging to me not otherwise disposed of, but he is to fend (furnish—editor) my wife with a horse bridle and saddle at all times when she shall choose or want it her pleasure and also to fend her in sufficient and decent apparel and that during her life or continuance to dwell with him and to also pay after the death of my wife to my Sons William, Stephen, Richard and to my Daughters Mary wife of Thomas Gibson, Susannah wife of Daniel Denton, Anna wife of Elijah Keen the sum of 100 dollars each.

And as I have heretofore given and conveyed to my other sons their portion in land, I hereby bequeath the several sons given as their portion of my estate…

Lastly, I nominate and appoint my beloved wife and my son Terry, Executrix and Executor of my last will and testament.

(Signed) Isaac White

Signed and sealed in presence of Isaac White (seal) and witnessed by Nathan Shipley and William Grimsley.

Isaac and Sarah lived lives of integrity, loyalty and benevolence, full of energy and service to their country and community. These characteristics continue to be manifested in the lives of

their thousands of descendants.

A personal note: Much of the information contained here was taken from Isaac White’s own personal papers, which were left on the “home place”, which was inherited by son Terry

White. Terry left the “home place” to his nephew, William Russell White, who had come

down from Virginia to live with Terry and Mary and attend school. William Russell White

had three living children who inherited the property, but it was his daughter Nellie Mae who

was ultimately the owner. When Interstate 81 was built, the Fall Branch interchange

(Intersection at 1-81 and State Road 93) took much of the White property and the homeplace. At this time Nellie gave all these original White papers, much of it on just bits of scrap paper.

(I thank my) dear cousin and great, great, great granddaughter of Isaac and Sarah White, Mary Wiriona Payne. Mary was very, very generous in sharing all of this information with the

numerous White researchers who were in touch with her by phone, letter and many visits to her home. Before she passed away in 2001, most of these original papers were deposited in the East Tennessee State University Archives in Johnson City, TN.

References used for this article include: Mary Winona Payne Collection, ETSU Archives;

Isaac White Papers; Washington County Deed Book 7, page 310 and Book 5, page 140;

Sullivan County Deed Book 3, Page 3; Isaac White Bible Records; Copies of Early Wills, WashingtonCounty Courthouse R-2, 1779-1888; “Tennessee Land Warrants, Volume 4;”

Dr. A.B. Pruitt 1999; Rev. War Record: State of North Carolina, Dept. of Cultural Resources, Div. of Archives and History — Revolutionary Army Accts. (Volume A, Page 208), No. 6401, No. of Voucher 1208; “East Tennessee Tax Records Index, Volume 1, Washington County, 1778-1821” (Willow Bend Books, 2005); “Washington County TN Records before 1800” compiled by Margaret Fischer, Frontier Press 1996.