Sunday, September 22, 2013

Land Deeds, 1827-1828 Bledsoe County Tennessee: Heirs of JOHN ANDERSON to THOMAS RIDDLE; THOMAS RIDDLE to ROBERT SHOEMAKE

For anyone researching THOMAS RIDDLE who married MARY IGO / IGOU, here are two land deeds that may interest you. 

The second deed indicates that THOMAS RIDDLE had a land grant in Bledsoe Co Tennessee April 11, 1815, numbered 3358.

THOMAS RIDDLE married 2nd to DELILAH BURKS, and eventually moved  near Cleveland, Bradley Co Tennessee, where he died in 1859.

Bledsoe Co Tennessee Register of Deeds, Vol D page 336:


Whereas JOHN ANDERSON now deceased executed to THOMAS RIDLE his bond for a warrant deed for sixty four acres and 26 poles of land in Bledsoe County bearing date 24th of February 1812 Nomi;  This indenture made this 22nd day of August 1826 between JAMES LOYD, Guardian for the kin of said ANDERSON, decd, of the County of Bledsoe and State of Tennessee of the one part, and THOMAS RIDLE of the County & State aforesaid of the other part. Witnesseth that the JAMES LOYD guardian hath granted, bargained and sold unto THOMAS RIDLE in Compliance of said land sixty four acres and 26 poles at the price of three dollars per acre in property, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledge, hath granted bargain (illegible) and confirm until the said THOMAS RIDLE his heirs and assigns forever the land that was to be conveyed by said bond, lying in Bledsoe County, beginning at a white oak on the point of a ridge on a rock jut of the mountain, westward from where JAMES IGO now lives; thence N 15 E 46 poles to a stake at a cross fence, thence along said fence N 43  W 33 poles to a walnut; thence N 50 W 67 poles to a stake in a field, thence N 41 poles to a black (oak?), then south 70 E 126 poles to a white oak, then south 110 poles to a black oak, then west 58 1/2 poles to the beginning, wth the appurtinances and all the right title or interest of him the said JOHN ANDERSON deceased, in or or to the said above described land, to hav and to hold the same forever, and the said JAMES LOYD and the heirs of said JOHN ANDERSON will warrant and forever defend the before mentioned land against the Claim or Claims of all person whomsoever claim in presence of witnesses,  WILLIAM McDONNAUGH, ANDREW McDONNAUGH.   Signed JAMES LOYD, Guardian for the Heirs of JOHN ANDERSON, decd.

Bledsoe County Tennessee Register of Deeds Vol D page 327:


This Indenture made this 11th day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty eight, between THOMAS RIDDLE of the one part and ROBERT SHOEMAKE of the other part, both of the County of Bledsoe and State of Tennessee.  Witnesseth that the said THOMAS RIDLE hath this day bargained and sold unto ROBERT SHOEMAKE two tracts of land in Bledsoe County for the sum of Four hundred and eighty five dollars, the Receipt of which is hereby acknowledged and in compliance with a hand bearing date 22nd Aug 1826 bounded and described as follows, viz:  the first tract begining at a white oak, a corner to JAMES LOYD's land, running north 15 east along said LOYD's line; 46 poles to stake at the cross fence, three N 43 W 33 poles to a walnut on JAMES LOYD's line thence north 50 west 67 poles to a stake, another corner to LOYD, then north 41 poles to a black oak; a corner to WILLIAM ANDERSON, then south 70 east along ANDERSON's line, 126 poles to a white oak, then south 110 poles to a black oak, then west 58 1/2 poles to the beginning, making sixty four acres (illegible);  and also another tract nine acres adjoining the above described tract, bounded  & C beginning by a branch at white oak in a line of the above land thence east 27 poles to a chestnut, north fifty four poles to two small black oaks, then west 27 poles to stake in the line of the first described tract, then north along said line fifty four to the beginning, which tract of land was granted unto said RIDEL the 11th day of April 1815, No of Grant 3358, and the said RIDEL doth hereby convey unto the said ROBERT SHOEMAKE both the above tracts of land unto him, and his heirs and assigns forever, and also the benefit of said land clear of incumberance, and the said RIDEL doth forever warrant and defend the title of the above land unto SHOEMAKE and his heirs and assigns forever both in law and equity against the lawful claim of any person whatsoever. Signed and sealed in presence of witnesses :  JAMES LOYD Jr    HUGH LAMB Jr  signed THOMAS (his X mark) RIDEL
Recorded May 7th 1829

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2013

June 20, 1819 Bledsoe Co Tennessee; Deed of Lease, Heirs of ROBERT CARTER to WILLIAM RIDDLE

The "Robert Carter, decd" referred to in this deed was apparently ROBERT WORMELY CARTER, born about 1766 Virginia, died by Sept 8, 1817 probably Jefferson Co Kentucky, who married HEBE SMALLWOOD GRAYSON.  

The deed was filed in 1819 in Jefferson Co Kentucky on behalf of his children, but the land in question was actually in Bledsoe Co Tennessee. It sounds as though WILLIAM RIDDLE was living on a tract of land which he had purchased, but part of which was actually owned by the CARTER family, and that they were requesting that he pay a yearly rent of $20 for Lot 10.

The other court deeds from Jefferson Co Kentucky indicate that ROBERT WORMLEY CARTER was dead by 1817, and that his children requested FREDERICK W. S. GRAYSON as their legal guardian. FREDERIC GRAYSON was likely related to their mother. 

--Bledsoe Co Tennessee Register of Deeds Vol D p 57:
--ALFRED G. CARTER, JOHN CARTER, ROBERT CARTER, WILLIAM G CARTER, LANDEN CARTER, and HEBE S. CARTER (f) children and heirs of ROBERT CARTER deceased to WILLIAM RIDDLE of the County of Bledsoe and State of Tennessee, so much of a certain trac of land of about one hundred acres bought by said RIDDLE of JOHN SHROPSHIRE and on which the said RIDDLE resides, as interfered with, or is covered by the clain of the said heirs, to wit: Lot No 10, and which acres adjoins WILLIAM CHRISTY, JAMES ROBERSON and JAMES FOSTER, to have and to hold the premises aforesaid to the said WILLIAM RIDDLE for and during the term of three years from the date hereof, the said RIDDLE rendering as rent therefore at the end of every year during the said term the sum of twenty dollars. Witness the hand and seals of the parties this twentienth day of June, 1819 signed WILLIAM RIDDLE (his mark); F.W.S. GRAYSON, (guardian for the Carters listed above); ISAAC H TYLER, test.
--State of Kentucky, Jefferson County, July 20, 1819; At a county Court begun and held for Jefferson County in the state aforesaid at the court house in the town of Lewisville on the 8th day of Sept 1817, ALFRED G. CARTER, JOHN CARTER, ROBERT CARTER, WILLIAM G CARTER, LANDEN CARTER, and HEBE S. CARTER infant orphans of ROBERT CARTER deceased, being above the age of fourteen years came into the court and severally made choice of FREDERIC W. S. GRAYSON as their guardian, wherefore, the said FREDERIC together with ROBERT GRAYSON and DAVID S. WORD his securities entered into and acknowledged there five several bonds in the penalty of ten thousand dollars each with the conditions required by law.
--In testomony whereof, I , the clerk os the said county court do hereby certify tht said FREDERIC W GRAYSON and WILLIAM RIDDLE personally appeared before me in my office on this day, and acknowledged and delivered the foregoing deed of lease as and for their act and deed, the said GRAYSON as guardian (to the sons of ROBERT CARTER). I further certify that the said JOHN CARTER personally appeared before me in my office on this day and acknowledged and delivered the same as and for his act and deed, and that JOHN BELL Esq is the presiding Justice of the said County Court.
--In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of the said county, this 20th day of July 1819, and in the 28th year of the Commonwealth. WORDEN POPE, Clerk.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Was MOSES RIDDLE, the Melungeon, the Father of Capt WILLIAM RIDDLE, the Loyalist from Montgomery County Virginia?

So. What are Melungeons?  According to several sources they are:

--a group of  people of uncertain ancestry in the southern Appalachians, especially of Eastern Tennessee (Merriam Webster dictionary online)

--one of numerous "tri-racial isolate groups" historically associated with the Cumberland Gap area of central Appalachia, including portions of Eastern Tennessee, southwestern Virginia, and Eastern Kentucky; thought to be of mixed European, Sub-Saharan African and Native American ancestry;  often referred to by other settlers as of Portuguese or Native American origin (Wikipedia)

--any dark-skinned group of people of the Appalachians, in East Tennessee, of mixed Indian, white & black ancestry (Free Online Dictionary).

In actual fact, no one really knows the entire truth about Melungeons. They are an anthropological mystery.  Wild theories abound--such as they were the descendants of shipwrecked Portuguese or Spanish sailors who took spouses who were Native American or runaway slaves.  Or they were the English descendants of the lost colony of Roanoke, who took spouses who were Native American.

Recently, Y-DNA tests have shown that some--but not all-- families that are recognized as Melungeon actually stemmed from a male ancestor of Sub-Saharan African, rather than Native American origin. The theory is that a freed slave or free man of color married a white indentured servant in the very early colonial period in Virginia. This was not uncommon before the anti-miscegenation law of 1662.

Here is a link to a recent article on this subject

Another current theory is that those known as Melungeons in 1800s & 1900s claimed  Portuguese ancestry in order to avoid any social stigma or discrimination that might occur if they were believed to have African or Native American origins.

While possible, I am not certain that this is entirely true. Here's why:

In an excellent paper published 2011 by Roberta Estes, Jack H Goin, Penny Ferguson and Janet Lewis, Crain, entitled "Melungeons, a Multi-Ethnic Population", the latest Y-DNA results for the various familial surnames known to be Melungeon are presented.  Some  of the surnames/familial groups  have Y-DNA haplogroups which are Sub-Saharan African. Some  have Y haplogroups which are definitely European in origin.

This is the case with the surname RIDDLE.  It is considered to be a Melungeon surname, when occurring in southwestern Virginia, particularly Lee Co Virginia,  or Eastern Tennessee, particularly Hawkins Co or Hancock Co Tennessee.

The suspected patriarch was MOSES RIDDLE b abt 1716 probably Hanover Co Virginia.  On a 1755  tax list for Orange Co NC, MOSES RIDDLE & his wife MARY GIBSON were called "mulattoes" (bear in mind that at that time this term could mean a person of ANY mixed race, not just African & European); in the 1767 Pittsylvania Co Virginia Tax list, he is named as "MOSES RIDLE, Indian" living next to "WILLIAM RIDLE"--who is not listed as Indian.

The RIDDLE descendants who have been tested for Y-DNA so far have had the Y haplogroup R1b1b2a1b  and R1b1b2--which are European in origin.

It is thought that this "William Ridle" of the 1767 Pittsylvania Co Virginia tax list
1) was the  son of MOSES RIDDLE known as Indian or Mulatto,
2) was the Loyalist Capt WILLIAM THOMAS RIDDLE who was living in Montgomery Co Virginia at the time of the Revolution, and
3) was hung as a traitor in May of 1781.

I am uncertain what proof exists to connect the two men, beyond the fact that they and other Melungeon families such as the COLLINs, BUNCHs and GIBSONs were intermarried & migrated  together through the same areas in Virginia, Kentucky & Tennessee.

If my ggg grandmother HAPPY who married MOSES WHITECOTTON was indeed descended from these RIDDLEs, then we would have an explanation for the copper-olive skin & straight black hair that led my great grandmother to believe she was Cherokee.

(side note--the Native American ancestry of Melungeons has never been considered to be Cherokee, since the earliest Melungeons had roots in eastern Virginia--not an area in which the Cherokee ever lived)

But here is where so many questions arise.

--if Capt WILLIAM RIDDLE the Loyalist was indeed that "William Ridle" on the 1767 Pittsylvania Co VA tax list, and the son of "Moses Ridle, Indian"--why wasn't WILLIAM listed as Indian as well??  One would think that this fact would have been mentioned in the court documents that exist for the family in Montgomery Co Virginia in 1780-1782.  The court records name him as WILLIAM RIDDLE, his wife HAPPY (or HOPPE) and two of his sons (JOHN & JAMES) who were indentured or "bound out" at a very young age, after being orphaned.  I am relatively certain this is the same family  whose antecedents  migrated to Russell / Lee Co Virginia, and from there to Cumberland Co Kentucky or Hawkins, Hancock, Bledsoe & Bradley Co Tennessee (see the book "Annals of Southwest Virginia 1769-1800" by Lewis Preston Summers for transcriptions of the Montgomery Co VA court records)

 --If the RIDDLE's are Melungeon--part white, Native american & African--why doesn't that show up in my DNA test?

According to my autosomal DNA tests from 23andMe and Family Tree DNA, my ethnic admixture is 100% European.  My brother's test shows virtually the same admixture.

Two descendants of LINDLEY WHITECOTTON, the eldest son of HAPPY & MOSES WHITECOTTON, also have been tested. Their ethnic admixture is also 100% European.

Neither my brother & I nor the two descendants of LINDLEY WHITECOTTON have any Native American or sub-Saharan African DNA.  But all of us have southern European ancestry--Italian, Balkan & "non-specific"--and that can't be accounted for in my family's case (I am not certain what Portuguese ancestry would look like, but it's worth finding out!).

--Was HAPPY actually a RIDDLE, and was she actually a descendant of Capt WILLIAM RIDDLE & HARRIET "HAPPY" ROGERS?  There are some inaccuracies on the 1906 application to the Eastern Cherokee Tribe made by my great grandmother SILOAMA WHITECOTTON BRUTON.  Was she mistaken about HAPPY's maiden name? (my instincts say no--see my previous blog post).

My work has just begun on this family.  There is, apparently, a lot of confusion & misinformation on the family of MOSES RIDDLE & MARY GIBSON, and the family of Capt WILLIAM RIDDLE & HARRIET "HAPPY" ROGERS.  Not all information I have found online or in books is actually based on the records available.

I am hoping to eventually be able to separate fact from fiction.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2013