Family Trees and Family Stories
 McKay/Stevens Genealogy Pages

Freeman

The ancestors on this page show a strong Southern connection. Both the Freeman and Barron/Barnes familes go back to early Jamestown settlement. There is also a Scandinavian branch of the Freeman family with both Swedish and Finnish ancestors who settled in New Sweden. Documentation of any of the early Virginia settlers is spotty so there is much room for revision here.


Click for a gallery of Freeman photos

The Freeman Family

The origin of the Freeman family in North America is John Freeman arriving in the Virginia Colony in about 1670. The Freemans lived in Barren and Metcalf Counties in Kentucky for over one hundred years, having moved there from Virginia by way of North Carolina. Barren County, like most of south central Kentucky, was settled by Scots-Irish. The first Freeman came into Kentucky in the late 1770s and many in this line were farmers and slave owners before the Civil War.

A Freeman image

John James Freeman (top row, 3rd from left) 1900


Juanita Freeman married David McKay in Indianapolis, Indiana on January 27, 1934. She was born in Williamsville, Illinois where her father was working for the railroad. Juanita's early memories are visits to her aunt Ruth Schmidlap's house in Madison, Indiana. Juanita was a dutiful and devoted daughter to Grace but went against her mother's wishes when she married Dave. Grace refused even to attend her daughter's wedding.

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John Freeman married Grace Barron in Indianapolis, Indiana on February 5, 1911. John died of tuberculosis when Juanita was only six so she had very few memories of him. An only son (he had seven sisters), his mother died just four months after his birth. He grew up in rural Kentucky and tried his hand at farming before deciding that there wasn't a future for him in it. John moved to Indiana for the last ten years of his short life. He worked as a brakeman for railroads.

John died during the influenza epidemic of 1918 but the official cause of death was tuberculosis.

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John Freeman married Patsy Ratliff in Glasgow, Kentucky on December 8, 1870. He spent his whole life in rural Barren and Metcalf Counties in Kentucky. He may have been in a Kentucky Cavalry unit during the Civil War on the Union side.

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George Freeman married Mary Robertson on January 22, 1844 in Barren County, Kentucky. He spent his life as a farmer in this area.

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John Freeman married Mary Polly Gibbons on April 20, 1820 in Barren County, Kentucky. It seems John moved West after the American Revolution, in which he was a soldier. His first child, Charlotte was born in Kentucky about 1780.

John was married three times including to Catherine Jones. She was married to George Dudley Robertson and had a daughter Mary Ellie before he died of cholera in 1833. Catherine then married John Freeman whose first wife Mary Polly Gibbons had died in 1838 (John and Mary Polly had had a son George Washington Freeman in 1819). In 1844 George Washington Freeman married Mary Ellie Robertson. So although they shared no blood relationship, at the time of their wedding George’s father, John, was married to Mary Ellie’s mother, Catherine. That makes Catherine both George's step mother and mother-in-law.

The 1850 census shows John, 85, married to Catherine and living next door to his son George. Both are farmers and John's property value is listed as $1500 and George's is $500. The same year the Slave Schedule for Barren County shows a John Freeman as the owner of seven slaves. There is further evidence in the law suit contesting the will of John Freeman that describes "an estate consisting of the land, slaves and personalty."

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John's parentage is uncertain but it is likely that he is either the son of cousins John Aaron Freeman (1718-1784) or John Freeman (1723-1793). Both of them are the grandsons of William Freeman so I will continue the lineage from there.

William Freeman married Mary Cording. William was in Lower Norfolk, Virginia as a young man, along with his brother John where he met and married Mary. William and Mary relocated to the Catherine Creek Swamp near Cypress branch in Chowan Precinct, North Carolina in about 1716. William became a wealthy and prominent planter of the Albermarle and Chowan County areas. He owned large amounts of land and several slaves. At the time of his death he owned five plantations.

Mary is the daughter of Thomas Cording. Thomas was the son of Richard Cording and Anne Browne. Richard is well documented as a physician in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia. There are many public records of Richard's career as a chirugeon (surgeon).

Anne's father was Thomas Browne, an early Virginia settler. In 1637 Thomas Browne was the headright and servant of George Holmes of James City near Archer’s Hope. By 1666 Thomas had added 1,210 acres to his holdings.

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John Freeman married Hannah Horn. John arrived in Virginia from Bristol England as an indentured servant on the ship Submission in the year 1670. By 1676 John owned 400 acres for transportation of himself and seven other people just north of the Great Dismal Swamp (see map).

Hannah was the daughter of immigrants Thomas Horn and Mary Yates.

Freeman/Robertson

The Robertson Family

The Robertson family was among the first to migrate from Virginia to Kentucky after arriving from Scotland.


Mary Robertson married George Freeman on January 22, 1844 in Barren County, Kentucky.

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George Dudley Robertson married Catherine Jones on January 2, 1817 in Washington County, Kentucky. George was a blacksmith. He died of cholera in 1833 at 39 years old leaving his wife with small children, including a son born after his death. She soon remarried John Freeman.

Catherine Jones was married to George Robertson and had a daughter Mary Ellie before George died. Catherine then married John Freeman whose first wife Mary Polly Gibbons had died in 1838 (John and Mary Polly had had a son George Washington Freeman in 1819). In 1844 George Washington Freeman married Mary Ellie Robertson. So although they shared no blood relationship, at the time of their wedding George’s father, John, was married to Mary Ellie’s mother, Catherine. Nothing is known about Catherine's parents although it is known that they were from the Shenandoah Valley.

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A Scottish image

Scotland connection

Samuel Robertson married Hannah Jackman about 1797 in Kentucky. Samuel was born in Elgin, Scotland. Both had been previously married. Hannah's first husband, John Smith died shortly before she remarried. Samuel had been married to Mary Hardin. When Virginia opened the new lands of Kentucky to claims and settlement in 1779, Samuel Robertson moved with his wife Mary and some of her relatives and Samuel's children down the Monongahela River. They then traveled on down the Ohio to a little east of present Portsmouth, Ohio, and the mouth of the Scioto River. There, on March 20, 1780, in what is today Washington County, Kentucky, they were ambushed by Indians. Samuel lost his wife and two children in the raid.

Samuel shows up on the tax rolls in 1789 in Washington County, Kentucky with a household that includes one slave. He acquired significant property holdings in the area. Samuel's parents are uncertain.


Freeman/Robertson/Jackman

The Jackman Family

The Jackman and James families have Cornish roots. Later generations moved from Virginia to Kentucky.


Hannah Jackman married Samuel Robertson about 1797 in Kentucky. Hannah had been married previously to John Smith. They had moved from Virginia to Kentucky in the mid-1790s. In her father's will of 1782, she had been left a Negro slave named Nan.

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Thomas Jackman married Elizabeth Wright about 1738 in King George County, Virginia. Thomas was a planter and slave owner. Thomas was also a member of the colonial militia.

Elizabeth (Hester Lee) Wright married Thomas Jackman about 1738 in King George County, Virginia. Hester lee's father, Joseph Lee Wright, married Ann/Susanne Walker. Little is known about Elizabeth's father, or his parents other than that he was born in 1680, lived in Westmoreland County, Virginia and died in 1760 in Fauquier County, Virginia.

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A Cornish image

Cornwall connection

Thomas Jackman married Prudence James on February 14, 1708 in Cornwall, England. He was "imported" by Paul Harralson, i.e., Harralson received a "headright" -- 480 acres of land -- for paying for the passage of Thomas and another man..

Prudence is the daughter of John James and Ursula Roberts who married on January 31, 1684 in St. Keverne, Cornwall.

Freeman/Gibbons

The Gibbons Family

The Gibbons family name has been variously spelled Gibbens, Givens, and Gibbons. hey are most likely descended from English ancestor John Gibbons who emigrated to Virginia in 1641.


Mary Polly Gibbons married John Freeman on April 20, 1820 in Barren County, Kentucky.

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Francis Gibbons married Susanna Cox on March 6, 1800 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. There is conflicting information about Francis' origins. I have chosen to go with research by the Gibbins family shown on Francis' individual page. It shows Francis as the son of his father's second marriage born in North Carolina. Other documentation states that Francis and Susanna moved from North Carolina to South Carolina early in their marriage. They later moved to Barren County, Kentucky where Francis died.

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John Gibbons, Jr. married Mary (last name unknown). In 1778 John and Mary moved to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

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John B. Gibbons Sr. married Rebecca (last name uncertain, possibly Easton) in 1733 in York County, Virginia. They had nine children. John's will shows that he was a significant slave owner, leaving four slaves to his wife and others to his children.

Rebecca supported the revolution by selling provisions to Washington's army and after her death her home was used to quarter General Washington.
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Thomas Gibbons, Jr. married Sarah Creech (or Cairox) about 1700. He was he sheriff of York County, Virginia in the 1690's.

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Thomas Gibbons, Sr. married Mary Helen Seratt about 1665 in Virginia. When he was about 20 years old he joined and participated in what was called Bacons Rebellion, led by a man named Nathaniel Bacon, against the rule of the Kings appointed Governor of Virginia , William Berkeley. On July 3, 1667 Thomas confessed to killing several of Arthur Allen's cattle for food. Thomas was later included in a list of pardoned rebels, by the King of England. He received a land grant in Surry County, Virginia.

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John Gibbons married (first name unknown, possibly Mary) in about 1644 in Accomack, Virginia. John came to the Colony of Virginia in 1641 as a headright of William Burdett. He sometime later returned to England and died there in 1654.


Freeman/Gibbons/Cox

The Cox Family

The Cox family in America originated with settlers in New Sweden.


Susanna Cox married Francis Gibbons on March 6, 1800. After Francis' death in Kentucky, Susanna moved to Indiana.

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Ephraim Cox married Susannah Person on July 9, 1768 in Rowan County, North Carolina. In 1787 he was granted 400 acres of land in Greene County, North Carolina and acquired land in Wilkes County, North Carolina in 1779.

Susannah was the daughter of Englisj immigrant Denny Person but nothing further is known about her family. She may have been born in America or traveled to North America with her parent(s).
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Ephraim Cox married Maria Keen before 1750. Ephraim and Maria probably moved from New Jersey to North Carolina about the time they got married. The earliest record of Ephraim Cox in Rowan County, North Carolina dates to 1753, the same year that county was created from Anson County.

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Gabriel Petersson Cock married Anna Nilsdotter. Gabriel inherited Carpenter's Island from his parents, but sold it in 1714 and moved his family to St. George’s Creek, Delaware. The island is now the site of the Philadelphia airport.

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A Swedish image

Swedish connection

Peter Larrson Kock married Margaret Lom in 1643. Peter Larsson was given his surname Kock, "cook" in Swedish, because he served in this capacity in 1641 when he was sent to New Sweden from Stockholm on the ship Charitas. Margaret and her family had also come over on the Charitas, on the same trip. The name Kock evolved into Cock, and among his descendants finally became Cox.

Born in 1610 in Bångsta, a hamlet in Turinge parish, Södermanland (now Stockholm Län), Sweden, Peter had been an imprisoned soldier at Smedjegården in Stockholm. The reason for his imprisonment is not known.

Peter and Margaret lived on two islands at the mouth of the Schuykill, later known as Fisher’s Island and Carpenter’s Island. His plantation there was called 'Kipha'. A farmer, like almost all of the Swedes, he became relatively prosperous by the standards of the time. They had thirteen children.

He served on the court of justice under the Swedes, Dutch, and English. He was a magistrate under Dutch rule, a justice under the English, and a councilor under the Duke of York.

An excellent summary of Peter's life can be found here. Click here to see the history of New Sweden.


Freeman/Gibbons/Cox/Frande

The Frand (Friend) Family

Nils Larsson, adopted the surname Frände, meaning "kinsman" in Swedish. Ultimately this became Friend for later generations.


Maria Frande (Friend) married Gabriel Cock in 1687. They had eight children.

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Nils Larsson married Anna Andersdotter in 1659 in Upland, Pennsylvania. He is believed to have arrived in "New Sweden", a settlement in Upland aboard the ship "Swan" in 1648.

Nils was a prominent member of New Sweden. The land he once owned in present day Bucks County, was the land he traded to William Penn (where the Pennsbury estate was built) in return for 800 acres east of Red Clay Creek in New Castle County.

The earliest Courts of Upland were held in his home and the "House of Defence", built on his land, was where the Courts under the English government were held for some time. There is evidence that he acted as an arbitrator by appointment as early as 1673 and at the time of his death in 1686, Nils was serving as constable for Chester township.


Freeman/Gibbons/Cox/Frande/Andersson

The Andersson Family

The first of the Andersson family who came to New Sweden was actually Finnish.


Anna Andersdotter married Nils Larsson in 1659 in Upland, Pennsylvania. It is probable that Anna arrived in New Sweden on the Mercurius in March 1656. After Nils' death Anne survived him by about 40 years and was referred to as "...Anne Friend widow and Relict of Nils Larsson also Friend late of Chester also Upland deceased..."

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An Finland image

Finnish connection

Anders Andersson married Christina Gulbrant in 1626 in Strängnäs, Södermanlands län, Sweden. Anders, known as "The Finn," arrived in America in 1643 with his family. He was formerly a soldier at Fort Älvsborg in Sweden and had been banished to New Sweden as punishment for some undisclosed crime. By 1644 Anders the Finn had become a freeman, having served out his sentence. Like several other Finns he resided in an area known as Finland, located west of Upland (now Chester) Creek.

Anders had legal problems with the Governor and with some of his neighbors. Finally he decided to move. After the English captured the Delaware from the Dutch in 1664, Anders the Finn moved his family to join other Finnish families at Deer Point on the north side of Christina Creek where he built a mill.

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The Extended Freeman Family

A Freeman image

Freeman/Barron

The Barron/Barnes Family

The Barron/Barnes family originated in America in Jamestown, Virginia in the earliest colonial period. One hundred and fifty years later Bingamond Barnes moved to Kentucky and a generation after that the Barnes family ended up in Indiana, farming in Jennings County. The women who married into the Barnes family are especially poorly documented.


A Barron image

Grace and Ruth Barron

Lillian "Grace" Barron married John Freeman on February 5, 1911 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Grace lost both her mother and husband at an early age. Grace's mother, Lucy, died in 1901 when Grace was about 11. She lived in Seymour, Indiana with her father and siblings until 1903 when they moved to Indianapolis where she met John. Her husband John died in 1918 after only seven years of marriage.

After John's death Grace was left to support her two young children working as a winder at the Metso Company and an assembler at the PR Mallory Company in Indianapolis. Finances were always tight in the family but during the depression, Fairbanks and Morris where Grace worked moved to Wisconsin and Grace lost her job. Rather than move with the company, she stayed in Indianapolis and the family made it through this rough period. Grace died quietly resting in an easy chair after ironing of a heart attack in 1952.

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William Barron married Mamie Jordan. William's occupations were listed on the census as teamster in 1900 and transfer wagon driver in 1910.

Unfortunately I have been able to uncover very little information about William's life but his death made the local newspapers. On December 5, 1915 William was found dead in street clothes on his bed by his son Charles. An autopsy indicated that he died from a blow to the back of his head. Whether there was foul play or he died in a fall was never conclusively determined.

William's parentage was difficult to track down. There are very few Barrons (or Barens or Baron or Barron) that match the location and time. A newspaper article at William's death stated that he had a brother Thad Barrons. Thaddeus Barrons married in 1913 and listed his parents as George and Rosana Barrons.

The reason for the difficulty seems to be that William's father's birth surname was Barnes not Barrons. Dave McKay's notes on the Barron family listed William's last name as Barron/Barnes. There are a great many members of the Barnes family in Jennings County and Seymour, Indiana in the 1800's.

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George W Barnes was married to Rosana Anderson (although she might have been his second wife). He was a farmer. In May 1910 he was an inmate at the Jennings County Poor Asylum at age 77. George and his sons William and Thaddeus must have been estranged.

What is a Poor Farm?

Poor Farms were tax-supported residential institutions to which people were required to go if they could not support themselves. They were started as a method of providing a less expensive (to the taxpayers) alternative to what we would now call "welfare" - what was called "outdoor relief" in those days. People requested help from the community Overseer of the Poor, who was an elected official. If the need was great or likely to be long-term, they were sent to the poorhouse instead of being given relief while they continued to live independently. Sometimes they were sent there even if they had not requested help from the Overseer of the Poor. That was usually done when they were found to be unable to care for themselves (such as being unable to purchase firewood or food). Many times it would be women whose husband had died or left them, or older people who could no longer earn an income.

The Jennings County "Poor Farm" has had a number of names, it has also been called the "Poor Asylum", "Asylum for the Poor", "Alms House", "Old Folks Home and "County Infirmary."

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Reuben Barnes married Susannah Fowler about 1824. He lived at least the last fifteen years of his life with his son, William, and he was described on the 1850 census form as "Insane".

Susannah's father, James Fowler married Jane Hays in Virginia. They moved to Kentucky about 1800. By 1820 they had relocated to Jennings County, Indiana.
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Bingamond Barnes married Eleanor Stapleman in 1794 in Culpeper, Virginia. They must have moved west to Kentucky soon after their wedding. Bingamond served multiple tours of duty during the Revolutionary War. He first served under General Lafayette in Virginia. He later served under Col. Edwards at the siege of Yorktown. He spent most of the rest of his life in Gallatin County, Kentucky.

There is no information on Eleanor's ancestry.
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Francis Barnes married Mary Jane McGannon about 1781 in Virginia. According to family lore, Mary Jane was Francis' 2nd wife. His first wife was Elizabeth Mayes and she was the mother of Shadrach, Bingamond, and Judith. It is said that she was Native American but I could find no proof of that. Interestingly Bingamond's brother Shadrach married Frances Mozingo whose ancestry can be reliably traced back to Edward Mozingo, a Black indentured servant brought from the Congo (slavery wasn't an official institution yet) who sued for his freedom and won and who also married a poor white woman since it wasn't outlawed yet.

At the death of Elizabeth's father, William Mayes in Amelia County in 1775, he owned "one Negro Woman Eve, Jude, one Man Peter, one Boy Bob."
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James Barnes married Mary Wilkinson in Albemarle, Virginia in 1720. They had eight children.

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John Barnes married Sarah Raibone in Henrico, Virginia.

Sarah's father Richard Raibone married Elizabeth Sutton in Henrico, Virginia.

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Francis Barnes married Tabitha in 1674 in Virginia.

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James Barnes was the original immigrant leaving London in August 1636 on board The Safety for Virginia.


Freeman/Barron/Wilkinson

The Wilkinson Family

The Wilkinson family is, like many of the families on this page, poorly documented but they were in Virginia for at least five generations.


Mary Wilkinson married James Barnes in Albemarle, Virginia in 1720.

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Richard Wilkinson married Martha Cox on January 7, 1706 in Henrico County, Virginia.

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John Wilkerson married Sarah Royall in about 1669 in Charles City County, Virginia.

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John Wilkerson married Elizabeth Liddle. John came to the Virginia Colony in 1635 on the ship Assurance, arriving in the port of Jamestown. He was sponsored by Rev. William Wilkinson of Norfolk, Virginia.


Freeman/Barron/Wilkinson/Royall

The Royall Family

The Royall and Banks families became among the most affluent in Virginia ta the time.


Sarah Royall married John Wilkerson in about 1669 in Charles City County, Virginia. When she died in 1689 guardianship of her under-aged children Ruth and John went to William and Mary Randolph.

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Joseph Royall married Katherine Banks in 1645 in Henrico, Virginia. At age 20, Joseph came to Virginia on the ship Charitie in July, 1622. By 1637 he was a land owner having 300 acres in Henrico County. He acquired the land through the headright system: "due 50 acres for his own personal adventure, 50 acres for the transportation of his first wife Thomasin, 50 acres for the transportation of Ann, his now wife, 50 for the transportation of his brother Henry, and 100 for the transportation of two (other) persons."

His last and largest land acquisition in 1642, was for 600 acres in Charles City County and was located on the banks of the James above "Shirley Hundred". This tract, long known as "Doghams", became the home of one branch of the Royall family, and it remained in their possession for 277 years.

Katherine was Joseph's third wife. She was born in Northamptonshire, England in 1627, daughter of Christopher Banks. Sometime in the early 1640s, Katherine came to America, landing in Charles City County, west of Jamestown on the James River. It was not long after her arrival that she married her cousin, Joseph Royall, twice a widower and 27 years her senior. After Joseph died, Katherine eventually married their wealthy neighbor, Henry Isham, who had come to America only two years before and was in the process of building a house he named “Bermuda 100 Plantation”. She had two children with Henry. She died December 1, 1686 in Henrico County. Katherine Banks Royall Isham was great-great grandmother to Thomas Jefferson.

A more detailed history of Katherine can be found here.


Continued in column 3...

Links to the Extended Freeman Family

McKay

Freeman

Barron

The Barron/Barnes family traces its roots back to Jamestown, Virginia. The Jordan and Schmidlapp connections show a strong Irish and German ancestry.


Ratliff

The Ratliff family connected to the McKays came to Kentucky about 1795 in the preson of Rueben and all were Kentuckyians through Patsy who married John Freeman in 1870. The Mize and Quisenberry families also have a significant history in Kentucky.


Robertson

The Robertson family traces back to Scotland one generation before Mary Robertson married George Freeman.


Gibbons

There is very little known of Franics Gibbons' roots but his wife Susannah Cox's ancestry if deeply connected to the only Swedish settlements in the New World.

Cox


General History

History

Migration

Details


FOOTNOTES

[1] William Daniel Tolle's writings, published in "Backroads of Barren County."

[2] A History of Kentucky Baptists From 1769 to 1885, Including More Than 800 Biographical Sketches, J. H. Spencer

[3]The Leland Magazine: Or, A Genealogical Record of Henry Leland, and His Descendants ... Embracing Nearly Every Person of the Name of Leland in America, from 1653 to 1850 by Sherman Leland

[4]History of the Town of Winchendon, From the Grant of the Township by the Legislature of Massachusetts in 1735, to the Present Time by Ezra Hyde