Children of John Hammons (1770/2 – 1828) and His Whitlock Wife

As the previous posting notes, when Becky Shrader deposed on 20 April 1831 in the Warren County, Tennessee, chancery court case of John Hammons’s children and their uncle Leroy Hammons against Thomas Hopkins and George Layne,[1] she was asked to state the names of John Hammons’s children. She replied,

There are six now living, two dead, Polly, the wife of Andrew Miller, Charles, Woodson, Nancy, Betsy and Leroy Hammons.

As also noted in the previous posting, the complaint that initiated this lawsuit in 1828 lists John Hammons’s children as Charles, Woodson, Nancy, Elizabeth, Leroy (a minor under guardianship of his brother Charles), and Andrew Miller and wife Polly of the Western District of Tennessee. Note that Becky Shrader named Polly Hammons Miller first in the list of John Hammons’s children. Otherwise, the order of the children in both documents is the same. As the posting I link above states, Becky Shrader’s ordering of the names suggests to me that, though researchers have often taken Charles to be John Hammons’s oldest son, Mary/Polly, who married Andrew Miller, may have been his first-born child by his Whitlock wife. But I have yet to find information that would allow me to estimate when Andrew Miller’s wife Polly was born ….

Five of John Hammons’s children named in the two preceding documents are then named in a 2 April 1838 document filed in Warren County’s deed books regarding the lawsuit of their uncle Leroy Hammons and Elisha Reynolds against them are named again in the order of the 1828 legal complaint.[2] Since John’s daughter Elizabeth was clearly still living when this list was compiled, I don’t know why her name was omitted from it.

Here’s what I know about the six children of John Hammons who survived him:

a. Mary/Polly Hammons: without proof of this supposition, I’m inclined to think that Mary was the oldest child of John Hammons and ? Whitlock, and that this is the reason Becky Shrader lists her first in the list of John’s children. I think the other two lists of John’s children cited above place her last because she was the one child still living in Tennessee when these lists were compiled. The others had gone to Jackson County, Alabama, when John Hammons moved there in 1819-1820.

I know next to nothing about Andrew and Polly Hammons Miller. As the previous posting indicates, Andrew Miller witnessed a 22 August 1818 deed by his father-in-law John Hammons to Gerard Scott of land on Hickory Creek in Warren County, Tennessee.[3] Four days later, when John Hammons sold land to John Engledove in Warren County, Andrew Miller again witnessed the deed.[4]

Warren County, Tennessee, Tax List 1812, p. 11, available digitally at Ancestry

Andrew was of age by 1812 when he was taxed in Warren County in the tax list of John Hammons Sr.[5] On the same page are John Hammons Sr. and Jr. and James Brooks, brother of Thomas Brooks, who married Sarah Whitlock, a sister of the wife of John Hammons Jr. On the preceding page are John Hammons Jr.’s brothers Woodson and Leroy. As the Combs-Coombs &c. Research Group notes in offering a transcription of this tax list at its Combs-Coombs &c. website, most of the persons enumerated in John Hammons Sr.’s tax list in Warren County in 1812 have roots in Grayson County, Virginia, especially in the part of that county that later became Carroll County, with land included that was earlier in Patrick County where the Hammons family lived before moving to Tennessee. As the same source notes, this area was on the Virginia-North Carolina line and many of the same individuals are in Surry County, North Carolina, records. A footnote to the transcript of the tax list offered by this page identifies John Hammons Sr. as “John Hammons, Senr, one of several oft-confused John Hammons who were earlier in Surry Co NC, d 1820-1823, Warren County, Tennessee. Primary researcher of the HAMMONS and related surnames is Margaret Austin.”

More than this, I unfortunately cannot tell you at present about Andrew Miller and his wife Mary/Polly Hammons. If she was born prior to her brother Charles, then I think she may have been born about 1794-5, and that Andrew Miller would have been in her age range or slightly older.

b. Charles Whitlock Hammons was born in 1796 according to the 1850 federal census for Cherokee County, Texas, and the 1860 federal mortality schedule.[6] As noted previously, the 1850 census places Charles’s birth in Kentucky and the 1860 mortality schedule has him born in Virginia. As the posting I’ve just linked also states, I’m confident that Charles’s middle name was Whitlock, and that he was named for his uncle Charles Whitlock who died in Wythe County, Virginia, in April 1796 when a tree fell on him. Charles’s oldest son Thomas Jefferson Hammons named a son Charles Whitlock Hammons, it might also be noted.[7] As also noted previously, Charles’s descendant Roger Hammons thinks that Charles was born in Lincoln County, Kentucky, soon after his father moved there from Patrick County, Virginia.

Charles W. Hammons was married by 1830, when he appears on the federal census in Jackson County, Alabama, aged 20-29, with a wife in the same age range and two sons under 5.[8] I think Charles is likely the Charles Hammons who served in Captain John Chism’s company of the 1st Volunteer Mounted Gunmen, West Tennessee, during the War of 1812.[9] Charles is definitely the Charles W. Hammons who served in Norwood’s company of the 2nd Alabama Mounted Volunteers during the Creek War.[10] As Roger C. Nance and Beverly E. Bastian note, in June 1838, Colonel John Norwood mustered ten companies of men at old Bellefonte (now defunct) in Jackson County, Alabama, for service against the Creeks.[11] As we’ll see below, Charles’s brothers Woodson and Leroy served in this same military unit with him in the campaign against the Creeks.

I haven’t found a record of the name of Charles’s first wife. His second wife, whom it appears he met while in the Creek War, was Eliza, daughter of Dennison Darling. Charles gave bond for their marriage with William H. (Weackes?) in Mobile, Alabama, on 5 April 1838.[12]  (See the digital image at the head of the posting.) By 1840 Charles and his family begin to appear in records of DeKalb County, the next county south from Jackson County, which was formed in 1836 when, under force, the Cherokee Nation ceded land to the state of Alabama. Charles appears on the 1840 federal census in DeKalb County, this time listed as aged 40-49.[13] Charles purchased 40.19 acres of federal land in DeKalb County from the federal land office in Huntsville on 1 October 1845. He had previously bought 138 acres of federal land in Jackson County from the Huntsville land office on 1 June 1831. As we’ll see below, on this same day, Charles’s siblings Woodson, Nancy, and Leroy also purchased federal land in Jackson County at the Huntsville land office. All these siblings bought land in township 3 south range 7 east.

In 1849, Charles W. Hammons moved his family from DeKalb County, Alabama, to Cherokee County, Texas, where, as noted above, he died in 1860. The 1860 federal census shows his widow Eliza living at Rusk in Cherokee County.[14]

The children of Charles W. Hammons by his first wife, whose name I haven’t found, are as follows:

aa. Thomas Jefferson Hammons was born 17 February 1827 in Jackson County, Alabama, and died 16 August 1908 at Burnet, Burnet County, Texas. On 23 November 1851 in Cherokee County, Texas, he married Margaret Katherine, daughter of Alfred Adams Atkinson and Rebecca Nancy Smitherman. Thomas is buried in Bluffton cemetery at Bluffton in Llano County, Texas, and Margaret in Palo Verde Baptist cemetery at Palo Verde in Maricopa County, Arizona.

bb. John W. Hammons was born about 1829 in Jackson County, Alabama. On 9 February 1851 in Cherokee County, Texas, he married Nancy Caroline, daughter of Jesse and Ruth Evans. John evidently died in Cherokee County prior to 24 July 1854 when Nancy C. Hammons married James Clark Burleson in Jackson County, Texas.

cc. Susannah Hammons was born in 1831 in Jackson County, Alabama, and died 4 June 1880 at Burnet in Burnet County, Texas. On 26 June 1851 in Cherokee County, she married Alexander MacDonald Croft. Both are buried at Bluffton cemetery, Bluffton, Llano County, Texas.

dd. Polly Ann Hammons was born 21 September 1833 in Jackson County, Alabama, and died 18 June 1874 in Texas. On 31 July 1857 in Cherokee County, Texas, she married John Thomason. Polly is buried at Bluffton cemetery, Bluffton, Llano County, Texas.

Charles W. Hammons’s children by his second wife Eliza Darling are as follows:

ee. Stephen A. Hammons was born in 1838 in DeKalb County, Alabama. On 28 January 1866 in Cherokee County, he married Rebecca Ann Atkinson, a sister of Margaret Katherine Atkinson who married Stephen’s half-brother Thomas Jefferson Hammons. I don’t find this couple on the 1870 federal census or on subsequent censuses. I don’t have a date and place of death for either.

ff. Mary A. Hammons was born about 1841 in DeKalb County, Alabama. On 22 August 1861 in Dallas County, Texas, she married James H. Beeman. Mary seems to have died between 1870, when she is listed as James’s wife on the federal census of that year in Burnet County, Texas, and 26 March 1885, when James married Martha E. Allen in Burnet County. Mary Ann may, in fact, have died prior to 1880, since James appears with a different wife, Mary F., on the 1880 federal census in Edwards County, Texas. 

gg. Sarah Elizabeth Hammons was born 23 March 1844 in DeKalb County, Alabama, and died 17 October 1885 at Burnet in Burnet County, Texas. On 12 January 1865 in Cherokee County, Texas, she married Albert A. Atkinson, a brother of Margaret Katherine Atkinson who married Sarah Elizabeth’s half-brother Thomas Jefferson Hammons and Rebecca Ann Atkinson who married Sarah Elizabeth’s brother Stephen. Sarah Elizabeth and husband Albert are buried in Odd Fellows cemetery at Burnet, Burnet County, Texas.

hh. Nancy J. Hammons was born about 1848 in DeKalb County, Alabama, and died after 1880, probably in Burnet County, Texas. On the 1880 federal census, she was living, unmarried, with her sister Sarah Elizabeth and husband Albert A. Atkinson in Burnet County.

ii. Margaret A. Hammons was born 8 July 1850 in Cherokee County, Texas, and died 11 April 1880 at Bluffton in Llano County, Texas. She married Elias Pullen. Both are buried at Bluffton cemetery, Bluffton, Llano County.

c. Woodson Hammons was born between 1800-5 in Wayne County, Kentucky. The 1830 federal census lists him in Jackson County, Alabama, aged 20-29 with a female in the same age bracket in his household, a male 15-19, and 2 males under 5.[15] The presence the two younger males in the household makes me think that he had married prior to 1830, though I have not found information about his wife or any children he may have had. I suspect that the male aged 15-19 in the household is Woodson’s brother Leroy, who, as I stated in a previous posting, appears to have been born 1811-1814. Woodson was of age when he was appointed a constable in Jackson County on 3 March 1823.[16] This record seems to place his birth prior to 1805.

On 1 June 1831, Woodson bought 80.12 acres of land in Jackson County from the federal land office at Huntsville. As noted previously, Woodson’s brother Charles bought federal land in Jackson County at the Huntsville land office on the same day. As we’ll see in a moment, on the same day their sister Nancy and brother Leroy also bought federal land in Jackson County at the Huntsville land office.

On 5 June 1832, Woodson was commissioned a justice of the peace in Jackson County.[17]

In 1837, Woodson was a first lieutenant in Co. G, Colonel Benjamin Snodgrass’s North Alabama Mounted Volunteers in the Florida War.[18] His brother Leroy served in the same company in this military action.

In the Cherokee removal of 1838, Woodson was a private in Wann’s company of Norwood’s Battalion of Alabama Militia.[19] In the same year, Woodson served with brothers Charles and Leroy as a private in Colonel John Norwood’s company of the 2nd Alabama Mounted Volunteers in the Creek War.[20]

I don’t find Woodson Hammons on the 1840 federal census. It appears he died at some point between 1838 and 1840. A Christianna Hammon appears on the 1840 census in Jackson County, Alabama, as head of her household. Her household does have two young males aged 15-19 in it who could match the two males under 5 in the household of Woodson Hammons in 1830. But if this is the widow of Woodson Hammons, then note that there is not a woman aged 30-39 in the household to match the woman 20-29 in his household in 1830. There’s a female aged 20-29, one aged 50-59, and one aged 80-89 in the household.

d. Nancy Hammons: if, as I’m proposing, the 1828, 1831, and 1838 lists of John Hammons’s children cited above are naming them by birth order (with the exception of Mary in two of the lists, since she and husband Andrew Miller were living in Tennessee apart from the other Hammons siblings in Alabama), then Nancy was born after Woodson, whose birthdate appears to fall between 1800-1805, and before Elizabeth and Leroy. Elizabeth was born 20 July 1808. As I state above, Leroy seems to have been born 1811-1814. This information suggests to me that Nancy may have been born either a bit before or after 1805, with Elizabeth following her in 1808. 

Records for Nancy are sparse. On 1 June 1831, the same day on which her older brothers Charles and Woodson purchased federal land in Jackson County, Alabama, from the federal land office at Huntsville, Nancy also purchased a tract of federal land. As stated below, on the same date, Nancy’s younger brother Leroy also bought federal land in Jackson County at the federal land office.

Nancy was still living on 2 April 1838 when a record was filed in Warren County, Tennessee, regarding the lawsuit of their uncle Leroy Hammons and Elisha Reynolds against John Hammons’s children.[21] I have not found a record of her after that. Margaret Austin thought that Nancy Hammons likely died unmarried, and I suspect that’s correct.   

e. Elizabeth Hammons was likely born between 1805-1810 — my reasons for suggesting this are stated above — and perhaps closer to 1810 than 1805. She’s consistently listed after her sister Nancy in the lists of John Hammons’s children cited above. When Becky Shrader deposed about John Hammons’s children in Warren County, Tennessee, court on 20 April 1831, she stated that Betsy had married a Henderson.[22] Since Elizabeth seems to have had the surname Hammons when the 1828 lawsuit of John Hammons’s children and their uncle Leroy Hammons against Thomas Hopkins and George Layne was initiated, it seems she married between 1828-1831.[23]

Note: as this subsequent posting notes, I now know from Elizabeth’s tombstone in Hogam cemetery at Groesbeck in Limestone County, Texas, that she was born 20 July 1808 — evidently in Warren County, Tennessee.

The 1830 federal census shows four Henderson men in Jackson County, Alabama: Noden, King, Carter, and Robert Henderson. Noden appears to have married Mary/Polly Branner. There is no female in the household of King in 1830 that matches the age range in which it seems Elizabeth was born. Carter is said to have married 1) Mary Bosanquet Moreland and 2) Elizabeth Rhoda Kennon. The only Carter man on the 1830 federal census with a female who might match Elizabeth Hammons is Robert Henderson, who has in his household a female aged 15-19. If this is Elizabeth Hammons, then she may have been born around 1810-1811.

Note: as this subsequent posting notes, I now know that she married King L. Henderson in or about 1830 in Jackson County, Alabama, and that she did not die between April 1831 and April 1838, as stated below, but died in Limestone County, Texas, on 13 July 1860. Please see the linked posting for further details.

At some point between 20 April 1831, when she was named as John Hammons’s daughter in Becky Shrader’s deposition, and 2 April 1838, when the children of John Hammons were named in their uncle Leroy Hammons lawsuit filed with Elisha Reynolds against John Hammons’s children, Elizabeth had died, since she is not in this 1838 list of John’s children.

f. Leroy Hammons was born 1811-1814 in Warren County, Tennessee. On my reasons for assigning him this birthdate, see above and also the previous posting. Leroy was not of age in 1828, but was of age by 1 June 1831 when he bought a tract of land in Jackson County, Alabama, at the federal land office in Huntsville along with siblings Charles, Woodson, and Nancy. As I note above, Leroy is likely the male aged 15-19 in the household of his brother Woodson on the 1830 federal census in Jackson County, Alabama.

Jackson County, Alabama, Deed Bk. E, pp. 86-7

On 10 September 1834, Leroy sold to Elijah Earle, both of Jackson County, for $260 88 acres, the southeast part of section 14, township 3, range 7 east, which Leroy had purchased at the federal land office in Huntsville.[24] Leroy signed, with Henry T. Scruggs witnessing. Leroy affirmed the deed on 16 October [sic] and it was recorded.

Photo of Elijah Earle, Cherokee County, Texas, Historical Photograph Collection, at the Portal to Texas History website

Elijah Earle (1804-1880), whose wife Maxey Blanchett was part of the Blanchett family into which Leroy’s aunt Polly Hammons married, was part of an exodus of a group of families including members of the Hammons family from Jackson County, Alabama, to Cherokee County, Texas, in the mid-1840s. These families settled at a place that later came to be called Earle’s Chapel.[25] As noted above, Leroy’s brother Charles Whitlock Hammons moved his family from DeKalb County, Alabama, to Cherokee County, Texas, in 1849 and he died there in 1860.

In 1837, Leroy served as a private in Co. G, Colonel Benjamin Snodgrass’s North Alabama Mounted Volunteers in the Florida War.[26] As previously noted, Leroy’s brother Woodson was a first lieutenant of the same military unit in the Florida War. The following year, Leroy served with his brothers Charles Whitlock Hammons and Woodson Hammons in Colonel John Norwood’s company of the 2nd Alabama Mounted Volunteers during the Creek War.[27]

The last records I find for Leroy Hammons are this 1838 service record and his mention in the 2 April 1838 Warren County, Tennessee, document cited above listing John Hammons’s children and indicating that Leroy was living at that date. I don’t find him on the 1840 federal census.


[1] Tennessee State Library and Archives, box 4, Middle Tennessee Court Cases (1828). Wanda Gant offers transcripts of portions of this case file at the USGenWeb site for Jackson County, Alabama, and the Alabama Genealogy Trails website

[2] Warren County, Tennessee, Deed Bk. L, pp. 204-5.

[3] Warren County, Tennessee, Deed Bk. B, pp. 426-7.

[4] Ibid., pp. 411-2.

[5] Warren County, Tennessee, Tax List 1812, p. 11, available digitally at Ancestry.

[6] 1850 federal census, Cherokee County, Texas, p. 914 (dwelling/family 753, 23 November); and 1860 federal mortality schedule, Cherokee County, Texas, available digitally (in abstract form) at Ancestry with no indication of page number in original document and no digital image of original document.

[7] See Find a Grave memorial page of Thomas Jefferson Hammons, Bluffton cemetery, Bluffton, Llano County, Texas, created by Nicole Rogers Wiebe

[8] 1830 federal census, Jackson County, Alabama, p. 19. The census spells his surname as Hamans.

[9] NARA, Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During Indian Wars and Disturbances, 1815-58 RG 94, available digitally at Fold3. On Chism’s company, see “Regimental Histories of Tennessee Units During the War of 1812” at the Remembering the War of 1812 site.

[10] NARA, Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During Indian Wars and Disturbances, 1815-58 RG 94, available digitally at Fold3.

[11] Roger C. Nance and Beverly E. Bastian, “Report on Old Bellefonte: An Historic Site in Northern Alabama,” typescript submitted to the Tennessee Valley Authority (August 1974), online at the website of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

[12] Mobile County, Alabama, White Marriage Bk. 4, p. 63, available digitally at FamilySearch.

[13] 1840 federal census, DeKalb County, Alabama, p. 162.

[14] 1860 federal census, Cherokee County, Texas, p. 509 (dwelling/family 1259, 13 August).

[15] 1830 federal census, Jackson County, Alabama, p. 14.

[16] Alabama Civil Register of County Officials, vol. 1 (1819-1832), p. 128; see also Valley Leaves 5,3 [March 1971], p. 120.

[17] Alabama Civil Register of County Officials, vol. 1 (1819-1832), p. 421; see also Valley Leaves 5,3 [March 1971], p. 123.

[18] NARA, Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During Indian Wars and Disturbances, 1815-58 RG 94available digitally at FamilySearch.   

[19] Ibid., available digitally at FamilySearch.

[20] Ibid., available digitally at FamilySearch.

[21] See supra, n. 2.

[22] See supra, n. 1.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Jackson County, Alabama, Deed Bk. E, pp. 86-7.

[25] See Bettye Earle Raines, “Earle’s Chapel: A Little History (1840-1990),” excerpted at the Friends of Earle’s Chapel website.

[26] NARA, Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During Indian Wars and Disturbances, 1815-58 RG 94available digitally at FamilySearch

[27] Ibid., available digitally at FamilySearch.

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