John Blevins &
John Blevins, possibly the son of James Blevins, Sr., was probably born in the 1760's and d. Aug. 10, 1816, in Grayson Co., VA. He married Catherine Cox, daughter of David COX, Sr., & Margaret Ann MCGOWAN, abt. 1785. She was born Mar. 9, 1769, in Botetourt Co., VA, and died Jan. 2, 1843, in Grayson Co., VA. John and Catherine Blevins are said to be buried in a family cemetery near Delhart, Grayson Co., VA. See Jackie Blevins Cemetery
Children of John Blevins & Catherine Cox:
- +Dillon Blevins, b. May 18, 1789, Montgomery Co., VA; d. Jan. 4, 1817, Grayson Co., VA; m. Mary "Polly" ISOM, daughter of John ISOM, Apr. 7, 1812.
- David Blevins, born Apr. 8, 1791, Wythe Co., VA; d. Aug. 5, 1828 (dates from John Blevins Bible; no further information).
- James Blevins, b. Apr. 29, 1793, Grayson Co., VA; d. Nov. 3, 1881, Grayson Co., VA; m. Charity MCKNIGHT, daughter of William MCKNIGHT & Matilda HOLEMAN, Nov. 1, 1833, Grayson Co., VA (b. abt. 1791; d. 1860-1870). Charity MCKNIGHT was the widow of John ISOM of Grayson Co., VA, who died in 1829; this is proven by a deed executed Dec. 13, 1837, by James BLEVINS & Charity his wife "widow and relict of John ISOM, deceased". Some sources claim that this is the James Blevins who married Lydia SIZEMORE, daughter of George SIZEMORE of Ashe Co., NC. However, it appears that data on two different James Blevins may be confused. The James Blevins who married Lydia Sizemore supposedly died in 1820, but James Blevins, son of John Blevins, died in 1881. He is listed in the 1880 census of Grayson Co., VA, living with his step-grandson James POOLE (son of John POOLE who married Elizabeth ISOM). The children of James Blevins & Lydia Sizemore lived around Prathers Creek in Ashe (Alleghany) Co., NC, where James Blevins (a neighbor of George Sizemore) first obtained land in 1801, meaning he was probably born no later than 1781, and cannot be the James Blevins who was born in 1793.
- John Blevins, b. Aug. 4, 1795, Grayson Co., VA; d. Sept. 3, 1875 [Grayson death register] or Sept. 12, 1876 [Bible record] or Sept. 27, 1876 [gravestone]; m. Adeline COX, daughter of Samuel COX & Rebecca OSBORNE, abt. 1835 (b. Feb. 26, 1813; d. Mar. 21, 1899); bur. John Blevins Cemetery, Route 626, Peach Bottom, Grayson Co., VA. Rebecca COX (age 87) is listed with John & Adeline Blevins in the 1870 census. Children: Nancy Blevins (c.1836), Haywood Blevins (1837), Granville Blevins (c.1841), Rebecca Blevins (c.1844), Phoebe Blevins (c.1848), Houston Blevins (1852).
- Catherine Blevins, b. Nov. 30, 1798, Grayson Co., VA (date from John Blevins Bible; no further information).
- +Margaret Ann Blevins, b. Oct. 25, 1800, Grayson Co., VA; d. Nov. 25, 1895, Alleghany Co., NC; maybe m. (1) George TOLIVER, son of John TOLIVER & Tabitha HOWELL (b. abt. 1798; d. abt. 1826); maybe m. (2) Solomon TOLIVER, son of Jesse TOLIVER & Martha Frances "Franky" STAMPER, abt. 1826 (b. May 13, 1804; d. abt. 1865); maybe bur. Van Reeves Cemetery, Reeves Rd., Alleghany Co., NC.
- +Samuel Blevins, b. Nov. 23, 1802, Grayson Co., VA; d. Sept. 29, 1893, Grayson Co., VA; m. Nancy COX, daughter of Samuel COX & Rebecca OSBORNE, abt. 1836 (b. July 12, 1812; d. July 12, 1854); bur. Samuel Blevins Cemetery, Rte. 787, Sandy Flats, Baywood, Grayson Co., VA.
- +Thomas Jefferson Blevins, b. Nov. 18, 1804, Grayson Co., VA (b.d. from John Blevins Bible record); d. Sept. 1834, Grayson Co., VA (inventory of his estate filed Oct. 1834); m. Phebe WOODRUFF, daughter of John Allen WOODRUFF & Jane MCBRIDE, abt. 1830 (b. abt. 1809; d. aft. 1880).
- Hamilton Blevins, b. Mar. 4, 1807, Grayson Co., VA; d. Sept. 1881 (dates from John Blevins Bible); m. Phebe (possibly WOODRUFF?) (b. abt. 1814). Probably the Hamilton Blevins (age 20-29) on the 1830 Census of Ashe Co., NC; his neighbors (based on the census) included Richard CHEEK as well as various HIGGINS and EDWARDS who lived around the Little River and Crab Creek in Ashe (later Alleghany) County near the Virginia line. Moved to Surry Co., NC, where he appears in the census in 1850 (Skull Camp) and 1860 (Fisher's Gap), then no further records. Children: Calloway Blevins (c.1834), Margaret Blevins (c.1836), Catherine Blevins (c.1838), Lucy Blevins (c.1840), Hamilton Blevins (c.1843), Julia A. Blevins (c.1836), Matilda Blevins (c.1839), Belza Blevins (c.1852), John Blevins (c.1854).
ohn Blevins was one of the early settlers in the Peach Bottom district of what is now southern Grayson County, VA, between the Little River and the New River. This area was originally part of Fincastle County, VA. It became Botetourt County in 1772, Montgomery County in 1777, Wythe County in 1790, and Grayson County in 1793. The Blevins were closely associated with the Cox, Reeves, and Osborne families in Grayson County.
There is conflicting information about John Blevins' parents. Many believe he was a son of James Blevins, Sr. (b. abt. 1740) and Elizabeth Ward. However, some sources indicate that his father was named Daniel Blevins. The second theory is possibly based on the 1787 Delinquent Tax List of Mongtomery Co., VA, which includes a James Blevins "son of Dan." However, this could be a different James Blevins. More honest researchers, perhaps, confess that James Blevins's parents are unproven or unknown. Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusing information about the Blevins.
Several Blevins families arrived southwest Virginia during the 1770's or earlier, and there were at least three different men named James Blevins living in the area during the same time period. James Blevins, Sr. (b. abt. 1740), settled on the Little River and probably the father of sons named James Jr., John, Samuel, Daniel, and William. This family of Blevins were Loyalists (Tories) during the Revolutionary War. Another James Blevins (b. 1762) served in a Patriot company under the command of Flower Swift. He may have been an ex-Quaker from Chestnut Creek. According to some sources, it was James Blevins (1762), not James Blevins Sr. (1740), who married Elizabeth Ward, possibly the daughter of Wells Ward. See James A. Quinn's two articles, "Biographies of the Men in William Herbert's Company" and "Biography and Genealogy of the men in the Flower Swift Militia Company" (New River Notes).
James Blevins Sr. (1740) is thought to have come to the upper New River Valley from Lunenburg County, Virginia, via Halifax and Pittsylvania County. In 1771 or 1772, he purchased the "Andrew Baker tract" and gave it to his son John Blevins who married Catherine Cox. (See Paula Anderson-Green, "The New River Frontier Settlement on the Virginia-North Carolina Border," Virginia Magazine of History & Biography, Vol. 86, pp.413-431 (1978).) The Andrew Baker tract was located in Peach Bottom, now Grayson County, VA. This information comes from two legal cases summarized by Lyman Chalkley in Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement of Virginia, Vol. 2, p.142:
"Beavins (Blevins) vs. Newell -- O. S. 174; N. S. 62 -- Bill, 27th September, 1805. In 1765 or 1768 Andrew BAKER settled and made an improvement on land under the Loyal Company now in Grayson County. Several years afterwards he sold to Jeremiah HARRISON, who also removed to and lived on the land for some time, and sold to James MULKEY, who settled and lived on the land and then sold to James BLEVINS, father of orator John BLEVINS, 1772. James then moved to the land, where he resided until his death, in 1801. In 1790 James NEWEL made an entry on the lands. George REVES [REEVES] deposes that Andrew BAKER was the first settler on the land, in 1768. Copy of survey of 1,000 (4,400?) acres (known as the Peach Bottom) surveyed for Peter JEFFERSON, Thomas and David MERIWETHER, and Thos. WALKER, 16th March, 1753."
"John Cox vs. Newell -- O. S. 174; N. S. 62 -- Similar suit to above. Orator [John BLEVINS] settled in the Loyal Grant in 1765 opposite to Andrew BAKER."
Update: In this context, Chalkey was probably using the word "orator" in its secondary legal sense, meaning a plaintiff or petitioner. He probably did not mean that John Blevins was a notable public speaker or preacher.
An interesting history of the Blevins family appears in the article "The Blevins Hicklin Connection" by William L. Luce (1995). According to Mr. Luce, the Blevins arrived in southwest Virginia by the 1760's and were hunters and traders with the Cherokee. When hostilities broke out between America and Great Britain, the Blevins were probably loyaltists (Tories), at least initially. The frontiersmen who made their living by hunting and trading (known as the Long Hunters) were economically tied to the Cherokee, unlike the settled farmers who competed with the Cherokee for land. (For additional information, see Emory L. Hamilton, "The Long Hunters", Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia (March 1970).) William Luce believes that the Blevins eventually switched sides, as evidenced by Oaths of Allegiance signed by several Blevins in Henry County, VA, in 1779. However, the actual story may be a bit more complicated.
According to James A. Quinn, "Biographies of the Men in William Herbert's Company" (New River Notes):
"[O]n 13 March 1748 in now Pittsylvania Co., VA we find that there were three brothers: John Blevins (m. Sarah Dillon), James Blevins Sr. and William Blevins (d. Sullivan Co., TN, m. Agnes Walling) entering land surveys. These three are children of either William 1690 or of James m. Margery Cord and other children in this family include Mary m. Elisha Walling and Daniel (d. after 1771 Montgomery Co., VA) m. Sarah Sutton. James, two Johns and two William Blevinses are on the 1758 Halifax Co., VA militia roster along with a Thomas Wollin, Clement Lee, John Rice and a Wells Ward."
"James Blevins Sr. moved to what was then Botetourt or Fincastle Co., VA by 1771. He had five sons: James Jr., Daniel, John, William and Samuel and three of these we think are the men on the Herbert militia roster [in Lord Dunmore's War (1774)]. Many of the Blevins and Wallens were long hunters and perhaps Indian traders from the time they arrived in Lunenburg County through their migration to the New and Clinch River valleys.
"It is thought that the Blevins in the Upper New River were Tories in the Revolution. However, the great number of Blevins in southwest Virginia with the same name is confusing. Daniel, James, William and John Blevins of New River probably joined Royalist Militia companies active in North and South Carolina. It appears that the Blevins family that settled along the Little River in today's Grayson Co., VA account for most of the Loyalists with the Blevins surname.
"Possible Tory affiliation of the Blevins family (documentation):
"11 June 1776 - The Fincastle Committee of Public Safety ordered that William Blevins, James Blevins and John Blevins be summoned to appear at Captain Evan Shelby's on Saturday 22nd of this month to answer the following Complaint: That they have refused to bear arms or muster in Capt. Shelby's Company of Militia agreeable to the Ordinance of Convention by reason of their attachment to the Enemies of American Liberty and Correspondence with Tories and the Cherokee Nation.
"1779 - The Annals of Southwest Virginia, page 718, records that on 3 August 1779 James Blevins & John Blevins being brought into (Montgomery County) Court and confessing that they were engaged in the late Insurrection in this County wherefore the Court taking the Case into Consideration & viewing them for many reasons as proper Objects of Mercy are of opinion that upon their voluntarily taking the State Oath as prescribed by Law be bound to the good behavior themselves in the sum of two hundred pounds each and their Securities in the sum of one hundred each and for twelve months and a day whereupon John COX and James MCDONALD came into Court and acknowledged themselves Security for the said John and James in the sum of one hundred pounds each for their good behavior for twelve months and a day to be levied of their respective Lands and Chattels and to the Commonwealth rendered, Upon Condition &c.
"In fact, the lack of enthusiasm shown by the New River militia in these campaigns was noted in the records. We are not sure if this is the same James as the one in Herbert's company. John Blevins of New River, it is now believed, was a notorious Tory and did serve in the Tory Regiments in North Carolina. If this is the case, it is likely his brothers followed suit. It is very likely they had a trading relationship with the Cherokee and after all, Nancy Ward the Cherokee leader did warn the settlers that the Chickamaugua were about to attack them. Perhaps it is only fair that the Cherokee, most of whom wished to remain neutral in the Revolution, got a warning too."
It may surprise us to learn that not all of our ancestors were Patriotic Americans during the Revolution, but at one time, the extent of British support in the backcountry was well known. In 1859, Hardin E. Taliaferro of Surry County, North Carolina, wrote in his book Fisher's River (North Carolina) Scenes and Characters, "The early settlers were pretty equally divided between Whigs and Tories. A majority were probably Tories, but the Whigs, headed by a few daring spirits, held the Tories in check, and drove them to the mountain fastness. Many thrilling incidents could be narrated Well do I remember hearing old soldiers of the Revolution tantalize the Tories and their descendants." (p.17). Later he notes, "During the Revolution there were many Tories in that region, and their descendants were derided and despised by the descendants of Whigs." (p.106).
Years after the Revolution, John Blevins' son Samuel Blevins tried unsuccessfully to regain title to John's land in Halifax, Nova Scotia (the British government had provded free land in Nova Scotia to thousands of Loyalists fleeing the United States). A descendant reportedly has a letter which Samuel Blevins received from a lawyer in Nova Scotia discussing his claim, and advising him the effort was hopeless. Samuel also tried to claim a pension from the British government for his father's services. According to information posted on the internet by Robert Kirby, there is a letter to Samuel Blevins from John J. Jayne of New York, dated April 10, 1884, stating that he was not entitled to a pension for his father John Blevins' four years of service in the British army during the Revolution because John Blevins had remained in America and became a U.S. citizen. Also, according to the letter, any legal right to a pension ended with the death of John's wife Catherine in 1843. The letter indicates that John Blevins received a discharge from the British army on Nov. 7, 1783.
The same descendant has John Blevins' family Bible which reportedly contains the following information:
- John Blevins, "deceast 15th day of April in the year of Christ 1816".
- "Mother" Catherine Blevins, born Mar. 9, 1769, died Jan. 2, 1843, age 74.
- Dillen, born May 18, 1789.
- David, born April 8, 1791, died Aug. 5, 1828.
- James, born Apr. 29, 1793, died Nov. 3, 1881, at age 88 years 6 months 4 days.
- John, born Aug. 4, 1795; died Sept. 12, 1876.
- Catherine, born Nov. 30, 1798.
- Margaret Tolliver born Oct. 25, 1800, died Nov. 25, 1895 age 95 years 5 months.
- Samuel, born Nov. 23, 1802; died Sept. 29, 1893.
- Jefferson, born Nov. 18, 1804, died Sept. 1834.
- Hamilton, born Mar. 4, 1807, died September 1881.
It's fascinating that John Blevinsa notorious Torynamed his two youngest sons after Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Perhaps he truly had a change of heart, or perhaps he needed to bury his Loyalist affiliations and demonstrate a new-found sense of patriotism.
Many of the Blevins from Grayson County, VA, moved west to Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. In particular there is a James Blevins who applied for a Revolutionary War pension in Lawrence County, Indiana, in 1832. The pension application contains some clues about the family's origins. James Blevins testifies that he was then 70 years old (i.e., b. abt. 1763) and had been born somewhere in New England but his father moved to Henry County, VA, when he was an infant [note at the time it would have been Pittsyvlania County, because Henry County was not created until 1777]. They then moved to Montgomery County, VA, when he was 10 years of age [so about 1773]. He states he joined the army of the United States in the summer of 1780 under the command of Capt. William Love and fought in the Battle of King's Mountain. This timeline is consistent with what is known about the family of James Blevins, Sr. The James Blevins (b. abt. 1763) could have been a son of James Blevins, Sr., and a brother of John Blevins who married Catherine Cox. Alternatively, he may have been a cousin of some sort. There are many theories about the origins of the Blevins family, so researchers are well advised to search out all the existing evidence and consider it carefully before drawing any conclusions.
1773 Delinquent Tax List, Fincastle Co., VA: Daniel BLEVENS, William BLEVINS, Jas. BLEVENS, and John BLEVENS. (Mag. of VA Genealogy, Vol. 35, No. 1, p.9.)
Oct. 12, 1776. Jno. BLEVINS, Sr., appears on a payroll of Capt. John SHELBY's Militia Company stationed on the Fincastle Co., VA, frontier under the command of Col. William RUSSELL. (Mag. of VA Genealogy, Vol. 30, No. 1, p.57.)
Montgomery Co., VA, was formed from Botetourt Co., VA, in 1777.
Sept. 30, 1777. Montgomery Co., VA. Jno. BLEVENS and others in Capt. COX's Company signed an Oath of Allegiance to the Commonwealth of Virginia, foreswearing all allegiance to King George III.
Note: The militia company led by Capt. John Cox mutinied in 1779 in connection with what is known as the Tory Insurrection in Montgomery County. The insurrection was put down and John BLEVINS and James BLEVINS were pardoned in return for taking an Oath of Allegiance and posting security for good behavior. However, John BLEVINS apparently continued his Tory activities, as discussed in the above notes.
1782 Land Tax List, Montgomery Co., VA: John BLEVINS, 50 acres.
Wythe Co., VA, was formed from Montgomery Co., VA, in 1790.
1793 Personal Property Tax List, Wythe Co., VA: John BLEVANS, 1 tithe.
Grayson Co., VA, was formed from Wythe Co., VA, in 1793.
Aug. 20, 1793. Grayson Co., VA, Land Plat Book, "Surveyed JOHN BLEVINS, assignee of JOHN COX, Asee of ROBERT POLLARD by virtue of a Land Treasury Warrant for 1200 acres No. 529 and dated the 25th day of June 1793 enters 230 acres of land in the east side of Little River & one the south side of New River. Beginning at a white oak below his improvement running up the Little River for quantity."
1794 Personal Property Tax List, Grayson Co., VA:
John BLEVINS, 1 white male over 16, 1 horse
1799 Land Tax List, Grayson Co., VA:
JOHN BLEVINS, 220 acres, value 220, tax 1.06
1800 Personal Property Tax List, Grayson Co., VA:
JOHN BLEVINS, 1 w/m over 21, 2 horses, 1 slave age 12-16
1805 Land Tax List, Grayson Co., VA:
JOHN BLEVINS, 220 acres, value 220, tax 1.06
1805 Personal Property Tax List, Grayson Co., VA:
JOHN BLEVINS, 1 w/m over 16, 1 black over 16, 5 horses, tax 1.04
Sept. 4, 1809. John Blevins failed to appear for jury duty. (Grayson Court Minutes.)
Oct. 15, 1810. John Blevins served on a jury. (Grayson Court Minutes.)
1810 Tax List, Grayson Co., VA:
JOHN BLEVINS, 3 white tithes, 1 slave, 7 horses
Mar. 1811. A letter of attorney from Stephen Colenman to John BLEVINS was proven in Court by Samuel COX and Dillen BLEVINS subscribing witnesses and ordered to be recorded. (Grayson Court Minutes.)
July 1811. David COX, John BLEVINS and James ANDERSON ordered to appraise the personal estate and slaves of Jacob RECTOR dec'd and make report thereof to court. (Grayson Court Minutes.)
Sept. 1811. John BLEVINS, William TERRELL & David COX, Jr., appointed to view the grounds proposed for an alteration in the public road from the ford of New River at James COXES to Crab Creek and make report thereof to court. (Grayson Court Minutes.)
Mar. 24, 1812. John BLEVINS, assignee of Robert SHIPP, plantiff, v. Aaron SIMCOCK, defendant in debt. The defendant appeared in court and confessed judgment for the sum of one hundred dollars with interest from the 25th day of December one thousand eight hundred and ten and costs. (Grayson Court Minutes.)
1813 Tax List, Grayson Co., VA:
JOHN BLEVINS, 12 white tithes, 1 slave 16+, 1 horse, tax 1.71
Jan. 8, 1818. Catherine BLEVINS is named in the will of her father, David COX, Sr. of Grayson Co., VA, dated Jan. 8, 1818, proved April 1819. "Caty" Blevins purchased property at David Cox's estate sale on June 29, 1819.
1820 Census, Grayson Co., VA, p.44: CATY BLEVENS
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