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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Where did the Bunnells live in Mercer County, Kentucky?

Here is the answer to the second question George Faris attempted to answer in his December 2017 report.

Where did the Bunnells live in Mercer County, Kentucky?

Now that the Mercer tax lists and some other records are available on-line I've spent some time in analyzing the tax lists to see if any further information might be discerned from them.  One of my questions has been where the Bunnells actually lived and who they might have worked for - since they didn't own any land of their own.   

The early 1800 s tax lists included the date on which each individual was listed. (Later tax lists combine all of the districts in alphabetical order and do not include a date.) It becomes fairly clear where the Bunnells were located when looking at the dates when they were listed each year from 1799 through 1805 and searching for others listed on the same dates in those years in the same district. 

Except for Jonathan, who appears to have lived apart from the others in a different commissioners district, all of the Bunnells as well as John Farris and Joseph Lyon were always listed on the same day, e.g., June 14, 1799; June 27, 1800; July 22, 1801, etc.   There were only a few others in the same district who were always listed on the same day and what stands out is that the primary landowner who was always listed on the same day as the Bunnells was David Williams.  David owned one of the largest plantations in Mercer County - 1190 acres on Shawnee Run. (He also owned additional  property totaling about 500 acres in Gallatin and Henderson Counties.)  It seems clear that the Bunnell families lived and worked on David Williams' plantation from 1799 - 1805.  

Jonathan Bonnell was married in 1799 to Rebecca Dean and apparently lived with the Thomas Dean family which was listed in a different district even though the Dean property was only about 2 miles north of the Williams plantation. 

However, Samuel Bunnell, who was also married in 1799, apparently lived and worked on the Williams plantation with the others until after the others moved on after 1805. Samuel later relocated to property on Rocky Run about 4 miles farther north and near the Kentucky River. 

Joseph Lyon was also with the Bunnells through the 1801 tax list. He then apparently moved to Barren County and later to Green and finally to Hardin County. 

John Farris was always listed along with the William Bunnell family through the 1805 tax list. 
John Bunnell appears only on the 1800 and 1801 tax lists and there seems to be no further information regarding him. 

William Bunnell, Jr. first shows up on the 1801 tax list. 

Jeremiah Bunnell shows up only on the 1804 list in Mercer County. 

After 1805 the only Bunnells remaining in Mercer County were Jonathan, Samuel who, after 1815, remained on the same 75 acre property on the waters of Rocky Run for the rest of his life, and Joseph who lived across the Kentucky River in Jessamine County where he was married to Martha “Patsy” McGrath, a daughter of Bryan McGrath, on July 3, 1813. Joseph may have worked on the large Mason Singleton farm near Keene – since he named one son Mason Singleton Bonnell. Joseph also lived for a short time in adjoining Madison County, where he is listed in the 1830 census and in the 1830 tax list, before ultimately moving to Howard County, Missouri, before 1835. 

After Thomas Dean died, Jonathan Bonnell is listed with 47-1/2 acres on Shawnee Run until 1821 before moving to Indiana. 

The Bunnell descendants who still remain in Mercer County appear to be descendants of Samuel. In some of the later tax years Samuel's apparent sons, William, Benjamin, Samuel, Jr., James S., and Archibald were listed and were probably still living in the same area. 

The Samuel Bunnell property was apparently on the north side of the Rocky Run drainage near Cummins Ferry Road. Numerous Samuel Bunnell descendants are buried in the cemetery at Ebenezer Church of Christ at the intersection of Cummins Ferry and Oregon Roads. The earliest Bunnells listed with marked graves there were born in the 1840s and were grandchildren of Samuel. The church was established in the 1830s and it's likely that Samuel and some of his children are buried there but there are no surviving markers for them.

Who was David Williams and where was his plantation in Mercer County?

Since the Bunnells were associated with David Williams and his plantation it's of interest to know who he was and where it was located. David was born and raised in Frederick/Hampshire County VA.  He was born in 1750 in what is now Grant County, WV and his father was killed there in 1756 during the French & Indian War and his mother remarried to Peter Casey.  David later migrated to the Lost River area of what is now Hardy County near it's eastern edge where he became acquainted with the Robert Denton family and married Sarah Denton, daughter of Robert, in 1768.  That same year, Robert divided his land and sold 160 acres each to two of his sons and to David, his son-in-law, and the rest to another person.  He then migrated to the Watauga settlement in what is now Tennessee along with another son.  David and Sarah sold their 160 acres in 1771 

In 1774 David was with Capt. James Harrods group that traveled down the Ohio to the Kentucky River and up it to the area that is now Mercer Co. and started to establish a settlement there.  They were interrupted by Lord Dunmore's War and abandoned the settlement to join in that endeavor.  But they arrived at Point Pleasant a few hours after the battle there had ended.  Early the next year they returned to Kentucky and built the fort at Harrodsburg as well as numerous cabins throughout the area.  David remained there until 1776 when he returned to Hardy County - where he then enlisted and was a in much of the action and the hard winters of 1776 and 1777 with Washington's troops in NJ and PA. He was discharged in 1781 as a 1st Lieutenant in the 8th Virginia Continental Line.  

When David and his family returned to Kentucky in about 1785 they established the plantation there on land that had been originally claimed by David's stepfather Peter Casey adjacent to the land owned by Sarah's brother Thomas Denton. There were several "stations" along Shawnee Run - one belonging to Thomas Denton and an adjacent one owned by David Williams that show up on the lists and maps of pioneer stations in that area.  From these we can pinpoint the location.  Hugh McGary's Station was described as being within 100 yards of Shawnee Springs; David Williams' Station was 0.9 miles north of McGary's and Thomas Denton's Station was east of Williams' Station.  There is a historical marker for Denton's Station located at 986 Curry Pike.  So David Williams' property was the area north of Shawnee Run between two branches of the stream about a mile north of Shawnee Springs which is easy to locate via Google Maps.

David Williams and Sarah Denton had at least 6 children before her death sometime before1790.  David married Jane Jones in 1790 in Mercer County and they apparently had 2 children.  He married Eleanor Higgins in 1799 and they apparently didn't have children.  In one of the Dean court cases in 1801 David acknowledged that he had fathered 2 children with Elizabeth Dean, daughter of Leven Dean, and agreed to pay Elizabeth for their support.  David died in 1831 in Mercer County.

DNA Matches for Descendants of Sarah Wright and Peter Rozell

George Farris has been working with DNA test results. Happily he shared the results with us. I only added the bolding, to emphasize his conclusion. Readers, if you have any information that would help George, please let us know.

Recently, in pursuing some of my autosomal DNA matches that were difficult to understand I've found four such matches that lead back to Sarah Wright (daughter of Ann and Jacob Wright) and Peter Rozell (son of Nehemiah and grandson of the Peter Rossell who was associated with the Kentucky William Bunnell.)   

The individuals involved are descendants of three different children of Peter and Sarah - Jacob, born ~1800, Peter, Jr., born ~1803, and James Harvey, born ~1812.   Since I have no other known connection with the Wright or Rossell lines it seems very likely that the match is through Sarah Wright's mother, Ann.  

And that would appear to be further evidence that Ann was a Bunnell and probably a sister of our ancestor the William Bunnell who was the progenitor of the "Kentucky Bunnells." That's consistent with the facts that Ann migrated with the William Bunnell family after Jacob Wright died and that William Bunnell was the bondsman for the marriage of Sarah and Peter in 1795 in Botetourt County, Virginia, and apparently wrote the parent's consent document for Ann to sign.

Since the connection is many generations back there are also descendants of Sarah and Peter who did not inherit that particular segment of DNA that appears to be from the Bunnell line.  I've found several such descendants with whom I do not have a DNA match..

I wanted to bring this to the attention of other researchers of this Bunnell line in case any of you find similar DNA matches.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Keziah Dean–Probably Not a Bunnell

Keziah (Bunnell?) Dean –  (~1770 - 1847) 
(Researched & Written by George J. Farris, December 2017)

There are several documents from the late 1800s and early 1900s pertaining to Keziah based on family information emanating primarily from the families of the five of her eleven children who ended up in Howard and surrounding counties in Indiana.   These documents state that Keziah’s maiden name was Bunnell and that her husband was a James Dean.  All of her children appear to have been born in Mercer County, Kentucky between 1795 and 1822.  However, there is only one  document in Mercer County that links her to a Bunnell, that being the 1818 marriage bond for her son Edmund for which Samuel Bunnell was the bondsman.  For marriages of her other children the witnesses and those signing the bonds or witnessing her consent for the female marriages were primarily John Dean, his daughter Deana, and Deana’s husband Elijah Thompson.  If Keziah was actually the Keziah Dean who was the daughter of Thomas H. Dean and Diana Green then John  would have been her brother.  Or, if Keziah was married to a James Dean who some have claimed to be a son of Diana Green and her first husband Joseph Dean, then John Dean would have been Keziah’s half-brother-in-law.  

Several other researchers in addition to myself have searched through many Mercer and Jessamine County records and have never found any record of a James Dean in the appropriate time period other than an unrelated James Dean who was married to Patience Holeman in North Carolina in 1782 and lived in Jessamine County during the entire period when Keziah’s children were born.  Since some of Keziah's children were married in Jessamine County and one of them, Harrison Dean, lived there most of his life, some researchers have confused the two unrelated Dean families – including the 1830 census and 1847 probate records for that James Dean of Jessamine County.  (The 1847 probate is actually for Patience but also includes the inventory of the estate of James.  He had died in 1838 and Patience and all of his children were named in his will, written in 1833.)  In the early 1900s there were some reunions of  Keziah Dean's descendants in Jessamine County and reports of those reunions seem to have relied on the earlier documents from Howard County, Indiana in regard to the ancestry of the family.

Some researchers have listed James Dean as a son of Thomas Dean and Sophia.  However this seems to be a misinterpretation based on Mercer County court cases involving Sophia Dean in the 1790s and early 1800s.  Sophia was a daughter of Thomas, not his wife.  Thomas was married to Diana Green Dean at that time.  Sophia was a daughter of Thomas Dean and his first wife Elizabeth Pritchett Shenton and had at least four young children as of 1797 but was apparently not married at that time.

Keziah Dean is listed in the U.S. Census in 1810 and 1830 in Mercer County with several of the children living with her – 7 in 1810 and 5 in 1830 (5 others were married prior to 1830 and a 6th was married in 1830).  In 1830 an additional female 20-30 and a girl under 5 were also living with Keziah.  Keziah was listed as age 26-45 in 1810 and 50-60 in 1830, consistent with the birth year of 1770 on her tombstone in Howard County, Indiana.   She only appears in the Mercer County tax lists for two years in 1833 and 1834.  It's not clear who she and her children were living with in other years but in the 1830 census she was listed next to John Dean.

The 1898 biography of her youngest son James Harrison Dean in Howard County, Indiana contains some details regarding his alleged father who was said to have died shorty after the 1822 birth of James W. according to the biography in the “Biographical and Genealogical History of Cass, Miami, Howard and Tipton Counties.”  This biography lists James H.’s parents as “James and Keziah (Bunnell) Dean.”  It also states that he lived with his widowed mother in Mercer County until 1844 when he moved to Indiana. There is nothing to corroborate the details about a James Dean nor any record of the death of a James Dean in Mercer or Jessamine Counties, Kentucky – except for the other James of Jessamine County whose will record includes his wife Patience .  Barbara Beall’s account of James in her Ancestry tree implies that James left the family and moved to Indiana and later to Mclean County, Illinois and died there in 1848. We have not been able to discern the source of Barbara’s assertion and have found no record of James Dean in Illinois or in Mercer County, Kentucky.

One court record in Mercer County regarding Keziah Dean in 1809 regards her attempt to prevent her three oldest children from being bound out on the basis that she had not properly raised and educated them.  But there is no mention of a husband in this court action and none in the 1810 census.  The three children mentioned correspond to Keziah’s known oldest children, Edmund, William and Rosanna and she was involved in their marriages in later years. 

The lack of records for a James Dean in Mercer County has led some researchers to conclude that Keziah was actually the daughter of Thomas and Diana Dean and was never married.  We know from the wills of Thomas and Diana Dean that they did have a daughter named Keziah.  It’s a little difficult to reconcile that conclusion with the fact that Keziah had eleven children and that some of them seem to have believed that a James Dean was their father and that their descendants apparently believed that Keziah was originally a Bunnell.  As stated above, the only known connection of Keziah with a Bunnell is the fact that Samuel Bunnell was the bondsman for the marriage of her oldest son.  However, that son was allegedly born in Mercer County in 1795, several years before the William Bunnell family moved to Mercer County from Botetourt County, Virgina in 1798.  It's possible that Edmund had worked for Samuel Bunnell or, if the older children were really bound out, that Edmund lived with Samuel Bunnell and his family.  While it seems rather strange, it appears to me that the entire story of a James Dean as the father of Keziah's children was probably a fabrication by some of  Keziah's children or their descendants.  The father(s) of her children will probably always be unknown, although future Y-DNA testing by male line descendants might provide some clues. 

To date, the only autosomal DNA data available for a descendant of Keziah Dean shows a match with only one other descendant of William Bunnell and his wife.  However that match is with a descendant of Jonathan Bonnell and Rebecca Dean so the tested person could, therefore, also be a descendant of Thomas Dean and Diana Green.  So that result is indeterminate  and could result from Keziah actually being a Dean rather than a Bunnell.   The name “Green” has also been associated with Keziah by some descendants as either her middle name or maiden name.   

The available records and the accounts by descendants are confusing and contradictory but my conclusion is that Keziah was not part of the William Bunnell family and was a Dean from birth, the same Keziah named in the wills of Diana and Thomas Dean as their daughter, and was never married. Therefore, I suggest that those of us who have included Keziah as a part of the William Bunnell family should probably remove her from that list.  

Dennis Wright, Oldest Son of Jacob and Ann Wright

I apologize for the delay in posting this update from George Farris. It somehow found itself filed with my Christmas correspondence instead of my Action Required folder, so it wasn't posted in a timely manner.

December 6, 2017
Over the past several months I've been re-examining some Kentucky records, both on-line and at the Kentucky Historical Society Library, to see what more might be discerned regarding the Bunnells and related families in and around Mercer County, Kentucky.  Having the tax and other county records available on-line now makes it easier to search them and fill in a few more details.  I've had a few questions that I've tried to answer and will share what I've concluded about them.  

One question regarded where the Bunnells lived in Mercer County and another involved whether or not the person who has been referred to as Keziah Bunnell Dean was actually one of the children of William Bunnell.   I've summarized my conclusions on those two topics in the two attached Word documents. (These will be appear in separate blog posts.)

One other somewhat related topic involves Dennis Wright, the oldest son of Jacob and Ann Wright.  Dennis remained in Spotsylvania County, VA, after Jacob died until 1789 when he sold the property there.  In the meantime, Ann and her daughter Sarah apparently migrated with the Bunnell family and Sarah married Peter Rozell in Botetourt County in 1795.  What I realized from the Mercer County tax lists is that Dennis had apparently moved to Mercer immediately after selling the Spotsylvania property and was in Mercer long before the Bunnells arrived there.  He remained there until after 1808 when he moved to Maury County, TN - and later to Lincoln County, TN where the Dennis Wright family joined the family of his sister Sarah Wright Rozell and her family.  While it seems likely that Ann Wright was a sister of William Bunnell we've found nothing to confirm that supposition. 

The most nagging question remaining is identifying the wife of William Bunnell.  I've not found anything more that would either confirm or deny that she was Elizabeth Green.  I've not been able to find any additional clues from the Kentucky records of the Thomas Dean family that would shed any light regarding whether or not she was a sister of Diana Green Dean as asserted by Dr. Barbara Beall.