Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   

Isham Talbot

3 November 1738 - 25 September 1825

 

By

Ann Talbot Brandon Womack

And

Farris Wade Womack

January 2001

Revised 11-19-2005

Born in Virginia, First Child of the Second Marriage

Isham Talbot was born November 3, 1738, the first child of Matthew Talbot and his second wife, Jane Clayton.  He was the 5th child of Matthew (I) Talbot;  Matthew (I) having fathered four sons, Charles, Matthew (II), James, and John, with his first wife, Mary Williston, whom he had met and married while he was a resident of Maryland.  Isham was no doubt named in honor of his mother's family.  Many researchers report Jane Clayton's mother was an Isham.  It is unclear whether Jane Clayton was, herself, an Isham, whether Clayton was her maiden name, and whether or not this marriage was her first.  Certainly, Isham's birth marked the introduction of the name into the Talbot family and, in the years to follow, it would be given to many Talbot males including some of the descendants of Mary Williston.

Two years after his birth, a sister, Martha, was born.  Martha's arrival marked the last of the Matthew (I) Talbot children about whom a record has been found.  Matthew (I)'s family, now complete, included Matthew (I) and Jane, age 41 and 26, respectively, with six children, namely, Charles, Matthew (II), James, John, Isham, and Martha, ages 17, 11, 7, 5, 2, and the infant Martha.

Although his birthplace is usually given as Bedford County, the actual site was more likely Brunswick County or perhaps Amelia County.  Lunenburg was formed from Brunswick in 1746 and Bedford was formed from Lunenburg in 1754.  We do not know the exact time that Matthew (I) moved his family to the farmstead near the present day community of New London but we do know that he was living there in 1754 when the County was formed because the first court was held in his home.  Isham was 16 years of age when Bedford County was formed and he had spent his entire life on the frontier in the wilderness country of western Virginia. 

 Growing up in the Virginia Wilderness

      Isham and his little sister, Martha, surely would have been welcomed additions to the Talbot family.  Matthew (I) was a mature man just entering his prime.  Jane Clayton appears to have been a splendid stepmother to the four young boys of Matthew (I) from his first wife.  The sons of Matthew (I) were 14, 8, 5, and 2 years of age.  Jane Clayton would have been the only mother that the younger boys remembered.  While we cannot know with certainty the exact relationship, we do know that several of the older boys named their own children in honor of their stepmother.  Such an act of love and respect, taken as an adult, would not have been done if the relationship had been an unpleasant one.  In fact, James Talbot, named his first born, Isham M. Talbot.

Growing up on the frontier carried with it a certain measure of challenge and hardship.  These rugged outdoors types faced not only the need to provide food for their families but they also lived in constant danger from Indians who stilled roamed the countryside and were none to pleased to see their lands being taken.  Travel, even short distances, was a major problem because the fastest means of travel was horseback and a trip of just a few miles was formidable.  But Isham's father was beginning to be recognized for his leadership skills and the whole family surely enjoyed the accolades he received.  While life was not easy, it is certain that the respect accorded Matthew (I) had a material effect on the family and they were as well or better off than most.  How they lived and under what conditions requires an examination through the prism of 1740 Virginia rather than the circumstances that exist for 21st century life.

 It is not clear how children received any sort of education but we do know that all the Talbot children could read and write, skills not universal in application.  They may have attended a community or church school or they may have been taught at home.  Whatever the case, Isham acquired at a minimum the rudimentary skills necessary for success in the Wilderness.  Matthew (I) was active in the Anglican Church, had been a vestryman for many years, and surely brought Isham along with the rest of his family to regular attendance. 

 Isham probably busied himself with the chores that fell to children in large families.  His father was a planter and businessman and there would have been plenty of things for him to do.  The frontier presented numerous challenges as well as the ever-present danger of attack by Indians.  His father's letters in 1758, presented elsewhere on the Talbot web site, convey the sense of terror and hardship that the frontiersmen faced.

 Matthew (I), died in 1758 when Isham was 20 years of age.  His mother was 44.  His sister, Martha, although only 18 years old, was already married with children of her own.  Charles and Matthew (II) were married and had growing families of their own.  So, the family at home when Matthew (I) died consisted of Jane, James, John Williston, and Isham.  In the will of his father, Jane, John, and Isham were singled out to receive a bequest of money in addition to their participation in the remainder on an equal basis with the other children, all of whom were named.

 Whether or not Jane remained a widow and when she died has not been ascertained but Isham did not marry until 1765 when he was 26 years of age. James was married in 1759 and presumably moved to his own home.  So it was quite likely that Jane, John, and Isham remained together for a few years following Matthew (I)'s death.

                     Isham as a young man

Isham began to acquire land early in his manhood.  There are a number of records that disclose his buying and selling land as soon as 1764.  The table below discloses only the Land Patents issued to him by the Colony.  They do not disclose the full extent of his trading activities with other private individuals.  The deed books are replete with records of his buying and selling land.

 

 

                                                                                                  
Surname  First MO DY  YR County

Acres

  Description

Talbot

Isham

8

3

1771

 Bedford

1254

 

On both sides of Johnson's Creek

Talbot

Isham

8

1

1772

Bedford

700

 

See Mead, William and Talbot, Isham

Talbott

Isham

3

1

1773

Bedford

269

 

On the head branches of Boreauger Creek

Talbott

Isham

3

1

1773

Bedford

240

 

On both sides of Shocco's Creek

Talbot

Isham

6

15

1773

Bedford

383

 

On the branches of Goose Creek and Boreauger Creek

Talbot

Isham

7

8

1780

Pittsylvania

294

 

See Mead, William, William Austin & Isham Talbot 8 July 1780

Talbot

Isham

9

1

1780

Bedford

683

 

On the east branches of Beaverdam Creek

Talbot

Isham

9

1

1780

Bedford

900

 

On both sides of Keiths Creek

Talbot

Isham

9

1

1780

Bedford

300

 

See Mead, William and Talbot, Isham

Talbot

Isham

9

1

1780

Bedford

432

 

See Mead, William and Talbot, Isham 1 Sept 1780

Talbot

Isham

9

1

1780

Bedford

320

 

On the west branches of Beaverdam Creek

Talbot

Isham

9

1

1780

Bedford

727

 

On the south side of Goose Creek

Talbot

Isham

9

1

1780

Bedford

270

 

Adjoining Waltons land

Talbot

Isham

9

1

1780

Bedford

120

 

On both sides of the north fork of the Otter River

Talbot

Isham

9

1

1780

Bedford

163

 

On the north branches of the Stanton River

Talbot

Isham

6

1

1782

Bedford

223

 

See Mead, William and Talbot, Isham 1 June 1782

Talbot

Isham

7

31

1788

Bedford

404

 

On the south branches of Goose Creek

Tolbert

Isham

3

18

1791

Fayette, KY

2476.5

 

On Bank Lick Creek, a branch of Licking

Tolbert

Isham

3

18

1791

Fayette, KY

1920

 

On Bank Lick Creek, a branch of Licking

Talbot

Isham, Junr

9

1

1780

Henry

192

 

On both sides of Little Bull run

Tolbert

Issham

3

18

1791

Fayette, KY

1620

 

On Bank Lick Creek, a branch of Licking

(The next to last entry in the above table shows an Isham, Junr.  Isham's son would have been only 7 years old.  James Talbot's son, Isham M. Talbot, was almost 21 and the reference could have been to him.  Henry County is some distance south of Bedford.)

An examination of the current map for Bedford County will provide the reader with a reasonably accurate notion of the locations described above.  The names of the creeks and rivers remain much the same.  Land records show that Isham traded land actively and that he was in business with many of the same men who had been business associates of his father.

Isham married Elizabeth Davis on April 29, 1765 when he was 26 years of age.  Their first child, Sarah, was born about 1766.  While we have not been able to determine the birth dates for all of his children, there are many for whom that important piece of information is available and all of the information currently available is shown on the Talbot web site. 

The American Revolution takes center stage in the Talbot family

John Williston Talbot, Isham's half-brother, was a leader in the Virginia House of Burgesses and had been among the members who argued for independence from England long before the Revolution actually began in 1776.  In fact, Burgesses, including John, had gathered at the Raleigh Tavern in 1774 in the colonial capital at Williamsburg to protest the actions of the Crown.  There they adopted a set of Resolves that would later form the basis for the Declaration of Independence in July 1776.  The Talbot web site contains a link that describes the actions of John Talbot and his fellow Burgesses.  Isham and John, separated in age by only three years, were likely soul mates insofar as the cause for independence was concerned.

When the American Revolution began, all the Talbot brothers served.  Charles, Matthew, and James at 52, 47, and 44 years of age respectively, pulled their service in the Patriotic Corp.  The service of Charles and Matthew (II) would later be recognized by Virginia and Charles' wife, Drusilla, would be similarly honored.  John continued to serve in the Virginia Assembly and rose to the rank of Colonel in the Virginia Militia.  James Talbot, a wagon master, died in 1777 after only eight months into the Revolution.  Virgil Talbot, a descendant of James, wrote extensively about the Talbot family but in his work, The Talbots: Centuries of Service, he could only speculate as to the actual service of James and further hypothesized that James had died unexpectedly because he left no will.  Perhaps he was a casualty of the War but no record has been found to establish that as a fact.  Some accounts assert that James' minor children went to live with Isham and his family.  John Talbot was named administrator of James estate. 

 Charles' death in 1779, cause also unknown, added to the sorrow of the loss of James just two years before.  It appears that Matthew (II) had left Bedford County about the time of Charles' death, perhaps a few years earlier, and relocated in the Watauga area of what was then western North Carolina but would later become Tennessee.  There, he and his sons would distinguish themselves in the preparations for the Battle of Kings Mountain.  The American Patriots rested at Matthew (II) Talbot's mill and some accounts state that they ate their noon meal there before setting out to catch Ferguson and the Tories later that day at Kings Mountain.  Matthew (I)'s four older sons were combatants in the famous Battle, Thomas receiving a scalp wound that would be prominent throughout his life.

 Isham Talbot served as a 1st Lieutenant in the 5th Regiment, Virginia Line.  While we know few details about his service record, it was of sufficient distinction for the DAR to recognize his service and admit his descendants on the basis of that record. We believe that his service in the struggle for Independence was the root for Virginia to make large land grants to him in Kentucky.

By the time the American Revolution ended in 1781, John, Isham, and Martha Talbot Arthur were the only children of Matthew (I) still living in the area around Bedford/Campbell Counties.  But that would soon change.  John relocated to Wilkes County, Georgia in 1783 and it appears that Martha Talbot Arthur and her family either went with him or followed soon afterward.  We have seen some assertions that Jane Clayton also moved to Wilkes County, Georgia with John and Martha.  That may be true but we have seen no evidence to corroborate the story.  Interestingly, Matthew (II), then living in Watauga, would join John and Martha in Wilkes County in 1785 following the death of his wife, Mary Hale Day Talbot 

          Meeting the challenges and opportunities of forming The United States

By the end of the American Revolution in 1781, Isham Talbot was already a man of means with a growing family.  Because the dates of birth for many of Isham's children have not been determined, it is impossible to know the extent of his family at that time but it was probably five or more.  Sometime before October 1785, Isham relocated his family to Kentucky, settling first in the area around Harrodsburg.  It is possible, even likely, that Isham's departure for Kentucky coincided with the departure of his older half brother, John, for Georgia in 1783.  Harrodsburg, Kentucky was founded in 1774 by James Harrod and first named Harrodstown then changed to the current spelling.  It was the first English settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains.  

One wonders what circumstances transpired, if any, to cause these Talbot children to leave their native Virginia to journey to far away and largely unknown places.  Was it the opportunity for more and better land or perhaps the wanderlust produced by the upheaval from a long struggle for Independence?  Isham's route to Kentucky was surely the most treacherous since it necessitated crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west and finding passageways through some of the most challenging terrain on the eastern coast of the United States.  But cross it they did and soon their roots were firmly planted in the social and political life of Kentucky.

And so with Isham's departure from Bedford County, the Matthew (I) Talbot family influence came to an end.  Although Charles' descendants continued to live in both Bedford and Campbell and many would make significant contributions to their communities and to the State, the great majority of the descendants of Matthew (I) Talbot would spend their days elsewhere.  And what a contribution they made in their new homes!  The newly departed Talbots and their descendants would produce governors, senators, congressmen, generals, physicians, ministers, engineers, lawyers, and teachers.  In every community, they made a difference and they did so quickly.

Isham moved his family to the area around the present day community of Harrodsburg.  The distance from Bedford to Harrodsburg was about 400 miles using 21st century roads.  He established himself quickly and within a few years, his holdings exceeded that of any other person in the county, including more than 18000 acres located in various places around the state.  Alex Finley asserted in his 1879 work, History of Russellville and Logan County,   "These two men [Cook and Stewart] and one woman, Cook's wife, resided in Russellville as the only inhabitants til 1791, when the town, or rather settlement, received additional accessions.  Isham and Clayton Talbot and their families came from Nashville and settled where Gray's Northest rooms of his Hotel are; building a catty-cornered house, (cabin) facing the buffalo trace; using, however, larger poles, or logs, than Stewart."    The dates fit other known data but the fact that Isham would have been in Nashville suggests that his stay in Harrodsburg would have been short and that his stay in Nashville would have, likewise, been rather short.  Clayton, who was Isham's half nephew, later returned to Nashville and it was there in 1813 that he witnessed in his Tavern the gunfight between Andrew Jackson and Thomas Hart Benton.  Isham later left Russellville and moved further north to Henderson County and there we think he died in 1825.

Isham's life in Kentucky

Isham Talbot lived for probably 40 years after coming to Kentucky.  He was a successful businessman and farmer.  Many of his children became quite successful with public careers of their own, more about which later.  Isham died, probably in Henderson County, Kentucky, in 1825 at the age of 87.  The date and place of death for his wife, Elizabeth, has not been confirmed but it was likely in Henderson County, Kentucky.  In their long life together they produced 12 children.  Isham Talbot's life was a continuation of the distinguished service that had so characterized his father.  He lived a long and no doubt happy life and in the end, he could look back on significant personal accomplishments and children who were well positioned to carry on the Talbot tradition.

Descendants of Isham Talbot, Sr.

1 Isham Talbot, Sr. b: 03 Nov 1738 in Bedford Co., VA d: 25 Sep 1825 in Henderson Co.,KY Census: 1810 Henderson Co.,KY, page 336, Image 351
.. +Elizabeth Davis m: 29 Apr 1765 in Bedford Co., VA d: Bef. 1810 in Prob Henderson Co.,KY
. 2 Matthew Talbot d: in Never Married
. 2 Thomas Talbot d: Abt. 1813 in Henderson Co., KY
. 2 John Talbot b: 29 Apr 1765 in Prob Bedford Co.,VA d: 1828 in Henderson Co., KY
..... +Elizabeth Anthony b: Bet. 1766 - 1784 in Prob Virginia
. 2 Sarah Talbot b: Abt. 1766 in Bedford Co., VA d: Bef. 1833 in Henderson Co., KY
..... +David Wright, Jr. b: 1760 m: 28 Sep 1782 in Bedford Co., VA d: Aft. 1836
. 2 Jane Clayton Talbot b: Abt. 1768 in Bedford Co.,VA
..... +Isham M. Talbot b: 03 Dec 1759 in Bedford Co., VA m: 26 Dec 1786 in Harrodsburg(Mercer), KY d: 30 Jul 1839 in Jefferson Co., KY - Louisville
. 2 Elizabeth Talbot b: Abt. 1770 in Virginia d: 24 Aug 1850 in Mercer Co.,KY, Shawnee Springs Burial: Shawnee Springs
..... +James Ray b: Abt. 1754 in North Carolina m: 07 Feb 1787 in Mercer Co.,KY d: 09 May 1835 in Mercer Co.,KY
. 2 Edmund Talbot MD b: 1770 in Bedford Co., VA d: 1845 in Henderson Co., KY Census: 1810 Henderson Co.,KY, page 327, image 342.
.... +Elizabeth Gordon b: 19 Aug 1782 in Kentucky m: 12 Feb 1799 in Christian Co.,KY d: 31 Aug 1816 in Henderson Co.,KY
. 2 James Talbot, MD b: Bet. 1771 - 1780 in Prob Bedford Co.,VA or Kentucky d: Aft. 1840 in Prob Warren Co.,MO Census: 1830 Montgomery Co.,MO, 205, Lower Loutre Twp
..... +Jane Talbot b: Abt. 1779 in KY m: 29 Jun 1806 in Madison Co.,KY d: Aft. 1850 in Prob Warren Co.,MO Census: 1850 Warren Co.,MO, page 78
. 2 [1] Isham Talbot, Jr. b: 1773 in Bedford Co., VA d: 21 Sep 1837 in Franklin Co., KY Burial: Frankfort-State Cemetery Census: 1810 Franklin Co.,KY, 171
..... +Margaret"Peggy" Garrard b: 31 Jul 1788 in Prob Bourbon Co.,KY m: 24 Jan 1804 in Franklin Co., KY d: 22 Mar 1815 in Bourbon Co.,KY
. *2nd Wife of [1] Isham Talbot, Jr.:
..... +Polly Thornton Taylor m: Aft. 1815
. *3rd Wife of [1] Isham Talbot, Jr.:..... +Adelaide Thomason b: 01 Jan 1800 in Island of Santa Cruz m: 27 Mar 1817 in Washington, DC d: 01 Jul 1873 in Washington, DC Burial: Mt. Olivet, Washington, DC Census: 1860 Washington, DC, page 585, Ward 2
. 2 Benjamin Talbot b: 06 Feb 1776 in Prob Bedford Co.,VA d: 17 Feb 1832 in Henderson Co., KY Burial: Tillman-Bethel Road, Robards, Henderson Co., Kentucky Census: 1820 Henderson Co., KY,
..... +Maria A. Williams b: 01 Mar 1791 in Virginia? m: Bef. 1818 d: 01 Sep 1849 in Henderson Co.,KY Burial: Tillman-Bethel Road, Robards, Henderson Co., Kentucky
. 2 Martha Talbot b: 28 Mar 1785 in Bedford Co.,VA d: 01 Oct 1837 in Franklin Co.,KY Burial: Frankfort Cemetery
..... +William Featherston b: Abt. 1776 d: Abt. 1812 in Henderson Co.,KY
. 2 Priscilla Talbot b: 1790 in Kentucky d: 22 Dec 1868 in Franklin Co.,KY - Never married Burial: Frankfort Cemetery Census: 1850 Franklin Co.,KY , page108

               A Family can make a difference

The Isham Talbot story, while fascinating and distinguished in its own right, takes on added luster when viewed as a piece of the fabric of the Talbot family in America.  The contributions by the Talbots during the 300 years since the birth of Matthew (I) have been truly outstanding and almost universally uplifting.  The children of Matthew (I), many going in quite separate ways, all seem to have been blessed with the same qualities of resourcefulness and responsibility.  It is no wonder that present day descendants take pride in what their ancestors did.  It is a priceless heritage!