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Final DNA Report

Todds of Wilkes County Georgia and Rutherford/Cannon County, Tennessee

Richard McMurtry

March 2012

 

In early 2011, Richard McMurtry began an intensive DNA study and records search to pin down the identities and relationships of the Todds of Wilkes County Georgia and Rutherford/Cannon County Tennessee and Madison County Kentucky.   The identities of many of these individuals had puzzled family historians for decades.  With the support of many Todd descendants, he was finally able to put most of these Todds in their rightful place on the family tree.

 

            Major Discoveries

 

Though earlier Todd historians thought that all the Rutherford County/Cannon County Todds were part of the same family, the DNA revealed instead that there were three distinct families in the area in the early 1800s.   And in the mid-1800s, two of these families began to intermarry and, as decades passed, their distinct origins were forgotten.

 

Family #1:  One of these families was that of Edmond Todd b 1786 NC whose descendant’s DNA doesn’t have a close match to any of the other Todds in the county, suggesting that whatever kinship the descendant has with them is through one of his other ancestral lines, not the Todds.  He settled in Rutherford County 15-20 miles away from the other two Todd families and descendants went to western Tennessee around Crockett Co.

 

Family #2: The second of these families was a family descended from Joseph Todd of Eling in southern England who died in Philadelphia in 1699 and whose descendants came to Rutherford County, TN about 1809 from Madison County Kentucky.    Some of these Todds had come directly from Rowan Co NC to Madison County KY in the 1790s and others had come about 1803 from Wilkes County Georgia where a branch had spent 20 years before joining their kinfolk in Madison County.  The migrants to Rutherford County were:

 

Benjamin Todd 1759-1855, a Revolutionary War soldier and his sons Benjamin b 1785 and          Robert b 1784 and daughters Sally who had married Aaron Todd in 1808; Mary who later

            married Samuel Lusk in 1818; Leah who had children with Isham Medford; and three

            other daughters listed in the 1810 census.

Aaron Todd b 1784, Benjamin’s nephew (son of Benjamin’s brother Peter Todd b 1756)

William Todd b 1781, Benjamin’s nephew (son of Benjamin ‘s brother Caleb Todd b 1751/8)

Reuben Todd b 1785,  Benjamin’s nephew (son of Benjamin’s brother Caleb Todd b 1751/8)

 

The Georgia-born Todds of Rutherford County, namely William b 1781 and Reuben b 1785 were shown to be brothers to each other and nephews of Benjamin Todd 1759-1855.  Their father was Caleb Todd b 1751/8 who had migrated to Wilkes County Georgia sometime between 1778 and 1781.   William and Reuben were also shown to be siblings to:

  1. Benjamin Todd 1778-1855 and John Todd b 1770-80 who had settled on the Putnam-Jones County GA border about 1812 and remained in Georgia.
  2. Four siblings – Editha born 1793, Abel b 1795, Sarah b 1798 and Samuel Bentley Todd b 1802 – who had gone to Madison Co about 1803 with their parents and with their older half-brothers – William and Reuben. They migrated with their mother Sarah Bentley Todd to Scott County KY about 1810. 

 

The DNA also revealed the identity of a Madison County KY family.   Thomas “Sugar Todd” Todd b 1792 was shown to be the son of Joseph Todd b 1757.

 

Family #3:  The third family in Rutherford/Cannon County was also of North Carolina origin though their exact location of origin in NC and parentage has not been determined.  Male DNA samples from the three males show them to have a common ancestor with each other, but not with the Todds of the Big Spring area of Rutherford County.  This family was comprised of three brothers and possibly a sister:

 

Jesse Todd b 1770-80

James B. Todd b 1788 NC

William Thomas Todd b 1793 NC

And

Jemima Todd md 1821 Hugh Brawley.

 

Jesse settled in Wilson County by 1806.  In 1814, Jesse bought 100 acres on Owl Creek a short branch of Carson’s Fork not far the confluence of Carson’s Fork with Brawley’s Fork.  Jesse later bought property on Brawley’s Fork.

 

James B. and William T. Todd lived a mile or so south on Horse Spring Branch, assumed to be present Haws Spring Branch of Carson’s Fork near the community of Burt. 

 

Jemima married Hugh Brawley in 1821 and moved to Shelby Co Illinois by 1830.   They and their daughters or perhaps just their daughters appear to have returned to Rutherford County and married there in the 1840s.

 

            Elusive Todds

 

There are three Todds for which the DNA evidence suggests a place on the family tree for them, but more DNA samples and genealogical research would be needed to prove this with certainty.    These three are: Jefferson Todd b 1814, Walker Todd b 1822 and Walker’s grandmother Mary Todd 1762-1866.   They are most assuredly part of Family # 2 above (the Todds who came from Madison County KY), but the exact relationship remains elusive.  Earlier family historians thought that Jefferson Todd b 1814, Asa Todd b 1817 and Walker Todd b 1822 were all sons of an Elizabeth Todd and that this Elizabeth was the daughter of  Mary Todd 1762-1866.    However, records from Rutherford and Cannon Co TN revealed that Asa Todd b 1817 was the son of Jemima Todd who married Alexander Espy and then in 1857 Hollis Cooper and that Jemima was a daughter of Benjamin Todd b 1759.   DNA also revealed that Jefferson and Walker did not share the same father or mother and that neither Jefferson nor Walker had a male Todd father from either of the two major Todd families in Rutherford/Cannon Co.   Nevertheless, DNA and documentary research suggests some possibilities that further research might confirm:

 

  1. Walker Todd b 1822:  The DNA suggests that he was a grandson of Benjamin Todd b 1759 via an out-of-wedlock union with Mary Todd 1762-1866 (Walker’s grandmother) during the time Benjamin was married to Margaret Barclay.   The DNA also shows that he does not have a male Todd father and doesn’t have the same father as Jefferson Todd.   With respect to his father, we found several matching DNA samples that seemed to reflect a connection to Walker at the generation of his father, but were unable to secure enough genealogical information about the ancestry of the those matches to indicate a likely surname for Walker’s father.  See attachment to this report for further details.

 

  1. Jefferson Todd b 1814:  Despite all our efforts, we can not reach firm conclusions about the identity of Jefferson Todd.   Nevertheless, there is some support for the theory that Jefferson was a descendant of Mary Todd’s family, perhaps a descendant of one of Mary’s uncles or aunts.

 

As far as his father was concerned, we were able to show that the father was not the father of Walker Todd and not a blood descendant of any of the two Todd families in the area.   We got two male DNA samples – one from a desc of Jefferson’s son John Henry Todd b 1841 and one from a desc of Jefferson’s son Thomas Jefferson Todd b 1855.  However, not only did they not match Walker Todd b 1822 or the other two Todd families in the area, but they did not match each other either.  One of the samples is probably representative of the father of Jefferson Todd and one is not.   I suspect that the John Henry Todd desc has the pattern representative of Jefferson Todd, but samples from another descendant of each of the brothers is needed to confirm that.

 

One promising development is that we have a DNA sample from a McFerrin descendant of the Cannon Co McFerrin family that sold Jefferson Todd a piece of land in 1856, just before his death.  This DNA seemed a close match to the John Henry Todd desc at the 25 marker level, but the distance increased when the 37 marker results came in.   Additional samples from the McFerrins and the Todds have been recruited to see if they are close enough of a match to suggest a McFerrin father to Jefferson Todd.

 

With respect to the mother of Jefferson Todd, one Family Finder DNA test suggested a connection between a Jefferson Todd b 1814 descendant and an Elizabeth Duncan b 1800 descendant, but the second sample did not.   The two Duncan sample donors were 3.5 generations to common ancestor, but the Family Finder results said they were 5th to distant cousins.   This means that the two donors did not share as much of Elizabeth’s DNA as would normally be expected from two people as closely related as they were.  This means that they might not show up as closely related to Walker and Jefferson and the other Todds as one would have expected if Jefferson and Walker were descended from the same grandfather.  However, on the face of it, it would appear that Elizabeth Duncan was not Jefferson’s mother.

 

We do have some facts about Walker and Jefferson that suggest a close association with each other over a long period of time.  They bought land within a year of each other (1847/1848) on Carson’s Fork near the community of Burt in Cannon County.  Walker administered the estate of Jefferson Todd in 1857.   Walker married Julia Ann Painter who as a young girl was a neighbor of Jefferson Todd in the 1840s on Fox Hollow in Rutherford County.    Another close neighbor on Fox Hollow was Benjamin Todd b 1785, son of Benjamin b 1759.   Prior to this, in 1830, Benjamin Todd b 1785 was living near Todd Hollow/Big Springs not far from his cousins Reuben and Aaron Todd and next door to Mary Todd, an elderly widow with three young males in her household.   Two are these children were the age of Jefferson and Walker Todd.     So it is possible that this Mary was the same Mary Todd who lived with Walker Todd in 1850 and hence that Mary Todd was closely associated with both Jefferson and Walker.  It almost seems that Jefferson Todd was taken in and raised by Mary Todd.   Given the large genetic distant between Walker and Jefferson (7 generations to common ancestor), we hypothesize that Jefferson was the great grandson of Mary’s grandfather (son of Mary’s first cousin).

     

  1. Mary Todd 1762-1866 was probably not a Todd by birth because she was born in NC in the 1760s before the Todds came there from PA.  Her grandson Walker Todd’s  close genetic relationship to two descendants of Benjamin Todd b 1759-1855 compared to the other branches of the Todds suggests that Mary might have had an out-of-wedlock daughter with Benjamin and that the daughter in turn had an out-of-wedlock son, namely Walker Todd b 1822.   Further research into the ancestry of those individuals who matched the DNA samples of Walker Todd descendants might reveal more about the ancestry of Walker Todd and Mary Todd.  The close association of Jefferson Todd b 1814 and Walker Todd b 1822 and their connection to Mary Todd but their distant relationship as shown in the DNA suggests that the connection between Jefferson and Walker may have been through Mary’s side of the family.  One DNA sample suggests that Mary may have been a Jones from Rowan Co.  Further research into the ancestry of all those individuals who shared a common ancestor with both Jefferson and Walker Todd is needed to determine Mary’s ancestry.

 

Loose Ends

 

  1. Margaret Todd:   There is a Margaret Todd b 1798 KY in Rutherford County in 1850.  She had a son Harrison Todd b 1837 TN and a daughter Manerva(sp?) b 1830.  Living with her in 1850 was Samuel Oats born 1832.  Harrison married Sarah (possibly Roberts) and died 1862-1870. They had a daughter Margaret born 1859.  It is not known where Margaret fits in on the Todd family tree.  No descendants are known for this family.
  2. Lucinda Todd b 1809 md Abner Summers 1844.  Lucinda was listed as a daughter of Benjamin by earlier historians but was not mentioned as an heir in the 1854/55 settlement land sale listing all the living children for Benjamin Todd b 1759.  So it is not clear how she could be a legitimate daughter of Benjamin.  No DNA from this family has been sought.
  3. Malinda Todd b 1810 who married James Wright.  She was not mentioned in the settlement land sale either.

 

Keep in mind that the DNA conclusions here are not absolutely certain.  There is so much variability in the DNA results that these conclusions can only be considered “most likely” interpretations of the data.  More samples would be needed to prove the relationships suggested here.

 

Thanks to all those who contributed information and funding for DNA samples to make this report possible!


 

Reasons for Concluding that Benjamin Todd b 1759 was Grandfather of Walker Todd b 1822

 

Anyone familiar with the tradition that Mary Todd 1762-1866 was the sister of Benjamin Todd b 1759 may find it hard to swallow that she could instead have been the mother of a daughter of Benjamin b 1759.  However, what follows is a detailed discussion of the DNA results that lead us to that conclusion.

 

We initially sought to show whether or not Mary Todd 1762-1866 could have been a sister of Benjamin Todd b 1759.   We reasoned that if she were a sister to Benjamin, then Walker Todd would share Benjamin Todd b 1730 as the common ancestor with the other Todds.  Walker would be equally close a cousin to all the Todds – those descended from Benjamin b 1759, from Caleb b 1751 from Joseph b 1757.   However, the results that came in showed the Walker Todd was more closely related to Benjamin Todd b 1759 than to the other Todds.   Specifically, we tested Jerry Lusk, a descendant of Benjamin’s daughter Mary who married Samuel Lusk in 1818 and Jimmie Medford, a descendant of Benjamin’s daughter Leah who had children with Isham Medford.  We found that Jerry was equally closely related to the descendant of Benjamin Todd b 1759 as to Walker Todd, but more distantly related to the descendants of Caleb Todd b 1751 and Joseph Todd b 1757.

 

Individuals Compared

Genetic distance to common ancestor

Jerry Lusk (desc of Benjamin Todd b 1759)

Jimmie Medford (desc of Benjamin Todd b 1759

4.1

Jerry Lusk (desc of Benjamin Todd b 1759)

Sterling Todd (desc of Walker Todd)

4.1

Jerry Lusk (desc of Benjamin Todd b 1759)

Mark Todd (Desc of Walker Todd)

4.3

Jerry Lusk (desc of Benjamin Todd b 1759)

4 of 5 desc of Caleb Todd b 1751

6.8 (average)

6.7 to 6.9 (range)

Jerry Lusk (desc of Benjamin Todd b 1759)

2 desc of Joseph Todd b 1757

6.4

 

Though not all the data we obtained was as consistent as that shown above, the data did appear to show that Walker Todd was more closely related to Benjamin Todd b 1759 than to the other Todds.  This would mean that Benjamin Todd b 1759 was the grandfather of Walker Todd, unless there were a connection to Jerry Lusk through Walker’s unknown father.

 

We noticed that Jerry Lusk (desc of Benjamin Todd b 1759) was identified by Family Tree DNA as 2nd to 4th cousins to both Walker Todd descendants and identified as 3rd cousins by Gedmatch.com.    If Benjamin Todd were the grandfather of Walker Todd, then the family tree would show the Walker Todd descendants as 4th cousins.  This was one more generation distant than predicted by Gedmatch.com but within the range predicted by Family Tree DNA.

 

We noticed that if Jerry Lusk were related to the desc of Walker Todd as 3rd cousins, then either Samuel Lusk or Thomas Summers could have been the father of Walker Todd.  But we checked the male DNA for the Lusk family and the Summers family and neither matched the male DNA for Walker Todd.

 

So the most likely interpretation of the data is that Walker Todd b 1822 is the grandson of Benjamin Todd b 1759.


The Search for the Father of Walker Todd b 1822

 

 

A listing was made of the individuals who have done Family Finder DNA tests who matched both Mark Todd and Sterling Todd.

 

There were several who were 2nd to 3rd cousins and several who appeared to be more distant:

 

216243 - Walker Todd (Mark Todd)

Lewis

2nd Cousin - 4th Cousin

3rd Cousin

49.10

20.21

206636 - Walker Todd (Sterling Todd)

Lewis

3rd Cousin - 5th Cousin

4th Cousin

34.34

12.71

216243 - Walker Todd (Mark Todd)

Keever

2nd Cousin - 4th Cousin

3rd Cousin

51.68

16.94

206636 - Walker Todd (Sterling Todd)

Keever

3rd Cousin - 5th Cousin

4th Cousin

32.94

16.94

216243 - Walker Todd (Mark Todd)

Lusk

2nd Cousin - 4th Cousin

3rd Cousin

46.84

28.41

206636 - Walker Todd (Sterling Todd)

Lusk

2nd Cousin - 4th Cousin

3rd Cousin

49.19

24.34

206636 - Walker Todd (Sterling Todd)

Medford

4th to remote

 

43.43

11.29

216243 - Walker Todd (Mark Todd)

Medford

4th to remote

 

29.99

11.29

216243 - Walker Todd (Mark Todd)

Harrison

3rd Cousin - 5th Cousin

4th Cousin

38.76

20.09

206636 - Walker Todd (Sterling Todd)

Harrison

5th Cousin - Remote Cousin

-

41.77

9.57

216243 - Walker Todd (Mark Todd)

Eudaley

3rd Cousin - 5th Cousin

4th Cousin

32.86

13.09

206636 - Walker Todd (Sterling Todd)

Eudaley

3rd Cousin - 5th Cousin

4th Cousin

34.93

13.54

 

 

 

 

 

 

216243 - Walker Todd (Mark Todd)

Barber

4th Cousin - Remote Cousin

-

40.48

10.52

206636 - Walker Todd (Sterling Todd)

Barber

4th Cousin - Remote Cousin

-

37.26

10.90

216243 - Walker Todd (Mark Todd)

Green

4th Cousin - Remote Cousin

-

38.35

15.71

206636 - Walker Todd (Sterling Todd)

Green

4th Cousin - Remote Cousin

-

36.78

10.65

216243 - Walker Todd (Mark Todd)

Robertson

5th Cousin - Remote Cousin

-

28.88

11.65

206636 - Walker Todd (Sterling Todd)

Robertson

4th Cousin - Remote Cousin

-

45.98

11.05

 


 

These matches are individuals that are descended from either Walker’s father or paternal grandfather, or Walker’s grandfather Benjamin b 1759 or walker’s grandmother Mary Todd 1762-1866.

 

What is needed is to compile the ancestry back to the great great great grandparents of each of these individuals and see where the likely connection to Walker Todd might lie.  Additonal DNA testing of the promising branches of those families would then be needed to pinpoint where the connection lay.

 

We have tested the male DNA for James Eudaley, Jimmie Medford, Jerry Lusk and found none of them match Walker Todd.

 

More research is needed to find the link between these families and Walker Todd b 1822.

 

We have also noticed that Mark Todd has a Y-DNA 34 of 37 marker match with a Craig Kelston McPherson of New Zealand.   Fowler Todd had a 33 of 37 match with this same person.   This suggests it would be desireable to get a DNA sample from one of the McPherson families who settled in Kentucky or Tennessee to see if there is a closer Y-DNA match.   In looking through ancestry.com census records, I noted that in some cases, McFerron is also labeled McPherson which seems strange.  But on the other hand, there were McFerrin’s living in Rutherford co near the Todds.    Also, there was an Andrew Barton McPherson who reportedly had a son Charles born in Warren County TN in 1818.  DNA samples from this family and from the McFerrins would be useful.

 

One interesting result that one of the matches above seemed to be close enough kin to Walker Todd that it seemed he might be a descendant of the father or paternal grandfather of Walker Todd.  Though I made contact with the matching sample donor, he stopped communicating.  I contacted his parents but they wouldn’t talk about the family history.  I finally found someone who told me that the sample donor’s great grandmother was adopted and noone knew the details of her birth family.   There are a couple of clues that could be pursued, but here was what seemed like it would be the answer to the question of Walker’s parentage, yet we could not complete the research.
Search For Ancestry of Jefferson Todd b 1814

 

The Family Finder Gedmatch.com results did not show that the Jefferson Todd descendant was related to either of the Walker Todd descendants, but this may be because the relationship was very distant (greater than 6 or 7 generations).  

 

The DNA showed a distant relationship (over 6-1/2 generations to common ancestor) to both of the two Todd families in Rutherford/Cannon County:  to a descendant of Jesse Todd and Jemima Todd, to a descendant of Elizabeth Duncan, to two of the Caleb Todd descendants.   But this was not a strong pattern, suggesting that the relationship was at least 6.5 generations.   Or that the relationships were through one of the collateral lines not the Todd line.

 

It would be highly desirable to get another sample from a confirmed descendant of Jefferson Todd.  We did get a second sample from a person we thought was a Jefferson Todd descendant, but given that the male DNA of the brother of the person whose sample we got turned out not to match the other male Todd sample, we are not confident that the sister’s results are representative of Jefferson Todd.   Curiously, that person showed a 6-1/2 generation match with Walker Todd.  Another sample from a Jefferson Todd descendant would help clarify his relationship to the other branches of the family.

 

The Jefferson Todd sample showed a close connection to the a descendant of Benjamin Todd b 1759, but we don’t know if that is due to kinship of the spouses in a generation along the lineage line of those sampled.   

 

One of the individuals who match both Walker Todd b 1822 and Jefferson Todd b 1814 was a descendant of John Jones b 1762 Rowan Co NC who came to Madison Co KY in the late 1780s, but then went to Montgomery Co KY and settled in Bath Co KY where he died in 1851.   The DNA suggests that the connection between Walker and Jefferson may have been through this Jones family suggesting that Mary may have been born a Jones.  However, this is just one possible interpretation among many.  Further testing is needed to be able to make good conclusions.


The Brawley Addendum to the Todd DNA Report of March 2012

 

We sought to answer the questions:

  1. Was Jemima Todd sister to Jesse Todd?
  2. Were Jemima Todd’s children: Nancy Brawley b 1823 who married 1842 to William C. Givens, Mary Margaret Brawley b 1826 who married 1843 to David H Phillips and Hugh Brawley b 1823 md Martha Malone?

 

The Family Finder DNA results were not as consistent as we hoped for, but the most consistent results indicated that Hugh Brawley b 1823 descendant was equally distant from the Mary Margaret Brawley and Nancy Brawley descendant and at the correct distance (4 generations to common ancestor: Hugh P Brawley b 1799) and was 4-1/2 generations to the descendant of Hugh P Brawley’s brother John Brawley.   This is what we would expect if all three were children of Jemima Todd and Hugh P. Brawley.

 

The Mary Margaret Brawley descendant sample showed about equal distance to Hugh b 1823and Nancy b 1826 descendants, but showed an equal distance to the John Brawley descendant, instead of the expected greater distance to the John Brawley descendant.

 

The Nancy Brawley descendant sample showed about equal distance to Hugh b 1823 and Mary Margaret b 1826 descendant, but no relationship to the John Brawley descendant.

 

Taken as a whole though, we can conclude that the three were siblings.

 

Unfortunately, the distance to Jesse Todd b 1770-80 was 6.5 to 6.7 generations, to James B. Todd b 1788 6.7 and 6.8 (though one sample was 4.1) and William T Todd b 1793 (no relationship).    If Jesses, James B. and William T were siblings of Jemima and Jemima was mother to the three Brawley’s, we would have expected to see distances of 5.0, not 6.5.  

 

 

So though we can conclude that the three Brawley’s are siblings, we are not so confident that they were children of Jemima Todd and Hugh Brawley.  In fact, we would have to conclude based on these limited results that they are not Jemima’s children, assusming she was a sister of the Jesse, James B and William T.   Nevertheless, they seem to be related to Jesse Todd and James B. Todd, but at too great a distance for Jemima Todd to have been a sister.  It was as if she were a cousin of Jesse and James B.   More samples in the Brawley family perhaps in Warren County and in the Jesse, James B. and William T. families are needed to confirm or refute these conclusions.

 

We have placed the three Brawley’s as children of Jemima and Hugh Brawley as placeholders while waiting for further research to be completed.