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 Joseph McGlothlin Sr. and Agness Dinning Family

Submitted by Barbara Owens
© 2011

The progenitor of the Sumner County, Tennessee, McGlothlin family was Joseph McGlothlin Sr., who was born about 1760 in Ireland and died May 11, 1839 in Sumner County, Tennessee.

Oral family history has it that Joseph lived "a day's walk from Dublin." A days walk back in early days is believed to have been 25 miles, or the distance a horse could walk in a day. This bit of family lore has not been verified. The McGlothlin's were most likely originally from Scotland, then to Ireland, before coming to America.

By 1785, Joseph had immigrated to America where he married Agness Dinning in Orange County, North Carolina, November 15, 1785. Joseph was 25, Agness was 17. She was born 1768 in Ireland to Andrew and Margaret Dinning.

Joseph moved his family to Tennessee between 1785 and the fall of 1799. He settled near the Fountain Head community in Sumner County.

Joseph McGlothlin's name appears in Sumner County Court Minutes October 1799 when he was one of ten men ordered to work on the Green Town Kentucky road from where it intersected the state line to the Nashville road.

The first property Joseph bought in Sumner County was 120 acres on the west fork of Drakes Creek on waters of the Barren River. He purchased the land in 1805 for One Hundred Dollars. Joseph continued to buy tracts of land until he acquired a large amount of real estate.

In December of 1805, Joseph registered a stock mark in Sumner County. His animals were marked with a crop in their right ear and an underheel in their left ear.

The seven surviving children born to Joseph and Agness were Joseph Jr., John, Elizabeth, William, Andrew, James and Alexander. Agness was in her mid-forty's when she died 1808 to 1814. Some researchers give her death date as 1812. (A daughter-in-law of one of Joseph and Agness' grandsons said in 1951 that Joseph and Agness were large people and both came to America from Ireland.)

Through the years, Joseph Sr. was generous to his children, bestowing gifts of land, money and other items to each of them.

In 1814, Joseph Sr. married Mrs. Polly (Taylor) West, who was twenty-six years younger than Joseph. Polly was born in North Carolina May 23, 1787, to Robert and Nancy Taylor, who migrated to Sumner County from North Carolina. Three of Joseph Sr.'s children (Joseph Jr., John and Elizabeth) were married and four children (William, Andrew, James and Alexander) were still living at home when he and Polly married.

Polly's first husband was William West. They married in Sumner County October 6, 1806, lived together for some time and had one child after which they separated and he abandoned her. Nothing more is known about the child, it probably was deceased by the time Joseph Sr. and Polly married. Joseph Sr. and Polly had no children together.

The Sumner County Taxable Property of 1817 lists Joseph McGlothin with 594 acres located on the main fork of Drake's Creek, while Joseph McGlothlin Jr. had 150 acres on the west fork of Drake's Creek and John McGlothlin 82 acres on the main fork of Drake's Creek.

Joseph McGlothlin Sr. and Polly had been married nearly 25 years when he died, leaving a large estate. He was about 78 years old.

A week after his death Joseph's children met at the home of Joseph and Polly and Joseph's will was opened and read. Polly challenged its contents and said she should receive additional consideration. Joseph's children told Polly if she would not contest their father's will they would give her certain items in addition to those mentioned in his will. Polly agreed, so Joseph Sr's son Andrew drew up an agreement dated May 18, 1839, read it to Polly, and she signed it with her mark. An inventory of Joseph's personal estate was made May 20, 1839.

Joseph Jr. and William, who were Executors of their father's estate, submitted his will to Sumner County Probate Court in June 1839.

In compliance with Joseph Sr's instructions in his will that at his death his estate both real and personal was to be sold, a sale of the personal property inventory items was held June 25th and 26th 1839.

In July, Joseph Jr. and William posted a notice in the Gallatin Union and Sumner Advertiser newspaper which read, "Land for Sale - on Friday 23rd of August next, we will offer for sale several valuable tracts of land, at the late residence of Joseph McGlothlin, dec'd, on a credit of twelve months. Bond with approved security will be requested of purchasers. Any person wishing to examine the premises will call on the Executors previous to the day of sale."

In the meantime, Polly appeared in Sumner County Court and dissented from Joseph's will. She also filed a Bill of Complaint with the Chancery Court against her seven step-children.

Joseph's children surmised that Polly had one brother in particular who counseled with her concerning her business affairs after the death of Joseph Sr., resulting in Polly contesting the will and filing a Bill of Complaint.

In August 1839 a summons was issued by the Sumner County court and served on Joseph's children to appear in court and give their answers to Polly's Bill of Complaint against them.

On October 3, 1839, they filed their joint answers with the Chancery Court There were differences between her accusations and their answers. Polly then filed a Replication with the court in November, stating her Bill of Complaint was true and the answers given by Joseph Sr's children were not true.

After reviewing both sides of the issue, the court reached a decision on the settlement of Joseph Sr's estate in favor of Polly. Joseph's children then appealed the court's decision to the Supreme Court in Nashville. Before the next session of the Supreme Court convened, Joseph Sr's children and Polly compromised and settled their differences regarding distribution of Joseph Sr.'s estate. An Article of Agreement was entered into and submitted to the court.

In August 1840, the Supreme Court was notified to dismiss the appeal of the heirs of Joseph McGlothlin versus Polly McGlothlin.

In 1842, Joseph Sr's son James McGlothlin bought 100 plus acres from the estate, in 1845 James Shoat bought 100 acres, in 1846 Joseph Sr.'s grandson James B. McGlothlin bought 100 acres, and 186 acres was sold to Abram Bradley. In 1859, James B. McGlothlin bought ten more acres of his grandfather's land.


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