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Early American Dalzells and Delzells

James Delzell (1794-1864) and Elizabeth Ann MCCULLY (1795-1869), Carroll Co., IN.

Detailed History:

The Family of James Delzell (1794 - 1864)

This is the story of James Delzell (my own ancestor among the four sons of John Delzell), who was born February 15, 1794 in Blount Co., Tennessee on the original Delzell farm on the headwaters of Nine Mile Creek. He was the fourth son of John Delzell and Margaret McFaren. We assume that James had to begin working hard on the farm at an early age since his father died when he was 13 years old and he and his older brothers now had to keep the farm going.

When James was twenty years old he enlisted as a private in the War of 1812. Shortly after returning from service he married Elizabeth McCully (about 1815) and on August 7, 1816 they purchased 124 acres on Six Mile Creek. Three weeks later, on August 29, 1816 their first child, a girl they named Jane McCully Delzell was born. James moved his family to Jefferson Township, Carrol County, Indiana in 1833 but on the way Elizabeth gave birth to a son William near Greencastle IN on October 12, 1831. James and Elizabeth joined the United Presbyterian Church in Idaville in White County, Indiana on June 8, 1833.

James was listed in the 1830 Census of Blount County TN. By 1840 he was in Carrol Co IN and remained there, showing up in the 1850 and 1860 Census reports. In 1831 James sold the 288 acre family farm on Nine Mile Creek which he had inherited from his father. He died in Carroll Co IN in 1864 and Elizabeth died there five years later. They are both buried in the Oak Grove Cometary

Historical Background

1794, the year that James was born, was a very difficult year for the settlers south of the French Broad River and west of the Great Smokie Mountains in the lands of the Cherokee Indians. And it must have been difficult for John Delzell's family as well. The Indians were still harassing the settlers and the family was growing.

The following story, told by Inez Burns, will give you an idea of how things were in this area. "On Sunday afternoon, March 10th, 1794 James Ferguson, his sister and David Craig's son were fired on from ambush as they were passing from David Craig's Fort near the mouth of Nine Mile Creek to John Craig's Fort on Pistol Creek near the present city of Maryville. When the Indians fired on them they killed Ferguson who was leading. An Indian rushed into the road with uplifted tomahawk and seized the young lady's horse by the bridle. She gave the bridle a sudden jerk and broke loose from the Indian. Young Craig had halted to help if he could, and when she got loose they made off as fast as their horses could take them. The road forked near the place and came together again within a hundred yards. Miss Ferguson took one fork and young Craig the other, and where the roads came together their horses met with such force that Craig's knocked the young lady's horse down and she was thrown off. Craig jumped off his horse and helped her remount and they fortunately made their escape although the Indians were close behind them."

One can't help but wonder whether this Ferguson family was related to the Henry Ferguson mentioned in the following quotation from the author of A History of White and Pulaski Counties [Indiana] in an article about Dr. Robert M. Delzell, who was a great grandson of John Delzell, "In about 1750, three brothers and one sister; John, Robert, James and Rosanna came to America. Two brothers settled in Pennsylvania and Virginia respectively and Rosanna and John in Tennessee. Rosanna married Henry Ferguson. It would be an interesting project to learn more about Rosanna and Henry Ferguson.

James' Inheritance

James Delzell was about 13 years old when his father died in 1807. He was undoubtedly still living and working very hard on the family farm. In his father's will James was to get "a horse worth a hundred dollars...and a saddle and to receive his share of the farm if he continued to work on it."

Military Service

James enlisted as a private in Captain Jehu Stephens Company of the Volunteer Mounted Gunmen from East Tennessee in the service of the United States from October 6, 1814 until April 6 1815. This was an interesting war, fought mainly at sea, but the Tennesseans, under the leadership of General Jackson, play an important role. Here is a brief summary of events.

In the spring of 1809, with James Madison succeeding Thomas Jefferson to the Presidency, the affairs between Britain and the United States were fast approaching a crises as the British navy committed outrages against U. S. ships. Finally, as matters grew worse, President Madison, with the support of Congress, issued a declaration of war against the British in spite of the fact that the U. S. was vastly over powered by the British.

James Delzell served until April 6, 1815 when he was honorably discharged--and we had beaten the English for the second time. I doubt very much that he was involved with General Jackson and the Tennessee Volunteers in the Battle of New Orleans which ended on January 8, 1815 in which there were 2100 British casualties and only 21 American casualties. I suspect there would be some stories of the war passed down if he had been at New Orleans. It is interesting that the treaty ending the War of 1812 was actually signed on December 24, 1914, before the battle of New Orleans took place.

Marriage

Upon returning home from the service in 1815, James married Elizabeth Ann McCulley, the daughter of John McCully (1763-1832) and Elizabeth Ferguson McCulley (1762-1845) who were married in 1791. Elizabeth's mother's name was McFarland. The marriage records of Blount County do not list this marriage, however an undated record of the marriage was handwritten written into the margin of the book of Blount County marriages that I found in Knoxville.

Land Dealings in Blount Co Tennessee

James purchased 124 acres of land on August 7, 1816 for $150.00 on the headwaters of Six Mile Creek, a few miles across the valley from the family farm. James' brother Robert and William signed the indenture to help him buy the land. It would be interesting to try to locate James' farm someday. Hugh Wayland Delzell states "James sold 288 acres to his brother David on October 12, 1831. This was the tract which their father had willed to the three younger sons. The deed says this tract `being all the part left in the late will of John Delzell to Gideon B. Delzell, his son, the same being sold by the said Gideon to the said James Delzell.' "We believe James and his family left Blount County, TN within a few days or weeks. On January 29, 1832 they were near Greencastle, Indiana where his wife, Elizabeth, gave birth to a son William. Whether they stopped there for about a year or moved on, we have not been able to determine."

Land Dealings in Carroll Co Indiana

Hugh Wayland Delzell writes "In his history of Carroll County Indiana,” T. B. Helm says, “...James Delzell was probably the first settler [in Jefferson Township] of the year 1833 as he came early in the spring and located upon a tract of land in Section 1. He remained here until the following fall retaining his claim by right of Pre-emption; but at the time specified he went to the Government Land Office at Crawfordsville, where he purchased the tract.

"He was long identified with the interests of the Township and lived to see many important improvements inaugurated and carried out. He was a man of local prominence and served in several offices, including that of Justice of the Peace (elected in 1851, reelected 1855). The land which he purchased was in Section 1, Township 26 North, Range 3 West. It is interesting to note that William Carson (a relative of Kit Carson) purchased a tract adjoining James Delzell. We cannot help but wonder if their wives were sisters for the maiden name of both is said to be McCulley.'"

Children

James and Elizabeth probably built a cabin and started to raise a crop in 1816. They also had their first baby on August 29, 1816 and named her Jane McCulley Delzell. One wonders why they chose the name Jane since James' mother was Margaret and Elizabeth's mother was also named Elizabeth. The custom, as I understand it, is to name the first daughter after the father's mother. They did name their second daughter, born about 1818, Elizabeth Lucinda; and their third daughter, born April 9, 1824, Margaret Ann; so they did pull in both family names. Perhaps their first daughter was named after a favorite Aunt or Grandmother.

Just a few brief notes about the children of this family. They were all born in Tennessee except William. Jane, the oldest, married Peter Bishop who had previously been married to Margaret Hamill. Remember that the Delzells in Tennessee were buried in the Tedford-Hamill cometary in Blount County. They had seven children and lived in White County, Indiana. Jane died when she was 42 years old.

Eliza married James F. Tedford and they had three children. Eliza also died very young at the age of 32.

Margaret married Robert N. Tedford and they had seven children. Margaret lived to be 76 years old.

James and Elizabeth also had three sons: Samuel born about 1827; Solomon, my Great grandfather, born June 16, 1829; and William born January 29, 1832. For some reason they chose not to name any of their sons after James' father John Delzell. Perhaps it was because the older brothers already had each named a son John.
Samuel married Mary Montgomery and then Frances Carson and had a total of nine children.

Solomon, my direct ancestor, married Jane Davis and had four children.
William married Rosanne Carson and had six children. All three sons volunteered for service during the Civil War and were stationed outside of Nashville, Tennessee.

Church Membership

Hugh Wayland Delzell writes "Although they lived in Carroll County, Indiana,] it was only a short distance from the town of Idaville in White County. The records of the United Presbyterian Church at Idaville show that both James and Elizabeth joined that church on June 8, 1833. They were received on certificate from a church known as L. Raccoon. Mrs. Kay says several of the early families (Barnes, Scroggs and Tedfords) also came from this church. She believes it was on Raccoon Creek in Putnam County, Indiana (Greencastle is the County seat)."

Census Reports

In the 1830 Census of Blount Co, Tennessee, James and Elizabeth are listed as having two boys and three girls as follows:

Males: 2 under 5, 1 30-40.
Females:1 5-10, 2 10-15, 1 30-40

In the 1840 Census of Carrol County, Indiana, they now have a new boy under five and the two sons born in Blount Co. They also have two of the girls still at home as follows:

Males: 1 5-10, 2-10-15, 1 40-50.
Females: 1 15-20, 1 20-30, 1 40-50

By the 1850 Census (the first to use first names of both parents and children) of Carroll County the girls had all left home, but Solomon, my great grandfather, and William were still there as follows:

James Delzell 56 Farmer born in TN
Elizabeth Delzell 52 born in TN
Solomon Delzell 20 born in TN
William Delzell 18 born in TN

In the 1860 Census of Jefferson Township, Carrol Co., IN, James and Elizabeth were now alone, their children having left home. In the 1860 census James and Elizabeth were still in Carroll County but all of the children had flown the nest. James was now 66 years old and Elizabeth was 65.

James Delzell 66 born in TN
Elizabeth Delzell 65 born in TN

James' Will

Regarding James Delzell's will, Hugh Wayland wrote "James wrote his will August 4, 1862. In the will, James provided that his wife, Elizabeth C. Delzell was to have complete control of all property until her death. He specified that son Samuel pay $25 to each group of heirs of his two deceased daughters, Eliz L. Tedford and Jane M. Bishop and a like amount to daughter Margaret Ann Tedford. He further stated that sons Solomon, William and Samuel had heretofore received their full share of his estate. `Nevertheless, for consideration and compensation to said Samuel Delzell for supporting and providing for my wants and the wants of my wife...during our natural lifetime...' and for paying taxes , cultivating and maintaining the farm, then Samuel was to have the use of the farm and personal property as long as he continued to do so."

Death and Burial

James died October 10, 1864 and was buried in the Oak Grove Cometary, a short distance from his home. Hugh writes "The stone
there shows he was 70 years, 7 months and 25 days old when he died and that he was born February 15, 1794. His wife, Elizabeth, died September 26, 1869 and is also buried in the Oak Grove Cometary. The stone by her grave gives her age as 74 years, 7 months."

Esther Delzell Brownell, the daughter of William Newton Delzell, visited Idaville, Indiana in October of 1963 and wrote the following letter to a friend. "This home where I am visiting is Mrs. Flora Scroggs, whose husband was father's cousin, David Scroggs. Mission accomplished might be the title of these notes. Flora Scroggs found Ethyl Delzell Becht, who lives on South Railroad St., Monticello, Indiana. She is our second cousin. She took us to Oak Grove Cometary nearby in the county South and East. Here are the well kept graves of more Delzells that you ever heard of. James, the founder, son of John and Margaret, was the first burial in the cometary, Oct 1, 1864, and Elizabeth his wife, and Sarah Davis, our above ground Delzells that we could locate except Ethyl Delzell Becht's brother Harold and his son Gerald Delzell also living in Monticello.

"We saw the stone foundation of the barn built by James the first and the site near his farm of an original post office call Mount Jefferson. It gives quite a feeling of continuity to have evidence of a great grandfather and two great grandmother's existence, and a grandmother and grandfather, and many great uncles and aunts and aunts and uncles and cousins."

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