Research into the lines of
William Vaughan (abt. 1750- abt. 1838)
John Vaughan (abt. 1762-1842)
As well as related lines
About this site: This website has been set up to give a very brief summary of research into the lines of William Vaughan who married Fereby Benton and John Vaughan who married Nancy Callicott. In the late 1990s, a group of Vaughan Genealogists established a research group that took for it’s name the title of the book “Vaughan Pioneers” by Lewis Vaughan. Lewis’ book was the first book in print that dealt with the line of William and Fereby Vaughan and it still remains the most important work on this family’s Genealogy.
The Vaughan Pioneer group now numbers nearly 200 members, made up primarily from descendants of William Vaughan or John Vaughan. In the past 8 years, the group has made a very exhaustive search into the lines of both men and have furthered the work of the late Lewis Vaughan. This page was placed under the Rootsweb servers of Genealogy pages in hopes that it might help point researchers of these lines in the right direction.
For more information about these lines, contact me at email@example.com
William Vaughan was born about 1750, judging from his age in the few censuses that he appears in (which he can be identified) and by the ages of his children. Part of the mystery of William Vaughan is trying to figure out just where he came from originally. Early records in colonial times usually just referred to the name of the person – usually a male—and so often times you would not have a clue to if the person referred to was a specific person or just another person with the same name.
That is the
trouble with identifying William Vaughan.
where he was born, William Vaughan appears first in the early 1770s in
In 1774 he was
listed as a private in Captain David Looney’s Militia company from
VAUGHAN, 80 acres, part of the Loyal Company grant, on the waters of Elk Creek,
a branch of the
On the same page appears a Lazarus Benton, who received 116 acres of land on both sides of Elk Creek on the same day as William. As William married a Fereby Benton, this could very possibly be his wife’s relative. In 1771 a Titus Benton settled near Elk Creek and he was the son of Lazarus Benton.
witnessed Michael Cousel's assignment of land to
William Kennedy in 1774 or after, in
was in the Elk Creek District of Montgomery County,Virginia
in 1782 (later
A listing of the
William Walling, Lieutenant.
John Walling (2 men with this name)
Cornelius Roberts (who had a wife named Mary Benton, possibly Fereby's sister – Cornelius moved west about the same time and to the same area that William did.)
WILLIAM VAUN (
I should note that
there was another William Vaughan who moved into what is now
Very likely, all the Elk Creek entries are in the same area that was part of Fincastle County before the new county of Washington was formed and Fincastle county disappeared as a county in Virginia.
1782 was the year that more solid proof of William Vaughan begins to appear, for he received a land grant that later mentioned his wife by name.
Land Grants and Surveys, Surveyors Book 1, #86 shows William received two
Treasury Warrants, dated March 11, 1782 and April 4, 1782 for 187 acres plus 59
acres of land on the north side of the
William purchased an additional 70 acres on the north side of Little Cedar Creek from John Van Pelt on June 20, 1791 (Russell County Land Grants and Surveys, #123).
William was living in
He appears on the 1787 Russell County Personal Property Tax list with no males 16-21 living in his household, so all his children were born after 1771, this matches the records of his children’s ages.
On October 24,
1797, the land in
Deeds (from "
Page 249 - January 24, 1797 between William Vaughan & Fereby and Benjaman Wallis...on Little Ceder Creek the waters of Clinch River, part of a tract of land granted to William Vaughan by patent dated May 16, 1793...Beginning on the bank of Little Ceder Creek...on the bank of the north fork of Ceder Creek...to a conditional line between William Vaughan & Robert Rutherford...200 ac...Signed: William "X" Vaughan & Fereby "X" Vaughan. No witnesses
Acknowledged/Recorded: January Court 1797
...Fereby, his wife being privily examined...
VAUGHN DEED TO
22 Feb 1797: Indenture between William Vaughn & Fereby, his wife and John Watts (all of Russell County]...50 pounds...70 acres...granted to said William Vaughn...patent bearing date 20 Jun 1790...in Russell County on Little Cedar Creek a branch of Clinch River and Bounded:...bank of said creek...
Sig: William (his X mark) Vaughn, Fereby (her X mark) Vaughn
Acknowledged/Recorded: January Count, 1797
... Fereby, his wife being privily examined...
On August 15th,
1797, William bought 250 acres of land from William McClean
on the north side of
On April 15, 1800, William sold 100 acres of his land to John Helton. Helton resold the land to John and Nancy (Callicott) Vaughan.
On March 1st, 1801
William Vaughan and his neighbor John
Vaughan are listed on two surviving tax lists of
On the 1810 Tax List for Capt. John Looney's Company is listed:
Looney, John lands:300, 1 White Pole
Looney, Absalum Esq.: lands 640 1 White Pole 1 Black Pole
Vaughn, William:100 lands 1 White Pole
Vaughn, John:100 lands 1 White Pole
On the 1812 Tax List for Capt. John Looney's Company is listed:
Vaughn, William Senior 100 land
Vaughn, John 100 land 1 White Pole
Vaughn, William Junior 1 White Pole
In 1814, William apparently grew restless again and decided to move. On February 2nd, 1814 he sold 100 acres of land to William Ford and on August 15th he sold the remaining 50 acres to George Anderson, but neither sale was registered until August of 1816. This could be due to some understanding between both parties in the transaction that the sale would not be complete until William and Fereby had found a suitable place to live.
Where exactly William and Fereby moved next is still under investigation. The censuses were still only showing the head
of the household in 1820, but the general consensus is that they moved to
somewhere in the middle part of
William’s sons, Daniel and Samuel, who later
settled in Madison County, Arkansas, had moved to middle
Daniel apparently received land in
He appeared on the
Possibly, Thomas Vaughan, William and Fereby's son, lived in
shows another interesting entry for a transfer of land from a William P.
Vaughan to a Reuben Prop or Rop. He said that the
text was extremely difficult to read from the microfilm, but he was able to
determine that on September 11th, 1821, in
Some have speculated that William, Fereby and their sons Daniel and Samuel – plus perhaps
others of his family—went to somewhere in Southeast Missouri before moving on
to Northwest Arkansas. I don’t think
this was the case – my guess is that they left the White and
Goodspeed’s History of Northwest Arkansas states that
the Vaughans came to Crawford County, Arkansas in 1821, settling near Short
Mountain Creek across from a large Cherokee Village (part of Arkansas was
Cherokee Territory at this point in time) until 1826, when they moved west of
the town of Cane Hill in what is today Washington County. Then they moved East to the border of
Here is the actual text from Goodspeed:
Vaughan. Born in
where he was one of the earliest settlers, and thence to Crawford
Creek. Crossing the
Vaughan settled near Evansville, Washington County, before the Indian
title to that section had been extinguished, and, being encroachers,
their improvements were destroyed by the regular soldiers. In 1826
first settlers, and in 1828 migrated to what is now known as the
valley and bought the improvements of one Friend, an Indian half-breed
of migratory habits, then its only occupant. Isaac Vaughan now lives
here. Samuel Vaughan dealt largely in Government claims. He died at
the age of seventy-seven. Daniel Vaughan lived all his life on his
first claim, a short distance west of Hindsville.
In 2005 I visited all the places named in
the Goodspeed History. Short Mountain Creek is a stream that passes
by the bread loaf shaped
Cane Hill is to the northwest of Short
Mountain Creek and is also farm land, though the land is more hilly. It is close to the
The Territorial Papers, Arkansas Territory, (pp.1172-1174) include an interesting document addressed by John Campbell, Cane Hill, to Ethan Brown, Commissioner of the General Land Office, dated 17 Feb. 1836, forwarding charges against William McK. Ball, Register of the Land Office at Fayetteville in Washington County, Arkansas Territory. The first charge made reads as follows:
For acting partially in his Official Capacity as Register of the Land Office; in not taking down correctly the whole of the testimony of John Davidson, Daniel Vaughn and William Buchanon with a design of favoring a claim set up by Thomas Garvin to a part of the North East and North West quarters of section Eight, Township fourteen North in Range 32 West--thereby attempting to defraud Thomas Pogue and John Campbell out of their just right to the preemption claims purchased of James Jackson and William Vaughn.
An examination of Thomas Garvin's file reveals a number of depositions evidently made to bolster his claim. The following is the only one pertaining to Daniel and William Vaughan:
Be it remembered that on the 6th day of September 1834 personally appeared before me a Justice of the peace in and for said County of Washington Levi Richards of lawful age who being duly sworn according to law deposeth and says that he did lease of Daniel Vaughn in January 1830 a small improvement for the term of two years. The Northwest quarter of Section 8 Range 32 West Township N North and did get possession on the 20th day April 1830 And that the Father of Daniel Vaughn whose Christian name he does not recollect did not cultivate on the same quarter after the 20th day of April 1830. He further says he did remain on the above named Quarter until December following at which time Daniel Vaughn sold the above named improvement to Daniel O. George and that he never knew the Father of Daniel Vaughn to have any claim to the above named. place.
The above deposition indicates that William
Vaughan was not living on the tract of land in question after 20 April 1830,
This statement was probably correct, for William apparently moved from Cane
Goodspeed in his History of Benton County, Ark.,
tells of a case tried before the Circuit Court in
Sometime between 1838 and 1840, William died and tradition goes that he was buried in a grave marked only by an uncut field stone that today lies on private land and is known among descendants as the “Old Vaughan cemetery”.
On the 1840 census, William’s widow, Fereby, was living with her son-in-law, James Vaughn, who
had married William and Fereby’s daughter
Martha. James and Martha very likely
were first cousins. James lived in
William’s wife, Fereby, was probably more of a mystery than her husband. The family traditions of this woman revolve around the possibility of her possessing some degree of Cherokee Indian ancestry. Yet when you try to document anything about Fereby, you quickly find that there is very little to find.
Fereby was born sometime between 1745 and 1755 in
Much of the family tradition about her
comes from the late 1880s and 1890s, after she had been dead for about 40
years. During the 1890s, many of Fereby’s Grandchildren and great-Grandchildren tried to
gain membership in the Western Cherokee tribe which lived in what is today
The problem with these claims is that the John Looney they were claiming to be Fereby’s grandfather was a contemporary of her and could not possibly have been even her father, not to mention her grandfather.
Some of the most interesting affidavits made in these Cherokee files is from Benjamin Franklin Vaughan, a grandson of Fereby, who lived with his grandparents as a child. Ben claimed that Fereby was known to have Cherokee blood and was visited once by her cousin, Looney Tol-lem-tes-key. He also claimed in another place that Fereby’s mother was Fereby Looney. Another family tradition is that Fereby’s mother (Fereby Looney, I assume) died in childbirth, and her widowed father named his newborn daughter after her mother.
What is interesting is that Fereby’s husband, William, served in Captain David Looney’s militia during Lord Dunmore’s War, alone with Cornelius Roberts who married a Mary Benton. Also in Captain Looney’s militia was a young Daniel Boone, who, family tradition states, knew William.
David Looney, however, was not a Cherokee and his lineage is very well known. Although the Vaughan descendants of Fereby managed to get several well-known Cherokees swear affidavits to their worthiness of being made members of the Cherokee nation, all the efforts were in vain, for all were rejected, due to the fact that Fereby does not appear on any Cherokee Roll or census – which is not surprising considering she was married and raising a family before the Revolutionary War broke out.
The LDS Church found evidence that William and Fereby’s oldest son, Thomas, was born in the town of Cherokee in modern day Swain County, North Carolina, which was, at the time of his birth in 1773, in Cherokee territory. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find where they located this evidence.
The Vaughan Pioneers group’s research has shown a somewhat less exciting ancestry for Fereby – though it too has NOT been confirmed.
The name “Fereby”
was rather uncommon, but began in the
We looked very closely at
We had much more success with the
We do know that one of Epaphroditus’
sons was Lazarus Benton, who moved back and forth between
On December 12th, 1774, Lazarus
had a survey done of 116 acres of land, part of a grant by the Loyal Land
Company, on both sides of Elk Creek, a branch of the New River in
Lazarus apparently moved to
Two of his sons who died in Indian attacks
were John and Titus Benton, who, like their father and grandfather, were
woodsmen and hunters. It is believed
that Titus Benton was a Long Hunter and lived around the Dan River before
Around 1771 or 1772 Titus and apparently
John moved to what is today
We suspect that Fereby
Benton was a daughter of either John or Titus Benton, and a granddaughter of
Lazarus. Lazarus was named in the
inventory list of the estate of Francis Pugh, on the list of those owed or due
money. Francis’ wife of daughter was named
Ferebe Pugh, and this could have been either a
daughter of Lazarus or, possibly, the widow Pugh remarried one of his sons and
became Fereby’s mother. This is pure speculation, but the Pugh family
was close to the
If Fereby Benton was indeed a daughter of John or Titus, and if the family story about her mother dying in childbirth is true, then by 1778, her parents would have been dead.
Certainly the lifestyle of the
Fereby had married William by 1773 when their
oldest son, Thomas was born. She appears
by name in the two
It should be noted that in 2001 the Vaughan Pioneers group paid for a Mitrochondrial DNA test on Kim Gabbard, who descends from Fereby by a direct female line. MtDNA is passed intact from Mother to daughter, and so Kim’s MtDNA would have been Fereby’s MtDNA. As MtDNA types for American Indians is limited to 5 identifiable types, and since Fereby, by tradition was part Cherokee through her mother, we theorized that if indeed Fereby had been part Cherokee Indian on her Mom’s side, it would have shown up by giving a MtDNA type consistent for American Indians.
When the test came back, the MtDNA type belonged to Haplogroup “H’ which is the most common type of Northern European MtDNA. This test shows that it is very unlikely that Fereby’s mother or her mother’s mother were full-blooded Cherokee Indian. It does not limit the possibility that Fereby may have had Cherokee ancestry, but there was without a doubt at least some white female ancestors.
One of the most interesting mysteries of
John next appears on records we have found,
filing for a marriage license in
While William was living in
On April 15, 1800, William sold 100 acres to John Helton. Helton resold the land to John and Nancy (Callicott) Vaughan.
John and Nancy lived the rest of their
WILL OF JOHN VAUGHAN
Page 474 Dated: Dec. 27, 1841
Proven: Aug. Term 1842
I, John Vaughan of the
First. My will and desire is that all my just debts be paid out of any money that I may die possessed of, or that may first come into the hands of my Executors.
Second. My will and desire is that my son George Washington, for and in consideration of the bequests hereinafter made to him do keep and support my wife Nancy Vaughan during her natural life.
Third. I do give and bequeath unto my sons Samuel N. Vaughan and Benjamin Vaughan during their natural lives and then to their lawful heirs forever all my lands on the north side of Clinch Mountain, it being about 110 acres and 10 acres on the south side to copper ridge whereon the said Samuel N. Vaughan now lives, to be equally divided between them according to quality.
Fourth. I do will and direct that the above named Samuel N. and Benjamin Vaughan for and in consideration of the above bequest shall within 12 months after my death jointly pay unto my son John Vaughan $100.00.
Fifth. I give and bequeath unto my son George Washington Vaughan all my land whereon I now live and joining it being about 170 acres, together with all my personal estate that I may die possessed of or entitled to, and all money and debts due me except so much as may be necessary to supply the bequests made in this will in money.
Sixth. Whereas my sons Beverly Vaughan and James L. Vaughan has gone to parts unknown, if they should return within two years after my death, I do give and bequeath to them one dollar each.
Seventh. I do give and bequeath unto the heirs of my daughter Mahala Dickerd one dollar.
Eighth. I do give and bequeath unto my daughter Mary Gilliam one dollar.
Ninth. I do give and bequeath unto my daughter Rebecca Roller $1.00.
Tenth. I do give and bequeath unto my daughter Nancy Hickman $1.00.
Eleventh. I do give and bequeath unto my daughter Martha Davis $1.00.
And for the performance and execution of this my last will, I do appoint Robert W. Kinkead my Executor. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal. This 27th day of December, 1841.
The two sons that went to “parts unknown”,
James and Beverly lived for a while next to each other in
On the 2nd day of June AD One
Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty Eight personally appeared before me the
subscriber, a justice of the peace in and for said county, Mrs. Nancy Vaughn
who is to me known to be the person mentioned as Claimant in a previous
declaration in the pension office at
Nancy (her X mark) Vaughn
also was a Ligon Vaughan, probably a brother of John,
who lived in
After wondering for many years if John was indeed related to William, in the summer of 2004 the Vaughan Pioneers group began paying for a series of Y Chromosome DNA tests on known male descendants of both William Vaughan and John Vaughan. Y-Chromosome DNA (Y-DNA for short) is passed down intact from father to son, and is a new tool used to show the possibility of common ancestors. If John and William were indeed brothers, then their descendants Y-DNA would be very similar. A few differences is common due to harmless mutations, but even after 200 years the Y-DNA should be very close.
were very pleased when the results came in – the tests show a 35 and 36 out of
37 DNA Marker test between descendants of William Vaughan and John
Vaughan. Further tests cleared up other
questions about other lines, and we learned that there are several
We were able to conclude that William nor John descend from Abraham and Ann (Bouldin or Bolling) Vaughan of Charlotte County, Virginia, by comparing Y-DNA results. We also were able to conclude that William and John were not related to Ayres Vaughan of Floyd County, Kentucky.
One set of findings which surprised us was tests done on descendants of Benjamin Franklin Vaughan, who we thought was a son of James Vaughan, oldest son of John and Nancy (Callicott) Vaughan, and Martha Vaughan, daughter of William and Fereby (Benton) Vaughan. Two tests on different men shown no evidence that their ancestor, Ben Vaughan was a descendant of John Vaughan. Ben stated many times that William and Fereby were his Grandparents and that Samuel and Daniel were his uncles. We still believe he was a grandson of William and Fereby, through his mother, but apparently Martha had a child before she married James. Ben was given his mother’s maiden name as his surname. Research continues on this mystery.
Our group is committed to figuring out which line William and John descend from, as well as determining who Fereby’s parents were. We are also adding descendants to a growing database and researching specific lines to clear up mysteries, such as the Ben Vaughan mystery mentioned above. If you would like to know more about the group and perhaps join our research, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .