Connecting Whittles In Other Southern States

Although the purpose of this web site is to document the South Carolina Whittle families, many researchers would like to connect early families that settled in other Southern States, in order to prove we are all cousins. Although I am sure we are all related, proof of it is hard to come by. To the best of my knowledge, no researchers have submitted any evidence of contact between the Whittle families in Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee during the early 1800s. This web page will provide a broad overview of migration, it is not intended to be a detailed analysis of Whittle genealogy in other Southern States.

ALABAMA - 22nd State, 14 Dec 1819

Prior to the Civil War the dominate activity in Alabama was cotton-growing, carried on under the slave labor, plantation system. Beginning in 1821 river steam boats began transporting to the port of Mobile for shipment to New York and thence to England. This period saw the beginnings of industry with the establishment of cotton, grist, and lumber mills; iron furnaces and foundries; and factories for making farm implements. Road and railroad construction began, especially after a series of Indian Treaties in the 1830s ceded all of the Indian lands East of the Mississippi River to the white man which opening up more land for settlement.

Alabama's Black Belt is a region of the state, part of the larger Black Belt Region of the Southern United States, which stretches from Texas to Virginia. This region includes some of the poorest counties in the United States. The name referred originally to the thin layer of exceptionally fertile black soil which encouraged cotton farming in the pioneer period of Alabama history. It may just as well now refer to the exceptionally high proportion of African American residents in these counties.

In Alabama, the heart of the Black Belt is centered in western part of the state between the Appalachian foothills and the coastal plain. The list of counties comprising the Black Belt is often dependent on the context but traditionally includes Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, and Wilcox.

Courtesy of Grolliers Encyclopedia International and on the Internet

Courtesy of the US Census Bureau

The "Black Belt" region of Alabama was a second home for one branch of Edgefield County, SC Whittles. They even named a district in Lowndes County, Mt. Willing, after their previous home in South Carolina. A younger brother of William Whittle named Reuben arrived sometime before the 1830 census. There are other Whittles found in different counties in 1830; Bibb, Morgan and Shelby, that are yet unaccounted for, and are not there in 1840. William Whittle, Sr. and his family joined Reuben in Lowndes County before 1840. Another brother of William and Reuben, Maston, moved to Barbour County between 1833 and 1836.

By 1850 the state is full of Whittles. Former North Carolina residents, William and John D. Whittle are found in Pickens County to the Northwest. They moved into Mississippi about 1852. Stancil Whittle, son of Ambrose Whittle from Edgefield County, SC, is in Cherokee County to the Northeast. Descendants of Rev. John Whittle are in Coffee County close to their cousins in Lowndes County. It is possible that these families did cross paths.

One of the closest encounters between former SC Whittles occurs in Butler County on the 1860 census. Auguston Freeman, descendant of Rev. John Whittle, and William Whittle, Jr., son of William from Edgefield County, live very close to each other. Elisha Whittle ,still of unknown parentage, and Ambrose D. Whittle, who descends from Burrell Whittle, are living in the neighboring counties of Dale and Pike. There are Whittles located in 8 adjacent counties in southern Alabama. One would think some record of contact between the families exists in someone's trunk in the attic.

Eleven Whittle boys fought in various Alabama Regiments during the Civil War. One of them was Harmon Whittle who appears on the 1850 census at age 12. He is living in Dale County with a John Vann from North Carolina. On the 1860 census he is living with Ambrose D Whittle. He enlisted as a private in Company B, 33rd Alabama Infantry. From information found in the National Archives he was one of the casualties.

33rd Regiment, Alabama Infantry

The 33rd Infantry Regiment was organized at Pensacola, Florida, in April, 1862. Its members were raised in Coffee, Butler, Dale, Montgomery, and Covington counties. The unit was ordered to Mississippi, then Kentucky, where it took an active part in the conflicts at Munfordville and Perryville. Brigaded under Generals Wood, Lowrey, and in 1865, Shelley, the 33rd participated in the campaigns of the Army of Tennessee from Murfreesboro to Atlanta, moved with Hood to Tennessee, and fought at Bentonville. It lost 82% of the 500 engaged at Perryville, and reported 100 casualties at Murfreesboro and 149 at Chickamauga. On December 14, 1863, the regiment totalled 536 men and 385 arms. Many were lost during the Atlanta Campaign and of the 285 at Franklin, 67% were disabled. Very few surrendered in North Carolina. The regiment was commanded by Colonels Samuel Adams and Robert F. Crittenden, and Lieutenant Colonels James H. Dunkin and Daniel H. Horn.

For the most part the Alabama Whittles returned home in 1865. On the 1870 census we find most of the same names in the same counties. Butler County is the home of the former SC Whittles, none are listed in Lowndes County. A first cousin named Alfred, son of Willis Whittle, arrived in Butler County before 1870. He is the only one of Willis's children known to have left SC. In the northern county of Limestone we find 3 families of Whittles who were born in Tennessee.

ARKANSAS - 25th State, 15 Jun 1836

Courtesy of the US Census Bureau

The first census for Arkansas Territory in 1830 lists only one Whittle living in the town of Pope. His name is Levi and he is in the age 20 to 30 column with a wife and one son under age 5. Levi Whittle was born between 1800 and 1810. On the 1840 census Levi, now in the age 30 to 40 column, has 1 son under age 5 and 2 more under 10, as well as 2 daughters. He is joined in 1840 by a John Whittle living in L'Anguille, Saint Francis. John is about the same age and has 7 sons and 3 daughters.

By 1850 we have names of wives and children. Levi was born in 1802, his wife, Lydia in 1808, both say they were born in Tennessee. All of their children are shown as born in Arkansas, which means Levi was in AK by 1829. They are living in Horsehead, Johnson County. The John Whittle from 1840 is no longer on the scene. Two new Whittle families have settled in Pope. William Whittle, age 21 born in NC, with wife Elizabeth, born in TN, and son John H, born in AK, which means William arrived about 1849. Also, Hanah Cagle, age 38 and head of household, born in NC with Whittle children born in AK, IL, NC and TN. It is interesting to note that one Hannah Cagle Bennett will sell property in Cowlitz County, WA to William Whittle in 1864 from which is created a Whittle Cemetery near Castle Rock.

On the 1860 census we find three obviously related Whittle families that are living next door to each other, Levi and his sons, John and James. On this census, the census taker records Levi's birthplace as Kentucky. There is no sign of Hanah Cagle and her family of Whittle children from the 1850 census.

Two sons of Levi are still living in Johnson County in 1870, Jesse and William. Mary Whittle, most likely the widow of John, is listed as head of household. Their last child was born in 1869, so John probably died after the Civil War. One report on the Internet says John was killed in a gun fight. John, Robert and William Whittle served the Confederacy in the 15th Arkansas Infantry.

15th Regiment, Arkansas Infantry (Northwest)

15th (McRae's-Hobbs'-Boone's) Infantry Regiment [also called 21st and Northwest Regiment] was formed in December, 1861, using the 3rd Arkansas Infantry Battalion as its nucleus. It took an active part in the battles at Wilson's Creek and Elkhorn Tavern, and on March 11, 1862, contained 10 officers and 168 men. Later the unit moved east of the Mississippi River, fought at Corinth and Hatchie Bridge, then was assigned to M. E. Green's and Dockery's Brigade in the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana. It sustained 82 casualties at Port Gibson and was part of the garrison captured at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863. When exchanged, the regiment was not reorganized, but some of its members joined other Arkansas commands. The field officers were Colonels Squire Boone, James H. Hobbs, and Dandridge McRae; Lieutenant Colonel William W. Reynolds; and Majors D. A. Stuart and William Thompson.

Based on published research, and finding no disputes, Levi Whittle's ancestry is Matthew / Joseph / Robert Whittle. No connection or contact with the South Carolina Whittles has been found.

The population of Whittles in Arkansas has doubled by 1880. Nephews of Levi arrive in Logan and Madison Counties, Prior Lee and his son Woodford Whittle, born in TN. Their ancestry is Matthew / Joseph / George Whittle. Joseph Whittle, from Edgefield County, SC arrived in Pine Bluff, Jefferson County prior to 1880. As you can see on the map, Jefferson is some distance from the Northwest Counties, so It is doubtful that Joseph ever met the other Whittles in AK.

FLORIDA - 27th State, 3 Mar 1845

By 1845, when Florida was admitted as a state, all but a few hundred Seminoles had been removed to the territory of Oklahoma. The Third Seminole War (1855–58) was the final conflict with the Seminoles remaining in Florida.

Courtesy of the US Census Bureau

The grandchildren of Reverend John Whittle settled in Gadsden County prior to 1850. By 1860 they are also in the neighboring county of Liberty. Descendants of these families are still found on original property even today. John Paul "Jack" Whittle, son of Ambrose Whittle, seems to have been the first to arrive. Jack's brother Quin joined him before 1860.

Their cousins from South Carolina first settled two counties away in Madison. Reason Whittle, son of James M. Whittle, Jr., and his children then moved farther south into Hillsbourough and Pinellas Counties. If these cousins ever met when they lived in the northern counties, I am sure they had fun trying to figure out the Ambrose name, and they were certain they were not related.

GEORGIA - 4th State, 2 Jan 1788

Courtesy of the US Census Bureau

There is no US census data for Georgia prior to 1820. There are tax lists, however, that show a John Whittle in Burke County by 1798. If this is our Rev. John Whittle from Edgefield, SC, you can see from the map that he didn't have to travel a long distance, Burke County is just south of Augusta. On the 1820 census we find John, and two of his sons, Ambrose and Burrell living in Washington County.

By 1830, three of John Whittle's sons are on their own, Ambrose, Burrell and Seaborn. Elisha Whittle, of unknown SC parentage appears in Crawford County. Burrell has moved to Houston County and there is a Watson Whittle in the adjacent county of Pulaski. No records have been found for Watson after 1830. Rev. John's last son James has a family and lives in Muscogee County by 1840.

The 1850 census lists 83 Whittles throughout the state. The northern county of Murray becomes the home of former Tennessee Whittles, led by the patriarch George Whittle, born in VA in 1780, along with four of his sons and their families. George's first son Matthew moved into Chattooga County. Carrick, Patrick and Woodford Whittle live near their father in Murray County. It is interesting to note that both Carrick and Woodford had sons named James, both born in 1849. For whom were they named?

Two of George Whittle's brother Levi's sons moved to Walker County sometime before 1850, Alexander Campbell and Albert Galitin Whittle. All of the Tennessee Whittles lived in northern counties, considerable distance from the other former South Carolina families. It is unlikely they knew each other.

Lewis Neale Whittle, son of Fortescue Whittle moved to Bibb County from Virginia prior to 1850. Conway and Fortescue Whittle are well documented Virginia immigrants from Ireland ca.1790. Lewis Neale was a prominent attorney in Macon. One has to believe that he knew or met the other Whittle families in surrounding counties. We have two letters that seem to suggest, but do not prove, a relationship; a letter from William Henry Whittle in 1909 and an interview with Joseph Fletcher Whittle in 1924. There is a third mention of this found in the biography of Elisha Whittle. It is known that 3 brothers lived in Crawford County prior in 1830, Elisha, James and Richard, all 3 continuously reported they were born in South Carolina, yet no one has yet identified who their parents were. They may be related to Lewis Neale Whittle but it is doubtful that John Whittle is. To my knowledge, no such claim has been filed by the descendants of Rev. John Whittle.

KENTUCKY - 15th State, 1 Jun 1792

Courtesy of the US Census Bureau

Kentucky was never a territory, prior to statehood it was part of Virginia. For John Warren Whittle, however, it was a long way from Amherst County to Old Lincoln County, KY when he made the trip some time after 1787.

The British are given credit for burning the 1800 KY census data, but the 1810 census shows two Whittle families. John W. Whittle in Casey County and Robert Whittle in the northern most county of Campbell, near the Ohio border. Based on research published in 1973, by Charles E. Whittle, Jr., it is clear that Robert Whittle is not the son of John W. Whittle. If the tradition of naming the first born son after his paternal grandfather was followed, Robert's father would be Joseph Whittle, John W. Whittle his uncle.

By 1820, Robert has moved to Wayne County which borders Tennessee. John W. Whittle, Jr. is still in Casey County. The 1830 census shows Joseph , son of Robert Whittle, in Edmonson County, on a path that will ultimately lead to Miller County, Missouri by 1842. Visit Peggy Smith Hake's web site at for biographical sketches about the Missouri Whittle families. Descendants of John W. Whittle will also end up in Missouri as well.

There is good circumstantial evidence that Robert Whittle is a brother of the Whittles that settled in Sevier County, TN. Unfortunately no record has been found for John W. Whittle's brother Joseph in either KY or TN. This has led many researchers to conclude that Joseph Whittle moved to South Carolina. If so his children were split between KY, SC and TN. To date, no record has been found of any contact between SC and KY (or TN) Whittles, and there are very few common first names of offspring.

MARYLAND - 7th State, 28 Apr 1788

Courtesy of the US Census Bureau

There are several Whittles listed in the "Early Settlers of Maryland" who immigrated in the middle of the 17th century. The earliest ones are William and Magdalen Whittle (not necessarily husband and wife) who arrived in 1646. A Susan Whittle immigrated in 1657 with 2 daughters named Williams. George Whittle arrived in 1658 followed by Nicholas Whittle in 1659. There is also a Margaret Whittle on the immigration list in 1664. Our researcher, Wayne Whittle, says "George Whittle and Alice Parker patented 400 acres of land in Ann Arundel County shortly after he arrived. It is said that George Whittle left 4 unnamed orphans ca.1677 that were awarded to Wm. & Mary Parker. The names, gender, and destiny of these Whittle orphans remains a mystery. Circa 1718, Whittles Rest (400 acres) passed to the Johns family (of Johns-Hopkins fame). It is unclear how Whittle's Rest was pasted to the Johns". There are records of a Robert Whittle with the 3rd Maryland Regiment in 1778.

The following information about 18th century Whittles was found on the Internet, published by the Gaither Family:

Harry Wright Newman in Anne Arundel Gentry stated that the wife of Edward GAITHER, born 20 Dec. 1714, son of Benjmain GAITHER and Sarah BURGESS was Eleanor, the widow WHITTLE. He offered no proof of this or reasons why he believed this. He also stated that nothing else was known of her identity. Joshua Dorsey Warfield, in his book on the History of Ann Arundel and Howard Counties, also said that Eleanor Whittle was the wife of Edward Gaither. The author of the following research, disagrees:

"The evidence is that Edward GAITHER's wife Eleanor, and the widow Eleanor WHITTLE are NOT the same person. The inventory of John WHITTLE was taken in Anne Arundel County on 2 Oct. 1749, with his widow Eleanor as administratrix.The inventory was approved by John WHITTLE, Junr. and Rachel WHITTLE as next of kin. Elinor WHITTLE's account of his estate was made on 12 Nov. 1750 with his representatives listed as herself, the widow, and children Rachel THACKRELL wife of John THACKRELL, John, Hester, Sophia, and Richard, the last four all under age 3. As John Jr. signed the inventory in 1749, he had to have been at least age 14 at that time, and Rachel was probably about 16 to have married between 1749 when she approved the inventory and the 1750 account. Having children as early as about 1734, she could not be the same Eleanor, wife of Edward GAITHER, who was having children as late as about 1769, a span of 35 years.

On 12 Aug. 1738 John WHITTEL, cordwainer, purchased an unnamed tract of 50 acres, from John MACCUBBIN, being adjacent to the tracts Freemans Fancy and Abbington. Rent Rolls show this tract to have been part of Snowden's Reputation Supported, listing that John WHITTELL purchased 50 acres (by the name of South Run) from John MACCUBBIN on 12 Aug. 1738. On 6 May 1749 Edward GAITHER, son of Edward, sold to John RIDGELY 150 acres, part of the tract Gaither's Collection. His wife Sarah GAITHER relinquished dower. On 14 Feb. 1750 [1750/1] Edward GAITHER [wife Sarah relinquished dower] sold to Eleanor WHITTLE, widow, 100 acres, part of Freeman's Fancy, adjacent to John WHITTLE's land and the tract Abington."

On the first census in 1790, we find David Whittle living in Ann Arundel County. By 1800 only an Ann Whittle is listed and she is head of household with 3 boys and 3 girls. Researchers have found evidence of a marriage 20 Dec 1783 between David Whittle and Ann Wood. Ann appears to be a widow by 1800. Two other Whittles are found in the state, John Whittle in Frederick County and Zachariah Whittle in Prince George's County. Zachariah appears on the census living in Baltimore in 1810 and 1820. There is a marriage record which indicates he married Elizabeth Disney 25 Feb 1795.

The 1810 census lists a Richard Whittle in Baltimore, and in 1820 we find Nicholas Whittle, son of David Whittle, in Ann Arundel, Reed (probably Richard) and Jerrimiah in Baltimore and John Whittle in Frederick County.

MISSISSIPPI - 20th State, 10 Dec 1817

Courtesy of the US Census Bureau

The Whittle name first appears in Mississippi on the 1850 census. James Whittle, born about 1800 in Georgia, is in Kemper County. There is also a Sarah Whittle living in the household of Thomas Peoples in Choctaw County. The origins of these Whittles is presently unknown.

By 1860 Whittle families have settled in several locations. John D and William Whittle, both born in NC, migrated from Pickens County, AL to Calhoun and Carroll Counties about 1852. Richard Whittle, born in SC, and his two sons are found in Monroe and Smith Counties. Matthew Whittle, son of George Whittle from TN, has settled in Tishomingo County.

There are 11 Whittle families in various counties by 1870. Matthew and Pryor Lee, sons of George Whittle, are in Alcorn and Bolivar. Richard and his son James are in Smith and Kemper. Two NC Whittles, John D and Malia are in Calhoun and Kemper. Manly Whittle, age 57 and likely the first son of Elisha Whittle, is in Hinds.

MISSOURI - 24th State, 10 Aug 1821

Immediately following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, St. Louis became the 1st gateway to the West via the Missouri River up from Kentucky. Reason: west KY, west TN, and AK were still reserved to Indian until after 1823. It wasn't until about 1838 ( Tippiecanoe Indian Treaty ) that safe passage via the Ohio & Indiana came about. Add to this the Illinois Mohawk Indian War of 1843. Earlier the Osage Indian quashed ideas for settling South Central and Southwest Missouri when they contributed to justifying the 1st U S National Cemetery at FT Scott, KS ca. 1810 by slaughtering some 600 soldiers. It wasn't until the 'Trail of Tear's ca. 1838 Southern Missouri opened to settlers the majority of whom were up from TN and AK. Bereft of great rivers and blunted by the Oklahoma Indian Territory, Southern Missouri's vast Ozark Mountain hill country remained sparsely settled until well after the Civil War.
Courtesy of Wayne Whittle

Courtesy of the US Census Bureau

The 1840 census is the first to list a Whittle in Missouri. Jno S. Whittle, with a young family, shows up in Saint Charles County near St. Louis. On the 1850 census Mary Whittle is listed as head of household, Jno S. is not on the census. Mary told the census taker that she was born in Kentucky. Whittle researchers have reported a John Whittle as one of the sons of George Whittle. George may very well have lived in Kentucky with his brother Robert before he settled in Sevier County, TN; however, many immigrates arrived in St. Louis beginning about 1838 when the "trail of tears" opened southwest MO for settlers.

By 1850 there are several Whittle families found in the State. Edmund Whittle, born in Kentucky shows up in Saline County with 6 children, all listed as born in KY. Whittle researchers say Edmund's ancestry is Matthew / John W. / John W. Jr. (or perhaps Vincent who died from injury in 1810). Wayne Whittle says,"My G-G-Grandfather, Edmund brought his family to Missouri in 1844, just in time for the Great Missouri River Flood and lost everything."

In Miller County we find a young Levi Whittle, born in TN. Researchers say that Levi's ancestry is Matthew / Joseph / Robert / Joseph C. Our chief MO researcher, Wayne Whittle says that "Joseph C. Whittle (Old Joe) moved to Miller County in 1842 and practically all Whittles in central Missouri are descendants of Old Joe. One of Joe's sons, Peter J., had 7 male children." There are other Whittles found in the St. Louis area on the 1850 census, all of whom say they were born in England or Ireland.

In 1860 we find the same families in Miller and Saline Counties. In this state, so filled with Civil War history, Whittles fought on both sides. James Edmund Whittle is listed on the roster of the 9th Regiment, Missouri State Militia Cavalry. Wayne Whittle says, "According to my grandfather, who was about 7 yrs old at the time, James Edmund went willingly at gun point of the Militia men who recruited him".

9th Regiment, Missouri State Militia Cavalry (Union)

Organized at large in Missouri February 12, 1862, to September 20, 1868. Attached to District of Rolla, Dept. of Missouri, to February, 1863. District of North Missouri, Dept. of Missouri, to July, 1865.

SERVICE.-Regiment concentrated at Columbia, Mo., May 15, 1862. Ordered to Jefferson City, Mo. Assigned to duty in District of Rolla, Mo., till April, 1863. Action near Memphis, Mo., July 11, 1862. Brown Springs July 27. Moore's Mills, near Fulton, July 28-29. Kirksville August 6 (Detachment). Pursuit of Poindexter and skirmishes at Grand River, Lee's Ford, Chariton River, Walnut Creek, Compton's Ferry, Switzler's Mills and Yellow Creek August 8-15. Near Stockton August 8 and 11 (Detachments). Muscle Shoals August 13. Moved to Jefferson City and duty there and at Glasgow and Fayette till December. Near Cambridge September 26 (Co. "E). In Scotland and Boone Counties September 30 (Detachment). Near Columbia October 2 (Cos. "B" and "C"). Sim's Cove, Cedar Creek, October 5 (Cos. "F" and "G"). Fayette October 7 (Detachment). Near New Franklin October 7 (Detachment). Ordered to Rolla, Mo., December 12, and duty there till April, 1863. Ordered to North Missouri and duty on Hannibal & St. Jo Railroad from St. Joseph to Hannibal and on North Missouri Railroad from Macon to St. Charles protecting roads and operating against guerrillas till March, 1864. Rocheport, Mo., June 1, 1868 (Cos. "A" and "B"). Black Fork Hills July 4 (Detachment). Switzler's Mills July 12 (Detachment). Macon February 12, 1864. Chariton County April 11 (Detachment). Operations against Anderson's, Quantrell's, Todd's, Stevens' and other bands of guerrillas in North Missouri till April, 1865. Near Fayette July 1, 1864 (Detachment). Platte City July 3. Clay County July 4. Near Camden Point July 22. Union Mills July 22. Near Fayette August 3. Huntsville August 7 (Detachment). Operations against Price September-October. Fayette September 24 (Detachment). Near Centralia September 28. Princess Shoals, Osage River, Cole County, October 5-6. Booneville October 9. Glasgow October 15. Little Blue October 21. Independence October 22. Near Glasgow January 10, 1865 (Cos. "G" and "H"). Near Columbia February 12 (Co. "F"). Near Sturgeon February 27. Skirmish in the Perche Hills May 5. Duty in North Missouri till July. Mustered out July 13, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 2 Officers and 29 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 76 Enlisted men by disease. Total 108.

Levi Whittle is on the roster of the Osage County Regiment, Missouri Home Guard (Union). Robert Whittle served the Confederacy is the 6th Regiment, Missouri Cavalry. According to Wayne Whittle, this Robert Whittle is not the eldest son of Edmund. "My Robert Whittle was excused both for reasons of family and because he was operating a 'wood yard' supplying wood to fuel the steam river boats plying up and down the Missouri River, many of which were Union."

6th Regiment, Missouri Cavalry

6th Cavalry Regiment [also called Southwest Cavalry] was formed during the late spring of 1862. Many of its members were from the counties of Barry, Newton, McDonald, Jasper, and Lawrence. The unit skirmished in the Indian Territory and Missouri, then was assigned to General Shelby's Brigade, Trans-Mississippi Department. It went on to take part in Shelby's raid in Arkansas and Missouri, Marmaduke's Expedition into Missouri, and again saw action in Arkansas. The unit reported 30 casualties with Marmaduke and 19 at Helena. During the winter of 1863-1864 new men joined the command, and it was redesignated the 11th Missouri Cavalry. The field officers were Colonel John T. Coffee and G.W. Thompson, Lieutenant Colonel James C. Hooper, and Majors George W. Nichols and Moses W. Smith.

Our thanks to Peggy Smith Hake who has provided several biographies for Miller County Whittles. Please visit her web site at There is no evidence of any South Carolina Whittles migrating to Missouri during the 1800s and no evidence of any KY or TN Whittles in SC.

NORTH CAROLINA - 12th State, 21 Nov 1789

Courtesy of the US Census Bureau

This note from Jim Whittle was published on in 2001. " I believe the earliest records of William Whittle in Cumberland County date from about 1754, when Fayettville was know as Cross Creek. He was mentioned in several court cases, serving on juries, etc. William's origins are unclear, but the 1750's was near the height of the so-called Scotch-Irish migration to NC. William's widow Mariah, in later court documents, assumed guardianship of her two children with a John Garner. The Garner's and James Whittle later show up in the Deep River area of Randolph County, NC."

William died in Cumberland County in 1761 and James in Randolph County in 1824. Both wills are on file at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh. Many researchers have attempted to find proof that William Whittle of NC is related to Matthew Whittle of VA. They both were born ca. 1720-1725. John Fushee Garner is said to have been the father of 11 children from his marriage to Nancy Whittle. After Nancy died, John moved to Blount County, TN and had 6 or 7 more children from a 2nd and/or 3rd marriage. Decendents of both John Garner and James Whittle should be proud to apply for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) based on this pension application found at the National Archives.

No correct spelling of Whittle is found on the 1790 census and no Soundex search turns up any likely candidates in Randolph County. The 1800 census lists Jesse Whittle in Cumberland County and James Whittle in Randolph. Only James Whittle is found in 1810 and there are no Whittles listed in Randolph County for 1820. On the 1830 census we find a John Whittle and a Nancy Whittle as heads of households.

The sons of James Whittle left Randolph County and moved to Pickens County, AL before 1850. They are found in Carroll County, MS by 1860. His grandsons would later become pioneers in Cowlitz County, Washington Territory. No evidence has been found that any of the NC Whittles migrated to South Carolina.

TENNESSEE - 16th State, 1 Jun 1796

Some researchers are of the opinion that early Tennessee Whittles, who arrived from Virginia, may have been involved with the formation of the State of Franklin.

The State of Franklin was set up in 1784 out of the westerly portion of the colonial state of North Carolina. Shortly after the War of Independence the original colonies were asked to pay for the war efforts and create a country with a sound financial policy. Since the taxing the population was difficult and cash was in short supply North Carolina ceded the western portion of the state to the federal coffers. Before the Congress could accept the offer North Carolina withdrew the offer. The citizens of the region decided that federal rule in the meantime was probably a good idea since North Carolina as a state had given this remote region little support in its fight with the Indians or protection from criminal refugees. They saw other benefits as an independent state in terms of taxation, representation and an understanding attitude toward local problems. Representatives of the North Carolina counties of Sullivan, Washington, Greene, and Davidson accepted the offer of cessation to federal territory. The state of Franklin existed for only four years to finally merge with the new state of Tennessee.

This region is centered geographically around the valleys created by the Holston and Clinch Rivers in the Cumberland and Appalachian mountains. This rugged territory was a refuge for the frontier type before and shortly after the War of Independence. It includes the towns of Knoxville, Bristol, and Greenville, Tennessee. Near Greenville is the birth place of Davy Crockett with Bristol on the Virginia border as one of the gateway cities into the western territory.

A convention of delegates (except for Davidson County that sent none) met on August 23, 1784 and after intense debate they declared these western counties independent of North Carolina on a unanimous vote. The statehood vote, however, was by no means unanimous with John Tipton leading a minority position.

Several names were offered for the new state. The name Frankland was proposed since it was translatable as "the Land of the Free," however, Franklin was decided upon perhaps for gaining the favor of Benjamin Franklin. John Sevier was elected Governor. The convention set the salary of the governor at two hundred pounds per annum, the supreme judges at one hundred and fifty pounds per annum. There were some interesting regulations created in the new constitution. One set the prices for goods traded and another to set the standard for office holders. Office holders could not be any person "if he were immoral, a Sabbath breaker, a clergyman, a doctor or a lawyer."

Unfortunately Benjamin Franklin was not terribly supportive of his namesake state. When solicited by John Sevier for help Franklin wrote,

"I am sensible of the honor which your Excellencey and your council do me. but being in Europe when your State was formed I am too little acquainted with the circumstances to be able to offer you anything just now that may be of importance, since everything material that regards your welfare will doubtless have occurred to yourselves. "
He concludes with a statesman like paragraph. I will endeavor to inform myself more perfectly of your affairs by inquiry and searching the records of Congress and if anything should occur to me that I think may be useful to you, you shall hear from me thereupon."
(Franklin's letter to Governor John Sevier, 1787)
North Carolina tried to break up the cession and statehood plans of the people of Franklin since the North Carolina had no real intention of releasing this territory. John Tipton, leader of the opposition within Franklin, had been responsible for carrying out court judgment orders to seize the property of the then Governor John Sevier, including nearly all his slaves. Sevier put together a small army of one hundred and fifty men and marched on John Tipton's estate to get back the property and perhaps to seize Tipton himself. After a brief siege and a consolidation of Col. George Maxwell's forces with Tipton's; Sevier's band was routed with the capture of several including two of Sevier's sons. Meanwhile Sevier went on a bold raiding campaign against Indian settlements in the western sections of now Tennessee. When he returns to Franklin he is captured by Tipton's men and taken to trial. Sevier makes a bold escape at his trial through a second story window onto a waiting horse.
North Carolina regains control of the region in 1788 by pardoning its leaders. Sevier eventually learns through all these travails, the manners and fallacies of government. He is elected as a Senator in North Carolina. In 1789 North Carolina ceded again the region in the west and Franklin became part of Eastern Tennessee in 1796. John Sevier becomes the first Governor of the new state of Tennessee.

Several of my relatives were here during all the governmental changes and show up in documents in all three borderings states due to the changing perimeters. Look for the names of Abraham Grubb, Stoffel(or Stophel), Varnell, and Weathers. They do not show up in the history books and tended to be the very quintessential of the frontiersman or mountain men, staying by the themselves and maintaining their independent lives against natural and unnatural adversity.

Courtesy of Cheryl Grubb Christenson, member of the DAR, Seattle Genealogical Society and Washington State Pioneers Association

Courtesy of the US Census Bureau

Considerable mystery surrounds the origins of Whittle in Eastern Tennessee. Most of it stems from lack of evidence as to the father of George, John and Levi Whittle. Most researchers believe him to be Joseph Whittle, son of Matthew Whittle, from Virginia. Unfortunately no evidence of a Joseph Whittle in Tennessee history has been found, including searching the people involved in the State of Franklin. The preeminent Whittle researcher, W.O. Whittle, spent 40 years trying to find his trail, without success, and without knowing apparently that Joseph was likely his great grandfather, not John Warren Whittle in Kentucky. We are indebted to Charles E. Whittle, Jr., who published this letter 3 Mar 1973, based on his own research.

Proof is abundant that George, John and Levi Whittle were brothers and that they were born in Virginia. There is also some evidence that Robert Whittle, first in Tennessee and later in Kentucky, was also a brother. Ninion Whittle, found on the 1810 census in Rutherford County, is a son of John Warren Whittle, brother of Joseph. Based on the 1785 Amherst County, VA tax list, Joseph had 9 children. It is possible that they were scattered between Tennessee and South Carolina, but no proof to date.

TEXAS - 28th State, 29 Dec 1845

Courtesy of the US Census Bureau

It was common throughout the Southeastern United States to hear the words, "Gone to Texas" or "GTT" for short. This letter, from the W.O. Whittle files, pretty much sums it up for us.

VIRGINIA - 10th State, 25 Jun 1788

Courtesy of the US Census Bureau

Most researchers agree that the Whittles who were early settlers in Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee all came from Virginia. The names Whittle, Whittel, Whitel and Whitle appear in Virginia records as early as 1637. To the best of my knowledge, no one has successfully connected any of these early Whittle immigrants to any particular line of English or Irish descent.

One of the first legal references to Whittle was in May 1719, p. 166, Richmond County, Virginia. Elizabeth Whittle vs. John Hightower. 794 Ibs. of crop tobacco due on account. This case continued on into May 1720 at which time John Hightower was found guilty and required to pay damages.

Francis Whittle patented land in Louisa County on branches of Bunches Creek adjoining James Flanagan sometime prior to 1747. Based on the will of Francis Whittle, it does not appear that he had any male children. His daughter, Serena, married James Flanagan and they lived at Red Hill in Louisa County. On 2 Dec 1747, Matthew Whittle was awarded a patent for 400 acres which lay on both sides of the South Fork of the James River, along the Hanover-Goochland County line. His land adjoined James Warren, Sr. He paid two pounds sterling. The North Fork of the James River is the present day Rivanna River. I suspect that Frances was an older brother of Matthew but there is no proof of that.

On the first US census of 1790, there are Whittles in Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and South Carolina. The Virginia census of 1790 has been lost, but reconstructed tax records list several Whittle families. In Amherst County we find John and Joseph Whittle. Proof of these two sons of Matthew Whittle and Elizabeth Warren Whittle is based on this transfer of property which Matthew gifted them on 5 May 1777.

21 Jan 1780. Jno. Whittle & wife Sarah; Matthew Whittle & wife Elizabeth, AC, to Charles Wingfield, Sr., Albemarle, for 1000 pds, 400 ac pat. to Matt. Whittle under letters patent and Lees(?) under Buffalo Ridge; branch of Rockey Creek and Christian's path to Moses Higginbotham's mill. Conveyed by Matt. to his sons, Joseph & John Whittle. Jno. bought 200 ac of his bro., Joseph. Lines: Col. Chiswell, Jno. Warren, Peter Joiner, Turner Christian, Elijah Christian. Wit: Peter Joyner, Wm Wilday, Charles Warren, Rich. Harper.

John and Joseph Whittle are last seen paying Virginia taxes in 1785. Researchers have verified that John moved to Kentucky. Joseph's path has not been determined. Some believe he made his way to South Carolina, no Joseph Whittle is found anywhere else in 1790. Others believe he accompanied his brother to Kentucky and then moved into Tennessee, or at least his children did.

There is some possibility that Joseph was in SC for a brief time. There are four Whittles in the 1790 South Carolina census; Jo "Whittel", John Whittle, Jos Whittle and James "Whettel". The 1790 census only lists total female counts. Jo Whittel lives a few doors away from John and has 2 males under 16 and 3 females. Jos Whittle is on the previous page with 1 male over age 16, 1 male under 16 and 6 females. Jos Whittle has a family count close to our Virginia Joseph; however, "Jos" could be "Jas", a common abbreviation of James, or there may be two Joseph Whittles.

The 1800 South Carolina census lists only James and Joseph Whittle living next door to each other. No other misspelled Whittles seem likely. The 1800 census gives us some better information about the ages of family members. Joseph Whittle has 1 male under 10, 2 males under 16 and 1 male under 26. He is listed as over 45. There are 2 females under 10, 2 under 16 and his wife (or possible mother) is over 45. This seems to be the "Jo Whittel" from 1790. His birth year can now be guessed at ca.1755.

Conway Whittle was the second of nine children of James Whittle II and Mary McNeice of Thistleborough, near Glenavy, County Antrim, on the border of Loch Neagh near Belfast, Ireland. He settled in Norfolk, Virginia some time after the Peace of 1783, and was followed there and joined in business by his younger brother Fortescue about 1802. The relationship between Conway, Fortescue and the other Whittles in the Southern States is unknown. No real evidence has been found that their families knew anything about the Whittles that were in VA as early as 1720. Only one clue has been found in their papers that suggests some possibility. In a letter sent to W.O. Whittle by Hattie Warren Gayle, dated 25 Jun 1941, she says, "My black mammie, who is still living, remembers hearing her father, a servant of the Whittles, talk about Mause Matthew Whittle, but I have not been able to trace Matthew Whittle nor Betty Warren. I want to go to the Lunenburg Court House and see if I can find anything there."

On the other hand, from the viewpoint of the other Whittles, several claimed a relationship with Conway and Fortescue's children, particularly Lewis Neale Whittle, son of Fortescue. See Other Early Whittles with SC Roots. It is interesting to note that these reports are from Whittles that list their birthplaces as South Carolina, but can not be connected with the James Burris Whittle lines in SC. Unfortunately there is no evidence of any of the other 7 brothers and sisters of Conway and Fortescue in America, although one named Hance was reported to have drowned in Norfolk and several have said that a brother James was in the US for a short time, but returned to Ireland. Because John and Joseph Whittle left VA before 1790, most of the Whittles found in VA beginning with the 1810 census are the children of these two Irish immigrants. By 1850, when birthplaces first appear on the census, only one other Whittle is listed as born in any other Southern State.

Max Crowder has recently written a book about Fortescue and his home, Whittle's Mill, in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. If you have an interest in this family, visit

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