McMahan/Kilsdonk Ancestors

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Our GEDCOM focuses mainly on direct ancestors of my wife and me. I also have lines who were believed to be ancestral but later found to be unlikely.

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  • ID: I15601
  • Name: John * (parent theory) Bull , Sr.
  • Sex: M
  • Change Date: 14 DEC 2013
  • Birth: ABT 1754 1 2
  • Death: AFT 1830 in Knox Co., KY 3
  • Note:
    The origins of the subject John Bull are so far unproved by documentation but see the next paragraph for Y-DNA test results that point to an area of LIKELY ancestry. He cannot be the son of John & Hannah (Ruff) Bull of Maryland (they are in my database), as proposed by some researchers. Their son, John Bull signed his will on 4 Sep 1782 in Harford Co., MD, and likely died there soon after. The confusion stems from that John Bull being the brother of Jacob Bull of Washington Co. & Grainger Co., TN, who is mentioned below. Of course, these two Bull lines may have a common ancestry, but none that I can devise. The DNA profile for a Y-DNA testee, who descends from Jacob Bull, is completely different from that of a descendant of John Bull Sr. and indicates that they do not have a common ancestor as far back as beyond Colonial America. The subject John Bull is also probably not a son of Stephen Bull (he's also in my database) who died Feb. 1749/50 in Granville Co., SC. No son John is named in Stephen's will and Stephen appears to have died well before the subject John Bull was born.

    In Dec. 2007, Y-DNA results for Joseph Anthony Buhl, a proven male direct descendant of the subject John Bull, were posted to FTDNA's Bull-Buell DNA project (test kit #104940). See my notes for James Turnbull and Nicholas T. Bull/Turnbull for DNA evidence which supports their placement as LIKELY sons of John Bull. They are all placed in haplogroup R1b1, a branch of the human family tree with its origins in England and other of the British Isle countries. This was expected. That haplogroup is definitely NOT one of the 5 haplogroups said to be representative of patriarchs in the Native-American nations. The mother of John Bull's children MAY have been Native American, with no evidence to go on; Y-DNA results apply to the y-chromosome, which is passed only from father-to-son.

    On July 25, 2012, the 67-marker results for Richard Clarke Randall (kit #239862) were completed by FTDNA. They were also posted to Ysearch under ID 4QAGF. He had them added to the Bull-Buell project in Dec. 2013. His results matched those for Joe Buhl at 34 out of 37 markers, indicating a 90% probability that Richard & Joe shared a common paternal ancestor WITHIN the last 16 generations - a long time ago but still genealogically significant. However, I was skeptical of a relationship between these men with different surnames. With the help of my correspondent and Turnbull descendant, Robyn Weidemann, we learned that Richard's ancestor - John Bull b. c1766 Halifax Co., NC - had his surname changed to RANDAL by the North Carolina General Assembly. The BULL patriarch of his line is given by researchers as Thomas Bull Sr. (b. c1704 England who d. 1762 in Halifax Co., NC) who was born 9 generations before Richard. I have therefore added the family of Thomas Bull Sr. to my database in hopes of learning the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) between Richard & Joe. I have also TENTATIVELY placed the subject John Bull as a descendant of Thomas Bull Sr. through an UNKNOWN son.

    Elmer Decker's unpublished manuscript (circa 1940) "KNOX COUNTY KENTUCKY HISTORY" mentions that a John Bull, Sr., was a Revolutionary War soldier from Virginia. A John Bull also appears on the 1783 Greene Co., NC (TN in 1796) Tax List. Greene Co. was formed in 1783 from Washington Co., NC. Based on notes of interest added to that tax list, almost all were Revolutionary War soldiers and were known as the "Nollichuckey Settlers" (AKA "Nolichuckey" after the river & gorge in Greene Co.) who were famous as riflemen. Many were enlisted with the NC Continental Line or with the VA Militia. Possibly the same John Bull was awarded a 550-acre (or 55-acre) North Carolina Land Grant on Bulls Gap at Bays Mountain on 27 Nov 1792. It was recorded in Greene Co., NC (TN in 1796) on 4 Jul 1794. (Bulls Gap is now located in Hawkins Co., TN , organized in 1787 and part of which came into Grainger Co. in 1796.) Historians say John Bull operated a stagecoach line, through the gap in Bays Mountain, for the first settlers and travelers. Some accounts say he came from Pennsylvania. Family lore has that the mountain was named after his favorite bay horse. John Bull also is said to have maintained a well-known gunsmith shop along what was known as the Immigrant Trail. The gap became known as Bulls Gap, and remains so today. Some say it was named after the subject John Bull but others say it was instead named for John Valentine Bull (b. 1777) or his brother and gunsmith Vincent Garrard Bull (b. 1801), both sons of Jacob Bull who was a native of MD and who settled in Washington Co., NC (TN in 1796), in 1792 before migrating to Grainger Co., TN, in 1830. I have the family of Jacob Bull in my database.

    My correspondent, Robyn Wiedemann, found that a John Bull was listed on the 1799 Hawkins Co., TN tax list by's American Genealogical Biographical Index. I'm guessing that he is likely John Valentine Bull discussed above and below.

    A Web page (URL below) has an 1800 deed for land APPARENTLY in Jefferson Co., TN, which I once thought involved the subject John Bull of Grainger Co., TN. However, it more likely involves the above John Valentine Bull, a gunsmith of 1810 Grainger Co. who married Fetney Bean in 1806 Grainger Co., TN. I think so because the witness, Tidence Lane, has the same name as the husband of Amy Ann Bean (b. ABT 1788 to Robert Bean, s/o William Bean b. 1721 d. 1782 Bean Station, Washington Co., NC/TN in 1796) in Daniel Pruitt Underwood's FTM user report "Descendants of William 1 Bean".
    [ ] abstracted as follows:
    E:118 #275 Bull's Deed to Britton Registered July 20th 1801
    Grantor: John Bull of Grainger Co.
    Grantee: Daniel Britton of Jefferson Co
    Deed Date: 3 April 1800
    Deed Type: Warranty
    Price: $500 hereby acknowledged
    Signed: John Bull (signed with mark: O)
    Description: "A certain tract or parcel of land containing one hundred and fifty acres of land Beginning on a dogwood on the south side of Bowmans Branch running thence north thirty degrees East ninety four poles to an Ash Elm and Buckeye thence East thirty six poles to a stake thence south fifty five degrees East one hundred Eighty poles to a stake thence south twenty [degrees] East Eighty poles to a white oak on Days line thence south forty degrees west sixty poles along Days line to a white oak thence to the beginning, containing one hundred and fifty acres"
    Witness: Tidence Lane, p.

    Mike Chapman's RootsWeb World Connect database "gochapman" has the above referenced page on Daniel Britton of Jefferson Co., TN, s/o James Brittain & Mary Whitty. Errol Bevan has much the same notes on Daniel Brittain at this page: Bevan has Daniel Brittain instead as a s/o Joseph Brittain. More importantly, Bevan notes that the 1800 deed is recorded in both Greene Co. and in Jefferson Co., TN. [Jefferson Co. was formed in 1792 from Greene and Hawkins Cos.] I have read that Bowmans Branch is a fork of Bent Creek. Based on Bevan's notes, it appears to me the 150 acres sold to Daniel Britton was actually in Jefferson Co. Tidence Lane Jr. (1763-1841), s/o Rev. Tidence Lane Sr. (1724-1806) & Esther (aka Hester) Bibber or Bibbin, applied for his Rev War pension (file W377) in 1833 Jefferson Co., TN and died there in 1841. His widow, Mary Lane, applied there also for her widow's pension in 1844 at age 77. (See Pension file W377 has that Tidence Lane m. Mary (maiden name CUDE found elsewhere) on 23 Oct 1783 and has the names of their nine children. Another Tidence Lane (b. ABT 1770), s/o John Fuller Lane & Elizabeth Cloud, is alleged to have married Amy Ann Bean (b. ABT 1788), d/o Robert Bean & Rhoda Lane, and is NOT the above Tidence Lane Jr. Tidance Lane (sic, possibly Tidence Lane b. ABT 1770) and (likely brother) Isaac Lane, s/o John Fuller Lane, are both on the 1797 Grainger Co., TN, list of insolvents living within the Indian Boundary and from whom the Grainger Co. Court released the Sheriff from collecting. Isaac Lane is on the 1799 Grainger Co. Tax List of Capt. Lane (possibly brother Tidence) his land being in that northwestern part of Grainger Co. that went into Claiborne Co., TN, in 1801.

    The Find-A-Grave memorial for Aquilla (Van Bibber or Bibbin) Lane (1753-1819), s/o the above Tidence Lane & Hester Van Bibber, has his death in Jefferson Co., TN, and burial in the Tidence Lane Cem. now located at Whitesburg, Hamblen Co., formed from southeast Grainger & southwest Hawkins Cos. in 1870. Aquilla's father, the above Rev. Tidence Lane Sr. (1724-1806), is also buried there with a 1946 memorial headstone. A historical marker has that Tidence Lane was the pastor of the first church in TN, the Buffalo Ridge Baptist Church, in 1778 Washington Co., TN. The marker also notes his founding of the Bent Creek Church, now the Whitesburg Baptist Church in 1785/1786. This family cemetery is a suggested nearby destination for visitors to Bulls Gap, TN. The marker says he and 6 of his sons fought in the Revolutionary War. I have read elsewhere that the above (Lt.) Isaac Lane (1760-1851) and (Capt.) Tidence Lane (1763-1841), as well as (Pvt.) Aquilla Lane (1753-1819), all served under Col. John Sevier at the Battle of King's Mountain on 7 Oct 1780. I have also read that (Capt.) William Bean (b. 1745 d. 1798 Grainger Co., brother of Robert Bean (b. 1750 d. AFT 1793 Hawkins Co., TN), father of Amy Ann Bean above, also served under Sevier at King's Mountain. The foregoing supports my belief that "Tidence Lane, p." (pastor or preacher? and witness to the above 1800 Grainger Co. deed) was either the above Rev. Tidence Lane Sr. (1724-1806) or the above younger Tidence Lane (b. ABT 1770 d. 1822 Claiborne Co., TN), alleged husband of Amy Ann Bean (b. ABT 1788).

    In 2006, my correspondent Glain Martin (b. 13 Sep 1934, d. 9 Mar 2009), a descendant of the subject John Bull, found the household of Jno. Turnbull enumerated on page 162 of the 1790 Wilkes Co., Morgan Dist., NC census (listed non-alphabetically) with 1 male over 16, 3 males under 17, 4 females and 0 slaves. On page 161 is the nearby household of David Collins 3-2-6-0 who Collins researchers believe is the father of Nelley Collins, who married John Bull (Jr.) on 23 Nov 1800 in Grainger Co., TN. I've been told that the record says the subject John Bull (Sr.) secured their marriage bond. On page 149 of this 1790 census are the households of Jno. Childers 1-3-3-0, Sam Long 1-4-1-0, Ben Elston 1-0-2-0, and David Elston 1-7-1-0. Glain believed John Childers is kin to Sarah Childers, who I have in my database as the wife of John Turnbull, son of the John & Nelley (Collins) Bull, Jr. The above Ben Elston and wife Elizabeth Long, d/o the above Sam Long, are the g-grandparents of Matilda Elston, wife of my ancestor John Morgan Turnbull of Lincoln Co., MO (POSSIBLY the grandson of James Bull, son of the subject John Bull). Matilda's mother, Elizabeth Elston, is the d/o David Elston Jr., brother of the above Ben Elston. The above David Elston is Ben Elston's father.

    Glain said that the Collins and Childers had left Wilkes Co., NC by 1800. On page 65 of the 1800 Wilkes Co. Morgan Dist., NC census is the household of John Turnbull & likely wife, who are both over age 45 (b. BEF 1755), with no daughters and two sons, one age 10-15 (likely son John Turnbull discussed below) and one under 10. Listed with John in this alphabetical 1800 census listing is the household of James Turnbull & wife, both age 26-45 (b. 1755-1774) with males 2-0-0-1-0 and females 0-0-0-1-0. Glain believed James is John's younger brother (b. ABT 1758) but James instead appears more likely to be John's oldest son based on James' likely age of 25 or 26 in 1800 (b. 1774 or 1775) with two very young children. Note that the subject John Bull Sr. apparently has son James Bull age 16-25 with his own household in 1810 Knox Co., KY.

    There is only one Turnbull in 1810 NC: on page 272 (or 858) of 1810 Wilkes Co. is the household of a young John Turnbull (age 26-45) & wife (16-25), with 2 daughters and one son that are all under age 10. This young John appears to be about age 25 (b. ABT 1785) and is too old to be the son of James Turnbull of 1800 Wilkes Co. and so may be the age 10-15 male of the elder John Turnbull of 1800. As discussed below, John Bull Jr. was in Knox Co., KY with his father by 1807. I therefore believe that John Turnbull of 1790 and 1800 Wilkes Co., NC is NOT the same man as the subject John Bull, Sr. and have entered him as a separate person in my database. My correspondent, Leonard Turnbull, has researched some descendants of John Turnbull of Wilkes Co. Leonard agrees that they are not the same man but suspects that they are closely related, possibly cousins, because they are BOTH found on the 1783 Greene Co., NC (TN in 1796) tax list. Leonard suspects that John Turnbull of Wilkes Co. is the Capt. John Turnbull who was said to be Capt. of the pack horse company during a 6 month campaign against the Cherokee Indians in 1778 (per Joseph Painter Rev. War pension application S32430). The company marched through Burke Co., NC, where Painter enlisted, to the head of the Cataba (Catawba) River, then through the mountains of the Tennessee River into the Cherokee Nation (today near Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park) where they had several skirmishes with the Cherokee. Burke Co. bordered Wilkes Co. to the southwest and both were not far east of Greene Co., NC in 1788.

    John Bull and (likely son) Richard Bull are petitioners on 19 Jan 1799 in Grainger Co., TN, seeking to prevent any part of Grainger Co. from being split off to Jefferson Co., a larger county bordering to the southeast. The petitioners were successful. Grainger Co. had been formed from Hawkins & Knox Cos. in 1796 when TN was admitted as a state. The 1800 & 1810 census records for Grainger Co., TN were burned during the War of 1812. Mary Lou Hudson reports that John Bull, Sr. was named in Grainger Co. court records and is referred to in several as "Capt." John Bull. (Mary Lou believed in 2005 that Capt. John Bull was the son of the above-mentioned John Bull & Hannah Ruff.) John Bull Sr. gave surety for the 1800 Grainger Co. marriage bond for (son) John Bull to Nelley Collins. Sen. (senior) John Bull & John Bull Jr. are both on the 1805 Grainger Co. tax list. My correspondent, Richard Hoover, learned that John Bull Sr. & John Bull Jr. were sued in Grainger Co. in 1805. Richard Hoover also found that a John Bull was the bond maker for the 1802 marriage of (likely son) George Bull to Elizabeth Grayson in Grainger Co. John Bull first appears in the 1806 Knox Co., KY, tax list, then annually in 1807-1811 as John Bull Sr. with John Bull Jr. also listed each year. [Note that a list of polls and taxable property in the bounds of Captain John Bull's Company in Grainger Co., TN, were made in Feb. 1810 and was returned by John Moffet. This indicates that Capt. John Bull was likely NOT the subject John Bull Sr.] John Bull Sr., over age 45 (b. BEF 1765), heads a household in 1810 Knox Co., KY, listed near sons John Bull (Jr.) and James Bull. I don't know where son Richard was in 1810. [See my notes for a, so far, unconnected Isaiah Bull (s/o Nathan Bull) who first appeared on the 1809, 1810 and 1811 Knox Co. tax lists and on the 1810 census there.]

    Knox Co., KY, was formed in 1799/1800 and maps show it included "Indian Lands" in the southwest portion. These Indian Lands, which are not shown on maps after 1800, appear to have included the area that later became the western part of Josh Bell Co. when it was formed in 1867 and encompassed the Clear Creek land of the Bull family at the time. I'm thinking this may relate to some of the Native American ancestry legends that appear in the descendants of the early Knox Co. Bulls and of my James Turnbull. See my notes below regarding why I'm convinced that the subject John Bull was not a descendant of a Native American patriarch. I know nothing of his wife and mother of his children.

    Mary Lou Hudson found that in 1814 Knox Co., KY, 100? acres were surveyed for a Land Grant Patented on the S. E. Fork of Clear Creek, near Spencer King. Katherine Hines found in the Corbin Historical Society's "Our Heritage", Vol. VI, No.4, April 1994, a list of 1814-1815 Knox. Co. grants of prior Cherokee lands which has: Jno. Bull was granted 180 acres on the SE Fk of Clear Creek on 7-10-1815. I have that on 8 Feb 1816, John Bull sold for $50 to his heir (likely son) Richard Bull, both of Knox Co., 180 acres in Knox Co., KY, on the South East Fork of Clear Creek, bordering land of Spencer King. The tract included the plantation where John Bull "formerly lived." This "indenture" states that the tract was originally surveyed and granted to John Bull on 27 Jan 1816; it was signed and sealed by John Bull. Mary Lou Hudson found no Bulls listed in the 1818 Knox Co. tax list and only John Bull is there on the 1819 tax list. John Bull is not listed in the1820 Knox Co. census or in Harlan Co., KY, formed in 1818/19 from Knox Co. Richard Bull is listed there in the 1820-1829 tax lists. John Bull is again listed there in 1825 & 1827.

    John is probably the age 70-79 (b. 1751-1760) male that Sherry Jordan found counted in likely son Richard Bull's 1830 Knox Co., KY, household, the only Bull there that year. I did not find a Revolutionary War post-1832 pension application for John Bull (or Turnbull) in the Heritage Quest OnLine database index. The Knox Co., KY General Index to Land Conveyances lists John Bull (Sr.) (Atty.) as granting 50 acres on Clear Creek to Ephraim Hayes, recorded on 5 Jun 1837. John Bull is not counted in Richard Bull's 1840 household and, of course, is not listed as a Revolutionary War pensioner in the household. I looked for but did not find any Bull (or Turnbull) in a film of Knox Co., KY Will Book A (1803-1842). My correspondent, Dusty Pilgrim, also found no early Bull wills during a visit to the Knox Co. courthouse. The LDS FHL does not have a film of Knox Co. probate records that I know of.

    Mary Lou Hudson suspects that John Bull Sr. was roaming somewhere in 1820, perhaps the area that became Morgan Co., IN, in 1822 where his son, John T. Bull (Jr.), is found in 1830. John Jr.'s sons John T., William T. & Thomas T. Bull all bought U.S. land in Morgan Co. between Feb. and Sep. 1837. I'm guessing the T. Bull surname is based on the Turnbull name that they later adopted. Why they changed their surname to Turnbull is a mystery to me. (I have a theory that some of John's sons adopted the surname Turnbull after leaving Knox Co., KY, because of the association of the name John Bull with the British during the War of 1812.) Glain Martin believed that was done because the family name was originally Turnbull and was changed to Bull to inexplicably conceal their identity. Glain's theory is plausible in light of a family tradition for the descendants of Ezekiel Turnbull (see my notes for him), son of my ancestor James Turnbull who I tentatively have placed as a LIKELY but unproven (by documents) son of the subject John Bull (Sr.). That tradition has Ezekiel's Turnbull line as coming from Scotland through Illinois & Missouri to Arkansas. (See my notes for the late Mortimer Lee Turnbull, a descendant of the subject John Bull, which recount an apparent family story that their patriarch, William Turnbull, came from Bedrule, Scotland. The story goes on to say that William came to VA in 1792, killed a man for wife-beating, and then fled with his family to KY where they lived on a farm.)

    Father: unknown son * Bull

    Marriage 1 Unknown b: ABT 1755
      1. Has Children Richard Bull b: ABT 1775
      2. Has Children John T. Bull , Jr. b: ABT 1778
      3. Has Children George (parent theory) Bull b: ABT 1779
      4. Has Children Joseph (parent theory) Bull b: ABT 1782 in Greene or Grainger Co., TN (possibly)
      5. Has Children Nicholas T. Bull \ Turnbull b: ABT 1785 in Greene or Grainger Co. (possibly), TN
      6. Has No Children James * Bull b: ABT 1787 in Grainger Co., TN (probably)
      7. Has Children James * (parent theory) Turnbull , Sr. b: 18 DEC 1788 in TN
      8. Has Children Effie (parent theory) Bull b: ABT 1794/1795 in NC

      1. Abbrev: Knox Co., KY, U.S. Census 1810 per Mary Lou Hudson.
        Knox Co., KY, U.S. Census 1810 per Mary Lou Hudson. Knox Co., KY, Tax List 1811 per Mary Lou Hudson. Mary Lou Hudson BULL-L postings 12/26/04 & 1/11/05.
      2. Abbrev: Knox Co., KY U.S. Census 1810.
      3. Abbrev: Knox Co., KY, U.S. Census 1830 per Sherry Jordan.

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      A moderate portion of my data has been verified. The bulk was compiled from other sources, with consideration for the authority of the source, consistency with data from other sources, and reasonableness. Comments, corrections and upgrades are very much welcomed.

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