The Hawkins County Years

It is unknown exactly when John Sr. arrived in Hawkins County, Tennessee. Comparing the documents of the pension file to the last record in Russell County, suggests that this took place sometime between December of 1834 and December of 1836.  John made application for a pension in July of 1837 in Hawkins County. No records have been found to confirm where John might have been between January of 1835 to December 1836.

A statement from William Byrd in Hawkins County, Tennessee reveals that John had been living in Hawkins County for at least one year prior to his pension application.  Mr. Byrd states he had known John since his move to Hawkins County for about twelve months. This statement was made in December of 1837 and places John in Hawkins County in December of 1836. John is missing from the records of Russell County, Virginia and Hawkins County, Tennessee from January 1835 to December of 1836. He might have gone back to Clay County, Kentucky during this time. (Byrd-1837) (Page 2)

A document dated July 18, 1845, in the pension file of John Sr. states that John and some of his family members lived in Russell County, Virginia for about six years. After removing from Russell County, he moved to Kentucky and then to Hawkins County, Tennessee. This statement by John Sr. suggests that only John moved to Kentucky after six years in Russell County, Virginia. His children remained in Russell County. (John Sr-1845)

A statement in 1837 made by James Burke of Hawkins County, previously from Clay County, Kentucky states that “he became acquainted with John in Clay County about twelve years prior to the date of his statement.  This places John in Clay County, Kentucky in 1826. If Mr. Burke recalled the time correctly then this would suggest that John left Russell County, Virginia around 1826 and moved to Clay County, Kentucky. It is undetermined as to how long John may have stayed in Clay County. (Burke-1837)

Obviously, John came back to Russell County, Virginia by 1830, for he is found in the census of that year in Russell County. Possibly, John worked at the Goose Creek Salt Mines in Clay County until he had saved enough money to buy property in Russell County. John later sold property in Russell County in December of 1834. The copy of the original record involving this transaction will be posted.

He probably also paid some of the attorney fee in 1828 when he obtained representation for his son, John Jr. I assume by these records, that John probably moved back to Russell County sometime during the incident of the counterfeit coin that his son, John Jr. had been charged with. However, it is possible that John only returned for the court hearing.

John may have been living at the home of one of his daughter’s between December of 1834 and December of 1836 in Hawkins or one of the nearby counties as well. The records suggest that several of his daughters may have been living in the Hawkins County area before 1840 and possibly the nearby counties of Grainger and Claiborne.

The facts are, the records show that John was in Russell County, Virginia as late as December of 1834 and in Hawkins County by December of 1836 where he applied for his military pension on July 7, 1837 in Hawkins County.

John Sr. applied for his military pension at the old courthouse in Rogersville (Hawkins County) Tennessee before John Mitchell, Esquire.  John was admitted to the pension rolls on October 2, 1837. It was declared that he was entitled to $80.00 per anum (per year) and he was to be paid commencing on the 4th of March 1831 and payable semi-annually on the 4th of March and the 4th of September each year. (Admission 1837)

John was required to satisfactorily submit proof of his service in the Revolution for which John submitted a declaration. His declaration concerning his service gave accounts of the movements of the army during John’s service until he was wounded.  A typed copy of this can be seen in the Scalf Family History.  However, a copy of the original will also be presented. (Declaration-1837, page 1) (Declaration-1837, page 2) (Declaration-1837, page 3)

By September 18, 1838 John’s pension was revoked.  He had received two installments before Mr. Hopkins (attorney) of Russell County had issued a letter to Mr. J. L. Edwards, Commissioner of Pensions accusing John of obtaining a fraudulent pension. It appears that this correspondence began before or near the time John received his first installment on his pension.  This began a long series of statements and depositions from Hawkins County in support of restoration of the pension. This also began an even more destitute life for John and Edy than they had suffered previously.

No doubt, John and Edy thought life would be better for them in Hawkins County since John would now be eligible for a pension for his war service.  Little did they know that the grudge held by old enemies in Russell County would return to haunt them in Hawkins County.

John proved his service so well during this process, it would be difficult not to believe he was a Revolutionary Soldier. Several outstanding and notable citizens tried to assist John in the restoration of this pension. Several submitted statements of having served with John and one witness presented his statement of having been with John when he was wounded and examined the wound himself. (Hall statement, page 1) (Hall statement, page 2) (Hall statement, page 3)

David Rogers, who had been a Captain and a Major in the Revolution had spent a night drilling John on military procedures and having satisfied himself that John had been a soldier signed made his statement in support of the pension. This was ignored by Mr. Edwards as if the statement was as false as he felt John’s statement was. (Rogers statement, Page 1) (Rogers statement, page 2) (Rogers statement, page 3)

Considering the information, one would have to wonder just what was going on behind the scenes since John did not have to submit this type of proof in the beginning when he was admitted to the rolls. It was not until Andrew Johnson of Greenville, Tennessee (later the 17th President) intervened, that John’s pension was restored.  Eight or nine years would pass from the time the pension was revoked until it would be restored again.  During this time, John and Edy would live on the charity of their children and neighbors.

In December of 1837 Brittan Scalf is found in the records of Russell County, Virginia recording the purchase of land from Thomas Tate. Brittan’s wife’s name is spelled Delitha on this record but descendants state that her name was Talitha.

A document found in the file of John Sr. states that John did receive his first pension payment on April 3, 1838 and again in September.  The arrears allotted were in the amount of $600.00.  (File-April 3, 1838)

On April 3 of 1838, Brittan was appointed surveyor of the road again in Russell County, Virginia. 

April 3, 1838 — page 501

Ordered that Brittan Scalf be appointed Surveyor of the road from the top of the hill west of Jefferson Jessee’s to Richard Longs in the room of Richard B. Long, and that James Dickenson gent, do furnish him with a list of Tithables.  (Russell County Court Minutes, April 3, 1838, pg. 501) (Brittan-April 3, 1838-pg-501)

In this same month and year, Abraham McClellan of Blountville, Tennessee (Sullivan County) a member of the House of Representatives was brought into the pension case by Mr. Mitchell of Hawkins County.  Mr. Mitchell had sent Mr. McClellan a letter and asked him to find out about the case of John Scalf’s pension.

Mr. Mitchell states that he had sent evidence of John’s service to Mr. Edwards several times last fall but had not heard from him. This suggests that John began his appeal for a pension in the fall of 1837. Mr. McClellan then wrote to Mr. Edwards and asked him to please examine the papers and let him know how the case stood and if further proof of his service was needed. (McClellan to Edwards-April 4, 1838)

John was admitted to the pension rolls by March of 1838. In this year, John received two installments of his pension and life was undoubtedly better for him and Edy. However, in the coming fall John would be stricken from the pension rolls after his second installment was received.

In August of 1838, John Jr. and wife, Patsy are in court in Russell County.  This time, the suit is dismissed.  (I do not have the copy of this suit at this time, but hope to have this posted soon).

The record below does not appear to be related to the slander case as the plaintiff, Elizabeth Gose, asked that this case be dismissed. I have not found the beginning of this suit or what it concerns.

August 8, 1838 — page 532

Elizabeth Gose plaintiff vs.
John Scalf and wife defendant> By order of the plaintiff, this suit is dismissed. (Gose vs. Scalf-Aug. 8, 1838, pg. 532)

Shortly after this, a letter dated September 16, 1838 from Lebanon (Russell County) Virginia, written by G. W. Hopkins to J. L. Edwards, Esq., Commissioner of Pensions, states that John’s claim was fraudulent and that he had never reputed white hair or to have been a soldier of the Revolution and had never set up such pretense. The correspondence record of Mr. Edwards reveals that he had received this letter from Mr. G. W. Hopkins of Russell County, Virginia, who was an upcoming politician and may have been a member of the House of Representatives at this time. The records show Mr. Hopkins did become a representative at some point.

Mr. Hopkins suggested that the claim ought to be re-investigated and John stricken from the rolls. Mr. Hopkins had been the attorney representing the case of the counterfeit coin for John Jr. in Russell County, Virginia. (Hopkins to Edwards-1838)

Mr. Edwards then sent a letter to Mr. McClellan requesting information concerning John’s credibility and character. On October 22,1838, after John had received his second installment on his pension, Abraham McClellan responded Mr. Edward’s letter. In response to Mr. Edwards investigation of John Sr.’s character, Mr. McClellan answered that Mr. Scalf lived about seventy-five miles from him. A quote from the letter is excerpted here.

 “Mr. Scalf resides about 75 miles from me and I have not been able to learn much in relation to the facts which you wish to know.  I have seen since the reception of your letter, a gentleman by the name of Kildair who is a neighbor of Scalf, — he says that Thos. Pratt, the witness in the case is an old man whose word is intitled to some credit, but it is believed in the neighborhood that he is deceived about this man and that Scalf is not old enough to have been in the Revolution.  The other witnesses are Sons in law of Mr. Scalf.  So says my informant.”  (McClellan to Edwards-Oct. 22,1838)

By December of 1838, the Justice of the Peace in Hawkins County again sent further information to Mr. Edwards to establish the validity of John’s claim. From these statements and the statement of a Mr. Klidaire to Abraham McClellan, we learn the relationship of several persons to John Sr.

From the letter of Abraham McClellan and the statement of Thomas Lockard in December of 1838, we learn the relationships of Squire Williams, Thomas Lockard and Alexander Trent to John Scalf Sr. There were neighbors of John Scalf who gave statements that were contrary to what Mr. Kildaire had stated to Abraham McClellan. In conjunction with this record and the statement of Thomas Lockard in 1838 it appears that Thomas Lockhard and Cecilia Scalf were married around 1834 or 1835.

If correct, the previous writings would place Cecilia’s age around ten or eleven years old in 1834 according to the birth date listed for her. Contrary to popular belief, girls in Appalachia did not commonly marry at this age.  This was especially true during this time.  Females were required to have the consent of a parent or guardian when obtaining a marriage license if under the age of twenty-one.

A bondsman would be required to sign the bond to insure the credibility of the folks applying for the license. These bonds were set in very high amounts in some areas. One such area required a bond of $300. Most folks were not going to risk everything they owned in the event someone may have been dishonest in their statements.

It was not impossible for Cecilia to marry at a young age, but it would have been very unlikely that she married this young during this time. I am of the opinion that Cecilia was born before 1823. The marriages of young girls around the ages of twelve and thirteen began much later than this. Not to say there were not some that appeared to have married this young. Most likely, many of these (not all) were due to errors made in their age during the times.

There were at least three letters written to Mr. McClellan by Mr. Edwards between September 28, 1838 and December 27, 1838. It also appears from the record of correspondence kept by Mr. Edwards that this issue concerning John Sr. began sometime in April of 1838 shortly after John received his first installment in March of 1838 and the decision was reached by September or October of this year to discontinue the pension. Possibly Mr. Hopkins started his pursuit of having the pension revoked while John was submitting his information to be admitted to the rolls. If so, the correspondence for this is missing from the file. Conversations may have taken place in Washington among those involved and details not issued in letters. This may be why some of the letters are not included.

A record in December of 1838 consists of the statements of Thomas Lockard, Squire Williams, Alexander Trent, James Burke, and Captain William Byrd. These statements came after the pension was revoked in September. Many statements came from Hawkins County and lasted through a portion of 1846 with the last appeal being made by Andrew Johnson of Greenville, Tennessee.  Physicians were called in to examine John’s wounds and give an opinion as well. All of this was to no avail for the old soldier. Regardless of the evidence John Sr. produced, it was to fall on deaf ears to the Pension Commissioner.

In his deposition, Thomas Lockard stated that he had known John for about three years. This indicates that Thomas and Cecilia (Sela/Cela) Scalf Lockard (probably named after her aunt Ceely Ann Koziah/Keziah) had only been married a short time and most likely married 1834-1838.  If correct, Cecelia could be the female listed in the home of Thomas Lockhard on the 1840 census and the older lady in the home was most likely his mother.

Thomas was listed as 20–30 and a female in the home is listed as 15–20. A son under five is also listed. There is one female age 5–10 and one aged 10–15. It is not likely that the female 10–15 would have been the daughter of Thomas and Cecilia if they did marry 1834-1838.. This female could have been from a previous marriage of Thomas or may have been a sister of Thomas.

An older female is in the home and listed as 40–50.  The female 15–20 is likely Cecilia. According to this, it is possible she was the last child of John and Edy, and born around 1820 or shortly before.  However, her age could have been misstated on this census as well if this is Cecilia, and she might have actually belonged in the 20–30 age range. This is from a transcribed copy of the census. (Lockard, Dec- 1838)

Squire Williams stated that he had, had a most satisfactory acquaintance with John for fifteen years.  This would indicate that Squire and Dicy might have married around 1823-1825. The 1830 census of Russell County, does lend some support to this. On this census they have two daughters listed between the ages of 5-10 years old with an estimated birth date of around 1825–1830.  Unless they had children before this that had died, these were the oldest children.  According to this, Dicy should have been on the 1820 census in the home of her father, John Sr. but she was not and the only other explanation for this that comes to mind is she was living with another family as a domestic servant in 1820. (Williams-Dec.1838)

Alexander Trent states that he had known John for better than eight years and lived nearby him the greater part of that time. Interestingly, Alexander also stated that he knew John in Clay County, Kentucky for part of this time. This might indicate that Alexander Trent who married Polly Scalf had lived in Clay County, Kentucky prior to moving to Hawkins County, Tennessee. However, I find no Trent families in Clay County, Kentucky. (Trent-Dec.1838)

I also find no Trent families in Floyd County, Kentucky in 1810 when John’s family was living there. In light of this statement, Alexander had known John since 1830. He most likely had met and married Polly sometime between 1830-1838 either in Clay County or in Hawkins after the move in 1834-35. This also indicates that John made a trip back to Clay County, Kentucky and possibly when he left Russell County in 1834. If Alexander and Polly were married at that time, they may have gone with John to Clay County, or he with them.

Information from the 1850 Claiborne County, Tennessee census suggests that Alexander and Polly’s fist child, Isaiah, was born 1831.  This suggests that Alexander and Polly were married in or around 1830. John Sr. is on the 1830 census of Russell County, Virginia, but Polly was not in the home. This also suggests that John Sr. may have been in Clay County, Kentucky shortly before 1830 and returned to Russell County by the time of the census enumeration.

John possibly left Russell County around 1825-1830 and went to Clay County where Polly met and married Alexander. Since this is between censuses, we have no way of knowing unless a marriage record is found for Polly and Alexander.  This couple later moved to Hawkins County, Tennessee.  They possibly married in Russell County, moved to Clay County and John went there after he sold the land in Russell County in 1834. A number of speculations can be raised here. Without a marriage record or land deed, we have no way of confirming anything.

The facts are; Alexander Trent married Polly Scalf and moved to Hawkins, then Claiborne County, Tennessee. Their first child was born 1831 unless they had children that had died before this. Polly would have been in her late 30s or early 40s when she married Alexander. This also suggests Polly may have married prior to Alexander or was living in another home on the 1820 census of Russell County, Virginia. A search of the marriages of Floyd or Clay County might reveal a marriage record for Nancy, Polly and possibly even Betsy and Nancy.

It is very possible that Nancy met and married her husband in Kentucky and remained there when John Sr. left Floyd County. I have corresponded with the Collins researchers and no one at this point has a Nancy in their line for this period in the Russell County, Virginia area or the Hawkins, Grainger, Hancock, Union County, Tennessee areas. This leads me to believe that Nancy did not leave Kentucky and possibly Betsy as well, for no one is able to identify either of these girls from the East Tennessee area. I possibly have not spoken to the right person yet but at this point, the Collins researchers I have had contact with seem to know nothing about either of these women.

The correspondence record kept by Mr. Edwards of the Pension Commission reveals that correspondence concerning the validity of the pension began very early in the same year that John’s pension was awarded. Time was not wasted in trying to stop this pension. No doubt, not knowing what would take place, Patsy had mentioned the pension application while visiting her relatives in Russell County, Virginia before John was admitted to the rolls.

This correspondence continued through December of 1838 and the correspondence record, reads as follows:

let. 23 Apr. 38 Hon. A. McClellan
to Hon. A. McClellan on October 30, 1838
to Hon. A. McClellan December 27, 1838  (Correspondence Record)

As the son-in-laws of John Sr. were making their statements of support in Rogersville, Mr. Edwards was corresponding with Mr. McClellan in Blountville (Sullivan County) a neighboring county of Hawkins. 

The last letter to Mr. McClellan was dated April 20, 1840 so it is obvious that Mr. McClellan was involved in this case for a good deal of time. Mr. Mitchell, Justice of the Peace of Hawkins County had first appealed to Mr. McClellan in 1838 for his help in requesting a response from Washington concerning the papers Mr. Mitchell had sent to the Pension Commission to obtain the pension.

The year of 1838 closes with the statements from James Burke, Thomas Lockard, Squire Williams, Alexander Trent, and Captain William Byrd. These statements were made on Christmas Day in 1838.

In this year, Brittan is found charged with a debt of $39.00 and is ordered to pay the debt.  This was probably related to the business that Brittan owned.

Wednesday, June 5th 1839 — page 52

Andy F. Hendricks    plaintiff
Brittan Scalf             defendant

This day came the plaintiff by his attorney and the defendant not yet appearing, it is considered by the Court, that the judgment obtained in the Clerk’s office be made final and that the plaintiff recover against the debt $39. 23 the debt in the declaration mentioned with interest thereon to be compensated after the act of (?)  per annum from the 2d day of August 1837 till paid and his costs by him about his (sinc in their behalf expended)?   (Brittan-June5 1839-pg. 52)

The pension file records very little activity in the year 1839 for the Scalf family in both Russell and Hawkins County. A number of letters were sent to the Pension Commission in this year trying to establish John’s credibility, only to be ignored. Most of this correspondence is repetitious and repeats the credibility of John’s word and character. Very little information is gleaned from these documents; however, they do establish the feelings of the neighbors concerning the character of John Scalf. Sr. These documents have not been added to this writing due to the tremendous amount of time in scanning.

In 1839, Anthony Hall of Perry County, Kentucky came to the aid of his fellow comrade, John Sr. Mr. Hall stated that he knew that John had been a Revolutionary Soldier for he had became acquainted with him previous to the battle of Guilford and that he had seen John in this battle where John was shot in the leg. He also stated that it was not uncommon to see a boy of no more than 14 years of age fighting in the war. He states that John was older than General Jackson and about one year older than himself. Mr. Hall was on the pension rolls and was receiving $8 per annum. (Anthony Hall-July, 1839)(Page 2)(Page 3)

Mr. Edwards responded that this was not satisfactory to restore the pension and sends a list of questions for John to answer.  This appears to be another avoidance of the issue. This amounted to nothing more than to delay the restoration of the pension. Nevertheless, John answered the questions and Mr. Edwards appeared to take no further action in restoring the pension. 

The year 1840 finds John Sr., John Jr., Ira Scalf, Alexander Trent, Alexander W. Trent, Alexander Trent, Sr., and Thomas Lockhart/Lockard all living in near proximity to each other in Hawkins County, Tennessee. 

There were also Collins and Williams families in Hawkins at this time but it is unknown if they were the same as the families John’s daughters had married.

William Bird/Byrd is also in the neighborhood.  Mr. Byrd gave his statement in support of John’s pension and might have been John’s landlord at Byrd’s Corner.  John Sr. and Edy were now alone.  Both their ages were listed in the 60–70 age range once again.  This is another indication of the loss of memory as John and Edy aged. Their ages at this time should have been 70 – 80. However, John Sr. is listed as being the same age as he was in 1830.

A very good example of the loss of memory concerning the children’s ages is depicted in the statements of Edy Carlisle made in June of 1851 and again in October of the same year. Just four months after Edy stated that her oldest daughter was Polly Scalf, she states that her oldest daughter was Nancy Scalf; leaving us to wonder which child was actually the oldest child. Nancy’s birth date is stated as March 22, 1788 and Polly, April 29, 1789. Edy states the death of her husband as March 10, 1848 in Greene County.  In another document, Edy states that he died at the home of his son _______in Greene County, Tennessee.  The name of the son was faded out but Berryman was the only son living in this particular area at this time. (Edy-Jun 7, 1851) (Edy-Oct 6, 1851)

I have found this to happen frequently on the census records, as one got older. Edy was around 80 years old when she made the above statements. I find it remarkable that Edy could remember the exact birth dates even though she did misstate the names. Most folks remembered the order of birth much easier than the actual dates. Had I given birth to sixteen children, traveled across the country and lived as Edy had, I doubt I would have remembered their names or birth dates at 40 years old, much less at 80.

The most accuracy I have found concerning “near correct” ages have been the first census records to list the family. The parents were more likely to remember the correct ages from the time they were born until at least the first census if the census was enumerated within a few years of the birth.  However, memory loss became evident by the enumeration of the next census. As time went by, parents not only forgot their own ages, but the ages of their children as well.

This was a time when age was not important Survival was number one on the agenda. The remembrance of one’s age was of little importance and probably due in part to the fact that records were not required as they now are.

1840 Hawkins County, TN census

Scalf, John Sr.         Estimated birth dates

1 male      60 – 70     1770 - 1780
1 female    60 – 70     1770 - 1780

A number of Trent families were living in the area on this census.  However, an Alexander O. Trent is living two houses away from William Scalf. The home of Thomas Trent is located between the two. In the process of elimination of which Alexander was the husband of Polly, correspondence with a Trent descendant relates the following.

Quote:  “Alexander O. Trent, about the same age as Alex/Polly Scalf, married a Mary Martin, whom I guess was sometimes called Polly, too.” This Alexander was living in the same area and is later found in Hancock County, Tennessee listed around the same age as the husband of Polly. (Ref: Barbara Marsh)

The only indication that Polly’s name was Mary is from the 1850 Claiborne County, Tennessee census where she is listed as Mary Trent. This would be the only documentation to this if this is the correct family on this census.

The name of William Scalf living in the neighborhood was transcribed as William SEALF on one copy of this census. (See 1840 Hw. Co. census at: - page 247.

This does not appear to be the William Scalf, son of John Sr. and is most likely a grandson although it is debatable at this time as to which family this William belongs to. This William was 20–30 years old according to this census and his wife is listed as 15–20 years old. This calculates a birth date of 1810–1820 for William and 1820–1825 for his wife. 

Another female is listed as 10–15 years old. It should be noted here as well that the name Tabitha listed on the transcribed census copies is listed as Talitha on the original microfilm of Claiborne County, Tennessee in 1850. (Could this possibly be one of the children of Brittan and Talitha not found by the descendants?) The descendants of Brittan and Talitha report that eight children can be documented for Brittan and Talitha.  However, there seems to be no documentation that there were nine children or nineteen. (1850 Claiborne, Co. census)

The Claiborne County, Tennessee census of 1850 suggests that William and Talitha married around 1840, probably just prior to this census. The oldest child in the home in 1850 (Claiborne Co.) was Henry at nine years old.  The female listed in the home in 1840 (Hawkins Co) could have been a sister to either William or Talitha but would have been too near the age of Talitha to be their child. Again, this applies only if Talitha’s age was correct on this census.

Pages 236 and 237 of the 1840 Hawkins transcribed census is not transcribed at this date; therefore, some of these families will not be found at the above URL address. I have referred back to my transcribed copy of the original microfilm for the information on the above Scalf/Trent families.  It is unknown which family this Talitha Scalf belonged to.  Her maiden name appears to have been Scalf and certainly suggestive of a child of Brittan and Talitha.

It is interesting to note that sometime during the year of 1840, either John Sr. visited Abraham McClellan and requested his help, or Mr. McClellan responded to someone in a neighboring county and assisted him in pleading for the restoration of the pension. The following is quoted from the records housed in the Library of Congress.

“Mr. McClellan presented a petition of John Scalf, of Hawkins County, State of Tennessee, a soldier of the Revolution, praying for a pension.”  (Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1789-1873, May 19, 1840, pg. 962-Library of Congress)

I find no follow up record at this date suggesting that any action was taken on this and the pension records of John Sr. suggest that if it was, it apparently did not succeed.

In 1840, only Lee and the Brittan Scalf family were found still living in Russell County. Lee Scalf is found only one time on the census records (1840 Russell Co.) that I have found and no further information has been found for this family. Some of the unplaced family members in the East Tennessee and West Virginia area may belong to the Lee Scalf family.

John had reached the point where he no longer could pay for the Seal required to authenticate the statements. Many of the neighbors appealed on John’s behalf as well as his children, Polly Scalf Trent, John Jr. and his wife, Patsy Counts Scalf. When time permits, the original copies will be posted. Some of these depositions can be found in Chapter IV of the Scalf Family History.

These depositions proved worthless to the Pension Commission but have been invaluable to the descendants of John Scalf Sr. in our research.  Had it not been for these depositions, we would know little of the Scalf history. 

It is interesting to note that in the year, 1843, John was apparently living with one of his children at Thorn Hill in Grainger County, Tennessee for sometime during this year John visited Mr. James K. McAnally, (title unknown) to appeal for help. Mr. McAnally appealed to Mr. William T. Senter to call on Mr. Edwards. No date for this record is found in the file but a document found in the file indicates that Mr. Senter questioned Mr. Edwards. A letter of response to someone who might have been Mr. Edwards or possibly Mr. Hopkins is found in the file.  It appears to be addressed to the House of Representatives and Mr. Edwards was of the Pension Commission so most likely, this was sent to Mr. Hopkins who was now a Representative. This letter is dated January 6, 1844. This does not appear to have accomplished anything more than had been accomplished previously.  (McAnally to Sutter) (Sutter to HR-Jan.6, 1844)

Back in Russell County in 1844, Brittan had been appointed as a guard of the prisoners at the jail in Russell County. The records relate that he was paid $2.76 for his guard duties.

Tuesday, October 8th 1844 — page 406
The following accounts were presented in Court, and allowed; it appearing to the Court that former guards were necessary to the safe conveyance of the prisoners to the jail of Russell County, which is ordered to be certified to the Auditor of public accounts; Benjamin Haley, $2.76; Brittan Scalf $2. 76; Hezakiah Hamon $2.76 and William Hale $2.76.   (Brittan, Oct. 8, 1844-pg-406)

On July 8, 1845, in Russell County, Virginia, Brittan is found in the records for the last time. In the same month of 1845 only nine days later, his brother, John Jr., sister Polly and sister-in-law, Patsy Counts Scalf would give their depositions in Hawkins County in support of the pension restoration.  It is believed that Brittan died sometime after this record was recorded.  This record was for the sale of land from Britain and wife to Andrew Williams.  Although I have not been able to confirm this, it is possible that Andrew Williams was a relative of Squire Williams, husband of Dicy Scalf. 

Tuesday, July 8th 1845 — page 452
A list of Conveyances admitted to record by the Clerk of the Court since the last Term.

An Indenture of bargain and sale for land from Brittan Scalf & wife to Anderson Williams, acknowledged before two Justices. (Brittan-1845-pg. 452) 

Sometime after this transaction, it is reported that Brittan’s tragic death was due to a falling tree while surveying the roads in Russell County, Virginia.  Brittan was still living at the time of Patsy Counts Scalf’s deposition in 1845 and it is unknown if he died this year or early in 1846. His brother, William II had already died by the time of Patsy’s statement in July of 1845.

On July 17, 1845, Patsy Counts Scalf gave a deposition in Rogersville (Hawkins County) Tennessee that would reveal in detail the reasons behind the pension being revoked. Through this deposition we have learned the names of all of the children of John and Edy as well as the number of their children at this date.

There seems to be confusion about the number of children belonging to Brittan Scalf and Talitha Couch Scalf. It has been stated that they were the parents of 19 children by 1845. The original deposition by Patsy does state 19 children. However, Brittan and Talitha had nine living children on the census of 1840 in Russell County, Virginia.  There is absolutely no way that this writer can determine that it would have been possible for Brittan and Talitha to have ten more children by the year 1845. It is stated in Chronicles of the Scalf Family that a grandson stated he knew only of nine children in this family. There are many assumptions that can be made as to how this number became 19 in the deposition.

My conclusion to this is, Patsy may have stated when giving her detailed information that Brittan had “nine or ten” children and the clerk heard nineteen. Brittan is not listed as head of house on the 1830 census of Russell County. Therefore, we can only assume that he was not married at this time. Neither is he listed on the 1820 census as head of house and was most likely the son between the age of 16-18 years old on this census.

If he married and was living in his father’s home in 1830, then his age is stated wrong on this census for Brittan would have been around
28-29 years old on the 1830 census. There is no male of this age in the home at this time. Due to these factors, my only alternative is to conclude that Brittan and Talitha married 1820-1825 because the oldest child was born 1820-1825. If so, they were likely in the home of John Sr. in 1830 because they are not on this census as head of house. In view of the information, I am inclined to agree with the grandson of Brittan and Talitha that there were not nineteen children in this family. It certainly appears there was a mistake by someone in the deposition of Patsy Counts Scalf. (Patsy Scalf-July, 1845) (Page 2) (Page 3)

In August of 1845, just after the depositions in Hawkins County by his family, John made a trip to Greeneville, (Greene County) Tennessee where he obtained the services of one, B. McDaniels, Esquire to help him with the pension restoration. Most likely, his children were paying the fee required for these services.

John Sr. had obtained the services of almost every Justice of the Peace in office in Hawkins County since 1837. He now appealed to Mr. McDaniels, in Greene County. On August 13, 1845, Mr. McDaniels sent another letter to Mr. Edwards requesting information concerning the revocation of the pension. (McDaniels to Edwards-1845)

On August 20, 1845, Mr. Edwards returned a response to the letter stating that John was not entitled to a pension “if the allegations be true.”  Note that he said “if.”  I assume this to mean he did not know if they were true or not but simply because someone made the statement that it was true, it was justified.  (Edwards to McDaniels – 1845)

On September 2, 1845, Mr. McDaniels sent a letter to Mr. G. W. Hopkins requesting a “listing of the whole matter.” Mr. Hopkins answered this letter on September 13, 1845 from Abingdon, (Washington County, Virginia). (McDaniels to Hopkins-1845) (Hopkins to McDaniels)

The efforts of Mr. McDaniels proved useless, as had all the others in the past. Although it is not a matter of record, it was probably through the persuasion of Mr. McDaniels that John made one final attempt to have the pension and his honor restored. This attempt was made through Mr. Andrew Johnson, a member of the House of Representatives at this time.

Copyright (C) 2002-2008 by Margaret Fleenor, All Rights Reserved.