Jacob Shuff Walker and Martha Davis

Presented by Contact Joe Mode, Knoxville, Tennessee

 

Jacob Shuff Walker was born on December 3 1 st, 1826, during the presidency of John Quincy Adams. He was the third son of Edward "Neddie" Walker, Jr., and Mahala "Haley" (Tussey) Walker, a farming couple living near Mulberry Gap in Claiborne County, Tennessee. When Hancock County was formed in 1846 from Claiborne and Hawkins Counties, this farm fell into Hancock County. His paternal grandparents were Edward B. Walker, Sr., and Jane (Home) Walker, and Jacob was named after his maternal grandparents, Jacob and Jane (Shuff) Tussey.

 

Some sources place Jacob's birthdate as the next day, January lst, including, reportedly, the family Bible, which has not yet been found. However, Elizabeth (Walker) Click, Jacob's oldest child, states that Jacob related to her "that it was a mistake; his mother always said he was born the last day of the last week, the last day of the month, and the last week of the year. December 31 st was indeed a Saturday.

 

Jacob, known as "Jake", grew up in a large family of moderate means. His father was a veteran of the War of 1812 and had received 160 acres of bounty land and also owned other land totaling about 360 acres. His father had a variety of farm animals and grew several different crops.  When Jake was small, his parents would take the children into the fields and put them on a pallet while Neddie and Haley worked.

 

According to a story that Jake told to his daughter Elizabeth "Lizzie" (Walker) Click, Jane (Shuff) Tussey lived with Jacob and his parents when Jake was little. "She had a growth over her eyes, and she would have him go to the creek and get muscle shells and bum them and powder them fine and blow them into her eyes to cut the film off, then she could see some for several weeks. 112

 

Martha "Patsey" Davis was born on November 7th, 1825, near Mulberry Gap. She was the daughter of Eli Davis, Sr., a traveling schoolteacher and farmer, and Martha "Patsey" (Baker) Davis, an herb doctor. According to tradition, Eli taught his own family from 6 to 9 P.M. each night by candlelight.3

The elder Martha apparently was in great demand for miles around, as people would bring an extra horse for her to ride to accompany them back to the sick. Supposedly, she once broke her hip and was bedridden for a year or more, but she recovered and completely resumed her doctoring.

 

Jake also appears to have been educated, as he could read and write. Schools were more common in the area when he and Patsey were growing up, and Jake may have been taught himself by Eli; this conclusion is based entirely upon supposition as Jake and Patsey's signatures are similar. No real evidence exists or is likely to be found. The Walkers and the Davises did live near each other, so Jake and Patsey may well have known each other their entire lives. They were married on Patsey's twenty-first birthday, November 7th, 1846. The marriage license, was, in fact, dated November 9th; however, the only notation in the registry book as to dispensation was "license returned". In other words, the marriage was performed, but no information was given to the County Clerk as to the details of the ceremony. A cursory examination of other entries show that licenses were often issued after the marriage, and the November 7th date was given by Lizzie Click4.

 

1. Annie Walker Burns, The Descendants of Edward Walker.... page 11; letter from Lizzie Click to Annie Walker Burns, August 7th, 1929

2Ibid., page 12; letter from Lizzie Click to Annie Walker Bums dated July 26th, 1929. 3Frieda Sims Nelson, The Descendants of Andrew Baker, page 202.

4Ibid., page 11

 

For a while after their marriage, Jake and Patsey appear to have lived near his father tending to their own small farm.  Curiously, they do not appear in the 1850 Census at all, but Jake is listed in the Farm Schedule for that Census two lines from his father, so it is currently presumed that the family was missed during the regular Census [He may well have gone to some other state for a while; investigate further.]. In 1850, Jake reported that his farm consisted of 25 improved and 35 unimproved acres, and was worth $200.  He owned $10 worth of implements and machinery, two horses, one cow for milking, two other cattle, twelve sheep, and twenty swine; in total, he owned $200 worth of livestock and had slaughtered $20 worth of livestock that year.

 

His farm produced a variety of items that year: 300 bushels of corn, 150 bushels of oats, 23 pounds of wool, 22 bushels of sweet potatoes, $5 in orchard products, 25 pounds of butter, 20 pounds of flax, 40 pounds of beeswax and honey, and $25 in homemade manufactures.

 

Sometime before June of 1860, however, Jacob and Martha moved next door to her parents. Her father was 80 years old in 1860 and had grown feeble; her mother was 68. Martha's  oldest brother John, a school teacher skilled in woodcraft, also lived with her parents.  Jacob and Martha did not own land there at first apparently, as the 1860 Census shows no value whatsoever for real estate while Eli's real estate was worth $2000. Jacob and Martha did have about $500 in personal property, and her father had $1000. [need to look up other years]

 

Eli Davis died January 23rd, 1861, and Jacob and Martha inherited part of the estate. By this point, Mulberry Gap had long been in Hancock County, and unfortunately, the Hancock County Court House burned in 1873, so most records before that time have been lost. However, an original deed filed with the Registrar's Office on December 4th, 1866, has been found. With that deed of conveyance, Jacob and Martha sold their interest in Eli's estate for $100.00 to her brother-in-law, Adam Yeary Hatfield.

 

The Civil War intervened, starting in 1861 and ending in 1865. Jake appears to have been too old to fight, and his sympathies in the war are unknown. The war certainly touched the area in which he lived as troops from both sides passed through the area often. Jake's father was a minor slave owner, and a younger brother was a soldier for the Confederacy. However, evidence suggests that Jake's oldest brother was a Union supporter. Relations between family members after the war are not well known.

 

Soon afterwards, they moved into what is still Claiborne County onto their own farm about a mile from where Jake's brother Isaac had a farm. They lived in a house on the bank of Straight Creek near the present location of the Straight Creek Missionary Baptist Church. They were members of that church until their deaths. No trace can be found of the house or the blacksmith shop in which Jake worked, though the location is known.6

 

The farm on Straight Creek was worth $600 in 1870, at which time Jacob had $200 in personal property also. [I need to look up the farm schedule.]

 

To date, we have found no pictures of the couple, though we have obtained pictures of the majority of the children.  The only object that belonged to the couple known to be extant are an unfinished quilt and a piece of linen7, both made by Pat Daughter Alice knew which dress belonged to which daughter, but that information has now been lost.

 

Jake died on October 4, 1887, aged nearly 61. Patsey went to live with the family of her oldest daughter, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Click, in a house that is still standing further down the road near Walker's Ford.8 Patsey died in that house in June of 1900; the exact date is still unknown.

Jake and Patsey are buried on a hill directly behind the  Straight Creek Baptist Church, with field stones as

markers. Their graves are surrounded by a small grove of trees.

 

Jacob and Martha had ten children, one of whom died in infancy; most, possibly with the exception of Alice, were born in Hancock County, Tennessee.

 

Elizabeth ("Lizzie") Walker was born on November 1, 1847, and was a schoolteacher. She married Andrew J. Click (2/5/1861-12/31/1914) on July 28, 1881. Andrew was the son of James and Polly Ann (Martin) Click. Andy and Lizzie raised a family, which is documented separately. They lived for a while near Straight Creek and later moved to Andersonville. Lizzie died on November 7, 1940, at age 93.  The couple is buried in the Andersonville CemetEry in Andersonville, Tennessee.

 

Mahala "Haley" Walker was born about 1848 in Hancock County. She married Samuel Janeway, a minister, about 1878.  Samuel was the son of the Rev. William Janeway. The couple lived near Straight Creek for a time in a valley down the road from Jake and Patsey; Samuel was the minister at Straight Creek Missionary Baptist Church 1902-1903 and 1910-191 1; at some point, the couple moved to Kentucky where Mahala died after raising a large family. This family is documented separately.

 

Martha E. Walker was born about 1851 in Hancock County.  She married Wilbome "Wib" Jesse, son of John Tase and Mary (Burke) Jessee on June 21, 1874, in Claiborne County. They lived on top of the mountain near Bear Creek. She apparently contracted tuberculosis and died during childbirth on January 27th, 1876. Wib Jessee later remarried, but his marriage with Martha produced no survivors. Martha is buried at the old home-site on top of the mountain.

 

Henry Walker was born about 1854 and died when he was about 20. At present, nothing is known of him. His sister, Elizabeth, referred to him as a "mere boy" when he died.

 

John Davis Walker was born on 4 Sept. 1855 in Claiborne Co. and married Margaret Ann Houston on October 16, 1873, in Claiborne County. Margaret was the daughter of William Jasper Houston of Smyth Co.Virginia and Martha Ann Fox. Martha Ann Fox was the daughter of Abraham and Elizabeth Goodman Fox of Smyth Co. and later of Claiborne Co. William Jasper was born on 28 May 1838 in or near Smyth Co. VA and was killed 23 Nov. 1863 in a skirmish near Chattanooga during the Battle of Missionary Ridge. He was a member of Co. C., 29th Tennessee Confederate Infantry. He and Martha Ann Fox were married 16 Sept 1857 in Claiborne Co. Martha Ann Fox Houston died ca 1859. William Jasper is the son of James R. and Martha Ann Buchanan Houston of Smyth Co. VA. James R. Houston was born on 18 Feb. 1811 and Martha Ann Buchanan was born on 1 Feb. 1814. Both were probably born near Smyth Co. VA. They were married on 18 Oct. 1832 in Smyth Co. VA. They had a daughter by the name of Nancy J. Houston who was born on 12 March 1834.

 

Rev. John Davis Walker was a circuit riding Baptist minister for 45 years and pastored 22 churches, the last being Cedar Hill Baptist Church in Campbell County, Tennessee. He and his family moved from Claiborne Co. to the little community of Big Springs in Union Co. There he preached at the Big Springs Church that was on his property. Family stories indicate that John performed the marriages of most of his siblings. He died at 8:30 P.M. on August 28, 1941, at the home of his daughter in Knoxville. Margaret Ann Houston Walker was born on 13 June 1858 in Claiborne Co. and died in Knoxville on 12 June 1944. They both are buried at Glenwood Baptist Cemetery.

(Have separate notes and stories regarding Rev. Walker,etc)

 

Andrew Calvin Walker was born July 24, 1857. A college-educated medical doctor, he married Catherine Corilda "Corilda" Owen, daughter of William Allen and Elizabeth (O'Dell) Owen in 1876. Corilda was born and raised in Pulaski County, Virginia. They lived a number of places and had a number of children; this family is documented separately. Andrew died on May 15, 1926, in Caryville, Tennessee (Campbell County) of valvular heart disease with chronic interstitual nephritis (kidney disease) as the contributing cause.

 

Sterling A. was born during the first of 1860. He married Tempe More and then Margaret ("Lizzie") Hamlet. He had several children, including one named Tipton, and he died probably in the 1890s. Nothing further is known at this time.

Mary Anne Walker was probably born about 1862 and apparently died within six months.

Silas Anderson Walker was born on August 5, 1864, and died at 2:00 A.M. on May 21, 1944. He is buried in   the Woodlawn Cemetery in LaFollette, Campbell County, Tennessee. Silas was both a doctor and a teacher and was principal at schools in Powell Station, Andersonville, Wells Springs, and Maynardville. He married first Mary Louise Albright (12/2/1867-10/5/1902) and had several children. After Mary died, he married Virginia Anne St. John (4/26/1881-5/27/1945) on the advice of his children and raised more children, one of whom is still living in Memphis, Tennessee.  This family is documented separately.

 

Alice Elma Walker, the youngest child, was bom on July 4, 1867, and died January 18, 1957. She married Dr. James Carter Carr (9/30/1862-5/28/1917), son of David Carr, on April 26, 1888, in Claiborne County. They raised a large family; two children are still living in New Tazewell. This family is documented separately.

 

Sources

Record of the Descendants of Edward Walker..., Annie Walker Burns, 1929, published privately.  This book provides a good deal of information about several lines of the family. It is mostly a collection of letters between family members and occasional government agencies that discuss family history.  A number of inaccuracies occur, but much of the information is irreplaceable. It was privately published and sold to relatives; the copy used for this research was obtained from Laura Roby (Click) Stooksbury, of Andersonville, Tennessee. 

 

Her grandmother, Elizabeth ("Lizzie") (Walker) Click, wrote some of the letters in the book and bought it from Mrs. Burns. A copy of this book can be found at the Daughters of the American Revolution Library in Washington, D. C.

 

Walker Family Records, Cumberland Gap Tennessee, by Annie Walker Burns, 1957, published privately: contains nearly the same information as the first book plus a great deal of extraneous information on Walkers not related to this family. It can be found at the Daughters of the American Revolution Library.

 

Andrew Baker and His Descendants, by Frieda Sims Nelson, Pueblo, CO, 1975, published privately: a record of the descendants of Martha (Davis) Walker's maternal grandfather.  It includes a transcription of Eli Davis' family Bible records in an appendix. This copy was obtained from Dolores (Ramsey) Ham and copied with the permission of the author.  If this book is available in any libraries, they are unknown.

 

Old Time Tazewell was written by Mary Hansard apparently mostly in the 1890s. Mary Hansard was Annie Walker Burns'grandmother. The book contains sketches of various families from that era in the Tazewell area including one about Jacob and his brother Isaac. It was published by her daughter, Lorena (Hansard) Wilson of Sweetwater, Tennessee, in 1979. It can be obtained in many Tennessee libraries and the Library of Congress; this copy was purchased at a bookstore.

 

A People's History of Claiborne County was published in 1989[check] by the Claiborne County Historical Society. It contains information submitted on various families in Claiborne County. All of the information on the Davis family came from the article on Eli Davis written by Dolores (Ramsey) Ham and submitted by her sister, Mary (Ramsey) Genova. The book is available from the Society from which this copy was purchased.

 

The marriage register listing for Jacob Walker and Martha Davis was obtained from the County Clerk's Office of Claiborne County, Tennessee.

 

Church records from the Straight Creek Baptist Church indicate Sam Janeway's pastoring, and the month and year of Jake and Patsey's deaths and the exact date of Martha's death.

 

Jacob's father, Edward, applied for bounty land for his service in the War of 1812, and his stepmother applied for a

pension based on that service.  The application is WC267949 found at the National Archives. Additional information on this service is documented with Edward.

 

Lizzie (Walker) Click's granddaughter, Laura Roby (Sneed) Stooksbury, still lives in Clinton, Tennessee.

 

Alice Elma (Walker) Carr's youngest daughter still lives near the house in which Alice and her husband lived in Sandlick near New Tazewell, Tennessee.

 

Sources for information on the children can be found with the children's articles.

Census Information

1830:   Claiborne County, page 119: Documented (unnamed) with his father, Edward Walker, Jr.

1840:   Claiborne County, page 237: Documented (unnamed) with his father.

1850:   Hancock County: missing in regular Census, page 467 of the Farm Schedule.

1860:   Hancock County, page 142

1870:   Claiborne County, page 316

1880:   Claiborne County, page 17

1900:   Claiborne County, page 144 (Martha Walker living with Andrew J. Click)

 

Information on Rev. John Davis Walker line provided by William Joseph Mode of Fountain City, Knoxville, TN.

 

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