Territory Southwest of the River Ohio

Documenting ancestors who ventured into Tennessee before it became a state is a difficult task to be sure.  The federal census records that aid us in identifying these early settlers in North Carolina and Maryland are lacking for Tennessee.  The first known census is 1820 which covers only Middle Tennessee.

One afternoon as I was researching at the Family History Center, Idaho Falls ID, I came across a volume in Accelerated Indexing Systems Early American Series entitled Ohio 1790, Volume II. To my surprise, this volume covers eastern Tennessee referenced as “Territory Southwest of the River Ohio.”

Where Ronald Jackson found the list we will never know–he is now deceased and the volume itself does not disclose its source.  We have no reason to question the validity of the list.  The men mentioned are known to have lived in Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, etc. early on.

Not every library carries this volume.  Ohio 1790, Volume I , which many libraries have, refers to Ohio–“Territory Northwest of the River Ohio.”

So I consider Volume II as a gift.  Look for it in the genealogy library that you use most often.

The following bibliography is a preliminary guide to name lists taken from both federal and state records pertaining to the early settlement period  Tennessee.  Use it as a checklist to ensure that you don’t miss land entries, surveys, grants, and other “first” property records for your ancestors who came to Tennessee before the federal census records your family.


Acts, Territory South of the Ohio River, Knoxville TN, 1794. Imprint # 7969, Original printing and facsimile copy, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino CA.

John Armstrong’s Entry Book, 21 October 1783 – 25 May 1784. Vol. II: Series of Early Tennessee Land Records.  1993.  Irene M. Griffey, 321 Holly Circle, Clarksville TN 37043.  The earliest land records for Tennessee.

Tennessee Land Entries: John Armstrong’s Office, Part 1 – Land Entries.  Dr. A. B. Pruitt.  Printed by the author, Box 815, Whitakers NC 27891.

Tennessee Land Entries: John Armstrong’s Office, Part 2 – Land Surveys and Index.  1995.  Dr. A. B. Pruitt.  Indexed by name, water course or description, warrant #.

Robert Armstrong’s Survey Book of Cherokee Lands: Lands granted From the Treaty of 27 February 1819.  1993.  James L. Douthat.  Institute of Historic Research, P. O. Box 400, Signal Mountain, TN 37377-0400.

Durham, Walter T.  Before Tennessee: The Southwest Territory, 1790-1796. 1990.  Rocky Mount Historical Association, Rt. 11 E and Rocky Mount Parkway, Piney Flats TN 37686.  Also on fiche # 6101361, Family History Library.  Includes a valuable bibliography of unpublished source material for the Southwest Territory.

Entry-Taker’s Report, 1778-1783: Washington County, TN and Sullivan County, TN.  Compiled by Oveda Meier, 1962 S. 200 E., Salt Lake City, Utah 84115.  Also on microfiche, # 6101579, Family History Library.

Field Notes Made by W. L. Henderson to Lay Off Lands West of the Tennessee, Acts 1819-1820.  Original Manuscript, film # 0469470, Family History Library.

Glasgow Land Fraud Papers, 1783-1800, 2 Volumes.  Dr. A. B. Pruitt.  1988- 1993.  Privately printed by the author.  Watch for multiple indexes in both volumes.

Kingsport Heritage: The Early Years, 1700-1900.  Muriel M. C. Spoden.   Johnson City, TN: The Overmountain Press, 1991. Very important work by local historian-genealogist.

Ohio, 1790, Volume II.  Accelerated Indexing Systems, Inc. 1984.  Computerized 13 page list of inhabitants in 1790, with places of residence like Washington County, TN, St. Clair County, IL, Post Vincennes, Southern Ohio Territory, Cahokia, Prairie Du Rocher, Davidson County, TN.  Not included in AIS Microfiche Index.

Preemptors: Middle Tennessee’s First Settlers.  Irene M. Griffey, Ibid. Includes 1787 militia payroll.

“The Records of Washington County Court,”  The American Historical Magazine,  III (1898)  –  IV (1899).  The original records, (1778-1790), are deposited in the Tennessee Historical Society, Nashville, TN.  Forerunner of the Tennessee Historical Society Quarterly, The American Historical Magazine was published 1896-1904, 10 Volumes in all.  Available on film # 840246, Family History Library.

Tennesseans Before 1800: Washington County.  1996.  Marjorie Hood Fischer.   Frontier Press, 10 Cadena Drive, Galveston, TX 77554-6329.  Also available, Tennesseans Before 1800: Davidson County.  1997.  Author was working to complete Sullivan County.

Tennessee Land Grant Series, 17 Volumes.  Byron Sistler and Associates, 1712 Natchez Trace, Nashville, TN 37212.  A series of helpful booklets with reference to sources was also published by Sistler and Associates.

Territorial Papers Southwest of the River Ohio, 1790-1795.  National Archives Microfilm Publication, M0471.  Family History Library film # 1578870.   Microfilm of original records in the National Archives, Washington, D. C.

“Washington and Sullivan Counties (TN), Revolutionary War Stub Indent Books,” by Haywood Roebuck, North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal. I  (1975) 91-96.  Payrolls for military service patterned on those kept by North Carolina.

Washington County, Tennessee Records, Volume I: Washington County Lists of Taxables, 1778-1801.  Mary Hardin McCown, etal.  Johnson City, TN: 1964.  Also includes Abstracts of Washington County Minutes, Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, 1778-1801; Lists of Officers 1778-1801; and Miscellaneous Records.  Prepared by the DAR.  Original records deposited in Archives of Appalachia, Sherrod Library, East Tennessee State University Libraries, Johnson City, TN.

The Wataugah Land Purchases.  Troy R. Keesee, 151 Skyline Lane, Powell, TN 37849, (423) 945-1309.  Using Deed Mapper from Direct Line Software, Keesee maps the land pieces in the Purchase Area.  Well indexed!

Until next post–your favorite Tennessee genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://www.arleneeakle.com

PS  Be sure to watch for my new Home Page–easier to find stuff!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.