Sally Killian Sawyer is one of my favorite ancestors. Perhaps it's because I knew so little about her when I started researching 30 years ago. For someone who was known as a story teller, my great-grandfather Gee Sawyer said very little about his parents, Archie and Sally Sawyer. I started with their names and birthplaces. Nothing more.
Over the years I have learned more about them both. I have learned that spelling really doesn't count. Even my own hasn't been consistent. She has shown up as Sallie or Sally or Sarah. As Killian or Killion. As Sawyer or Sawyers or Sanger or Sayers. And as a tick mark in the 1820, 1830, and 1840 censuses.
Sally was born in Lincoln County, NC in September of 1812 to David and Barbary Fulbright Killian. A marriage bond for Sarah Killian and David Huffman was recorded on 18 October 1832 in Lincoln County. Sally's daughter Linnie Huffman Howlett Evans named her father as William Huffman in her Civil War Widow's pension application, so the name of Sally's first husband is open for discussion. Whatever his name, their daughter Linnie was born 13 May 1833 in Lincoln County, NC. Mr. Huffman disappears from the scene soon after.
By 1836 the Killians, Sally and Linnie Huffman have moved to Cocke County, TN. Sally has married Archie Sawyer, at least 10 years her senior with a child or children of his own. Their eldest son Andrew was born 15 December 1836. Their daughter Barbara was born 18 months later in June 1838, just as Sally's father was putting up part of the bond for Archie after Scintha Ren had named him has the father of her illegitimate child. Magnanimous soul.
Sally and Archie had five more surviving children - William (1840), Elizabeth (1843), Crofford (1847), Jake (1849), and my great-grandfather Jehu Stokely "Gee" (1855). Archie appears in census data as a farmer, though there is no indication of any wealth. They moved frequently in the years surrounding the Civil War, living in Sevier County in 1860, in Jefferson County in 1865 and back in Cocke County in 1870. By 1880 Sally was an invalid widow living with her son William in Greene County. According to her gravemarker she died 2 January 1881. Her grave lies in Joseph's Chapel, just down the road from Sawyer Hollow.State of Tennessee, Cocke County.
We Archibald Sawyers, David Killian and Lewis Williams acknowledge our selfs (sic) indebted to the state of Tennessee as follows; Archibald Sawyers as principal in the sum of two hundred dollars and fifty; David Killian and Lewis Williams as his securities in the sum of seventy five dollars each to be bound of sums goods and chattles lands and tenements respectively for the use of the state to be void on condition that the above bound Archibald Sawyers do make his personal appearance at the circuit court at the court house in Newport on the second Monday in January to answer the state on a charge of bastardy by Scintha Ren and not depart the court without leave.Archibald Sawyers (his mark); David Killian (his mark) Lewis Williams (his mark)Acknowledged before me Jos. Williams and acting Justice of the Peace for Cocke County this 6 day of January 1837;
Jos. Williams Esq. CC Fd’d Jany 9 1837 in circuit court clerk office
Census information indicated she was illiterate. Her daughter Linnie's pension application has provided me with the greatest bit of information. Sally was midwife for her daughter, delivering all but one of her children. She apparently acted as midwife in the area. Her 1869 deposition stated
"she ... acted as chief Physician and that she was the Osetrician in the section, at the time, and where these children were born and is yet..."I have wandered the roads in Cocke, Greene and Sevier counties where Sally lived but it wasn't until I read this deposition that I had a sense of who she may have been.
Written for Amy Johnson Crow's blogger challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.
- Alta Sawyer Palmer, The Sawyer Family, Third Edition (Morristown, Tennessee: Privately published, 1986).
- Cocke, Tennessee, Supreme Court Cases, East Division, State vs. Archibald Sawyer, 1837; Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville.
- Jefferson County Court Clerk.Nicholson, James M. Voter Registration Receipt for Archibald Sawyers. 19 Jul 1865. Privately held by Susan Popp Clark, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] St. Louis, MO. 1996.
- North Carolina Division of Archives and History, "North Carolina Marriage Bonds, 1741-1868," database, Ancestry.com (accessed 18 Jan 2014), entry for for Sarah Killian and David Huffman; citing marriage bond 000073458.
- Sawyers, Sarah Depostion, Howlett, William M. Civil War Widows Pension Application 141.238, 1867; privately held by Susan Popp Clark, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] St. Louis, MO. 2005. Digital image of pension application file.
- 1820 U.S. census population schedule, North Carolina, Lincoln, East of the South Fork of the Catawba River, p. 406, David Killion; digital images, Ancestry.com (accessed 16 Jan 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M33, roll 83.
- 1840 U.S. census, Tennessee, Cocke,, p. 262, Archabald Sawyers and David Killion; digital images, Ancestry.com (accessed 16 Jan 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M704, roll 518.
- 1850 U.S. census, population schedule, Tennessee, Cocke, District 11, p. 423A, dwelling 1142, family 1142, Sarah Sangers or Sawyer; digital images, Ancestry.com ( accessed 16 Jan 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 874.
- 1860 U.S. census, population schedule, Tennessee, Sevier, District 3, p. 399, dwelling 272, family 272, Sarah Sayers; digital images, Ancestry.com (accessed 16 Jan 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 1270.
- 1870 U.S. census, population schedule, Tennessee, Cocke, District 11, p. 468B, dwelling 12, family 12, Sarah Sawyers; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Jan 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll 1519.
- 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Tennessee, Greene, District 4, enumeration district (ED) 046., p. 65C, dwelling 162, family 162, Sarah Sawyers; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Jan 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1258.