Ewing Family Association

Clan Ewing of Scotland
Elbert William R. Ewing, A.M., LL.B., LL.D.

Chapter XXVIII

Some Virginia-Tennessee Alexander Ewings

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What became of my grandfather's brother Alexander Ewing, I am unable certainly to state.  I am of opinion that he was one of the Alexander Ewings who, as shown by the "Lists of the Revolutionary Soldiers," published by the Virginia State Library, served in the American army of the Revolution.  Alexander Ewing was one of the earliest landowners in Powell Valley, near grandfather's lands; but it appears the he either never resided there or that he left at a very early day.  I am reasonably sure that he was my great-uncle.  To whom he sold that land or how he disposed of the land left to him under the John Ewing will, I have never been able to learn.  The will leaves him eleven hundred acres on Elk Creek, in Montgomery County, "if obtained."  That means that there was a claim to that land, resting upon the settlement, preemption or some other law, and that that claim had not been disposed of at the date of the will.  In the conclusion of the matter it may have been assigned and the deed may have issued to the assignee, a method sometimes followed in that day.  Then there is no Elk Creek in Montgomery now, so that that land fell into some other county subsequent to the will.  Any way, I have not located any record of a transfer of any of this land by any Alexander Ewing who can be identified as one of the sons of great-grandfather.  So I can only give what is known of the early Alexander Ewings of Virginia, hoping that this publication will develop evidence of the connection.

Alexander Ewing, a native of Virginia, served in the patriot armies of the Revolution.  After his death his widow applied for a pension, and among the papers is an affidavit by William E. Ewing, a son, stating that his father "was a lieutenant in the Revolutionary war from the State of Virginia;" and with his affidavit filed the original record removed from his Bible.  He states, under oath, that this "record shows the dates of the birth of his own children and also contains a true copy of the family record of his father and mother, the said Alexander and Sally Ewing."  That Bible record shows that Alexander Ewing was born May 10, 1752; and Sarah his wife, August 12, 1761.  Alexander died April 9, 1822; and Sarah B. died June 15, 1840.  The date of their marriage is not given.  After their names on the birth page are the following, evidently their children:

John Love Ewing, born April 11, 1789; died February 9, 1816. 

William Ewing died November 29, 1796; Oscar I. Ewing, October 19, 1808; Alexander, April 9, 1822; Martha Ann C. died April 2, 1836; Mary Louisa, September 12, 1833; William James, March 7, 1833; Alexander C., June 13, 1834; Martha Ann C. P. Ewing, April 2, 1836; Lucinda Ewing, born December 10, 1792; William Ewing, born June (or January) 31, 1795; Alexander C. Ewing, born September 9, 1797; Randall McGavoch Ewing, born November 2,1799; Oscar Smith Ewing, born November 26, 1801; William Black Ewing, born December 31, 1803.

This Alexander and his widow both died in Davidson County, Tennessee, to which they went shortly after the Revolution.  William B. Ewing administered on his mother's estate February 10, 1853.

The pension papers show that this Alexander Ewing was commissioned by Congress in March, 1779.  After the close of the Revolution the governor of Kentucky, pursuant to the law allowing lands to the soldiers of the continental line, issued to him grants for more than one thousand acres, December 21, 1798.  It is a family tradition that the land on which he made his home, and after him several of his lineal descendants each in turn, near Franklin, Tennessee, was obtained for Revolutionary service.

On the marriage page of the Bible record we find that William B. Ewing married Sarah B. Bryson, September 25, 1825.  She must have died after a few years, as the record also says that William B. Ewing and Martha Graves married March 21, 1838.  No other marriages are given.

The following names are on the birth pages and William B. Ewing's deposition in the pension papers shows that they are his children:

Mary Susan, born December 12, 1827; John A., born May 26, 1829; William J., January 21, 1832; Martha A. C., December 20, 1833; Sarah B., December 31, 1835.

Randall McGavoch Ewing died in California January 11, 1853, as is also shown in one of the pension documents.

The Alexander C. Ewing shown by the above quoted Bible record as having been born September 9, 1797, died, according to a descendant, about 1833.  I am of opinion that he married Chloe Russell Saunders, as we shall see presently.  His children were Hubbard Saunders Ewing and Sarah, who married Judge John M. Gault, for many years one of Nashville's most prominent lawyers.  She was born in July, 1826, and died in Nashville in August, 1912, in her eighty-seventh year.  She was a woman of ability; active in the United Daughters of the Confederacy, director of the Ladies Hermitage Association for eighteen years, she was ever alert in the interests of her community.  Mrs. William E. Carter of South Pittsburg, Tennessee, and Mrs. R. N. Richardson of Nashville, are among her descendants.  Mrs. Gault was "a remarkably beautiful woman, her mental graces being worthy of her personal charms," says The Review Appeal, of Tennessee, among other things in a lengthy notice of her death published August 29, 1913.

Hubbard Saunders Ewing was born in Franklin, Tennessee, 1830.  He died December 23, 1911.  The Review Appeal, of Franklin, on January 4, 1912, calling attention to his death at the home of his daughter, Susie Lee McGavoch, said:

Mr. Ewing came of an ancestry long prominent in Virginia and Tennessee.  He was the son of Alexander Ewing and was born on the estate near Franklin which had been bestowed on his grandfather, a Revolutionary soldier.  On March 10, 1859, he married Miss Sallie Martin Hughes, a woman of rare loveliness of disposition, and charm of manner. . . .  Mr. Ewing was a fine type of gentleman, courtly in bearing, kindly in nature and ever considerate of others.  His attachments were warm and enduring. . . .  He commanded the esteem of everybody and his memory will be always honored in the place of his long and honored life.

Writing to me November 5, 1911, Dr. Alexander H. Ewing, druggist, Franklin, Tennessee, says:

Alexander Ewing was an officer in the Revolutionary war and was from Virginia.  He was my great-grandfather.  He had, I think four sons; one of them was William B., and another was Alexander C., my great-grandfather.  My father, Herbert Saunders Ewing, still owns a portion of the tract of land entered by my great-grandfather in 1787."  In a later letter Dr. Ewing says that the four sons of his grandfather were Alexander C., his grandfather, William B., who was the father of the distinguished "Dr. Ewing of Nashville, brother-in-law of Judge J. W. Dickinson, late Secretary of War; Randall (his family now all dead), who went to California in 1849, and there died; and one other brother (of William B.), James, who went to Carmon County, Tennessee.  We know nothing of his family.

Dr. Ewing then says that his grandmother was a descendant of the Russell family of Virginia; and sent me a book, "William Russell and his Descendants," published in 1884 by Anna Russell des Cognets, which he accepts as disclosing information of his grandmother.

That work tells us that Alexander Ewing was at one time during the Revolution a member of General Green's staff; and that, late in life, he married Chloe Russell Saunders, the widow of a Methodist minister.  Unless there is lack of identity between Alexander of the Revolution, of Virginia birth, the Bible record of some of whose family was filed in the Pension Office by his son, above given, and the Revolutionary ancestor of A. H. Ewing, druggist, Franklin, Tennessee, which appears improbable, Chloe Russell Saunders married a son of the Revolutionary soldier.  Chloe was the daughter of Captain William Russell, distinguished in the early military frontier annals of Powell Valley and adjacent sections, who long resided on Clinch River in what is now Russell County, Virginia.  In that home Chloe was born in 1776; and there she married Saunders.  A brother of hers, a lad, and a son of Daniel Boone, lost their lives in the Indian attack upon the Russell-Boone party in Powell Valley near where I was born, en route on that ill-fated first effort to settle Kentucky in 1775.  Saunders and his wife moved to Tennessee and there he died in 1828, according to Cognets.  The affidavit of William B. Ewing, in the pension records, shows that the Lieutenant Alexander Ewing of the Revolution died April 9, 1822.  So, as he says, it was the grandmother, not the great-grandmother, of A. H. Ewing, druggist of Franklin, who was a Russell.  It will interest her descendants to recall that their earliest American Russell ancestor was one of the "Knights of the Golden Horse Shoe" who rode with Spottswood to discover the now famous Valley of the Shenandoah.

William Ewing's will, dated 1791, was probated in Wythe County, July 9, 1793.  It is witnessed by Samuel Ewing and others.  To his wife Janie he leaves half his home on Cripple Creek in Wythe County, Virginia.  There were no children.  To his brother John Ewing's son Alexander Ewing, he leaves the other half of the land.  To his sister, Margaret Porter's sons Robert and Samuel Porter, and to her daughter Rebecca Porter each he leaves a Negro.  To his sister Elinor Porter's grandson, Andrew Porter, there is left also a Negro.  To his brother John's son William he leaves a Negro and a tract of land lying on the Terrace containing 640 acres and also "a tract of land lying on the head of Cumberland if obtained."  (Wythe County Will Book No. 1, p. 22).

This instrument identifies a family composed of this William, a brother John, and two sisters, Margaret and Elinor Jane, (spelled in the record Jain).  The widow of this William deeded to Alexander some of the lands mentioned in William's will and which are further described as patented to William in 1782, and being the land in Wythe County on which he died.  (Deed Book 1, p. 40.)  This deed is witnessed by Robert Sims and others.  June 9, 1795, Alexander Ewing deeded to Porter Kinser part of the land formerly owned by his Uncle William, describing this land as being in Montgomery County at the date of the patent to it.  (Deed Book 1, p. 263)  These home lands of this William lay upon Cripple Creek and this Creek was largely in Montgomery before part of it was erected into Wythe.  George Ewing, the older, lived on this same stream at his death.  (Deed Book 4, p. 460); and my great-grandfather owned lands also in Montgomery not far away, and apparently was living on that land at death.  Great-grandfather John, George, Sr., and William were mature contemporaries.  George, Jr., Samuel, Alexander, the son of this John, William, my grandfather, also one of John's sons, were contemporaries of the younger generation.  My grandfather, in his earlier documents, used the junior after his name, as we have seen.  This meant that a near relation (and as his father's name was John, probably an uncle, bore a similar name.)  Except these two Williams I find no others of that section and of the day when grandfather identified himself as junior.

Alexander, grandfather's brother, and grandfather both acquired much valuable land here and there in southwest old Virginia.  Upon the face of all the available evidence, including the records, I reason that Great-uncle Alexander finally settled in Tennessee.  Alexander, the nephew of the elder William who died in Wythe in 1793, was in Tennessee in that year, 1793, and just a short time before his Uncle William's death they entered in an agreement, Alexander describing himself as of the County of Davidson (Deed Book No. 1, p. 327), North Carolina (a section of which shortly became Tennessee).  Under that agreement Alexander was to assist his uncle in business during the remainder of his life.  William was then evidently feeble.  He died in a short time after that document.

Now Alexander Ewing, who settled near what is now Franklin, Tennessee, was born in Virginia.  He served in the patriot army with the Montgomery County troops for some time.  He was of the same generation as grandfather and as the Alexander who was the nephew of William of Wythe.  I find no other Alexander who settled at that or an approximate day in that part of Tennessee.  Davison County, North Carolina, became Davidson County, Tennessee; and for many years it embraced Franklin, now the County seat of Williamson County, a short way nearly south of Nashville in the neighborhood of which the Virginia Ewings from Bedford and Wythe Counties settled.  I believe, therefore, that the evidence identifies Lieutenant Alexander Ewing later of Franklin, Tennessee, with Alexander the nephew of William who died in Wythe in 1793.  It is not improbable that this Alexander was the son of John, my great-grandfather, and so, my grandfather's brother.  If this is correct, then William who died in Wythe in 1793 and John who died in Montgomery, men of the same generation who owned extensive lands not far apart, were brothers and had two sisters who married Porters.

So far as the records appear to disclose there was but one other Alexander Ewing of Tennessee who was a soldier in the Revolution.  The pension records clearly distinguished the two.  Alexander Ewing, October 30, 1832, giving his age at about seventy, applied for a pension.  He states that he was born in Micklenburg County, North Carolina, "about 1762;" and that his records of service had been lost.  He served one year as a volunteer under General Green; was drafted for another year and served under General Ruth.  In his affidavit he says "my Robert has seen one if not both" of the discharges from the services.  This Alexander died April 20, 1843.

June 25, 1850, Sarah, showing that she was the widow of this Alexander, applied for the widow's pension.  She says her maiden name was Sarah Chappel, and that she and this Alexander Ewing were married in North Carolina September 24, 1791.  She was about eighty at the time of her application.  No children were born to her, she says, so that she must have been a second wife, since Alexander speaks of his son, Robert Ewing, in connection with his application.

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Page last updated 13 October 2008.
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