Donn C. Neal
......Leaving this matter unresolved as well, we turn to Samuel Blevins himself. During the 1770s and 1780s numerous Blevins families populated what is called the New River area in southwestern Virginia. At this time, the spread of settlers into this region led to the formation of new Virginia counties in rapid order. Finding Samuel Blevins here during his earlier years is made somewhat easier by the fact that he seems to have been the only Blevins male with that given name in Virginia at that time, as well as in Kentucky later on. Our guess is that Samuel was born around 1745. He first comes to our attention in 1777 and 1778, when a Samuel Blevins swore two loyalty oaths in Henry County, Virginia, where there was a sizeable colony of Blevins families. The next year, 1779, Samuel was a witness to a deed in that same county. These oaths indicated his switch of allegiance from King George III to the new state of Virginia and to the even newer United States that Virginia had helped to create.
In this connection, it is interesting to observe that in 1775 and 1776, the Fincastle (Virginia) Committee of Safety ? one of the proto-governmental groups that had sprung up in many of the American counties as the conflict with Britain reached a boil ? had taken notice of James and William Blevins, whom they probably suspected of disloyalty. Fincastle County then included a vast area just west of Henry County and Montgomery County. This James could have been our Samuel's father, as we shall see. There continue to be hints through the 1780s of the reluctance of certain Blevins men to support the American Revolution. In fact, despite his oaths in 1781 we find Samuel Blevins himself was enrolled as a private in Captain Thomas Hamilton's Loyalist Company in Hillsborough, North Carolina (not far south of Henry County, Virginia). Samuel is described as a deserter on this list, however, so his true allegiance at this time remains in doubt.
The next year, 1782, Samuel Blevins is on the tax list of Montgomery County, Virginia, the home of another colony of Blevins families. Also that year, the sheriff of Henry County took him into custody while his political views were investigated. Samuel must have been judged reliable now, for in 1783 he was listed among the members of Captain Flower Swift's militia unit in Montgomery County. Samuel "Blevin" later appears on a list of those who received certificates for pay due for service in the Continental forces. These certificates were issued during 1783-85 and were redeemed in 1790. Unfortunately, there is no unit listed for this man, who was owed $59.70. Neither is there any evidence in the National Archives that he was a member of any of the Continental forces, but to have been paid this amount he must have been deemed eligible for reasons we cannot determine. All this leaves us wondering whether Samuel was a British loyalist (as at least one brother was), an American patriot, an opportunist who took whatever side seemed most advantageous at the moment, a young man who could not make up his mind, or a man without convictions who bent to whichever faction was pressuring him to make a commitment. Also in 1785, Samuel Blevins was a witness in a court case in Henry County.
After the war ended, Samuel Blevins is on tax lists or the Virginia census in Henry County, Virginia, in 1785, in 1787, on May 28, 1788, and on October 23, 1789. The tax lists and other records for the Blevins males show that their properties were located on Chestnut Meadow Creek, Crooked Creek, and Grassy Creek, as well as on the Fox River. These tributaries were all in what is generally spoken of as the Mouth of Wilson area in the New River region. Most of this area was in Botetourt County until 1772, in Fincastle County until 1777, and then in Montgomery County until 1790. In that year the area would become the new Wythe County and in 1793 the even newer Grayson County.15 It is just above the border with extreme western North Carolina and close to extreme northeastern Tennessee, where some Blevins families are also known to have lived at about this time.16
Sometime after 1790, numerous Blevins males ? Samuel and his presumed son Lemuel among them ? would make the trip over the mountains to Lincoln County, Kentucky, which at that time formed the entire southeastern quadrant of the new state of Kentucky. It is possible that their route took them through areas now in northwestern North Carolina and northeastern Tennessee, but there is no firm evidence of this. By October 1792 Samuel had become a taxpayer in Lincoln County. He repeatedly appeared on the tax rolls first there and then in Pulaski County (formed from Lincoln County in 1801) from 1792 through 1809, when a four-year gap in the records begins, and then again in 1813. In 1809 and 1813 Samuel Blevins is described as being exempt from the tax levy, which is consistent with a Pulaski County court order dated May 26, 1806, that excused him from the county levy owing to his infirmity. During the years when he was taxed, Samuel was living variously on Hanging Fork, Cinch Creek, Dix River, and Brush or Brushy Creek.17
The absence of census records in 1800 for Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky prevents us from discovering exactly where Samuel Blevins was living in that year, but we presume he was residing somewhere in Pulaski County, Kentucky. Only in 1810 does he appear on the census, now in Lincoln County, Kentucky. Here he was enumerated as forty-five years old or older, and a female in his household was placed in that same age category. Sometime between then and 1814, Samuel and his sons (Lemuel excepted) evidently moved northwestward to Jefferson County, Kentucky: a Samuel Blevins shows up on the tax rolls in Middletown Township there in 1814 and continues to be listed through 1818 but not thereafter. We cannot tell whether the man taxed in these years was the older Samuel, who perhaps had not yet been able to get himself exempted in this county, or the younger Samuel, who became twenty-one years of age in 1814. My guess is that the younger man was the one being taxed and that by 1815 his father, also our Lemuel's father, was already living with young Samuel, as he appears to have been doing in 1820.
Why was neither Samuel taxed after 1818? As we have seen in an earlier chapter, Jefferson County's tax information is spotty for these years, which handicaps our ability to answer this question, but it is also possible the father's exemption was approved about 1818. A better explanation may be that neither Blevins lived in Jefferson County after then. We know a Samuel Blevins (father or son?) purchased a lot on Main Street in Floydsburg, in Oldham County, in 1818, and it seems likely that the older Samuel lived out his life there. The 1820 census we considered earlier in this chapter is our last glimpse of any kind of Samuel Blevins, and it seems almost certain that he died sometime during the 1820s. The confusion of the clerk when Lemuel died in 1829, as we have seen, suggests that he had recently encountered Samuel's name too. The fact that Samuel Blevins, Jr., sold the Floydsburg lot in late 1828 might also indicate that his father had recently died.18
14. It is also possible that the older Samuel Blevins had died in either Lincoln County or Pulaski County, Kentucky, before his sons moved to Jefferson County. If so, the older man in the household of Samuel Blevins on the 1820 census would have been someone else, for example the younger Samuel's father-in-law or even an employee in the family businesses. The 1820 census shows Samuel Blevins had two male slaves, also perhaps workers at the younger man's two businesses. The 1820 census, like the one ten years before, tells us only that the senior Samuel Blevins, if he was in fact the unnamed older man in this household, was born before 1775; the ages of his children indicate that he was probably born about 1745.
15. See the USGS map for Mouth of Wilson/North Carolina. In 1787, Samuel Blevins had two horses and four head of cattle.
16. One Blevins, relationship to Lemuel and Samuel (if any) unknown, is thought to have been the famous "long hunter" called William Blevins. Several of the Blevins males were long hunters, it appears. Long hunters ventured far, often alone, into the unknown western wilderness (principally what would become Kentucky) in search of game and pelts. They got their name for being absent for long periods of time, usually many months.
17. See slides 12952-56, taken in 2008, for these locations. Return to text
18. The estate of Samuel Blevins was inventoried by Jacob Shake, so evidently these two families had known one another well for years ? perhaps were neighbors, in fact ? before our David and Artemisia were married in 1825. There were actually two men named Samuel Blevins on the Lincoln County, Kentucky, census in 1810; they had slightly different family profiles, although the ages of Samuel and his wife are shown as the same in both listings. Blevins researchers seem to agree that Samuel was probably mistakenly recorded on two different sheets and that the second listing is the more accurate one. Two men named Samuel Blevins are on the Jefferson County tax rolls for 1819, but this may be an error of another sort. The Samuel Blevins who does appear on the Jefferson County tax rolls in most years after 1817 is on tax lists in Oldham County, Kentucky, instead during 1827 through 1829. This may help to confirm that Samuel Blevins, Jr., inherited his father's lot during the late 1820s.
- Re Lemuel Blevins in Jefferson County Ky, neighbor of John Collier/Colyear on 1820 census:
Lemuel Blevins b. ca. 1779 pbly in Henry Co, VA, married (2nd?) in 1806
> in Lincoln Co, KY Sina (or) Lina Taylor. By 1820, they had eight children,
> none of the names of which are known to me. Census shows:
> 1810 Garrand County, KY 1820 Jefferson County, KY
> Lemuel Blevins 26-44 Lemuel Blevins 26-44
> 1 female 16-25 1 female 26-44
> 1 male 16-25 1 male 10-15
> 1 male 10-15 1 female 10-15
> 1 male 0-9 1 male 0-9
> 1 female 0-9 3 females 0-9
> This Lemuel was on the 1800 and 1803 Lincoln Co, KY Tax List, and
> was on the 1805 and 1806 Pulaski Co, KY Tax List.
> One must wonder if the 1 male age 0-9 in 1820 might be your Seaton Alexander
> Blevins. This Lemuel Blevins may very likely be a son of Samuel Blevins and
> have been married prior to the 1806 KY marriage to Lina/Sina Taylor. Back in
> February there were some postings from Donn Neal - firstname.lastname@example.org who is
> a descendant of this Lemuel.
> Greenberry Blevins b. ca. 1770 is believed to be a brother of Lemuel, and he
> named a son born in 1809, Alexander Blevins. That Alexander moved to Lodi,
> CA, was married first to a Zumwalt and second Levina Vanderpool.
> Tarlton Blevins, born ca. 1798 in Va, possibly the son of Elisha and Rachel
> Blevins, married Sarah Walker, and they had a son Alexander, no info, but
> 1798 seems too late for Tarlton to be the father of your Seaton Alexander B.
> This Tarlton lived in VA, Wayne Co,KY, Henderson, TN, and Clinton, ILL.
> Elisha Blevins who was born ca. 1772, was in Wayne Co, KY in 1810, is
> reported to have first married Rebecca ????, and 2nd Polly Roberts. He is
> reported to have died on 21 Sep. 1831 in the Blackhawk War in Clinton Co,
> Ill, and Tarlton Blevins was appointed administrator. Records show that he
> moved to Ill in 1829. Note from a map that there is one county in between
> present day Clinton and Macoupin.
> I know I have seen something posted on the List re: Macoupin County, ILL
> Blevins family, but I can't find any record of it now.
> This won't help you, except maybe to point in a particular direction.
> Best of Luck
> Ron Blevins of West Point, VA