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The Butcher Collection:

The Wife (Wives) of John Kittrell
by Jonathan B. Butcher*

“Here is report that Jonathan Butcher did for me trying to find the names of John Kittrell's wife or wives. Ella May stated his first wife was Susan Bell. His wife's name at this death was Sarah ______. The reason I am posting this is because of the names given by Mr. Butcher living in the same area.”

— William B. (Bill) Kittrell, April 2005.

Investigation was desired regarding the identity of the wife or wives of John Kittrell of Pitt Co. Unfortunately, I have been unable to succeed in this quest, apparently due to the loss of most Pitt Co. records. What we do have for Pitt is primarily the deed records, and it appears that John's wife did not inherit land in Pitt. There are various likely explanations for this. First it may well be that her father left a will, and did not leave land to her. We must further realize that until 1804 daughters did not share in the division of an intestate father's lands. Finally, the wife's father could well have left Pitt and died somewhere else which would open a possibility of finding proof, if only we could determine the location. We can however establish some potential clues to the identity of John's wife or wives, and also eliminate some families.

We also note that the Kittrells lived not far from the Greene Co. line, and it is quite possible that John's wife came from there. Unfortuately, almost no records survive from Greene Co. for this period.

It was suggested that John may have been twice married, and this seems quite possible, although not certain. If we had more information on the dates of birth of John's children we might gain some additional insight on this matter. We do know that John was apparently born in the 1760's, probably ca 1765, and married in the 1780's. 1790 census of Pitt lists him with 1 white male over 16, 2 males under 16, 1 white female and 3 slaves. On the 1800 census we find (p.286) listed as John Kitrelin, with 1 white male under 10, 1 aged 10-16, and 1 male aged 26-45 and 1 white female age 26-45 and 7 slaves. Thus John would appear to have had only one child born between 1790 and 1800 which makes it seem likely that he may have married for a second time shortly before the 1800 census. We know that John's widow was named Sarah and she received her dower in John's land on 10 Feb 1818 (AAp247).

The 1820 census of Pitt (p553) lists Sary Kiterlin in Capt. Noah Tison's dist. with a household consisting of 1 white male under 10, 2 aged 10-16, 1 aged 18-26 and 1 white female over 45. Sarah herself did not make any deed in Pitt Co. In your letter you note "I have been told his first wife's name may have been Hawkins. I know there was a Benjamin Hawkins living close to him. Also his second wife may have been a Bell". Bralom Bell had property in the same general area. I have not been able to find any evidence to support these ideas, and the names in these families do not seem to be repeated in the next generation of Kittrells. Neither Benjamin Hawkins nor any other Hawkins appear in the Pitt deeds in this time period. "Bralom Bell appears otherwise as Balaam Bell. The deeds identify at least some of his heirs: In August 1802 William Turnage of Greene Co. made a gift to his daughter Penelope Bell of Pitt, widow of Balaam Bell, and her children Mary Bell, Susan Bell and Bill Bell. No direct association between the Kittrells and Bells was found.

We might hope that some clues to the identity of John's wives’ families would come from the names of his children. Division of John Kittrell's land was made by order of Court of Feb 1818 returned in May 1818 (AAp279), showing that his children were Susannah Langley, Noah Kittrell, Jethro Kittrell, Standly Kittrell, Polly, deceased wife of Joshua Nobles, Allen Kittrell, John Kittrell and Jonathan Kittrell. (Note that Jonathan's name is omitted from the published abstract) Of these names, Jethro, John and Jonathan are obviously derived from the Kittrell family. This leaves the names of Noah, Standly and Allen as providing possible clues.

Of John's daughters, I will note that the deeds show that Susannah's husband was Nathaniel Langley. Joshua Nobles (ca 1774/75-1838 died leaving a will, now lost, but later estate papers show that his sons were Thomas, Wright, Charles and Stephen...some of whom may have been by a different wife. Now let us review the evidence from the deeds. If John's wife was from the same neighborhood, we might expect that some of her relatives would appear in some connection with John in the deeds.We find the following:

[Note: Key to deed references, read Deedbook O (not zero), p. 113. (etc.)]

(Op113): John now appears to first appear in the deeds in 1779, although this has not previously been noted because the deed was not recorded until January 1798. In this deed we find that on 23 Nov. 1779 William Taylor sold for 125 pds to John Kittrell 100 acres on west side of Little Contentney Creek (witnessed by Alexander Parker). Now, if our estimate of John's age was correct he would only be about 14 at this time. My impression is that this deed was made just after Jethro Kittrell's death, and that the deed was thus made to John as his heir. (one did not have to be of age to purchase land, only to sell land.) In any case, this deed would seem to have been made several years before John' marriage, in which case it tells us nothing regarding his possible wife.

(Lp357): 1 Sept 1786, John Kittrell to Daniel Demsey Morse, 100 acres in Pitt and Craven Co. Witness: John Dew, William Rountree.

(Lp194) 1 Sept. 1786, Daniel Dempsey Morse for 100 pds. to John Kittrell, 250 acres joining John Frizzle. Witness: John Dew, William Rountree.

(Mp104): 27 August 1788 Joshua Hardison for 100 pds to John Kittrell 100 acres on Sandy Run and east side of Little Contentney. Witness: John Vinson, Thomas Ringgold.

(Mp110): 27 October 1788 John Kittrell, John Vinson and John Surman bond to Joshua Hardison. This deed was summarized in full in the first report on the family, and concerns the disputed ownership of the land conveyed by Joshua Hardison to Jethro Kittrell. As noted previously, it seems likely that John Vinson (not Pinson) was John stepfather. (WBK Note: It would appear that John Vinson did indeed marry Priscella Harrell Kittrell, widow of Jethro Kittrell. I have seen where a John Vinson was pastor at Red Banks Church. It also said that his wife would not stay with him. Also that John Vinson killed himself. I have no proof of this just notes of others)

(Mp386): 1 May 1789 John Kittrell and Daniel D. Moss to John Powell 250 acres granted to Moss in 1782. This was evidently the same land referred to in Lp194. Witness were Thomas Ringgold, John Jackson and Joshua Hardison.

(Mp218): 16 November 1789 Robert Calef for 120 pds to John Kittrel, Negro Jemima. Witness: Richard Moye

(Mp582) 30 January 1790 Edmond Smith for 10 pds to Jno. Kittrel 23 acres east side of Little Contentnea joining own line. Witness: Joseph (X) Smith, Jesse (X) Smith.

(Mp595): 2 February 1792, Jno. Moye of Greenville for 80 pds to John Kittrell, 250 acres on north side of Little Contentney, joing Paul Dail, Daniel Markand, John Braxton and Jas. Hancock, with obligation to deed 100 acres of the tract to Hardee Hancock. Wiitness: Joel Moye, Jethro Clark.

(Np244): 17 August 1793 John Kittrell witnesses deed from John Vinson to John Powell.

(Np250): 28 October 1793 John Kittrel for 25 pds to Hardee Hancock, 100 acres on Piney Branch joining John Moye, Paul Dail, Reading Wison, Richard White. Witness: Jno. Moye, Wm. Moye. This was evidently made in accordance with the obligation in Mp595.

(Np314): 13 July 1796 Wright (X) Tucker for 75 pds to John Kittrell, negro boy Luke. Witness: Jo. Scurlock, Starkey Bell.

(Op44): 24 April 1797 John Kittrell witnesses deed from John H. Simpson to John Frezzel

(Op63): 25 April 1797 Jeremiah Wingate for 150 pds to John Kittrell, negro George. Witness: James Browning

(Op91): 29 June 1799 Joseph Jackson for 15 pds to John Kittrell, negro Lettis. Witness: Jesse Rountree

(Op214): 15 November 1797 Levi Sirmon for 75 pds to John Kittrell 110 acres formerly owned by Daniel O'Quin joining Francis Rountree and Kittrell on north side of Sandy Run of Contertnea Creek Witness: Ele Sirmon

(Pp444): 28 November 1803 John Kittrell witnesses deed from Robert Whetherington of Craven Co. to Robert Wheterington, Jr.

(Qp67): 11 February 1805 John Kittrell witnesses deed from Elizabeth Olds to John Frizzle.

(Qp198): 13 December 1805 Britton Bryant of Southampton Co., Va. to John Kittrell $280 for negro boy Mike Witness: Hardee Hancock.

This provides us with a large number of names to consider. However some of them can be eliminated, at least as relatives of John's second wife. The allotment of dower in John's land to his widow Sarah on 10 February 1818 (AAp247) contains a list of the jurors who laid off the land who were typically neighbors but required to be unconnected by consaguinity or affinity. These men who were thus not close relatives of Sarah, are listed as Archibald Adams, William Moy, Lazarus (X) Brewer, John Braxton, H. Johnston, Allen Blount, William Baldree, A. Withrington, S. T. Griffin, Jno. Frizzle, Ben Joiner and Joab Smith.

The names mentioned in the deeds, but not eliminated by this list are:


Starkey Bell
John Braxton
Jas. Browning
Britton Bryant (of Southampton Co., Va.)
Robert Calef (Southampton Co., Va.)
Jethro Clark
Paul Dail
John Dew
Hardee Hancock
Joshua Hardison
John Jackson
Joseph Jackson
Daniel Markland
Daniel D. Morse or
Joel Moye
John Moye
Richard Moye
Elizabeth Olds
Daniel O'Quinn
John Powell
Thos. Ringgold
Francis Rountree
Jesse Rountree
William Rountree
Jo. Scurlock
John H. Simpson
Eli Sirmon
John Sirmon
Levi Sirmon
Edward Smith
Jesse Smith
Joseph Smith
Wright Tucker
Moss John Vinson
Richard White
Reading Wilson
Jeremiah Wingate

Now, not much of any pattern is revealed in the above list of names. Further, no instances of the non-Kittrell names in the family (Noah, Stanley and Allen were found.

Interestingly, all these names are found in the Tyson family. That is, we find a Noah Tyson (12 September 1757-13 January 1805), son of Moses Tyson (12 June 1728-15 May 1803), and also an Allen Tyson (ca 1766-ca 1820), son of Abraham Tyson (ca 1725-ca 1775). However, the recentpublished and very thorough The Tyson and May Genealogy of Pitt Co. shows no known Kittrell connection in the family.

The names Noah, Allen and Stanley also are all found in the various Smith famiies in Pitt. However we have also not found a Kittrell connection in the Smith family.


* The late Jonathan Butcher was a highly respected professional genealogist in North Carolina through the 1980s. Members of the PCFR who have benefitted from his research are offering their various reports for public view. The PCFR wishes to honor Mr. Butcher, and to extend gratitude to the generous contributors.


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