The Family of William Todd
Sometime prior to 1724, William Todd and John Todd appear
to have settled in NJ within travel distance of the Abington Presbyterian Church
William Todd had children baptized at the Abington
Presbyterian Church between 1723 and 1728 and then again 1736 to 1738. John Todd married there in 1724 and had
children baptized there in 1725 and 1726/7 and then in 1736. During this gap, a William and a John
have children baptized at First Presbyterian Church in
Todds arrived in
Almost all of the Todd
references in the colonial records of the
This essay describes what is known about William Todd and his family and the mysteries that have yet to be unraveled.
There is a William Todd and an Alice Todd (relationship to each other not stated) who appear at an early date on a membership list of the Abington Presbyterian Church in the portion of Philadelphia County PA that later became Montgomery County. Family historians that have claimed that this slate was from 1711 seem to be in error because the church was not founded until 1714. William and Alice may be husband and wife and William is almost certainly the father of all those children baptized in the church between 1723 and 1738 that are identified as children of William Todd.
mentioned above, William Todd has children baptized in
The children are:
Elizabeth Todd, baptized,
James Todd, baptized
..ry (presumed Mary),
Lydia Todd, baptized
William Todd, baptized
Samuel Todd, born ca 1739/40, not listed on church register, but known to be a son of William.
John Todd born ca 1746 (not proven but highly likely)
two children not on the baptismal registers warrant comment. Samuel Todd is not listed on the
Abington church register, but a court record in 1801 in Botetourt Co, VA
indicate that William had a son Samuel who remembered events in 1754 or 1756
which implies he was at least a teeenager by 1754. Also, there is a John Todd born prior to
1751 and probably in the 1740s who in 1772 sells land that William Todd bought
contemporary to William was the John Todd who married Judith Breden in
James Todd, 2 May 1725 at Abington
(The entry for Alexander Todd
If we are right in assuming that all four birth entries refer to the same John, then he must have remarried because his wife in 1729 was Jane.
records of land ownership have been found for William or John, but record
only other record we have for William is a letter left in the Philadelphia Post
Office in 1740 for William Todd of Whitemarsh which is a township in northern
However, there are records at the Janeway Store in Bound Brook, Somerset Co, NJ of a William and John Todd who appear frequently together on account ledgers for goods bought on credit between 1735 and 1744. Also on these ledgers are a Robert Todd, Andrew Todd and James Todd. All but John are identifed as brothers to each other though John is probably a brother also. All five of these Todds appear to have left the area and gone elsewhere before the Revolutionary era. The correspondence of ages and names and the fact that they didn’t stay in New Jersey seems too great to be a coincidence so that it seems likely that the four Todds: Wm, John, Robert and Andrew of the PA records are the same Todds as: Wm, John, Robert, Andrew and James of the Somerset County records.
This author believes that
the Todds of the Janeway Store records are the Todds of the Abington church
records. William’s cessation of baptizing his
children at Abington in 1738 may be due to switching to another church in
Further, we find that
William, John and Robert appears in
Descendants of one branch of
this family (probably James) appear to have stayed behind after their parents
died or moved away. David Todd
1731-1809 of Hunterdon Co., and his brother John Todd 1729-1802 of
analysis shows William Todd who went to Augusta Co., VA, Robert Todd who went to
Chester, then Philadelphia Co, Andrew Todd who went to Chester Co, then Bedford
Co, PA, then Louisa Co, VA and John Todd who went to Mecklenburg Co, NC to have
all shared an identical or very similar genetic pattern. Also, David Todd 1731-1809 and John Todd
1750, William Todd purchased 400 acres of land in the hilly country of
In 1756, James Todd, assumed here to be the son born 1726 of William, bought 185 acres of land from James Gilmore on Buffalo Creek near his father.
1758, William was a witness on the purchase of
1761, Low and William moved to land in different parts of
is not clear why William Todd and Low Todd made the move eastward to
have no record of what became of William Todd, Sr. There is no will, no estate settlement,
no court records in either Augusta or Bedford that give a clue. We can’t even be sure that the William
Todd who sold
All we know is that in October of 1770, 10 years after the purchase of the Turnip Creek land, William Todd “of Augusta County” (with John Todd as witness) sold 200 acres of this land and in 1772, John Todd and Mary Todd his wife sold the other half.
Since the land had been divided without deed, this suggests that William had died or left the area prior to 1770, and that the William who was selling the land was William Todd, Jr. b 1738. Since the land was divided equally between William and John, this suggests that they were brothers. The deed identifies William as William Todd of Botetourt, indicating he had moved back to the mountains.
1778, there is a William Todd and a John Todd on the tax lists of
However, there is considerable evidence (discussed elsewhere) that this John Todd is the John Todd (ca1746-1829) who shows up in Kentucky from Virginia by 1781 and was associated with the McMurtrys (John McMurtry’s wife was a granddaughter of William Todd Sr.) This John Todd moved to Lincoln Co., Tennessee 1814/1817and died there in 1829. His birth date of 1746 reportedly comes from a tombstone.
During this era, other moves
of related families – McMurtrys, Huttons, McKees, Lowrys - were taking
place. In 1753, Lydia Todd married
James McKee. In 1759, John McMurtry
(who later married Mary Todd Hutton) and his teenage brother Samuel bought land
on Whistle Creek in 1759. Samuel
McMurtry married Jane Martin in 1762 and moved to Abbeville South
The following chart shows the descendants of William Todd:
William Todd B ca 1690-1700 =>Philadelphia Co prior to 1723 =>Augusta Co 1750 =>Bedford Co 1760 md Alice LNU (possibly
B ca 1690-1700
=>Philadelphia Co prior to 1723
=>Augusta Co 1750 =>Bedford Co 1760
md Alice LNU (possibly Lowe)
Low b1723 PA d1792 TN Eliz. John b 1746? d 1829 Lincoln Co TN Samuel
b 1739 ? d 1812 md abt 1761 Jean
Lowery Wm 1738 Hannah 1731 possibly md ca 1755 James
McMurtry 1734 Sarah
1729/30 d 1795
TN md John
Houston Mary 1728 md Sam’l Hutton d KY James b1726 m1743? d
1789 Susanna Lydia b 1736 d 1811 KY md James McKee 1726 1778
Lincoln Co TN
b 1739 ?
md abt 1761
d 1795 TN
d 1811 KY
have not included the Nancy Todd who reportedly married James McMurtry of
Bedford County, VA ca 1750, nor the Isabella Todd who reportedly married Patrick
Young in the 1740s?, nor the Esther Todd who reportedly married John
Taylor. I have also not included
Sarah Todd b ca 1718 who reportedly married Alexander McMurtry. Further research is needed to determine
if these women were Todds and if they were related to the
Todd, oldest son of William Todd, was baptized in Abington Presbyterian Church
in 1723. He came with his father to
Later in 1787, as he was
preparing to move to
November 1792, he left a will in
Low’s eldest children’s birth dates are inferred to be in the early 1750s based on birth years of his grandchildren and land purchases by his son Low, Jr, though some of the children may have been born in the 1770s and hence presumably by a second wife.
Low Todd, Jr.
survey of 1775, he obtained 122 acres on the north side of the
Samuel Todd married Ann Harrison in
John Todd is disinherited by the will of his father Low Todd in TN in 1792. We are uncertain as to the fate of this John Todd. However, there was a John Todd in a court case in 1794 and 1795 in Knox Co TN (where Samuel and James eventually settled). This John disappeared, but may be the John B. Todd born in the 1770s in VA who went to NC and had a family between 1800 and 1809, then came to Lincoln Co TN by 1820 and the Shelby Co TN by 1840 and died in Shelby Co in 1851.
the purposes of this discussion, we will assume that there is only one James
Todd of fathering age in
James Todd was baptized in 1726 at
James Todd is listed in the court docket as suing Robert McAlpin ca 1777 and suing John Poage and Jane Buchanan in 1777.
1789, a James Todd dies intestate in
The only record of James having children is a reference in 1758 to Samuel Davis suing James Todd for failing to completely pay the dowry for Samuel’s marriage to Hannah Todd, daughter of James Todd. If this James were the son of William Todd, then James would have had to have married by the age of 17 and had a daughter who married by the age of 14. This does not seem likely but there doesn’t seem to be any other confirming records of an older James Todd in the area. So this remains a puzzle.
(Note: There is
a James Todd who serves in Capt William Nalle’s company of volunteers from
Mary Todd appears to have
been baptized at
According to the family
tradition reported by Myra McMurtry, Mary Todd was the mother of Mary
Hutton. Research in
Mary Hutton was born ca
1752, married John McMurtry ca 1770 and went with him to
Sarah was baptized at First
Presbyterian 1729/30. Family
tradition reports that she married John Houston in
Their children were: William 1750-1824, James b 1754 md Elizabeth Weir, Matthew d 1847 md Martha Lyle, Samuel 1758-1839 md __ Hall, Alice, Margaret, Esther, Robert.
Margaret Houston married Alexander McKuen/McEwen and had Robert Houston McEwen and Ebenezer McEwen. These McEwens were mentioned in the will of John Todd d 1829 Lincoln Co., TN as being “relatives” of John Todd 1746-1829
Hannah Todd was baptized at
First Presbyterian in 1732. We have
no records of her. However, some
historians have thought that she was the Hannah Todd who reportedly married
James McMurtry in
(Others have noticed she is the right age to be the Hannah who married Samuel Davies in 1758, but the court record involving the suit to collect his dowry indicates clearly that James Todd was this Hannah’s father, not William Todd.)
Alice Todd was baptized at First Presbyterian in 1734. Some have claimed she was the wife of James Hutton, but this is based mostly on trying to match the Todds and Huttons. James Hutton’s wife was listed as Ally Hutton in the 1765 land sale.
Lydia Todd was baptized at
Abington in 1736, the first child baptized there since 1728. She married James McKee who lived over
on Kerr’s Creek to the north of Whistle Creek. She appears to have married him prior to
1753 when their first child Alice McKee was born. In 1758, her father was a witness to a
land purchase by James McKee. They
remained behind when William Todd moved to
Their children were: (1) Alice b: 1753 md William McQuiddy (2) William, (3) Samuel Todd b 1764, md 1791 Betsey Lowry, (4) John, md 1795 Mary Ann Kinkead (5) Robert Todd b 1766, md 1791 Mary Todd, daughter of John Todd (6) Martha, (7) Mary (Polly) b: 1774 md 1795 James McMurtry (son of Capt. John McMurtry).
This is the family that we believe is the origin of the story about the three Todd daughters of William Todd marrying a McMurtry, McQuiddy and a McKee. Here we have a slight twist – we have three daughters of Lydia Todd – one marrying a McMurtry, one marrying a McQuiddy and one remaining a McKee. This Todd-McMurtry-McQuiddy-McKee story appears to have gotten laid back on the previous generation by asserting William McQuiddy’s mother was a Todd whereas it was his wife Alice McKee whose mother was a Todd.
William Todd was baptized in
do know that a William Todd purchased 400 acres of land in
way to interpret all this is that William Todd Sr didn’t die in
Another way to interpret
this is that William Sr moved to
Both of these conjectures are possible. It will take finding the will or estate record of these William Todds to sort this out.
Samuel Todd is the youngest child of William Todd, Sr. The traditions concerning this Samuel are described more fully in a companion essay, “Correcting the Samuel Todd Traditions”.
Samuel was probably born
after 1738 based on the fact that we know he is a child of William but he didn’t
appear on the baptismal registers in
In 1767, he was appointed guardian to Sarah, James, Jannet and Elizabeth Young, orphans of Patrick Young. This appointment caused some historians, assuming a sibling relationship of the guardian to the widow, to conclude that Patrick Young’s wife Isabella was a Todd and the sister of Samuel. In 1770, guardianship was transferred to John McMurtry who was both step-brother of Patrick Young and nephew-in-law of Samuel Todd.
Samuel Todd, “son of William”, made a deposition in a court case in 1801 in Botetourt that said that in 1754-56, Tobias Burk came to his father’s house. By this single entry, we know that almost all of the references in the legal records of the area pertain to this one Samuel.
He was a successful landowner and public official. In 1761, he purchased his father’s land on Buffalo Creek. In 1762, he purchased 200 acres of land on Whistle Creek next door to the McMurtrys and near to James Young’s mill. In 1765, he sold the Buffalo Creek land. In 1768, he received permission to build a mill on his Whistle Creek land. In 1771, he bought an additional 126 acres on Whistle Creek.
continued to acquire and sell land.
In 1785, he purchased 45 acres of Pond Bottom on the south side of the
1807, he left
Samuel married Jane
Lowery/Lowry ca 1761 and they had their first child, Jane Todd 1763. Mrs. Clementine Railey, a descendant of
this daughter, has left us a nearly complete listing of the children of Samuel
and Jane, though she does not indicate her sources. Their other children were James born
1768-1773, John b early 1770s, Samuel born 1772 or 1778,
James appears in Botetourt Co. Tax records in 1787 and in the 1810 census for Clay Co., KY. He married Polly Lowry in Mercer Co in 1804 and was reported to have inherited the family bible. He died between 1810 and 1820 apparently without issue and his widow continued to live in Clay Co until her death.
Jane married Thomas Crawford
in 1794 and later went to Green Co., KY and then to
John married Sarah Sterrett
in 1800 and secondly to Anne Hubbard (
Samuel was born in 1772
according to census records and in 1778 according to family correspondence. He married first Charity Dabney,
possibly in 1807, in
Sarah Todd married in 1794 in Rockbridge
Co. to John Todd, son of Rev. John Todd of Louisa Co., VA. They later came to KY and then to
Hannah married David Ewing who died
within 4 years. She then married
Mr. Minatt and moved to
Polly married Evan Francis
and lived in Bourbon Co., KY and had children, including Samuel Francis, John
L/Lowry Francis and Lydia J Francis (later Hawkins). According to a Francis family
researcher, Polly died in an explosion.
In 1810, Polly’s father deeded land in
John Todd is assumed to be a
son of William Todd because he (with wife Mary) sold half of his father’s
When he came to Lincoln Co,
his great-nephew Ebenezer McEwen had already settled in
This concludes the discussion of the family of William Todd.