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The Family of William Todd


Somerset and Hunterdon Counties, NJ;

 Philadelphia County, PA, and

Augusta and Bedford Co. VA

May 2003; revised August 2004; rev May 2005; rev October 2005; Apr 2007




Sometime prior to 1724, William Todd and John Todd appear to have settled in NJ within travel distance of the Abington Presbyterian Church in northern Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.  By 1735, William and John and brothers Robert, Andrew and James and an unnamed sister were in northern Somerset County, NJ.  By the mid- to late-1740s, William, John and Robert were in Bethlehem Township, Hunterdon County.  By 1750, William had migrated to Augusta County, Virginia; by 1760, Robert had gone to Philadelphia County, PA and Andrew had gone to Chester County, PA; by 1764; John seems to have gone to Sussex County, NJ.  One of the brothers seems to have left two sons behind: David Todd 1731-1809 who lived in Hunterdon Co. and John Todd 1729-1802 who lived in Somerset County.


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 Philadelphia and this may be the same William and John of Abington Church. The descendants of John have not been traced, but William migrated to Augusta County, Virginia around 1750.  William’s descendants eventually moved on to Kentucky and Tennessee.


The Todds arrived in Augusta County about the same time as the McMurtrys and the Huttons.  It is fairly certain that a McMurtry married a Hutton and a Hutton married a Todd.  Family historians have asserted various connections between these three families.  Some of these traditions have been proven accurate, others incorrect and others remain as unproven possibilities.


Almost all of the Todd references in the colonial records of the Augusta County area appear to refer to William Todd and his descendants.  The exceptions are a reference in 1758 to a James Todd whose identity is a puzzle and a reference in 1778 to a James Todd in Mechlenburg, NC.


This essay describes what is known about William Todd and his family and the mysteries that have yet to be unraveled.


Early History


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. 


As mentioned above, William Todd has children baptized in Abington Church in the 1720s and late 1730s and there is a William Todd who had children baptized in First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia during the eight year gap of Todd births in the Abington registers.  It is assumed that these are all children of the same William.  One of the baptisms in First Presbyterian mentions William and Alice Todd as parents and hence we assume that Alice is the mother of at least some, if not all, of these children and probably the Alice mentioned in the early church membership list of Abington Pres. Church. 


The children are:


Low Todd, baptized 21 April 1723 at Abington

Elizabeth Todd, baptized, 31 Jan 1724/1725 at Abington

James Todd, baptized 7 Dec 1726 at Abington

..ry (presumed Mary), baptized 21 Apr 1728 at Abington


Sarah, baptized 15 Dec 1729/30, at First Presbyterian,

Hannah, baptized 19 March 1731/2 at First Presbyterian, daughter of William and Alice

Alice, baptized 25 Mar 1734 at First Presbyterian


Lydia Todd, baptized 11 Jul 1736 at Abington

William Todd, baptized 26 Nov 1738 at Abington


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)


The 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 in Bedford County VA in 1760.  This John is probably the son of William Todd (though there is a slight chance he was a grandson).   This John is assumed to be the John who appears also in Rockbridge Co in 1778 and in Lincoln Co KY in 1781 and who dies in Lincoln Co, TN in 1829.  There are speculative family traditions of a Nancy, Isabella and Esther Todd as being children of William, but we have no evidence other than the family tradition to support this.


            JOHN TODD


A contemporary to William was the John Todd who married Judith Breden in 28 March 1724 at Abington.  Their children were:


James Todd, 2 May 1725 at Abington

Elizabeth Todd, 29 Jan 1726/27 at Abington

Mary Todd, 7 Dec 1729 at First Presbyterian to John and Jane

Alexander Todd,  2 Oct 1736, at Abington


 (The entry for Alexander Todd 2 Oct 1736 is ambiguous.  There is a blank where the name of the son should have been; sometimes blanks in these records implies a “ditto” of the name.  In this case, the name above the “ditto” was Alexander.  However, on one version of the register, someone in a different handwriting has written in “John” as the son’s name.)


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. 


No records of land ownership have been found for William or John, but record indexes for Philadelphia County on microfilm were almost illegible.  Originals in Philadelphia need to be inspected.


The 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 Philadelphia County, somewhat south of Abington.  Perhaps William had left the area by then.


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 New Jersey, rather than moving residence.  We have no record of William in Augusta Co, VA until 1750 and no record of any land acquisition in PA.  So a New Jersey residence warrants further research.


Further, we find that William, John and Robert appears in Bethlehem Township, Hunterdon County, NJ between 1738 and 1757:  William in 1745/46; Robert in 1753-1755; John in 1738, 1743, 1748, 1757.


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 Somerset County lived their lives in New Jersey. 


DNA 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 1729-1802 in New Jersey shared a similar DNA pattern.


Life in Augusta County


In 1750, William Todd purchased 400 acres of land in the hilly country of Augusta County, Virginia on Buffalo Creek, a tributary of the James River, southwest of the present town of Lexington.  The same year a Low Todd bought 251 acres on Whistle Creek, just over the ridge from Buffalo Creek.  We assume this is the same William who had lived in Philadelphia County because that William had a son Low Todd b 1723 who would have been 27 years old in 1750 and hence the right age to be buying land.  Also,  “Low” is such an unusual name.


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.


In 1758, William was a witness on the purchase of land of James McKee several miles away.  Presumably he went to this trouble because this James McKee may have been the James McKee who was his son-in-law.


By 1761, Low and William moved to land in different parts of Bedford County, but sons Samuel and James and some of William’s daughters remained in Augusta County.


It is not clear why William Todd and Low Todd made the move eastward to Bedford County.  Whether this move had anything to do with Indian disturbances of the French and Indian War, we do not know.  In June of 1760, William purchased 400 acres on both sides of a Great Branch of Turnip Creek in Bedford County.  In 1761, William Todd “of Bedford County” sold his 400 acres on Buffalo Creek to Samuel Todd (his son).


We 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 Augusta County land in 1761 was William Todd Sr or William Todd Jr.  It may be that William left the area with a married daughter and died in another county (or other state) sometime after 1760.


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.


In 1778, there is a William Todd and a John Todd on the tax lists of Rockbridge County (which was created in 1778 from land that was once in Augusta County).  The William “of Augusta” referred to in the 1770 sale might be the William Todd in the 1778 tax records.  Perhaps the John of the Rockbridge County tax lists was the John of the 1772 sale.  John and William do not appear on tax lists in the 1780s in the area.  We have no further record of this William and John Todd in the area.


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 Carolina about 1765.   James Hutton (who married Ally/Alice LNU -perhaps Todd) and Samuel Hutton (who married Mary Todd) began their families at this time.  In 1765, James and Ally Hutton sold their 84 acres on Buffalo Creek.  This James Hutton may be the James Hutton who bought land in 1768 in Abbeville not far from where Samuel McMurtry settled. 


Children of William Todd


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 Lowe)
















b 1746?

d 1829

Lincoln Co TN



b 1739 ?

d 1812

md abt 1761

Jean Lowery







possibly md

ca 1755

James McMurtry






b 1729/30

d 1795 TN


John Houston







d KY





d 1789




b 1736

d 1811 KY






  |  |  |      |      |       |       |      |        |       |       |                                                                              |    |














I 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 Augusta County William Todd. 


Low Todd


Low Todd, oldest son of William Todd, was baptized in Abington Presbyterian Church in 1723.  He came with his father to Augusta County and purchased land there on Whistle Creek in 1750.  He seems to have married and begun his family during the 1750s.  Then, sometime before 1760, he moved to Bedford County.  In 1767, he obtained a grant for 400 acres of Dogg Creek in Halifax County to the south of Bedford County.  In 1787, he resurveyed the 400 acres of the 1767 survey and indicated it was then in Campbell County.


Later in 1787, as he was preparing to move to Tennessee, he appointed an attorney to sell 288 acres of this land on both sides of Dog Creek.  By early 1788, he had moved to Tennessee and he sold the remaining 100 acres of Dog Creek land.  In 1788, he obtained a grant for land on the south side of the Nollichucky River in the portion of Greene County which became Jefferson Co in 1792 and Cocke Co in 1797.


In November 1792, he left a will in Jefferson County, TN.  His wife was Elizabeth and his children were:  Low Todd, Jr., Samuel, Mary, Agnes Davis, James, John, Jenny Harrison, and Elizabeth Blackstone.  He gave one shilling to prevent claims on the estate from his sons James, John and daughters Jenny Harrison and Elizabeth Blackstone. He also left 20 pounds in land to Young Low Blackstone (presumably his grandson). 


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.


By survey of 1775, he obtained 122 acres on the north side of the Stanton River in Bedford County.  In 1796, he appointed an attorney in Campbell County to recover money owed to his father’s estate and to sell his own land on the Staunton River.  He marries in 1797 to Delia Edwards and appears in Knox County court records in 1810 as a security for James Todd.  Low Todd’s children include:  (1) Dandridge--married to Wm McKinney Oct. 4, 1814 then marries Alexander Hill Feb. 10, 1819, (2) Nancy Todd--married to Henry Giger, (3)  Samuel Edwards Todd,  (4) Susannah Todd-married Benjamin Giger, (5) William T. Todd-married Jane Hogan, (6) Joseph Y. Todd--married Susan Harrison Aug. 27, 1837 (Livingston Co. MO), (7) Elizabeth Todd--married to a Cooper, (8) Polly Todd-married a Cox, (9) Deliah Todd.  Descendants of the Livingston Co, MO Todds had DNA that exactly matched a descendant of Samuel Todd 1739-1813.


            Samuel Todd


Samuel Todd  married Ann Harrison in Jefferson County in 1803.  He bought land in Knox Co in 1807 and 1814 on the south side of the Holston River, and in 1815 bought an additional 300 acres; he got his own land grants in Jefferson in 1825 and 1826 and sold his Jefferson Co land in 1829.  He appears in numerous court cases in Knox Co.  In 1830, he was living alone age 50-60 (born 1770-1780).  He divorced his wife Diana in 1831, sold her in trust a tract on the south side of the Holston in 1832, and died in 1836.  Had no known male issue, but had a daughter or daughters.


            James Todd


James got a grant in Greene County in 1792 for 600 acres, on the south side of the Nollichucky (just like his father), and sold 200 acres of it in 1794/1795 while the land still lay in Jefferson County.  While living in Knox County in 1806, he sold his rights to other land in Jefferson Co and the deed was witnessed by Low Todd.  He may be the James who married Elizabeth Taylor in Jefferson Co in 1813 and later appears in Knox Co as late as 1816.  Fate unknown.


            Elizabeth Blackstone


Elizabeth’s son Young Low Blackstone appears in the 1830 census for Sumner County, TN as being over 45, hence born prior to 1775 with a wife age 26-45, hence he was probably born 1774. 


John Todd


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.


James Todd


For the purposes of this discussion, we will assume that there is only one James Todd of fathering age in Augusta County in the 1750s. 


James Todd was baptized in 1726 at Abington Church and came with his father to Augusta County in 1750.  In 1753, he is listed as responsible among others for keeping the road from Joseph Long's Mill to James Young's Mill.  In 1756, he purchased 185 acres of land from James Gilmore on Buffalo Creek where his father was living.  In 1761, he sold the Buffalo Creek land James Todd to Joseph McBride under the condition that “Joseph shall not enter into possession during natural life of said James and his wife Susanna Todd, but James and Susanna to have full possession during their natural lives, and after their decease, then Joseph to enter.”  In 1768, he reconfirms the sale but makes no mention of Susanna.  In Feb 1770, James Todd bought the same land back from Joseph McBride and turns around and sells it in Sept to Edwin Erwin.  In 1772, the Erwins sell James Todd 152 acres on Buffalo Creek.   In 1778, James and his wife Susanna Todd sold Robert McCapin the 152 acres on Buffalo Creek.  He later enters a suit against Robert.  He was then landless and presumed to have gone to live on his brother Samuel’s land.  He continues to appear on the tax lists of Rockbridge County between 1782 and 1788.


James Todd is listed in the court docket as suing Robert McAlpin ca 1777 and suing John Poage and Jane Buchanan in 1777.


In 1789, a James Todd dies intestate in Rockbridge County and this coincides with Samuel Todd selling some land on Whistle Creek.  It is assumed that this is the James Todd who has lived in the area since 1750.


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 Augusta County, 10 Sept 1774, in the campaign to Point Pleasant.  This is also listed in a history of Rockingham County.)

Mary Todd


Mary Todd appears to have been baptized at Abington Church on 21 Apr 1728.  The microfilm copy is not clear except for the last letter “y” and a possible “ry” ending.  One family historian inspecting the microfilm thought the name was Mary.   We will assume that this is a correct reading of the entry. 


According to the family tradition reported by Myra McMurtry, Mary Todd was the mother of Mary Hutton.  Research in Kentucky records shows that Mary Hutton’s father was Samuel Hutton.


Mary Hutton was born ca 1752, married John McMurtry ca 1770 and went with him to Kentucky in 1780.  Her father Samuel Hutton went to KY about the same time and settled in the portion of Mercer that later became Franklin County.  Other children to Samuel and Mary Hutton were Samuel Hutton, Jr, md 1793 Jane Baker, James Hutton b 1760 m 1791 Hannah Woods, Joseph Hutton, Henry Hutton md 1784 Hannah LNU, Hesther md 1794 Timothy Mayhall, and possibly a William Hutton who remained in Rockbridge County.

Sarah Todd


Sarah was baptized at First Presbyterian 1729/30.  Family tradition reports that she married John Houston in Augusta County.  They later went to Tennessee where she died in 1795 and he reportedly went on to Kentucky where John died.


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


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 Bedford County (ca 1755 assuming her eldest son with James who died 1777 was born 1756). 

(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


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


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 Bedford County.  Their children were reportedly born between 1753 and 1774, a 21 year period.  James McKee died in 1778 in Rockbridge County, VA and Lydia went with her children to Kentucky.


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


William Todd was baptized in 1738 at Abington Church, the last child of William Todd, Sr. to be baptized there.  He was only 12 when his father and family arrived in Augusta County and was 22 when his father sold the Buffalo Creek land and moved to Bedford County.  Since we have no record of William Todd, Sr.’s death, we are left without any evidence as to how to tell if a record pertains to William Todd, Sr or William Todd, Jr.


We do know that a William Todd purchased 400 acres of land in Bedford County in 1760 and that a William Todd living in Augusta County in 1770 sold half the land and a John Todd and wife Mary sold the other half in 1772.  Since we know from this deed, that William went back to Augusta County, it is possible the Wm and John of the Bedford Co deed are the William and John Todd that appear in the Rockbridge tax lists in 1778.  Since they shared the land equally, the most likely relationship between the two is brothers.  This would make William being the son born 1738 of William Todd Sr and John being a younger brother born after leaving Pennsylvania and therefore not recorded in the parish register.   This is plausible since we know that Samuel Todd was a son of William but Samuel does not appear in the parish register.


One way to interpret all this is that William Todd Sr didn’t die in Augusta, Botetourt, Rockbridge, Bedford or Campbell County, but left the area with one of his children when they moved to Tennessee or Kentucky and died there. Hence, he could be the William referred to in all the above citations.


Another way to interpret this is that William Sr moved to Bedford County and bought land there, but that as he grew older he transferred land ownership to his son William.  Thence, William Jr sold the land in 1770 after returning to Augusta County and was the William Todd appearing in the 1778 tax list in Rockbridge.  Both Williams subsequently left the area and died in an unknown location.  There is a William Todd in Knox Co TN (where part of Low Todd’s family lived) getting a public tavern license in 1801 when William Todd JR would have been about 63 years old.  The identity of this Knox Co William is unknown though it is tempting, despite the advanced age, to assume this is William Todd Jr.


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


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 Pennsylvania.  His eldest daughter was born ca 1763; so a 1739 or 1740 birth date is not unreasonable since he would have been 23 or 24 at her birth.


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.


His pubic service career matured in the 1780s.   In 1782, he was appointed Justice of the Peace.  In 1786, he was appointed Collector of the Revenue, and in 1787, he was appointed Sheriff.


He continued to acquire and sell land.  In 1785, he purchased 45 acres of Pond Bottom on the south side of the James River.  In 1789, he sold 200 acre and 126 acre parcels on Whistle Creek, just after the death of James Todd.  In 1791, he bought 590 acres on a branch of Buffalo Creek including a mill on the property.  Also that year, he got a grant for 84 acres on Looneys Mill Creek.  In 1798, he got a grant for 475 acres on the Waters of James.  In 1800, he sold his son John 200 acres of the south side of James property.  In 1803, he got a grant for 440 acres on the south side of the James River.  In 1807, he appointed a power of attorney to sell his lands as he was preparing to remove to Kentucky.


In 1807, he left Kentucky.  He settled in Clay County by 1810 and in 1812 he died in Jefferson County, KY where his son John had settled.


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, Alice born 1776, Lydia born 1778, Sarah, and possibly Hannah and Polly.

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 Indiana where she died in 1842.  She was famous as the beneficiary of the first ovarian tumor removal operation.

John married Sarah Sterrett in 1800 and secondly to Anne Hubbard (Taylor).  He died in Oldham County, KY.     John Todd’s 1831 will in Oldham Co named his children: Robert, Augustus, Eliza, James?, Andrew and Jane.  Eliza married Robert Taliaferro.  The will left land in Brownsville (now Edmonson Co)  to his daughter Jane and use of the land to his son-in-law Robert Taliaferro.   Records of Edmonson Co may reveal the fate of these daughters and possibly reveal where John’s sons went to.

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 Virginia.  He came first to Garrard County and by 1811 was in Gallatin County KY.  He married Monarchia Fenwick in 1824 in Franklin County.   In 1830 he was in Gallatin County, but in 1831 he removed to Franklin County.  He served for many years as a Circuit Court judge and died in Franklin County in 1856 or 1858.   His children included a son Dabney Todd, a son William Todd of Clark Co., Missouri and a daughter Mary Louisa Todd who became Sister Gabriella of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, KY.

Alice was born in 1776.  She married John Craig in 1792 in VA and then moved to Scott Co., KY.  In her old age, she befriended young Myra McMurtry as a teenager at boarding school.  Myra was a granddaughter of Alice’s first cousin, Mary Hutton.

Lydia was an infant daughter born in 1778.  Her birth seems somehow to have stimulated a slander court case against some neighbors.  According to Clementine Railey, she married John Lowry of South Carolina and lived and died in Jessamine Co., KY.  There was a John, James and Melvin Lowry in Jessamine County whose sister Polly married James Todd d 1800-1810and whose sister Jane married John Todd 1746-1829 and whose father Patrick d 1795 was the brother of Jane Lowry, wife of Samuel Todd.

 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 Indiana.

Hannah   married David Ewing who died within 4 years.  She then married Mr. Minatt and moved to Knoxville Tennessee.

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 Bourbon County to these three grandchildren.


John Todd


John Todd is assumed to be a son of William Todd because he (with wife Mary) sold half of his father’s Bedford Co VA land on Turnip Creek in 1772.  He appears to have been the John Todd who was on the Rockbridge Co, VA tax list in 1778 and gone to KY by 1781.  In Kentucky, he first appears in Lincoln Co, probably in the vicinity of McMurtry’s Station, where he was associated with the Huttons of Augusta Co.  He married a second time to Jane Lowry, also of an Augusta Co family.  He surveyed land in Jessamine County in 1782 and moved around in KY til the 1810s when he moved to Lincoln County TN where he died in 1829.  See companion essay: “Sorting Out the John Todds of Kentucky” for more information on his life and children.


When he came to Lincoln Co, his great-nephew Ebenezer McEwen had already settled in Lincoln a few years earlier (by 1812).


This concludes the discussion of the family of William Todd.