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Chapter Three


McFarlands in Tennessee and North Carolina


By Mary Helen Haines ©2013

updated Sept. 2023

By 1784, John 2 (married to Mary Kinder) packed up his family and moved about 120 miles southwest (paralleling present Hwy. 81) from present-day Wytheville, Virginia to what became eastern Tennessee. The connecting evidence that shows the various moves made by John 2 include two deeds. The first one is in 1778 when John McFarland Sr. in Bedford Co. VA sold 367 acres of Reedy Creek property to John Jr. (Montgomery Co. Deed Book A, p. 234). While living in what was then Montgomery Co. from around 1771 to 1784, he raised his family with wife Mary Kinder and served in the militia. He was still on the tax list of 1782 as John McFarlane, with 4 horses and 14 cattle, living near Duncan O’Gullion, John Cypher, and Joseph Love, but gone before the tax list of 1787. With the war over, his nephew Robert had already moved into the future Tennessee territory. Then in 1786, John Jr. sold this land to Jacob Brooner (Book A, p. 478) and the deed states at that time John was living in the State of Franklin, Caswell County.

Caswell County and the State of Franklin no longer exist; it is today the easternmost part of Tennessee. Caswell County corresponds to present-day Jefferson and Hamblen Counties. Its brief life (1785 to about 1791) goes back to the end of the Revolutionary War when North Carolina had created Greene County in April, 1783. It was in the far reaches, over the Appalachians, and had mostly been Indian territory before the Revolutionary War. The Cherokees sided with the British at the beginning of the war because of the incessant push by white settlers into their territory. Consequently, Virginia and North Carolina militias carried out several expeditions against the Indians during the war and became better acquainted with the lands around the Nolichucky and French Broad Rivers. One of those militia men was Robert McFarland Jr., (1759-1837) nephew of John McFarland 2. (His pension statement in the Notes section of Ch. 2 details these expeditions.)

So, as soon as fighting ended, Robert Jr. (b. 1759) and a Joseph McFarland (b. 1761) appeared in the area around the bend of the Nolichucky River to lay claim to newly opened land.  They were present as early as 1783, and their final grants were approved in 1787/8. Joseph McFarlan was granted 228 acres on the south side of the Nolichucky River {see #1 on map}, opposite the mouth of Little Chucky River in 1787. (TN Grant #352, N dist. Bk 2, p. 598). It now appears that this Joseph (b. 1761 and married to Margaret White) was Robert Jr.'s brother, and Joseph (b. 1745, son of John and Mary Montgomery, stayed in Virginia and died there). The Joseph with the Tennessee land grant sold his land in 1792 and moved north with his siblings and other cousins from Rockbridge County, VA to Kentucky.

Robert McFarland Jr. (1759-1837) assumed a warrant originally issued to Joseph Alexander for 200 acres on Long Creek as well as accumulating other property in the area. A John McFarlen appeared in the Greene County tax list in 1787 with no land; but in 1788, he purchased  200 acres from Alexander Outlaw on the north side of the Nolichucky at Flat Creek {see #2 on map}. (Greene Deed Book 4, p. 107, Greene Co. TN)  The deed was witnessed by William McFarland.  A John McFarland purchased another 120 acres on Flat Creek from Lee Thomas in 1789 (Deed Book 4, p. 93). However all the Flat Creek land was sold in 1792 (Jefferson Deed Book C). If John purchased more land, there is no record of it, even though we know he was living in the area because of his name on various other records. Also, in 1792, Joseph divided and sold his land grant. Half of it was purchased by a James McFarland (Greene Deed Book 2, p. 196), who paid taxes on it to Greene Co. until 1798, when he then began paying his taxes to the newly created Cocke County. Unfortunately, the early records of Cocke County were burned, which has created a gap in deed and tax records. It appears that Joseph and William moved to Harrison Co., Kentucky along with the Rockbridge County VA McFarlands. It is probable that the John McFarland who purchased and sold the Flat Creek acres was another  son of Robert Sr. (b. 1730) who moved to Kentucky with the others. Big Y 700 DNA testing has shown that the descendants of John (1758-1815) married to Jennie Moore, who died in Christian County KY, and William (1763-1816) married to Rebecca Kirkpatrick, who died in Greene Co. Ohio, and Robert Jr. (1759-1837) married to several different wives and died in Jefferson Co. TN. must have been brothers, sharing the same terminal SNP, therefore sons of Robert (b. 1730) and wife Martha Jane unk. Robert, b. 1730 in Pennsylvania, eldest son of John and Mary Montgomery McFarland, moved with his children to the new Tennessee territory in 1783, and then sometime in the 1790s, died while traveling north to visit his children who had moved to Kentucky.

All the birth and marriage records for the next generation list Greene County, then some in Jefferson County, and later Hamblen County-but they are the same general location, just new names as population increased and new counties were created. Youngest son of John and Mary Montgomery McFarland,  Benjamin McFarland, also moved to this area in 1785 after he and his father sold all the Bedford County VA property. (Bedford Deed Book 7, pp. 581, 582). Benjamin purchased 200 acres near his brother (Greene Deed Book 3, p. 345) close to present day Dandridge in Jefferson County. The area that Robert Jr. (1759) settled was about six miles southeast of Morristown in present-day Hamblen County. Robert made quite a name for himself, becoming a Sheriff, a Major, and then a Colonel in the local militia leading a raid against marauding Indians in 1793. He is buried in the Col. Robert McFarland Cemetery, near the intersection of Springvale Rd (Hwy. 113) and Chucky River Rd.  


John Jr. (1739-1803) married to Mary Kinder appeared in various records in Greene and Jefferson County records, but it does not appear that the existing land records in Greene and Jefferson are his, instead belonging to his uncle and his nephew. John Jr. (2) was living instead in an area south of the Broad River, in what is Cocke County today. In 1784, John Jr. (1739), and his son John (3) (1764-1820, married to Rebecca Bell), as well as Samuel Jack Sr, Samuel Jack Jr, Andrew Evans, Nathanel Evans, John McNutt, Alex Ward, George McNutt, Wm. Bell (Rebecca’s father), George McFarland, Benj. McFarland, John Ward Jun., and John Ward Sr.  all signed various petitions to the North Carolina General Assembly asking for incorporation into the State, thereby gaining recognition for their settlements in Indian Territory south of the Broad River and protection against the Indians who considered this their land.  North Carolina finally agreed to incorporate this territory in 1790, but then in 1792 it became part of the new state of Tennessee.


From that point forward John McFarland (2) and (3), now as Sr. and Jr. appear in various court records and road orders in the 1790s, living near the Ward and Jack families, near the junction of the Broad River and the Nolichucky. The last time John McFarland (3)’s name appears in Tennessee records is witnessing the will of Samuel Jack in 1799. After residing in Tennessee for about 15 years, John (2), his son John (3), and most of the family moved to North Carolina in 1799.  This time the move was only about 50 miles away, and is the only time the McFarlands moved east {#3 on map}. Making the move was John (2), now close to sixty years old, his son John Jr. married to Rebecca Bell, and most of the siblings. 

The earliest official mention of our McFarlands in Buncombe County, North Carolina is on October 15, 1799 when John McFarland (2) purchased 640 acres on Jonathan’s Creek for $300 from John Strother (Buncombe Deed Book 4, pp. 481-482). This land he “sold” at a nominal price to four of his sons: James, Reuben, David, and William in 1803. Shortly after, on October 22, 1799, John McFarland Jr. (3) purchased 122 acres of land known as the “flowery garden” on the waters of the Pigeon River for $62 from John Strother. This area is near present day Canton. The term “flowery garden” can refer to areas that were once under cultivation by Indians, therefore were not virgin forest areas. The whole area alongside the Pigeon River between present-day Bethel and Canton was known as the Flowery Garden, and the McFarlands invested heavily in this area. Shortly after, on Nov. 15, 1799, John McFarland Jr. (husband of Rebecca Bell) purchased three additional tracts of land for a total of 630 acres in the same area from the same seller, John Strother. Over the next few years, the McFarland family accumulated over 3000 acres in this area and became quite prominent in local affairs.

The children of John and Mary Kinder who settled in Buncombe/Haywood County were:

(1)John married to Rebecca Bell in 1786 in the area South of the French Broad River*

(2)George married to Sally Jack in 1793 in Jefferson Co.*

(3)Jacob married to Elizabeth Webb in TN, and Nancy Cathey (daughter of George Sr.) in 1804 in Buncombe*

(4)James (Ray), married to Frances Webb in 1793 in TN*

(5)William married to Susannah George (daughter of William George) abt. 1798 in TN*

(6)Reuben A. married to Martha Campbell in 1797 in TN*

(7)David married to Margaret McDowell abt. 1802 in Buncombe Co.*

(8)Catherine, married to a Cain

(9)Jesse who married Isabella Henry (Boyd) abt. 1804 in Buncombe Co.*

(10)Anna married to George Cathey, Jr. abt. 1810 in Haywood Co.*

*indicates these families also moved on to Missouri

Other children who did not move to North Carolina were:

Mary, married to Alexander Ward

Rachel, married to John Ward

Benjamin, married Ruth Buchanan Jack before moving to what became Russell Co. KY

In 1801, John McFarland Sr. (2) received Patent #1065 for 200 acres on the East Side of the Pigeon River known as the Locust Old Field. This land today is in the city of Canton, and the Locust Field Cemetery is located on the highest spot in the town. John died sometime around 1803, his burial place unmarked. However, in 1803, the Baptist Church began meeting in a log cabin on the Old Locust Field, and by 1808 there are references in deeds to the Baptist meeting house and burying ground. Since all this property was owned by John McFarland, and to patent land, you must erect a structure and make improvements, it is likely the meeting house was his cabin. In 1826, the heirs of John McFarland (husband of Rebecca Bell) gave 3 acres of this property to the Baptist Church as a gift “for the love and friendship which sd McFarland had to the followers of Jesus Christ…” (Haywood Book B, p. 343). I believe it is possible that John McFarland (husband of Mary Kinder) is buried here in an unmarked grave, and the log cabin meeting house was once his home.


John 2 died sometime in 1803 in Buncombe/Haywood Co., North Carolina. It is not known when his wife Mary died.

4th Generation:


John McFarland (3): born Feb. 28, 1764 in Bedford Co. Virginia. Married Rebecca Bell. She was born on April 26, 1770 in Augusta Co. VA. They married on July 20, 1786 and had 10 children. The family moved around 1798/9 to Buncombe County North Carolina, which became Haywood Co. in 1809. Around 1814 they packed up and moved again-this time to Missouri.


John McFarland (4):Feb. 14, 1787 in the area South of the French Broad R. in what today is Cocke Co. TN. Married Mary Fleming in Buncombe Co., N.C. Mary was born in 1785/86 in Virginia. He moved to Fannin Co., Texas around 1849 and died there in 1874.

Ann(a):April 23, 1790 in Greene Co., Tenn. Married Joseph Hughes (b. 1792) in Haywood Co. NC. They had daughter Amanda Hughes (1828-1907) who married Dudley Horn (1818-1874) in Missouri. Amanda and Dudley moved to Texas after Anna’s death, and their daughter Nancy Bayless Horn (1854-1928) married John Ewing McFarland in 1873. Amanda died in Gainesville, Cook Co., Texas. Ann(a) died in 1868/9 in the Avon area in Ste. Genevieve Co., MO.

William Bell: Nov. 16, 1792 in Greene Co., Tenn. Married Nancy Elizabeth Smith in Haywood Co., NC. Died Jan. 10, 1839 in Cooper Co., MO.

James E.: January 20, 1795 in Jefferson Co., Tenn. Married Jane Jackson December 1, 1816 in Ste. Genevieve Co., Missouri.

Rebecca: Jan. 23, 1798 in Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Married John Deaver in 1815 in Haywood Co., North Carolina. Did not move to Missouri until the 1830s, and then to Texas by 1850. Died abt. 1859 in Sherman, Grayson Co., Texas

Mary: June 3, 1800 in Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Married 1st cousin Jacob McFarland on July 4, 1822 in St. Francois Co., Missouri. Jacob is son of Reuben A. McFarland and wife Martha Campbell. Mary died in 1857 in St. Francois Co., Missouri

Arthur: May 19, 1803 in Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Married Elizabeth McClure in 1825 in St. Louis Co., Missouri. Died in 1850 in Texas Co., Missouri.

Sarah: April 14, 1806 in Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Married November 10, 1822 to Carroll George in St. Francois Co., Missouri. Died May 14, 1877 in Cass Co., Missouri.

Joseph: January 10, 1809 in Haywood Co., North Carolina. Married Nov. 12, 1833 in St. Francois Co., Missouri to 1st cousin Mary E. McFarland (daughter of Jesse and Isabella Henry McF., born July 24, 1807 in Buncombe Co., N.C.) Joseph died bef. 1870 in Avon, Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.

Nancy Caroline McFarland: May 24, 1812 in Haywood Co., NC. Married Alexander Carson Sloan in 1829 in Cooper Co., Missouri. Died November 14, 1909 in Fannin Co., Texas

In 1808 John McFarland (3), husband of Rebecca Bell, served as a Senator for the State Legislature for North Carolina representing Buncombe County with the intention of persuading the state to create a new county.  He was successful, and in December, 1808, Haywood County was formed. John was serving in this office contemporary with Robert and Thomas Love, neighbors from the Reed Creek area of Montgomery Co. Virginia in the 1770s who moved to North Carolina in the early 1780s.

John McFarland is found in early records of Haywood Co. as a grand jury member along with Jacob McFarland, Daniel Fleming, William Deaver, David McFarland, and George Cathey. In 1808, in the founding document of the county, John McFarland was named a commissioner in charge of erecting public buildings, etc. They laid the foundation near the home of Robert Love, who donated the 18 acres for the town square. John McFarland’s Richland Creek land was also near what became the capital city of Haywood County, Waynesville.

Haywood County celebrated their centennial in 1908 by writing a county history, Centennial of Haywood County and its County Seat Waynesville by W.C. Allen. On page 12, "Higher up the river (Pigeon), on the East and West fork, settlements were made some years later than those lower down. Among those who first bought land on East Fork, the name of John McFarland, William Cathey, and Elijah Deaver, who moved there previous to 1808, are found."  Descriptions of the land where they settled include, "The Pigeon River, as it winds its course among the verdant hills...It forms as beautiful a valley as can be found in North Carolina. Richland Creek, with its rippling, laughing waters...Jonathan's Creek, a meandering mountain torrent, rises among the peaks and winds through a beautiful valley with lofty mountains on either side..." Elsewhere in the booklet the area called the “flowery garden” is referred to as being near the present day town of Canton. (p. 10)

Senator John McFarland made his home on his property near the Bethel community where Hwy. 110 crosses Hwy. 276. His April 5th, 1808 Patent #1715 for 160 acres was located in the fork of the Pigeon River where the East and West fork meet. This was extremely valuable land; he sold it to the Cathey brothers, George Cathey Sr. and William Cathey, for $1000 that same year.

However, he owned additional land along the East Pigeon River, as beautiful as W.C. Allen describes.


John McFarland continued his political service by serving as Haywood County's state Senator for the years 1811 through 1814. (Allen, p. 37) When the War of 1812 began, several of the McFarland men signed up for the Haywood County militia: James, in the 16th Co. Regiment, John in the 16th Co. Regiment, John in the 12th Co. Regiment, and then James in an unknown company.

John McFarland was a neighbor of Elijah Deaver, and William and George Cathey. These families became intertwined through marriage, and parts of the families made the trek to Missouri, and then some moved on to Texas.


Some of the children of John and Rebecca Bell came of age in Buncombe County. Eldest son John McFarland married Mary Fleming around 1809 and started their family. Mary is probably related to Daniel Fleming whose name appears in the early records as a neighbor when he was ordered to work on a road with John and Jacob McFarland in 1813 (County Court Pleas, Vol. “C” p. 47). Rebecca married John Deaver in 1815, the son of William Deaver, Sr. the neighbor and trusted friend to the Senator. Daughter Anna married Joseph Hughes in 1810, and William Bell McF. married Nancy Elizabeth Smith in 1812.

In June, 1811 William McFarland, son of John and Mary Kinder, of Haywood County sold his 196 acres to John Henry for $500. This land was on both sides of Jonathan's Creek, a tributary of the Pigeon River and included the plantation where William lived. It was next to Reuben McFarland, and was the land conveyed by John McFarland to William. (Deed Book A, p. 565-566)

It seems that William was the first son to sell his land in North Carolina and head west to the newly opened territory in Missouri. He was either accompanied by, or followed by, several members of the George family from Tennessee and the Cathey family from North Carolina. They settled in the Cook Settlement in what was then Ste. Genevieve Co. Missouri. Today that is the town of Libertyville, St. Francois Co. By 1814, they moved on to Cooper County, Missouri and the rest of the McFarland siblings took their place in the Cook settlement.

In the Haywood County Deed records, George Cathey Sr. and George Cathey Jr. began divesting their land in 1813 and 1814. In 1815 Jacob McFarland sold some of his land, and on April 10, 1815, John McFarland sold four tracts of land to William Dever  (Book B, p. 286) and also appointed William Dever "my truly and well-beloved friend William Dever of the county and state aforesaid my true and lawful attorney" and empowered him  to sell his other lands. (Deed Book A, p. 571) William Dever (Deaver) is the father of John Deaver, husband of John’s daughter Rebecca.

This indicates that the move to Missouri took place shortly after.


Ch. 3: Tennessee and North Carolina

The history of this area in the late 1700s and early 1800s is mostly reconstructed from the court and deed records of the changing counties. Our McFarlands did not stay here too long before moving west, but were very involved in the politics and development of Haywood County, North Carolina, in particular. Some of the Tennessee records below may not refer to John McFarland, married to Mary Kinder or John McFarland, married to Rebecca Bell. They could belong to sons of Robert McFarland Sr. (b. 1730). 


John McFarland was not present for taxes in 1783 in Greene Co. TN, His move must have been around that time. We know he sold his VA land in 1786 and was living in the State of Franklin at that time. Greene County (what became Tennessee) was formed in April 1783 by North Carolina out of the Washington District which had been formed in 1777. However, we know that John was living in the area South of the French Broad River which was not added to Greene County until 1790.

In 1787 Greene Co. tax list, a John McFarlin appears for the first time, with no acres. He is in Abraham McKay's list., same as Thomas Love. He does not appear in that same list in 1796 with Thomas Love; however the purchase from Alex. Outlaw below would be in Jefferson Co. after 1792. No more McFarlands show up on the Greene Co. tax list until 1798 when James McFarland, who has purchased 114 acres from Joseph McFarland appears on their list.

1788: March 25, Deed Book 4, p. 107 Green Co. Abstracts Indenture bet Alex. Outlaw and John McFarland. Outlaw selling 200 acres on North side of Nolichucky R. for 150 pounds, part of John Heritage (of New River in Dobbs Co. NC) patent of 640 acres. Witnesses are David Campbell, Elizabeth Campbell, and William McFarland (p. 47, Greene County Tennessee Deed Abstracts 1785-1810, by Murray) {John Heritage received 640 acres on North side of Nolachucky including the mouth of Flatt Creek, Warrant #8 from State of N.C. on July 13, 1786 as Rev. War grant}

1788 Greene County, Tennessee.  1788, Oct 15, Tn. Greene County, Ewen Morgan married Abigail Netherton; bond by William McFarland and John McFarland.

1789: Oct. 30, John McFarland purchased 120 acres Greene Co. from Thomas Lee for 135 pounds, patent #725 from NC to Lee on head of Flat Creek (#8 on map) including a Limestone Creek, with Archibald Roden-Jurat, Andrew Kerr, Deed Book 4, p. 93 (Greene Co. TN Deed Abstracts, Murray, p. 46){Thomas Lee received this 120 acres on July 11, 1788, Warrant 1309, surveyed by Robert McFarlin, on head of flat creek including a limestone spring running up the valley, from State of N.C. as Rev. War grant Roll 5, Book C, p. 56}

 1790: Order Book, p. 176, "Ordered that the road known by the name of Bulls Gap Road be altered thus to turn of the road below John McFarlands along a valley leading to Richard Lees and continue along said valley to the head of Long Creek….." (Greene Co. TN Minutes of Court of Common Pleas 1783-1795, p. 82)

 The record below is definitely referring to John McFarland Sr. or Jr. married to Mary Kinder or Rebecca Bell.

 1791: "Ordered that a road be laid off from Neilys Ferry on French Broad River to ___Mill on Big Pigeon River and that Samuel Jack, John McFarland, Jno. Casey, Alex Rodgers, Alex Ward, John Ward, Henry Nave, Thomas Keeny, Charles Adkins, Thomas Anderson, William Bell, and Robert Miller being first duly sworn, view and mark the same and report next court.  (Greene Co. TN Minutes of Court of Common Pleas 1783-1795, p. 117)  This area would be in present day Cocke Co. and indicates that John was living there with the above men as neighbors. This would explain John being witness to the Ward wills, and his sons marrying Jack daughters.

1792 Jefferson County carved out of Greene County.

1792: June 30, Jefferson Co. Vol. C. John McFarland selling to John McDonald 190 acres for 150 pounds, on Flat Creek, the waters of Nolachucky. Witnesses: Alex. Outlaw, Baldwin Harle, James Menasco. Signed John McFarland

1792: July, Jefferson Co., Vol. C. p. 66, John McFarland sold to James Menasco 150 acres for 150 pounds land on Flat Creek, the waters of Nolachuckey R. including the plantation where Menasco now lives. Witness: Robert McFarland, Charles Hodges, Signed John McFarland

1792: July 17, Jefferson Co. Vol. C, p. 299. John McFarland deed to Daniel Williams, 100 acres for 100 pounds, on Flat Creek, waters of Nolachucky adj. Scott, John McFarland, Daniel Williams, ___Hodges. Witness: Robert McFarland and Charles Hodges. Signed John McFarland.

1793: John McFarland witness to will of Alexander Ward, who lived on claim south of French Broad. Alexander Ward has wife Mary, son David, daughters Phoebe, and Rachael (wife Mary is considered by many to be John's daughter Mary, born 1764)

1795: Jefferson Co. Deed Book 6, p. 162 John McFarland a witness to William Bell selling his patent to Thomas Hill, Jr. 150 acres for 150 lbs. Also witnesses, Arch'd Campbell, James Bell, Wm. George

1796: Alex. Ward's inventory file Feb. 1797 , Jefferson Co. filed, purchasers include Wm. George, Benjamin McFarland, George McFarland.

1796: John Ward, Co. of Jefferson, land on Big Pigeon, sons Cyrus, John, daug. Mary. John McFarland appt. executor, witness John McFarland, Jr., Matthew Bell. Inventory, Feb. 20th 1796. ( The wife of John Ward is considered to be Rachel McFarland, daughter of John Sr. John Ward is probably the brother of Alexander Ward. The Wards were neighbors in the Reed Creek area, and the two girls Rachel and Mary probably married there before the move. However the Ward family also moved to the same area in Jefferson Co. as the McFarlands.)

1799: deed to Robert McFarland for 250 acres on Bent Creek, Vol. D, p. 304, wit. John McFarland.

1799: John McF. Jr.  and Matthew Bell witness to will of Samuel Jack in Jefferson Co. Two of John Sr.'s sons married Jack girls. Benjamin McFarland married Ruth Buchanan Jack, July 31, 1788 in Greene Co. records, and George married Sally Jack in Jan. 5, 1793 in Greene Co. records.

1799: John McFarland witness to Samuel Jack deed to Richard Morgan, July 15. Vol. D, p. 335 Jefferson Co.

1797 Cocke Co. created out of Jefferson County. Some records were still recorded in Jefferson Co. as we see above, but if there are land sale records when John and family moves up the Pigeon River to Buncombe Co. (Haywood Co.) they were lost in a courthouse fire in the 1800s.)

Cocke county TN is adjacent to Haywood Co. NC. Buncombe County had been formed in 1792 from Burke County NC after the inhabitants of that Appalachian community petitioned for their own government. John McFarland must have moved into the area around 1797 judging from the birth date of his granddaughter Rebecca McFarland, daughter of John McFarland, Jr. and Rebecca Bell. However, there are documents as late as 1799 that seem to be referring to one of the John's presence till 1799.

There are no McFarlands present in the earlier Burke Co. or Rutherford Co. North Carolina records, so we know this family was not already present. Also, John's name is not on the petition to form Buncombe County in 1792. All other McFarland families are accounted for in Virginia and North Carolina, so even though there is no land document tying the Buncombe County McFarlands to the Tennessee McFarlands, this has to be the correct John McFarland family.

One of the interesting items I ran across was the Love family. It seems that Robert Love was a young man in the area that becomes Montgomery County in the 1760s, and is in the same militia company with John McFarland. He also moved to Buncombe Co. and he and John McFarland, Jr. served in the state legislature for North Carolina from Haywood County at the same time.

Buncombe Co., NC:

1799, Oct. 15. Deed Book 4, p. 481, John McFarland of Buncombe Co. purchases 640 acres on both sides of Jonathan's Creek for $300, paid in hand, from John Strother of Beaufort Co. NC. (This land he "sells" to his sons James, Reuben, William, and David in 1803.)

1799, Oct. 22. Deed Book 4, p. 472. John McFarlin purchases 122 acres on the waters of the Pigeon River, the "flowery garden" for $62. from John Strother of Beaufort Co. NC. (The Flowery Garden area is north of present day Canton, on east side of Pigeon River, south of the fork between east and west Pigeon.)

1799, Nov. 15. Deed Book 3, p. 191-192. John McFarland of Buncombe Co. NC purchases three tracts of land from John Strother of Beaufort Co., NC.

1st tract of 150 acres on south side of Richland Creek by side of Rutherford's War Path. (This would be referring to Rutherford Trace, the path taken by Gen. Griffith Rutherford in 1776 in his expedition from Cathey's Fort to the Cherokee Villages south of this area,  which were burned down. Today it is probably Main St. in Waynesville, Hwy. 23 where it crosses Richland Creek.)

2nd tract of 350 acres on east side of Pigeon River-adjoining his own and the flower garden line.

3rd tract is 130 acres on east side of Pigeon River, adjoining his own tract on the north, the flower garden on the east, and the Locust Old Field on the south side. This land was a part of a NC land grant to David Allison. Signed by John McFarland and Nathan Dever.

1800, July 22. Deed Book 3, pp. 308, 309. John McFarland buys a parcel of land from Robert Gillaspy, on the waters of the Pigeon River for $50. next to the flowery garden and George Cathey's land.

1801, Feb. 23. Deed Book 5, pp. 211-213. John McFarland of Buncombe purchases from Seth Moore of Buncombe 118 acres at the mouth of Beaverdam Creek, beginning at the bank of Pigeon River on line of McDowell's survey, for $75, paid in hand. Witness, Nathan Dever and Sam'l Rutherford. Signed Seth Moore.

1802, April 20. Deed Book 7, p. 160. John McFarland, Jr. sells George McFarlin 100 acres. Deed Records for Buncombe Co., NC show a purchase of 100 acres by George McFarlin in 1802 from John McFarland, Jr (husband of Rebecca Bell), and in Deed Book 9, p. 320, George McFarlin is selling the same land back to John Jr. on Nov. 18, 1804.

1802, Dec. 17. Deed Book 6, p. 357. A grant from the State of N.C. #1065 for 200 acres on the Pigeon River to John McFarland Sr.

1803, Jan. 18. Deed Book 7, p. 245. John Sr. buys 150 more acres on the Pigeon River from John Dobson.

1803, June 18. Deed Book 3, p. 270. John McFarland sells to Jacob Shook 265 acres for $265. 1st tract is from McDowell's flowery garden to a cove of a mountain, on Defedellar's and McFarland's line. The second tract is 15 acres on the west side of the Pounding Mill branch. Both were purchased from John Strother. (These would be purchases made in 1799).

1803, Oct. 1. Deed Book 9, p. 94. Jacob Biffle to Elijah Dever, 40 acres on the east side of the mean fork of Pigeon River beginning on one corner of John McFarland Sr's field, and the corner of Devers old survey….

1803, Oct. 17. Deed Book 9, pp. 31, 32, 34, 36. John Sr. is deeding land to James (253 acres on Jonathan Cr.), to Reuben (175 acres on Jonathan Cr.)  William (196 acres on Jonathan Cr.) and David (116 acres Jonathan's Cr.) (740 acres total) Jonathan Creek runs along Hwy. 276 today.

1803 seems to be the last official record belonging to John McFarland, Sr.

In records of Elijah Henson of Buncombe County, NC, it notes that he was married by John McFarlin, Esq. in August 1803. (found in on-line record posted by a descendant of Henson, however this could be the record belonging to son John married to Rebecca Bell)

Haywood County, NC: These are records for John McFarland married to Rebecca Bell


Deed Book A, p. 16, State of North Carolina #1715. 160 acres purchase by John McFarland, Sr. at cost of 50 shillings for every 100 acres. County of Buncombe, east fork of the Pigeon River, including both sides where said McFarling now lives. Beginning on north side of William Cathey's branch, with Elijah Deaver's line. Entered Ap. 5, 1808. Warrant was originally issued to Joseph Henry. Signed by George Cathey and John Patton.

Deed Book A, p. 67. Feb. 10, 1809. John McFarland purchased 150 acres on east side of Pigeon River from Michael Defedellar for $300. The land adjoins John McFarland and John Gulbright. Witness: John McFarland Jr. Signed Michael Defedellar.

Deed Book A, p. 70. Feb. 10, 1809. John McFarland purchased 75 acres for $400. on east side of Pigeon River, adjoining Joseph Dobson on the south. Witness: John McFarland Jr., Michael Defedellar. (The John Jr. would be the John who married Mary Fleming.)

Deed Book A, p. 571, the recording made of John McFarland appointing William Dever "my truly and well-beloved friend William Dever of the county and state aforesaid my true and lawful attorney" and he is empowered to sell my lands. Dated April 10, 1815.

Deed Book B, p. 286. Dated April 10, 1815, but not entered into records until January 1826. This records the sale of four parcels of land by John McFarland to William Dever for $800. total. These are on the east side of the Pigeon River, one for 200 acres, another is unspecified amount, another for 75 acres, and the last for 150 acres.

More about Rebecca Bell:

Traditionally, Rebecca Bell’s parents are given as James Bell and Agnes Hogshead of Augusta County, VA. There is a Rebecca Bell listed in the will of James Bell about 1782, Augusta County. This James Bell was probably born in Northern Ireland and came to Va. via Pennsylvania, just as the McFarlands did. James Bell, and other Bells are in the very first Augusta County records, just as the McFarlands are. The James Bell who died in 1782  lived near Staunton, VA at Long Glades, and had children listed in the will as: James, Frances, David, Samuel, Thomas, Agnes, Sarah, and Rebecca. However, I do not believe this is the same Rebecca Bell.

It seems pretty clear that Rebecca Bell's father was named William Bell. William Bell is a neighbor of John McFarland and signs the 1784 petition along with John Sr. and John Jr. while living in the area south of the Broad River. John and Rebecca have a son they name William Bell McFarland. 

More about Isabella Henry (Boyd), wife of Jesse McFarland:

I believe that her maiden name is Isabella Henry, the daughter of John Henry and Nancy Newman. John Henry was a neighbor of the McFarlands, and William McFarland sold his land on Jonathan’s Creek to John Henry when he moved to Missouri in 1811.

John and Nancy Henry had 9 known children:

Sons: Malcolm Henry, Lorenzo Newton Henry, John William Henry

Daughters: Mary, Isabella, Arabella, Elizabeth Ann, Rose, and Martha Jane (called Jane) Henry.

John Henry’s parents were William and Isabel McCowen Henry, who raised their family in Virginia, then settled in York County, SC. before the sons moved to NC.

I believe that Isabella Henry Boyd must have married a Boyd son briefly before she married Jesse McFarland.

The only information on the Boyd family is a Robert Boyd, born 1801 in Buncombe Co. that has a son named John Henry Boyd. These families must have been connected at one time. The area where Jesse McFarland bought land is at Raven's Fork of the Oconaluftee River at Big Cove. There is a street in this area named Boyd.


Ch. 3: Tennessee and North Carolina


Allen, W.C. Centennial of Haywood County and its County Seat Waynesville. 1908


Blethen, H. Tyler and Wood, Jr., Curtis W. From Ulster to Carolina. The Migration of the Scotch-Irish to Southwestern North Carolina. North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1998.

Buncombe County NC Deed Books 1789-1808, microfilm

Colley, Tom. Washington County Virginia-Surveys and Commissioners’ Certificates 1781-1797. 1999.

Greene County Marriage Records, Book 1, 1780-1809, microfilm

Greene County Deed Records, Books 1, 2, 3, microfilm

Hamblen County, Tennessee genealogy at

Haywood County NC Deed Books Vol. A, B, 1809-1829, microfilm

Murray, Joyce Martin. Greene County Tennessee Deed Abstracts 1785-1810, Dallas, 1996.

New River Notes

Sondley, F.A., A History of Buncombe County North Carolina, p. 801.

Whitley, Edythe Rucker. Marriages of Jefferson County Tennessee, 1792-1836