Jerry Bryan's Web Pages

Will of William Cross, the Revolutionary War Drummer Boy

William Cross was my fourth great grandfather.  I do not know the name (or names) of his wife (or wives).

William Cross's will is not extant.  It is mentioned in the County Court Minutes for the County Court of Anderson County, Tennessee;  The court ordered that the will be recorded in the estate book.  But the estate book in question cannot be found at the court house.  There has never been a fire at the Anderson County court house, and some of the other estate books are there.  So the estate book in question must simply have been thrown out or lost sometime in the past.

Nonetheless, the County Court minutes do provide a bit of useful information.  For example, they provide an approximate date for William's death. Also, the names mentioned in the Minutes do provide some clues at to what happened to William's property.

I am a little suspicious of the date from the County Court Minutes.  The reference to William Cross's will is on page 5 of the book.  The date given for page 5 is 3 Jan 1845. But the book itself is dated Feb 1845 - Mar 1850, and the first four pages are dated 3 Feb 1845.  So I wonder if page 5 was dated incorrectly, and should have been dated 3 Feb 1845;  In any case, William Cross was enumerated in the 1840 census, his will was taken to County Court early in 1845, and he probably died in 1844.

3 January 1845

The Last will and Testament of William Cross
was produced to court.  George W. Keeth, Addison
A. Leath, Elizabeth Cross who being Sworn as the
Law requires who depose and say that the Testator
was of Sound mind at the time he made said will therefore ordered by the court
that the Said last will and Testament of the Said
William Cross be entered on record in the estate

I believe that Elizabeth Cross from these court minutes was either the daughter or the widow of William Cross.  It seems much more likely that she was the daughter than the widow, but I cannot prove which it was.  Indeed, I cannot even prove that the relationship was not something different, such as a granddaughter.  William was born in 1761 or 1762 (William himself knew it was one or the other, but not which one it was), and Elizabeth was born about 1805.  So there was time for Elizabeth to have been William's granddaughter.

I believe that Elizabeth Cross from these court minutes was the female age 20-29 who was enumerated with the William Cross family in the 1830 Anderson County, Tennessee census.

Cross, William       000033001-00121

   00-04    0  0    1826-1830
   05-09    0  0    1821-1825
   10-14    0  1    1816-1820  Amanda Melvina Cross
   15-19    0  2    1811-1815  Nancy Cross, Mary (Polly) Cross
   20-29    3  1    1801-1810  Jesse C. Cross, Alfred Carter Cross, Elizabeth Cross
   30-39    3       1791-1800
   40-49    0       1781-1790
   50-59    0       1771-1780
   60-69    1       1761-1770  William Cross
I believe that Elizabeth Cross from these court minutes was one of three females age 20-29 who were enumerated with the William Cross family in the 1840 Anderson County, Tennessee census.
Cross    Wm.   0000000001-00103

   00-04    0  0  1836-1840
   05-09    0  0  1831-1835
   10-14    0  1  1826-1830  Emilia J. Cross
   15-19    0  0  1821-1825
   20-29    0  3  1811-1820  Elizabeth Cross, Mary (Polly) Cross, Amanda Melvina Cross
   30-39    0     1801-1810
   40-49    0     1791-1800
   50-59    0     1781-1790
   60-69    0     1771-1780
   70-79    1     1761-1770  William Cross
I cannot explain the absence of a female age 30-39 in this census entry except to point out how incredibly error prone the ages in the early censuses seem to have been.  Elizabeth must have been enumerated as age 20-29 rather than age 30-39 as she should have been in 1840.

I believe that Elizabeth Cross from these court minutes was enumerated as head of household age 45 in the 1850 Anderson County, Tennessee census.

dwelling number 215  family number 215, 16th subdivision
Cross     Elizabeth   45 f  $300  TN
          Mary        37 f        TN
          Melvina     28 f        TN
          Emilia J.   18 f        TN
          John H.      8 m        TN
          Safrona      7 f        TN
It's hard to know what family relationships existed between these people.  But Elizabeth and Mary (and maybe Amanda Melvina) look more like sisters to me than other possibilites that present themselves.  But guessing that they were all sisters certainly begs the question of who might have been the mother of John H. and Safrona.

Addison Leath from these court minutes was the son-in-law of William Cross, having married William's daughter Nancy Cross.

I don't know what the connection was between George Keith and the Cross family.  George was enumerated in the 1850 census in Morgan County, Tennessee (adjacent to Anderson County).  His occupation was listed in the 1850 census as Clerk of County Court.  So perhaps his participation had more to do with his qualifications to deal with legal matters than it did with a connection to the Cross family.

Return to Jerry's Home Page