JOHN WADDLE, THE IMMIGRANT
The story of John Waddell, the immigrant, and his children is excerpted from THE WADDELL FAMILY, by Kenneth M. Waddell, a bound volume on file in the genealogy library of the Daughters of the American Revolutions Washington, D.C. Having been doing my research for about two years, I am able to appreciate the time and devotion of Kenneth M. Waddell in putting together his study. I take credit only for telling the story of Thomas Young Waddell and his descendants, including Thomas Jefferson Waddell and George Newton Waddell.
John Waddle the immigrant, was born in Donegal County near Londonderry, Ireland, on or before 1736. His parents were Scottish people who had settled in Northern Ireland and were what is known in this Country as Scotch-Irish.
Our Waddells were an old family in Scotland, believed to have had their own armorial bearings and are said to have been identified with or related to the Clan McLean, Highlanders, who had holdings on the Island of Mull and in the adjacent mountainous district of western Scotland.
There are several stories of John's flight to America, but all are in agreement that he came at an early age. One plausible story was that he had an uncle coming to America and that he was much impressed by this fact. One evening he was sent out to drive the cows home, seeing a ship in the harbors he managed to stow away. When the ship had been at sea about three days he was discovered and dragged forth in a half starved condition and presumably made to work for his passage. Other stories indicate that he had brothers in America whose where abouts he did not know and that he spent several years looking for them.
We believe that John came to America in about 1750 and landed at Philadelphia, which was then a major port of entry. He located somewhere in the country adjacent to Germantown, where there were many Scottish people. He married a Margaret McCoy, who died shortly after the birth of a son. The son died at the age of eight.
After l 763 John Waddell married Rachel Quee, who lived in the country between Germantown and Horsham Township of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Her father was Alexander Quee; her mother was Hester Rittenhouse, a close relative of the celebrated David Rittenhouse. The immigrant head of the Rittenhouse family in America was Wilhelm Rittenhouse, a German nobleman who was the first paper maker in America and had a plant on the Sehulkyl River. It is said that this family contained strains of practically all the royal blood of Europe, one of the forebearers was knighted and the House of Knights (Rittenhouse) created.
John and Rachel continued to live in Pennsylvania until about 1769 or l 770. It was here that John Jr., Seth Quee and Hester were born. They left Pennsylvania and located in Baltimore County Maryland, on May l , l 771, when Charles R. was born. From there the family moved to York District in South Carolina and settled on what is believed to have been Bullock Creek, where Samuel David Waddell was born in 1773. From there they went to Burke County North Carolina, for a short time and then in 1775 went on to settle in what is now Washington County, Tennessee.
John and Rachel settled on the Nolichucky River a short distance from the present Greene County line. This was known as one of the Watauga settlements and located in the Jacob Brown purchase, although tradition has it that John acquired 140 acres directly from the Indians at a cost of one flint-rock rifle and a calico dress. This was what was known as the "Little Bend of the Nolichucky," the farm being on the south side of the river and filling about one half of the horse-shoe bend.
John Sevier Waddell wrote, "It is one of the finest places or tracts of land for the size that I ever saw. His house was on one of the finest building spots on earth, being in a bend of the river resembling a horse-shoe in shape, with a fine view of one of the spurs of the Alleghaney Mountains called the Big Butte, about 12 miles southeast, just far enough to look blue and rather smooth. "
John acquired other lands and was considered quite well to do. He and Rachel apparently continued to live until their deaths on the original homestead in the "Little Bend of the Chunky." Here their younger children were born; James about 1777; Jonathan in 1779; Margaret about 1780; Rachel in 1782 and Abagail in 1785.
With the exception of James, who died of apoplexy as a young man, the children married and settled in east Tennessee. No doubt some of the children lived with their parents at different times. Since Rebecca Sevier Waddell died in 1799, her daughter, Sarah, and son, Hawkins went to live with their grandparents who later changed the son's name to John Sevier Waddell and thereby confused numerous genealogists .
Shortly after John and Rachel settled here the Indians became quite troublesome. In spite of treaties, which the Indians probably did not understand, the fact remained that the whites had usurped the Indians' hunting grounds and settled themselves on the great war trails, interfering with raids and wars among the Indians, thus inviting trouble. When the Revolution got well underway British agents went among the Cherokees and stirred them up against the settlers.
The settlers met this threat by building numerous small forts or outposts and garrisoned these with local militia. In addition they made several punitive expeditions into the Indian country and laid waste to some Indian villages. One of these small forts was located at the junction of Big Limestone Creek and the Nolichucky River a few miles down-stream from John's farm. It was referred to as Fort Lee and again as Fort Gillisipe and was attacked at least once by the Cherokee Indians.
At first John, and later at least three older sons, took part in these military campaigns against the Indians. John Jr.'s service began at the age of twelve, when he substituted for his father in one of the drafts (he says he was very large for his age). He later campaigned quite extensively. Seth, likewise, fought the Indians and seemed to cordially dislike them. Seth was accused of shooting Indians between wars, but his innocence in this matter was stoutly defended by the Governor of his State. Charles R. served quite a bit of time in the militia, became a lieutenant and was made a quartermaster.
John Waddell, the immigrant, fought only one battle against the British in the Revolutionary War, that being at Kings Mountain in 1780, where the British leader, Colonel Ferguson, was defeated. John served under Colonel John Sevier, of the Watauga settlements. John's service has been recognized (Kings Mountain Men, by K. K. White), and renders his female descendants eligible to membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution.
John and Rachel were Presbyterians of the old school, the family was brought up under this influence. John Jr. was trained for the ministry.
It is said that John could hardly speak or write English, being of Gaelic origin, but he had a strong interest in education He with Colonel John Sevier, was appointed to collect subscriptions for the starting of Martin's Academy in 1785, said to have been the first school of higher education west of the Alleghanies. It was the predecessor of the present Washington College, of which John was made a trustee in 1795.
John was a friend of John Sevier, Governor of the State of Franklin while it existed, and first Governor of Tennessee. Sevier's journal makes several references to his having stayed for the night at Mr. Waddell's. A footnote says "The Waddells lived some eight miles down stream from the Sevier farm." This bond of friendship was strengthened by the marriage of John Jr. and the Governor's daughter, Rebecca.
We do not know the date of Rachel's death but place it about 1815 or 1816. John is said to have married his third wife, Susan Green, obviously a neighbor lady, who is said to have survived him by many years as she died at the age of over 100 years at Somerest, Kentucky.
John was contemporaneous with, and possibly had contact with several noted men who spent their earlier years in this vicinity. The famous tree marked "D. Boone killed a bar on this tree" was in Limestone Creek, a few miles from John's farm. Andrew Jackson practiced law and raced horses (probably with Seth) at Jonesboro. Andy Johnson made pants at Greenville, possibly for Jchn and the boys, and after Johnson became a congressman he filed John Jr.'s pension application in his own handwriting. Davy Crockett and Sam Houston were both local citizens of that area in their earlier days. In connection with the friendship of Andrew Johnson with the family, it is interesting to note that in 1868 President Johnson appointed Seth's son; John Sevier Waddell to the Land Office in Springfield, Missouri, without his knowledge or solicitation (notice that this is less than a year before Thomas Young Waddell migrated to Springfield, Missouri).
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