GEORGE YOAKUM & ISAAC VANBEBBER, Early Settlers of Claiborne County, Tennessee

As you will see from the following there are different opinions on the formations of YOAKUM's FORT, first in Va and latter in the Powell Valley section of what is now Claiborne Co., Tn.

Written by FRANKLIN YOAKUM (born 1819), son of GEORGE YOAKUM and Mary Ann Maddy, and given to him by his father GEORGE YOAKUM I - now the property of CHARLES H. YOAKUM, of Los Angeles, Calif.

The YOAKUMs emigrated to America with the first Dutch settlers on the Island of Manhattan, the present site of New York City. They were of Welsh extraction. In the Welsh language the original name was so uncouth and knotty that our fathers of three or four hundred years ago agreed to have it changed into "IUGUM", or "JAGUM", which is the Latin term for "YOKE". A short time under the influence of their English neighbors, it was again changed into "YOCUM" and finally "YOAKUM." The given names of the YOAKUMs in the City of New York are not known, but Valentine, a son of one of them, moved to South Potomac on Potomac on Peach Creek. After he married, VALENTINE YOAKUM (1721), youngest of seven sons, moved to Muddy Creek, Greenbrier County, Va., and settled YOAKUM's STATION (1771), now Powell Valley, Claiborne Co. Tennessee. He was there tomahawked by a Shawnee Indian. With him were his wife and children - all killed but young George, who was swift of foot and of great strength, killing three Indians with a frying pan handle, which he jerked from one as he passed through. He was afterwards in the Battle of Point Pleasant. At 25 years of age he married the daughter of ISAAC VAN BIBBER, who fell in that battle. GEORGE YOAKUM I. continued to live at Muddy Creek, Va., until he became father of three sons, the youngest of whom was George II, when they moved to Powell's Valley.


Born ca. 1740, Russell Co. Va.

The following account comes from Claiborne Co. Historical Societies ,Reflections, Spring Edition 1995 and was written by, STEVE SMITH and EARL QUINTRELL.

The first YOAKUM FORT / STATION - actually, there were at least three that have been documented and there may very well have been four - was situated about two miles from Dryden, on the Powell River, in Russell County, now Lee County, Va. It is named in Calendar of VA State Papers, Vol, IV Pages 357/376. This station was built after about 1783. The second YOAKUM FORT/STATION was situated in the Valley of the Powell River, in what is now Speedwell, Claiborne, Co., TN. This station is about 65-70 miles further down the Powell River, from the first station. this stations was formed about 1797. Most of the research located in the Claiborne County area center around the GEORGE YOAKUM in the Powell Valley area of Claiborne Co.

1787 and 1788, Lower District of Russell Co., Early, VA, Tax Records; JOHN VAN BEBBER, PETER VAN BEBBER, and GEORGE YOAKUM each paid taxes for one tithable over age 21.

1789-1793, Lower district of Russell Co., Early Va. Tax Records: JOHN VAN BEBBER, PETER VAN BEBBER, JAMES VAN BEBBER, and GEORGE YOAKUM, all paid taxes for one tithable over 21.

Aug. 1792-Dec. 1793, Russell Co., Va. The Governor of Va directed the Commander of Washington Co, Va, to draft 25 men and send them ot Powell Valley for relief. GEORGE YOAKUM, Private, was one who served. Also, JAMES VAN BEBBER, Private was one who served.

1792, Oct 25- GEORGE YOAKUM and JOHN, PETER and JAMES VAN BEBBER, and several other, signed a petition to divide Russell Co., Va, into Russell and Lee Counties.

1795-, Lee County, Va. Personal Property and Land Book, PETER VAN BEBBER, and JAMES VAN BEBBER paid tax for one white male over age 16. GEORGE YOAKUM paid tax for two white males over age 16. Who was the second white male? This may have been ISAAC YOAKUM born Feb 23, 1778 from YOAKUM Cemetery tombstone.

1796, 13 June - Lee Co., Va. Deed Book #1, Pages 259-260. GEORGE YOAKUM and his wife, PATTY, of Lee County, sold land in Lee County to JOSEPH SPENCER. Three hundred acres situated on the south side of the Powell River were sold for 160 pounds.

1797 - Grainger Co., Tn, Court Minute Book #1, Pg. 12. JOHN VAN BEBBER and GEORGE YOAKUM, among others, were appointed by the Court to be a jury of view for a road the nearest and best way from TURNER's FERRY on the Holston River to the YOAKUM STATION in Powell Valley. This would later become, 1801, Claiborne Co., Tn.

1797, Oct 1 - The Church minutes of the Baptist Church of Jesus Christ at Davis Creek shows PETER and JOHN VAN BEBBER, and GEORGE YOAKUM, Petioners for the organization of the Davis Creek Church.

1798, Sept. 11, - Lee County, Va., Deed Book #1, Pages 159-160. GEORGE YOAKUM and PATSY, his wife, of Hawkins Co., Tn, sold to ENOS SOUTHERLAND, of Lee Co., 52 acres of land in Lee County situated on the south side of Powell's River for the sum of 40 pounds.

1798, Sept. 11 - Lee County, Va, Deed Book #1, Pg 179. GEORGE YOAKUM, and PATSY, his wife of Hawkins Co., Tn, sold to JAMES HOOF of Lee County 100 acres of land for 40 pounds. The lad was on the South side of the Powell River. This is conjectured by the authors that GEORGE and MARTHA or MARGARET YOAKUM have divested themselves of their land holdings in Lee, Co., Va and have moved further down the Valley of the Powell river, where they have established a second YOAKUM FORT/STATION.

1799 - Granger Co.,Tn. Early Tax Records. JOHN VAN BEBBER was ordered by the Court to take a list of taxable property in the bound of Captain WILLIAM BOWMAN's Company. Among those on the list are: JOHN, PETER and JAMES VAN BEBBER; and GEORGE YOAKUM. GEORGE YOAKUM paid taxes on two white males over the age of 21 years. One of these obviously was George, himself.

1799 - Graniger Co. Tax List. There is a series of Early Tennessee Tax Records compiled by Byron and Barbara Sistler that they found in the Tennessee State Archives, Nashville. The following YOAKUMs appear on the Tax List from Grainger Co. ISAAC YOAKUM, JOHN YOAKUM, VALENTINE YEOKUM, GEORGE YOAKUM.

1800 May 3 - Minutes of the Davis Creek Church, Grainger Co., GEORGE YOAKUM and SAMUEL WEAVER were asked to inquire of PETER VAN BEBBER concerning his non-attendance of Church.

1800 - June 7 - Minutes of the Davis Creek Church, Grainger Co., GEORGE YOAKUM reports to the Church that PETER VAN BEBBER did not attend the Church because he did not like the preaching.

1800 May 18, Grainger County, Tn, Court Minutes Book 1 pg. 174-175. At a Court begun and held in and for the County of Grainger, at the Court House in Rutledge, on the Third Monday in

May 1801 - it is being the 18th day of said month - ordered that Martha YOAKUM and ISAAC YOAKUM have the right to Administration of the estate of GEORGE YOAKUM, deceased, who have JOHN VAN BEBBER and ROBERT HOWARD their Securities in the Sum of $500 and were qualified accordingly. Let Letter of Administration issue.

1803 - Grainger Co., Tn. ISAAC YOAKUM, JOHN YOAKUM, and VALENTINE YOAKUM all appear on a petition to the Tennessee State Legislature. Unfortunately, the reason for the petition is not given in reference - pgs 69 - 70, "Early Tax Lists for Tennessee", by Mary Barnett Curtis.

1803, June 8 - Claiborne Co., Tn. Claiborne Co., Court Minutes Book #1, June Term of court, Pg. 136. Case in court - ISAAC YOAKUM and MARTHY YOAKUM, vs. ARTHUR MARKUM and GEORGE HOVER ordered by the Court that Sheriff JOHN HUNT be fined $125 for an unlawful return on the writ in this suit.

1805 - 1807 - Claiborne Co. Court Minutes. ISAAC YOAKUM appears many times on Jury lists of the County Court;

1807, August 20 - Claiborne Co., Deed Book Pg. 95. Also Deed Book A. pg. 89. JOHN VANBEBBER of Claiborne Co. sold 212 and two quarters and 36 poles of land to ISAAC YOAKUM for $525. the land was in Powell Valley in the RICHARD HENDERSON and CO. Greater Powell Valley Survey, in Lot B, which by subdivision fell to Col. THOMAS HART and by him conveyed to JOHN and PETER VAN BEBBER. Col. THOMAS HART and by him conveyed to JOHN and PETER VAN BEBBER.

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