Biographical Sketch of Elijah Mayfield (1762-1843)
By Phil Norfleet
In my opinion, this Elijah Mayfield was the son of the James Mayfield who was killed by Indians at Eaton's Station (near the modern city of Nashville, Tennessee) in about August 1780. I also believe that this Elijah is the same person who appears in the 1790 Federal Census for Pendleton County, South Carolina (SC). Elijah submitted a sworn deposition, as part of his application for a Federal Revolutionary War Pension (see File # S2754), in Hickman County, Tennessee (TN) on 15 July 1834. Analysis of his deposition, together with other known information concerning Elijah, allows me to establish several major milestones in his life.
Records of Elijah Mayfield in VA (1762-1780)10 June 1762: Elijah Mayfield, in his 1834 Revolutionary War Pension Application (see below), states that he was born in Amherst County, Virginia (VA) on 10 May 1762. Some Mayfield genealogists think he may have been the twin brother of Elisha Mayfield; however, I have never found any evidence to support this assertion.
About 1777: Elijah, his parents and siblings move from Amherst County to the New River region of Southwest VA which, in 1776, had become a part of the newly formed Montgomery County. They probably settled in the Bluestone Creek area, a northern tributary of New River.
08 September 1778: James Mayfield and his wife Ellender, convey to James Rowsey, for £100, a tract of land containing 100 acres, lying on the north branch of Buffalo River in Amherst County VA. Southerland (spelled "Sutherlin")) Mayfield, older brother of Elijah, signs this deed as a witness. [See Amherst County VA Deed Book E, page 57.]
07 January 1779: Elijah enlists in the First Virginia Regiment.
April 1779: Elijah Mayfield, in his pension application, tell us that after he had joined the Regiment, in early 1779, his group of recruits, commanded by John Montgomery, were marched from Montgomery County VA down through the Holston River Country of NC to the Tennessee River, where they embarked by boat down the Tennessee to the Ohio River. Further to Elijah's account, Pat Alderman, in his book entitled The Overmountain Men (first published 1970), at page 71, tells us:
" ... Another campaign of equal importance to the Tennessee settlers was the Chickamauga Campaign, commanded by Colonel Evan Shelby. Some six hundred men embarked on boats from the mouth of Big Creek on the Holston River in April 1779. The streams, swollen by spring freshets, made for a fast trip to the Chickamauga towns. The surprise attack on this Indian country was a complete success. The Indians fled to the hills and forests. Large stores of supplies, furnished by the English for the attack on the Tennessee settlers, were captured. Many of the towns were burned.
"Captain John Montgomery, sent to the northwest with Colonel Clarke, was with this force at the capture of Kaskaskia. Captain Montgomery was sent back to the Holston Settlements to recruit more troops. During the winter months of 1778-1779, Captain Montgomery had enlisted one hundred fifty men for a year's service. Colonel Shelby, planning the Chickamauga Campaign and needing more men, asked the aid of this force. Governor Patrick Henry [of Virginia] ordered Captain Montgomery and his men to participate with Shelby. At the close of this mission, Captain Montgomery and his men continued the trip by boat. They rejoined Colonel Clarke in the northwest. Montgomery, promoted to Colonel, was placed in charge of the Kaskaskia district for a period. Captain James Shelby, son of Colonel Evan Shelby, accompanied Colonel Montgomery with sixteen men. Captain Shelby was placed in command of Fort Patrick Henry at Vincennes. ... "
13 July 1780: Elijah is discharged from Virginia's Illinois Regiment at the Falls of the Ohio (modern-day Louisville).
Records of Elijah Mayfield in the Cumberland Settlements of NC (1780-1785)
Late July 1780: Elijah travels overland to the Cumberland Settlements, probably with his father, James, and brother, Isaac.
August 1780: Elijah's father, James Mayfield, is killed by Delaware Indians near Eaton's Station. This death of James Mayfield is mentioned in one of the early histories of Tennessee. Judge John Haywood, in his famous book entitled The Civil and Political History of the State of Tennessee (first published in 1823), at page 125, says the following when discussing the events of the year 1780:
" ... Soon afterward a party of Indians, supposed to be Delawares, killed Jonathan Jennings at the point of the first island above Nashville, in July or August. At Eaton's Station they killed James Mayfield, and at the same place, which is on the north side of the Cumberland River, a man by the name of Porter was shot by the Indians in the cedars, in view of the station, ... "
February 1782: Elijah Mayfield is a signer (along with his brothers Isaac and Elisha) of a petition to the North Carolina General Assembly that states the following:
" ... The petition of the inhabitants of the Cumberland River humbly sheweth:
"That whereas a number of your petitioners in the latter part of the year 1778 had proposed to remove themselves to this country when they were informed that this place was reserved for the soldiery of Virginia and your petitioners not wishing to settle in contempt of government, a number of them set out with instruments to try the latitude and found this place to be a considerable distance within the limits of North Carolina from which they were engaged and in the following year planted a crop of corn for the sustenance of their families and in consequence thereof they and many of your petitioners removed their families and properties into the country the same year. That your petitioners having long experienced and well know the blessings flowing from government immediately prepared and sent a petition praying to be taken under your protection. That your petitioners have since been informed that the lands on Cumberland River are reserved by act of the general assembly for the soldiery of North Carolina. That since the settlement of this country a number of men have lost their lives & property by the Indians & by which means their widows & children, together with the greatest number of your petitioners are in the utmost distress and no means left for them to remove, without the greatest danger of falling a prey to the savages, or perishing in the attempt.
"Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that you will take them under your protection and gram them such other privileges & support as you in your great wisdom shall think proper. ... "
1782: Per Elijah's pension application, he was taken prisoner by Indians/British about a year after his arrival in the Cumberland Settlements, i. e., about August 1781. However, this date is almost certainly too early, since we know that Elijah signed a petition while in the Cumberland Settlements in February 1782 (see above). Thus, I think it more likely that he was captured in the latter part of 1782. Furthermore, another petition was sent to the North Carolina General Assembly in the early part of 1783; Isaac Mayfield is the only Mayfield on the list of signers.
1783: Elijah returns from captivity, probably sometime in the latter part of the year 1783. Elijah states that he escaped after being held captive for about two and one-half years. However, the Treaty of Paris, officially ending the War, was signed in September 1783. Accordingly, I consider it highly doubtful that he was held captive until long after the war had ended. It is possible that he meant two and one-half months, not years!
Late 1783: Elijah, in his pension application, states that, after returning from captivity, he removed to the vicinity of the Long Island of the Holston (Sullivan or Washington County - then part of North Carolina). Elijah further states that he married there and resided in the area for about 18 months. I have searched the marriage, land and court records of both Sullivan and Washington Counties; unfortunately, I have not been able to find the name of Elijah Mayfield mentioned in any of these records.
1784: Micajah Mayfield of Jefferson County VA grants
power of attorney to his brother, Isaac Mayfield, of Davidson County NC with
respect to Micajah’s interest in the 640-acre tract of land granted posthumously
to their father, James Mayfield. Isaac is to keep one hundred (100) acres for
himself and to equitably divide the remainder of Micajah’s share between their
younger brothers, Elijah and Elisha.
Records of Elijah Mayfield in SC (1785-1802)
1785: Elijah removes to South Carolina (SC) in about 1785. In his pension application, Elijah states that he lived in SC for about 17 years. Based on this statement, Elijah's residence in South Carolina was approximately from 1785 to about 1802. This interval is perfectly consistent with the documented records of the Elijah Mayfield of Pendleton County SC (see below). It should also be noted that Elijah of Pendleton is the only Elijah Mayfield identified as a head of household in the 1790 Census for SC. No matter how you estimate the above milestones, it is evident that Elijah the pension applicant must have been in South Carolina by 1790. Therefore, if Elijah of Pendleton is not this same person, then where in South Carolina is he? There does not appear to be any other reasonable alternative.6 April 1785: A 240-acre tract of land on Goldens Creek, a tributary of 12 Mile River, in what would, in 1789, become Pendleton County, is surveyed and certified for Elijah Mayfield. [See SC Plat Book 17, page 113]
5 February 1787: Elijah Mayfield receives the grant for the 240-acre tract surveyed for him in 1785. [See SC State Grant Book 17, page 613]
13 October 1792: Elijah Mayfield conveys his 240-acre tract on Goldens Creek to James Brown. [See Pendleton County Deed Book C-D, pages 375-376]
5 November 1795: Elijah Mayfield acquires a 158-acre tract of land on 12 Mile River from John Patterson. [See Deed Book C-D, page 353]
27 September 1797: Elijah and his wife, Elizabeth Mayfield, convey the above cited 158-acre tract to George Miller. [See Deed Book C-D, pages 353-354]
12 April 1799: Elijah and Elizabeth Mayfield convey a 270-acre tract on 12 Mile River to Bennet Combs. Witnesses to the transaction are Stephen Mayfield and Isham Mayfield. [See Deed Book E, pages 22-23] I could find no documentation in the county records as to how Elijah obtained title to this land.
10 January 1801: Elijah Mayfield and Elizabeth, his wife, convey a 260-acre tract on Rice's Creek of 12 Mile River to Edwin Bain. This was land that had been " ... granted to Stephen Mayfield the 19th day of February 1791 [sic] ... ." [This stated date of Stephen Mayfield's grant is wrong - it should be 02 December 1793!] The deed was recorded in Pendleton District on 11 March 1801. [See Deed Book F, pages 150-151] It should be noted that this deed is unreadable on the microfilm. I visited the SC State Archives at Columbia in July 2000 and reviewed the original Deed Book F. The ink is badly faded with respect to this indenture but is still readable.
Records of Elijah Mayfield in KY (1803- 1819)
1802-1803: Elijah removes to Shelby County KY in about 1802 or 1803. Elijah states that he lived in KY for about 16 years. This statement is supported by the official tax records of Jefferson and Shelby Counties KY. The first record, of which I am aware, for Elijah Mayfield in Kentucky is when he shows up on the Shelby County (a county adjacent to Jefferson) poll tax list for the year 1803. The tax records indicate that his place of residence alternated between Shelby and Jefferson Counties from 1803-1818. The last tax record of Elijah in KY is in Jefferson County for the year 1818. The time period from 1803 to the year 1819 is exactly 16 years! There is no evidence that Elijah owned any land in KY during this period.
Records of Elijah Mayfield in Hickman and Maury Counties TN (1819-1843)
1819: Elijah removes to Hickman County TN sometime after April 1819. Elijah's son, William, was married in Jefferson County KY in April 1819. Elijah provided written consent to this marriage on 16 April 1819; accordingly, he was still in Kentucky at that time.
1820: Elijah is listed in the 1820 Federal Census for Hickman County. He is listed as being in the 45 and up age group.
1830: Elijah appears in the 1830 Federal Census for Hickman County TN. He is listed as being in the 70-80 age group. This grouping appears to be incorrect. If Elijah was born in 1762, he would only have been about 68 in 1830.
15 July 1834: Elijah, while still living in Hickman County TN, makes his Revolutionary War Pension Application. Elijah states that, at the time of this application, he had been in Hickman County TN for about 14 years.
1840: Elijah appears in the 1840 Federal Census for Hickman County TN. He is listed as being in the 80-90 age group. This grouping appears to be incorrect. If Elijah was born in 1762, he would only have been about 78 in 1840.
05 October 1843: Elijah purportedly dies in Maury County TN.
Family of Elijah Mayfield
Land records from Pendleton County SC (see above) indicate that Elijah's wife was named Elizabeth; unfortunately her maiden name is unknown. Based on an analysis of the poll tax lists and the marriage records of both Jefferson and Shelby Counties KY, I can associate at least eight children with Elijah and Elizabeth Mayfield. Some Mayfield genealogists have indicated that Elijah had at least twelve children in all, but I have not been able to obtain any documentary evidence to support more than eight. The following table lists twelve children; I can personally substantiate only the first eight. Undocumented information regarding the last four (Millie, Eleanor, James and a Daughter - name unknown), have been taken from an article by Merle Stevens. [See Hickman County Tennessee History, published 1993, page 211.]
* There has been considerable debate among some Mayfield researchers as to who was the father of this George Mayfield, who married Laurena Humphreys in 1817. Was it Micajah (d. 1838) or his younger brother, Elijah Mayfield (d. 1843)? I have concluded that George Mayfield is a son of Elijah Mayfield for two reasons:
1) An analysis of the poll tax lists for both Jefferson and Shelby Counties KY implies that George was a son of Elijah Mayfield, not Micajah. The last year that both George and Elijah Mayfield appear in the poll tax list for Jefferson County KY is 1818. We know from Elijah's Revolutionary War pension application (see above) that he went to Hickman County TN in 1819. Probably George and Laurena went with him. Both George and Elijah appear in the 1820 Federal Census for Hickman County. This strongly implies a father - son relationship. Conversely, Micajah Mayfield, is known to have remained in KY until 1821 when he removed to Sullivan County IN.
2) The place of birth for this George Mayfield, per the 1850 Federal Census for Sullivan County IN, is given as South Carolina. Of all the sons of the elder James Mayfield (d. 1780), only Elijah Mayfield is known to have lived in South Carolina -- 17 years in the Pendleton County area (1785-1802).
* * There also has been considerable debate among some Mayfield researchers as to who was the father of this William Mayfield, who died testate in Sullivan County, Indiana in the year 1848. Was it Micajah (d. 1838) or his younger brother, Elijah Mayfield (d. 1843)? The marriage records of Jefferson County KY make it very clear that William was the son of Elijah Mayfield. As William was under 21 years of age at the time of his marriage, under KY law, parental consent was required. On 16 April 1819, Elijah Mayfield gave his consent to the marriage in the following words: