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Todds of Carson Fork, Rutherford and Cannon Counties, Tennessee
William Todd (1793 NC- )

Rustic Log Fence | Todds of Carson's Fork

During the late 1700s, the time recorded in history when expansive lands of Tennessee began beckoning Todd families from North Carolina to venturous journeys, a young man named William Todd, was born, yet one more adventurous pioneer soon to join the many who made that exciting migration west.


As documented in a 182-year-old Todd family Bible, William was born on the 28th day of September, 1793, and though some have mistakenly referred to him as William "Thomas" or William "T", no primary source has stated a middle name or initial. William was born in North Carolina, as documented in an 1850 federal census. William's parents and siblings are yet to be documented by original historical documents; however, Y-DNA from descendant donors, supported by original historical documents from donor to ancestor, proving son to father, generation to generation from donor to ancestor, has yielded the names of four of William's contemporary relatives: Joseph Todd born 1798 in Northern Ireland, and three other relatives, all of whom resided in close proximity to William in the Carson Fork area of Rutherford County that decades later would became Cannon County: James Todd born 1788 in North Carolina, William (Wm) Todd born 1816 in Tennessee and Micajah Franklin Todd born 1817 in Tennessee; but as yet, the exact relationship among these five individuals is unknown.

On the 28th day of September, 1815, on his 22nd birthday, William acquired his first land, 30-acres in Rutherford County, Tennessee, on the East Fork of Stones River. “Billie”, as author Sterling Spurlock Brown refers to young William in his 1936 History of Woodbury and Cannon County, was among the original settlers of the area resting along the banks of Haws Spring Fork, a tributary of Carson Fork of East Fork Stones River, and located near Burt. (map) (interactive map) Following the decisive step of property ownership, and a mere two weeks later, young William took yet another very important step in his life, as documented once more in that same cherished family Bible, when, on the 15th day of October, 1815, he married his young bride Margaret Spear.


After five years of marriage, William and his emerging little family are enumerated for the first time in the 1820 federal census for Rutherford County:

Free white males under ten years 1 (the name of this son is unknown, but he appears consistently throughout the 1820, 1830 and 1840 censuses)

Free white males of twenty-six and under forty-five years including head of families 1 (William age 27)

Free white females under ten years 1 (Elizabeth/Lizzie age 3)

Free white females of sixteen and under twenty-six, including heads of families 1 (Margaret age 24)


As years advanced, the family of William and Margaret grew quickly, with five more youngsters born into the family in the next ten years, as enumerated in the 1830 federal census for Rutherford County:


Under five years of age 2 (William T. age 3, Jacob H. age 1)

Of five and under ten 2 (James S. age 8and the name of this son is unknown, but he appears consistently throughout the 1820, 1830 and 1840 censuses)

Of thirty and under forty 1 (William age 37)


Under five years of age 1 (Mary J. age 3)

Of five and under ten 1 (Nancy J. age 7)

Of ten and under fifteen 1 (Elizabeth/Lizzie age 13)

Of twenty and under thirty 1 (Margaret age 34)

Of seventy and under eighty 1 (unknown)


The 1840 federal census for Cannon County shows the family having grown by three more children:

M         40-50 (William age 47)

F          40-50 (Margaret age 44)

M         20-30 (the name of this son is unknown, but he appears consistently throughout the 1820, 1830 and 1840 censuses)

F          20-30 (Elizabeth/Lizzie age 23)

M         15-20 (James S. age 18)

F          15-20 (Nancy J. age 17)

F          10-15 (Mary J. age 13)

M         10-15 (William T. age 13)

M         10-15 (Jacob H. age 11)

M         5-10 (John R. age 9)

F          5-10 (Sarah S. age 6)

F          0-5 (Margaret A. age 4)


The 1850 federal census for Cannon County finds William and Margaret having added yet another offspring to their family, but some of their children were growing toward adulthood and making a life on their own, and William and Margaret found their nest becoming a bit smaller:

William Todd Sr     57M  Farmer

Margaret Todd        51F

Mary J. Todd           23F

William T. Todd      22M  Farmer

Jacob H. Todd         21M   Farmer

John R. Todd           19M   Farmer

Sarah S. Todd          16F

Margaret A. Todd   14F

Tennessee Todd        3F

Gemmema Patrie   87F


During the ensuing years, William expanded his holdings, taking full advantage of the very rich and fertile Tennessean farming lands with his 1850 purchase of a tract of some 40 acres in Cannon County and another 40 acres in 1852, providing not only for his own large family but for friends and community as well.


When the 1860 federal census for Canon County was enumerated, William and Margaret were near empty nesters, with only one of their offspring remaining at home:

Wm Todd             65M  Retired Farmer

Margaret Todd    63F

Tennessee Todd  12F


The 1860 census is the last census enumerating William.

The collection of original historical documents for William Todd (1793- ) reveals a close interconnection between William and the eldest and earliest Todd settler to the Carson Fork area of Rutherford County, Tennessee, James Todd (1788- ); yet no original historical documentation has proven a family relationship; circumstantial evidence tempts persuasion, but again, without original historical documentation to prove …

Both James Todd and William Todd are documented from primary source census, page 1, page 2,  to have been born in North Carolina.


Upon migrating from North Caroline westward, both James Todd and William Todd settled in Tennessee, on the waters of Horse (Haws) Spring Fork, of Carson Fork, a branch of East Fork Stones River, and located near Burt, in Rutherford County, (map) (interactive map), and the 1820 Murfreesboro, Rutherford County census enumerates both William Todd and James Todd, one space apart. The arrival of James is recorded in Tennessee and Tennesseanspage 1, page 2, as being in the “ ... territory …  settled in part as early as 1807 or 1808. Among the pioneers … were (among others) James Todd.”  The History of Woodbury and Cannon County records William Todd, "Billie", as among the original settlers of the area resting along the banks of Horse (Haws) Spring Fork, further documented in part with William's 1815 Rutherford land purchase.

Though Y-DNA proves a familial relationship between James Todd and William Todd, for lack of an original historical document, the exact relationship between the two is yet unknown.

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