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Todds of Carson Fork, Rutherford and Cannon Counties, Tennessee
William (Wm) Todd (1816 TN- )

Rustic Tennessee Fenced Barn | Todds of Carson's Fork
Wm Todd 1816 TN | Todds of Carson's Fork

William (Wm) Todd is recorded in history as born between August 10 and November 5, 1816, in Tennessee. Original historical documents have shown that William was also referenced as “Wm Todd Jr.”,  and without exception, he signed his name. “Wm Todd".

As yet, neither genealogy nor DNA substantiates William's parents, his ancestors are as yet unknown, and no siblings have been identified by genealogy nor DNA. However, Y-DNA from descendant donors, supported by original historical documents, proving son to father, generation to generation from donor to ancestor, has proven in history, the names of four of his contemporary relatives:  Joseph Todd born 1798 in Northern Ireland, who was living in Ireland at the time of William's birth, and three other Carson Fork Todd relatives who lived in close proximity to William, James Todd born 1788 in North Carolina, William Todd born 1793 in North Carolina and Micajah Franklin Todd born 1817 in Tennessee. As yet, the exact relationship among these five individuals is unknown.


Little in history is known about William’s early life, one of the earliest events occurring as a young adult, June 21, 1839, in Cannon County, Tennessee, when William, age 22, married young Sarah Ewell, who became his wife, his lifelong companion and the mother of all ten of his children.


This newlywed young couple was enumerated together for the first time in the year following their marriage, in the 1840 federal census for Cannon County (Wm Todd Jr.)


A couple of years later, in 1842, William and Sarah welcomed into their world their firstborn, a son, James Calvin (the full name of James documented on his daughter's Certificate of Death). By late 1843, a baby daughter had been added to the family, Mary J., and by mid-1846, son William A. had been born, followed by son Ransom in 1847.


William became a landowner on January 8, 1848, when Cannon County, Tennessee Deed Book F shows, B. L. McFerrin to William Todd, Jr. 35 acres. This land purchase was the start of a lifetime commitment by William to utilizing his talents and skills in agriculture, providing for his growing family and for the community.


In 1849, son Robert A. was born, as enumerated in the 1850 census Cannon County, Bradys Rock. Shortly after, daughter Flora A. was born, and in the ensuing several years, the family welcomed two more children to their family, Joseph T. and Cynthia C.


At about this time, William began setting his sights on relocating to greener pastures elsewhere, and in preparation for fulfilling those dreams, on January 9, 1857, William conveyed his 35 acres in Cannon County, to A. F. McFerrin.


William and his family bravely set out, migrating through Missouri, where daughter Elizabeth (Betty) was born, and finally arriving in northwest Arkansas.


June 1, 1860 found William making his first investment in the fertile farm lands (80 acres) of Fayetteville. In the 1860 census, page 1, page 2, William and his family are enumerated living in Richland, Madison County, and on May 1, 1861, William purchased an additional 40 acres of land in Huntsville (formerly Fayetteville), Madison County.


William and his family continued to thrive in Madison County ... then the outbreak of the Civil War. Not unlike so many other families with fathers and sons doing all possible to support the cause, Todd sons, James Cal and William A., along with the Todd sons-in-law, were doing their part serving federal forces, 1st Arkansas Cavalry, Company C. William too offered what services he could to the federal forces at Fayetteville. When the 1st Arkansas Cavalry evacuated Fayetteville and fell back to Springfield, Missouri, the move was made in the middle of the night and without prior notice. As required, William went with the command, but he could not take his wife Sarah and his remaining family for lack of time to prepare. Within a couple of days, William’s Sarah and their remaining family started on toward Springfield, but on the road 5 miles north of Fayetteville, a party of Rebels stopped them, robbing them and taking one of their two loaded wagons and the horses. The remaining loaded wagon and oxen the family left with a nearby resident (a complete stranger) who took care of the Todd family's possessions until the family moved back to Fayetteville. During the fall of 1863, William was posted at the federal military post in Fayetteville, where he was the post butcher for the troops, employed by the beef contractor. He remained there until about the close of the war.*


After the war, William purchased more land, in Washington County, some 80 acres on April 21, 1868, and another 40 acres in January of 1869. By the 1870 census, page 1, page 2, William and his family were enumerated living in Richland, Washington County, where son William A., wife and two young daughters were living nearby, with William enumerated dwelling #36 and son William A. #38.


History records another child, a daughter Sarah E., born into the family of William and Sarah by this time, Sarah E. being the last of the ten children born to William and Sarah. Per family lore from William and Sarah’s great granddaughter Mildred Eller Johnston in December 1989, (and without further documentation): “ … she (Mary J.) had a sister named Betty, and another sister who was a ‘midget’ and married a normal size man and died when she gave birth to the child which did not live either.”


Between 1871 and 1872, William served as Associate Justice in Washington County.


In an August 11, 1873 deposition* for a federal funds claim by son James to the Southern Claims Commission, William stated that he was both Justice of the Peace in Washington County and continued his farming.


Per February 19, 1875 testimony* before the Southern Claims Commission testifying on behalf of a former employee, William was at that time living, “ ... 7 miles east of Fayetteville, Washington County, for the past six years” and continued his farming.


In the 1880 federal census, William, along with wife Sarah and daughter Sarah E., was enumerated living and farming in Granby, Newton County, Missouri. Son William A. and his family were also in Granby, where he was mining. In 1880, the William Todd family and the William A. Todd family were the only Todds in Newton County, Missouri. The 1880 census is the last documented event thus far found for William or his wife Sarah. No records have been found of their deaths or burials.

*August 11, 1873, complete deposition of William Todd before the Southern Claims Commission testifying on behalf of son James for a federal funds claim: page 8, page 9

*February 19, 1875, complete deposition of William Todd before the Southern Claims Commission testifying on behalf of a former employee, William H. Sherrod: page 20, page 21, page 22, page 23, page 24, page 25

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