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 James Isbell

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James Isbell

  • Birth 1720 Virginia, USA
  • Death 2 Nov 1780 Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA
  • Burial Antioch, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA
  • Memorial ID 103243781

Son of Henry Isbell who married the daughter of James Cox, Esq., of Orange Co., Virginia.
He was born in Virginia, at least the fourth generation of Isbells in Virginia. NOTABLE SOUTHERN FAMILIES by Zella Armstrong states erroneously that he was born in England.


James Isbell appears on the Orange Co. VA list of tithables; the list of Philip Bush in 1749, and that of John Bryant in 1756. These enumerated white males over 16, and slaves over 16.

ORANGE COUNTY ROAD ORDERS 1734-1749 by Ann Brush Miller, p.143: "24 November 1749, O.S. p. 233: Ordered That George Taylor & Erasmus Taylor Gent do view & mark off a Road from Timothy Crosthwaits to Tommahaugh Bridge and that James Isbell with the Male labouring Tithables under him & William McDonaugh clear the same over which the said Isbell is appointed Overseer."

James Isbell bought 200 acres in Orange County in 1754; in 1761 James and wife Frances of Orange sold this land. James of Albemarle Co. bought 320 acres in Orange in 1771. James and Frances of Albemarle sold 145 acres in Orange Co. in 1777 and 225 in 1779.

Louisa Co., VA Deed Book C, p. 85:
7 August 1760, Peter Copeland and Elizabeth his wife of the County of Chowan, State of North Carolina, sells to James Isbell of Orange County, Virginia, for 95 pounds sterling a tract of land consisting of 400 acres in the County of Louisa, Virginia, on the county line. Witnesses George Taylor, James Madison, and Andrew Shepherd. (Recorded 28 July 1761.) Virginia Ancestors and Adventurers,
by Charles Hughes Hamlin, vol. 1, p. 36 (1967) (Volumes 1-3 reprint, 1975, p.36).
The witness, James Madison, of Montpelier Plantation, Orange County, was the father of U.S. President James Madison.
24 August 1769: Inventory of Montpelier Plantation in Orange County, VA., shows James Madison ordered a book from England for James Isbell entitled "Sherlock on Death."

Where James Isbell and Frances Tompkins Livingston lived in Orange County later became Bedford County before it became Albemarle County, Virginia near Turkey Run on Preddy's Creek in Fredericksville Parish. They lived near Blue Run in Orange County which was the same neighborhood as the Preddy Creek settlement which later fell under the administration of Albemarle County. So they did not move all those times; the boundaries did.
James Isbell and his wife Frances, with their son Livingston Isbell and his wife Ann, lived on a 500-acre tract on the Albemarle County line adjoining Orange County just east of Ruckersville, just south of Blue Run, just west of Barboursville. The property also adjoined that of Thomas Land Sr. and wife Anna Sumpter, in the Turkey Run area and next to the Joseph Martin family. John Barlow and William Brockman (1718-1809) and lived nearby at 4349 Burnley Station Rd., Stony Point, Virginia. Stony Point is a community in metropolitan Barboursville today, a little north of Charlottesville.

James Isbell moved to Wilkes County, North Carolina, but he and children Thomas Isbell, Livingston Isbell, Mary Isbell Land, Jonathan Land, and John Barlow returned to Albemarle between December 1778 and February 1779 for the purpose of selling property to Thomas Wells, John Turner, and William Brockman (Albemarle Deed Book 7, pp. 271-74). The Brockman-Mitchell Cemetery located at 4349 Burnley Station Road is on the Brockman property, also known as: Preddys Creek Annex. The Brockman house at that address is possibly the oldest structure in Albemarle County. Although called the Christopher Brockman house, it could have been built by the Isbells.


Notable Southern Families by Zella Armstrong, vol. 1 (1918), p.109: "James Isbell died November 2, 1780, in Wilkes County, North Carolina. His wife, Frances Tompkins Livingston Isbell died January 2, 1 784, in Wilkes County, North Carolina. They had ten children, six sons and four daughters and had the honor of having six sons in the Battle of King's Mountain, namely, John Isbell, Livingston Isbell, Thomas Isbell, Francis Isbell, James Isbell, Second, and William Tompkins Isbell, who was only fifteen years old. Only two other families can boast such a record, the Seviers with seven members of the family and the Shelbys with four."

Notable Southern Families by Zella Armstrong, vol. 2 (1922), p.305: "The Shelbys are identified with the early history of Tennessee and Kentucky, and they share with the Seviers and the Isbells the honor of having the greatest number or representatives in the Battle of King's Mountain. There" (page 305 cont.:) "were seven Seviers, six Isbells and six Shelbys. By a peculiar coincidence also, the youngest soldiers in that famous Battle were of these families: James Sevier, aged sixteen, William Isbell aged fifteen, and David Shelby aged seventeen."

Tennessee, The Volunteer State (1923) by John Trotwood Moore, vol. 2, p.427: " Thomas Isbell, and also Livingston Isbell, were two of six brothers in the battle of King's Mountain."

James Isbell died in 1780 in Wilkes County, North Carolina. Frances Tompkins Livingston Isbell died about 1784. Family records state that both are buried at the "Old German Burying Ground near Wilkesboro," thought to be called Old Dutch Cemetery by others. (Statements attributed to Zella Armstrong and Rubyn Reynolds Ogburn.)


What George Carlton and others called "Old German" or "Old Dutch Burying Ground" is located on property that first belonged to Thomas Carlton (1756-1845) who married first Mary Land (1759-1796), daughter of Thomas Land and Anna Sumter, and married in 1799 Catherine Livingston (d.1837). Some also call it the Thomas Carlton family cemetery.
Thomas Carlton Jr., Revolutionary War soldier, is buried here.

Mary Land Carlton's brother Jonathan Land (1758-1820) married Elizabeth Isbell (1762-1820), daughter of James and Frances Tompkins Livingston Isbell.


James Isbell was buried (according to earliest documentation) at "The old German Burying Ground near Wilksboro." It is yet to be determined whether this is the same cemetery some called the "Old Dutch Cemetery," or the "old German Chapel and Cemetery" or "old German family graveyard."

"A British mercantile claim says he had a very good estate in Wilkes Co., but before the peace he became deranged in his mind and shot himself; his estate after his death was squandered among his children, most of whom settled in the same neighborhood." Some researchers have suggested he served in and was wounded at the Battle of Kings Mountain.

James Isbell and Frances Tompkins Livingston had just 10 children, named in the family Bible. Because the Livingston name appears handed down in several other branches of the Southern Isbells, some have claimed on nothing more than speculation that there were other children not named. There were no sons Benjamin and Jason. Benjamin Isbell (c1731-1789) who married Lettice Hickman (1734-1790) certainly was not a son of James Isbell (1720-1780) and Frances Tompkins Livingston (1727-1784).
James Isbell may have been a Livingston descendant and a cousin of his wife Frances Tompkins Livingston.

Bound For the Promised Land (1992) by Joan Cobb, p.331:
JAMES ISBELL was... born in Va. and he married Frances Tompkins Livingston in about 1747. He was first in Orange Co Va on 23 May 1754 where he bought 200 acres for 18 pounds from Matthew Gayle and his wife, Judeth of Spotsylvania Co. James Isbell is listed as a Planter. This deed, was witnessed by Zachery Taylor, John Mallory and (cont. page 332:) Stephen Smith (Or Co Deed Bk 12, 226-228). On 28 Mar 1771 in Orange Co, Charles Walker and
Margaret of Orange Co sold James Isbell of Albemarle Co 320 acres for 15 pounds (Of Co Deed Bk 15, 316-18). Then on 13 Jan 1779, James Isbell and Francis, his wife of Albemarle Co sold 275 acres for 200 pounds to Thomas Wells of Colbert Co MD. This was witnessed by Thomas Isbell, James Isbell, Jr., Levingston Isbell, and William Sims (Or Co Deed Bk 17, 157-59). James and Frances moved to Wilkes Co. NC just before 1780."


Notable Southern Families by Zella Armstrong, vol. 1 (1918), p.110:
James Isbell and Frances Tompkins Livingston "had six sons and four daughters," listed as:
"(1) John Isbell, born September 27, 1748.
(2) Milly Isbell, born April 2, 1750.
(3) Livingston Isbell, born November 17, 1751.
(4) Francis Isbell, born February 12, 1755.
(5) Thomas Isbell." (cont. p.111: born June 27, 1753)
"(6) Edith Isbell, born November 17, 1756.
(7) Mary Isbell, born August 21, 1758.
(8) James Isbell, Second, born April 3, 1760. [Some say his name was James B. Isbell]
(9) Elizabeth Isbell, born October 19, 1762.
(10) William Tompkins Isbell, born September 19, 1765."


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  • Created by: Ray Isbell
  • Added: 7 Jan 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 103243781
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Isbell (1720–2 Nov 1780), Find A Grave Memorial no. 103243781, citing Old Dutch, Antioch, Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Ray Isbell (contributor 47188697) .