William Zachariah Isbell

William Zachariah Isbell

North Carolina, USA
Death 1826 (aged 56–57)
Lim Rock, Jackson County, Alabama, USA
Burial Jackson County, Alabama, USA
Memorial ID 105684468 · View Source
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The Isbell Cemetery at Lim Rock, Alabama, is located near Isbell Branch on private property belonging to the family of the late Paul Mount(1938-2017), former Sheriff of Jackson County.

William or William Zachariah Isbell was a third cousin once removed to John Brown Gordon, governor of Georgia. His children were fourth cousins of Gov. Gordon.

The Heritage of Marshall County, Alabama, p. 198: Cora Isbell Walker stated that her great-great-grandfather William Isbell was believed to have been at the Battle of King's Mountain with his father Zachariah Isbell (Jr.). (Cora Walker earned her Ph.D. in Library Sciences.) There was a 15-year-old William Isbell at the Battle of King's Mountain in 1780, but Notable Southern Families by Zella Armstrong (vol. 1, pp. 171, 188) states this was another William, who would be a first cousin of Zachariah Jr.

William Isbell, son of Zachariah Jr., would have been barely 11 or 12 years old at the time of the Battle if he was born circa 1769 as is accepted by the First Families of Tennessee genealogist.

His name was William Zachariah Isbell according to the late Ethlyn Rainey and some other descendants [ref., McKinney, Wanda L. "Descendants of Zachariah Isbell From Kings Mountain to the Present," ARKANSAS FAMILY HISTORIAN, vol. XV, no. 2 (April-June 1977), pp. 67-70]. The name William Zachariah is indeed handed down in the family so this could be correct.

He was the son of Zachariah Isbell Jr. of Sevier County, Tennessee (First Families of Tennessee, East Tennessee Historical Society). The most recent lineage applications accepted by FFT give his birth as circa 1769 and his mother's name Elizabeth Miller.

1788-79: William Isbell married and his first two sons John and James were born 1789 and 1791. The next living child was Levi in 1797, leading some researchers to believe that his mother Sarah Richardson was William's second wife. DNA results of descendants of James match the Boone-Richardson line as do the descendants of Levi Isbell which prove that Sarah Richardson was his first wife rather than a second marriage circa 1795-96. Sarah Richardson was born in Claiborne County, Tennessee, c1775, orphaned at age 5, and probably married there or in nearby Sevier County at only about age 14. Her mother Jemima Boone Richardson was also orphaned young, and she grew up in the household of her uncle Daniel Boone, the frontiersman.

March 22, 1796: Zachary Isbell "of Sevier County" sold 190 acres in Jefferson County, Tennessee to James Tucker
(ref., Jefferson Co. TN Deed Book C, p. 232; Land Deeds of Jefferson County TN 1792-1814 (1991), by Boyd Holdaway, p.54; Sevier County, Tennessee Pre-1856 Courthouse Fire Records (2009), by George and Juanita Fox, p. 134).

1799 Sevier County Petition: Miller Isbell, Levi Isbell, and William Isbell all signed this petition read in the Tennessee State Legislature Aug. 22, 1799 (Sistler, Byron and Barbara. Early Tennessee Tax Lists (1977), p.103).

In 1807, William Isbell was mentioned in a Sevier County land record as adjoining Robert Bird (Fox, George and Juanita. Sevier County, Tennessee/ State of Tennessee Land Grants 1806-1900 (2002); Bk 2, p. 523, No. 1434).

July 1796
Tennessee Genealogical Records: Records of Early Settlers from State and County Archives (1980) by Edythe Rucker Whitley, p. 131:
Many of these petitions deal with divorce and with legitimization of children. Others are petitions from inhabitants of various counties. All were found in the Tennessee State Archives, often in numbered boxes. If the number is known it is given.
Petition to the Honorable the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee. The exact date is not known, but was around the time that Tennessee was made a state and the time that lands were acquired from the Cherokee Indians (c. July 1796). The Petition reads in full:
We, the undersigned citizens of that tract of country lately acquired from the Cherokee Tribe of Indians and its vicinity, as well with a view to promote Publick good as individual interest, beg leave to represent to your honourable body, what we believe to be the true situation of the aforesaid tract of land, and what will be the result if the cause now contemplated should be forward relative to the sales.
The whole of the good lands in this tract of country (the river land excepted ) is situate in narrows, vallies running from northwest to southwest or nearly betwixt the rivers, Little Tennessee and Highawassee, each of which vallies are separated by large uninhabitable Ridges unfit for cultivation and when the Township and Sectional liens are applied to it, it so cuts and divides the land fit for cultivation as to render it of very little value.
(We) would therefore suggest to your honorourable body that property of changing the present course and opening an office to receive entries for land in such quantities as your wisdom may direct, which course we verily believe would inhance the value of the land and promote the interest of individuals in which event we do believe, it would be honest and correct, to allow the settlers a preperance (sic) of entry or compensation for his improvement. (We) would further suggest that by raising the price of good land you would be enabled to reduce the price of poor land, provided it would average at two dollars per acre, and by this means would sell Thousands of acres that would never have sold for two dollars and we think the revenue arising from the tax of poor land thus sold at a reduced price would be an object worthy the attention of this honourable assembly and we as in duty bound Shall pray, etc.
Samuel Vance Miller Isbell**
John Vance John Sheets
John Black William Isbell**
... p.132 (cont.:) Jason Isbell…."

William Isbell lived in Madison County, Alabama, 1814-19, and Lincoln County, Tennessee, 1820-26. He died immediately before or after the family moved from Lincoln County back over the line to Jackson County, Alabama, in 1826. His wife Sarah and younger children are known to have moved to Jackson County, Alabama, in 1826. His older sons acquired land in Jackson County by 1818. As early as 1827 Levi, James John Isbell were members of Blue Spring(s) Baptist Church, where James was buried in 1844(ref., The First Hundred Years, A History of Baptists in Jackson County, Alabama from 1821 until 1921 by J. Nelson Varnell, pp. 45, 57-58, 64-65).

The Heritage of Jackson County, Alabama, p.208, says William Isbell "died before 1828 in Madison County, Alabama."
If he died in Alabama, he likely died in Jackson County where the family settled in 1825-26, although this was very near the Madison County line. There may be as many as 100 graves in the Isbell family cemetery, most of them marked by rocks or unreadable. The cemetery adjoins two tracts to which John Isbell staked claim before 1822, although the two patents were not recorded until 1831. A dozen of the earliest graves are marked by large stone cairns with no discernible names. At the highest point, just north of the approximate center of the cemetery, two large stone cairns adjoin a large stone room or walled area containing three or four more graves. These appear to be the earliest graves, flanked on the east by three of six Isbell graves enclosed by individual wrought iron fences. One of these may be Sarah Isbell and another could be William Isbell, although many similar cairns at nearby Blue Springs Cemetery could also be graves of the first Isbell generation in Jackson County. James Isbell and other family members are buried there. The newer markers were erected by descendants.

1823 land survey map of Jackson County (Township 4S, Range 5E) shows lands near Lim Rock and Larkinsville owned by John W. Isbell (Sections 15,23, etc) Levi Isbell (23, 25,26 etc), Zachariah Isbell (11), Benjamin B. Allen (11), John Birdill (Birdwell or Cordill?), Culvers (3 tracts in Section 2 between Levi Isbell & Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell Conaway, Benjamin B. Allen, & Zach Isbell) , Conway, Wrights, Moon, Summers, Matthews, Berrys, Larkins, Samuel Williams, and other known neighbors. Ethlyn Rainey researched and interviewed older Isbell descendants in the 1940s-70s and stated that William Isbell's family moved to Jackson County to live near his brother Levi Isbell, though the older Levi Isbell was several miles away from the group near Larkinsville and Lim Rock. William Isbell's older sons were already in Jackson County before 1822 although William was in Tennessee until 1826.
Also owning tracts in Sections 15 and 22 almost adjoining John Isbell just east and southeast of the Isbell Cemetery was Samuel Williams Jr. (born 1785), first cousin of William Isbell, being a son of William's aunt Hannah Isbell, daughter of Zachariah Isbell Sr. Samuel Williams Jr. actually lived closest to John Isbell, between John Isbell and his brothers James and Levi, so it is interesting that Samuel Williams Jr. was buried at Dodson Cemetery (near his tract in Section 22). His mother Hannah Isbell probably lived with him and could be there as well.

1830 Jackson County census, p.58: Sarah Isbelle (age 50-60) with two males, three females, four doors away from her son Levi Isbell.
Levi is shown as Levi Isbel 30-40, four doors from Sarah Isbelle's household (which then included her son Zachariah), near Wm Dotson (Dodson), Hiram Ross, Sampson Howk (Houk). Near neighbors on p.57 include John Wright, John Peters, Wm & Henry Fry.
Levi Isbell owned several tracts of land, but based on the neighbors in the 1830 census, he may have lived on the tract which was the SESE of Section 17, TS4S R4E, a claim staked before 1822 as it appears on the 1822 land survey, Patent #7084 recorded/patented 1 March 1858. This is located almost 2 miles west of John Isbell’s land and the Isbell Cemetery, which is about 2 miles west of Blue Spring. This land was actually closer to the Dodson Cemetery and Gentle Cemetery. Located a little west of the fork of North Sauty Creek and Fraiser Spring, it lay NW of where County Road 526 forks off Hwy 80, which is a little NW of Dodson Cemetery, Bethlehem Church, and Limrock Free Holiness Church.
The Sarah Isbell home at the time of the 1830 census appears to have been between the Harrison, Berry, Gentle & Dotson (Dodson) Cemeteries and approximately an equal distance from all of these.
Turn off County Road 80 to 526 and go (west( to the end of this road which terminates at a small farm in Section 16. County Road becomes a private road and terminates. The woods to the west of this tract is Levi Isbell’s corner of Section 17.

Levi also owned two more tracts nearby, as did his brother-in-law Madison M. Bruton. Levi Isbell also owned tracts in Sections 25 & 26 a mile SE of Isbell Cemetery, adjoining his brother Miller Isbell and their brother-in-law John Summers.

Eastern ½ Section 26 & NW ½ of Section 25) & NW ½ of Section 25

This property is near the heart of Lim Rock community and the most developed area where the Isbells had property, and their most likely residence in the 1830 and 1840 censuses.
To get to this area (Eastern ½ Section 26 & NW ½ of Section 25) & NW ½ of Section 25):
From Road 119 heading south from Isbell Cemetery, in the heart of Lim Rock (former property of Matthew Sims), turn east on County Rd. 35 (W Willow St.) , go east past both forks of N Sauty Creek (Section 26) and then the road goes directly through Miller Isbell’s land (Levi Isbell’s to the south). West Willow Street going east then passes through Levi Isbell’s land (Section 25). At the bend in the road as it continues east, through land of Levi Isbell (to the south is land of his brother-in-law John Summers.
In the 1840 census, Levi Isbell is shown 6 doors away from Miller Isbell who is 2 doors away from Sarah Isbell who was next to Wm Berry who was 2 doors from Samuel Williams and Matthew Sims.

Also very nearby was Samuel Rowan, a Revolutionary War veteran from South Carolina whose daughter married Levingston Isbell.
Samuel Rowan went to Jackson County, Alabama from South Carolina and reportedly received bounty land for military service.
On the 1823 survey of Jackson County, Samuel Rowan had staked a claim to land (E½ SW of Section 13, T4S R4E) almost adjoining Matthew Summers (who married Elizabeth Isbell) and about a mile east of the Isbell Cemetery. He was also very near John Isbell, Levi Isbell, Miller Isbell, John Summers (who married Jemima Isbell), sons and sons-in-law of William Isbell, second cousin of Levingston Isbell who married Samuel Rowan’s daughter Mary. Also nearby was Samuel Williams Jr. (son of Hannah Isbell, daughter of Zachariah Isbell Sr.).
Livingston Isbell was the son of Pendleton Isbell, first cousin of William Isbell's father Zachariah Isbell Jr. and aunt Hannah Isbell Williams.

Also before 1822 Levi Isbell staked claim for a tract (patent issued 1834)in the NW quarter of the NW quarter of Section 36 Township 4S Range 5E, which was about four miles east of Blue Spring Church, where the Isbells were members, but actually closer to Woods Cove Cemetery, also known as Freeman Cemetery, which is just a little to the west of Levi Isbell's tract there.

Children of William and Sarah Isbell:
1. John William Isbell b. 1789 in TN, d. Aug. 7, 1873, who married Sept. 1816 (Madison Co., AL) Sarah Roden and had 8 children.
2. James R. Isbell b. 5 Oct 1791 in TN who mar. (1813 Madison Co, AL) Elizabeth Birdwell and had 13 children.
3. Levi Isbell b. 14 Nov 1797 in TN who mar. (1816 Madison Co, AL) Sarah H. Birdwell and had 11 children.
4. Miller Isbell b. 1800 who mar Sarah Womack and had 6 to 10 children.
5. Elizabeth Isbell b. 1804 who mar. Matthew Summers
6. Hannah Isbell b. 1805 who mar. Timothy Marchand (Marshon, Mershon)
7. Jemimah Isbell b.c1807?, d. 1835-42, who mar. John Summers
8. Zachariah L. Isbell b. 20 Feb 1814, d.Oct. 12, 1890 and never married.
9. Nancy Margaret Isbell b. 20 Feb 1814 (twin) who mar John Baker and had 6 children. (Some give Nancy and Margaret as two separate daughters.)
10. Rebecca Isbell b. 1816 who mar. Madison M. Bruton (Jackson Co., AL 1850, Franklin Co. 1860, Colbert Co. 1870)

All known heirs of William Isbell were documented in the 1890 Zachariah Isbell estate file:
Dekalb Co, AL Probate Record E (15?), p.491: Zachariah Isbell Estate
Dekalb Co., AL Probate Minutes H-K, p.583, Final Settlement 1 Nov 1892, finished 1897.
"This Probate dated 12 Oct 1890-4 Oct 1892." (Dekalb Co. Probate Minutes Book K, pp. 582-86.)

In the 1830 census, living with widow Sarah Isbell and her other children was a female aged 20-30 (b1800-1810) and a male 5-10 (1820-25). The female could be a widowed daughter or daughter-in-law, who doesn’t appear in the 1820 census, with her son. Whether the boy or his heirs later appear in the lengthy estate settlement of Zachariah Isbell has not been determined. He may have died or moved away and was unknown to the other heirs and estate administrators in 1890.
Whether other children who died young were born in the periods 1891-97 and 1807-14 is not known as names of infants do not appear in known family bibles, apparently written in later years after the children were adults.

Descendants of William and Sarah Richardson Isbell are eligible for membership in the following hereditary societies:
FIRST FAMILIES OF TENNESSEE (Isbell, Richardson) FFT #10.880-2, #10.881-2
Daughters of the American Revolution
Sons of the American Revolution

Family Members




  • Created by: Ray Isbell
  • Added: 22 Feb 2013
  • Find a Grave Memorial 105684468
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Zachariah Isbell (1769–1826), Find a Grave Memorial no. 105684468, citing Isbell Cemetery, Jackson County, Alabama, USA ; Maintained by Ray Isbell (contributor 47188697) .