John Miller Isbell

John Miller Isbell

Washington County, Tennessee, USA
Death 25 Aug 1853 (aged 75–76)
Madisonville, Monroe County, Tennessee, USA
Burial Madisonville, Monroe County, Tennessee, USA
Memorial ID 51629227 · View Source
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DIED AUG. 25, 1853, AGE 76.

Born 1777 Washington County, North Carolina (present-day Tennessee). Some say he was born in South Carolina.
Son of Zachariah Isbell Jr.

Zachariah Isbell Sr. and Jr. fought at the Battle of King's Mountain during the Revolutionary War. Zachariah Isbell Jr. married Elizabeth Miller, daughter of John and Hannah Miller of Virginia. Zachariah Sr.'s wife was also named Elizabeth, according to old Isbell researchers, although her name on a South Carolina land record dated 15 Nov 1768 is given as Catherine.

1777: Zachariah Isbell Jr. was in Washington County, N.C. (now Tennessee) when his son John Miller Isbell was born
1778: 1778 Washington Co. Tax List shows both Zachariah Isbell, Esq. (Sr.) and Zachariah Isbell (Jr).

March 22, 1796: Zachariah Isbell Jr. was living in Sevier County, Tennessee (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).

First Families of Tennessee (East Tennessee Hstorical Society): Zachariah Isbell, Jr., died in Sevier County in 1796-99 leaving three sons: William Isbell, Levi Isbell and John Miller Isbell. These three signed the August 1799 Petition of Sevier County to the Tennessee State legislature. William and Levi went together to Lincoln County, Tennessee, and later Alabama, while John Miller Isbell moved to Monroe County, Tennessee.
FFT Lineages #7003 - 7007, 10660, 12917, 13093, and 15210
are members showing descent from Zachariah Isbell Jr. through son John Miller Isbell.

The Tennessee Gazette and Metro District Advertiser, Nov. 7, 1804: "Ranaway from subscriber living in Sevier county on the waters of the French Broad River, a negro named PETER. He is about 25 years old, 5 ft. tall, very stout and has a scar on one cheek. John Miller Isbell."
Similar classified advertisement with some rewording in the Tennessee Gazette, November 14, 1804, page one.

John Miller Isbell was a soldier in the War of 1812, for which service he received land on Corntassle Branch in the Hopewell community, Monroe County. More than six generations of the family lived here. They were among the founders of the Hopewell Baptist Church where several generations have been members.
Burial place according to tradition, said Frank Isbill, who assisted Robert T (Bob Taylor) Lee, Jr., though not stated in the published condensed R.T. Lee article. Frank Isbill lived in Vonore, TN in 1978-9 when Peggy Isbell Hall was there. They determined he was living in Hopewell Springs on Corntassel Branch and many Isbell/Isbill descendants had been buried there for generations. Peggy said, "My notes say they were among the founders of that church and several (one place says "six") generations have been members there."

Monroe County Heritage, p.253, says he lived near Hopewell and was buried in Hopewell Cemetery.

Polk County Historical & Genealogical Quarterly, vol. 19, no. 2 (Aug 2012), page 9, states that "old family papers" state that the property there was awarded John Miller Isbell for war service in the 1820s.

"The Historian's Corner" by R.T. Lee Jr., "Miller (Isbell) served in the Andrew Lawson 3rd Tenn. Militia commencing on the 20th day of September, 1814 and ending the 3rd of May 1815. He entered the Service from Sevier County, Tenn. His Regiment was commanded by Col. William Johnson…. He died the 25th day of August 1853. He lived on Corntassel Branch (Hopewell). He and his wife signed by X. On the 19th of May 1855 his wife was applying for a Land Warrant. She was granted 80 acres September 6, 1856. I have no record of his first wife. Miller('s) rank in Service was Private."

In the 1820s, a different John Isbell (1788-1826) also bought land in Monroe County. This was the son of John Miller Isbell's second cousin Thomas Isbell (1753-1819) of Wilkes Co., N.C., and grandson of James Isbell, the brother of Zachariah Isbell Sr. This John Isbell was a member of the N.C. House of Commons (1820-21) and bought land in Monroe County but died back in N.C. His will was recorded both in Monroe County, TN. and in Wilkes Co., N.C.

John Miller Isbell's first wife is unknown, but she died between June 1840 and June 1845, probably late 1844 or rly 1845. Widowers with large families rarely stayed single long for long.
John Miller Isbell is said to married his second wife Mary Adaline Hawkins July 1945 (John M. Isbell to Mary A. Hawkins, Jul 2, 1845, Monroe Co., TN. Marriages). She died about 1847, no known children.
[Or was that the marriage of John Mathew Isbell to Alsey Hawkins in 1845 Monroe County, TN.?]

John Miller Isbell married his third wife, Margaret Garganus, on December 22, 1847. She is not shown with him in the 1850 census. Some unsourced family trees give her death as 22 Aug 1853, but she applied for bounty land on May 19, 1855 on his military service. Her marriage date and husband's death date are given in the 19 May 1855 affidavit.

His name is listed as Miller Isbell on the 1830 and 1850 censuses of Monroe County and as John M. Isbel on the 1840 census. The 1850 census also documents that he was born in Tennessee 1777.

A large number of his descendants today spell the name Isbill and sometimes give his name as John Miller Isbill.

Tennessee Cousins by Worth S. Ray (1950), p. 370: "MONROE CO TN. These Names Should Stir the Memory of Many Monroe County People:... PENDLETON ISBELL. His descendants still live in the town of Vonore, near by the old Four Mile Branch. There are hundreds of Isbells still living in Monroe Co. The ISBELLS were related to Rev Joseph CALLOWAY."

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…."

Researcher Robert T. Lee, Jr. believed that John Miller Isbell's son Jason was the Jason (1808-1853) of Panola County, Miss., and had a son named John Miller Isbell, while others believe he was the Jason (1803-1870) of Walker County, Georgia, who also had a son John M. The two were probably first cousins, one being Jason II.

Family Members



In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees


  • Created by: Ray Isbell
  • Added: 25 Apr 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 51629227
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Miller Isbell (1777–25 Aug 1853), Find a Grave Memorial no. 51629227, citing Hopewell Baptist Cemetery, Madisonville, Monroe County, Tennessee, USA ; Maintained by Ray Isbell (contributor 47188697) .