From the files of Stephen M. Lawson


James McClanahan

John McClanahan and Frances Snodgrass

Thomas McClanahan

William McClanahan

William McClanahan and Sarah Cox

Elizabeth C. McClanahan and Chesley Sears

Malinda Margaret Sears and Scott Cyrus Freeman

Lucy Jane Freeman and James Martin Lawson

Donald VanHoosier Lawson and Iva Melvina Freeman

Stephen Martin Lawson




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The McClanahan Family

The McCLANAHAN lineage is based on many years of research of a variety of records by various descendants. It is probable that Elizabeth C. (McCLANAHAN) SEARS was the daughter of William and Sarah (COX) McCLANAHAN. Earlier generations are very tentative and subject to change as further evidence is uncovered. Special thanks to Betty McCLANAHAN of Kirksville, MO for sharing her extensive notes and charts with Gary McCLANAHAN of Atlanta, GA, to Gary for sending copies of her work and notes of his own work on the family of William and Sarah (COX) McCLANAHAN, and to Jeff Padfield for his continuing research and ability to explain the data to this compiler. Additional thanks to Sybil Baker, Dorothy Pattison, The McClanahan Society, and various email contacts for sharing their research. As usual, any misinterpretaion of shared data or errors in using it to construct this narrative are the responsibily of the compiler.

James McClanahan

James McCLANAHAN - b. say 1680/90, Scotland; d. VA. There is no evidence available that James, father of the McCLANAHANs who settled in the Catawba Creek area, ever migrated to America. It may be that records for his son James have been incorrectly read as referring to the elder James. Any possible connections to John MacCLENACHAN, sailing Master & Merchant who visited the colonies and appears in the minutes of the Council, Jamestown, VA, Lower Norfolk Co. in 1673/4, or to John McCLANAHAN, who married Agnes McCHUBIT, do not appear to be supported by documentary evidence.



Children of James McClenachan

  1. James - d. 1760, Botetourt Co., VA. Although his will begins,"I, James McClanahan, late of Lunenburg Co., Virginia...," no evidence has been found placing him in that county. Conjecture is that he may have had some non-physical, or social, connection to the Lunenburg County. James received a portion of land from his brother John, which John purchased in May 1750 from Benjamin BORDEN. Immigrated from Scotland (possibly via County Antrim, Ulster), settling finally in Botetourt Co., VA by 1750. James' will of Oct. 20, 1759, recorded May 6, 1760 [Probate Records, Lunenburg Co., VA, Book 1, page 322], bequeaths six cows, "to be evenly divided among the children of my brother John," and names Samuel and William and sons of brother David. No record of a wife or children has been found for James.
  2. David - b. say 1710/20. The 1760 will of his brother James names Samuel and William as sons of David. Married Isabella SNODGRASS, parents uncertain. Children: William possibly marriage Margaret SNODGRASS (daughter of Joseph SNODGRASS and Hannah VERNON); Samuel married Jean MOORE; possibly David married; possibly Thomas married; possibly John; and possibly others.
  3. Isabella - b. about 1720. One record has been found naming Isabella as daughter of James McCLANAHAN. Married William SNODGRASS, brother of Joseph SNODGRASS and possibly the son of William SNODGRASS, Sr. and Elizabeth. William SNODGRASS received a grant of 400 acres on Sinking Spring branch of the Catawaba River in 1747. He and his wife Isabella transferred 120 acres on both sides of the Catawaba River to a William McCLANAHAN on Mar. 10, 1778, and 140 acres on the west side of the James River to their son William SNODGRASS on Feb. 10, 1796. Children: Joseph; James; William; Susan; Jane; Margaret; Isabella married David (identity uncertain); Elinor; and Tweady.
  4. John - b. est 1715-20; d. 1759, Botetourt Co., VA.
  5. Elizabeth - Possible daughter.



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John and Frances (Snodgrass) McClanahan

John McCLANAHAN - d. 1759, Botetourt Co., VA. Believed to be the son of James McCLANAHAN, Sr. His birth estimate is based on having minor children when he died, son Alexander being born in 1755, and wife Frances living into the early 1790s. Probably immigrated from Scotland, possibly via County Antrim, Ulster. His Oct. 8, 1758 will, filed Nov. 6, 1759 in Lunenburg Co., VA [Probate Records, Lunenburg Co., VA, Book 1, page 281], mentions that his brother James lived on part of the 359 acres of land John purchased on May 24, 1750 [Land Records, Botetourt Co., VA, Book 2, page 776] from Benjamin BORDEN, when John was described as being "of Augusta County." Settled on Catawba Creek, Botetourt Co., VA about 1750. Married Frances SNODGRASS. The wills of John and his brother James name three sons of John as John, William and Alexander, and John's will also refers to "my two older sons," and "my daughters."

Frances SNODGRASS - d. abt 1790-94. Parents not identified.



Children of John and Frances

  1. Robert - b. possibly Augusta Co., VA; d. 1774, Botetourt Co., VA. Robert was involved in various SNODGRASS family legal matters, suggesting he was one of the "two older sons" of the 1759 will of John McCLANAHAN. Tavernkeeper in Fincastle, Botetourt Co., VA.
  2. Thomas - b. possibly Augusta Co., VA.
  3. John - b. possibly Augusta Co., VA; d. before Apr. 1790. On Apr. 13, 1790, brothers William and Alexander sold land which John inherited from his Uncle James jointly with his brothers. There is no evidence that John married.
  4. William - b. possibly Augusta Co., VA; d. about 1820, Botetourt Co., VA. A land record for 359 acres in Botetourt County, dated Apr. 13, 1790 [Land Records, Botetourt Co., VA, Book 4, page 171], provides relationships between William and his brother Alexander, and their father John and uncle James. Included are references to "William McClanahan and Sarah, his wife," and Alexander McClanahan and Sarah, his wife." He was probably the William McCLANAHAN who was married on Mar. 16, 1779 in Botetout Co., VA to Sarah WEBB, daughter of William WEBB. [Note that another William McCLANAHAN, son of Elijah McCLANAHAN and Ann EWING and Sheriff of Botetourt County, was married on March 7, 1769 to Sarah NEELY. His father, Elijah, was brother of Robert McCLANAHAN of Augusta Co., VA. This Wiliam and Sarah (NEELY) McCLANAHAN were parents Elijah (married Agatha Strother LEWIS), Nancy (married Col. William LEWIS), Jane (married Andrew LEWIS); James (married Elizabeth WALTON); John (married Lucy WALTON); Washington (did not marry); Green (married Elizabeth GRIFFIN); Mary (married Dr. MARCLE); and Satah (married Moses COOK). No documented relationship between the Augusta County McCLANAHANs and the McCLANAHANs who settled in the Catawa Creek area of Botetourt County has been found, but there may be some connection through a common Scots-Irish ancestor.]
  5. Alexander - b. 1755, possibly Augusta Co., VA; d. 1824, AL. Alexander served in the Revolution as a Private. In 1792 Alexander and his brother William sold the family farm on the Catawa, Botetourt Co., VA. In the same year Alexander purchased land in what is now Jefferson Co., TN. Married about 1778 Sarah MOORE. The widow's pension application by Sarah, together with family records, provides the names of their children. Children of Alexander and Sarah: John married Elizabeth BARNETT; Elizabeth married Andrew NEELEY; James; Mary married Elisha MOORE; William married Jane CHILDERS; Alexander married first Emaline COLLINS, and second Serena Melvina CARSON; Elijah married first Marjory CHILDERS, and second Maryina; and Margaret Ann married M. V. L. DENTON.
  6. Sarah - b. possibly Augusta Co., VA. Married about 1770 John McROBERTS, with witnesses Frances McCLANAHAN and William McCLANAHAN. It is likely that Sarah was "my daughter" to John McCLANAHAN in his 1759 will.
  7. One or more other daughters - The will of John McCLANAHAN includes reference to "my daughters."



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Thomas McClanahan

Thomas McCLANAHAN - b. possibly Augusta Co., VA; d. before about 1785, Bedford Co., VA. Believed to be son of John McClanahan and Frances SNODGRASS. Purchased 25 acres in the Peaks of Otter area of Bedford Co., VA in 1763. Both his apparent age and the location of this land only about 12 miles from the Catawba Creek farm of John McCLANAHAN, suggest that Thomas was one of the "two older sons" of John McCLANAHAN's 1759 will. The "two older sons" of John McCLANAHAN inherited his farm, but the land was sold by sons Alexander and William in the 1790s, suggesting that the "two older sons" were deceased by that time. Bedford Co., VA records identify Thomas McCLANAHAN's four sons named here. It would appear that after the death of their father, the four brothers left Bedford Co., VA and settled in Jefferson Co., TN shortly after 1792.



Children of Thomas

  1. John - b. Bedford Co., VA. Relocated to Jefferson Co., TN shortly after 1792. Married in Bedford Co., VA to Mary DAWSON.
  2. James - b. Bedford Co., VA. Relocated to Jefferson Co., TN shortly after 1792. Executor of the 1797 will of Samuel McCLANHAN of Jefferson Co., TN, who was the husband of Jean MOORE and son of David McCLANAHAN and Isabella SNODGRASS.
  3. William - b. say about 1740/50, Bedford Co. VA; d. Jefferson Co., TN.
  4. Absolom - b. Bedford Co., VA. A member of the expedition at the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774, he purchased 25 acres of land in Bedford Co., VA that had previously been owned by Thomas McCLANAHAN. Absolom relocated to Jefferson Co., TN shortly after 1792, and by 1810 he had purchased land in Cocke Co., TN. In the 1830 census of Cooper Co., MO, Absolom is over 70 years of age.



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Elder William McClanahan

William McCLANAHAN - b. say about 1740/50, Bedford Co., VA; d. Jefferson Co., TN. Probably the son of Thomas McCLANAHAN. Probably relocated from Bedford Co., VA to Jefferson, TN shortly after 1792. Ruling elder of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in 1802, serving on the board along with William SNODGRASS and Joseph SNODGRASS. The relationship of these SNODGRASSes, and of Elder William McCLANAHAN's supposed two SNODGRASS daughters-in-law to one another, and to other SNODGRASS families has not been established.

Children of William

  1. William - b. about 1770/80; d. 1848/9, TN.
  2. John - d. shortly after 1805. His will names brother William and father William. John's father William was named as executor, but he declined and was replaced as executor by John SIMPSON, father of Betsy (SIMPSON) McCLANAHAN. Married in 1805 in Jefferson Co., TN to Betsy SIMPSON, daughter of John SIMPSON.
  3. ? Joseph - d. 1822, Wayne Co., IN. Possible son of Elder William McCLANAHAN. Married Jun. 4, 1807, Jefferson Co., TN Jane SNODGRASS, who married second 1830, Wayne Co., IN John BERRY. Brother of Isaac McCLANAHAN and possible son of Elder William McCLANAHAN.
  4. ? Isaac - b. about 1789. VA; d. 1870, Veterans Hospital, Rushville, Rush Co., IN. Isaac resided in Jefferson Co., TN, and Wayne, Deleware, Kosciusko, and Rush, IN. Married first Nov. 22, 1810, Jefferson Co., TN Frances BROWN, and second May 21, 1818, Montgomery Co., OH Sarah TUCKER and/or STALLARD. The bondsman for Isaac's first marriage and the marriage of his brother Joseph was John MORROW, and meighbor of William McCLANAHAN. Children.
  5. ? Alexander - In an 1807 Jefferson Co., TN land record, Elder William McCLANHAN sold a parcel including "The place where Alexander McClanahan now lives." This Alexander may have been a son of Elder William.

NOTE: Two other McCLANAHANs of Jefferson Co., TN have sometimes been placed as sons of Elder William McCLANAHAN. John McCLANAHAN of Jefferson, Rhea and Meigs Cos., TN and husband of Elenor SNODGRASS was not the son of Elder WIlliam. Alexander McCLANAHAN of Jefferson and McNairy Cos., TN and husband of Leannah TAYLOR from 1807 was probably not the son of Elder William.



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William and Sarah (Cox) McClanahan

William McCLANAHAN - b. 1770-1780; d. 1848/9, TN. Probably the son of Elder William McCLANAHAN. William has not been located in the 1820 or 1840 censuses, but appears in the 1830 census of Jefferson Co., TN. The family moved to Knox Co., TN soon after 1835, and unconfirmed reports are that both William and Sarah were buried in Knox Co., TN. The records noted here show that William and Sarah were the parents of Elizabeth C. (McCLANAHAN) SEARS, with the additional evidence of allied families, locations, and dates noted. William and Sarah were married in Jefferson Co., TN on May 16, 1804.



Court Minutes of Jefferson Co., TN, June Term 1853: Bill filed Apr. 16, 1849.
John Noe and wife vs. John Cox, et al.
Answer filed 11 Jun 1849 by Wm. R. Caswell
             23 May 1849 by Eliz. Williams
             19 Nov 1849 by Isaac Cox
             12 Dec 1849 by the following:
                            Wm. McClanahan
                            Isaac<sic> C. Davidson and Isabella (McClanahan)
                            Enoch McClanahan
                            James C. McClanahan
                            Elizabeth McClanahan
May Rules 1849: It appearing from an affidavit filed in this cause
that the Defds. Isaac Cox, Wm. Cox, Samuel<sic> Davidson & wife, Wm.
McClanahan, Enoch McClanahan, James C. McClanahan & Elizabeth McClanahan
are not citizens of the State of TN.



Sarah 'Sallie' COX - Based on the above court records, it is believed that Sarah was a sister of Isaac, John and William COX, and the daughter of William COX (b. about 1750/60; d. before Apr. 1849, Jefferson Co., TN), who appears in the 1840 Census of Jefferson Co., TN as age 70-80, with one female in his household, age 40-50..



Probable children of William and Sarah McClanahan

  1. Isabella S - b. about 1807. Married on May 3, 1832 in Jefferson Co., TN to Rev. Samuel C. DAVIDSON (b. Jul. 31, 1809, Anderson Co., TN; d. Mar. 6, 1881, LaPlatta, Macon Co., MO), son of Samuel D. DAVIDSON and Catherine HOPE, and a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian ChurchKirksville Presbytery, MO. The weekly paper of the church for Oct. 13, 1843 included a brief report from Rev. Davidson of his preaching in Morgan and Osage Counties, MO. He was then living in Cooper Co., MO. Children of Isabella and Samuel DAVIDSON: Sarah C.; Robert T. married Sarah Ann WILLIAMSON; Eliza J.; Margaret M.; Isabella S. S.; and Samuel R.
  2. William Cox - b. 1809, TN; d. Nov. 1876, Adair Co., MO. William is found in the 1850 census of Macon Co., MO, and in the 1870 census of Adair Co., MO. A farmer, his estate accounting was dated Dec. 4, 1876. Married by 1834 to Eleanor DAVIDSON (b. about 1812, TN), possibly the daughter of Samuel C. DAVIDSON. Eleanor's occupation is given as 'Clergy' on the census records. Children: Mary L.; Samuel N. married Martha SEBRING (or SEBION); Margaret Ann; John Davidson married Jeanette WHALEN; Elizabeth C.; William C. married Rose Ann 'Annie' SHAVER; and twins Sarah and Virginia.
  3. Samuel - b. 1810-1815.
  4. Thomas - b. 1810-1815.
  5. Enoch Cox - b. Apr. 18 (or 16?), 1818, Jefferson Co., TN; d. Mar. 9 1877; bur. Montgomery Cemetery, near Tunas, Dallas Co., MO. Enoch was a co-witness with his sister Elizabeth of a Bill of Sale for household goods and farm equipment sold by Samuel C. DAVIDSON in 1835 in Jefferson Co., MO. Married first by Rev. Samuel C. DAVIDSON on August 4, 1838 in Cooper Co., MO to Andromache MILLS (b. Aug. 18, 1816, probably in KY; d. Oct. 6, 1863; bur. Greentop Cemetery, Schuyler Co., MO), daughter of Caleb W. MILLS and Erzilla EAST, and granddaughter of John and Martha Elizabeth (EWING) MILLS. Martha EWING was sister of Rev. Finus EWING, a founder of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, organized Feb. 4, 1810 in Dickson Co., TN. Andromache's name was given as America on the marriage record. Enoch was married second on Nov. 20, 1864 at Putnam Co., MO to Mary Malinda LOGSDON. After Enoch's death, Mary Malinda married W. K. ROACH on Feb. 10, 1878 in Dallas Co., MO. Dr. Enoch resided in Macon Co., MO in 1840 (Census of Goshen: 10001-00001), and in Schuyler Co., MO in 1850, 1860 and 1870. Children of Enoch and America: Perry D. married first Lucetta GARGES, and second Annie LEWIS MILLER; Olivia 'Ollie' married Samuel PAYNE; Edwin French married Margaret RICHARDSON; Sarah Elizabeth married Levi Newton PAYNE; Laura died young; Fred Lafayette married Calla J. PAYNE; Daniel Webster married Sarah Jennet QUIGLEY; Mary Francis 'Fannie' married Lewis A. FOWLER; and Alice married D. L. QUIGLEY. Child of Enoch and Mary: Dora.
  6. Elizabeth C. - b. 1820, Cumberland, TN; d. Oct. 17, 1908, Nevada, Vernon Co., MO. Married Chesly SEARS.
  7. James C. - b. about 1825; d. 1872, Macon Co., MO. Believed to be the son of William and Sarah. His will (dated Jan. 23, 1871 and recorded Mar. 4, 1872 in Macon Co., MO) names wife Mary G., and children: Thomas J., Sarah Elizabeth, Samuel Caldwell, and Mary Electa Belle. Executors were his wife and Samuel C. DAVIDSON. Witnesses were Jos. P. SEARS and Wm. C. McCLANAHAN. James was married by Rev. Samuel C. DAVIDSON on Feb. 11, 1853 in Macon Co., MO to Mary 'Polly' Grace KERBY (b. 1827), daughter of Asa KERBY. Children: Thomas J.; Sarah Elizabeth married James N. NEET; James died young; Samuel Caldwell; Mary Electa Belle. James is believed to be the brother of Elizabeth C. (McCLANAHAN) SEARS. Her husband Chesly SEARS was brother to Joseph Presley SEARS. Chesly's mother was Elizabeth (KERBY) SEARS, the older sister (by 14 years) of Mary 'Polly' Grace (KERBY) McCLANAHAN, both being sisters of Asa H. KERBY. S. C. DAVIDSON performed the marriage between Elizabeth C. McCLANAHAN and Chesly SEARS. And it is believed that Wm. C. McCLANAHAN was the William Cox McCLANAHAN who married Eleanor DAVIDSON, and was a brother of both James and Elizabeth.

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