Poe Talk Recollections and Tales

In the early 1980’s I became more and more interested in genealogy and started research to see where my family came from. At that time, computers were in their infancy and the internet was still years away. Research meant going to the local library with pen and paper and looking up microfilmed copies of census reports and reading books that had bits and pieces of history about early pioneer families and their migration into the new world.  Upon seeing my interest, my grandmother Poe gave me an envelope with some items which were given to my grandfather Poe by his mother. My grandfather never really knew his father as his dad died when my grandfather was only 3 years old. One of the items in the envelope my grandmother gave me was a small booklet entitled “A Little History” which was a short written history about my great grandfather’s parents John Hill and Sara Louise (Bean) Poe and their lineage from the late 1700’s. It was believed to have been written by my great grandfather’s brother, Walter Floyd Poe, most likely after the death of their father. It was enough to fascinate me to the point I wanted to know more. Other things in the envelope my grandmother gave me were newspaper clippings of my great grandfather’s obituary, the original hand written eulogy that was read at his funeral, an original hand written copy of a promissory note for payment of a parcel of real estate, a page from a book noting the marriage of  B. Coke Poe to Pearl V. Card (my great grandparents) on Feb 27th, 1904, and a small metal tag with the name Coke Poe stamped in it, probably a florists’ marker for a flower arrangement.

My serious research began a few years later in a library in Emporia, Kansas where I found records with names mentioned in the “A Little History” booklet. For the next couple of years I researched every time I could and found more history going back into the 1600’s. Years later, and with the advent of the internet, I found even more information and more importantly, other people researching the same lineage and events I was researching who were willing to share and exchange data. During my research I was able to interview folks over the phone and in person who passed information on as well as folklore that may or may not be verifiable but always fascinating.  I also found that there were many discrepancies in the information I was uncovering. Dates, names, and locations would differ from source to source and I learned to try to verify questionable things by finding multiple sources. With that in mind, do understand the information contained herein is to the best of my research ability and if found to be different from newly uncovered events or other sources I would love to be corrected.   It is the nature of the beast and there are no intentions on my part to deceive the reader.

In this writing I have included  a few details about the Native American story in our country. While some details do not necessarily pertain to the lineage I’m researching, I felt it was important to include such points so the reader would know what was going on around the lives of each particular generation at the time. In all truthfulness, our country has little to be proud of in how we’ve treated the Native Americans since day one. We made treaties with them that were not kept, we took their land, we massacred many thousands of them all in the name of progress. We moved them from their native homes located in a land of plenty to a place where they could hardly grow crops.  All done during, before, and after another American travesty involving African slaves bought and sold to work the white man’s fields.

Explorers arrived here in the 15th century and immediately encountered the indigenous people. At first the natives were intrigued with the white man and the presence they had as well as the trinkets they had to trade. Very soon the intrigue was replaced by resentment. The Europeans began to take advantage of the natives and used deception to take their lands while attempting to change their culture and way of life. The history we were taught about our nation portrays the Indians as savage people who killed and maimed our ancestors.  A little research will show this was not done without cause.

In much genealogical research, the emphasis is usually placed on the men of the family and their accomplishments. The strength and bravery of these pioneer male ancestors and the contributions they may have made in their life is exciting to read. While there are plenty of those in the Poe genealogy, there are also many women who persevered in pioneer times and dedicated their lives to protecting their families and seeing that they had everything they needed to survive. One female in our lineage is well documented as an American hero and deserves much credit for her contribution to early pioneer life as well as the lives of Native Americans during the time our country was evolving as a nation. Her name was Lydia Russell Bean.

Lydia Russell Bean was the sixth great grandmother to my generation. She was born September 2, 1726 in North Farnham Parish, Rappahanock County, Virginia. Genealogical records show her father was Lt. Colonel William Russell born circa 1678 in North Farnham Parish, Richmond County Virginia. Lydia’s mother was Mary Henley Russell, born circa 1692 in Creeksea, Essex, England. Records indicate Lydia may have had as many as 11 brothers and sisters all who grew up in the early days of the the colony of Virginia which was chartered in 1606 and settled in 1607. During the time William and Mary Russell grew up in this American colony, contact with the indigenous people was most likely encountered from time to time but probably non confrontational as the new world and all its resources was more abundant than anyone could imagine. While there were conflicts occurring between the different Indian tribes themselves, the indigenous people found the settlers interesting and trade quickly developed between the peoples exchanging Indian furs and pelts for gun powder and fabrics and other items previously unfamiliar to the natives.

Lydia Russell probably lived a gifted lifestyle as a young pioneer girl growing up in Virginia. Lydia’s father was a dedicated loyalist to the British crown and was said to be granted as much as ten thousand acres in the Virginia territory for his military service to England. in 1735, he was personally presented with 4,950 acres in Fredrick county Virginia by the king of England himself. His family was of the gentry class and prospered through the years living a comfortable lifestyle in the new world. They likely had slaves working their plantations. Around the same time, and not too far away, another family, that of Samuel Poe and his wife Mary Bynum Poe, managed a smaller farm in Prince Edward County, Virginia where Hasten Poe, the fourth great grandfather to my generation was born. Only three counties apart, these two families would have descendants who would come together years later in our Poe lineage.

Lydia Russell met a fellow by the name of William R. Bean Jr. and in 1741, Lydia Russell and Captain William R. Bean Jr. were married. William was born December 9, 1721 in St. Stephens Parish, Northumberland County, Virginia. Growing up in the new world, William was an adventurer and explorer. He and often his brothers and another friend, Richard Callaway, were fellow longhunters and associates of the famed pioneer Daniel Boone. Longhunters as they were called were 18th century explorers and more often than not large land owners particular to southwest Virginia. They made expeditions into the Trans Appalachian frontier wilderness for several months at a time thus the name Longhunters. Trans Appalachia was the unexplored area on the west side of the Appalachian mountain range. Boone, Bean, and Callaway went on expeditions into the west side of the Appalachians, also called the Overhill Territory, to hunt for game and explore this vast uncharted territory. They would often do so working as agents for Richard Henderson, a land speculator who later played an important role in the early settlement of Tennessee. Boone and Callaway went on to develop the Wilderness Road across the Cumberland Gap into Eastern Kentucky and became two of the founders of Boonesboro, Kentucky.

The Cherokee and Muscogee (Creek) Indians in the area had been at odds and fighting with each other since 1715. A conflict which initially developed when the Cherokee invited a group of Muscogee chiefs to their village and then massacred them. Around 1753, hostility increased and sporadic raids were occurring between the the two tribes. These hostilities turned into larger scale battles between the two indigenous tribes culminating according to Cherokee legend in the battle of Taliwa in 1755. During this battle, one Cherokee warrior named Tsu-La (also called Kingfisher in some accounts) fought the Creek with his wife Nanye’hi beside him. Nanye’hi was hidden behind a log where she chewed each of Tsu-La’s bullets making jagged edges on them which would inflict more damage when they struck the enemy. During the battle, Tsu-La was mortally wounded and Nanye’hi took up her husband’s rifle and continued fighting. This action was said to have empowered her fellow Cherokee warriors to continue fighting to victory. For her heroic actions at Taliwa, Nanye’hi was awarded the title of Ghigau which is Cherokee for “Beloved Woman”, a title which gave Nanye’hi great powers within the clan including a vote on the Cherokee General Council and veto power over the chiefs. In the late 1750’s the widow Nanye’hi married a British trader by the name of Bryant Ward at which time she became known as Nancy Ward. Bryant Ward would later leave Nanye’hi and return to South Carolina to live with his European wife to whom he was still married when he and Nanye’hi were married.  Nanye’hi (Nancy Ward) will appear again very soon in this writing. 

The French and Indian war began in 1754 and lasted until 1763. History describes it many ways but it was actually a war being fought between French and British forces both in the new world as well as in Europe. Each of the European powers had established claims in the new world and each manipulated and recruited the indigenous tribes from the areas they had claimed to help fight against the other side. The French forces included the indigenous Wabanki, Albenaki, Ottawa, Shawnee and other tribes while the British forces included the Cherokee, Iroquois, and Catabwa. During the war, the Cherokee proved to be on again off again allies with the British as each party suspected the other of betrayals. One incident which caused great tension was the attack and murder of several Cherokee warriors by a group of Virginian settlers. The Cherokee warriors were returning from the battle of Fort Duquesne when they were ambushed and killed. To make matters worse, the Virginians who attacked them turned around and sold the Cherokee scalps to the Brits claiming they were enemy Shawnee scalps. This had an even stronger negative impact on relations.

While some Cherokee leaders called for peace with the Europeans, other leaders continued to lead retaliatory raids against the colonists who were loyal to the crown. To fend off the raids, South Carolina’s governor Henry Lyttelton called for an embargo on all gun powder being supplied to the Cherokee. This greatly affected the ability of the Cherokee to hunt and provide food for their people so they sent a delegation of 29 chiefs to negotiate a treaty with the South Carolina governor. The 29 chiefs were promptly taken prisoner and escorted to Fort Prince George by the provincial army and held hostage there by the governor. The governor stated he felt this would stop the hostilities.  The imprisonment of their chiefs enraged the Cherokee and in February of 1760 they attacked Fort Prince George in an attempt to rescue their hostages. During the attack the fort’s commander was killed. In retaliation, the fort’s second in command ordered all the Indian hostages massacred and his soldiers fended off the Indian attack. Further enraged, the Cherokee continued attacks on various colonist outposts and started purging deeper into the established colonies overtaking many smaller communities. This was the beginning of the Anglo-Cherokee war with victories occurring on both sides. In 1761, the British Army led 2,600 men into the southern Appalachians and began razing Cherokee towns destroying their villages and burning crops along the way. The Cherokee were defeated and in November of that year both parties signed treaties which called for an end to the conflict and relinquishment of large parcels of Cherokee land to the colonies. With the treaties, major conflicts stopped but minor hostilities continued on for some time.

In 1768 William R. Bean and Lydia Russell Bean and their five children ranging from age 2 to 24 set out from their established southwest Virginia home to establish a new residence in the Overhill land on Boone’s Creek off the Watagua River and near present day Elizabethtown, Tennessee. William had chosen the spot where his brother John had built a shelter for hunting in the area a few years earlier. This particular spot was hidden from view from the Indian trails that snaked through the area by a waterfall. William and his brother had noted abundant game while exploring the territory with Daniel Boone. The location was said to be on an encampment also used by Boone in early expeditions into trans Appalachia. William and Lydia were soon joined in the new area by two of Lydia’s brothers John and George and their families. This would become the first settlement of white people on the Overhill side of the Appalachians. In May of 1769, William and Lydia gave birth to a son, Russell Bean, who was later recorded in history as the first white child born in what would eventually become the state of Tennessee.

I say later recorded because when they first settled on Boone’s Creek, William and Lydia Bean and the others thought they were still on lands which were part of the Virginia Colony. In 1771, a surveyor ran the boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina further west and ascertained that Watauga, as they called their new settlement, was not located in the western part of Virginia colony as Bean and the others had thought but it was in the western section of the colony of North Carolina which had been declared off limits to settlers. In 1763, the King of England had issued a proclamation reserving all the North Carolina land on the west side of the Appalachians to the Indians. When the survey results were known, the British agent immediately ordered the Watauga settlers to move off the Indian lands. Having cleared land for crops and built several cabins the Watauga settlers were not willing to just pick up and move. They knew the same British law prevented the colonists from purchasing land from the Indians but the law said nothing about leasing the land so the Watauga group negotiated with the Indians to lease the land for ten years. The crown was not pleased with this action and friction began to grow between the settlers and the British authority. Many say this was the start of resentments between the American colonists and the British government.

By 1772, more settlers were arriving in the Watagua area settling on the leased land and the colonists organized the Watauga Association (also known as the Republic of Watauga). They appointed a court consisting of five members entrusted with the making of laws. Williams Bean was one of 13 commissioners serving the court. The Watauga Association was thought to be the first semi-autonomous government in the new territories that did not necessarily claim allegiance to the crown. The Watauga Association only lasted a couple years but it provided a basis for what later turned out to be the state of Tennessee and it influenced other western frontier governments in the Trans Appalachian region to develop ambitions to self govern as well. Watagua was annexed by North Carolina in 1776 and in 1777 it became Washington County, North Carolina.

Wataugua had for the most part peacefully coexisted with the indigenous people. However, disagreements over the sale of land to the settlers evolved within the various Cherokee orders and treaties were broken and general discord with the Indians forced the settlers to build fortresses within their settlements for protection. The settlers’ cabins, Food plots, and stockyards were scattered around outside the fortresses and when Indian activity was detected the settlers would scurry inside the walls of the forts for protection against attack.

Nancy Ward, (Nanye’hi) the Beloved Woman of the Cherokee mentioned earlier, had long been against selling their land to the settlers but was also strongly opposed to killing their white neighbors and urged peaceful co-existence with the settlers. On a couple occasions, Nancy Ward had personally warned the settlements of planned attacks by the Cherokee and on one such occasion in 1776, she got a message to Fort Watauga warning an attack was imminent. The settlers scurried to bring in their harvested crops and what livestock they could into the fortress and as the attack began Lydia Russell Bean was still outside gathering her livestock and was subsequently captured by the Indians.

The attack on the fort was successfully fought off by the Watauga settlers. In their retreat, the Indians dragged Lydia back to their village where they were holding another captive, 13 year old Samuel Moore. Young Samuel had apparently learned to communicate in the Cherokee language and they used him as an interpreter to ask questions of Lydia about the strength and the stores of Fort Watauga and other forts nearby. Lydia told the Indians there was plenty of gun powder, food and able fighters to fend off any attack by the Cherokee. The Indians became angered when they heard this and to Lydia’s horror, the Indians tied Samuel Moore to a stake and started a fire which slowly killed the young settler.

Often when the Indians abducted young white women they would indoctrinate them into their tribe and force them to become part of their clan. Lydia Russell Bean was 50 years old when she was abducted which would have made her too old to bear children or be of any other use to the Indians so she was led to a mound and tied to a stake as the Indians placed wood around her feet and started a fire. Lydia was physically exhausted, battered and bleeding from being dragged away from her home and she knew her fate was going to be a painful and agonizing death much like that of young Samuel Moore.

As the fires began to creep towards Lydia’s feet, the Beloved Woman Nancy Ward (Nanye’hi) pushed her way through the crowd of Indians and hurriedly scattered the burning wood away from Lydia. She then demanded the warriors cut Lydia loose from the stake. Her status as Beloved Woman gave her the authority to spare Lydia and the warriors had no choice but to obey. The warriors did as they were told and Nancy Ward carried Lydia into her own quarters and laid her down and began to treat Lydia’s burns and wounds. Lydia had been through much trauma in her capture and near death experience and it took several days for her to recover. She owed her life to this Beloved Woman and a friendship between the two quickly began to develop.

As she was recovering, Lydia taught Nancy Ward looming techniques and how to spin thread and yarn to make fabric from cotton and wool. This was passed on to the other women and this single event revolutionized the way the Cherokee made garments. At the time the Cherokee wore clothing made from hides or hemp fiber which was not practical and very uncomfortable. What little cloth they had was bought at great expense from traders. The new techniques Lydia taught Nancy Ward changed the roles of women in the Cherokee society as they took on weaving and left the chores of planting and tending of food plots to the men, a job which had always been done by the women.

Once Lydia was able she returned to Watauga where she gathered two of her own cows and returned to the Cherokee village presenting the cows to Nancy Ward. She showed Nancy and the other Cherokee women how to make butter and other dairy products and how to use cows for meat which would help sustain the the Cherokee when hunting was bad. The Indians previously had no use for the white man’s buffalo. Nancy Ward became the first Cherokee to maintain a herd of cattle.

Cherokee life was dramatically enhanced by the friendship of Lydia Russell Bean and Nancy Ward. Nancy Ward went on to be a de facto ambassador between the Cherokee and the white settlers. During one meeting with an American delegation to discuss American settlements Nancy Ward commented to John Sevier, one of the founding fathers of Tennessee, how odd it was that the American delegation had no women amongst them. Sevier in turn questioned why the Cherokee would send a woman to such important negotiations? Nancy’s reply was “You know that women are always looked upon as nothing; but we are your mothers; you are our sons. Our cry is all for peace; let it continue. This peace must last forever. Let your women’s sons be ours; our sons be yours. Let your women hear our words.” Nancy Ward lived a long and influential life and was an inspiration to all people of that era.

The American Revolution (1776-1783) had escalated into a war when Lydia Russell Bean was abducted by the Cherokee and most likely the reason her husband William Bean was unable to protect her was we assume he was away and involved in the war effort when Lydia was captured. Captain William R. Bean along with four of his sons, Robert, George, Jesse, and John were on the roster as having served in the revolutionary war. His son Russell was too young to serve at the time. Captain William R. Bean was recorded as serving from 1776 to 1780 in the Watauga Riflemen. He and his four sons all participated in the Battle of Kings Mountain which was a pivotal moment in the Southern campaign of the Revolutionary War.

William R. Bean was known to be an accomplished gunsmith and was highly sought after to make guns and metal tools. He taught these skills to his sons. The Beans were noted for their skill and knowledge of working with metal and could make and manufacture any article from metal including guns which theirs were noted for their beauty in finish as well as functionality. Captain William R. Bean did not live to see the end of the Revolutionary War and the dawn of the new country he helped to build. William died in 1782 and was buried in Grainger County. He left his Washington County estate to his wife Lydia Russell Bean and his gristmill to his son Russell who was only 13 at the time. Lydia lived on until 1788 and when she died she left 400 acres in Washington County to Russell. Captain William R. Bean was awarded a grant of 3000 acres by the colony of North Carolina for his service in the war which was most likely awarded posthumously to Lydia or his sons who also served. The sons were most likely individually awarded grants as well.

History and his grave marker indicate Captain William R. Bean was buried in Grainger County in 1782 which suggests the Bean sons may had used his grant as well as their own grants to stake their claims in Grainger County which was still part of North Carolina at the time. Perhaps his sons brought William’s body to Grainger County for burial after his death for history says he died in Washington County.

In 1787, the sons of Captain William R. Bean built a fort in Grainger County at what is current day Bean Station, Tennessee. The fort was built as protection from the Indians and they integrated their large cabin as one corner of the fortress. The Bean cabin faced the gap in Clinch mountain and was built next to a creek which would provide ample water to the garrison should it come under siege during an attack. They most likely chose the original location for its growing use as a crossroads to the wilderness. Through Bean Station winds what was once called “The Kentucky Road”, a trail used By Daniel Boone in his expeditions through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. In the other direction this road meandered on a route to the southeast to the port town of Charleston, South Carolina. Today it is highway 25E. The other road of the crossroads was a route running southwest to northeast known today as Rutledge Pike or Highway 11W. It ran from New Orleans to Baltimore.

Records (date unknown) indicate William and Lydia’s youngest daughter, Jane was involved in some wrong doings as she was indicted along with two other women, Jemima Scroggins and Rosamond Robertson (Russell Bean’s wife or future wife at the time). The warrant for their arrest was returned unserved and inscribed: “will not be taken, kept off by force and arms”. In 1798 Jane Bean was killed by Indians while working her loom outside the fort at Bean Station.

From William and Lydia Bean our lineage continues with Russell Bean, my generation’s fifth great grandfather in the Bean line. Captain Bean’s youngest son Russell appears to have remained in Washington County while his brothers developed Bean Station. Perhaps Russell remained in Washington County to run the gristmill his father left him and tend to the 400 acres he inherited from his mother. An unknown source describes him during this time as follows: “Russell Bean grew into a handsome youth with curly black hair and a fine physique. He was the most perfect specimen of manhood in the whole country”. Being the youngest of William and Lydia’s sons, Russell was the only one who served in the War of 1812. He was a 1st Lieutenant in Captain William McLin’s company of the East Tennessee Militia. He was detached to the armory where he performed as a gunsmith, a trade he learned from his father and brothers.  Russell Bean married Rosamond Robertson on October 8, 1789 in Washington County. Rosamond was the daughter of Colonel Charles Robinson. Colonel Robinson served alongside Russell Bean’s father William as commissioner in the Watauga Association and was one of the heroes from the battle of Kings Mountain. Russell and Rosamond had six sons and two daughters between 1790 and 1807.  In a book by John Allison (1897) titled Dropped Stitches in Tennessee History, Allison, who also grew up in Washington County, Tennessee repeated the description from above of Russell Bean adding that Bean was without an equal for strength, activity, and physical endurance and he was absolutely devoid of fear. He went on to say he was a genius and that he could make more implements of war and other things of utility with fewer tools than any other man ever known in that day. He said Russell Bean went to Connecticut soon after reaching manhood and returned with a supply of tools and and materials with which he established a manufacturing business making arms and other things. The old folks of Washington County described Bean as a man of fine appearance and engaging manners. They said he was not only a genius but he was “well Read” for that era, and had picked up on his travels to Connecticut and New Orleans a great deal of information with reference to other nations and their affairs. They said he could have been a leader but for some infirmities and peculiarities.

Russell Bean grew his business making armaments for resale and sometime around the beginning of the nineteenth century he had a flat- bottomed boat built to his specifications and loaded it with a cargo of arms he had made consisting of rifles, pistols, dirks, tools and so forth. Alone, he took off for New Orleans navigating the Nolichucky, Tennessee, and Ohio Rivers to the Mississippi River and then on down into New Orleans. There he sold his cargo to various buyers. It was said after he sold his cargo he spent much of the remaining time in New Orleans participating in foot races, horse racing, cock fighting and other sports that occupied the men at that time in that great city.

It was two years including the travel time to and from New Orleans before Russell Bean returned home to Jonesboro and when he did, he found his wife nursing an infant child. It was said a man named Allen who worked as a merchant in town was Rosamond’s seducer. Bean, furious at what he had found, left the house without a word, went out and got drunk, and later returned to the house where he took the infant child from its bed and deliberately marked both its ears handing it back to Rosamond saying he had “marked the child so it would not get mixed up with his own children”.  Russell Bean was later arrested and with court being in session he was quickly tried and convicted for inhuman cruelty and sentenced to prison. In addition to his prison sentence, the court ordered that he be branded with a hot iron in the palm of his hand. Upon being branded, it is said that Bean bit into the brand on his hand and spat it on the ground. Soon after his imprisonment he escaped and was allowed to remain free for the officers were afraid of him and refused to attempt to arrest him. While he was free he continued to look for Allen to seek revenge. All the time Allen was known to be in hiding to escape the wrath of Bean. Bean discovered Allen had a brother and at an opportune moment he encountered Allen’s brother and beat him unmercifully almost killing the man. For this heinous crime Bean was indicted. The sheriff and his officers were still afraid to attempt an arrest of Russell Bean and he remained at large in the comfort of his own home.

Some time later a new circuit judge came in to sit on the court in Jonesboro. His name was Andrew Jackson. Yes, it was THE Andrew Jackson who later went on to become president of the United States. Jackson at this time had already gained notoriety as a fighter and fierce leader. When the matter of Russell Bean came before Judge Jackson the officers explained that they knew where this un-apprehended man was but they were unable to bring him to trial. They told the judge that Bean was usually sitting on his porch with a rifle at his side and two pistols in his lap threatening to kill any man who approached. Hearing this, Judge Jackson proclaimed: “Summon every man in the court house and bring Bean in here dead or alive”! The sheriff then looked at Judge Jackson and responded saying: “Then I summon your honor first”! Hearing this, Jackson stood up and left the bench exclaiming: “By the eternal, I’ll bring him in”!  Jackson marched down to Russell Bean’s home with a pistol in his hand followed by several dozen anxious citizens keeping a safe distance from the line of fire but near enough to get a good close up encounter of the expected blazing gun battle. When Jackson got within firing distance Bean, upon recognizing Jackson, put away his pistols and stood up shouting “I’ll surrender to you, Mr. Devil”!  Jackson took him to the court room where he was tried and fined heavily along with a jail sentence. Bean later said he saw the fire in Jackson’s eyes and knew he had better surrender.

While Russell was in jail, Rosamond Bean filed for and received a divorce. It was said she moved to Knoxville and remarried. While Bean was serving his time in jail a fire broke out in Jonesboro. During all the commotion Bean managed to break out of his cell and ran to the fire and while risking his life he was instrumental in helping establish a fire brigade to extinguish the fire before it burned the town. It is said that as a reward for his heroic efforts, the governor pardoned Bean and he was released from serving his sentence in jail.

Once out of jail Russell Bean, now divorced, had no place to go. He drifted around for a few years before winding up in Knoxville where he once again came face to face with Andrew Jackson. Apparently Jackson and Bean had come to some mutual respect for one another after the trial and sentencing and they managed to become friends. After all, Bean, despite his run ins with the law did have some notoriety as being Tennessee’s first son and he was an intelligent sort that others of his brilliance like Andrew Jackson were attracted to.  Jackson must have had some contact with Rosamond Bean too as he ended up contacting Rosamond who had been recently widowed, and somehow brought about a reconciliation between the two. Russell and Rosamond reconnected, made amends, and remarried to live several more years together until Russell’s death in 1826. Russell Bean was buried in Uriel Cemetery, Washington County, Tennessee. Rosamond lived into her late seventies and died October 24 1850. It is not known where she was buried.  Genealogy databases have conflicting information about Russell Bean’s children. Some sites show Russell to be the father of around 17 children. One name that remains constant in the lists of Russell Bean’s children is my generation’s fourth great grandfather, James M. Bean who was born in 1800.

 James M. Bean is mentioned in an article from The chattanoogan.com on August 8, 2017 referencing some of the Beans migrating to Hamilton County, Tennessee in the early 1800’s. This James M. Bean married Sarah Minerva Payne (Paine) in Rhea County, Tennessee on April 17, 1821. Sarah Minerva Paine was born in 1801. The article goes on to say James M. Bean and Minerva moved to Hamilton County where James served as deputy sheriff. James and Sarah Minerva Bean had six children: Rachel M Bean born in 1821 and died in 1918 (married a Gann), Jemima Bean (born in 1830 and died in 1878 (married Michael Wesse ), William Hamilton Bean born in 1833 and died in 1909 (married Martha Stout), Mary Bean born in 1834 and died in 1852 (Married William Pink Penney in 1848), Minerva Houston Bean born in 1836 and died in 1914 (married Nicholas Franklin Burnett), and James M. Bean Jr. born 1844 and died in 1883. James M. Bean Sr. died in 1848 and was buried in the Soddy Presbyterian Cemetery in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee. Sarah Minerva Bean died in 1850 and was buried in Dayton City Cemetery in Dayton, Tennessee.

James M. and Sarah Minerva Bean’s son William Hamilton Bean is my generation’s third great grandfather in the Bean line. He was born on December 15, 1833 probably in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee. He married Martha Stout, born January 28, 1833. They had two children, Sara Louise Bean born May 9, 1854, and James A. Bean born May 18, 1856. Sara Louise Bean was my generation’s second great grandmother. The Bean family and the Poe family from Virginia join with Sara Louise. We’ll jump back a few generations to bring the Poe family lineage up to the union of Sara Louise and my great great grandfather Poe.

Solid connections to the Poe family in my lineage begin with Samuel Poe of Prince Edward County, Virginia who is mentioned in the 1790 census (which was actually taken in 1783) as being head of a household with two white souls and three dwellings. In the same census there was a second Samuel Poe in Prince Edward County, Virginia listed as having a household with five white souls and four black souls. These two Samuel Poes of Prince Edward County, Virginia are believed to be father and son and the fifth and sixth great grandfathers in the lineage of my generation of Poes. The census of 1800 does not list any Poes at all in Prince Edward County, Virginia. This leads me to believe the Poe household may have been missed or overlooked by the census takers in 1800 for in the 1810 census there appears a Samuel Poe in Prince Edward County with five white souls listed as two females less than 10 years old, 2 females between the ages of 16 and 26 years old, and one male between the ages of 16 and 26 years old. It is believed that the male between the age of 16 and 26 was Hasten Poe who would have been 24 when the 1810 census was taken. The other Samuel Poe of Prince Edward County which was listed in the 1790 census is presumed to have died before 1810.

The Son, Samuel Poe of Prince Edward County Virginia made a will which was recorded in Prince Edward County on February 11, 1814. The will bequeaths his lands to Hasten Poe and Samuel Williams. It also says these two men will each have half of his negros, half of his blacksmith tools, and half of his still. It is assumed that Samuel Williams may have been married to Samuel Poe’s daughter, Hasten’s sister.  The will also provided 100 pounds for his niece Drucilla Williams and 100 pounds to his brother Robert. Other people mentioned in the will are Mary and Jesse Briant, the parents to Hasten’s wife Celia and Samuel Briant who may have been a brother to Celia. The will was presented to the court on March 17th, 1817 which suggest Hasten’s father Samuel had died and the will was to be executed. 

Hasten Poe was born September 2, 1786 and most likely worked alongside his father and grand father working the Prince Edward County, Virginia farm. Hasten served in the War of 1812 as a private in Captain S.V. Allen’s Company of the Virginia Militia. Prince Edward County records show that on August 25, 1813, Hasten Poe married Celia Briant (born August 25, 1786) daughter of Jesse Briant. Hasten and Celia were my generations’s fourth great grandparents in the Poe line.

Tennessee was formed from the western expanse of North Carolina in 1796. According to Goodspeed’s Histories, Hasten Poe appeared in Greene County, Tennessee before 1815. By 1818, Hasten appears in Hamilton County, Tennessee. Perhaps Hasten’s time in Greene County was spent waiting as progress developed in acquiring Indian lands further south. These lands, including the area of what is now in Hamilton County, where the Poes settled were gained in the Hiwassee purchase in February of 1818. Under the terms of the treaty which brought about this purchase, the Cherokee yielded their land on the north side of the Tennessee river which included most of what is today Hamilton County. The Indians moved across the river to the south side. The land on the south side of the Tennessee still belonged to the Cherokee at the time and was settled by a Cherokee Indian by the name of John Ross. This area became known as Ross’s Landing which later became present day Chattanooga. Hasten built his two story log home in Hamilton county before 1819. It is unknown how Hasten obtained this first tract of land and we can speculate he may have been awarded a land grant there for his service in the War of 1812.

Goodspeed’s Histories says Hasten returned to Virginia around 1820 to retrieve his family. This is supported by the fact that Hasten shows up on the 1820 census of Prince Edward County. Goodspeed’s Histories says Hasten and his family along with three of his brothers (possibly brother-in- laws?) and their families made the journey south where Hasten had built a cabin in what would later become Hamilton County, Tennessee.  One of his brothers was said to stay in the same region as Hasten. A book entitled The History of Hamilton County and Chattanooga Tennessee by Zella Armstrong listed Hasten Poe and John Poe as two of the original settlers in Hamilton County. No mention of John Poe being a brother to Hasten has been found. The other two brothers were said to have gone further south into the Sand Mountain area of northern Alabama. I have searched and researched but to date no records have been found identifying these two ‘Poe’ brothers or their demise. Another possibility is these three men who traveled to Hamilton County with Hasten may have been his cousins. The Samuel Poe will bequeathing land and belongings to Hasten in Prince Edward County, Virginia also bequeathed 100 pounds to Samuel’s brother Robert.  Hasten and Celia had one son and two daughters to wit. All were young children when they made their way to Hamilton County. Samuel Porter Poe was born July 3, 1810 in Virginia, Sarah J. Poe who was born circa 1817, probably in Virginia, and Elizabeth Ann Poe who was born in 1819, also probably in Virginia. There was a third daughter added to Hasten’s genealogy record by another researcher. Her name was Rebecca Jane Poe and she was born in 1825. That record mentions this Rebecca Jane Poe was half sister to Samuel, Elizabeth and Sarah and step-daughter to Celia. There is no indication of who Jane’s mother was.

Hasten Poe’s log home in Hamilton County soon became a stopping point for settlers moving through the sparsely settled area. He had built the structure large enough to accommodate visitors and it was a place for pioneer travelers to rest their animals and replenish their stores before moving on to their intended destinations. Hasten and Celia’s home became known as Poe’s Tavern. The Poe Tavern stood for nearly 100 years as a home and a birth place for many of Hasten and Celia’s grandchildren and great grandchildren. It was said Poe’s Tavern was torn down sometime around 1919. Mysteriously, the home that now occupies the site has the same front facade pattern as the original structure. This may be a coincidence or could it possibly be a home that was built around the original structure? Family legend says that a great grandson of Hasten built improvements over the structure around 1911.


Hamilton County, Tennessee was erected by Act of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee October 25, 1819. There were 765 settlers within its described boundaries at that time. The commissioners designated Poe’s Tavern as the first courthouse for Hamilton County. The first sessions of the court of pleas and quarter sessions and of the circuit court were held at Poe’s Tavern. The settlement around Poe’s Tavern became known as “Poe’s”. The census of 1820 showed Hamilton county to have 821 residents including 16 free blacks and 39 slaves. There were approximately 100 Cherokees living in the area on six private family reserves. The settlers were clustered mainly at Sale Creek, at Poe’s, and at the farm of Asahel Rawlings which later became known as Dallas.

As the Poes were getting settled into Hamilton County, the Cherokee people led by John Ross were being urged by the US government to move to reservations in the west. Along with other Cherokee leaders, Ross had agreed to the Hiwassee purchase in 1818 but he stood firmly against relinquishing the Indian land south of the Tennessee. John Ross who was well educated and multilingual represented the Cherokee in many trips to Washington with attempts to negotiate a coexistence between the Cherokee and the US government. John Ross was eventually elected as permanent principal chief of the Cherokee, a position he held until his death. A small group of Cherokees who opposed Ross signed a treaty with the US in 1835 which stipulated all the Cherokee would move out of the area by 1838. When the time came, the majority represented by Ross refused to move and the government sent in troops to force the removal of the Cherokee which resulted in the tragic event referred to as The Trail of Tears. About one fourth of the Cherokee forcibly removed died along the trail to the new Indian territory. There were other tribes being removed at the same time.  The Indian removal was going on coincidental with Hasten Poe and his son Samuel P. Poe building a new life in Hamilton County, Tennessee. No family history has been uncovered detailing what if any experiences they may have had with the indigenous people of this new territory.

Records in Hamilton County do not show Hasten as being a land owner there prior to 1833. Some say the early land deeds were potentially lost in the transfer or lack of transfer of records from North Carolina when Tennessee was created as a state in 1796. Another theory is that many records were burned during the Civil War.  One of the elders I interviewed in Soddy Daisy in the 1980’s spoke of Hasten having to settle some of his ownership claims with North Carolina at one point. The Hamilton County records show Hasten purchasing more land in 1833 when he purchased 1,050 acres on the north waters of Chickamauga Creek and the south side of Walden’s Ridge from John White and wife for the amount of one thousand dollars. Hasten bought more land in 1835 when he purchased 1,280 acres from John and Thomas Brown on the north branch of Chickamauga Creek for two thousand four hundred dollars.

By the mid 1830’s the region was becoming more populated and primary roads were being established. Walden’s Ridge was a mountain range which created a barrier to new settlements west from Hamilton County. On the other side of of Walden’s Ridge in the Sequatchie Valley was the settlement of Dunlap. The route to Dunlap required traveling several miles south to a gap in Walden’s Ridge where travelers could pass into Sequachie Valley and take a rugged northernly route back up to Dunlap. Hasten and his son Samuel saw a need for a simpler route to Dunlap which could cut days of travel for the settlers. They applied for a grant of land to build a road over Walden’s Ridge. On June 19, 1834, they received a grant from the state of Tennessee for 100 acres on the face of Walden’s Ridge and Hasten and Samuel began building a road over the mountain. On September 19, 1836 they obtained a charter and opened “Poe Turnpike” which still exists today as Poe Road. In 1846, a post office was established in the name of Poe’s Crossroads with Samuel P. Poe becoming its first postmaster.

Hasten and Celia Poe’s daughter Elizabeth Ann married Sterling S. Condry and their other daughter Sarah J. married Thomas Windham. Sarah had a son named Azariah R. Poe who was born when she was only 13 years old. Hasten and Celia’s son Samuel P. Poe married Mary Elizabeth Bryant. No records can be found as to the date of their marriage as many records are believed to have been destroyed during the Civil War. Samuel Porter Poe and Mary Elizabeth Bryant were my generation’s third great grandparents.  Samuel and Mary had six children to wit: William Houston Poe born 1844, Hasten Hamilton Poe born 1845, John Hill Poe born 1849, Sarah Elizabeth Poe born 1851, James A. Poe born 1856, and Samuel Porter Poe Jr. birth date unknown.

The Mexican War broke out in 1846 when President James K. Polk made known his belief that the United States had a “manifest destiny” to expand its border to the Pacific coast. Texas had only recently gained its independence from Mexico in 1836; and Mexico let the U.S. know any attempt to annex Texas would lead to war. A border skirmish along the Rio Grande River started the fighting followed by several U.S. victories over a divided and militarily unprepared Mexico. As the war developed, many Tennessee counties began raising regiments to join in the fighting. Samuel P. Poe raised a regiment for Hamilton County and was elected Major but the war ended before his regiment was ready to to march.

As the 1860’s came along, Hasten and Samuel’s families saw many changes taking place in their community. New settlers were moving into the area on a regular basis. Land speculators were advertising and selling land sight unseen to people from all over the United States.  Along with southern planters from places like Virginia and the Carolinas came the merchants and the traders from New York and New Jersey in the north. The Poes got along well with all the new settlers but before long the political and social attitudes became more and more diversified. The rumors of war soon became reality and the valley discreetly took sides. Neighbors became enemies in their loyalty but remained friends in their hearts.

It is believed Hasten openly remained neutral during the Civil War. He had over 2600 acres to tend and while he was a slave holder, he did not want to take sides. Some accounts say Hasten’s son Samuel and Samuel’s own two sons, William Houston, and Hasten Hamilton, served on the southern side early in the war. Records do show William Houston Poe served in the 43rd Regiment, Tennessee Infantry (Gillespie’s)(5th East Tennessee Volunteers) which recruited soldiers from Hamilton county. Another indicator of the Poe family’s dedication and belief in the southern cause comes from written family history saying Samuel was in Atlanta buying slaves when the war came to a close.

A granddaughter to Samuel Poe’s daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Poe, recounted stories her grandmother told her of the war. She said on a day in the Fall of 1863, the Negro women were gathered in the shade behind the picket fence at Poe’s Tavern seeding cotton while the children, slave and free, were playing on the lawn. Samuel’s wife Mary was inside with the baby and Samuel and his two oldest sons William and Hasten were with the southern armies. Samuel’s father Hasten was in the fields with the workers.  Suddenly, a picket standing guard at the crossroads came running yelling “The yankees are coming! The Yankees are coming!” Before he was out of sight and on to warn the next house, a band of Union soldiers rode up firing into the fence and the yard as well as the house as they came. The women and children made a mad scramble for the house but were no sooner inside with the doors barred than they discovered a young Negro boy named Lewis just old enough to sit up on his own was still sitting in the yard. The others held Lewis’s mother to prevent her from running out to rescue the child while bullets were plowing up dirt around him.  Not a shot was fired from inside the house. The women inside Poe’s Tavern surrendered and Lewis was brought into the house unharmed.  

Now the officers took over the house and crowded the women and children into one room for living, cooking, eating and sleeping until the Yankees would leave. The enlisted men put up tents all around the house and soldiers began to tear up floor planks and ceiling coverings looking for guns and valuables that may be hidden away in the house. The house remained under siege for two days.  The Poe Tavern was a frequent command post and / or hospital for both sides. Sarah Elizabeth’s granddaughter recounted her grandmother’s story of the house being used as a hospital when battles raged around Chattanooga. She said wounded and sick Union soldiers would be transported there in wagons and laid on the hard bare earth in the yard. Doctors would throw up makeshift operating tables made from boards and saw horses and without anesthesia, they would probe for bullets, sew up wounds, and amputate limbs. She said her grandmother and her brother John Hill together with a few Negro children would be assigned the task of carrying away the amputated limbs to throw into a ditch and cover them with dirt.

The Poe Tavern was always on alert. When news spread that forces from either side were in the area the plantation workers raced against time to hide livestock and bury what stored food they could in order to have subsistence in the weeks to come.  The Poes had no choice but to be hospitable to the Union troops when they appeared. Family legend has it that Hasten’s wife Celia, then in her seventies, had to be taken to the back room on a few occasions to keep from letting her true feelings be known when the Yankees were there. One such occasion was documented in a hand written story by Charles P. Card, a Union soldier captured near the Poe Tavern by the Confederates. The account tells of Charles and his brother being captured by a Confederate party on Walden’s Ridge.  Charles was carrying a dispatch from Murfreesboro to be delivered to a Union general on the other side of Chattanooga. The two prisoners were told by their captors they were going to be escorted to Chattanooga where they would be tried as spies. The Union soldier’s story described how they stopped over at a place called Poe’s Tavern for some food. They were placed in a room under guard while the solders were fed. While most of the confederate party were distracted and eating, the two brothers decided to attempt an escape and a struggle developed with a couple rifles being fired and a hand to hand tussle ending with broken furniture and the prisoners back in custody. The story describes how an elderly woman emerged from the house after the prisoners had been recaptured and bound and this woman demanded they both be killed right then and there!  To avoid more problems, the Confederate detail quickly mounted up and left Poe Tavern with their prisoners. The woman’s name was not mentioned in the story but the person who handed me the copy of the writing (also a relative of Charles P. Card), assured me the woman was Hasten’s wife, the feisty Celia Poe.

Early in the Civil War timeline, Samuel Poe’s wife, Mary died, possibly of typhoid fever which claimed the lives of many soldiers during the war. This left Samuel to raise their six children ranging in age 6 to 18. According to family history, a seventh child, Samuel Porter Poe Jr., died of typhoid around that same time. It was only four years later that Samuel Sr. himself died from wounds he received after being ambushed by bandits on a return from a cattle drive to Chattanooga. He was robbed and left to die in a creek only later to be found by a neighbor who carried him home where he later died. Hasten and Celia, then in their eighties, continued raising Samuel and Mary’s children.

After the war, Hasten was concerned about keeping his property. He had worked hard to accumulate over 2600 acres where he raised cattle and grew crops. The political climate had completely changed in Poe’s Crossroads and the future of many businesses and the way of life would never be the same as before the war. The new order was placing Union officials as figureheads and leaders in the community and Hasten feared the government would see him as an ex Confederate and find a way to seize his property. Acre by acre he began deeding his property to his children and grandchildren. He gave his two surviving daughters and their husbands 600 acres each and in 1867, he gave 100 acres each to William, Hasten Hamilton, and Sarah Elizabeth. By 1872, he gave the remaining grandchildren their portion of the land. Hasten deeded the Poe Tavern and the family cemetery along with 90 acres to John Hill and his wife Sara Louise. Hasten and Celia continued living in the Poe Tavern being cared for by John Hill Poe and his family until their death in 1878 and 1875 respectively. They were buried in the Poe Cemetery next to their son Samuel and his wife Mary. Hasten was 91 and Celia was 89.

John Hill Poe and Sara Louise Bean were the second great grandparents to my generation. John Hill brought the Bean family into our lineage when he married Sarah Louise Bean, daughter of Union Colonel William H. Bean and great-great granddaughter of Russell Bean, the first white child born in what is now Tennessee. The marriage of John Hill and Sara Louise did not come without some controversy. After all, Sara’s father had served in the Union Army and as mentioned previously, the Poes were neutral but had sympathy to the southern cause. While they were slave holders, all I have read and have been told about Hasten and Celia suggested they were not cruel slave owners and they treated the people working on their plantation with dignity and made sure they had suitable homes to live in. After the war, Hasten freed his slaves and allowed those who wanted to stay to remain in the homes they occupied. Hasten paid them wages for their work.

As the 1880’s rolled in Poe’s Crossroads and the surrounding areas grew immensely with the coming of the Cincinnati Southern Railroad and a steady population growth which followed. A rich deposit of coal was discovered with four veins of coal ranging from three and a half to seven feet thick. The Daisy Coal company came into existence and soon the town was renamed Daisy after the coal mining company’s vice president’s daughter, Daisy Parks.  John Hill Poe and Sara Louise (Bean) Poe continued living in the Poe Tavern through the beginning of the 19th century. John operated a merchandise store and worked his farm. From early manhood John assumed a position of leadership in the community. He was repeatedly elected Justice of the Peace for his section of Hamilton County. He was instrumental in organizing a Cumberland Presbyterian church in the community and served as superintendent of the Sunday School for twenty years. He repeatedly served on the school board and strongly encouraged education and religion in the community. John and Sara gave the land where the first three schools were built as well as the first Cumberland Presbyterian church. Their home was said to be a center of social activity as all their children were given musical training and the presence of musical musical instruments in the home made Poe Tavern a musical center for the community.  John Hill and Sara Poe had nine children between 1874 and 1898. Their first four children were sons: William S. “Bert” Poe born 1874; Floyd W. Poe born 1877, Byron C. Poe “Coke” born 1879;  and Coster L. Poe born 1881. The last five children born to John and Sara were girls: Elma Poe born circa 1882; Allie Poe born 1883; Mae Poe born 1884; Effie Poe born 1888; and Martha L. Poe born 1898.

This researcher was fortunate to have been able to interview some of the grandchildren of John Hill and Sara Louise Poe. After searching through phone books in libraries I found a few of them still alive and kicking. I located and spoke with the son of Bert Poe, a Mr. G. Leslie Poe who was a retired teacher living in Coral Gables, Florida. Through him I was able to contact his daughter who shared some photos of Bert and his family. There was a Mrs. Jane Poe Dent, daughter of Coster Poe, who was a manager in a Miller Brothers clothing store in Chattanooga. She didn’t know much about the John and Sara Poe family and I was only able to speak with her the one time. While visiting in Daisy (which since 1969 is called Soddy-Daisy when the towns of Soddy and Daisy grew together and became one) I was able to meet with a grandson of Hasten HamiltonPoe, John Hill’s brother, who told me many tales and gave me some copies of photos of the pioneer Hasten Poe and his son Samuel as well as one of the Poe Tavern in its day. This fellow told me a few tales he had heard about the family in its heyday and while some of them sounded a little far fetched, they were still nonetheless interesting.

The genealogical gem of this research was Helen Louise Poe, granddaughter to John Hill and Sara Louise Poe and daughter to Floyd Poe and Glenna Rhul Poe. In the mid 1980’s I found Helen’s phone number and address listed in Dallas, Texas where my research had told me her father at one time had been a doctor. Dr. Floyd Poe would have been over 100 years old at the time so I assumed he had already passed and This Helen L. Poe I found in the Dallas phone book must be his daughter, Helen Louise Poe, my great grandfather’s niece and my first cousin twice removed. I called the listed number several times and the phone on the other end rang and rang. I’d let it ring up to ten times or more and nobody answered. There was no answering machine either. Finally, one day after the third or fourth ring someone answered in a rather annoyed and impatient voice. Stunned, I hesitated a second or two then asked if it were Helen Poe on the other end. She replied “Yes! Who is this calling”? I was so excited to finally reach her and I stuttered a little but got out “My name is Coke Poe and I am your father’s great great nephew and I’m doing research on our family and would like to ask you some questions”. Her reply was “Yes, I am of the same family of Poes and I am very busy right now preparing for a trip to Burma and a speaking engagement I must give before I go and I really don’t have time to talk about dead Poes right now”. She went on to say: “You can call me again sometime and I will be happy to tell you what I know”.  She then hung up the phone and I stood there on an empty line amazed at the energy and tone from this woman I had just spoken to. I knew I wanted to meet her someday.

During the call I promised Helen I would make copies of the research and writings I had compiled to date and mail them out to her.  If nothing else it would keep me in her thoughts once she returned from her trip when I could try to contact her again. From the few seconds I had her on the phone I just knew she would be a great source for family information.  Little did I know she would be an invaluable asset to ten years of my life and I hers.  


Lydia Russell Bean 

Born September 2, 1726

Nanye’hi Cherokee ‘Beloved Woman’ who was also known as Nancy Ward

Russell Bean lays down his pistols and surrenders to Andrew Jackson for the crime of  the merciless beating the brother of his wife’s seducer. 

Hasten Poe 

Born September 2, 1786

Died April 10, 1878

Poe Tavern in its early days

Samuel Poe

Born July 3, 1810

Died October 30, 1866

John Hill Poe and Wife Sara Louise (Bean) Poe

   John Born October 24, 1849     Died December 11, 1927

   Sara Born May 9, 1854                 Died April 5, 1930