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American History
Life and Times of William Young


Tennessee Frontiersman, Utah Pioneer
written by Gary Dean Young, ggg-grandson

William Alma Young was born 28 Aug 1805, the son of Jacob Young and Mary Boren, in Smith County Tennessee near the present town of Springfield. He was named after his Grandfather William Young who had come to Tennessee with his wife Elizabeth Huff and family. Evidence suggests that the Youngs and Borens had been neighbors in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina. The Borens were relatively long-time residents of this area of North Carolina, where Mary Boren Young was born. Her father Bazel Boren, was a close personal friend of another resident of the Yadkin Valley, Andrew Jackson -- later President of the United States.

Both the Borens and Youngs were part of the post revolutionary war migration to the Southwest Indian Territory through the Cumberland Gap. This was before the state of Tennessee existed, and the entire area was considered to be a part of North Carolina. At the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, it became Washington County Virginia. The book, 'Kings Mountain Men' by Katherine Keogh White, page 150, shows "Baile Boran was a Lt. in the militia of Washington Co Virginia in Sept 1780." In 1775, a group of land speculators called the Transylvania Company bought a large area in present-day Tennessee and Kentucky from the Cherokee. In fact, the word 'Tennessee' came from the name of a Cherokee Indian village. Early maps show little more than the names of streams and widely spaced family cabins, around which grew small settlements. Mary Boren's great uncle, Daniel Boone (also a resident of the Yadkin Valley, NC) was hired to blaze a trail from Virginia across the mountains at Cumberland Gap to open this Transylvania land to settlement. His trail, the famous Wilderness Road, became the chief route to the new settlements. Mary Boren Young named her oldest son Squire Boren Young after Daniel Boone's father Squire Boone (Daniel also had a brother named Squire).

It is believed that the Youngs were of Scots-Irish origin, as were so many of the early North American frontier people. In support of this theory is an article written by Tennessee Governor David Campbell in 1911 entitled "Old Washington," (Submitted to USGenWeb Archives by Jean Schneider in 1999). Governor Campbell wrote, "Some account of the first settlers of old Washington County, Virginia, would, no doubt, be interesting to many of the readers of the Virginian, and I could tell them something on that subject.... Hunters visited the county as early as 1745, but no families came and settled permanently until about 1767 or 1768. In two years from that time many emigrated, so that in 1770 the county was dotted all over with improvements. The first great migration was from Augusta County, but the spirit was immediately caught, and large numbers of families, and, indeed, whole connections, came from Frederick County and the (Shenandoah) Valley - from the Augusta line to the Potomac - from the upper counties of Maryland and from Pennsylvania. Botetourt and the country on each side of it sent members. The first large connections were the Edmondsons, of whom there were ten or twelve families of the same name. Then the Vances, Newells, Blackburns, and several others of that connection; the Campbells, five or six families, the Davises, four brothers - Nathaniel, John, James and Samuel Davis, the Craigs, three brothers - David, Robert and James Craig, two or three families of the Colvilles, and the same number of Briggses, two families of Logans, John and Benjamin Logan, a large number of Buchanaus, and several families of Beatys and their connections, the Rayburns and Dysarts, also a large connection of the Berry family; five or six Lowrey families; the Sharps and Laughlins, a large connection, including the Kings and Youngs. These Youngs were not the German family, they were of Irish descent."

The story of the Scots-Irish people may be traced back to the days of King James I (1566-1625) of England. James was born in the castle at Edinburgh Scotland on 19 Jun 1566, the only son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley. He was crowned King James VI of Scotland at the age of 13 months on 20 Jul 1567, upon the abdication of his mother. James' early tutors were George Buchanan and Peter Young. When his cousin Queen Elizabeth I of England died in 1603, he became king of England. The first permanent English colony in America established in 1607 was named Jamestown in his honor. He had the bible translated into English in 1611, and it became known as the King James Version.

King James seized lands in north Ireland and colonized them with Scottish settlers in the first half of the 1600's. The Irish rebelled repeatedly, but the English crushed every uprising. These so-called Scotch Irishmen felt that the Roman Catholic church had strayed from the true teachings of the bible and so they practiced the Protestant religion or Anglicanism as it was called. They were known as Protestant-Anglicans from which the Presbyterian Church developed. Nine out of ten of the Irish were Catholics and hated the Scotch intruders and their Protestant religion. As a result, many of the Scotch Irishmen who could afford it, chose to escape persecution by migrating to the American Colonies. Most of them settled in the Northern Neck of Virginia and eventually congregated in the western area that became known as the Shenandoah Valley.

Augusta County is located on the western boarder of Virginia, at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the south end of the Shenandoah Valley. It was named in honor of Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, wife of Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales, the father of George III. It was formed from Orange County in 1738, when it included all western territory including present-day Kentucky, Illinois, and Tennessee. Because of the unsettled state of the region, county government was not actually established there until 1745. The county seat was Staunton. Many of the settlers were Scotch-Irish. Early Augusta county court records show William Young, Robert Young, John Young, James Young, Mathew Young, Patrick Young and Hugh Young. Their properties may be found among the original grantees of the 1736 Beverly Manor Grant (GenWeb, Augusta Co Va).

Scots-Irish settlement moved southward through the Shenandoah Valley during the 1730's and 1740's following the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road. This was the famous 'backcountry' where their presence was welcomed as a reinforcement against the Indian threat. Most of the movement into North Carolina took place between 1740 and 1756, with the surge into Tennessee developing about 1770-80. Scots-Irish families were the vanguard of the push west. Moving across the mountain barriers, many would leave Virginia for Kentucky, or North Carolina for Tennessee, while many others migrated from eastern Pennsylvania into the Ohio Valley. They were taught wilderness survival skills from childhood. Boys were trained in the art of making and shooting a bow and became skilled hunters. Men wore buckskin clothing, coonskin caps and moccasins, and always carried a long rifle. Men and boys both, were seldom seen without a hunting dog by their side. Women and girls wore homemade dresses, and excelled in preparing clothing and food from wild plants and animals. They were descended from generations of American pioneers and explorers and enjoyed the wilderness, using the resources that nature provided to their advantage. They built log cabins and planted corn and melons in the forest clearings. Each family raised hogs to suppliment their diet of wild meat, and most kept a cow for milk and butter. They kept a good riding horse whenever possible and transportation was by horseback on land or by canoe on the waterways.

Although there were a few settlers in the Rowan Co North Carolina area by 1745, the largest numbers began to arrive in 1749. Listed among the Scots-Irish contingent of that year was Morgan Bryan, whose daughter Rebecca married Daniel Boone. Morgan was a Scots-Irishman born 1671 in Denmark where his family had gone to seek exile. He married Martha Strode 1719 in Chester Co Pennsylvania and then migrated to the Yadkin River country NC where he died on 3 Apr 1763. His son Morgan Bryan Jr was the grandfather of Mary Boren Young -- wife of Jacob Young of Springfield, Robertson Co Tenn. Mary's father Bazel Boren was a descendent of settlers who had come to the Yadkin Valley from Currituck County on the northeast coast of North Carolina. Bazel & Susannah Bryan Boren's grandson, Jacob Young and his brothers were all accomplished gunsmiths, and the town of Salisbury in Rowan County was the gateway to the west and significantly in those turbulent years leading up to the Revolutionary War it became the main gunsmithing center for the Carolina Piedmont, with Rowan-manufactured rifles an important tool of survival.

Bazel and Susannah Bryant Boren were married 7 Oct 1780 in Rowan Co No Carolina. Shortly thereafter, Bazel joined the famous 'Kings Mountain Men.' Losses at Charleston and Camden in the Revolutionary War had discouraged many patriots, but new encouragement came as Thomas Sumpter, Francis Marion, and Andrew Pickens launched guerrilla attacks against the British. In September 1780, Cornwallis invaded North Carolina and on October 7th, Col. William Campbell's 900 American frontiersmen destroyed a force of 1,100 Loyalists under Maj. Patrick Ferguson, covering Cornwallis' left flank. The loss, sustained at Kings Mountain, just over the boarder from North Carolina into S.C., forced the British to retreat and became one of the pivotal battles of the war.

News of the abundance of game and fertility of the soil traveled fast, and settlement continued to move westward. Between 1777 and 1788, six North Carolina counties were formed to give the people a political voice and some form of organized government. Three counties were in the east of what is now the state of Tennessee -- Washington, Sullivan, and Greene, and three were in middle of the present state of Tennessee -- Davidson, Sumner, and Tennessee. The Sumner County Tennessee tax list of 25 Aug 1789 lists a John Young (868 acres land) and William Young (640 acres). They are again listed on the 1790 Sumner Co tax list. North Carolina ceded this area to the federal government when it ratified the United States Constitution in 1789, and congress designated it as the 'Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio, better known in history as the 'Southwest Territory.' It was first divided into three districts -- two for eastern part, and the 'Mero District' where the Youngs and Borens moved on the Cumberland River. Taxes were levied to pay for the militia employed in cutting roads and escorting families from Virginia through the Cumberland Gap. The area in which they resided was first a part of Washington County Virginia, then Sumner, Smith and Robertson Counties Tennessee. The Cumberland River was the boundary between Sumner and Wilson Counties. On the southwest was Mansker's Creek, which formed the line between Sumner and Davidson Counties. Robertson County was formed beyond the western edge of Sumner. By 1795, a territorial census showed enough population for statehood. Congress approved the admission of Tennessee on 1 Jun 1796. It became the sixteenth state of the Union.

The question of locating the seat of justice was the most difficult and perplexing one the people of Smith County had to settle. It continued for years to be a source of strife and division. The Legislature appointed commissioners to locate the town of Smithfield for this purpose, but evidently they failed to act. In August 1804, the Legislature appointed new commissioners to hold an election of the voters of the county to decide between Bledsoeboro and the lands of William Walton, at the mouth of Caney Fork, as the location of the county seat. Andrew Green, John Gordon, and James Ballow were appointed in the Act authorizing it to superintend the election. It was held at the house of Mr. Walton, for three consecutive days, as soon after the passage of the law as notice could be given. Colonel Walton furnished unlimited supplies of venison, beef, and barbecued bear meat, nor was a full supply of whiskey lacking. Parties between the two places were nearly equally divided. The contest was fierce, and for a long time doubtful. The Bledsoeboro people called the Caney Fork men the 'Moccasin Gang' and the Caney Fork men retaliated by naming their opponents the 'Pole Cats.' In the forenoon of the last day, the polecats took possession of the polls and raised the defiant shout of victory. Nothing daunting however, the Moccasin Gang formed a solid column, pushed the head of it to the voting place and stood while their friends walked over their shoulders to vote. Victory at the close was found perched upon the standard of the moccasins, and the county seat of Smith became Carthage. This result was largely due to the personal popularity of Colonel William Walton, and to his abundant supply of refreshments during the days of the election. There was ill blood on both sides for years, and many a fight occurred between them in consequence whenever they should meet at Carthage.

It is believed that upon their arrival in Tennessee, Wm & Elizabeth Huff Young settled on Sulphur Fork of the Red River, which empties into the Cumberland. They had property on Sullivan's Bend, and on Indian Creek that empties into the Caney Fork of the Cumberland.

You can read the rest of this large account here


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