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James and Nancy Greenlee

Of Grainger County, Tennessee,

And their Descendants


My notes and additional material are inside boxes like these. All other Text and information is from the Ralph Stebbins Greenlee & Robert Lemuel Greenlee’s The Greenlee Family in America, Scotland, Ireland and England (Hereafter RS&RL’s)

The below entry begins a major family grouping in RS&RL’s, on p355:

1 James Greenlee; married Nancy -------


2 John b Oct 1775; married Elizabeth Sunderland

3 Alexander; settled at or near Tazewell, Claibourne County, TN, prior to 1800

4 James; married Ruth Sunderland

5 William; married ------- -------

6 Louis b 28 Dec 1791; married Elizabeth Hunt

7 Violet; married Mathew McCullow; died when their only child was very young

James came from Ireland. He settled in Virginia on the Potomac river. He spent some time in Pennsylvania before he went to Virginia. Some of his sons served in the Revolutionary War.

This last statement is very doubtful – his oldest child was an infant at the time! It is possible that the father of #1 also immigrated, and this statement was intended to be about him (making it James or his brothers who were in the Revolutionary War).

Possibly referring to the same man is this from the State historical Society of Wisconsin Papers 17DD26(63-67):

Captain Bowman settled near James Greenlee, whose farms on the Catawba were raided by Ferguson: Bowman’s widow married Gen. Charles McDowell.

The "widow" referred to here was born Grizel Greenlee (see RS&RL’s chapter "James of Virginia" entry #7 or Historic Families of Kentucky Baltimore. 1959. Pg 11). The Catawba River is actually over the ridge and into present-day North Carolina. Some of these early records also list these Greenlees as living in NC, but remember that TN did not exist yet, and was carved out of NC.



3 Alexander Greenlee, the son of James Greenlee of Tennessee (born in Ireland some time before 1760, pg 355, RS&RL's). Alexander was born in South Carolina abt 1784-5, [1850 Census Index]. The Genealogy also tells that he settled at or in Tazewell, Claiborne County, Tennessee, prior to 1800. He married Lydia, born North Carolina, 1795-6 [1850 Census Index]. The 1850 census shows they were still living in Claiborne County, with Dolly Greenlee, probably their granddaughter, age 19 (b 1730-31), and also the BURKHARTs, James age 25, Lydia 24, and Martha L. 13. By the 1860 Census, Alexander no longer appears in the census. See RS&RL's pg 355; 1850 TN Census Claiborne Co. 1306-668. For the sake of being careful, it should be noted that there also is a Tazewell, Claiborne County, Virginia


4 James Greenlee and Ruth Sunderland son of James Greenlee and Nancy ------; resided in Jefferson County, Tennessee.

18 James

19 Andrew

The sons who went West about 1850, after the father died.

This is little information. Math can tell you additionally that James was born after 1776 and before 1790, which means that his sons were probably born in the 1800-1835 range.

In addition, there is much speculation that this James and Ruth are the one and the same as James and "Gilly" Greenlee. Their own children are unknown, but in 1850 they were living with four children having the last name of Allen. These are likely to have been their orphaned grandchildren, for in the 1870 Census, some of them take the name of Greenlee.


1850 Franklin Co. 960-143 -----------------1870 Franklin Co.

James Greenlee 64 (born 1786)

Gilly Greenlee 56 (born 1794) -------------- Gilla (born 1796)

James Allen 21 (b 1827-8)

Abel Allen 18 (b 1831-2) --------------------- Abe Greenlee, age 36 (b 1833-4)

Mary Allen 15 (b 1844-5)

Henderson S. Allen 9 (b 1840-1)-----------Henderson Greenlee age 28 (b 1841-2)


The selection below was sent to me from "Peggy" in Genforum 1998/9:
Hi Lance, I came across your query on the Greenlee Family page, and wonder if you could help me with some information. I have been following James Greenlee and his wife Gill. They lived in Franklin Co., TN. There has been some assumption that this James is the one married to Ruth Sunderland. I was wondering if you had information on the James and Ruth line that would help me sort out this line. I am enclosing what I know about my Greenlee line. Thanks, Peggy
Descendants of James Greenlee
1 James Greenlee b: Bat. 1786 in GA d: Beef. 1870 in Coffee Co, TN. +Gilly (Ruth) Sunderland? B: 1794 in GA or NC m: August 03, 1809 in Grainger Co., TN d: Aft. 1870 in Franklin Co TN.....
2 Julia Anne Greenlee b: December 04, 1819 in TN d: June 29,1914 in Myra, TX; Reeds Cemetary......... +William Jacob Sanders b: Abt. 1819 in TN m: January 14, 1839 in Franklin County TN d: January 11, 1865 in Sanders Place, FranklinCo., TN.....
2 Ruben E. Greenlee b: Abt. 1825 d: WFT Est. 1853-1916......... +Eleanor Finney b: Abt. 1832 m: December 24, 1845 in Franklin County TN d: WFT Est. 1854-1926.....
2 James Allen Greenlee b: August 09, 1831 in Franklin Co TN d: December 24, 1903......... +Mary Tabitha Banks b: 1836 in Franklin Cty, TN m: September14, 1852 in Franklin Cty, TN d: November 11, 1892.....
2 Able Greenlee b: 1832......... +Martha Brazier b: WFT Est. 1815-1839 m: February 24, 1853 in Franklin County TN d: WFT Est. 1858-1928.....
2 Mary Polly Ann Greenlee b: October 25, 1835 d: April 16, 1917in Myra, TX; Reed Cemetary.....
2 Henderson L. Greenlee b: Abt. 1841 d: WFT Est. 1873-1932......... +Amanda McWhirter b: WFT Est. 1829-1851 m: October 08, 1867in Franklin County TN d: WFT Est. 1872-1940 
Note, however, that she finds the date of death for James at 1870, while RS&RL’s put it at "about 1850." The orginal also states a different county.

From pg 356 RS&RL’s:

6 Louis Greenlee, son of James Greenlee and Nancy --------, was born December 28, 1791; killed during the Civil War, December 1862 or 1863 at Carrollton, Carroll Co., Arkansas; married October 4, 1815 Elizabeth Hunt, born November 2, 1799 in Tennessee, died August 3, 1872 or 1871 at Carrollton Arkansas, daughter of James Hunt and Margaret Box. He was a farmer; Democrat; Baptist; resided near Cooksons Creek in eastern Tennessee; removed to Carroll county, Arkansas three or four years before the Civil War.


21 James Monroe b March 27, 1819; married Sarah Weldon

22 Amanda born 17 Feb 1821 married Madison or Mathew Bedingfeild

23 William born 18 Aug 1823 married Emily Jackson

24 Margaret born 8 Aug 1826 married John Richard Copeland

25 Emeline born 24 June 1828; married Wylie Secrest

26 Willis born 21 November 1830; married Miss Malvina Clark

27 Benjamin Franklin born 11 Feb 1833 married Ann Eliza Henderson.

28 Thomas Jefferson born 23 Oct 1836; married Josephine Bonaparte Wright

29 Julia Ann born 2 October 1839 married ? 1st; married Morgan Jefferson Magness 2nd.

The family is found on the Index to 1850 TN Census, Polk County 373-436. GREENLEE, Louis 59, Elizabeth 50, Willis 20, Benj. F. 17, Thomas J. 15, Julia Ann 11, Elizabeth ELLIAGE 22.


A possible reference to the family is made in The Journal of Rosine Pamentier, 1852, printed in East Tennessee Historical Society’s Publication, Vol. 31, 1959. It seems that their house was still standing in 1959.

Friday - this morning at half past seven we set off in an uncovered country wagon without springs. We had three rush bottomed chairs and our trunks serve to keep them in place. The road is constantly up and downhill, some of the descents being very rapid13. But our driver was very careful and sure of his horses.

The mountains were towering above one another, the nearer one covered with vendure and more distant one of that bluish cast which adds so much beauty to a landscape. The scenery was so grand and so magnificent and at every ascent you felt the effect of the pure mountain air.

About one o’clock we came to a neat farmhouse where we stopped for dinner. Everything was in perfect order and we really enjoyed that dinner more than those which we took in the fashionable hotels. From this farm, which is owned by a man named Greenley,14 we had a fine view of on of the mountains which is very high and goes tapering to a point15. It is amusing to hear these country people try to find out all about us. After having spoken but a little while with us Mr. Greenly turned to Edward and asked, "And what might be your name, sir?" Edward told him and then he was asked whether Adele and I were connected with him and which of us was his wife. Then he turned to me and asked, "What age do you call yourself?"

They were plain but kind people and eve invited us several times to stay and sleep that night at their house…

13 Until they came into the vicinity of Sylco Creek, the travelers had been on the copper road which would soon be the life-line of the copper Basin, running between Cleveland and Ducktown. Work had been started on it in 1851, and its 45 miles were completed in 1853. Over this road during the next four decades thousand of mule trains would move carrying copper ore to the railroads in Cleveland and returning with supplies of the people of the Basin. See George Mellen, "The Old Copper Road" Knoxville Sentinel October 22, 1921; E. E. Barclay, Ducktown back in Raht’s time (Chapel Hill, 1946) opposite 131.

14 The Journal and Banner edition of the Journal appended the following note: "The Greenlee home referred to above is at present known as the Copeland Place and the ford of the river immediately after dinner was probably at a point just west of the present dam at Parksville where a ferry was operated during the Tenn. Power Co activities there." The Parksville dam was later incorporated into the TVA network of dams on the Ocoee River, becoming Ocoee Dam No.1. The Copeland referred to in this note was Dr. W. J. Copeland. see Ben H. McClary, "Fun, Fact, and Philosophy: The Diary of John Coffee Williamson, 1858-1861" (M.A. Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1957) xxx-xxxi

Loaf Mountain

From here, the Genealogy continues in skeletal form:

8 Nancy Greenlee, d/o John Greenlee and Elizabeth Sunderland,

30 James Mayes

9 James Greenlee, s/o John Greenlee and Elizabeth Sunderland,

31 Nancy

32 Elizabeth

33 Mary

34 John Witt

35 William Anderson

36 George Moody

37 Lovisa

38 James Lacy

39 Alexander Hamilton

James, Phebe, Geoge, Louise, Lames L. and Alexander H are all listed in 1850 TN Census, Granger Co., District 5, 471-65

The comment about John coming to TN when he was very young is a little confusing if his father was born in TN.

10 John Greenlee, s/o John Greenlee and Elizabeth Sunderland,

40 Esther

41 James Sterling

42 John Calvin

43 Caroline

44 Elizabeth

45 Pleasant L.

46 Jane

47 William A.

48 George A.

49 Victoria

This famiy is also listed in TN Census 1850, grainger Co. District 5, where the youngest child is listed as Julia V., age 8. Also check the TN Census 1870 Grainger Co., pg 57.


11 Eli Greenlee, s/o John Greenlee and Elizabeth Sunderland,

50 Plesant

51 Elizabeth

52 John Knight

53 James

54 Mary Ann

55 George

56 Eli

57 Jasper

58 Mary

Eli died in 1901; his marriage to Mary Daniel is here given as 1829 TN. Iowa Genealogical Surname Index, pg. 115.

12 Mary Greenlee, d/o John Greenlee and Elizabeth Sunderland,

59 Wesley Mayes

60 Caroline Mayes

13 Hamilton Greenlee

63 Eli Leroy Greenlee

16 George Greenlee

67 Samuel Greenlee

18 James Greenlee, son of James Greenlee and Ruth Sunderland. A James G. Greenlee in TN 1850 census was married to harriet born 1826, Greene Co 501-342. However, they are still on that census in 1860, pg 264.

19 Andrew Greenlee, son of James Greenlee and Ruth Sunderland, is probably fount in the 1840 TN Census in Jefferson Co. as Andrew S. Greenlee. There is also an Andrew in the 1860 OH census.

20 Willis L. Greenlee

68 son

69 Rebecca Jane

21 James Monroe Greenlee had several children, one of whom was:

70 John Louis Greenlee

22 Amanda Greenlee

23 William Greenlee

72 Francis Marion Greenlee

73 Vicy Jane Greenlee

74 James Newton Greenlee

75 Sarah Ann Greenlee

78 Lewis Archibald Greenlee

24 Margaret Greenlee

25 Emeline Greenlee

26 Willis Greenlee

89 Alvin Greenlee

27 Benjamin Franklin Greenlee

90 Geroge Hunt

91 Benjamin Henderson

92 Willis Sinclair

93 Lee

94 Eliza

95 Charles

96 Nora Ann

28 Thomas Jefferson Greenlee

97 Lulu Blount Greenlee

29 Julia Ann Greenlee

31 Nancy Greenlee

106 Amanda Gaylon

32 Elizabeth Greenlee

33 Mary Greenlee

34 John Witt Greenlee

123 James Pryes

124 William Samuel Greenlee

125 Sarah Catharine

126 Rachel Adaline

127 John Archibald

128 Elizabeth

129 George Serling

130 son

131 Narcissus Jane

35 William Anderson Greenlee

132 Susan Alice

133 Francis Elvira

134 Sarah Jane

135 James Lafayette

136 Mary Louise

137 Charles Anderson

138 William McCowan

139 Kate Belle

140 George Arthur

141 Edna

36 George Moody Greenlee

142 Ellen

143 Martha

38 James Lacy Greenlee

144 James Luther Anderson Greenlee

145 Eliza Caroline Cornelia

146 David Enos Orlando

147 Calvin Rogers Jerome

148 Napoleon Cato Cicero

149 Cora Emma Hester

150 Eunice Felicia Ona

39 Alexander Hamilton Greenlee

151 Robert Omri

152 James Dougan

153 Nettie Esther

154 Carrie Geneva

155 Horace Pierce

156 Edgar Prosser

157 Glenn Garfield

158 Blance Omri

159 Arnold Milburn

41 James Sterling Greenlee

160 Samuel Preston

161 John Marshall

162 Sarah Jane

163 James Noah

164 Margaret Elizabeth

Died 12 June 1898, "Grainger County in Days Gone By"

42 John Calvin Greenlee

165 Amanda R.

166 Samuel Filmore

167 Reuben M

168 Comfort E.

169 John Gilbert

50 Pleasant Greenlee

170 Martha Evaline

171 Tilmon Colvin

172 Mary Ellen

173 John Hamilton

174 Henry Franklin

175 Robert Witt

176 Lura Emily

52 John Knight Greenlee, son of Eli Greenlee and Mary Daniel, was born in 1833 in TN. In 1853 he married Louise Eliza McDaniel. In 1884, she remarried to Walter Perry Martin in Iowa. Iowa Genealogical Surname Index.

53 James Greenlee, along with his brother George, sons of Eli Greenlee and Mary Daniel, ate the james an dGeorge of Fremont Co., IA, IA 1880 soundex. Their ages are given as J 41 & G 39, making their birthyears 1839 and 1841, plus or minus one year.


63 Eli Leroy Greenlee

177 Joseph

178 Minerva B.

179 Mary A.

180 George Leroy

181 Martha L.

182 Ella

183 Betsy E.

184 Sarah L.

185 Edward E.

186 John William

72 Francis Marion Greenlee

187 Emily Jane

188 Willis Monroe

189 Lona

190 Alice Emeline

191 Leorah Belle

192 Aletha Valentine

193 Ethel H.

194 Balis Eldredge

195 Vestor Victor

73 Vicy Jane Greenlee

74 James Newton Greenlee

196 Mary Maude

197 Minne May

75 Sarah Ann Greenlee

78 Lewis Archibald Greenlee

210 Willis Ray

211 Laucelot Herbert

97 Lulu Blount Greenlee

124 William Samuel Greenlee