Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Brickwall Ancestor: John Blanton

Miriam Robbins Midkiff wrote in her blog about a brickwall ancestor and challenged others to do the same. She presented an excellent outline to follow in her blog at Who Are Our Brickwall Ancestors and Why Aren't We Blogging About Them Regularly?

So, I am writing about my brickwall ancestor, John Blanton, in hopes that it will help me to uncover the secret that he has been hiding from so many of his ancestors for so long - who were the parents of John Blanton?

A time line of the life of John Blanton:

1760 -1761 - John Blanton was born. (Muster Roll of the Republic of TX Army lists John Blanton's age as 75 on 14 July 1836.)

1784 - According to family history, John's eldest son was Isaac Blanton. Isaac was born about 1784 in North Carolina. It is thought that he was born in the part of North Carolina which became Tennessee. That would be Washington or Sullivan County. There was a John Blanton in Sullivan County in 1784, but we have been unable to prove that this was our John Blanton. There were several John Blantons in that same area and other researchers believe that the John in Sullivan County is their John, so it is difficult to tell which John was there.

We are not sure that Isaac Blanton was a son of John as the family has reported. He was not mentioned in John’s Estate, nor did he receive any land from that Estate; however, Elisha, another son, was not mentioned in the Estate, either.

1785 – 1790 – Son, Benjamin, was born. Birth dates came from census records.

Abt. 1795 – Son, Elisha, was born. Birth date is approximate and came from census records.

1799 – 1800 – Son, David, was born in Tennessee. Birth date and place came from census records.

1810 – Son, Elijah Blanton was born in Tennessee. Birth date and place came from census records.

1812 - John Blanton, Isaac Blanton, William Blanton, and Vincent Blanton were listed on Warren Co, TN tax list. This could be our John and Isaac; however, we have records showing Isaac in Claiborne County, TN around this time, but it is possible that he owned land in two places. This is William Blanton and son, Vincent, who had lived in Lee County, VA. William also had a son named John, so this could be his son.  If he had a son named Isaac, it is not known.         

1 Dec. 1826 - Land patent in Walker Co., AL issued to John Blanton, of Fayette Co., AL. This is our John. Isaac purchased land nearby as did John’s son, David, and Isaac’s son, James. This land was probably purchased several years before the 1826 date. The land bureau was several years behind in issuing patents for land in Alabama and it is said that many people had already sold their land by the time the patent was issued.
By 1828, John had moved to Arkansas, along with son, Benjamin. No record has been found of him selling his land in Alabama, but there are no deed records in Walker County before 1877 due to courthouse fires.

1828-1836 - John was on the Tax Lists for St. Francis Co., Arkansas along with son, Benjamin.

1830 St. Francis Co., Arkansas Census lists John Blanton, 1 Male 20-30; 2 Males 60-70; 1 Female 50-60. (Page 35, line 19.) I do not know who the other male is, nor if the woman was John’s wife or the other man’s wife.

12 July 1836 - John arrived in Texas. First Class Headright #302, dated March 23, 1838, showed John Blanton, a married man, arriving in Red River Co., TX on July 12, 1836. John stated that he was a married man, but no other mention of a wife was ever made in any of his deed or probate records. Did his wife refuse to come to Texas with him? Or, perhaps she died on the way from Arkansas or soon after arriving in Texas?

April - Oct 1836 - John served in the Republic of Texas Army, William Becknell's Company of Mounted Volunteer Rangers called the Red River Blues. Muster Roll shows John Blanton, Age 75, Horse's Valuation $75.00, Gun Valuation $20.00, Saddle Blanket Valuation $12.00.

March 23 1838 - First Class Headright #302 - Received 1 league and 1 labor of land for his service in the Texas Revolution.

Nov 1840 - John Blanton died in Red River Co., TX

Dec 1840 - Son Benjamin was appointed Administrator of John Blanton’s Estate until he was killed in 1842. Then son Elijah took over the Estate. He remained Administrator until he moved to Gonzales County in 1848 and gave David power of attorney to handle their father’s Estate.

1873 - Elisha’s daughter, Sarah Blanton Basham, named Benjamin, Elijah, David and Elisha as the heirs of John Blanton’s Estate in an Affidavit.

Where we have searched:

Several of us have searched for years looking for something to prove who John’s parents were. Before we came along, other researchers have searched the courthouses and mailed out letters to find as many of John’s descendants as possible and interviewed those descendants.

We have searched for records in the courthouses of Texas and Alabama where John lived. I have a copy of his probate papers from Red River County. I have copies of all his deeds in Red River County and land transactions in Texas from the General Land Office.

I have not searched the records thoroughly in Arkansas. He lived in St. Francis Co. The courthouse there burned and they have no deed, marriage, court, or probate records from the time that John was there. There are a few existing tax records.

In Alabama, all of the records from Walker County have also burned. The courthouse has burned 4 times and there are very few records which exist before 1877.

I have also tried to trace other families who lived near or married into this Blanton family, hoping to find them living near each other in an earlier time. I can trace some of the families back to Alabama, but that’s as far as I can trace them.

So, what else can I search? I will keep following these families who interacted with my family to see if it leads me to a clue. I would also like to do more research in the records of Arkansas and Alabama, even though most of them burned. John had descendants who stayed in Arkansas and Alabama, so there might be some reference to him in the later records. Of course, I don’t know who any of John’s siblings were, so I can't research them. If anyone knows of any resource that I have missed, please let me know about it.

Copyright © 2009 Deborah Blanton McCoy.
Do not copy the articles or pictures in this blog without the consent of the author.


  1. Debbie, I don't have any suggestions for you in your search for John's parents, but I'm sure Miriam or one of the others who are knowledgeable about research can help. Your post has given me a push to do a post about my "brickwall ancestor". I had not read Miriam's article and will now do that.

    I wanted to thank you for being one of the first again to "follow" my blog, Cemeteries with Texas Ties.


  2. Excellent article! You have given me the push to write about my "Mystery" grandpa. My cemetery blogs are not the place, but I'm beginning a new family stories blog soon that will be. Thanks!

  3. I wish I could help you like you have been helping me, but the earliest I can get my folks back in the U.S. is around 1844 and I am not familiar with records before that! You are inspiring me though...maybe all the good genealogy karma you are giving off will bring you luck :-)

  4. Hi Debbie,

    Are you descended from the Blantons in Rutherford, NC? I have a John Blanton who was my ggg-grandfather, but he doesn't match yours. He lived in NC all his life (1785-1847). His father was Burwell Blanton, the Rev War soldier. Perhaps we have a connection somewhere? :-)

  5. Elizabeth, thanks for your comment. We don't have any information which links our John back to Rutherford County; however, DNA tests indicate that both families probably connect back to Thomas and Jane of VA.

    You can see our DNA test results at our Blanton Family Historians' website at

    I could not find an email address for you on your blog, please email me for further information.


  6. My father was Melburn James Blanton. He was born 3-14-1912 in TX and died 1/31/2001 in Red Bluff, CA. . His father was Lee Ander Blanton DOB 4/8/1878 DOD 1/31/1967. His mother was Nancy Bivens (9/3/1884 Texas – 4/2/1934 Phoenix, AZ). Lee Ander Blanton's parents were Daniel Butler Blanton of Texas and Mary Jose (sic Jane) Hastings of Texas who died in Kern county California in 1932 & 1931 and are buried at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield. Their children were: Robert Jake, Ellen C., Marshall M., William P., James Virgil, Cassie A., Lee Ander, Daniel Edward, Julia Ann, and Lula Belle. Daniel Butler Blanton was one of 9 children of Jacob Blanton & Jane McAnear of Red River County, Texas. I am told Jacob Blanton is the son of John Blanton who died 1840 in Red River County, Texas (spouse unknown). Children of John Blanton: Jacob Blanton born 3/25/1806 in Morgan County, AL; , Benjamin Blanton; Elisha Blanton d June 1842; John Blanton (wife Susannah Snow).

    Lee Ander Blanton: Spouse Nancy Bivens. Children: Lonnie Blanton, Melburn James Blanton (Spouse: Gloria Diaz Blanton, Children: James Lonnie Blanton, Christine Nancy Blanton, Carolyn Blanton, and JoAnne Blanton), Nadine Blanton (Spouse: Byron Tufts, child: Steven Tufts), and Ervin Blanton

    I have been told Jacob's father was John Blanton, John Blanton's son Benjamin, and John Blanton's son Elijah! I am told that DNA definately links Jacob to the John Blanton line, but I can find no evidence. I have likewise not been able to trace John Blanton's parents.

    Good to meet all of you, and thank you Debbie for all your info.

    Christine Blanton-Newman

  7. I have traced my great grandmothers family a little bit. Her name was Lee Anna Blanton and her father was killed when she was young. Supposedly he was killed in TX over a land dispute. There was no mother and the girls had to go live w/relatives. I have some mixed up research that I think is intertwined in above info. Possibly there is mixed info?

  8. April, yes, there is much misinformation about this Blanton line. The father of Lee Anna Blanton was Benjamin Blanton and we think that his father was the Benjamin Blanton who lived in Red River County, TX and was shot and killed by his brother-in-law, Mark Doss. This Benjamin was the son of the John Blanton I wrote about above.
    -Debbie Blanton McCoy

  9. My great grandmother was Lee Anna Blanton. I would like to find the link between her father and Benjamin Blanton from Red River County Texas son of John Blanton from same county. I'm told they are all descended from John but have never been able to prove who Lee Anna's father's family was.


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