An American Family History


Cawood Family

  also spelled Caywood, Keewood, Keywood  

Washington County, Virginia was formed from Fincastle County in 1777. It originally contained Sullivan County, Tennessee.

Early European settlers in the American colonies were mostly farmers and craftsmen. They had to work hard to provide daily neccesities for themselves.

Fincastle County, Virginia was created in 1772 from Botetourt County and abolished in 1776. It was divided into Montgomery, Washington and Kentucky Counties.

John Cawood was born about 1720. His father was John Cawood.

John's first wife was named Elizabeth. Their children probably included:

John Cawood, Jr. (1745)
Charity Cawood (married Joseph Sevier),
Ann Cawood (married William Pemberton),
Thomas Cawood,
Mary Cawood Smallwood,
Elizabeth Cawood (married Stephen Majors), and
Rebecca Cawood (married George Smith).

John's second wife was named Agatha. Their children probably included:

Joshua Brown Cawood (1790, married Eleanor Haynes),
Benjamin Smallwood Cawood, (1791, married Sarah Talbert),
Stephen Berry Cawood (1793, married Rebecca Blevins),
Jeremiah Cawood (1795; married Sarah Davis), and
James Cawood (1798, married Sarah Acre and Elizabeth).

On October 13, 1745, John bought Nutwell in Charles County, Maryland from his father.

John and Elizabeth sold Nutwell on February 17, 1751 to Humphrey Berry.

In 1754 they were in Frederick County, Virginia with his father and brothers, Stephen and Moses.

In 1755, John and Moses Cawood were on Captain Richard Morgan's muster roll.

The family moved Sullivan County, Tennessee on the northwest side of the Holston River. They were close to the border of Washington County, Virginia and appear in the records there

On May 2, 1775, John bought 840 acres in Fincastle County, Virginia on the Holston River from William and Ann Christian. Fincasle County was divided in 1776.

In 1773, when John Sevier moved to the Holston country he first lived in the Cawood settlement.

John Cawood, Sr., John Cawood, Jr., and Thomas Cawood signed the 1777 petition of Holston men.

In 1779 the Washington County, Virginia Court

ordered that the Clerk give certificate to John Keewood of his acknowledged power of Attorney to his Son John Keewood to transact his Business in Barkley County.

John Cawood signed the 1786 petition

In 1790, John Cawood, Jr. was appointed as an ensign in the Sullivan County Militia.

In 1790, James George, John Booher, James Blevins, Agatha Cawood, Armstead Blevins, John Cawood, Jr., John Morrell, John Blevins, John Russell, Thomas Majors, Robert Cowan, William Blevins, Peter Hugh and Walter Blevins signed the first school contract in the Holston Valley with the teacher, John Russell.

John Cawood died in Sullivan County, Tennessee in 1803. On August 2, 1803, Agatha Cawood and William Dulaney, acting executors of John Cawood's will, sold an enslaved man to Stephen Majors.

On February 21, 1806, Agatha sold William Blevins her right to the 740 acres she inherited from her husband, John.

Washington County 1806

Abstract: The minor heirs of John Keywood ask the court to set aside the sale of five estate slaves, who were fraudulently sold for $1000 by their mother, Agatha. The petitioners declare that their father died in 1803 and that his will directed that all the residue of his estate should be the property of his wife during her lifetime and that "after the death of the said Agatha ... the whole of his property real & personal should be equally divided amongst your Orators his children."

The Keywood children charge that their mother and others have colluded "to cheat and defraud your orators" out of their remainder interest in said slaves by procuring a pretended bill of sale, executed by the said Agatha to one William Blevins. They also charge that the defendants knew "no consideration was paid for said negroes, and that by the will of said John Keywood your Orators had a reversion in the same." Believing that "there is great probability" that the defendants "will run the said negroes beyond the reach of your Orators & this honourable court," they pray that said bill of sale "may be decreed to be given up & cancelled;" that the defendants be kept from removing said slaves from the county; and that the slaves be put in the sheriff's custody and hired out.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, Joshua and Berry were on Captain William King's muster.

On January 22, 1825, Joshua B. Cawood sold his claim to one fifth of 963 acres to John McCarry. Samuel Jones and John W. Blevins were witnesses.

It was common for bequests to include wearing apparel.
The Holston River flows from Kingsport to Knoxville.
map by Kmusser
Slavery is an immoral system of forced labor where people are treated as property to be bought and sold. It was legal in the American Colonies and the United States until the Civil War.







from Historical Sites of Sullivan County, Tennessee by Mrs. Muriel Spaden

Cawood's Ford was the best place to cross the Holston River for miles up or down the river. It was on the route of the westward movement form North Carolina and Virginias to the Watauga settlements. Bishop Asbury tells in his journal of the Methodist Conference being held at Cawood's in 1788, the earliest in Tennessee. The road down on the north side of the river (Cawood's) is overgrown with weeds and brambles and the Ford has been filled with rocks and silt by the rushing of waters generated by the South Holston Dam...


teacher contract

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