An American Family History

Cross Family of Sullivan County, Tennessee


Baltimore County, Maryland was founded in 1659 and included most of northeastern Maryland. The original county included parts of Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Carroll, and Baltimore Counties.

William Cross was born about 1730 in Baltimore County, Maryland.

William married Alice Cole on April 24, 1753 in Baltimore County, Maryland. Alice was born about 1733 in St. John's Parish.

William and Alice's children probably included:

Abraham Cross (1751, Elizabeth Ensor),
Temperance Cross (1752, married Michael Looney),
Christopher Cross (1753)
Appie Cross Rice (1753)
Joel Cross (1754)
Elijah Cross (1758, married Nancy Ann Lane),
Jacob H. Cross (1760),
Zachariah Cross (1761),
William Cross(1762),
Florence Cross (1762),
Tilda Cross (1764), and
Aquilla Cross (1766, married Rachel Griffiths).

The family moved from Baltimore County, Maryland to Sullivan County, Tennessee.

Zachariah, Abraham, and Elisha (Elijah) Cross signed the 1777 petition of men living on the north Holston River complaining about the division of Fincastle County. They felt the line was not equitable and the court house was too far away.

William purchased a tract of land called Lowe's Range in April, 1764 from his brother Benjamin and his wife Elizabeth.

Last Will and Testament of William Cross (b. 1730)

William Cross in his perfect senses Desired in the presence of John Foster, Richard Cross, Nehemiah Hick and Mary Miller, that his Wife Alice Cross should have all his Estate of what nature or kind whatsoever, during her life, and after her Decease the whole should be sold and the money divided among his children. The above said William Cross departed this life on Monday morning the nineteenth day of February 1770.

William's wife, Alice Cole transferred the property her husband left her, to her father, William Cole, after her husband, William Cross, died. Four months later her father died. William Cole left his lands, including what Alice transferred to him, to his own children. This left William Cross' sons landless except for the 50 acre plot known as Lowe's Range.

Tennessee was admitted to the Union on June 1, 1796. It was initially part of North Carolina.

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


Abraham Cross was born about 1751. He was the son of William Cross and Alice Cole.

He served in the American Revolution. He was a private in the Militia of North Carolina and served under Captain William Hicks and Captain Topp for 14 months. The regiment was commanded by Colonel Isaac Shelby.

He married Elizabeth Ensor. Their son was David Looney Cross.

In 1786 Abraham Cross signed the Petition for Division of Sullivan County.

In 1835, he appeared on the pension list in Sullivan County, Tennessee.

He is buried at Smith-Cross Cemetery in Piney Flats.

Abraham died in 1845.




Christopher Cross was born about 1753. He was the son of William Cross and Alice Cole.

He signed the "Petition of the Inhabitants of the Western Country to the General Assembly of North Carolina" which was endorsed December, 1787.

Learn more about Piney Flats.
A militia is a military unit composed of citizens who are called up in time of need.
The Battle of Kings Mountain was a decisive battle of the American Revoluton. It took place on October 7, 1780, nine miles south of the present-day town of Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The Patriot militia defeated the Loyalist militia commanded by British Major Patrick Ferguson.
Testis (Test) is latin for witness. Testes is the plural.

Elijah Cross was born about 1758. He was the son of William Cross and Alice Cole.

He married Nancy Lane, the widow of Samuel Looney.

Elijah and Nancy's children included:
Zachariah Cross (1780, married Sarah Hicks),
Jesse Cross (1787)
Elijah Cross (1791, married Mary Malone and Catherine Cook),
Rachel Cross Jones (1793, married Thomas Jones),
Amanda Cross (1794),
Abraham Cross (1795), and
David L. Cross (1796, married Mary Adeline Himes).

Elijah Cross was a Revolutionary War soldier. He served in 1776 under Captain James Shelby and Colonel Evan Shelby on the Clinch River, as a ranger on the frontier.

In 1778, he served as a ranger at Blackemore's Fort on the Clinch River under Capt. Anderson and later in 1779 under Lt. Stanton. He volunteered to fight against the Cherokee Nation under Captain Joseph Martin.

In 1779 the Washington County,Virginia Court

Elijah Cross appearing to his Recognizance it is the opinion of the Court that he pay nine pounds Eleven Shillings and Eight pence for the use of the poor of this County and Costs and may be taken G.C.

In 1780, Elijah Cross was in the Battle of King's Mountain.

In 1781 he served as an Orderly Sergeant under Capt. Wallace and marched to Yellow Mountain to join Colonel John Sevier where they marched to Ramsour's Mill in North Carolina, then to Burke Courthouse, then to Charlotte, North Carolina. They continued from there to Camden to the high hills of Santee where General Geer lay waiting. Once joining forces, they crossed the Santee River to meet with General Marion Francis (Swamp Fox) ultimately attacking the British and took a number of prisoners.

In 1786 Elijah Cross signed the Petition for Division of Sullivan County.

Elijah was issued several land grants beginning in 1794.

Land Grant No. 634, 9 July 1794 State of North Carolina (now Sullivan Co, TN), Richard Dobbs Spaight, Gov.
To: Elijah Cross 50 shillings for every 100 acres; 390 acres in Sullivan Co., North Carolina, on the waters of Beaver Creek including the said Cross' Plantation.
Adj: Abraham McCalan, Joseph Wallace, Edward Cox, Benjamin Crosse Orphans, George Malone & Joseph Cole. Richard Dobbs Spaight, Esq. Glasgow, Sec.

Deed of Warranty, 21 Feb. 1795, Elijah Cross of Sullivan Co., Western Territory to:
Aquila Cross of same place 30£ in hand paid for 118 acres in Sullivan Co.
Adj: Wm. Cross, Edward Cox, Ben. Cross orphans, George Malone & Joseph Cole, Senr.
Wit: Joseph Smith, Abraham Minson. Elijah Cross (Seal)
Ack: In open Court May 1795

Deed of Warranty, 21 Feb. 1795,
Elijah Cross of Sullivan Co., Western Territory to: William Cross
30£ for 86 acres in Sullivan Co.,
Adj: Abraham Cross, Edward Cox
Wit: Joseph Smith, Abraham Cross. Elijah Cross (Seal)
Proven: by Joseph Smith in Court
Test: James Rhea,
DC Reg. 13 May 1795 Deed of Warranty,
21 Feb. 1795,
Elijah Cross of Sullivan Co., Western Territory
To: Abraham Cross 60£
for 182½ acres in Sullivan Co.,
Adj: Abraham McClanen, Joseph Wallace, & Wm. Cross
Wit: Joseph Smith, Abraham Minson. Elijah Cross (Seal)
Prvn. By Joseph Smith Reg. 13 May 1795.

In 1796 Governor Samuel Ashe conveyed 190 acres in Sullivan County, North Carolina to Elijah Cross and he was appointed a captain of the militia in Sullivan County.

In 1812, he owned 400 acres, valued at $2000 in Blountville, Sullivan County, Tennessee. He was a chain carrier for land surveys along the Holston River.

In 1835, he appeared on the pension list in Sullivan County, Tennessee.

Elijah died in 1844.

The Cherokeewere indigenous people who lived in the southern Appalachian mountains. European Americans called their towns in eastern Tennessee, the Overhill Towns. The towns included Chota, Tellico and Tanasi.

In 1776, the Cherokee planned to drive settlers out of the Washington District. The settlers were warned and stopped the first attack at Heaton's Station. The second attack was stopped at Fort Watauga. In response to these attacks, the militia burned Tuskegee and Citico.

In 1780, while the militia was away at the Battle of Kings Mountain, the Cherokee raided the setttlements. When the militia returned, Colonel John Sevier's men defeated the Cherokee at Boyd's Creek and destroyed most of the remaining towns.

American colonists continued to use British monetary units, namely the pound, shilling and pence for which £1 (or li) equalled 20s and 1s equalled 12d. In 1792 the dollar was established as the basic unit of currency.

The State of Franklin was an unrecognized, independent state in what is now eastern Tennessee. It was created in 1784 with the intent of becoming the fourteenth state. Its first capital was Jonesborough. It existed for about four and a half years and then North Carolina re-assumed control.

There were two Beaver Creeks in early Washington County, Virginia. One (also called Shallow Creek) flowed through Bristol and emptied into the South Fork of the Holston River in Tennessee. The other was a south branch of the North Fork of the Holston River in current Smyth County.


Jesse Cross was born about 1790 in Sullivan County, Tennessee. His parents were Elijah Cross (1758) and Nancy Lane.

He married Nancy Ann Unknown and Susannah Hicks.

His children may have included:

James Cross (married Elizabeth Mock),
Samuel Cross (1817, married Susan Colbaugh),
Abraham Cross (1820),
Nancy Ann Cross (1821, married Henderson Millhorn),
Rachel Cross (1822),
Rebecca Cross Campbell (1824),
Reese B. Cross (1828, married Harriet Cox),
William A. (Black Will ) Cross (1833), and
Jacob Cross (1838).

At the time of the 1830 census the Jesse Cross family was in Sullivan County, Tennessee. The household consisted of

a man between 30 and 39 -Jesse born 1790
a woman between 20 & 29 -Susan born 1805
a girl between 15 and 19
2 boys between 10 & 14 - Samuel & Abraham
2 boys between 5 & 9-
2 girls and a boy under 5 - Reese
an enslaved boy or man between 10 & 23

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.
The Holston River flows from Kingsport to Knoxville.
map by Kmusser

Elijah Cross, Jr. was born about 1791.

His first wife was Catharine Cook.

Their children were:
Jones Cross,
William King Cross
(1814, married Loozenia Gross)
John F. Cross (1832, married Adeline Shoun),
David Cross (called Bony Dave),
Jacob Cross,
Elijah Cross,
Rebecca Cross (married William Barnes),
Kate Cross (John Roller),
Elizabeth Cross Wright, and
Jane Cross Wright.

After the death of his first wife, Elijah Cross married Mary (Polly) Malone. Their children were:
James Cross,
Samuel Looney Cross (1849, married Sarah Catherine Webb),
Andrew Cross, and
Frank Cross.

Elijah Cross was with Captain King's Company in 1814.

After Elijah died in 1855, Polly married a man named Hicks and they had one son, named Henry Hicks. He was of low stature and some of the boys called him, "Duck Legs."

Polly is buried in the Smith Cross Cemetery in Piney Flats, Sullivan County, Tennessee with other Cross family members.

East Tennessee is part of Appalachia. At the end of the French and Indian War, colonists began drifting into the area. In 1769, they first settled along the Watauga River. During the Revolution, the Overmountain Men defeated British loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain. The State of Franklin was formed in the 1780s, but never admitted to the Union.

John F. Cross was born in 1832. He was the son of Elijah Cross and Catherine Cook.

He married Adeline Shoun.

Another of the children of Elijah Cross It was John Cross, who was often called "Big John" to distinguish him from some of the others by that name. He was a shoemaker by trade. He lived on the south side of the South fork of Holston River about one-half mile below the Collins Mill, about one mile from the mouth of Beaver Creek.

He married Adeline Shoun, of Johnson County, Tennessee. She was a very pious women. Often when her pastor, the Methodist Circuit Rider, would hold his monthly meeting at Devault's Schoolhouse (near my old home), she would just run over with emotion and shout out in the "meetin." I have been told that when she was at work around her house, singing as she worked, she would often shout. . . .

After the death of his wife, Adeline Cross, Big John Cross married the daughter of David Hall. He died several years ago, but she is still living. He was about eighty years of age when he died. Her maiden name was Florence Hall.

They are buried in Smith-Cross Cemetery.

There were two Beaver Creeks in early Washington County, Virginia. One (also called Shallow Creek) flowed through Bristol and emptied into the South Fork of the Holston River in Tennessee. The other was a south branch of the North Fork of the Holston River in current Smyth County.

The American folk hero, David "Davy" Crockett (1786 – 1836), grew up in East Tennessee.


Samuel Looney Cross was born about 1849. His parents were Elijah Cross (1791) and Mary Malone.

He married Sarah Catherine Webb.

Samuel Cross married a daughter of Big Ben Webb, his first marriage, and they had several children, including O. L. [Oscar Lee] Cross, D. Ban, Retta [Loretta Belle], who married Professor Reece Cross. I do not recall the name of the other daughters.

He was buried in Smith-Cross Cemetery.


Elizabeth Florence Cross was born in 1849 and married George Washington Smith (1843). She was the daughter of William King Cross (1814) and Loozenia Gross.

Another child of Elijah Cross II was William K. Cross. His first wife was Loozenie Gross, a daughter Jacob and "Granny" Gross, . . . .

Another daughter of Wm. K. Cross, named Elizabeth, married George Washington Smith, on December 10 1866. They resided practically all their lives on the old Smith place, on which John Smith and his wife, Catherine Humphreys Smith,





North Carolina was one of the thirteen original Colonies. It was first settled by small farmers and grew quickly in the mid 18th century.

North Carolina -Sullivan County
By virtue of a warrant to one directed of No. 1953 I have Surveyed for Joseph Cross part assignee of Abraham Cross seventy two acres of Land lyin on Linvill Creek and bounded as follows

Beginning at a Hickory and Black Oak Matthew Coles corner and with his lines due East 300 poles
to a white Oak and black Oak on a hill above the sink of the Creek N. 21 E. 20 po.
to two black Oaks and a white Oak S.15 E.28 po.
to a small white Oak on George Hyms line and with the same due west 131 po.
to a white oak on David Shelbys lines and with sd lines S.1. E.3 po.
to a white Oak due west poles to a white Oak S.55 W.59 po.
to a Pine on a ridge N. 48 W.90 po.
to a white Oak on a flat ridge, N. 25 E.36 po.
to a white Oak S.53 E.30 poles to the beginning.
Dec 18th 1787
Frelkeason? Sharp s.s.c

The rod or perch or pole is a surveyor's tool equal to 5 1⁄2 yards.

In contracts and pleadings usually people and things mentioned before are designated by the term said (sd ) for clarity. Aforesaid (afd, afsd, aforesd ) means it was already mentioned.


Southern Campaign American Revolution Pension Statements
Pension application of Abraham Cross (Crass)
S1900 fn18NC
Transcribed by Will Graves
State of Tennessee, Sullivan County

On this 22nd day of August personally appeared in open court before the Justices of the court of pleas now sitting Abraham Cross a resident of the State & County aforesaid age eighty years. Who being duly sworn according to law doth on his oath made the following statement in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed 7th June 1832.

That he served six months in the service of North Carolina from Washington County known as Sullivan as a drafted militia man under Capt. Hicks. That he was During said six months partly the times at the fort at shoats ford and on scouting parties and sometimes as an Indian spy against the Indians allies to the British,

and if I ever Received any discharge don't recollect it other than verbally which service was performed in the year 1777.

In the year 1779 leaved two towers [sic, tours] down the Holston [River] and on the frontiers at Big Creek at Koch [?, could be Koils] Station and its vicinity and did serve one month each time more no written discharged.

Late in the summer of 1781 volunteered under Capt. Lopp for four month tour and did serve said four months was marched to Gen. Marion's Camps in South Carolina was marched below Monks corner [sic, Moncks Corner] took number of prisoners & brought them to the camps and did continue service until the expiration of the time for which I entered the service in all I think Rendered over one year service and has no documentary proof.

He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension of annuity except the present and has declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency of this State or elsewhere and that this is the first effort that he made to have his name enrolled on the pension list
.Sworn to and subscribed this day and year aforesaid in open court
.S/ Abraham Cro[ss] [signature cut off] 

Edward Cox & Joseph Malone residents of Sullivan County do hereby certify that we are well acquainted with Abraham Cross who has subscribed and sworn to the foregoing declaration and believe him to be eighty years of age that he is reputed and believe in his neighbour [sic, neighborhood] where he resides to have been a Revolutionary soldier and we concur in that opinion.Sworn to and subscribed in open court
22nd of August 1832
S/ Edward Cox
S/ Joseph Malone

The Holston River flows from Kingsport to Knoxville.
map by Kmusser

Seals were used to authenticate documents and men were expected to have a personal die. Records in deed books are copies and signatures are usually in the clerk’s handwriting. The clerk drew a circle around the word “seal” to indicate that the original document was sealed.

"Pioneer Mountain Parson" by B. Fickle Spurgeon, June 10, 1954

In a small cemetery in East Tennessee stands a tombstone with this inscription:

Reverend William King Cross
Known as W. K.
Born, July 18, 1814. Died Oct. 18 1893
Aged 79 years, 3 months

W. L. was one of 12 children born to the Cross family. His parents [Elijah Cross and Catherine Cook] were strict with their children, but also kind and just. They had only a modest income. They were sincere Christians.

Young W. K. was a wild and reckless fellow. He boasted that he had had more fights than any other two boys of his own size. He was honest, energetic and truthful. It had often been said, that if he ever became a Christian, he would be a wonderful example of what a Christian should be.

At the age of 18 while attending a revival meeting, W. K. stepped out from among his friends and went to the mourner's bench. that night, in giving his testimony, he held out his large brawny hands and said earnestly:

See those broken knuckles, this broken wrists? I have foght for the devil all these years; now I am going to fight for the Lord.

Some of his pals thought that W. K. would be back with the old gang within a week. Others said, "no, no. Cross will never come back to them."

But they were wrong. The next night W. K. was at the door when the boys came. Taking them out one by one to the grove, he told them he was through with the old life. After weeks of pleading and praying with them, some of his friends joined the church. From then on, his life was an open book "known and read of all men."

W. K. joined The Methodist Church in early manhood. He realized that he was not sufficiently educated to be a prominent preacher. However, he was called to many places to aid preachers laboring in difficult fields. He loved to sing; his appeals to sinners were almost irresistible; he rejoiced in salvation.

His judgment was sound; he took everything good naturedly. For instance, during a political campaign in which he was a candidate for a country office, one voter said to another, "I do not think a preacher should seek an office." to this the other replied, "Cross is not enough of a preacher to hurt."

In the same campaign one of his own relatives who was a Baptist voted against him. Informed of this, Cross replied, "that is one case where water was thicker than blood."

Parson Cross married his childhood sweetheart [Loozenia Gross (1818-1861)], and there were several children. Financially, the family was poor; spiritually, they were rich. The parson was a giant physically; work to him was a pleasure. He became a boatman, a mill-owner, and a prosperous farmer. He would often leave his family on the farm to go and preach the Gospel, walking where he could not ride a horse.

When he was in the mountains of North Carolina holding a revival, the sad news reached him that his little girl had died. Then his son. This affliction caused his wife's death, for her health was already impaired by overwork. She was laid to rest in the same cemetery with the children whom she had loved.

For a long time he was lonesome and inconsolable. But he finally decided to resume his task, his appointed work, which was "to tell the story of Jesus and his love."

He married a second time [Eliza Carlton]. Children came to replace the ones who had gone on.

The tragic story of his family he repeated wherever he went. All in the audience would weep; many embraced the preacher. Each night a "multitude" would gather around the altar. His life, his sorrows, his sermons, were topics of general conversion long after the meetings ceased.

Bond camp ground had been established in 1842, but during the Civil War it had been burned to the ground. Aided by many others, the parson rebuilt the camp ground. The camp opened on the first of each September, and usually ran for several weeks. The camp meetings were a spiritual blessing to great numbers for their influence was wide-spreading, reaching far beyond the bounds of the local community.

Year after year, the women gathered on the old camp ground. Their ambition was to please their friends; their delight, to serve and worship God. Wherever they might be, they were missionaries of kindness and loving care.

Ministers came from far and near to assist at the services. One night each week the Negroes occupied the auditorium. On that night hundreds of them came to participate.

The camp was in the form of a square and contained about two acres. Tents were built around the sides of the square. Suitable parking spaces were provided for wagons, buggies and horses. Since it was near two springs and a creek, the camp was an ideal meeting place.

The auditorium seated 1,500 people. Wings with hinges could be let down to keep out the cold September air. The shouting and singing could be heard miles away. Parson Cross never tired of relating the happy times they had at the camping ground.

After the close of the Civil War, W. K. was asked to accompany Rev. Mr. Miles, and see that the latter was not disturbed while holding services in a hostile community.

Soon after arriving at the meetinghouse, Parson Cross would tell the audience

I try to preach sometimes; but my friends say that I am a better fighter than a preacher. Now if there is any fighting to be done here tonight, I am here to do my part of it.

He would put his saddle-bags on the table, take out two large pistols, and lay one on each side. Then he would say,

the first man that makes a move, I will shoot.' No one moved. "Go ahead, Brother Miles.

The parson sometimes told about the time when a young man at a service in a strange locality persisted in talking after he had been politely requested to desist. The preacher, thereupon, left the pulpit, shedding his coat as he went down the aisle. The young fellow, who saw that the preacher was heading straight for him, decided to take to the tall timbers while things were as well with him as they were. That ended the talking.

Even after a hard day's work, men in those days often hitched the team to the wagon and went to visit a neighbor who might live miles away.

The old parson's memory was clear until the last. In the spring of 1839 (sic), the parson told his family he would attend another camp meeting, for his health was failing fast. On Oct. 18 of that year, he passed quietly away. The crowd at his funeral was one of the largest anyone in the area has ever seen. He was buried in the cemetery near his old home place.

Baptist churches were found in early colonial settlements and grew out of the English Separatist movement and the doctrine of John Smyth who rejected infant baptism.