Stephen LEFEW
(-Bef 1800)
(Abt 1778-Abt 1857)


Family Links


Elisha LEFFEW 2 3 4

  • Born: Abt 1778, North Carolina 5
  • Marriage: Anney McCINAY on 15 Aug 1816 in Grainger County, Tennessee 1
  • Died: Abt 1857, Grainger County, Tennessee 6

bullet   Another name for Elisha was Elisha LEPHEW.


bullet  Research Notes:

When I first posted my Leffew research to my website, I was reluctant, except in a few instances, to list the children of the three Leffew brothers who settled in Grainger County, Tennessee, namely, Joseph, Elisha and Elihu. While inferences could be made from census and other records as to which children belonged to which brother, it was such a confusing family that I feared my construct would be like a house of cards, in that the whole structure would collapse if just one child was pulled out after being put in the wrong place. So, I just listed all the children in a Research Note along with my impressions from the records I researched. It was my hope that other descendants might come forward with additional information that would bring some clarity to the situation. Over the years, though, most descendants seemed just as confused about their Leffew lineage as I. Then, just a few years ago, I was contacted by Danette Welch, one of the most thorough, insightful and imaginative researchers I have ever encountered, with a further plus being she was a research librarian at the resource rich McClung Library in Knoxville. That collaboration has given me the confidence to attribute the children to their respective parents. That doesn't mean there aren't any errors in what follows. For the most part, hard documentary proof does not exist and the attributed relationships are inferred from the available documents. In some instances, I may have gone further than Danette would be willing to go without more convincing evidence, but hopefully some of these hunches might spur others to dig even deeper for more evidence. Any errors are probably mine.

As to the children of Elisha, the starting points are the 1830 and 1840 censuses which indicate there were only three children, two female and one male. I have a high level of confidence that Harriet, Mary and Hiram were these children. I am less confident Elisha's only known wife, Anney McCinay, was their mother, since one or more may have been born before she married Elisha. Still, such things happened and there is no evidence of an earlier marriage in Grainger County. 8


bullet  Noted events in his life were:

1. Deed: 1804, Rockingham County, North Carolina. 9

Deed No. 869, Dated 27 Jul 1804, Bk L:13
A sale by Sheriff John Matlock to satisfy a judgment obtained by John Brim against Elisha Lephew in the amount of 6 pounds, 6 shillings and 16 pence. Elisha's 40 acres on waters of Whetstone Creek, adjoining Joseph Lephew and others, were sold for 6 pounds, 6 shillings and 6 pence to Nelson Fields.

2. Military Service: 1813-1814, War of 1812. 10

Per his 1854 Application for Bounty Land, Elisha Leffew served under Capt. Thomas Sharp in Col. William Lillard's 2nd Regiment East Tennessee Volunteer Militia from 14 Oct 1813 to 8 Feb 1814. (See further discussion in the Event for this application.)

Per Regimental Histories of Tennessee Units During the War of 1812, which can be viewed online at The Tennessee State Library and Archives website:

"This regiment of about 700 men was assigned to fill the ranks at Fort Strother for Andrew Jackson after the December 1813 "mutiny" of his army. While at Fort Strother, they comprised half of Jackson's forces until mid-January 1814 when their enlistments were up. This regiment was used to keep the lines of communication open and to guard supply lines.

Their route was from Kingston, Tennessee to Fort Armstrong (early December 1813) to Fort Strother. Cherokees friendly to the United States fought with various units of the Tennessee militia and Lieutenant Colonel William Snodgrass commanded a detachment of Cherokees at Fort Armstrong from mid-January to early February 1814."

3. Tax List: 1815-1837, Grainger County, Tennessee. 7

1815 Capt. John Arwine's Company: Elisha Leffew, 1 free poll.

1816 Capt. Robert D. Eaton's Company: Lefew, Elisha, 1 free poll and 1 black poll.

1818 Capt. Grove's Company: Elisha Leffew, 1 white poll.

1819 Capt. Reuben Grove's Company: Leffew, Elisha. (This was a list of free taxable inhabitants and has no actual tax information.)

1821 Capt. James Lacy's Company: Elisha Leffew, 1 white poll.

Undated Tax List appearing between 1825 and 1828 Capt. James Eaton Company: #43 Elish Leffew.

1833 Capt. Brock's Company: Elisha Lephew, 126 1/2 acres, no poll.

Note: I expect the entries for 1815 and 1833 were actually for Elihu Leffew, who as deeds and census records show was often confused with Elisha. These are the only years in which Elisha and Joseph appear in the same tax companies, which is instead the pattern for Elihu and Joseph. Also, the land taxed in 1833 corresponds to land then owned by Elihu, there being no record of land ownership by Elisha.

4. Census: 1830, Grainger County, Tennessee. 11

Household of Elisha Lefew at Page 367:
Free White 0-0; Free Colored 0201-1201

Household of Elisha Leffew at Page 393:
Free White 0-0; Free Colored 0101-0201

Free Colored age groups were 0-10, 10-24, 24-36, 36-55, 55-100.

See discussion under Events for Elihu Leffew for argument that the Page 367 Elisha was probably Elihu.

5. Census: 1840, Grainger County, Tennessee. 12

Household of Leffew, Elisha: 000000001-000000001

6. Census: 1850, Grainger County, Tennessee. 5

Household of Wm Smith (presumed son-in-law of Elisha):
Elisha Leffew (rendered Leffing in index due to peculiar handwriting of enumerator), 72, M, None (Occupation), NC, Illiterate.

7. Military Pension: 1854, Grainger County, Tennessee. 13

On 4 Mar 1854, Elisha Leffew applied for Bounty Land in connection with his service in the War of 1812. The processing of this application (No. 179411) was suspended on 12 Apr 1854, because of the failure to complete an affidavit to the effect that he had not already received a warrant for Bounty Land nor was there any other pending application for same. On 25 Apr 1854, the requested affidavit was completed by Elihu Leffew. Warrant No. 99704 was issued 11 May 1854, and the warrant jacket references Elisha Leffew and claim no. 177,411. But, this same claim number appears with on a jacket with the name Elihugh Leffew, which indicates a warrant for 40 acres was issued. What appears to have happened is that Warrant 99704, which was applied for by Elisha and was issued on the basis of Elisha's service, was actually issued to Elihu. Proof of that is found in a subsequent application by Elihu for additional benefits, where he reports he had previously received 80 acres. Moreover, a summary sheet for Elihu's War of 1812 file shows he received Warrant No. 99704.

What really happened here? Was Elihu just trying to help Elihu who was probably suffering from dementia and the government made a mistake and issued Elisha's warrant to Elihu, or did Elihu take personal advantage of Elisha's situation to double dip?

8. Deed: 1854, Grainger County, Tennessee. 14

By this deed dated 14 Mar 1854, Wm E. Cocke conveyed 40 acres to Hiram Leffew, land on which Elisha had resided for several years. The deed recites that this conveyance was made pursuant to a previous agreement with Elisha Leffew for which Cocke had been paid $20 and the following directive from Elisha: "March 13, 1854 Mr. William C. Cocke sir I want you to make Hiram Leffew the right to that bit of land you sold me and oblige yours Elisha (his mark) Leffew. Three witnesses stated Elisha was of sound mind: Marthew Satterfield, David Stitto, and Rachael Furguson. Since this is a rather unusual statement by witnesses for deeds and since Elisha was adjudged to be a "lunatic" in 1856, I suspect Elisha may have had progressive dementia at the time of this deed.

9. Deed: 1854, Grainger County, Tennessee. 15

By deed dated 4 Dec 1854, Hiram Leffew conveyed 40 acres on the east side of the road from Rutledge to Callison's ford on the Holston River to Luisee Hodge nee Smith. This was the land that Elisha had lived on and which he had directed William Cocke to convey to Hiram just 9 months earlier. The consideration received by Hiram was the release "of all demands made to be heretofore by Elisha Leffew." This consideration is confusing. How could Luisee release Hiram of demands made of him by Elisha? It would make more sense if Luisee was releasing demands made by her against Elisha. Maybe she had been his caregiver and been promised the land. Luisee Hodge nee Smith may have been Elisha's grandchild, who along with Elisha was enumerated in the 1850 census for the household of Wm. Smith. An Eliza (with Louesey written over Eliza in the marriage return) Smith married John Hodge on 18 May 1854 in Grainger Co. Louisa of the 1850 census was then age 14. Might Elisha have promised her his land as a wedding present? What was his mental capacity at the time?

10. Estate Administration: 1856-1858, Grainger County, Tennessee. 16

Page 344, 13 Oct 1856
A Settlement of Hyram Leffew, late Guardian of Elisha Leffew, a lunatic. Hyram (Hiram) was appointed guardian at the June term of Court, 1856, and resigned at the September term of the same year (too difficult to care for?). There were two assets totaling $63.475 that were received by Hiram as guardian: a note of Harber Leffew for $10 due 25 Aug 1856; and a note on Michael Goldman for $53.475 due 3 Dec 1855. Disbursments of $63.45 were made: $5.45 for administrative costs; and $58 to Michael Goldman, the successor guardian.

Page 417, 13 Jan 1858
A Statement of a Settlement with Michael Goldman as Guardian of Elisha Leffew, deceased, late a lunatic. The amount received and accounted for was $58, as follows: Note due on himself for $33; Cash of $15; and a note of Harbor Leffew for $10, which was deemed worthless due to Harbor's insolvency. The disbursements were for proven accounts, administrative costs, a coffin and $5 which was allowed Goldman for "his trouble with said ward." A balance of $2.56 remained in the guardian's hands.


Elisha married Anney McCINAY on 15 Aug 1816 in Grainger County, Tennessee.1 (Anney McCINAY was born in 1780-1790 12 and died before 1850 in Grainger County, Tennessee 5.)



1 Mrs. Gladys Fennell & Mrs. Olivia Mason, Compilers, Marriage Records, Grainger County, Tennessee, 1796-1837, (The Historical Records Survey, June 19, 1939), FHL Film No. 024,658, Page 73.

2 Grainger County, Tennessee, Tax Lists, 1797-1819, FHL Film No. 464,105. Although this film is only supposed to contain tax lists from 1797-1819, it actually includes through 1837.

3 Estate Records, 1780-1926, Lancaster-Lomas, Rockingham County, North Carolina, FHL Film No. 2,110,215, Folder for Stephen Lephew.

4 Deeds, Volumes E-H, 1796-1802, Rockingham County, North Carolina, FHL Film No. 19,707, Book G, Page 158.

5 1850 Census, Grainger County, Tennessee, FHL Film No. 444,836, Page 32 (5th District, Dwelling 449, Family 466).

6 Inventories of Estates and Wills, March 1852 - May 1860, Grainger County, Tennessee, FHL Film No. 580,849, Page 417.

7 Grainger County, Tennessee, Tax Lists, 1797-1819, FHL Film No. 464,105.

8 Family Records of Danette Welch. Danette's husband is a descendant of Thomas Majors and Phebe Leffew through their son, James, and his wife, Sarah Dyer. As a research librarian for the famed McClung Library in Knoxville, she has been an invaluable colleague in sorting out our Majors and Leffew families. Her e-mail address is

9 Deeds, Volumes K-N, 1802-1810, Rockingham County, North Carolina, FHL Film No. 19,708, Book L, Page 13.

10 Regimental Histories of Tennessee Units During the War of 1812, prepared by Tom Kanon, Tennessee State Library and Archives,

11 1830 Census, Grainger County, Tennessee, FHL Film No. 024,538, Pages 367 and 393.

12 1840 Census, Grainger County, Tennessee, FHL Film No. 024,546, Page 108.

13 Bounty Land Records for Elisha Leffew, War of 1812, National Archives. Copies of these records were provided to me by Danette Welch, my invaluable Leffew collaborator.

14 Grainger County, Tennessee, Deeds, 1852-1859, FHL Film No. 968,602, Book M, Page 284.

15 Grainger County, Tennessee, Deeds, 1852-1859, FHL Film No. 968,602, Book M, Page 445.

16 Inventories of Estates and Wills, March 1852 - May 1860, Grainger County, Tennessee, FHL Film No. 580,849, Pages 344 and 417.

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