Stephen LEFEW
(-Bef 1800)
(Bef 1774-1839)
Unknown First Wife of Joseph Leffew
(1801-After 1880)


Family Links


Nancy LEFFEW 2

  • Born: Jun 1801, North Carolina 1 3
  • Marriage: Reese WILLIAMS in 1820-1821 in Claiborne County, Tennessee 1
  • Died: After 1880, Grainger County, Tennessee 4

bullet  Research Notes:

Nancy is a proven daughter of Joseph Leffew by virtue of her participation in the 11 Dec 1841 deed by the heirs of Joseph Leffew, Dec'd to William Leffew. See Events for Phebe Leffew.

On 19 Jun 2008, the Grainger County Archives posted the following message on the message board for Grainger County, Tennessee. It contains a complete listing of the heirs of Reese Williams as of about 1876.

The original of the following transcribed document was found in the 1876 Chancery Court case, John W. Bunch, admr., vs. Armistead Bunch, et al, held by the Grainger County Archives in Rutledge, Tennessee:

"McCraw conveyed to Reese Williams, who died intestate, leaving Pleasant Williams, Jane Hitower wife of Eppy Hitower, Sarah Barker, Arkansas, Louiza McKey, wife of Berry McKee, Indiana; Thos., now dec'd., leaving S. W. Williams and James Williams his children; Andrew now dec'd., leaving Rhoda Jane his heir, Alabama; Susan Ward, now dec'd., wife of Wm. Ward, and leaving Mary Elizabeth wife of Jacob Idol, Nancy Jane, Joseph Callaway and Pryor, the last three being minors, Grainger(?); Lucinda, who left an illegitimate child name Sarah who married Monroe Quarles _?_ also his widow, Nancy Williams.
This land was sold in the case of John W. Bunch v. Armsted Bunch, but the title(?) of his intestate did not cover(?) it.
Easley purchased and sold to James Condray, who _?_ and is in possession."

Not included in the Chancery Court case, but included in the post:

The following marriage records are held by the Grainger County Archives:

Sarah Ann Williams m. William Barker, 22 Jun 1848
Jane Williams m. Jesse Jones, 2 Mar 1850
Louisa Williams m. Berry McKey, 22 Aug 1858
Susan Williams m. William Ward, 3 Nov 1862
Jane Jones m. E. Hightower, 11 Jan 1875
Mary E. Ward m. Jacob Idol, 21 Mar 1880

[By way of context, it should be noted that John W. Bunch, administrator, was the grandson of Lavinia Leffew and Armistead and Louisa Bunch were his parents. John sought the sale of 100 acres of land owned by Lavinia and inherited by Louisa Leffew Bunch as her sole heir, in order to pay claims against her estate, the proceeds from the sale of Lavinia's personal property having been inadequate for this purpose.]

It was initially unclear why this list of heirs was included in a case involving the Estate of Lavinia Leffew, Dec'd. Upon reviewing the actual case, it turns out that the land sold by John W. Bunch, as administrator of the Estate of Lavinia Leffew, Dec'd., consisted of 50 acres that Reese Williams had purchased on 23 Sep 1841 from Gabriel McGraw. [McGraw made the sale as commissioner for the Court of Chancery based in Tazewell, in furtherance of its decree in a dispute between the heirs of Samuel Nicholson and the heirs of Thomas Johnson regarding the unsold land that was part of the land grants to Thomas Johnson known as Nicholson's Big Survey. Joseph Leffew had himself bought the adjoining land from Johnson in 1818.] Lavinia's land, on the other hand, or at least most of it, came down from Joseph, through inheritance and the purchase of the interests of other heirs, although Lavinia did herself purchase 20 acres of Nicholson's Big Survey land from Gabriel McGraw at about the same time as Reese made his purchase. So, how was it that Reese William's land was seemingly sold by the administrator of Lavinia's estate? That this indeed happened is inferred from the next to last sentence of the above quoted post. Further evidence this is what happened is found in a deposition given by John W. Bunch, administrator, dated 31 Jan 1877, in which he listed as an unpaid claim against the estate a judgment obtained by W. Easley and Williams (presumably collectively the heirs of Reese Williams) on 5 Apr 1873 for $92.26. It would be interesting to review this case and find out how it came about that the wrong parcel of land was sold, but the most important thing from a genealogical standpoint is that the above posted document provides a snapshot of the family of Reese and Nancy (Leffew) Williams as of about 1876.

URL for post:

5 6


bullet  Noted events in her life were:

1. Deed: 1841, Grainger County, Tennessee. 2

See 11 Dec 1841 deed discussed under Events for Phebe (Leffew) Majors. This deed is convincing evidence that Nancy was a daughter of Joseph Leffew.

2. Military Pension Application: 1849, Grainger County, Tennessee. 1 5

Monday, 1 Jan 1849

"Personally appeared in Open Court Joseph Williams and makes oathe that Reese William and Nancy Leffew were married some 28 or 9 years Since in Clabourn County Tennessee"

"Personally appeared in Open Court before the Justices of Said Court Nancy Williams a resident of Said County of Grainger aged 48 years next June who being first Duly Sworn according to Law doth on her own Oath make the following declaration to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed the 15th day of July 1848 granting half pay to Widows and orphans &c. that she is the Widow of Reese Williams who was a private of Capt. Elisha Thomasons Company of the 5th Regiment of Tennessee Volunteers in the War with Mexico that her husband the aforesaid Reese Williams died on the 19th day of July 1848 While in actual Service of the United States She further Swears that at the time of her husband's Death the aforesaid Reese Williams She had by him said Williams four children named as follows (viz) Jane Pleasant Louisa & Susan for further proof of the above Statement she refers the department to Testimony hereunto annexed"

[Query why Thomas and Sarah of the 1850 census were not listed as children. In fact, it would seem there were probably earlier children as well, given that they married in 1820-1821. Fortunately, a complete list of children appear in a court case brought by John W. Bunch, Administrator of the Estate of Lavinia Leffew, Dec'd against Armistead Bunch, et. al.]

3. Deed: 1849, Grainger County, Tennessee. 7

By deed dated 24 Dec 1849, Nancy Williams acquired 63 acres from James Brock for $250. This tract was located on Puncheon Camp Creek and shared a beginning corner with propery owned by William Leffew. The deed was witnessed by Hearber Leffew and Barthine Leffew.

This seems to be the same tract of land that was the subject of the 1838 indenture given by Elihu Leffew. See Events for Elihu Leffew. Note that this indenture recites that Reese Williams lived on this land in 1838. I suspect this land was always where Reese and/or Nancy lived, although not owned until 1849.

4. Census: 1850, Grainger County, Tennessee. 3

Household of Nancy Williams:
Nancy Williams, 49, F, $40, NC, Illiterate
Thos, 17, M, Farmer, TN, Attended School
Jane, 15, F, TN, Married within year, Attended School
Pleasant, 13, M, TN, Attended School
Louisa, 11, F, TN, Attended School
Susan, 6, F, TN
Sarah M., 4, F, TN
? Jones, 20, Farmer, TN, Married within year, Attended School

At 1429/1492 were Thomas and Phebe (Leffew) Majors and at 1431/1494 was William Leffew.

5. Deed: 1850, Grainger County, Tennessee.

By deed dated 19 Dec 1850, William Leffew and Nancy Williams conveyed the land which had belonged to Joseph Leffew to Levina Leffew for $71. (Although this deed purports to convey 50 acres, the metes and bounds description matches the 45 acres purchased by Joseph Leffew in 1818, except for some inconsequential variations.)

It is unclear why Nancy Williams joined in the 1850 deed to Levina, given the 1841 deed, unless it was because she had not acknowledged her execution of the 1841 deed to be free from compulsion or restraint by her husband, as Phebe had done. Thus, Nancy's participation in the 1850 deed may have been required by Levina's lender.

6. Census: 1860, Grainger County, Tennessee. 8

Dwelling 1474, Family 1474, District 12
Nancy Williams, age 60, female, widow, $300 R/E, $75 P/P, born in NC, cannot read or write
Jane Williams, age 25, female, domestic, born in Tenn, cannot read or write
Pleasant C. Williams, age 23, male, laborer, born in Tenn, cannot read or write
Benny McKey (inserted between Pleasant and Louisa), age 27, male
Louisa Williams, age 22, female, born in Tenn, cannot read or write
Susan Williams, age 16, female, domestic, born in Tenn
Margaret (Williams?), age 6, female, born in Tenn
Thomas H. (Williams?), age 3, male, born in Tenn
Sarah M. (Williams?), age 1, female, born in Tenn

[Levina Leffew, age 52, lived alone in Dwelling 1473.]
[Young children in household could be either Leffews or McKeys.]

7. Census: 1870, Grainger County, Tennessee. 9

Dwelling 11, Family 11, District 12
Nancy Williams, age 70, female, white, keeping house, born in NC, can't read or write
Jane Jones, age 36, female, white, born in TN, can't read or write
Thomas Jones, age 12, male, white, born in TN
Pleasant Jones, age 6, male, white, born in TN

[It appears as if daughter Jane married a Jones.]

8. Census: 1880, Grainger County, Tennessee. 4

Dwelling 34, Family 34, District 12
Williams, Nancy, white, female, age 80, widow, keeping home, cannot write, born in NC, parents born in NC
Ward, Nancy J., white, female, age 13, granddaughter, cannot read or write, born in TN, parents born in TN
Ward, Joseph, white, male, age 11, grandson, cannot read or write, born in TN, parents born in TN
Ward, Pryon, white, male, age 9, grandson, born in TN, parents born in TN

[Son Pleasant lives in Dwelling 32 and Jane Leffew, widow of Elihu/Richard, lives in Dwelling 33.]


Nancy married Reese WILLIAMS in 1820-1821 in Claiborne County, Tennessee.1 (Reese WILLIAMS died on 19 Jul 1848 in War with Mexico 1.)



1 Application for Widow's Pension by Nancy Williams, County Court Minutes, Grainger County, Tennessee, Vol 9, Pages 65-66.

2 Grainger County, Tennessee, Deeds, 1840-1844, FHL Film No. 968,600, Book J, Page 5.

3 1850 Census, Grainger County, Tennessee, FHL Film No. 444,836, Page 100 (District 12, Dwelling 1428, Family 1490).

4 1880 Census, Grainger County, Tennessee, Census Image 12 of 25.

5 Grainger Archives, A List of Heirs of Reese Williams, c. 1876 (a transcripton of a document found in the 1876 Chancery Court case, John W. Bunch, admr., vs. Armistead Bunch, held by the Grainger County Archives in Rutledge, Tennessee). This transcription was posted to the message board for Grainger County, Tennessee on 19 Jun 2008.

6 John W. Bunch, Administrator of the Estate of Lavinia Leffew, Dec'd vs. Armistead Bunch and Louisa Bunch, Chancery Court Records of Grainger County, Tenneseee (Initial Pleadings filed 26 Apr 1876). John W. Bunch was the grandson of Lavinia Leffew and the son of Armistead and Louisa (Leffew) Bunch. Louisa was the sole heir of Lavinia. The case was brought to force the sale of real property owned by Lavinia in order to pay claims against the Estate, the proceeds from the sale of her personal property having been insufficient to do so. Many thanks to Donna Miller for providing me with copies of the court proceedings in this case.

7 Grainger County, Tennessee, Deeds, 1846-1852, FHL Film No. 968,601, Book L, Page 251.

8 1860 Census, Grainger County, Tennessee, Roll M653_1250, Page 507 ( Cenus Image 12 of 19).

9 1870 Census, Grainger County, Tennessee, Census Image 14 of 23.

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