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Genealogy Notes on William, Sr., Alexander, William, Jr. and Thomas Bowling/Bouldin  



February 2021



My cousin, Helen Bowling McKnight and I have been researching the Bowlings for well over 60 years trying to learn the parents of our Alexander Bowling/Bouldin of Lawrence Co., AL, Fh 025.  I believe based upon some new evidence as well as the evidence we've collected over the years that  my 4th Great Grandfather is William Bouldin, Sr. and that he after serving in the Revolutionary War, left Cecil Co., MD and  moved south through VA into Montgomery Co., NC, Chester Co., SC and then  appearing on surviving tax and court records found in Grainger Co., TN.  Living there were Alexander, Thomas, and two Williams, a Jr. and Sr. and Martin Worthy.   William, Sr. owned 200 acres in Grainger which he abandoned for taxes in 1806 (as did Thomas).  I now believe this William, Sr. was the father of Alexander and William, Jr. and probably brother or father  to Thomas. 


DNA from descendants of Alexander, William, Jr. and Thomas, Sr. confirm they were closely related and descend from the Bouldin/Boulden/Bouldinge line.  Further, descendants of William, Sr. and Noble Bouldin tested very close together, 36/37 y markers.  This means they share a common Bowling/Bouldin male ancestor within 8 generations or less.

William, John and Noble Bouldin were  some of the children of William b c 1722  d 1764 and Rebecca Biddle Bouldin of Cecil Co., MD. William d 1764  father was William (b1704) and Martha Price who was the son of William (b c1665) and Thomasin Nash.  Col. Thomas Bouldin, brother to William, 1704, moved south from Cecil Co., MD to Charlotte Co., VA in 1744 becoming an early settler in that area.  His nephews, William, John and Noble also left Cecil Co., MD and moved south and were in Montgomery Co., NC by 1790.  John who was born about 1740 moved first, followed by William and then Noble.  William lived in the Montgomery Co., NC area along with John and probably farmed in Chester Co., SC area just across the boarder from about 1790 to 1800. He moved to Grainger Co., TN along with his now adult sons Alexander and William, Jr. and probable son Thomas by 1804 when they appear on the tax list.. Alexander’s wife Elizabeth Worthy’s relative Martin Worthy also joined them in Grainger.  It appears William owned land there as early as 1799 to 1800, as did Thomas.  Noble was living in York, SC, near Chester Co., SC by 1783 and appears on records in 1801, 1803 and 1805 and the  1810 census and John also moved to York Co., SC.



William, Sr. and sons left Grainger in about 1806 and moved south to what is now the Lincoln Co., TN area on the Tenn. River's tributary of Elk River. Alexander is cited as owning land near several others in deeds in Lincoln Co., TN in 1810 ( 1812 31 Lincoln Co., TN deed book D, p 180 TN Grant #5863 refers to land adjoining a tract granted to James Bright and by him to Alexander Boling. Date of survey is 28 Apr 1813. Also Deed book D, pg 376 has similar reference. Source Marsh’s Land Deed Genealogy of Lincoln Co., TN 1809-1818, Vol. 1, page 196 & 172.)

William Jr. and Sr. lived near Alexander in the Simms Settlement on Indian lands and were probably ejected by the government around 1812.  Where they went from there is not known until 1821 when both Williams and Thomas show up in the Madison Co., TN/Gibson Co., TN area.  Alexander acquired land in Madison Co., AL and moved there by 1813 when he appears on the tax list, but perhaps as early as 1811.  He later moved to Lawrence Co., AL where he died in 1842.

Both Alexander and William, Jr. participated in the War of 1812 signing up in Franklin, TN with Coffee's Regiment.  John Coffee owned land in Lincoln Co., TN in 1810-6, same time Alexander was a land owner there.

William, Sr. is last seen in Madison Co., TN with William, Jr. on a petition for Justice of the Peace on 9/28/1821 and then two Williams appear on the 1823 Madison Co. tax list.  So Sr. was still alive in 1823 but he is not on the 1824 or 1825 tax list.   Also Alexander married Elizabeth Worthy, who her son George W. (my GG GF) said in a Goodspeed of Fayette Co., TN, was born in Chester Co., SC. in 1790.  William Worthy, Sr. was the only male Worthy on 1790 census of Chester Co., SC and Martin Worthy is living there in the 1800 census with 1 male 26-45, 1 female under 10, and 1 female 16-26, page 95.  Martin (the older) later died there. Martin (the older) is in Charlotte Co., VA from 1770 to 1807 on various court document, censuses, and deeds.

The Bouldin's and Worthy's were allied families in Charlotte Co., VA in the previous generation or two. 

I believe that my ancestors moved south in search of farm land as they were cotton farmers as were the Worthy's  and that this migration pretty much followed the Tenn. River.

Further, I know that I descend from the Bouldin line because of the DNA testing and that I'm close cousins with the descendants of William and Thomasin Bouldin being only one marker off from a desc. of Noble b 1763, son of William, William, William b c1665 Fh 910.  This means there is a 32% probability that Noble's desc. and I share a common ancestor within four generations, 73% within 8 generations, 92% in 12 generations.  I am the 7th great grandson of William, Fh 910 if this is correct.  Noble died in Warren Co., TN just north of Lincoln Co. in 1839. Both Noble and William are not in 1783 Maryland census. Noble’s son Nathan was born in York, SC in 1783 and Noble is on records in 1801, 1803, 1805 in York,  York, SC.  According to his great grandson, Terrill Bunyan Bouldin, he arrived near Collins River in Warren Co., TN in 1809.  Thus Noble is living very close to Chester Co., SC where Elizabeth Worthy was born ca 1785.

From Noble's descendants born same time period as me to Noble b 1763  is six generations, William 7, William b 1704 8, William & Thomasin 9 generations. So this is in the 90% probability range that this is my line.

So, Noble's parents William and Rebecca Biddle Boulden, had a son William b Cecil Co., MD of which nothing was known.  Same for his brothers Lewis and Richard.  However, recent research has shed new light on this family and strongly reinforced the probablility that this is Alexander’s father’s family.  

Also, the descendants of Col. Thomas Bouldin of Charlotte Co., VA moved south and were always living near my ancestors in TN, AL and MS.  Additionally, their children had similar names to Alexander’s and William’s, including Green, James M., and William, Alexander and Thomas.





Until recently little was known about these four men prior to 1805 other than birth dates and possible living places.


Alexander (Family head 25 or Fh 25 in Todd Bolen’s Book, The Bowling Family in America before 1800) was born in 1781 probably in VA, SC or NC.  In 1880 Death Schedule for Alabama for William H. Bowling, son of Alexander’s, it states father and mother were born in South Carolina.  William (Fh 745) was born in 1784 in NC or VA and Thomas Boling (Fh 731) was born 1760-70 per 1830 & 40 censuses. Further, it is known that Alexander and William are brothers based upon the will of Alexander naming William, “my brother”, executor.  DNA testing done in 2002 on descendants of Alexander, William and Thomas all matched exactly, indicating that Thomas shares a common male Bowling ancestor with Alexander and William.  Given that Thomas and William lived near each other for many years, interacted, had children with the same names and that William was added to the law suit against the heirs of Thomas in Haywood Co., TN in 1850, it is reasonable to assume that they were closely related (DNA of descendants also proves this).  Thomas would have been between 11 and 21 years older than Alexander and 14 and 24 years older than William.  So, it is possible that Thomas was the father to Alexander and William, possibly uncle or older/oldest brother.  Given that William was not on the original suit against “heirs” of Thomas, is considerably older than the rest of Thomas’ children, and was added because he signed the bond on the original deed, I think the father/son relationship can be ruled out, leaving brother or uncle as the probably relationship.  Also, if the father, he would have had two sons named William.


One can make some estimates regarding the parents of Alexander and William from what is known.  Both father and mother were alive in 1783-4.  With child bearing years being 18 to 50 and without any birth control, couples usually had one child every two years, then if Thomas is the oldest brother and born when mother was 18 then Alexander would have been her sixth child when she was approximately 28 and William her seventh or eighth at 32.  Thus she would have been born between 1742-52.  The father would probably be a little older.  Thus parents born 1730-52 and if lived avg. time, then died 1790-1810.



William Bowling, Family head 005, the older in Grainger Co., TN in 1804-5, Simms Settlement 1809-12, and Madison Co, TN in 1821-23, b abt 1748-1755 d aft 1823


The case for Fh 005 being William Bowling/Bolin/Bouldin b c1750 Cecil Co., MD and son of William and Rebecca Biddle Bouldin can be made as follows: 


Noble Bouldin is son of William and Rebecca born 1763 Cecil Co., MD (proven by DNA to be closely related to Larry Bowling).  He is in York, SC by 1783 when son Nathan is born and in documents in 1801, 1803 and 1805 and in 1810 and 1820 census along with his brother John Bolin, Sr.( proven brother by guardianship where he is brother to John Bolin, Sr. and appointed guardian of his daughter’s children William and Alexander, Jan 1818).

William, Sr. is in Montgomery Co., NC 1790 census as is his brother John, Sr.  He is also in 1800 Montgomery Co., NC census with a teenage son and daughter and wife.



By 1804 Alexander, Thomas and two William Bowlings, Jr. and Sr. were living in Grainger.  William, Sr. apparently owned 200 acres of land based upon the follow court minutes:

20 Feb 1806 (Grainger Co, Tennessee Minutes of the Court of Pleas, p. 138-9) Ordered by Court that the land Reported on by John LEA Sheriif at Last Term of this Court which have been published in Knoxville Gazette as the law Feb Sessions AD 1806. directs be sold by the Sheriff to satisfy the taxes due thereon (towit) for the year 1806: George M. Combs 870 acres - John CATHCART 50 acres - William BOWLING 200 - Jesse COATS 100. For the year 1805: Lewis CLIPPER 30,000 acres; the Heirs of Thomas COX, Dec'd 250 acres - John MARGRAVES 200 Acres; George M. Combs 120 Acres; George M. Combs 150 Acres; Michael COOK 100 Acres; John HULL, Jr. 25 Acres; George M. Combs 600 acres. Order Issd.       (Grainger Co, Tennessee Minutes of Court of Pleas, 1802-1812, Vol. 2, WPA Records, 1939, Mountain Press, Signal Mountain TN

From the tax lists it can be seen that these four Bowlings leave Grainger before Feb 1806 when they do not appear on the tax list of 1807 and William, Sr. and Thomas’ land is seized for taxes by sheriff.  Alexander next shows up in Lincoln Co., TN by 1810 as cited below and William, Sr. and Jr. show up in Elk River area of Miss. Territory, just below Lincoln Co., TN in Simms Settlement. and close to Alexander.  Other documented sightings include:

  • In an 1819 Legislative Petition, both William, Sr. and Jr. sign (see below).        

  • On 9/28/1821 William, Sr. and Jr. and Joseph signed a petition to the State General Assembly of Tenn. to organize Madison into a county.    Others on this petition included L. S. Johnson, Peter Eaker (Aker), John Kelly, John Nelson and others. 

  • Another court document dated Tuesday, December 18, 1821 is “An indenture of mortgage from James McAlister to William Bolding viz produced in open court and proven by the oath of William Bolding, Sr. a subscribing witness there to be the act and deed of the said James McAlister for the purpose therein mentioned and ordered so to be certified.”   

  • On Wed. March 20, 1822 John McAlister vs. William Bolding, Jr. (case was dismissed and Bolding, Jr. ordered to recover his cost from McAlister.).  This proves that there were two William Boldings in Madison Co., TN in 1821-22. 

  • Thomas Bolding was also in Madison Co., TN on Tuesday Dec. 17, 1822 being assigned to a jury to mark off a road.  Also there was Joseph Bolin and Lewis Boling and a William B. Boling (registering stock ear marks). 

  • On Jan 17, 1822, Thomas Boling, Sr. is assigned to a road survey crew.  Susan Bowling (Guest, wife of Lewis) registers a survey of 25 acres in Madison Co., TN on 4/18/1827 for entry dated 6/28/1826.  Also in 1822 I. Bolin bought from estate of Lewis Jones.  He also bought from estate of James Moore recorded 3/25/1829.

  • Madison Co., TN tax list have the following:  1821 & 1822 Joseph and William, 1823 William, Jr., Lewis, Joseph, William, 1824 William, 1825 William and Joseph.         

We know that William b 1784 and Thomas spent the rest of their lives in this part of middle-TN in the Gibson, Madison, Haywood area which is now Crockett Co., TN and Hardeman Co., TN.

From this recently discovered document, we now know that William, Sr. & Jr. and Joseph were among the earliest white settlers of Madison Co,, TN in 1819

By Jonathan K. T. Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 1996


(Page 64)

Acting in the interest of the United States, Tennessee and North Carolina governments, General Andrew Jackson and Isaac Shelby, as commissioners, made a treaty of cession for the western section of Tennessee and western Kentucky, with the traditional Indian owners, the Chickasaws, October 19, 1818. The treaty of cession was accepted by the national government and ratified when President James Monroe signed it on January 7, 1819. (TENNESSEE LAND LAWS, edited by Henry D. Whitney, 1891, page 486) The legislature of Tennessee convened in October 1819 and accepted the cession and expressed its intention of honoring the old North Carolina grants made heretofore in the newly-acquired territory and that it would also establish land offices so that the land could be speedily and effectively distributed.

On October 23, 1819 the state legislature divided the area known as the Western District of Tennessee into seven surveyor districts; these were sub-divided into ranges that ran north and south in five mile squares called sections. (IBID., pages 202, 204) Present-day Madison County was located in two surveyor districts, numbers nine and ten. "One other district to begin thirty-five miles west of the Tennessee River, on the south boundary line of the state; to run north according to the true meridian fifty-five miles for its western boundary; thence east to the Tennessee River; thence up the Tennessee, to the southern boundary of the state and with said boundary to the beginning; which shall be known and distinguished by the name of the NINTH DISTRICT." One other district "beginning at the southwest corner of the last mentioned, running west with the south boundary line of this state thirty miles; thence north fifty-five miles; thence east to the northwest corner of the aforesaid district; thence south to the beginning; to compose one other district, which shall be known and distinguished by the name of the TENTH DISTRICT." (IBID., page 201)

The first settlers in what became Madison County started to trek into the area in 1819, even before the lands officially were set for sale the next year. There were sufficient settlers to petition the state legislature for the forming of counties from the new territory.

Among the first counties to be organized within the Western District of Tennessee was that one named for James Madison, the fourth president of the United States. It was destined to become one of the key counties of the state. MADISON COUNTY was created by the state legislature on November 7, 1821. (ACTS OF TENNESSEE, 1821, Chapter 32, page 41)

The several petitions addressed to the state legislature from the settlers of this area have been preserved and are kept in the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville. The present writer has taken their names directly from the original petitions as arranged for him by the clerk handling these papers.

Most of the settlers who signed the petitions lived within what became Madison County. However, those persons living in Range Three of the Ninth Surveyor District, sections 6-11, lived in that area which became Henderson County on November 16, 1821.

Madison County, as drawn with its range and section lines and published on the Mathew Rhea "Map of Tennessee, "1832 (and engraved by Tanner, Dawson and Knight, Philadelphia, Pa.), is shown on the next page (with curved arrows drawn to mark the division lines of the 9th Surveyor District (the eastern part of the county) from the 10th Surveyor District (more central and western part of the county).

Joseph Bolding
William Bolding, Snr.
William Bolding, Jr.

Thos. Nash
Wm. Nash
R. B. Nash
Wm. Nash, Jr.

Judging from these county records, one could argue without solid proof that William Bowling/Bouldin, Sr. is the father of Alexander and William, Jr. and related to Thomas (father, brother).  Further, he probably dies after 1823 in this area if born ca 1750.

Possible Migration Timeline and Places for William, Sr. and brothers Noble and John from Maryland to Tennessee:

  1. John born 1740 Cecil Co., MD

  2. William Born 1748-57 Cecil Co., Maryland

  3. Brother Noble born 1763

  4. Alexander born 1781 VA son of William, Sr

  5. Nathan, son of Noble born 1783 York, South Carolina

  6. William, Jr. born 1784 probably North Carolina or VA son of William, Sr.

  7. Elizabeth Worthy born Chester Co., SC 1782-86

  8. William, Sr. on census in Montgomery Co., NC 1800 with brother John, Sr. and Noble in York, SC  William buys land in Montgomery Co., NC 10 Jul 1797

  9. Alexander, William Sr. & Jr. and Thomas in Grainger Co., TN 1804-6, Lincoln Co., TN/Simms Settlement 1807-11+  Apparently bought land in Grainger around 1799.

  10. Grainger Co., Sheriff seizes land owned by William, Sr. and Thomas, Sr. in Feb 1806 indicating they have abandoned it with taxes unpaid.

  11. Alexander moves south to Hazael Green, Madison, AL c1811-4 and later to Lawrence Co., AL

  12. Noble in York Co., SC 1783, 1801, 3, 5 and in 1810 and 1820 censuses then in Warren Co., TN in 1 Jul 1824 Deed

  13. William, Sr. & Jr. in Madison Co., TN by 1819 along with Thomas, Sr.

  14. Noble in Bledsoe Co., TN in 1826

  15. Noble dies in Warren Co., TN in 1839


Alexander 1781-1843, Fh 025


Alexander married Elizabeth Worthy c 1800, probably in Chester Co., SC, if first child is Preston born 1803 TN.  Therefore, they moved from VA/NC/SC to TN by 1803 and are most likely living in Grainger Co., TN in 1804 (tax list) along with Martin Worthy, relative to Elizabeth.


Of note is that the names Alexander, William, James, and Isham are first names used by the Alexander, Thomas and William Bowling families and other Bowlings/Bouldins/Bouldens.


There is an Alexander Bowling and two William Bowlings (200 acres on HolstonRiver) and Thomas Bowling (200 acres on Holston River) living in Grainger Co., TN in an 1804 & 1805 tax list, along with several other Bowling's/Bolen’s (Joseph, Joel, Jesse, James, David, Lisha, Stephen, and Edmund living there between 1800-10).  Also living there and of significance is Martin Worthy, probably brother (born 1781) to Elizabeth Worthy Bowling.  Neither Alexander or William are on the 1808 Grainger Co. tax list.


Alexander next shows up in Lincoln Co., TN in a Nov. 28, 1810 court record being assigned to a road crew to build a road to Huntsville, AL.  This would certainly have taken him through Hazel Green, AL  (Madison Co., MS Terr.)  where he had a land grant from John Braham in 1811 and appears on the 1813 tax list.  Alexander is also mentioned in two deeds as owning land adjoining them, in the second district on the waters of Freemans Fork of Flint River and adjoining a tract granted to James Bright and by him to Alexandert Boling, dated 8/27/1816.  In the other, it is described as on the west fork of the Flint River and adjoining Alexander Boling’s tract sold by said Bright, dated 5/26/1817 but referring to original bond of  10/5/1810.  According to Timothy Marsh who has written many books on deed genealogy in Tennessee, Lincoln and other counties below Duck River in Bedford Co., TN were opened from the Indians in 1806.  This percipitated a migration from northern Tenn. where people lived on land still owned by the Indians.  Marsh also said that the tract described above would have been west of the highway from Fayetteville, Lincoln Co., TN to Hustsville, AL and near the AL/TN boarder.  Further, he said the land in Lincoln Co. was not good farm land and many settlers moved south into Madison Co., AL to cotton farm.  This also led to movement westward into Mississippi and W. Tenn.


A William Boland is also in Lincoln Co., TN in a Nov. 1811 court record recording a stock mark, however, this may be the William Bowlin who died in Lincoln Co., TN in 1833 leaving wife Mildred and children: David, George, Rebecca who married Henry McCall and James Bowlin.  Also, Samuel Webb guardian for James and David who arrived at full age on 8/13&15/1848 per court papers.  Alexander moved to AL and owns land in Madison Co. by 1811 and is on the 1820 census of Lawrence Co., AL.  A William Bowling appears on a Limestone Co., AL census in 1820 with 1 male over 21, 2 males under 21, 1 female over 21 and 1 female under 21.


War of 1812


During The War of 1812 both brothers would be 31 and 28 years old and probably participated in The War of 1812.  Coffee's Regiment (John Coffee owned land in Lincoln Co., TN ca 1810-16), Tenn. Vol., War of 1812 was formed in Franklin, Tenn. just south of Nashville, (100-120 miles from Lincoln Co., TN).  There is an Alex and William Boling in this unit.  This unit moved from Franklin, Tenn. on Jan. 19, 1813 down to Washington near Natchez, Miss.  After a month they were ordered disbanded and marched back to Tenn. before being disbanded.  By Oct. 1813 Alex joins Burris' Miss. Militia for 19 days.  Thus timewise, it is possible that Alex served in both units.  If both brothers were living in Lincoln Co. c 1810-12, it is probable that they served in Coffee's unit.  According to Marsh, John Coffee lived in Rutherford Co., TN and also owned land in Lincoln and Bedford Counties.  He was a close friend of Andrew Jackson.  This increases the probability that this is my ancestors in Coffee’s unit.


It was through their country that General Jackson marched his army to subdue the Creeks, in the autumn of 1813. Gen. John Coffee found a ford for his mounted men across the Muscle Shoals. They entered the river near the mouth of Blue Water creek, waded about three miles and emerged from it just below Green's Bluff; and ascending the steep and lofty bank they found themselves, in what is now, Lawrence county, but then the choice hunting grounds of the Cherokees. As they beheld the level but elevated valley, which stretched out before them, apparently, a broad prairie interspersed, thinly, with trees, it was a sad day for the poor Indian! for many a soldier's heart glowed with admiration and covetousness. 'There stood the leader, of gigantic stature and fine proportions, with his calm face (which I well recollect) and by his side Major Alexander McCulloch, who was his favorite aide, and had fought in many a bloody conflict, by the side of the noble Coffee. It was a strange coincident, that McCulloch, after the cession, purchased the very tract of land on which their eyes were then resting, and made it his home for many years. In its proper place, I shall give sketches of him, and his distinguished sons, Generals Ben and Henry E. McCulloch. Of the emigrants who afterward came from Middle Tennessee to this county, a large proportion had belonged to Coffee's command.  During this war many of the Cherokees were our allies, and served against the Creeks.  Indeed, it was owing to the fact that some friendly Indians were besieged in a small fort near Talladega, that General Jackson precipitated his march in advance of his supplies, for Old Hickory never forsook his friends, no matter what the color of their skins. 


Very shortly after this war closed, I think in 1817, the Cherokees ceded land enough to form three counties, of which Lawrence was the middle one. The Indians who lived here, moved eastward, and settled with the body of the tribe. Amongst them was a chief named Melton — for whom " Melton's Bluff" was called — who settled about three miles above Guntersville. 


When the whites first came to this county the cabins of the Indians were still standing. Near every house was a pile of muscle and periwinkle-shells. There were monuments of occupation, which seemed to have existed for a long time, in mounds and fortifications. On " Watkins' Island " at the head of the Muscle Shoals — there are a half dozen of them — and on the upper end several acres are covered with shells, as if the natives had occupied it for many ages. On the mainland, also, you can find them. One above the mouth of Town creek is very large.


Regimental Histories of Tennessee Units During the War of 1812

Prepared by Tom Kanon, Tennessee State Library and Archives



  • DESIGNATION: Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry

  • DATES: December 1812 - April 1813

  • MEN MOSTLY FROM: Rutherford, Davidson, Dickson, Robertson, Smith, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson Counties

  • CAPTAINS: John Baskerville, Thomas Bradley, John W. Byrn, Blackman Coleman, Robert Jetton, Charles Kavanaugh, Alexander McKeen, Michael Molton, David Smith, Frederick Stump, James Terrill

This regiment of cavalry joined Jackson's forces at Natchez in early 1813. The strength of the regiment was approximately 600 men. While the bulk of Jackson's troops traveled by boat to Natchez, Coffee's mounted men went overland after rendezvousing near Franklin, Tennessee in mid-January 1813. The officers of this regiment were considered to be the elite citizens of their counties.

Many of the men in this regiment later became part of the unit led by Colonels Alcorn and Dyer during Jackson's first campaign into the Creek territory in the fall of 1813. John Coffee was a wealthy landowner in Rutherford County and a one-time business partner of Andrew Jackson. Coffee was married to Rachel Jackson's niece, Mary Donelson (they named two of their children Andrew and Rachel).

At the beginning of the War of 1812, Coffee raised the 2nd Regiment of Volunteer Mounted Riflemen, composed mostly of Tennessee militiamen (and a few men from Alabama). In December 1812, Governor Willie Blount had called out the Tennessee militia in response to a request from General James Wilkinson and the U.S. Secretary of War. Under Jackson's command, Coffee led 600 men in January 1813 to NatchezMississippi Territory, via the Natchez Trace, in advance of the rest of the troops, who traveled via flatboats on the major rivers.

After the two groups reunited in Natchez, Wilkinson and the U.S. government disbanded Jackson's troops. All marched back to Nashville to disband, and on this march Jackson earned the nickname Old Hickory from his troops. They arrived in Nashville on May 18, 1813.

On September 4, 1813, Coffee was involved in the Andrew Jackson-Benton brothers duel in Nashville, knocking Thomas Benton down a flight of stairs after Benton's failed assassination attempt on Jackson.

In October 1813, the 2nd Regiment was combined with Colonel Cannon's Mounted Regiment and the 1st Regiment of Volunteer Mounted Gunmen to form a militia brigade of mounted infantry. Coffee was promoted to brigadier-general and placed in command.

Coffee led his brigade, which consisted largely of free blacks and Native American warriors from allied Southeast tribes, at the 1814-15 Battle of New Orleans. They played a key role in holding the woods to the east of the British column. Coffee's brigade was the first to engage the British, by firing from behind the trees and brush.

Jackson chose General Coffee as his advance commander in the Creek War (concurrent with the War of 1812), during which he commanded mostly state militia and allied Native Americans. Under Jackson, Coffee led his brigade at the Battle of Tallushatchee, the Battle of Talladega, and the Battles of Emuckfaw and Enotachopo Creek, where he was seriously wounded; and at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. At the latter, the allied forces conclusively defeated the Red Sticks, traditionalists of the Creek Nation who were allied with the British.




  • DESIGNATION: 2nd Regiment of Volunteer Mounted Riflemen

  • DATES: September 1813 - December 1813

  • MEN MOSTLY FROM: Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, and Wilson Counties (Winston's company from Madison County, Alabama)

  • CAPTAINS: John Baskerville, Richard Boyd, Thomas Bradley, John Byrne, Robert Jetton, William Locke, Alexander McKeen, Frederick Stump, Daniel Ross, John Winston

Colonel John Coffee commanded this regiment until the end of October 1813, when Coffee was promoted to Brigadier General. John Alcorn took over as colonel and the unit was incorporated with Colonel Newton Cannon's Mounted Riflemen to form the Second Regiment of Volunteer Mounted Riflemen. The Second Regiment, along with Colonel Robert Dyer's First Regiment of Volunteer Mounted Gunmen, formed the brigade under John Coffee. Muster rolls reveal that the regiment went by various designations besides volunteer mounted riflemen: volunteer cavalry; mounted militia; or mounted gunmen.

Many of the men from this unit were with Andrew Jackson on the expedition to Natchez (December 1812 - April 1813) and, consequently, felt their one-year's enlistment expired in December 1813. Jackson insisted that the time not spent in the field did not apply to the terms of enlistment. Hence, a dispute broke out between the troops and Jackson late in 1813. Most of the troops did leave by the end of that year, despite Jackson's strenuous efforts to keep them.

The regiment participated in the battles at Tallushatchee and Talladega (3 November and 9 November 1813) and muster rolls show that practically all of the companies sustained casualties, the most being in Captain John Byrne's company. The regiment's line of march took them from Fayetteville (where the regiment was mustered in), through Huntsville, Fort Deposit, Fort Strother, to the battles, and back the reverse way.


Also:  Col. William Higgins

Designation:  2nd Regiment Tennessee Mounted Volunteers

Dates:  Dec 1813 – Feb 1814

Men Mostly From: Madison (AL), Lincoln, Robertson, Smith, and Wilson Counties

Captains:  Samuel Allen, John B. Cheatham, John Crane, Adam Dale, William Doak, Thomas Eldridge, Stephen Griffith, James Hamilton, John Hill, Joseph Kirkpatrick


Brief History: 

Along with Col. Perkins’ regiment, this unit comprised the sixty—day volunteers enlisted by William Carroll to fill the rapidly dwindling ranks of Jackson’s army decimated by the desertions of Dec. 1813.  Determined to make the most of this new army, Jackson marched these 850 green troops into Creek territory where they encountered the Red Sticks at Emuckfau and Entochopco (22 and 24 Jan. 1814).  The Tennesseans at these battles suffered heavy casualties.  The line of march went through Huntsville to Fort Strother and then to the battlefields. From


William 1784-1870, Fh 745


In 1805  William appears on a tax list in Grainger Co., TN along with Alexander, Thomas, and another William.  He next appears as William Bolen on the 1809 Intruders List in the Elk River area of Tn. and again there are two Williams Bowling, Sr and Jr., that signed a Sept. 5, 1810 Petition to President James Madison as Intruders on Chickasaw Land in Mississippi.  It is believed that they are the  two Williams in Grainger Co., TN in 1805. (See ).  This portion of the Elk River is in Giles Co., TN, near the Lincoln Co. line today. The Elk River runs through Fayetteville, in Lincoln Co.  The intruder settlement was SW of this.  Since his brother Alexander has moved to Lincoln Co., TN near the area in the petition, this strengthens the case that all three moved to the same area of TN.  There is a William in Limestone Co., AL in 1820 which as mentioned above could be he.


From 1821 on, William b 1784 spent most of his life in the West Tenn. counties of Gibson, Madison, Haywood, and Hardeman.  On Jan. 8, 1869, he sold land in Haywood Co. to his two grandson's, Wm. Thomas and J. A.(James A.).  In one deed a William is identified as from Obion Co., TN.  A search of the land records in Obion Co. does not list any Bowling deeds.  In another Haywood Co. deed, William is listed as of Gibson Co.  A search of their deed indexes list at least three deeds as William Bowling (C256, G400, G550).  Additionally there are others for Lewis, Thomas, James and John.  William 1784 was  in Marshall Co., MS in the 1850 census, but moved back to Hardeman by 1860.  William1784 apparently died in 1870 as an inventory of his estate was submitted in Hardeman Co. Court on Jan 2, 1871 and dated Dec. 31, 1870.


The migration path from VA into central NC into SC to NE Tenn. to AL and north into West TN. is an established migration path.  It also coincides with the Worthy's as far as Chester Co., SC and Martin Worthy into Grainger Co., TN.  According to a book on the migration patterns into Tenn., many settlers from VA and NC crossed the mountains at various gaps into the valley on the west side of the mountains.  From there they moved south often via the rivers including the Tenn. River which drops south into AL before going north back into Tenn. around the Haywood, Madison, Hardeman Co.'s area.  If the sighting of Alexander and William in Grainger and Lincoln Counties of Tenn., Madison Co. AL, and Madison Co., TN are correct as believed, this almost directly follows this migration route.


West Tenn. was purchased from the Indians in 1819 and early white settlement started in 1820-21. The following Bowling’s appeared as follows in Madison Co., TN:


            1821   Joseph Boling                      1 TL (town lot)           $.25                tax list

                        William Bolin                                    1 Black pole              $.25                tax list


            1822   Joseph Boling                      1 White pole              $.25                tax list

                        William Boling                      1 White pole              $.25                tax list


            1823   Joseph Boling                      1 White pole              $.25                tax list

                        William Boling                      1 White pole              $.25                tax list

                        William Boling, Jr.                1 WP & carriage       $.25                tax list

                        Lewis Boling                         1 White pole              $.25                tax list


A search of the Madison Co., Tenn. court minutes shows that an I. Boling first appeared in March,1822. Other Bolings in Madison Co., TN early on included Thomas 1822, our William 1821, Lewis 1823 tax list and deed witness (1825 witness on Joel Dyer deed in Gibson Co.) and Joseph 1821 from tax list, court minutes, and history.


Thus among the very first settlers of Madison Co. were Thomas, William (2), I, Lewis and Joseph Bowling.  From court records and land records we know that they interacted and lived near each other.  From census, tax and court records we know that at least Thomas, William and Joseph were born before 1800 with I. born by 1801 at the latest to be of age in 1822.  We also have a David Bowling born pre-1800 showing up in Haywood Co. by 1840 (Possibly David in Green Co., TN in 1812).  Further we know that there were at least two and possibly three Thomas Bowling's in Haywood by 1830



Thomas b between 1760 & 1770 d c1848 Haywood Co., TN, Fh 731


The first is Thomas, Sr. b 1760-70 and who died about 1848 and certainly by May 1850 when a court action is taken by heirs of Daniel Cherry against heirs of Thomas Boling, Sr.  This document list the heirs of Thomas, Sr. as William Boling, Jr., Daniel B. Boling, John R. Williams and Mary, his wife, and Lewis Boling of Haywood Co., Green B. Boling of Shelby Co., Thomas Boling, Jr. and Nancy Boling of Fayette Co.  This document clears up a lot and clearly divides the Bowlings into two or three family units, i.e. William, Sr., Thomas, Sr. and Joseph.  William, Sr. was later added to the suit since he had been surety on the land transaction.  This would strongly indicate that he is related to Thomas to provide bond on a deed. Thomas, Jr. was born in 1803 (1802 d 1886 if Thomas, Jr. buried in Pine Log Cemetery in Craighead Co., Ark.)  and is also in 1840 census.


DNA Study


In 2001 the Bolling Family Association undertook a Y-chromosome DNA study of its members in the hope of identifying the various families or haplotypes of Bollings in the U. S.  Several descendants of Alexander, one of William and several of Thomas participated in the study.  They all matched exactly using the 12 loci y-chromosome test conducted by Family Tree DNA and the Univ. of Arizona and 36/37 or 37/37.  This proves that they all shared a common Bowling ancestor and proves a close biological relationship of these three men, especially when combined with other evidence.  Alexander’s will names his brother William as executor.  Thomas Bowling, Sr. could be an uncle or brother to the other two.  We also know that Joseph was born 1790-1800 from 1830 Madison Co. census and that he died by 1834 when his estate inventory is entered into court records.  He may be the son of Thomas, Sr. based upon a Madison Co. Court minutes book A, 17 June 1822 where Thomas Boling and sons (space with no comma)  Joseph Bolin, .....  However, it is interesting that the last names are spelled differently by the writer in the original document when they are only two words apart and that none of the other sons of Thomas are called out.  Perhaps this is because Joseph is of age and the other are not.  It could also be because Joseph might be the brother of Thomas, William and Alexander.  Further, the descendants of Alexander, William, and Thomas Bowling have matched several other men that spell their last name Bouldin and are descendants of William Bouldin and his wife, Thomasin Nash.  Of note is that William and Thomasin had sons named Alexander, William and Thomas.



The third Thomas is the Thomas who is deceased by 1831 and  whoes heirs owed taxes on land in Haywood.  This is from the sheriff of Haywood Co., John G. Carithers, report to the court of lands and town lots belonging to non-residents on which the taxes have not been collected for the year 1831 and list "Bowling, Thomas, heirs, 184 acres, dis. 10, range 4, sect. 11").  The “land belonging to non-residents” may indicate that this Thomas was not living in Haywood, which raises the question where was he and what was his relationship to the other Bowlings in Haywood?  Extensive research in Haywood Co., and Crockett Co., TN failed to turn up the original deed for this land owned by Thomas.  It also failed to turn up the deed for the sale of this land by Carithers.  D10, R4, S11 is in the Alamo, TN area which is now in Crockett Co. which was formed in 1845.  This Thomas could well be the father of the three brothers as he owned property in the county apparently from an early date, died before 1831, and carried the name of the oldest known brother.  However, Todd Bolen, in his book, suggest that this Thomas is the brother of James E. Bouldin, Fh266, of Henry Co., VA, son of Joseph Bouldin Fh 454 who owned land in Gibson and Haywood Co.  These men are from the Thomas Bouldin 1580 (Swan 1610) family whose DNA does match exactly that of Thomas Bowling, Sr.’s descendant.


Thus the following residents/families of Haywood/Madison/Gibson Counties 1820-1840:


Thomas Boling, Sr. b. 1760-70 per census, d bet 1848 & May 1850 per court case

            wife unknown

            children:        Joseph b 1790-1800, dec by 1834 from estate inventory, (Madison                                         Co. Minutes book A, 17 June 1822, ordered Thomas Boling and sons.. Joseph...)

                                    Lewis b 1802-5 (taxable in 1823, not on list in 1821 or 1822)

                                    Thomas, Jr. b c 1802-3, d p1886

                                    William, Jr. b 1805-11 VA, d March 1870

                                    Green B. b 1811 KY, d bef 1860

                                    Daniel B. b 1814                         

                                    Mary, wife of John R. Williams



William Bowling b 1784 NC d 1870 Hardeman Co., TN

            wife Mary  

            children:        Lucretia b 1812, wife of Thomas Yandell

                                    Nancy Ann b 1817, wife of Francis A. Edney

                                    Isham Merriman b 1824

                                    Alexander b 1826

                                    Mary Adeline b 1828, wife of Ashburn Davie

                                    Emaline T. b 1836, wife of William Henry

                                    Matilda C., wife of John C. Davie                   



Others Born pre-1800


  • Thomas dec. by 1831 from estate inventory and probably before 1830 census since only two Thomas' in county.

  • David b. 1770-80 from 1840 Haywood Census

  • I. on court inventory in March,1822, thus b. before 1801.

  • Joseph signed 1819 petition and was on 1821, 1822, and 1823 Madison Co., TN tax list.


Others Born 1800-1820 

  • Burgess b. 1810-1820 (probably son of William, Sr.)

  • David B. b 1814 (probably son of David?)



Thus from the DNA test it is know that Thomas Boling, Sr. and William Bowling b 1784, were biologically related (probably brothers or uncle/nephew) and given the ages of  David and I. (Isham?) they are from the same generation and thus could be brothers to Alexander, William and Thomas.  However, a person claiming to be a descendant (kit 3754) of David Bowling b 1780, wife Polly Ryal, who may be the David in Grainger Co., TN tested into a different DNA Group (5) and thus is not related to the subject Bowlings.

Descendants of Thomas Bouldinge, 1610 Immigrant to Jamestown

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