Sunday, December 25, 2011


It has been passed down our ancestor John Hart traveled from South Carolina to Roane County Tennessee where he married Ruth Stout, daughter of Peter Stout, October 1, 1810. John Hart II until recently was the only known child of John and Ruth and his birth is listed in family records as January 27, 1813.

One hundred years later in an article that appeared in the local paper upon the retirement of McMinn County Sheriff James Franklin Hart states: Frank’s grandfather was killed in the “Battle of Horseshoe Bend” in 1814. The article also states John Hart Sr. had several children. The question arises as to who these children were and what happened to them, other than John Hart II who lived and died at Rogers Creek.

Adding to the mystery is the fact a John Heart is listed in the 1830 McMinn County census, age 40-50, with a wife and eight children born after 1814. This places the birth of the John Heart listed in the 1830 census between 1780 and 1790, which is consistent with our ancestor John Hart Sr. being born in 1789. This John Heart does not appear in the McMinn County Census Records after 1830.

Also a John Hart filed a Land Grant in 1827 on the East Half of the Southwest Quarter of Section 5 in McMinn County. It is unlikely this was John Hart II, as he was only fourteen years old at the time. Also relevant is the relationship of Elliot Heart, age 15-20 who is listed near John Hart at the time of the 1830 census and is shown living with a female age 15-20, evidently his wife. Elliot also disappears from the McMinn County Census records after 1830.

It seems to be more than coincidence when John Hart disappears from the McMinn Census after 1830 a John Hart born in South Carolina appears in the 1840 Greene County Missouri Census with eight children.

John Hart, age 61 SC, appears again in the 1850 Greene County Census with Caroline 23 Tn, Mary 19 Tn, Nancy E. 17 Tn, Lewis J. 14 Tn, Glovina 12 Tn. These are evidently some of the children of Benjamin Hart from Tennessee whose names match those listed in McMinn County Court Records CR 5 15 wherein John Hart was appointed guardian over said children 1 November 1841. One of the children of John and Ruth was named Benjamin who in turn was possibly the father of those children. Elizabeth’s name does not appear in the 1850 Greene County Census.

Elliot Hart 39 Tn and Ellen 38 NC and their nine children appear in the 1850 Madison County Mo. Census. I believe Elliot is the oldest son of John Hart Sr. and moved to Missouri with his father about 1840, leaving our ancestor John Hart II and his family in McMinn County.

Elliot Heart was living in Missouri and working as a blacksmith during the Civil War. His services were demanded by both the North and the South with threats of dire consequences by each side if he served to other. The situation became so bad Elliot hid out in a cave in fear of his life. He had twin sons who were listed as being thirteen in the 1860 Shannon County Missouri Census. They were both captured by the Bushwhackers. They tied a rope around the neck of one and told the other they would hang the first if he did not go get his father. Elliot came out of hiding and the bushwhackers cut off both his hands with the family watching. They then killed Elliot and left him for the women in the family to bury.

We are still left with the question as to which Hart died in the “Battle of Horseshoe Bend” in 1814. Could it have been the father of John Hart who was born in South Carolina in 1789? Did John Hart travel from South Carolina to Roane County by himself or was he part of a larger group and did that larger group include his father? I will leave up to the reader to decide.

The Group Record of the ancestral Hart families follow. There is some uncertainty in distinguishing between the children of John and Ruth from those of Benjamin over which John was appointed guardian in 1841. We believe Benjamin’s children begin with Serena Jane as she is the first of seven children listed in McMinn County Court records.

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