USA: Tennessee Early Gillespie Families

Source: History of Tennessee Pioneers From the Earliest Time to the Present, copyright 1887


GEORGE M GILLESPIE, farmer and son of Jacob Gillespie & Nellie Graham Gillespie,  was born on the farm  near Gallatin, in Sumner Co, TN in 1828. He was one of two children born to his parents. The father had been born in (1773-1779) in North Carolina, and came to Williamson Co, TN, where he remained a short time. He then moved to Sumner Co and located near where our subject lived. He died there in 1864. The mother was born in 1790 in North Carolina, was of Irish decent, and died about 1866.

George received his education in the common schools of Sumner Co, and remained with his parents as long as they lived. At the death of his father, George came in possession of 600 acres of land, on which he then resided.

In 1859 George Gillespie married Harriet Jane Duffer, daughter of William and Rebecca Duffer. Harriet or now Mrs Gillespie was born at Station Camp, seven miles west of Gallatin, in 1836. Eight children were born to the couple: Aldrich Oma (Mrs James Bright); Belmont; Queen (Mrs David Kerley); Susan D; William Gillespie; Jacob Gillespie; Thomas Gillespie; George Gillespie Jr: and James Graham Gillespie.

Oma, Bell, Queen and Susan were members of the Christian Church. George, by hard work, improved his farm, so it was in good cultivation with good fences and buildings. He was a Democrat, and cast his first presidential vote in 1848.


Lydia Gillespie Durham, wife of James, was related to George Gillespie, evidently his granddaughter, according to George’s Bible records. That record says that they came from Salisbury, Rowan Co, North Carolina sometime between 1790 and 1800.

In an abstract from this Bible of George, it revealed that he had fought in the Battles of Guilford Court House and Kings Mountain.

The following is an abstract from this Bible, now in the possession of Mrs Jim Gillespie of Bethpage, Tennesee:

George Gillespie born July 22, 1751. Died Sept 1, 1818.

Mary Graym born May 31, 1751. Died Sept 10, 1815. Married April 18, 1771.

Their children all born in North Carolina:

John Gillespie   March 18, 1773. Died Dec 23, 1868

Thomas Gillespie  Dec 24, 1775

Jacob Gillespie Nov 23, 1777

Mollie        Sept 14, 1779

Nancy        May 2, 1781

Lydia           Aug 2, 1783

Richard Graym     July 2, 1785

George       July 2, 1797

Jane            May 22, 1789


In the name of God, Amen.  Calling to mind the mortality of my body yet enjoying a comfortable portion of health and sound judgement, yet deeming it expedient to arrange my secular concerns to my own satisfaction amoungst my heirs, I do dispose of such wordly property wherewith I am possessed in the following manner:

I give to my beloved wife, Mary, all and every particle of property whereof she as possessed of when I married her, viz her negroes Virgil, Dinah Halbert, Louisa and Patsy; every part of household furniture beds and clothing, wheels, kitchen furniture, press articles and all such as I have purchased for her since our marriage, and also my Dick horse and  her own mare and two milch cows, and those of her own which was not disposed of.  And allow her to live on my lands near Franklin Town part of that land whereon my son George Gillespie now liveth, whereon I order a house of convenient size to be built with shingle roof, hewed logs under and upper floors laid brick or stone chimneys on that part of land whereon Mr Jones occupied to be for her only use during her life, with privilege to clear any part of parcel she may think necessary and dollars and any time and to whomsoever she may think proper, and to distribute or divide the same also our plow and double trees pair drawing chains and her own sheep, more or less all of this building at the expense of my estate, one from the part of my crop now in the fields, also my sugar dish.

2nd  I give to my son, John Gillespie, that tract of land whereon he now liveth, and his heirs forever. Beginning at the corner on the branch below, and running northwardly as already marked, following said marks leading to the big nob on my north boundary thence east, etc. For contents, one feather bed and clothing.

3rd. To my son Thomas Gillespie and heirs five hundred and odd acres of land whereon he formerly lived, and also my new big coat.

4th I give to my son, Jacob Gillespie and his heirs that plantation whereon I live and that place lately_____joining John Graham. No west boundary with every part of the improvements instantly into his possession; allowing reasonable time for my wife Mary Gillespie to remove with her family to her house as ordered above. Also I give him my sellar with its contents, reserving what spirits doth belong to my wife whist she was a widow which is not yet disposed of, also my smoke house and its contents, reserving an honourable part thereof to go with my wife and family for their temporary support; the remainder of my cattle and hogs and sheep, wagon and geers; hand saws; my negro man Sam; also my feather bed winter and summer covering; my dresser and kitchen furniture, loom and tackings.

5th I give my daughter, Molly Byns with what she already got one hundred dollars.

6th I give my daughter, Nancy my large case of drawers.

7th I give my daughter Lydia the negro boy Samney, and to the heirs of her body, but should her heirs not live until that age which will enable them to order his own affairs, I order if said negro is then living to her death to be sold, and equally divided amongst my surviving heirs, also fifty dollars.

8th I give to my grandchildren, children of my son Richard G Gillespie, to Bennery F Gillespie, three hundred dollars. To Lydia and Mary G three hundred dollars. Should any one cease to be in their minority, their part shall be equally divided with the surviving; and should each of them be removed in the state of childhood, the whole amount and interest to revert to my surviving heirs – the said $600 to be let by interest by my executors until  year 1830.

9th I give my son George Gillespie that tract of land whereon he now liveth, with the profits of every party thereof only reserving that part whereon my wife Mary is to live her life time. My suit of black clothes.

10th I give my daughter Jinny Brisson my little boy Dick, and to her son George Peg’s youngest colt.

11th I give my grandson, James Gillespie, a set of black Smith’s tools, bellis, anvill, hand vice, hammers.

I order that the remainder of my apparel be divided by my daughters to John and Jacob, and whatever of my clothing or covering may be in my house or drawers or other articles.

12. I give my niece Nelly Graham one bureau. I allow the cash in hand and notes when coverted, my boy Pompy sold; my horses also when my debts are paid to be divided equally between John Gillespie, Thomas Gillespie, Molly Byrnes, Jacob Gillespie, Nancy Bledsoe, Jenny Brisen and George Gillespie.

I allow my duplicate now in Nashville to be laid upon land and that be divided between George Gillespie and George Gillespie’s sons of John and Thomas Gillespie.

Lastly I appoint my sons John and Jacob Gillespie, executors of this which is my last will I have made and doth___ and revoke all former wills and establish this only. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this 16th of June, 1818.    George Gillespie (seal) 

Well knowing there are more bed clothing than will be necessary for both winter and summer, clothing of three of my beds, I order that the disposal of particular pieces mentioned by deed, companion be strictly attended to by my four daughters, and give to those whom she mentioned. Sept 28, 1816. This kept with my will. George Gillespie.


State of Tennessee, Sumner Co Court House, Nov Term 1818.  “The last will and testament of George Gillespie deed was produced in court and duly proved by the oaths of William Hall, John Lauderdale and William Hannah and Patrick Barr, who made oath that said will there be no subscribing witnesses was written by said George Gillespie and thereupon John Gillespie and Jacob Gillespie executors named in said will appeared in court, qualified by taking oath prescibed by law, together with Henry Bledsoc and John Turner, their securities entered into and acknowledged their bond to be Governor in the penalty of five thousand dollars conditioned as the law directs. Whereupon said will is  ordered to be rendered.”

R. G Gillespie, a well known farmer of the Ninth District, was born Jly 15, 1826 in Sumner Co. He is the eldest of two children born to Jacob and Nellie (Graham) Gillespie. The father was born Oct 1779 in Roane Co, North Carolina of Irish ancestry. He was a soldier of the War of 1812. When he first came to Sumner County he settled at a town called Cairn (which is now extinct). At that time there were but few settlers. The mother was also a native of North Carolina, of Irish descent. With her father (who was an officer of the Revolutionary war) she moved to Mercer Co, Kentucky, and then to Sumner Co. Her death occurred in 1867.

The subject of our sketch was educated in Sumner Co.  On Oct 26, 1853 he married Miss Susan Harris, who bore him five (seven, five now living) children:  George Marian (now deceased); Bright Harris; Jacob; Benjamin Blake; Nellie Graham (now Mrs Head); Frank Bates; and Mattie Ann (now deceased).

Mrs Gillespie’s grandfather, Squire Walton, came to Davidson County at a very early age, and settled near Goodlettsville. At the age of 26, our subject moved to his present place of residence, purchasing 205 acres of valuable land in which he has since added 72 acres.  It is located on the Red River Turnpike, six miles from Gallatin.

Mr Gillespie is a life-long Democrat, and cast his first vote for Franklin Pierce. He is a Master Mason.  Mrs Gillespie and daughter are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.



The will of Martha Gillespie Senior  (Marthew) of April 24, 1811

To daughter, Jane King, 1/2 clothes and yarn. To granddaughter, Marthew King, the grey mare, saddle and bridle; To Jane Hays, Mathew Gillespie, daughter of James Gillespie, daughter Elizabeth. To son, John a horse. To sons George and Allen, fifty dollars each. Son James. To granddaughter Marthew Gillespie, daughter of Thomas Gillespie 1/2 wearing apparel. Grandsons Thomas and George King, sons of daughter Jane King, Executors: son James, Grandson George Gillespie. Written May 28, 1810. Witnesses Samuel Dunkin,Thomas Macklin. Signed Marthew Glispie.

WILL OF George G Crawford (Dr. George C Crawford)

To wife Elizabeth personal property. Executors Brother-in-law William S Gillespie. Will dated Sept 23, 1837. Witnesses John Maloney, Benjamin Lyon. A note added  “William Gillespie has died. George F and Allen Gillespie served as executors.”

WILL of Allen Gillespie, Sept 3, 1842

To wife, Sarah, negro girl Esther now in possessionn of Rev. Samuel W Doak. Children: James W; William S; Polly; Elizabeth Crawford; Martha H Tyler.    To son William S $120 I loaned him when he and his wife went to Nashville. Pay debt to William G, husband of  Elizabeth. Educate Thomas, Robert and Sarah. Land o Limestone Creek. I’m in dispute over land in Virginia. Executors E L mathes, George Gillespie. Will dated 9 June 1840. Witnesses: Jacob Miller, John Falls. Signed A Gillespie (German).

WILL of Sarah Gillespie  7 Sept 1846   $2400

Sons Allen, Thomas, Robert.  Thomas and Robert to have a bed and a piece of furniture each.  Five daughters: Polly, Elizabeth, Martha, Julia and Sarah to divide negroes and all remaining estate. Executors: Ebenezer Mathes, Josiah Yeaker, Allen Gillespie, John Crabtree. Will dated Sept 3, 1844. Witnesses M. L. Neilson, Ann Gillespie, Elmira E Pierce.  Signed Sarah Gillespie

WILL of Mary Gillespie,   17 July 1851    $6,000

Two dollars each to nieces and nephews: Sarah E and Mary K Easterly, Archibald D Neiilson, Sarah E Nelson, Robert Tyler, Minerva Tyler, Ann W Williams and Thomas A Gillespie. Sisters: Judean Easterly, a fine  yellow shawl; Martha Tyler a white shawl; Sarah Nelson a black veil. Elizabeth Crawford all the rest of my estate.  Brother Allen H Gillespie to get one negro to pay debts. Executix Sister Elizabeth Crawford. Will Dated 18 Oct 1850. Witnesses Jacob Miller Sr, John Miller. Signed Mary Gillespie

Records: 9