The Robertson Genealogy Exchange

Colonel Harlee's Notes on 1223 Charles Robertson

It is evident that [122] John and Mary (Gower) Robertson had son [1223] Charles from the will, 12 Aug 1784, of their son, [1226] Mark Robertson..., of Davidson Co., Tenn. (then part of N. C.), who bequeathed "six hundred and forty acres of a military claim lying about a mile and a quarter above the mouth of Will's Creek entered in [1221] James Robertson' to my brother [1223] Charles Robertson."

This [1223] Charles Robertson was no doubt the one who died, 1805, in Davidson Co., Tenn., where his will, dated 27 Jul 1805, was probated Jan. 1806, and recorded, 10 Apr 1806, in "Will Book 3-4 and 5-6" on page 67.

Transcript of 1223 Charles Robertson's Will.


Mrs. Charles Fairfax Henley's article [126] "Maj. Charles Robertson and Some of his Descendants" in American Historical Magazine of January, 1898, misinforms us that the [126] Col. Charles Robertson treated therein was oldest son of [3A] "John Randolph Robertson" and his wife, Mary Gower. No reference was made to the source of this or of the other statements made, including lists of children of [3A] "John Randolph Robertson" and his wife, Mary Gower, and of [126] Col. Charles Robertson, which are believed to be inaccurate....

"[122] John, (not John Randolph) and Mary (Gower) Robertson did have a son, [1223] Charles, but he was not their oldest son and he was not the [126] Col. Charles Robertson who flourished and died in East Tennessee. Among those stated to be sons of [122] "Jobn 'Randolph' Robertson" were [1261] Julius Caesar and [1263] William Robertson. It is believed that they were not sons of [122] John and Mary (Gower) Robertson and were sons of the [126] Col. Charles Robertson, who was not their son.

Mrs. Henley's account states:

"[126] Charles Robertson, born 1740 in Brunswick Co., Va., married, 1758, in North Carolina, Miss Susannah Nichols; their "children were: 1, [1264] Charles; 2, [1263] William; 3, [1261] Julius Caesar; 4, [12233] Christopher; 5, [12236] Elijah; 6, [12239] Mark; 7, [12239] Claiborne [His name was 12239 Mark Claiborne. TR]; 8, [1267] George, married Susannah Nelson; 9, [1262] Keziah, married first Capt. Robert Sevier and second a Mr. Tipton; 10, [1268] Rosamond, married the "Rev. Russell Bean."

It is believed that she has confused with the sons of this [126] Col. Charles Robertson, [12233] Christopher, [12236] Elijah, and [12239] Mark Claiborne (not Mark and Claiborne) sons of [1223] Charles Robertson, son of [122] John and Mary (Gower) Robertson and perhaps the latter [1223] Charles Robertson's wife, Susanna, with the wife of [126] Col. Charles Robertson. It is probable that this [126] Col. Charles Robertson was born earlier than 1740 and married earlier than 1758, as [1261] "Julius Robison" no doubt his son; was in the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774...and [1261] Julius Robertson and [1263] William "Roberson," together with their father [126] Charles "Roberson," in 1776 signed the petition of the Watauga be annexed to North Carolina. It is doubtful whether [126] Col. Charles Robertson was born in Brunswick Co., Va. [There is now primary evidence that 122 John and 126 Charles Robertson were born in Bristol Parish, Prince George County, Virginia. TR]; the family [descendants] of [122] John and Mary (Gower) Robertson who lived there seems not to have known where the antecessors of [126] Col. Charles Robertson lived. [Nor apparently where their own ancestors originated. TR]

"[126] Charles Robertson emigrated from South Carolinawas the Trustee of the Watauga Association; and to him was the conveyance afterwards made by the Cherokee Indiana, for the lands purchased or leased from them. He was distinguished for his great good sense and wisdom, not less than for his virtue." (Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee, p. 107). [It is true that 126 Charles Robertson lived in the contested area of South Carolina immediately before his removal to Watauga, but he was born in Bristol Parish, Prince George County, Virginia and had previously lived in Granville County, North Carolina with his extended family. TR]

It is certain that [126] Col. Charles "Robinson" (as the name Robertson was often spelled) had a daughter, [1265] Susan (not mentioned in Mrs. Henley's account), born in 1763, who married 18 Jan 1778, in the Watauga settlement, Felix Walker...and died 9 Jul 1778....

Mrs. Henley's account states names and data of descendants of [126] Col. Charles Robertson, which, insofar as pertained to the descendants of his son [1267] George and Susan (Nelson) Robertson, was corrected in an informative account by their descendant [1267B9] J. C. Moreland, in American Historical Magazine, April 1898, pp. 190-193. [However, even 1267B9 Judge Moreland's corrective article contained recognizable errors. TR]

"[126] Col. Charles Robertson was called 'Black Charles,' doubtless to distinguish him from [1221] Gen. James Robertson's brother, [1223] Charles. 'Black Charles' first lived in the environs of Johnson City, but removed to Cherokee Creek, south. of Jonesboro, where he died." (Letter from Judge Samuel Cole Williams).

Reference has already been made to [126] Charles Robertson..., of the [122] John Robertson who married Mary Gower and was father of [1221] Gen. James, [1223] Charles, and others. [1221] Gen. James Robertson's son wrote: "[126] Charles, my grandfather's brother, I expect remained near Philadelphia, but our family I think had no knowledge of them after they departed. I am pretty certain that [126] Black Charles was not his son." (Draper MS. 6XX50). Again he wrote: "[126] Black Charles was my father's cousin. He died in East Tennessee at a good old age.... I am nearly certain that [126] Black Charles was not a son of my granduncle [126] Charles." (Draper MS. 6XX49)....

The following sketch of "Black Charles" Robertson is from Judge Samuel Cole Williams' The Lost State of Franklin, pp. 306-7:

"[126] Charles Robertson, of Washington county, was one of the leaders of the Watauga Association. He acted as trustee for the early settlers, taking the title to the lands purchased of the Cherokee Indians in March, 1775; and the records of Washington county show that he faithfully executed the trust by conveying tens of thousands of acres of land to the various settlers. By an ordinance of the constitutional convention of North Carolina of 1776 he was named as one of the justices of 'Washington District.' [126] Robertson was one of the four delegates from Washington District admitted to membership in the Provincial Congress of 1776. By that body he was appointed first major of the district militia.... On the establishment of Washington county he was continued in that office; and by an act of Assembly the court was to be held at his house then on Sinking Creek, near the present Johnson City, until a court house should be built. In 1777 he marched a body of troops to Long Island of Holston' to act as a guard while a treaty was being there negotiated with the Cherokee Indians.

"He was in the Carolina senate of 1778 and 1779. The Assembly of 1778, in an effort to keep the Cherokee Indians quiet, appointed [126] Robertson to go to the Overkill Cherokees with a friendly talk from the governor. By the Assembly of 1780 [1779 TR] he was appointed lieutenant-colonel in command of two hundred men of Washington county to co-operate with Colonel Evan Shelby's forces on an expedition against the Cherokee Indians. Washington county sent him to the house of commons in 1784, where he voted in favor of the first cession act.

"[126] Charles Robertson, having had previous experience in legislative bodies was honored with the speakership of the senate of the State of Franklin. To him was awarded also the colonelcy of Washington county. He continued to serve as a magistrate under the new State government. His daughter [1262 Keziah] had married Robert, the brother of John Sevier, and [126] Colonel Robertson stood by the fortunes of the governor of Franklin [John Sevier] until the last; he participated in the Sevier-Tipton engagement of 1788.

"On the organization of the county of Washington, as a part of the Territory south of the Ohio River; [126] Colonel Robertson was commissioned a justice of the peace.

"[126] Robertson had an honorable military record in the Revolution. He was sent in command of a part of John Sevier's regiment in July, 1780, to the relief of the Carolinians. [He, in fact, seems to have alternated command with Sevier during the South Carolina Campaign, and he led the North Carolina contingent during the 1779 Campaign against the Chickamauga. See Williams' Tennessee During the Revolutionary War and State Records of North Carolina, 12: 539-543. TR] His troops aided in the capture of Thicketty Fort where ninety-three loyalists surrendered; and in the battle of Musgrove's Mill.

"In his later years [126] Colonel Robertson lived south of Jonesborough, on Cherokee Creek. He died about 1800." (Note: In a letter, Judge Williams writes that a statement in Draper MS. 14DD18, that Col. Charles Robertson died "about 1798 in Washington County, Tenn." accords with evidence found in the courthouse at Jonesboro and is more correct than "about 1800." WCH). [In fact, Washington County, Tennessee Will Book 1, 44, adequately demonstrates that he died between August 31, 1798, when he made his will, and November 1798 when it was probated. TR]


There was another contemporary [probably 1264 TR] Charles Robertson of Greene Co., Tenn.

"Charles Robertson [probably 1264]sometimes spelled 'Robinson'resided in Greene county. He is not to be confused with [126] Colonel Charles Robertson, of Sinking Creek, who was a leader of the Watauga Association. The name of each is at times, spelled 'Robinson' [as is 1221 General Robertson's and others' names] and it is difficult to distinguish the two when mentioned in records and even in histories.

"Robertson [probably 1264] appeared in Greene county prior to 1783. His name 'Robertson' is on the tax list of that year in that county. He lived on Meadow Creek of Nolachucky River. He, as well as the other [126] Charles Robertson, was in the first Jonesborough convention of Franklin, but this appears to have been his only legislative service." (Williams' The Lost State of Franklin, pp. 325-6).

Research for records of [1223] Charles Robertson is confused by various persons of that name and its variations, Robinson, Roberson, Robison, etc., of North Carolina living in various localities, mentioned in the Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. It is impossible to unscramble some of their records. [The full import of this statement is not lost on contemporary researchers. What it actually means is that Colonel Harlee was not interested enough in the question to chase down the references that provide an adequate answer. See "Charles Robertson of Early Davidson County, Tennessee" which is available onsite. TR]

Source: William Curry Harlee, Kinfolks: A Genealogical and Biographical Record, 3 vols. (New Orleans: Searcy & Pfaff, 1935-37), 3: 2556-2561.

Last updated: Monday, November 17, 2003

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