Saint Boltoph's Northfleet Parish Church in County Kent, England

Norfleet Family Genealogy

Merton College, Oxford, the college of Master John de Northflete

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 The Allen Memorandum

By Julius Allen


Introduction by Phil Norfleet

The following memorandum was prepared by Major James Norfleet’s grandson, Julius Allen, of Danville, Virginia. The information was contained in a letter, written in about June 1891, to Julius’s nephew, David Bushrod Howerton. The memorandum was published in the early 1960’s by the Tennessee Daughters of the American Revolution in Volume III of their Family Histories and Miscellaneous Data series.

Julius Allen was the son of David Bushrod Allen and Martha Battle Norfleet (daughter of Major James Norfleet) and was also a great-grandson (on his father’s side) of "Mountain John" Lewis of Virginia. I believe the memorandum contains some factual errors, but makes very interesting reading. Where appropriate, I have provided explanatory comments or identified what, in my opinion, are errors, through the use of hyperlinked footnotes.


Transcript of the Allen Memorandum

Mary Ann Meriwether Howerton was the daughter of David Bushrod Allen and Martha Battle Allen, nee Norfleet. D. B. Allen had four sons lived to be grown, to wit James Norfleet, Julius, Christian and Willie N., commonly known as Sank, all of whom had families except Christian, who died at P. W. Howerton’s at Delta, Miss., on the 27th day of Sept. 1847. James N. married O. C. Shaw, by whom he had three children, Maria W., Mattie L. and V. L. Allen. Marie is dead. Mattie was to have married D. L. McRae on the 20th of May 1891 – Virginia L. is unmarried. Julius has two daughters and one son living – Nannie Gary, Lucy Lewis and William Glover, all unmarried. W. N. has four children, three sons and one daughter – George Sank, James Norfleet, Julius and Nannie Leah. His wife was Leah Jefferson of Ky. There are five daughters of D. B. Allen and Martha B. Allen, who lived to be grown, and had families, to wit. Sallie Apphia, who married Dr. John B. Shaw, both of whom are now dead. Mary, who married Philip W. Howerton first and Mr. Veal second – she had [by] P. W. Howerton one son, D. B. Howerton, and by Mr. Veal two daughters, Zannah, who married Mr. W. Bennett, and Zulah, who married Mr. Lehman.

Lucy Louisa, who married first Gustavas A. Achey, by whom she had no children, second married H. R. Cammack, by whom she had one son, Green Lomax, yet unmarried. Virginia Lewis married Morgan Hopson, by whom she had ten living children. Her sons are Joshua, Morgan, Joseph Hoy, Willie and Sank; of these Joshua married Fonta Hudson, Morgan married Mattie Garrott, and the remainder are single. There are five girls, to wit, Daisy who married King Wallace, Lena who married Frank Campbell, Sallie, Minnie and Mary, the last three unmarried.

David Bushrod Allen’s father was David Allen of Cumberland County, Virginia, who soon after his marriage moved to Pittsylvania County, Va. Where David B. was born on 27th of Sept. 1789. David Allen had six sons who lived to be grown, to wit, Lewis, Julius, Fauntleroy, Felix, Christian and David B., two daughters, to wit, Sallie and Mary. Lewis married Mary Jones of Alabama and had three sons who lived to be grown. To wit, Richard, William, and John Lewis. I think there were four daughters. Elizabeth married a Mr. Hightower. One married Capt. Clinton Hezlip. Ann Catherine, the youngest, was married. Julius never married. Fauntleroy married Judith Woodson, by whom he had six sons, to wit, Stephen, Joseph Lewis, David Henry, Julius Dangerfield, William and Christian – and three daughters, to wit, Apphia, Mary and Sallie Merinda. Apphia married Richard Baughan. Mary married William W. Allen and Sallie married John Philips. Christian Allen married Sallie W. Norfleet. They both died without issue. Felix married Catherine White by whom he had eleven children, only two of them married, to wit, William W., who married his cousin Mary, they have one son living, Nolan or Knowland Allen. Henry N. Allen is married and living in Memphis, Tenn. His sister Mary is living with him, but unmarried. David Allen had two daughters, Sallie married Stephen Woodson, had one child Stephen. Mary married Mr. Ross by whom she had three daughters, Elizabeth, who married Dr. Turpin of Augusta, Ga. Sallie, who married Mr. Doe, and Kate, who married Wm. Patton. They are all living near Danville, Va.

Martha B. Allen’s father was James Norfleet of Nansemond County, Virginia. He moved to the Red River country Tennessee when there were but a few camps and log huts where Nashville now stands. He and his two brothers, William and Cordy, [1] joined Gen. Andrew Jackson and fought through the Creek War, [2] where William was killed. James and Cordy, after the close of the Creek War in Tennessee and Alabama, returned to the Red River country and bought, jointly, a tract of land from Henry Campbell, on the Sulphur Fork of Red River in what is now Robertson County, Tennessee, where Martha B. Allen, nee Norfleet, was born on the 6th day of February 1807. James Norfleet entered politics and was elected to the lower house and afterwards to the State Senate. He was engaged in merchandising and during his absence at Nashville, his partner ran off with all the money the firm had and left James to pay the debts, so he quit politics and with 4 Negro boys built a saw and grist mill - he and his brother Cordy, on the Sulphur Fork. He, James, soon made money enough to pay the debts contracted while merchandising and bought Cordy’s interest, and after that accumulated a fine property. James married Sallie Lawson of North Carolina, by whom he had one son, Willie Lawson, and three daughters, Martha Battle, Sallie Williamson and Lucy Louise. [3] Martha B. married David B. Allen, Sallie W. married Christian Allen. Lucy Louise married A. C. Gaines. Sallie W. had no children. Lucy L. had one son, Wm N. Gaines of Port Royal, Tenn. Wiley Lawson had one daughter who married Aquila Grant and had one son William, who when last heard of was living in Jefferson County, Ark. James Norfleet had two sisters, only one of whom I know, Ann who married Isaac Dortch and Mary, who married a Mr. Christmas. [4] Sarah Lawson, James Norfleet’s first wife, had brothers and sisters. The only brother I ever heard of was Eppa Lawson [5] and one sister Lucy, who married a Mr. Wilson of Franklin Tennessee. One of them, I think, married a Mr. White, Hugh Lawson White, a former candidate for president who was a cousin of my mother, Martha Allen, nee Lewis.

David B. Allen’s mother was Apphia Allen nee Lewis. Her father was John Lewis – known as mountain John Lewis. He had a cousin named John Lewis, known as John Byrd Lewis. Apphia Lewis’s mother’s maiden name was Fauntleroy. Her grandmother’s maiden name was Elizabeth Bushrod. The Lewis family were noted in Virginia for their wealth and high sense of honor. Meriwether Lewis, as you will learn from History, was a celebrated Civil engineer and Explorer. He and Clark first discovered the source of the Columbia River in Oregon, and the name of the two branches which form the Columbia River are called, the one Lewis and the other Clark.

David Allen, my grandfather, had three brothers, to wit, John, Julius and Charles. John and Julius never married. Charles had one son, Dr. Killes or Achilles Allen. He married but had no sons, only three daughters. I don’t know what became of them. David Allen, my grandfather, entered the army during the Revolutionary War, where he was captured and sent to England and kept for a long time, after he was exchanged he returned and joined his Command and won some official position. I do not know what position he held, but I think it a Sergeant or perhaps Lieutenant – He was always known as Colonel Allen, but I don’t think he held the rank of Colonel. I think he was given the title through courtesy. David Allen was a man of great wealth for his day and time, but like nearly all of his descendants, was a great spend-thrift. He died at the age of 48 years [6] and left his estate $25,000 in debt, but my grandmother, Apphia, with the assistance of her cousin, John Lewis, her Co-Executor, worked the estate out of debt and divided between her heirs 160 Negroes.

Although our family always seemed proud of their descent from the Lewis family, I don’t find, from any information I could get in Virginia, that they ever achieved any great notoriety except Meriwether Lewis. It is true, Fielding Lewis was chief of Washington’s staff and married his niece. I suppose that gave the family some distinction. I myself feel more pride in the Norfleet family, because my grandfather, James Norfleet, I recollect well; having last seen him when I was sixteen years old and have heard from him direct of his trials in life and I know he was a man endowed with extraordinary intellect and I believe, had he remained in politics, would have made his mark in National Affairs, though he was a Whig in politics, always claiming that Andrew Jackson left the Whig Party.

My grandfather married the second time, Miss Jane Bailey, whose nephew James Bailey was elected to the U. S. Senate from Tenn. He was not blood kin to the Allen family."



I have written all I know of our family, and all that I have reason to believe is true. There are a great deal of stories, told by the Negroes of the family, that I do not believe, hence I have not written any of these stories. It is sufficient to me, that all the men are as far as I know, honorable and the women were and are virtuous, - I don’t think any family could ask for more, especially in this age, when there is so much rascality exposed as coming to light every day. This is badly written, I hope you can read it – if so, you had best make a copy of it.

This leaves us all in good health. Present my kindest regards to you family also Messrs. Bennett & Lehman and their families, and my love to your mother. Tell her I received her letter and will answer soon. Allow me to thank you again for the kindness of all of you while there. I regret I did not stay.

Your Uncle,

Julius Allen

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1.  Cordall Norfleet did not come to Tennessee until several years after Major James had arrived. The first documentary reference to him, in Tennessee, is in the tax lists for Montgomery County. He appears in the 1800 list as a white poll, but without any land. The 1799 tax list does not contain his name. Also, we know he was in Gates County, North Carolina as late as 1797 as there is a court order, dated 21 August 1797, binding Nathaniel Burgess to Cordall Norfleet as an apprentice "to learn the business of house carpenter and Joyner." The first record we have of Cordall acquiring land in the area was in 1802, when he bought 123 acres from Major James.

2. Julius Allen also appears to be a bit confused with respect to the "Creek War" and General Andrew Jackson. General Jackson commanded in the Creek War fought during the War of 1812, specifically in the 1813-1814 time frame. His great victory over the Creeks, at Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River in Alabama, took place on 27 March 1814! The fighting, during which William Norfleet was killed, was probably in the late 1793-early 1794 time frame, just prior to the Nickajack Expedition. Incidentally, Andrew Jackson did not take part in the Nickajack Expedition of 1794. Indeed, the earliest military action, in which Jackson is known to have participated, is the Creek War of 1813-14!

3.  Julius omits mention of Major James’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth, who died as a teenager in 1817, and his youngest son, William B. Norfleet, who died, testate, in Robertson County in 1848.

4.  This is an error.  Major James did not have a sister named Mary.  The Mary who married a "Mr. Christmas" was the niece of Major James Norfleet.  She was Mary Ann Hillard, daughter of Sarah Norfleet Hillard Horn (sister of Major James).  Mary Ann Hilliard married Thomas Christmas in 1801.  Also, Allen does not mention this sister (Sarah) of Major James.  This Sarah (Sallie) Norfleet, first married Elias Hilliard and after Elias's death she married Colonel William Horn.

5. Sarah Williams Lawson was the niece of Eppa Lawson, not his sister.

6.  David Howerton believed this to be an error; the probable intent was to show his age as 68. Per Howerton, other records show his age to have been 64 years.

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