When I started researching my family genealogy, I, like most people, was able to find information about my generation and my grandparents fairly quickly. As I worked on the next generation, I discovered that information was a little harder to find. Before 1900, a lot of families who lived in the mountains of Northeastern Tennessee didn't bother to walk or ride a horse to the court house, which might have been 20 miles away, thru two mountain passes and over four river fords, just to report a birth, marriage, or death in the family. Many of the elders were buried in family cemetery plots, marked with simple grave stones or wooden markers which soon faded in the weather. Hardly any one was rich enough to leave a will. Family stories and traditions did provide some good leads. My best break was when my cousin Lisa DeLoach Waldman, unknown to me at the time, wrote a letter to my father, on the chance that he had information concerning her DeLoach relatives. Lisa had been researching my ancestors for over twenty years, and had what seemed like a warehouse full of documents. Together, we were able dig out the information which led us to John DeLoach, the first member of our ancestry to settle in Northeast Tennessee.
There is not much information available on John. What there is leads us to believe that he was born in South Carolina in about 1785. In 1807, he married Phoebe _______, who was from Tennessee. Tax and deed records place him in Sullivan County, TN, in 1810 and 1812. He, and possible members of his family, started appearing in neighboring Carter County, TN, in the 1830's. He and his family are listed in the 1840 Sullivan County Census. Between 1840 and 1850, they moved to Carter County, where they are listed in the 1850 census. From that point, it has been fairly easy to document his descendants. Finding his ancestors is another story. Many of the records that were housed in the Sullivan County Court House were destroyed by fire during the Civil War. Any record which might have provided a clue went up in smoke.
In order to find who might have been John's parents, I searched for information concerning other DeLoach families in the United States.There have been seven DeLoach family histories published, or circulated amongst DeLoach family historians. These are:
Some Historic Families of South Carolina, by Frampton Earl Ellis.
First published in 1905, republished in 1962.
Historic Southern Families, by John Bennett Boddie. This multi-volume set includes DeLoach family history in Volumes I, II, VII, and IX.
DeLoach Family History, by Robert Ellis Colson.
First published in 1965, revised on 15 October 1993.
The DesLoges Family, by Joseph Earle Steadman.
Published in 1981.
History and Genealogy of the DeLoach Family, by Judge Harry DeLoach.
Published in 1983 ?.
The DeLoach and Tison Family of South Carolina.
Author and publication date unknown.
Kershaw County Cousins, by Charlotte Boykin Salmond Brunson.
Publication date unknown.
These publications trace the history of Michael DeLoach (Michel DesLoges), a French Huguenot refugee who arrived in Isle of Wight County, The Virginia Colony, in 1663. There is general agreement by the authors for the first few generations. One major difference is Thomas DeLoach. In his research, Steadman determined that Thomas was the son of Michel DesLoges. This change was included in the republication of Colson's book. This also lead to another major change. The first three publications indicated that Samuel DeLoach, born in about 1706, who later married Mary Boykin, was the son of William DeLoach and his wife Judith Wall. Steadman believed that Samuel was the son of the aforementioned Thomas. In a letter dated 3 Nov 1967 to Mr. J.T. DeLoach of Winnfield, Louisiana, Steadman writes,
"There is an error in Mrs. O'Donnell's record, in that she names the above mentioned Samuel as a son of the William DeLoach, Jr., and his wife (Judith Wall) who moved from Edgecombe County, N.C. to the Welsh Tract in Craven County S.C. in 1745. The said William (Jr), my wife's ancestor, and Samuel were first cousins and were about the same age. Samuel's father was Thomas DeLoach of Isle of Wight County, Va., and this Thomas was an uncle of William (Jr.)"The publications further digress from that point, each tracing a different branch of the family, generally that of the author. After reading each of them repeatedly, it was my opinion that Steadman's work was the best researched and documented.(Note - The Mrs. O'Donnell referred to is Mrs. James E. O'Donnell, whose mailing address in 1959 was P.O. Box 462, Woodville, MS).
I used Steadman's book as the foundation for a data base, supplementing it with information from the other publications, and other records. The purpose of the data base was to determine who could have been my John DeLoach's father. I had initially intended to build it only through 1810, as John was born prior to that. As the information was shared with other DeLoach researchers, they provided additional documents, and the data base grew and spread out into other branches of the family. I decided to go ahead and add family information through 1850, at which point it became available through the census. The data base has largely proven who John's parents were not.
In assembling this data base, I tried to use the best and most accurate information that was available. Some family linkages were made based upon my opinion of what the available information indicated. Someone else viewing this same information may have a different opinion. Bible and civil records have uncovered errors in the published family histories. Additional research will no doubt find better data than what is included here. Hopefully, this information will be made available, and this data base can be kept as error free as possible. As in any published work, family historians and genealogists should independantly verify the information pertaining to their family.