The Jeters of Menard County, Illinois and Livingston County, Missouri

The Jeters of Menard County, Illinois
and Livingston County, Missouri

The Jeter Family (about 1866)
Livingston Cty., Missouri

From left to center:
My g-grandmother Mary Francis Jeter (Tharp) 1847-1923
Margaret Adeline Jeter (Tracy) 1844-1880
William T. Jeter 1850-1930
Mayo E. Jeter 1853-1932
Elizabeth Berry Jeter 1812-1875
Will G. Jeter (my gg-grandfather)

Not Shown:
Amanda Jane Jeter (Lilly) 1841-1914
Anderson B. Jeter 1832-1854
Sarah A. Jeter 1834-1835
John P. Jeter 1836-1913
Harriet E. Jeter (Goldsby) 1838-1897

What my mother, Sara Frances Maxwell Baily,
told me about her grandmother's family:

"My grandmother Mary Jeter Tharp was born in November 29,1847 on a farm near Springfield, Ill. Her father was an early supporter of Abraham Lincoln who often stayed at their house when Lincoln was "riding the circuit." Because of transportation problems, courts held early sessions in country school-houses or churches out in the country. This was called "riding the circuit". Grandmother's family moved from Springfield, Ill., to Chillocothe, MO, when she was about 10 (1857).

My grandmother Tharp used to tell wonderful tales of the Civil war. Her brothers were Union soldiers (Uncle John and Uncle Mayo) whom I never saw. They were in the middle of this mess at the time of Quantrell's Raiders (renegade Confederate soldiers) who preyed on the farmers of NW Missouri around St. Joseph. She used to tell how she and her older sister, Adeline, dealt with the Raiders:

The girls always slept with matches in their hands so they could light the lamp if they heard the beat of horse hooves. The livestock was kept hidden in a thicket near a creek that flowed through the farm. Coffee, sugar and similar edibles, together with any money or valuables the family possessed were hidden in a small cellar under the kitchen floor. A trap door in the floor gave access to the cellar.

When the Raiders were in the vicinity, the girls put a rag rug over the trap door and ensconced their father in his easy chair over the cellar opening. Evidently the old man had had a stroke and was quite handicapped, and in no condition to deal with renegades.

When the raiders did appear, they always demanded food and Aunt Addie would bemoan the fact that they were so poor, but would offer to prepare them a meal. The food always consisted of corn meal mush. The Quantrelle Raiders later formed the nucleus of the Jesse James gang which terrorized the Midwest during the 1870s and 1880s."
   1991, Sara M. Baily

Early Jeter History

In a letter written to his nephew, Will, on January 11th, 1880, Thomas Horatio Jeter related bits of Jeter family history as told to him by his grandfather. Later, in a letter to his brother Mayo, Will Jeter recalled this history, " The origin of the name in America is traced to two brothers who came from Wales in the Colonial period, and settled on the James River near Richmond, Virginia.  Our ... grandfather came from the descendants of the brother who remained in Virginia.  The other brother removed from Virginia to South Carolina. I have met many of the name, at one place or another, but never talked or corresponded with anyone of them who could not trace the nativity of his ancestors to either Virginia or South Carolina."  Records remaining from those times dispute only details of Thomas Horatio Jeter's account.  
The Jeter name is found among those Huguenots that settled in the Mattapony River valley area of King William County after arriving in Virginia on the 20th of October, 1700. They were on the last of four ships from England paid for by King William to transport Huguenots to America; only this last ship lacks a record of its name and passenger list. Lacking as well are most all of the  records of King William and Caroline counties of the period and therefore Jeter family history in the first part of 18th century Virginia must depend on early Essex County records and some surviving order books of Caroline County. (Caroline County was formed in 1727 from the Mattapony area of King William and Essex counties.)
Starting with these very early records most if not all of those with the Jeter surname in the United States can trace their ancestry back to the Huguenot John Jeter who arrived in Virginia in 1700, lived in what was then a part of Essex County, and purchased land within a few miles of Port Royal in 1722. His wife's name is unknown at this time, but he was married about 1705 and had several children, John, Jr. being the only one proven by record. John, Sr. died before April 9, 1736. A putative son, William Jeter, left Virginia for Edgefield, South Carolina after about 1741; John, Jr. remained in Virginia. Placenames such as St. Asaphs Parish of Essex (later part of Caroline County) are of Welsh origin.
John Jeter, Jr. married about 1727, most likely to Sarah Dozier.  It is thought that his lands lay between the Peumansend and Goldenvale Creeks a few miles from Port Royal in Caroline County. Much more documentation exists after 1736 to establish family relationships. The Jeter/Dozier children included William, born about 1734 in Caroline County. John Jeter, Jr. died in Caroline County in 1781.
William Jeter's second marriage was in all likelihood to Nancy Ann Griffin from which came the following issue: Thomas (the father of William Griffin Jeter), Elizabeth, and William, Jr. William, Sr. died in 1786. Son Thomas, born about 1780, removed to Jefferson County, Kentucky about the turn of the century. There he married Sarah Benfield, a native of Maryland, in 1803 with the following issue: Thomas Horatio, William Griffin, John Dabney, John Obadiah, Ambrose Elijah, Anne America, James Madison, Sarah Ann, Mahaley Jane, and Elizabeth Frances. Sarah Benfield Jeter died about 1829 and Thomas married again in 1830 to Catherine Poulter. There was no issue from this second marriage. Thomas passed away about 1845, but the circumstances are unknown.
 Submitted August 12, 1999, C. Victor Jeter

 William Griffin Jeter